Hikkaduwa Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by hydronetta
  • Sea shore infront of the Coral Sanctuary
    Sea shore infront of the Coral Sanctuary
    by Pakistaniguy
  • Worker climbing the mineshaft at Moonstone Mine
    Worker climbing the mineshaft at...
    by SWFC_Fan

Most Recent Things to Do in Hikkaduwa

  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo

    Natural Moonstone Mine & Gem Palace

    by SWFC_Fan Written May 31, 2014
    Worker at the Natural Moonstone Mine
    4 more images

    We visited the Natural Moonstone Mine & Gem Palace during our visit to Sri Lanka in March 2014.

    I thought about building this tip under the "Tourist Trap" category, because that's essentially what it is. We knew how the visit would likely pan out; we'd be shown the mine, told lots of facts about moonstones and other gems, probably get the chance to hold some of the stones and then finally we'd be given the opportunity to purchase some gemstones and jewellery for apparently unbeatable prices. That's pretty much what happened.

    We didn't make a special effort to visit the Moonstone Mine; it was one of numerous stops that our tuk tuk driver made during a day of showing us the sights of Hikkaduwa and the surrounding area. The mine is located in the village of Meetiyagoda, to the north of Hikkaduwa on the way to Ambalangoda.

    We arrived at the mine just before 10am. No sooner had our tuk tuk pulled into the car park than we were met by a member of staff who was already beginning his well-rehearsed spiel.

    The gentleman was friendly (and almost sincere) as he engaged us in conversation and guided us up through a small garden towards the mineshaft. He showed us where cinnamon was growing and explained its numerous uses and benefits (we'd be buying some soon enough!).

    After a few minutes we arrived at the mineshaft. There was one man working at the surface, and others working underground. The man at the surface was standing over a pile of sand and stones with a shovel in his hand. Our guide explained that this had been mined the previous day and the man was sifting out the stones and cleaning them. On cue, the man gathered a pile of the mined goods into a wicker basket and jumped into a small pool of murky water. The sand fell through the holes in his basket, leaving a collection of colourful, gleaming gemstones. We tried to feign being impressed, but the whole thing felt staged. We were given a small stone as a "gift" and were invited to hold the various stones as we were told how valuable they were.

    Our guide then showed us the mineshaft. As we stared down into the darkness, our guide shouted "hello" and received an immediate hello back in return from one of the underground miners. The worker on the surface gave us a quick demonstration of how he used the ropes to climb up and down the mineshaft. This was actually quite impressive. It was quite a drop and he wasn't fitted with any of the safety equipment that would have been compulsory back home in the UK.

    Our guide reiterated to us that this was the best place to purchase our moonstones and gems. They would supply the stones to tourist shops in the beach resorts (such as Hikkaduwa where we were staying), where they would be sold for three times the price that they were available for at the mine itself. Apparently. We listened politely and nodded to indicate that we understood what he was saying. We still wouldn't be buying any.

    As he led us back through the gardens, passing an area where pineapples were growing, our guide showed us to a small stall that was laid out with various cinnamon products in stick, powder and oil forms. Mindful of the fact that we would soon be disappointing him by failing to purchase any jewels, we purchased a small bottle of cinnamon oil for 250 Rs (£1.25).

    Next we were shown into the workshop. There were several bowls of water on the side, each one containing a different type of gemstone that had been mined there. Some of them were quite impressive both in size and appearance. There were a handful of workers operating machines. One man was smoothing the stones on a lathe, another man was producing earrings into which the stones would fit.

    Then it was onto the grand finale; the jewellery shop. We were led into a modern, air-conditioned shop that wouldn't have looked out of place in a high end shopping mall. Our guide pointed us in the direction of the gold and silver sections, as well as the moonstones and precious stones, told us how great they would look on a ring and listed the various currencies and credit cards that we could use for payment. We had a brief look around the various glass showcases, but made it clear that we weren't interested in making a purchase. The prices started at around 10,000 Rs (£50) and went much, much higher, although I suspect that they were negotiable. Perhaps there really were bargains to be had for people who like expensive jewellery? I don't know.

