Things to Do in Hikkaduwa – Surf, Chill, Eat

Does the siren song of the beach call to you? That’s because Hikkaduwa beach is singing your name!

Hikkaduwa is one of Sri Lanka’s most tempting beach destinations. It lies on the southwestern coast about ninety-eight kilometers south of Colombo. It is very popular amongst international tourists and boasts some of the best surfing waves on the island.

If you want to do more than just work on your tan then check out any of the following activities: visit the Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary; go snorkeling; dive to a shipwreck; travel to Hikkaduwa Lake; or discover the moonstone mines. Whether you’re a surfer, snorkeler, diver, or sun worshipper, you will find your place right here in Hikkaduwa!

Things to Do & Attractions

1. Hikkaduwa Marine National Park

Image of Underwater reef coral ocean
Underwater reef coral ocean | Source:  nikitaglazik/Shutterstock.com

Sri Lanka has only two or three marine parks, and Hikkaduwa Marine National Park, which initially named as a wildlife sanctuary in 1979, is the pre-eminent attraction in the country. Later in 1988, the landmark upgraded to a natural reserve, and finally got a status of National Park in 2002. Sri Lanka Environment Protection and Conservation Act declared the entire marine boundary along with reef as the National Park to reduce the effects to tropical eco-system, which was quite a wise step.

Settled only a few meters beneath the surface; a shallow fringing reef is an essential element of the center, and this is the primary reason visitors turn to Hikkaduwa Park because it allows them to take part in water sports, including snorkeling and scuba diving. You can find more than 170 species of tropical reef fish and almost 60 species of hard coral with ease in the park, and giant cabbage-shaped Montipora corals along with small branching Acropora corals are worth exploring. Moreover, plenty of boulder type and encrusting corals enhances the charisma of the place.

When it comes to fish, many beautiful species have become the center of attention for the sightseers, and they include angelfish, snapper, trevally, butterflyfish, wrasses, and parrotfish. Never skip it!

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Duration: 1-2 hours

Cost: 300-400 LKR

Opening Hours: 7:00 am-6:30 pm

Address: Thirangama, Galle Road, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: If you are coming from Colombo Airport, a private car or train would be convenient. However, if you want to go from your hotel in Hikkaduwa, you can use a three-wheeler.

2. River Safari in Madu Ganga

"Image of Monitor lizard resting on a tree branch in Madu Ganga river "
Monitor lizard resting on a tree branch in Madu Ganga river | Source:  Aleksandar Kamasi/Shutterstock.com

Nestled in Balapitiya, Madu Ganga River lies along the southern coast of Sri Lanka within the Galle District, and Madu Lagoon, which is a wet zone of the country that depicts high bio-diversity. It starts from Uragasmanhandiya in the Galle District and then merges with the Madu Ganga Lake at Balapitiya, but it drains into the Indian Ocean.

At Madu Ganga, you need to hire a boat to explore and praise the beauty of the place, and a lot of vendors will find you near the river. Choose your guide after asking rates from different sellers so that you will not have to pay a lot.

You will visit a mangrove forest, which is the pre-eminent exhibition of the location, and they work as a protector that protect various animals and aquatic plants, including crabs, invertebrates, fish, shrimps, and crocodiles. The guide will also take you to the Buddha Temple and Cinnamon Island as they are the famous ones. As per the sources, about 14 out of 24 species of mangroves are in Madu Ganga, and you will also view the region’s largest animal, which is wild boar, but monkeys, lizards, snakes, water monitor, butterflies, and squirrels are present in the site. Blessed with the best, Madu Ganga is home to over 111 bird species such as kingfishers and cormorants.

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Duration: 2-2.5 hours

Cost: 6000-7000 LKR (for safari)

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Madu Ganga, Balapitiya, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Around 40-minute car drive will take you to Madu Ganga from Hikkaduwa.

3. Scuba Diving

Whenever someone talks about Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa is the first destination comes into the mind, because it’s perfect to experience dive in the country. Many PADI dive and Training centers, including Poseidon, Dive for You, and the International Diving School are providing services in Hikkaduwa.

For a single dive with equipment, you may have to pay up to 6000 LKR for four hours, but it varies from center to center. The companies offer single, double dive, open water dive, night dive, and a lot of other packages, but you can choose as per your suitability. Moreover, if you don’t know diving, you can take 3-5 days training course at any reputable center.

