Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Hikkaduwa is a great destination for tourists that would like to spend their holidays in a laid – back environment, near the beach, with many social attractions to do. Hikkaduwa is the best place to be to enjoy surfing, shopping or just sunbathing. Situated at the south of Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa has a beautiful beach, authentic souvenir shops, touristic opportunities, restaurants that serve sea-food and rice-based dishes, budget hotels and guest houses. As the tourism is centered around coral reefs and marvelous beach, the facilities around the beach are adequately established. There are many café’s, quality restaurants and quality hotels ranging to cater customers demanding budget to high quality service.
There are two main reasons to see Hikkaduwa: the first is its beach. The beach is beautiful and provides wide range of activities such as swimming, snorkeling and surfing, it attracts local and international tourists nearly every month of the year. The waves are so suitable for surfing that international competitions are held from time to time. Aside from surfing, snorkeling is a good way to spend some leisure time as colorful fishes roam around the coral reefs, providing a great scene to behold. Another opportunity for snorkeling is that there are many shipwrecks around to dive and explore, but before joining them it is compulsory to take PADI courses and buy the necessary equipment. There are establishments that offer these courses nearby. The second reason to travel to Hikkaduwa is the coral reefs. The coral sanctuary is a coral reef that possesses many coral formations. One can snorkel and scuba-dive here or may rent a glass-bottom boat to see the coral formations under the water. Aside from the coral sanctuary it is possible to find coral formations in little islands just near the shore, these islands are the natural habitat of various turtles. There are also many exotic fishes roaming around the corals, but it is recommended to be mindful that as the corals are sharp it would be best to carry a Band-Aid.
As the locals are Buddhists, there are some temples for visiting, they usually spend their time with religious activities and other people spend their time with their families. The social structure is shaped around families and as such some are wealthier and some are not, still most of them are friendly to tourists and willing to help in many situations. For the ones who want to shop, there are a wide variety of options, it is possible to find both authentic and western-style clothes, eat various dishes that cater to seafood enthusiasts and authentic dishes. For the ones who want to get some souvenirs, there are corals and shells, there are also authentic masks. Jewelry are cheap as they are silver-based but authentic instruments and paintings are expensive.At night the beach and the resort is full of attractions. For dinner, there are restaurants that cater to various cuisines but the main cuisine is centered around sea-food. The restaurants are ranging from budget prices to expensive. After the dinner travellers can visit the beach to join the parties, dance and drink around the resort.
Places to Visit
The coral sanctuary starts from the shore and goes a long way into the offshore. Although the path to the coral reef is long it’s not deep, it is always possible to walk around the shallow parts of the path as it never gets deeper than 2-3m. It is recommended to bring a snorkel with you or rent a glass-bottom boat to enjoy the view to the fullest. Around the corals, there are many turtles and various colored exotic fish. If one does not have an equipment for snorkeling or scuba-diving, it is possible to rent them nearby. Renting the equipment is cheap, and it’s most eco-friendly way to observe the corals and the fishes as boats sometimes damage the corals themselves. Part of the coral reef sustained damage due to a tsunami in 2004.
Tsunami Photo Museum
In 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami hit Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa was effected too. The Tsunami Photo Museum documents the aftermath of the Tsunami in which around 40.000 people in Sri Lanka has died. The museum contains photographs and various daily journals about the accident. It is also possible to donate to the museum. Aside from the museum there is also a memorial nearby, for the people who has lost their lives.
There is also a moonstone mine in the borders of Hikkaduwa. The entrance is near Mitiyagoda.. It is used in jewelry after being mined, filtered, getting cut and polished. They are mined from small tunnels ranging from 5 to 10 meters long. Although it is free to descend into the mine, for buying, the prices are high.
Hikkaduwa National Park
Hikkaduwa has a National Park in which is possible to observe many of underwater life found in the Sri Lanka. One can, again, rent snorkeling equipment or glass-bottom boat to see the scene better. The park is at the north of the beach and there is an option to rent the boats from the Park’s offices while snorkeling equipment needs to be rented from outside.
For the ones who are bored from the beach,it is recommeneded to visit the Hikkaduwa Lake. It has a silent and tranquil environment with various exotic birds and lizards. There is also a boat tour to traverse the lake where is possible to enjoy the calm scenery.
Seenigama Vihara is a Buddhist temple in which one can pray and buy a special mixture of oil, which if burned in a lamp, is said to cause misfortunes to the thieves if the visitors are robbed previously. So if one are robbed before and want to get a revenge, one can visit the temple and buy the mixture, then burn it in a lamp, it can’t be said that whether it works.
Gangarama Maha Vihara
Gamgarama Maha Vihara is another temple in the Hikkaduwa that contains many hand-drawn paintings and works of a popular local painter throughout his life. Monks can be asked for directions.
Where to Stay
Lavanga Resort & Spa
The resort boasts two spacious outdoor pools with its own private cinema. Free Wi-Fi access is available. Rooms are air conditioned, fitted with cable screen TV, a writing desk and a personal safe. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property. The resort is located 4 km from the city centre. Address: Galle Road, Patuwatha, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
Sapphire Seas Beachfront Hotel
This three star hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant. It is located 4 km from the famous Hikkaduwa Coral Leaf and Hikkaduwa Bus Station. Free Wi-Fi access is available. Rooms are air conditioned and they come with a flat screen cable TV, work desk and minibar. Guests can enjoy sea and pool view from the rooms. There is a 24 hour front desk and garden at the property. Address: Galle Road, Patuwatha, Dodanduwa, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
This guest house offers an outdoor swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi is available in the public areas. Rooms come with a TV, air conditioning and a balcony. Private bathrooms come with a shower. Guests can enjoy sea view. Address: No:59 , Patuwatha, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
This property houses a restaurant and offers free Wi-Fi access in its public areas. Rooms are air conditioned and equipped with a fan, they come with a minibar. Guests can enjoy a selection of Sri Lankan and Continental specialities at the restaurant. Address: No 54, Galle Road, Patuwatha, Dodanduwa, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
Avon Hikkaduwa Guest House
This guest house features barbecue facilities and Wi-Fi access in the rooms. The rooms are fitted with tiled floors and equipped with a wardrobe. Address: 769, Galle Road, Thiranagama, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
The property is located a 20 minute walk from Hikkaduwa Beach. It features an outdoor beach restaurant and accommodation with sea views and free Wi-Fi access. Rooms are fitted with tiled flooring and a seating area. Rooms come with a mosquito net. Guests can enjoy a meal at the multi cuisine restaurant. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property. Address: Galle Road, Patuwatha, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
Tamara Beach Resort
This guest house offers rooms with private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is available in the common areas. The guest house has its own restaurant and a private beach area. Rooms are fan cooled and they features city of sea views. Address: 79, Patuwatha, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.