    To be honest, the hard sell wasn't as intense as I thought it would be. The guide respected our decision not to buy anything and we left the shop on good terms.

    In the interests of fairness, I should point out that while the visit to the Moonstone Mine is a bit of a tourist trap, that's not to say that the company doesn't sell fine products. The Moonstone Mine is long established, having first opened for business in 1952, and it claims to have an international reputation for the quality of its products and its customer service. All of the staff that we met were friendly and polite; they were simply selling a product that didn't appeal to us.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo

    Snorkelling at Hikkaduwa

    by SWFC_Fan Written Apr 28, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Snorkelling in front of Coral Sands Hotel
    4 more images

    After booking flights to Colombo for our trip to Sri Lanka in March 2014, our attention then turned to where we would stay.

    We were keen to find a laid back beach resort where we could spend a few days snorkelling. We had snorkelled in the Maldives a few months earlier and we knew than anywhere in Sri Lanka would likely be a disappointment compared to that, but we still hoped that we could find somewhere that offered reasonable snorkelling.

    We are by no means experienced snorkellers and we don't have particularly high expectations; if we can swim around in warm clear waters and see some colourful fish we're pretty happy.

    After doing a bit of research, we decided to head for Hikkaduwa on the south west coast. The deciding factor was that Hikkaduwa is well known for its large sea turtles. We only caught one brief glimpse of a turtle while snorkelling in the Maldives, so this would be a new experience for us.

    During our stay in Hikkaduwa we snorkelled in 3 different locations. Here is a brief summary:

    In front of Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa Hotel

    We found this to be the best spot for snorkelling with the famous turtles. Each morning, we would see two or three large turtles in the shallow water just a few metres from the shore. Groups of tourists would gather round to feed seaweed to them. Occasionally, the turtles would swim out a little deeper and this is when we could snorkel alongside them (and several more turtles).

    Close to the shore the visibility in the water wasn't always the best. The strong undercurrent churned up the sand, reducing visibility to a few feet. Further out the water was clearer and the conditions were much better for taking photographs.

    Apart from the turtles, there was little else to see here; little if any coral and only a few small fish.

    The current was also strong as we got deeper and we often found ourselves being swept northwards towards the beach.

    In front of Coral Sands Hotel

    There were no turtles to be seen here, but the coral and fish life was much more interesting.

    Unfortunately the coral had been severely damaged during the 2004 Tsunami, but it was in the process of regenerating.

    There were thousands of fish and plenty of variety. No sooner had we entered the water than we were surrounded by all manner of colourful fish. I recognised triggerfish, angelfish and trumpetfish and there were countless bright yellow and black striped fish and vast schools of silver fish. The variety wasn't as great as we had witnessed in the Maldives but we were still impressed. Visibility was generally pretty good, especially further away from the shore.

    The area was roped off so there were no boats to watch out for.

    The current was strong and the waves were quite high some days; the water was never particularly calm and it was hard work swimming against the tide a lot of the time.

    Snorkelling boat trip

    The touts on the beach had been badgering us to take a boat trip out to the coral reef and rocks all week. They flashed their glossy brochures in front of us; colourful photographs of exotic fish and fabulous coral formations.

    Eventually curiosity got the better of us and we decided to take a 90 minute snorkelling trip. We didn't book it through the touts on the beach (who started their bargaining at 4,000 Rs / £20 per couple), but rather at the official counter on the beach where they had a set price of 2,500 Rs (£12.50) per couple.

    The boat ride out to the rocks was an interesting one. It was an unusual boat; like a very thin and deep canoe. We could fit one leg inside the boat and had to dangle the other leg over the edge. There were then two wooden poles that protruded from the side of the boat and connected it to a floating log that gave the boat some balance and stability. An oarsman rowed us out to sea for 20 minutes or so. It was a fun trip and afforded us some wonderful views of the coast.

    Unfortunately that was the best part of the trip; the snorkelling was extremely disappointing.