One of the top-rated scuba diving spots in the city is Hikkaduwa Gala Rock (5-18m deep) where you can do deep rift dive, and this area always covered with giant iconic Hikkaduwa Coral Reef. It’s best for beginners, and you will also explore rock formation, too. The best place to discover tropical water fish such as lobsters, rays, snappers, blotched, and barracuda. Kirala Gala (21-40m deep), another site, features red tooth triggerfish, morays, and bannerfish, and it’s one of the favorite diving spots consisting of rock pillars and pinnacles. The next is Black Coral Point (16-38m deep) that will mesmerize you with stunning black coral and reef fish. Of course, many other locations are there, too.

Rating: 4.7/5.0

Duration: 4 hours

Cost: Single Dive = 5000-6000 LKR.

Opening Hours: 8:00 am

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: You need to book a diving agency, and it will take you to the desired location.

4. Surfing

Hikkaduwa is the central region for surfing in Sri Lanka, and the place is specifically known for this activity. The ideal season to surf in the waters of the city starts in November, and it ends in April. With an average wave size of 5 feet-12 feet and water temperature of 27 ° C, the surfing season would be the best experience for you in Hikkaduwa for sure.

When it’s a season, many local breaks in Hikkaduwa work perfect for surfers, and these are:

Main Reef

It’s a deep reef with left and right-handers surfing point, so it’s pretty safe for beginners.

Benny’s

It’s not for beginners as it’s a reef break that works well over 7 feet.

Beach Break

It’s safe for newbies because of sand and reef shore break.

North Jetty

Long left with reef breaks, and wave break in harbor wall. It works well for learners.

If you’re new and don’t have experience about surfing, make sure to first discover some skills by taking courses in any of the distinguished centers, and when you get knowledge, you can get a surfing board on rent for up to 800-900 LKR per day. The atmosphere in Hikkaduwa will make your trip memorable with a beautiful location and excellent conditions for surfing.

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Duration: 1-2 hours

Cost: 2000 LKR (it may vary)

Opening Hours: Daytime

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Get a taxi or a three-wheeler to visit your surfing spot.

5. Snorkeling

Being the vast coastal region, Sri Lanka promotes a lot of aquatic activities, and snorkeling is one of them. When it comes to Hikkaduwa, it is the resort town with several spots where you can do snorkeling at the bottom of the ocean to observe underworld ecosystem of the city with ease.

Because of its closeness to the shores, Hikkaduwa allows mild breezes and hypnotic views of the ecosystem of marine life, and if you’re looking for some snorkeling tour, make sure to try Hikkaduwa National Park Snorkeling, which is quite prominent among sightseers, and it offers exceptional bio-diversity.

The most suitable time for snorkeling is from December to April because of the dry climate, and the best locations to start this adventure include Blue Deep Diving Center, Hikkaduwa Lagoon Safari, Poseidon Diving Station, International Diving Center, Narigama Beach, and Dive for You. Prices depend on your experience level, and it also varies from center to center, so you can go and meet your guide in person for negotiation.

The early morning time would be perfect for snorkeling, and the best activity is to snorkel with the giant sea turtles. Moreover, you can also explore different exotic aquatic creatures while snorkeling, and the coral sanctuary of Hikkaduwa Beach is also famous for presenting breathtaking views in dry weather.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Duration: 2-3 hours

Cost: Rough Estimation – Starting from 7000-9000 LKR (It depends on your tour guide and your experience level)

Opening Hours: Daytime (preferably the morning time)

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: You snorkeling tour agency will pick you up from your hotel.

6. Paddle Boarding

As everyone knows Hikkaduwa is the mecca for water sports enthusiasts in Sri Lanka, but many people consider surfing, diving, and snorkeling the prominent activities in the city. However, paddleboarding is also an enthralling exercise in the place, in which boarders propelled by a swimming motion with the help of their arms while kneeling, lying, or standing on a paddleboard. It’s also known as standup paddleboarding.

The top-notch paddleboarding tour agency in Hikkaduwa, SUP Sri Lanka, allows you to get a surfboard on rent, and it offers different packages. Pick a Lagoon SUP tour on the Rathgama Lake under the supervision of professionals, but if you have sufficient experience, you can ask for a solo tour, too. You will explore wildlife animals and birds such as to monitor lizards and eagles, and how someone can forget about mangrove forest, which is the gist of the lake. If you’re an evening person, 1.5-hour sunset SUP tour in Hikkaduwa would be perfect for you.

