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
  • Seenigama Vihara Temple, Hikkaduwa
    Seenigama Vihara Temple, Hikkaduwa
    by SWFC_Fan

Best Rated Things to Do in Hikkaduwa

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    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beach at Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    Hikkaduwa is 98 Km's south of Colombo and it is doubtlessly one of the most famous beach spot in Sri Lanka. There is an equally varied choice of Beach and Sea for tourists. Coral for snorkellers, waves for body and board surfers and good wide strip of sand, backed by cafes if u just want to sit back and relax feeling the sea breeze and the Sea.

    Enjoying every inche of sunlight on my body
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    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    Coral Sanctuary is the main attraction of Hikkaduwa. A lot of tourist come here for enjoying this Natural Beauty. A couple of hundred meters from the shore there is a rocky area, which is also visible from Corel Garden hotel, is a large shallow area enclosed by the reef. To reach the shore from where you can swim to this reef is just a mins walk from the Corel Garden hotel's beach area (where i am standing in this pic).

    Going to the beach from Corel Garden Hotel
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    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    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.

    Sea shore infront of the Coral Sanctuary
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    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    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 ;-)

    A typical Sri Lankan Beach
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    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beaches of Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    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.

    Look inside the water ! Isn't it beautiful ?
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    Tuk tuk tour of the local region

    by SWFC_Fan Written Aug 30, 2014

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    During our stay in Hikkaduwa in March 2014, we were keen to see the sights in the local region. We decided that hiring a tuk tuk and a driver with local knowledge would be a good way to achieve this.

    One morning, during breakfast, we mentioned to one of the hotel's staff that we would like to hire a tuk tuk and driver for a day. Within minutes, he had gone away, located a tuk tuk driver (several of whom tended to hang around out the front of the hotel) and brought him to our table.

    The tuk tuk driver outlined potential itineraries that we might like to follow and told us about some of the key sights in the region. We agreed on a fee of 5,000 Rs (£25) for a full day's hire; he would pick us up at 9:00am the following day, show us the sights, and return us to our hotel at around 4:00pm. We agreed to give him 1,000 Rs up front so that he could put fuel in his tuk tuk for our journey.

    This review will give a brief overview of the sights that we saw during the day; I will write more detailed individual reviews for each of the sights.

    We left our hotel (Appolo Hotel on Galle Road) at 9:00am in a small red tuk tuk. Our first stop, 10 minutes later, was to take photos from the roadside of a giant Buddha statue which acts as a memorial to the victims of the 2004 Tsunami that so devastatingly hit this part of the coast.

    A few minutes later, we stopped at the Tsunami Photo Museum at Telwatta. We were given an emotional tour of two buildings that contained hundreds of photos of that fateful day, along with written accounts from those who witnessed and lived through it, and graphic paintings by small children who had experienced the events of 26th December 2004.

    The journey continued; a mixture of beautiful palm-lined coastal roads and quiet backstreets passing through lush green vegetation. We saw banana plantations and trees filled with mangoes and jackfruit. Our driver took some leaves off a cinnamon tree, crushed them in the palm of his hand and passed them to us to smell.

    Our next stop, just before 10:00am was the Natural Moonstone Mine & Gem Palace at Meetiyagoda. A guide walked us through a small spice garden and showed us one of the workers who was sifting through and cleaning up various gemstones that had recently been brought up from the mine. We then got to see the mineshaft itself, and the worker gave us a demonstration of how he would climb up and down the shaft using ropes, but with no safety harness. It all felt a bit staged and touristy. At the end of our brief tour we were shown the workshop where stones mined at the site were turned into jewellery and from there we were led into the glitzy jewellery shop that wouldn't have looked out of place in a western shopping mall.

    Our journey continued; we passed along more scenic coastal roads, through tiny villages, we saw cattle and monkeys by the side of the road, we felt vulnerable as large trucks sped past our flimsy little tuk tuk, and then we reached the slightly chaotic town of Ambalangoda.

    The purpose of our stop in Ambalangoda was to visit the Ariyapala Masks Museum. We saw young men hand carving wooden masks and young ladies painting them in the workshop beside the museum. Then we received a short tour of the museum, learning about the masks culture in this part of Sri Lanka and seeing hundreds of colourful masks in various styles. We also got the opportunity to visit the on-site gift shop which sold all sorts of wooden and porcelain masks, as well as various other ornaments and souvenirs.