    We swam to various rocks in the hope of finding some of the colourful coral and fish that we had seen in the brochures. All we found were rocks and the occasional bit of bland coral. Fish were few and far between. We'd occasionally spot a large fish but it would then swim down to a depth where it was beyond our visibility.

    The current was just as strong as it was near the beach and there was the added hazard of passing boats. Snorkelling out here entailed lots of hard work for very little reward.

    I would recommend the boat trip, but not for the purposes of snorkelling. Snorkelling straight from the beach was much better!

    We took our own snorkelling equipment (snorkels, masks and fins) with us, but there are places on the beach that will hire equipment out for a fee.

    Was this review helpful?

  • planxty's Profile Photo

    An interesting little temple.

    by planxty Written Mar 14, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gangarama Mahavihara, Hikkaduwa, Sri lanka.
    4 more images

    I mentioned in my introduction page to Hikkaduwa that it is very much a beach resort orientated place, and it is. I am not really much of a beach bunny and my guide book had very helpfully suggested a temple that might be worth visiting and so that is what I did. The guidebook instructions were not hugely explicit and we had just had a fairly violent rainstorm but I knew which side road off the main coastal road to follow and, by some act of karma if you believe in such, I found myself plodding along behind a young Buddhist monk in full regalia. I had just about worked out that there was not much of religious significance in the town and reckoned he was headed for the temple / monastery. It proved to be a good plan and he "guided" me (we did not speak) along a little side track where I came upon the temple you see pictured.

    It is neither the oldest nor most impressive Buddhist temple I have ever been to n my travels but it was very tranquil and spiritually pleasing in it's way. I know this may sound a little odd coming from one who has professed his atheism often on the pages of this website but I almost inevitably find a sense of peace in a gurdwara, mosque, church, synagogues, temple or whatever. Maybe that is the idea.

    I had the place more or less to myself, at least as far as visitors were concerned. I exchanged a bit of banter with some young novice monks, took a few photos which, on reflection, quite surprise me. It can be difficult in Sri Lanka to differentiate between Buddhist and Hindu paces of worship. Certainly there were plenty of Buddha images but I am sure I also saw Lord Ganesh and various other Hindu gods represented. Again, this pleased me immensely. Coming from a part of the world that has been torn apart brutally in the name of religion over centuries, it sort of gave me hope in a strange way. I am not saying I had a Damascene conversion or anything but I just felt good about life when I left this place. Visit it and you may just feel the same.

    As for the logistics, it is called the Gangarama Mahavihara and sits just off the Baddegama Road. Ask any of the wonderfully friendly locals, they will guide you. There is a ice little walk back into town along the banks of the canal / river which I shall deal with in a separate tip.

    Admission is free but naturally there are donation boxes.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Photography
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • h.ghabra's Profile Photo

    Snorklling

    by h.ghabra Written Oct 29, 2012

    Snorkeling is amazing in Kikkaduwa , you will see lots of colorful fishes and the big famous turtle ( almost 120 cm long) if lucky
    Location: next to Coral Rock Amaya hotel ( 100 mtr north).. This is the best beach in Hikkaduwa

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mambo's Place - these boys are total tools

    by chelbycat Written Dec 30, 2011

    Bottom line: if you want to sleep with one of the Sri Lanka surfers at Mambo's (eww), stay here. If you are just in Hikkaduwa to surf or make friends, stay far, far away. If you're a dude, these guys will hassle you, not matter how nice you are to them!

    When I first read about territorial beach boys at Mambos, I figured it was just a few disgruntled guys that they didn't get to score with a girl. But all of these negative reviews about the beach boys at Mambo's are 100 percent true. These Mambo's boys are total tools, and they are extremely territorial about girls and waves (mostly girls!).

    I booked a room at Mambo's because it was known as a party spot and as a girl traveling solo, I wanted to make friends when I arrived. I was NOT traveling so that I could hook up with anyone, and especially not locals. I was just there to surf and make friends. I never once gave a remote glance or interest at a Mambo's boy. But these guys decided that they would cock-block any other tourist guy I tried to befriend.