The agency offers courses for beginners, so if you want to start from scratch, you can apply for it. Well, instructors will teach you how to use paddleboard, what are the favorable conditions for paddle boarding, and other tips and techniques. Talk to SUP Sri Lanka, and make your tour unforgettable.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Duration: 2-4 hours

Cost: 1800-4500 LKR (depends on packages)

Opening Hours: 8:00 am-6:30 pm

Address: SUP Sri Lanka, Narigama, Galle Road, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Your guide will pick you up from your hotel, or you can use an auto-rickshaw by yourself.

7. Seenigama Vihara

Resided on a pretty small island 100 meters offshore, Seenigama Vihara Temple is a sacred attraction, which is highly renowned among locals, but tourists love to visit there, too. Being the only survived building in 2004 Tsunami, this place has a unique and jaw-dropping back-story. According to the beliefs of the locals, it’s one of the only two Buddhist temples, where a victim of robbery can pray for justice, and higher forces will help the poor soul by punishing robbers. However, there are proper rituals to do so. A victim has to take an exclusive oil that cooked with pepper, pour this oil into a lamp house, light it, and the last thing is to read the spell. That’s it.

A temple has a huge building located in a very scenic setting, and it is highly engaging from the inside. You will witness fresh-water well in the center of the place, and a tsunami photo museum will intrigue you to learn more about the history of the location. This 1300-year old building of the temple is captivating, and its exterior and interior are colorful and vibrant.

Please, don’t take alcohol or meat with you as it’s a sacred place, and it has some rules to follow.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Duration: 1-1.5 hour

Cost: Boat ride – 400-500 LKR, Entrance fee – Free

Opening Hours: 6:00 am-8:00 pm

Address: Galle Road, Hikkaduwa 80240, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Take a boat from Galle road beach.

8. Hikkaduwa Beach

Image of Hikkaduwa beach popular tourist destination
View of Hikkaduwa beach | Source:  DESIGNFACTS/Shutterstock.com

Quite famous for resorts lining the coast and powdery beaches located about 98 km south of the capital of the country, Hikkaduwa Beach, which is the largest in the city, parted into many different beaches; Narigama Beach, Coral Reefs and the beach with turtles, and the beach without waves. Overall, it’s an ideal location for water sports, including snorkeling, paddle boarding, surfing, and scuba diving, and you can arrange boat tours to view the aquatic beauty from close.

With its 4 km length, Narigama Beach is a beautiful place in Hikkaduwa, and tourists love to spend time here from April to October. It’s a perfect location to enjoy party scenes at night and vibrant bright views in the daytime. You can also do surfing here without any difficulty.

When you go behind the Narigama Beach, you will reach Coral Reefs part of the beach, and it’s a place to watch exotic sea creatures. When the reefs end, a beach with turtles start, and this sandy side of Hikkaduwa Beach offers turtle hatchery.

Right after turtle beach, you will witness Laguna, which is shallow because coral reefs covered the location from both sides, and you will encounter no waves in practical. It is best for children as they can play and enjoy with waters with confidence. Visit and explore every part of Hikkaduwa Beach by hiring boat tours, and even bottom glass boats are available, too.

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Duration: 1-2 hours

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Hire an auto-rickshaw to get to the beach.

9. Hikkaduwa Roti Shops

Hikkaduwa is not only in the limelight because of gorgeous beaches and resorts, but it also has a few locations, where you can eat the world’s best mouth-watering Roti. Everybody appreciates healthy and tasty food, so you should try a roti whenever you be there in the city.

Settled at Galle Road, No. 1 Roti Restaurant is the top-rated place to eat fresh and various kinds of Roti, and it features Simple Roti, Banana Chocolate Roti with ice cream, Double Cheese Tomato & Pineapple Coconut Roti, Prawn & Avocado Roti, and many more.

Other plus points include excellent ambiance, friendly staff, and reasonable prices. It offers fast food, vegetarian, Asian, and Sri Lankan food, and it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch. In short, you can visit anytime from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Another place is The Rotti Shop located Galle Road, Wewala, Hikkaduwa, and if features almost the same as the No. 1 Roti Restaurant, but it’s a bit small place. However, you will be in love with its fabulous array of Roti.

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Duration: 1-2 hours

Cost: 300-600 LKR

Opening Hours: 8:30 am

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Grab an auto-rickshaw from your hotel to the roti shops.

