Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka, the popular beach holiday destination in the west coast of Sri Lanka had been a major resting point for backpackers for many decades, however, over the last few years, it has been developed into a beach holiday destination that can accommodate any kind of budget by providing accommodation from cheap rent rooms to high-end luxury boutique hotels.
Where is Hikkaduwa Beach
Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka, the west coast beach of Sri Lanka is a laid-back city with pristine beaches located 65 km south of Colombo, between Bentota and Galle. The beautiful Hikkaduwa beach spreads over 4 km along the Galle-Colombo main road and it is a narrow stretch of beach flanked by the main road and the ocean.
What is the importance of Hikkaduwa beach
You might be wondering why travellers love this place: the sparkling Indian Ocean, the lush tropical vegetation and balmy weather are the main draws of this beach resort. The travellers are also drawn to the historical monuments such as Kande vihara, Galle fort. Hikkaduwa is not just a beach holiday spot. It is a party town, a place for travellers to bathe and banquet, flirt and frolic.
Thousands of beach resorts, restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs are packed into this narrow sandy beach. Hikkaduwa is still a major spot for Sri Lanka beach holidays and a part of many Sri Lanka road trips. The city lies along the west coast of Sri Lanka and attracts hundreds of thousands of beach holiday lovers every year.
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Hikkaduwa as a budget holiday destination
Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka beach holiday destination had been a major resting point for backpackers in the past, however, over the last few decades, it has been developed into a beach holiday destination in Sri Lanka that can accommodate any sought of budgets and provides accommodation from cheap rent rooms to high-end luxury boutique hotels.
Hikkaduwa beach: becoming popular as a holiday destination in the 1980s
The stream of tourist started to explore Hikkaduwa in the 1980s, immediately after the introduction of the open economy on the island and the tourist traffic still continuing and it grows day by day. Hikkaduwa has been able to retain its momentum as a popular beach holiday destination despite the emerging top-notch beach holiday cities such as Negombo and Bentota.
Hikkaduwa is still the most popular among the hippies and it is well developed for the hippie type of tourism. Same times Hikkaduwa is the home for many luxury star class hotels and they are catering to the high-end customer, who looks for luxurious Sri Lanka beach vacations.
The tranquil calm settings in Hikkaduwa makes people stay longer and enjoy the warm weather, therefore most travellers of Hikkaduwa usually stay for weeks and months. The city can be best described as a sleepy town located on one of the busiest roads on the island. Galle road, which connects Colombo and southern Sri Lanka.
Hikkaduwa beach stretches along the north-south axis of Galle road, just south of the tiny coastal town. Starting from one end to the other Hikkaduwa beach is full of restaurants, bars, Gem Shops, souvenir shops, liquor shops, groceries, small guest houses and shops with cloth, grocery items, Ayurveda medicine etc (Ayurveda retreat Sri Lanka). Majority of them are catering to foreign travellers and sights of locals are very rare here.
It is well known for its fascinating underwater world with coral reefs and beautiful beaches. But some of the corals in the seas of Hikkaduwa have been destroyed through lanina effect, the global phenomenon in which the seawater was warmed. Still, the sea of Hikkaduwa considered being one of the best diving spots in Sri Lanka due to its richness of underwater fauna and flora.
Hikkaduwa was badly damaged by the Tsunami in 2004 and most of the beach hotels were severely damaged. Today they are back to normal and most of the properties were upgraded during the renovation. Unlike most other beaches such as Bentota and Kalutara, where people can have a sea bath only during a specific period of the year, many places around Hikkaduwa can be used for all year round beach holidays in Sri Lanka.
When is the best time for Holiday in Sri Lankan beaches like Hikkaduwa
According to the weather pattern of Sri Lanka beaches of south and west, such as Hikkaduwa suitable for holidays from November to April, and Northeast beaches good for a holiday from May to October.
Sri Lanka is under the influence of Monsoon, which has 6 months changing pattern between south-west and north-east. South-west Sri Lanka feels the effect of monsoon from May to October. North-east Sri Lanka feels the effect of monsoon from April to November.