    When I was hanging out at the Mambo's Saturday nite beach party, I had just arrived and was looking to meet other travelers and get to know Hikkaduwa. I met several interesting male tourists and was just enjoying casual conversation. One by one, they were ALL threatened by a Mambo's boy and told to leave! It was a pattern, I would talk to a tourist guy for 10 minutes and then he'd tell me he was sorry but the Mambo's guys were making trouble and he had to leave! This happened three times in an hour!

    By chance, I actually met and was able to talk with another solo tourist, a guy from Australia, later in the night. Maybe the Mambo's boys had their eyes on other girls at that point so they left us alone. I made plans to hang out with the Aussie the next day, and he was going to meet me at Mambo's where I was staying so we could go to dinner. When he got to Mambo's he was told he was not allowed in to see me! We got around this glitch and hung out that day together with other tourists just staying away from Mambos. The next day the Mambo's boys paddled out to him in the line up and told him to stay away from all girls at Mambo's and to pretty much get out of the water and leave Hikkaduwa! These Mambo's boys are a gang and they have a reputation of even stabbing tourists who don't oblige!

    Needless to say, I checked out of Mambo's that day stayed in a much dirtier hotel and was MUCH happier meeting decent locals. Had I never left Mambo's I would have sadly thought that all guys in Hikkaduwa are creeps (turns out, there some kind ones.) It's my right to talk to whoever I want on MY vacation and I'm not going to let these guys control me, especially when I am the customer and I and paying them!

    THERE ARE WAY BETTER PLACES THAN MAMBO'S IN HIKKADUWA. Places with friendly locals.

    As for the surf, Mambo's isn't even in front of the main reef break. And there are at least five other places you can rent boards.

    As for the party scene in Hikkaduwa, there are WAY better parties and clubs than Mambo's on a Saturday nite. Try Blue Moon on Tuesdays or Funky de Bar on Thursdays. Way better and way less Machismo!

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Singles
    • Surfing

    Was this review helpful?

  • The best Tuktuk driver in Hikkaduwa !

    by sharwals Written Jul 11, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I was in Hikkaduwa on march 2011. this is my second time to Hikkaduwa, so I wanted to see what else it has to offer besides the beach. by a chance I met Ajith, the cutest tuktuk driver in sri lanka!!!

    ajith is a simple, honest sri lankan (and the only one with purple tuktuk), he knows the area very good and took me for a good 1 day trip, in cheap comparing to a regular car and driver.

    very very recommended if you arrive to hikkaduwa and want to see more :)

    Ajith : phone - 0094 716482768
    Email : ajithbandara@hotmail.com

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Beaches
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Surf with Mambo's A Frame Surf shop!

    by bluepool Written Sep 29, 2009

    I have just returned from a fantastic 10days being looked after by Mambo and the boys from A frame surf shop. They were well natured boys with a passion for surfing who are all creating a supportive environment for Sri Lankan Tourism.

    Out of all the places i have surfed i found here to be the least territoral and the local boys were nothing but friendly. They understand well that tourism is important. One young budding surfer even said to me "you take this wave, i live here i have them all the time, its your holiday."

    Mambo himself is doing wonders for local tourism. He has a entrepreneurial mindset and a deep set passion for his home turf; paving the way for Sri Lankan surf. Additionally, he lends support to a bunch of young local boys who want to surf, by helping them out with a place to stay and food in return for help around his place. He is like the father of one big A Frame Family.

    You can custom plan a surf safari tour being taken to secret locations or over to Arugam Bay if it is the right season. Mambo can provide you with a surf coach and decent rental boards.

    He has comfortable vans that can jump in with a bunch of mates and they'll drive you to surf spots further down south! Basically anything you want they'll be able to do for you.

    www.mambo.nu

    Cheers to Mambo and the boys and the future of Sri Lankan surf!

    keep your hearts and minds open
    take advice, but most of all seek for yourselves
    xx

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Surfing
    • Water Sports

    Was this review helpful?