10. Nightlife

Hikkaduwa is famous for surfing, wildlife, snorkeling, and crazy adventurous activities, and visitors love to be there throughout a year. It is not difficult to spend daytime as there’s so much to do in the city, but many tourists don’t know the stunning town has a mesmerizing nightlife, too.

Lined with lodges and restaurants, Hikkaduwa has a plethora of other places where you can spend quality evening time, and Sand Beach Hotel located at Galle Road offers its clients to enjoy cocktails at dusk and other scintillating views because the hotel faces the beachside. You can attend the lively parties host by resorts.

Funky De Bar, probably the most visited party place in the city, offers cozy ambiance, international and local DJs, and reasonably priced cocktails and beer. It opens 24 hours, but party animals can spend quality 3-4 hours at night with ease. Another top-rated location is Vibration Music Bar, which hosts a party every Friday, and it features delightful food and beverages, in-house band, international DJs, and appealing décor. It knows how to maintain the tempo of the party with good music. You can also check out Top Secret, Mambo, and others.

If you don’t like parties and crowd, you can visit the beach and spend some time, and diving could be the best choice to kill boredom at night.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Duration: 3-5 hours

Cost: Vary from place to place

Opening Hours: Evening

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Leave your hotel, and take a tuk-tuk to reach whichever place you want to visit.

11. Gangarama Maha Vihara, Hikkaduwa

"Image of Buddhist temple Gangarama Maha Vihara in Hikkaduwa"
Buddhist temple Gangarama Maha Vihara in Hikkaduwa | Source:  Karasev Victor/Shutterstock.com

Blessed with must-see sacred places, Sri Lanka has many temples throughout the country, and Gangarama Maha Vihara Temple in Hikkaduwa is one of the eye-catchy shrines in the city.

Settled at a renowned location in the city; the temple attracts tourists from all over the earth, and it features impressive architecture with a holly tree outside the building. It’s a Bo-tree, and believers take care of it from the core of their hearts. A not-so-big temple with a towering white dagoba snatches immediate attention of sightseers, and when you visit the place from the inside, you’ll be in love with the site.

Date back to a few decades ago, the temple has frescoes on the walls, and the building highlights colorful murals related to the life of Buddha. Moreover, statues and sculptures increase the value of the place and take off your shoes while visiting the inner side of the temple. Though you don’t have to pay an entry fee, however, they appreciate donations.

Rating: 4.3/5.0

Duration: 1-2 hours

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: Daytime

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: It’s on a 10-minute distance from the bus station in the city, and you can hire an auto-rickshaw.

12. Turtle Hatchery in Hikkaduwa

Image of Turtle at Hikkaduwa beach
Turtle Hikkaduwa beach | Source:  Khoroshunova Olga/Shutterstock.com

Sea Turtle Hatchery, a worth exploring place in Hikkaduwa, is the right place for animal lovers as it features homeless, newly-born, and different species of turtles. The façade of the conservation farm is so beautiful because of vibrant turtle-themed paintings and murals.

After going inside, you will see a series of tanks that are separate for different species, including leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley, and loggerhead turtles. Moreover, a sandy area will be worth seeing, where innocent lives hatch under small hills, and if you stay a little longer till the sunset, you will get a chance to release infants back into the ocean. The center also cares about giant turtles that are not in a position to move on their own. Hire a guide to make your tour inside the hatchery engaging and informative. This place will provide you a lot of useful facts about turtles and their life cycle.

Rating: 3.9/5.0

Duration: 1.5 hours

Cost: 500 LKR

Opening Hours: 9:00 am-6:00 pm

Address: Galle Road, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Get the service of tuk-tuk from your accommodation to reach there.

13. Tsunami Honganji Vihara and Tsunami Museum

Image of Peraliya Buddha Statue
Peraliya Buddha Statue | Source:  Filipp Filipovich/Shutterstock.com

Erected as a memorial to almost 17,000 people who lost their lives in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami incident, when a huge wave hit a train passing through the coast, and it was a tragedy that shook every human in the world. Tsunami Honganji Vihara is a must-see attraction in Sri Lanka, where a giant 60-feet statue of Buddha facing the ocean installed to commemorate those innocent souls, and its height is the same as the tsunami wave that turned happy and alive humans into dead bodies within the blink of an eye. The right hand of the sculpture symbolizes to keep away more damage from the sea, and left intimates the height of water.

