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23km east of Unawatuna Bay Beach, the fishing town of Weligama (meaning sandy Village in Sinhalese) meanders around a broad & beautiful bay, dotted with rocky outcrops & fringed with fine golden sand. As you enter the charming small town of Weligama from Unawatuna, the road splits with one branch running along the coast, & the other running parallel through the town centre. Weligama is quiet yet attractive. A clutter of shops at the center trails off into lush streets of pretty gingerbread villas decorated with ornate wooden fretworks, peeking out from dense, green tropical gardens.
The bay's most prominent feature is the minuscule island of Taprobane, just offshore, virtually invisible under a thick covering of luxuriant trees. The island is known locally as Yakinnige duwa (She-devil's island) floats mysteriously on the gentle waters of the bay, looking as though it could up its anchor & skim off over the horizon if it felt so inclined. You can easily wade out at low tide.

The island was owned during the 1930s by the exiled French Count de Maunay, who built the exquisite white villa that still stands, its red tiled roof poking up through the streets; It looks like an ideal artist's or writers' retreat, which indeed it once was: novelist Paul Bowles wrote The Spider's House here in the 1950s.

At the western end of town, near the railway line, in a peaceful, small park, stands a large rock-carved figure probably sometime during the eighth or ninth centuries with a three-meter figure known as Kusta Raja (Leper King). He is supposed to have arrived in Sri Lanka afflicted with leprosy but was cured by drinking only thambili (the juice of the king coconut) for three months. If you've already tried one of these ambrosial drinks, you'll know that there's no need for encouragement from mythical kings to drink away.