Hikkaduwa: The beach geared towards Sri Lanka’s younger party crowd

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What Made Hikkaduwa Famous

Since the 1970’s, Hikkaduwa has been a popular place to surf, snorkel, party or just to relax with backpackers and the budget conscious crowd.

The 2004 Tsunami

The Tsunmai that hit Sri Lanka’s coast the day after Christmas, hit Hikkaduwa pretty hard. When I paid a visit to work on my memoir Beautiful Eye and to try the location of one of my high school field trips in 2013, I noticed that the beach was not as wide as it used to be and some of the buildings were still in ruins.  Hikkaduwa is still quite popular with both the locals and foreigners alike.

What to do in Hikkaduwa

Surfing and snorkeling are some of the favorite past times here and the surfing season is generally from November to March when waves are at their peak but you can surf any time of the year.

Surfing

If you are a beginner, you can hire a board and take a class with one of the locals. For more on surfing in Sri Lanka, go to Yamu‘s website at Surfing Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa.

Snorkeling

There are coral reefs straight off the beach and turtles are regularly seen in these waters. Snorkels and flippers are available at numerous stalls, while boat trips offering offshore excursions is also an option.

Visiting a Turtle Hatchery

North of town is the Hikkaduwa Turtle Hatchery, where baby turtles are nurtured and hatched in captivity before being released to prevent them from perishing in fishing nets.

Underwater adventure … a green sea turtle in the waters off Hikkaduwa. Picture: Getty

The centre is open daily for visitors to view these endangered reptiles.

Nearby is the Tsunami Museum, housed in an old wood and iron house. Here you can read touching first-person stories, accompanied by drawings and photographs.

Budget Hotels

A room in a home-stay will run you from US$12 a night at Hotels.com and a bed in a dorm room from Hostels.com for US$7.32 a night.

GETTING AROUND

Other than strolling down the beach, tuktuks are the ideal, cheap way to get around, and their drivers – who double as tour guides – generally spot you as soon as you pop your head out of your hotel.

SHOPPING AND MARKETS

North of Hikkaduwa is Ambalangoda, a town of shops packed with antiques, traditional wooden masks and puppets and colonial artefacts. If you do find a treasure, many shops can also help you ship these back home.

In and around Hikkaduwa there’s also a silk factory, where you can see silkworms spinning, plus various batik shops and moonstone mines. Don’t miss Hikkaduwa Sunday Markets.

Relaxing vibe … a surfer on the beach at Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. Picture: Getty

 

 

 

English: Hikkaduwa beach.

English: Hikkaduwa beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

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