By taking a tuk-tuk, you should also visit a few minutes away from the attraction, Tsunami Museum, you can also call it a photograph museum, and it allows you to look at the pictures of victims, as well as, the incident. You will feel their pain when you see the exhibits related to the tragedy. This museum works like an educational institution that educates visitors about the 2004 tsunami caused by an earthquake.

Rating: 4.2/5.0

Duration: 1.5-2 hour

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Galle Road, Hikkaduwa 80240, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Take an auto rickshaw from your hotel to Tsunami Honganji Vihara.

14. Ayurvedic Spa Treatment

A traditional method to get rid of stress, anxiety, and tiredness, Ayurvedic treatment is still in demand, because natural herbs, shrubs, and oils are the part of it, and many people still prefer Ayurveda over Allopathic one.

When it comes to Ayurvedic spa treatment in Hikkaduwa, make sure to explore the entire city to get what you want. A plethora of spa centers are working across the city, and you will find the majority of them at Galle Road. Some leading Ayurvedic houses include Sandagiri Ayurveda Center, where you will get services of body massages, treatments, facial masks, and manicure & pedicure, Pure Bliss Ayurveda Center, which offers massages and other treatments in a completely traditional way, many others are also respectable in the city. Mostly provide a customer-friendly atmosphere as the availability of Wi-Fi, clean massage rooms, serene ambiance, and compassionate staff is mandatory.

The general services of all spa centers in Hikkaduwa include herbal bath (a bath with herbs and shrubs), Shirodhara treatment (hot oil drops on the forehead), Potli therapy, massages (foot, head, or full body), herbal masks, and a lot more. It works well with natural oils, and the methods/techniques are different from the other treatments. Moreover, prices may vary from location to location, and opening hours for each place is different from others. 

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Duration: 1-2 hours

Cost: 1800-2000 LKR (it varies from spa to spa)

Opening Hours: 8:00 am-11:00 pm

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: You can get an auto-rickshaw from your hotel to your desired spa center.

15. Hikkaduwa Lake

Image of The Hikkaduwa Lake
The Hikkaduwa Lake | Source:  ksl/Shutterstock.com

If you love water and admire every location that has marine life, then Hikkaduwa Lake will melt your heart, too. Nestled along the Baddegama Road, this stunning site allows you to explore hypnotic scenery, and it’s only 5 km away from the city of Hikkaduwa.

It features flocks of gorgeous birds that enhance the charisma and beauty of the lake. With a picturesque atmosphere, exotic animals, including monitor lizards, monkeys, and snakes, this tourist attraction promotes serenity, calmness, and peace of mind. So, it’s a perfect place to refresh yourself, and you spend your time in prawn fishing activity, which is quite famous among the residents of the city. If you’re lucky enough, you will get a chance to enjoy a canoe ride, too. You have to ask local boating agencies for a boat tour in Hikkaduwa Lake.

Rating: 4.2/5.0

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Address: Off Hikkaduwa-Baddegama Road, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: It’s easy, head along Baddegama Road for about 2 km, and then turn north. Tuk-tuk will work well for you.

16. Handicraft and Antiques Shopping

Though Hikkaduwa is best known for the coastal region, beaches, and water sports, however, there are a lot more to view and discover in the city. When it comes to shopping, you can find many gifts and specialty shops in the town, and especially, related to handicrafts and antiques. The majority of the shopping places are near the beach area so that tourists get what they want with ease.

If you’re looking for antiques, try Priyantha Museum, an antique furniture store in Hikkaduwa specialized in handmade bronze and wooden sculpture/statues and brassware. Various sizes, shapes, and colors of products are available, and you can order them online, too. Located at Galle Road, Hikkaduwa Traditional Mask Shop allows you to buy souvenir and masks on reasonable prices, and you will get your favorite character mask in your desired color with ease at this shop.

Genuine Batik, nestled at Wewela, Hikkaduwa, is an art gallery, where you can not only buy your desired products but you will also learn the procedure and techniques to make one. Moreover, Sakura Batiks is another delightful shop to view some excellent stuff to purchase. Explore the city, and you will find other sites for antiques and handicrafts, too.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Duration: 3-4 hours

Cost: Depends on the items you want to buy

Opening Hours: 8:00 am

Address: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

How to get there: Go and explore souvenir shops on a tuk-tuk or a three-wheeler. 