    A little after 11:00am we arrived at the Gangabada Asiriya Boat House near the small town of Balapitiya. Our driver suggested that we would enjoy a 90 minute boat ride on the "blue lagoon" here. Of course, this would also give him the chance for a rest from driving and the chance to restrict his fuel consumption!

    After lengthy negotiations at the Boat House, we agreed a fee of 4,500 Rs (£22) for a 90 minute boat trip on the Madu Ganga river for the two of us. The boat trip included a visit to the island temple of Kothduwa and a stop on the island of Mada Duwa (Cinnamon Island). It also involved passing through mangroves and seeing a range of local wildlife, such as giant monitor lizards, fruit bats and various birdlife.

    In the afternoon, we carried on to Ahungalla where we visited the Golden Creeper Spice & Herbal Garden. Our guide, who also worked at the local hospital, gave us a very informative tour of the gardens and the natural health care products that were sold here. We were impressed when he demonstrated a lotion that painlessly removed a small patch of hair from my leg in less than 10 minutes. We bought a couple of products to sample.

    We then carried on to Kosgoda, arriving at the Sea Turtle Hatchery at around 2:15pm. We paid 500 Rs (£2.50) each for a short tour of the hatchery. We were regaled with facts and figures about turtles and got to see them in all stages of the lifecycle, including many newly hatched turtles. We were given the opportunity to hold a variety of turtles, from tiny three day old turtles to huge (and very heavy!) adult turtles.

    The rain was falling heavily as we left Kosgoda. En route back to Hikkaduwa we made a brief stop in the centre of Ambalangoda while our driver ran an errand. As Emma nipped into a bakery to pick us up some pastires, cakes and drinks (we hadn't eaten since breakfast!), I narrowly avoided serious injury when clumsy workmen dropped a heavy shopfront sign onto the pavement just a few feet from where I was standing!

    As we drove back to Hikkaduwa, our driver stopped to refuel and asked us to pay another 1,000 Rs of our agreed fare. We happily agreed to do so.

    Our final stop, just outside Hikkaduwa at around 3:45pm, was at Seenigama Vihara temple. We stood on the shore and looked out to the temple which is located on its own island, less than 100 metres from the coastline. Our guide explained that victims of theft would visit the temple and purchase a special chilli and pepper oil. They would burn this oil in a lamp and recite a mantra which would ultimately lead to some form of retribution against the thief.

    We arrived back at our hotel, shortly after 4pm, having enjoyed a full day of fascinating sightseeing. We paid the balance of our agreed fare and tipped the driver to thank him for his efforts in giving us an enjoyable and varied tour of the local region.

    Our hired tuk tuk and driver Tuk tuk tour of south west Sri Lanka Tuk tuk tour of south west Sri Lanka Passing through Ambalangoda in the rain Leaving Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery in the rain

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    Tsunami Photo Museum

    by SWFC_Fan Written Aug 30, 2014

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    The coastline around Hikkaduwa was particularly badly hit by the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami on 26th December 2004.

    During our visit to Hikkaduwa in March 2014, we paid a short visit to the Tsunami Photo Museum, which is located in Telwatta, just a few kilometers north of Hikkaduwa.

    It is a simple, but very moving and emotionally charged, museum. It occupies a couple of small buildings, little more than shacks. A local guide is on hand to talk you through the photographs, newspaper reports and personal stories, as well as sharing her own experiences of the tsunami and its aftermath.

    Some of the photos are very graphic, showing dead bodies, grieving relatives and destroyed homes. It is difficult to look at them with a dry eye. Some of the photos were particularly poignant; for example the photos showing the cricket ground and bus station in Galle submerged in sea water. We had visited Galle the previous day and seen these very sights (with no visible signs of the tragedy that had struck 10 years previously).

    There were also numerous photos of the ill-fated Colombo to Galle train which was hit by the tsunami (resulting in the loss of thousands of lives) in the village of Peraliya, very close to where this museum now stands. The number of people killed on the train was never established, but was estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000. As well as the train passengers, we were told that some locals had jumped on top of the train seeking refuge after the first wave hit, only to be killed by the larger second tsunami wave when the train was thrown from the tracks.