  • WStat's Profile Photo

    Visit the TURTLE FARM

    by WStat Written Oct 7, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Baby Turtles, Hikkaduwa

    On the beach about 2 kms north of Hikkaduwa is a very small private Turtle Research Center, which works to protect this endangered species. Turtle eggs selected for hatching & progressive stages of the development of turtles can be seen here. Eggs are collected or bought from local villagers and buried in the sand hatchery. If there is a lot o sunshine they hatch after 48 days. If it is raining it can take up to 60 days before the turtles emerge from the eggs. They are then placed in the tanks and for first 3 days remain without food to cleanse them of material ingested form the eggshell. They are then given small pieces of fish for a further 7 days, to learn to dive down into the tank to take the food. Then they can be safely released into the sea.
    There are various kinds of turtles to be seen, also the big Green Turtle.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

  • kentishgirl's Profile Photo

    Hikkaduwa Beach

    by kentishgirl Updated Apr 17, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palms on Hikkaduwa
    4 more images


    Hikkaduwa has a beautiful beach, it is sandy and very wide, when we were there it was pretty clean too.
    It is a great beach for chilling on with a book, and strolling along during the day and early evening, but the sea here is very rough and not ideal for a gentle dip.

    You will find a few of the hostels and a couple of the shops on the main road hire body boards and surf boards. This is ideal because the waters here are perfect for that - just not swimming.
    c%*

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Beaches
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • hydronetta's Profile Photo

    Tsunami memorial

    by hydronetta Written Oct 16, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The most tragic memorial proving the disastrous power of the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka is the train that was destroyed by the gigantic wave with a lot of casualties. The original train stands in Hikkaduwa train station as a tragic memorial to those lost. Concidering the weight and dimensions of such train one can realize the size of the distraction.

    Was this review helpful?

  • hydronetta's Profile Photo

    Tsunami remnants

    by hydronetta Written Oct 16, 2006
    1 more image

    Standing like ghosts some buildings are live proof of the disastrous power of the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka and in more dense the coastal town of Hikkaduwa.
    Luckily a lot of reconstruction has been made by foreign aid so one year later when I was there very little reminded of this huge catastrophe.

    Was this review helpful?

  • hydronetta's Profile Photo

    Beach...holidays???

    by hydronetta Updated Oct 16, 2006
    2 more images

    Hikkaduwa was my last stop before departing Sri Lanka. I had a short walk in this coastal town.
    I was rather unimpressed seeing how nowadays the beach has been limited in a thin strip of sand overshadowed by buildings. And this strip of sand was filled with tourists (most commonly drinking beer) and all sorts of boats for water sports.
    Not tranquil at all and certainly a worse choice with other coastal places.
    I guess if some people have booked a package tour accommodated in Hikkaduwa the wisest idea is to hire a motorbike and drive to other places

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pakistaniguy's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A typical Sri Lankan Beach

    This is my favourite picture and view from Hikkaduwa. It's a typical Sri Lankan Beach scene with Tall Coconut trees bending towards the Indian ocean and having Pine Apple trees growing under neath them. I never saw Pine Apples growing on Pine Apples tree ever in my life before this day ! I wish i had got my hands on of them ;-)

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Beaches
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pakistaniguy's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sea shore infront of the Coral Sanctuary

    If you decide to visit the reef you may hire the mask, snorkel or fins from the diving centers in the town of Hikkaduwa. Most of the place offer a set of equipment from 50 Rs. per hour to 200 Rs. for a day.

    Related to:
    • School Holidays
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pakistaniguy's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Look inside the water ! Isn't it beautiful ?

    You may swim to this reef from Corel Garden Hotel's beach too, where the reef runs straight out to the shore. The water over the reef is never more than 3 or 4 Meters. In this sanctury, the coral is perotected very well and is not torn like at other places.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Hikkaduwa

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

112 travelers online now

Comments

Hikkaduwa Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Hikkaduwa things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Hikkaduwa sightseeing.

View all Hikkaduwa hotels