17. Day Trip to Galle Fort

Abode in the Bay of Galle on the southwestern shoreline of the country, Galle Fort is one of the most toured attractions in Sri Lanka, and Portuguese erected it in 1588. However, when Dutch came into power, the government renovated the fort by 1663. Now it is a significant landmark in the city of Galle, and it highlights the old town and its culture. Go inside the fort through the central gate, and begin your enthralling adventure.

Surrounded by walls, Galle Fort is a complex of tourist attractions, because you will witness many eye-catchy monuments, including the National Maritime Museum, Dutch Church, All Saints Church, Historic Mansion, the Meera Mosque, and the Lighthouse Galle. Though the entrance fee of the Fort is free, however, you have to pay a few bucks to explore attractions inside the walls. Sometimes, it feels like you’re standing in a small city.

If you get enough time, make sure to explore stairs, observation tower, and temples in the fort. Moreover, souvenir shops, jewelry stalls, and gift shops are there to engage sightseers. And never forget to discover traditional streets and centers in the Galle Fort. It will improve your knowledge about the history of Sri Lanka.

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Duration: 2-3 hours

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: 5:30 am-10:00 pm

Address: Church Street, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka

How to get there: A 35-minute car drive will take you to Galle Fort from Hikkaduwa.

Where to Eat

There are many restaurants of all types in and around Hikkaduwa. Honestly, Hikkaduwa is a food lover’s paradise. Here we list some of the best for all budgets.

1. No.1 Roti Restaurant ($$)

373 Colombo – Galle Main Road, Hikkaduwa

If roti is your thing, this is the place to be! Offering more than 200 types of roti dishes, this place will have you visiting again and again. It’s set away from the beaches and restaurants, which makes this place a must-visit for adventurers and those who like to get off the beaten path.

2. Mamas Coral Beach ($$$)

No.338, Galle Road, Hikkaduwa | 077 281 4429 | www.mamascoralbeach.com/

Mamas Coral Beach is known for its old world charm, polite hosts, and relaxing ambiance. They offer a variety of seafood dishes and a host of beverages in ample amounts for a foodie of any palette or acquired taste. This is a must visit as it exudes the local Hikkaduwa culture as soon as you step inside.

3. Home Grown Rice & Curry ($)

140 Wewala, Hikkaduwa

Hidden in a garden of sorts and under palm trees, this is a find for those who want a comfy meal in a secluded restaurant without going broke. Run by a lovely family, the ambiance is relaxing and the food has nothing to be complained about. What more could you ask for on a vacation by the beach?

4. Thambili Café ($$)

63 Galle Road, Thiranagama, Hikkaduwa

Thambili Cafe is vegan friendly, has a great chilled out vibe, and is overall a great choice for budget food. If you are lucky, you will spot their dog, a friendly cocker spaniel. They are also known for their amazing breakfast menus.

5. Isira Coffee Shop ($)

6 Waulagoda Road, Hikkaduwa

Run by a person named Siri, this is a great find for those vacationing within a budget. They pride themselves on having the best coffee in Hikkaduwa and if reviews are anything to go by, they must be right.

Their rotis and filter coffees are a must have while you wait for your food. Not to mention all the snacks offered at the counter while you’re waiting!

Or check our complete list of best places to eat in Hikkaduwa for more delicious options

Where to Sleep

There are many hotels in Hikkaduwa that provide guests with a splendid view of the beaches. Here are few we would like to recommend:

1. Lavanga Resort and Spa

The Lavanga Resort is known for spacious and comfortable rooms, a pool, and close proximity to the beach.

2. Aditya Hotel

This resort is considered a little paradise! Expect top-notch hospitality, comfortable beds, a spa bath in the washrooms, and more.

3. Kalla Bongo Lake Resort

Along with a serene lake view from the resort apartments, The Kalla Bongo Lake Resort is also famous for yoga training and delicious food.

4. Hotel Moon Beam

The stunning beach view from Hotel Moon Beam is reason enough to stay here! The delicacy and the exotic beer only make it that much more enticing.

5. Sun Beach Hotel

Spacious air conditioned rooms, a tasty breakfast, and an amazing location just near the most popular surfing spot makes this hotel a favorite amongst locals and tourists.

Shopping Guide

Hikkaduwa has a variety of local shops so you can pick up some interesting souvenirs from here. There are specialist tea stores, jewelry sellers, and art galleries.

The local artisan batik pieces are beautiful and could make a brilliant gift for a loved one!