    We were told several similarly heartbreaking stories; stories of kindergarten children who were visiting the beach when the waves struck, stories of families meeting at the beach for a Boxing Day picnic, stories of people who had gone to take photographs after the first wave, not realising that a second, more devastating wave was heading towards them...

    As well as the photographs, there were many hand written accounts and poems by those who had witnessed and survived the tsunami. There were also lots of paintings by young children who had seen the devastating consequences of the tsunami. These paintings, many of which featured toppled palm trees, capsized boats, upturned vehicles, prone bodies and, inevitably, large waves, were displayed on a wall below a sign reading "The Art of Innocents".

    There were facts and figures displayed throughout the museum; for example, death tolls, number of people still missing, number of homes destroyed, number of families affected. I learnt that Sri Lanka had suffered nearly 40,000 deaths in the aftermath of the tsunami, second only to Indonesia.

    Amid all the doom and gloom, there were positive stories of how communities had pulled together to help each other after the disaster and how the area had continued its remarkable recovery in the 10 years since the tsunami struck.

    The museum is free to enter (although donations are appreciated) and is open daily from 9:00am until 6:00pm.

    The guide insisted that we have a flick through a photo journal that was located next to the donations box. I defy anybody to look through that journal and not feel inclined to leave a donation for the upkeep of this museum.

    Tsunami Photo Museum, Telwatta Tsunami Photo Museum, Telwatta Exhibits in the Tsunami Photo Museum Exhibits in the Tsunami Photo Museum Exhibits in the Tsunami Photo Museum

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    Visit the TURTLE FARM

    by WStat Written Oct 7, 2008

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    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.

    Baby Turtles, Hikkaduwa
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    Snorkelling at Hikkaduwa

    by SWFC_Fan Written Apr 28, 2014

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    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.

    Snorkelling in front of Coral Sands Hotel Snorkelling in front of Coral Sands Hotel Snorkelling with turtles in front of Chaaya Tranz Snorkelling with turtles in front of Chaaya Tranz Snorkelling boat trip, Hikkaduwa

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    Tsunami Memorial (Buddha Statue)

    by SWFC_Fan Written Aug 30, 2014

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    On 26th December 2004, the village of Peraliya, just to the north of Hikkaduwa, suffered the devastating effects of the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

    The Colombo to Galle train, with between 1,000 and 2,000 passengers on board, was passing through Peraliya at the time that the wave hit land. With the train tracks being only a few hundred metres from the coastline, the force of the tsunami threw the train off the tracks and killed the majority of those on board. It also destroyed many homes and buildings in Peraliya and nearby villages, killing thousands of people and leaving thousands more homeless.

    A Tsunami Memorial, taking the form of an 18 metre tall standing Buddha on an island surrounded by a lake, was unveiled (thanks to Japanese funding) on 26th December 2006 (two years after the tsunami) to mark the event.

    We made a brief visit to the Tsunami Memorial during our stay in Hikkaduwa in March 2014. Our tuk tuk driver stopped by the roadside in order for us to view and photograph the giant Buddha statue. We didn't get any closer than that, but it is possible to cross a footbridge over the lake to view the statue, and the surrounding tributes, up close.

    Tsunami Memorial Buddha Statue, Peraliya Tsunami Memorial Buddha Statue, Peraliya

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  • The best Tuktuk driver in Hikkaduwa !

    by sharwals Written Jul 11, 2011

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    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

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    Hikkaduwa Beach

    by kentishgirl Updated Apr 17, 2007

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    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%*

    Palms on Hikkaduwa Hikkaduwa Hikkaduwa after the rains Hikkaduwa beach Hikkaduwa again
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    Tsunami memorial

    by hydronetta Written Oct 16, 2006

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    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.

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    An interesting little temple.

    by planxty Written Mar 14, 2014

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    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.

    Gangarama Mahavihara, Hikkaduwa, Sri lanka. Gangarama Mahavihara, Hikkaduwa, Sri lanka. Gangarama Mahavihara, Hikkaduwa, Sri lanka. Gangarama Mahavihara, Hikkaduwa, Sri lanka. Gangarama Mahavihara, Hikkaduwa, Sri lanka.
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    Beautiful Golden Sandy Beach at Hikkaduwa

    by Pakistaniguy Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    During the Off Season, which is from May to October, most of the places and shops are closed and sea also gets quite rough. so, be careful and take precautionary measures before doing anything in water.

    The complete view of the beach in the background.
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