Be careful when buying – to ensure that you are not overcharged be sure to keep an eye out for pricing when you are out and about. Sometimes a better option is to visit the hotel gift shop as this will give you an indicator as to the cost of souvenirs – you may find items are cheaper here than you will be quoted at tourist hotspots.

When to Go

Best time: With regard to the climate the best time to visit is from November to March when average temperatures hover at 30°C.

Time to avoid: If you visit the country at Christmas then be prepared for high prices as the country is deluged with tourists. The monsoon season comes twice: May to July, and October to January. It is during May to July that the Southern coastal town of Hikkaduwa is affected by the monsoon.

Dress Code

Don’t treat the whole of Sri Lanka as a beach resort as the country does have modest dress customs. Carry a shawl or shirt with you to cover up when you go to the shops.

If you visit any of the temples or other religious sites make sure you cover your shoulders and knees (this goes for both men and women). If you are wearing a hat you will have to take it off. When entering temples you will have to take your footwear off, so make sure to have a bag with you to carry them with you (don’t leave them at the temple entrance as you may lose them).

Getting-In and Around

Hikkaduwa is located in the South-West of Sri Lanka. It can be reached by train, bus, and car.

Once you are in Hikkaduwa; Tuk-Tuks, local buses, and walking will be the best ways to travel around. Even though it is possible hire scooters and motor bikes, we advice not to as road conditions can be quite strange.

Travelling between Hikkaduwa and other major travel destinations in Sri Lanka is quite easy. Below guide will help:

Colombo: It is over 90 km from Colombo to Hikkaduwa. The train takes about 90 minutes and is quite cheap. Buses to Hikkaduwa leave frequently from Colombo. If using private transport, you may take E01 expressway from Colombo or Colombo – Galle road.

Negombo: The train to Hikkaduwa via Colombo takes over 3 hours, but it is cheap. Taking a taxi will only save you an hour but will cost ten times more.

Galle: You can catch buses from Galle, most of which drop tourists in convenient locations like the guesthouse strip. Trains have frequent services leaving from Colombo and Galle. Both trains and cars only take about 30 minutes, but the train fare is comparatively inexpensive.

Kandy: The train to Hikkaduwa will take over 5 hours, while the taxi takes about 3 hours but will cost a lot more.

Ella: It’s quicker to take a taxi (or take a taxi to Wellawaya) as taking the train would take almost 12 hours. However the train is significantly cheaper than these other methods.

Dambulla: Take the train and it will take over 7 hours to get to Hikkuwada, but it will cost a fraction of the price compared to a taxi.

Budget

Accommodation prices vary with low-cost budget hostel rooms at $15+ per night; make sure to book in advance as these can be popular as they are a short walk away from the beach. For better quality accommodation head to hotels which may charge anything from $30-65 a night, or you can really indulge at a spa or luxury boutique guesthouse ($100+).

Food options vary and you can always find local eateries selling great Sri Lankan food from as little as $5. While popular restaurants and beach bars provide a great experience but at a higher price (from $30).

Depending on what you are going to be doing during your stay you will need to manage your budget. If you are interested in touring the area you can negotiate a daily rate with a tuk-tuk driver or a taxi (make sure to factor in a tip). It is best to tell your driver where you want to go as some drivers will have arrangements with venues to get tourists to them. Buses are inexpensive but take longer, and trains are cheap too. Be careful of taking taxis to and from the airport as you will be overcharged – try finding a tuk tuk in the area instead.

Some tourist attractions charge a high entrance fee, but it is usually because the money goes towards conservation. Water sports such as diving can be quite expensive too. Shopping can be expensive if you buy from ‘touristy’ gift shops, but you can pick up some nice items if you can haggle with respect.

Traveler Quotes

“Hikkaduwa Beach is one of the most popular, which is known for scuba diving and snorkelling.”

Melo Villareal of Out of Town Blog

“ The sea food in the area is amazing, the prawns are huge. A good spot for surfing.”

Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds

If you’re a beach lover, an animal lover, or someone in the mood for a fun adventure, then Hikkaduwa is the perfect spot for you.

Whether you want to try one of the best surfing spots in Sri Lanka, eat local home-grown rice and curry, or view baby turtles, there is so much to do here. Explore underwater shipwrecks, lounge in the warm sunshine, or discover a couple of sacred Buddha temples.

At the end of a long day on the water, grab some traditional food and prop your feet up at your beachside hotel to watch the sunset on the waves.

Hikkaduwa is one vacation you will never forget!