- Snorkelling. …
- Diving. …
- Boating. …
- Visiting Thotagama Buddhist temple. …
- Exploring village life. …
Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary/coral reef
The coral reefs in Hikkaduwa is perhaps on its final deathbeds due to the increased water temperature in the sea. Due to the increasing temperature backed by La Niña few years back the temperature around Hikkaduwa increased making some of the corals to be perished. The Hikkaduwa coral reef is one of the most important natural assets of Sri Lanka, and it has a tremendous display of beauty, biodiversity, and a fragile ecosystem.
Over the last several decades, the scientists have surveyed the and documented the vitality and changes through time. The scientist has come up with a clearly noticed the wide spread destruction to the coral ecosystems due to the warming sea. Other than the increasing water temperature, the increased human activities such as harvesting corals to make lime, accumulation of garbage on the sea bed, agricultural and industrial pollutants are having accelerated the destruction of corals.
Hikkaduwa is most popular for its 3S (sun, sea and sand), but other than the 3s snorkelling and diving are hot topics here. Snorkelling is one of the best things to do in Hikkaduwa, a large number of travellers gather here to do snorkelling.
A large number of guests gather here early morning to set off on diving and snorkelling tours. Many internationally trained diving instructors have set up their diving centres in the resort area and providing diving and snorkelling facilities.
Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary harbours 60 species of different coral species, many species of algae and many species of exotic fish species with sea turtles. Many varieties of algae close to the beach in the shallow water attract a large number of small fish species and sea turtle.
Hikkaduwa harbours majestic coral reefs, unfortunately, some of them are destroyed during the Tsunami, but still, it is a good place for snorkelling. Hikkaduwa marine national park and the Pigeon island national park on the east coast of Sri Lanka are the major marine national parks on the island. At Hikkaduwa, one can observe fringing coral reefs in the shallow water, at the depth of five meters. It is possible to rent snorkelling gear at one of the shops in the city and explore the coral reefs.
There is a large number of shops along the main road of the resort providing essential gears required for diving and snorkelling. If you are just a passer-by and do not wish to get wet, then you can higher a glass-bottom boat to see coral reefs and a large collection of fascinating underwater creatures from your boat. If you hire a glass-bottom boat, you do not need to be in the water to see the reefs. It could be the best and easiest way to take a glimpse of the corals if you are not based in Hikkaduwa and just a passer-by.
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the region to spot a large number of marine creatures and some of these creatures are rare such as sea turtles, the blue whale. Whale watching in Sri Lanka is a very popular activity on the island and so is the watching sea turtle. I mean not watching sea turtle in the tank.
Swimming with sea turtles is a very popular activity among travellers in Hikkaduwa. Watching sea turtle in their natural habitat is an incredible experience to anyone and then you come to know this rare creature is still living out there.
Watching sea turtle can be done in many places on the island along the south and western coast. Rekawa is one popular place on the deep south where you can spot sea turtle at night. The sea turtles come to the shore for nesting. However, in Hikkaduwa, you don’t see sea turtles on the shore but in the water. The waters around the Hikkaduwa is resided by many green turtles and loggerhead turtles.
Tour operators such as Seerendipity tours organize daily surfing and diving trips to Hikkaduwa from November to April. The package includes all equipment required for diving and snorkelling as well as hotel pickup and drop.
Beaches around Hikkaduwa have earned notoriety as one of the very few beaches on the island, where nude tourists are hanging around. There had been such incident in the past, but today it is highly unlikely to see nude tourists. Nudity tourism is highly prohibited here and it is a highly punishable offence according to the Sri Lanka law.
One can have a nice view over the seabed through the shallow waters of Hikkaduwa during a glass-bottom boat ride. There are many boat operators who provide this service for people who are willing to do the glass bottom boat ride. People who are on Sri Lanka holiday, especially from November to April, which is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka, have the best opportunity to see the underwater corals at best with the clear and calm water.
Apart from the coral reefs, the waters of Hikkaduwa are inhabited by a large number of exotic fish species as well as sea turtle species. Apart from the wide sandy beaches, Hikkaduwa claims to have well-grown thick vegetation, it can be observed a few hundred meters towards the land side from the beach.
There are large numbers of attractions in Hikkaduwa that are important for people who make a holiday in Sri Lanka. North of Hikkaduwa town is the lagoon, which can be used for a relaxing boat ride. Well, known Sinigama Devala is located about two kilometres from the city of Hikkaduwa. It is one of the two temples, where God Suniyam is venerated.
Visiting Purana Thotagama vihara is one of the popular things to do in Hikkaduwa. This temple is a Buddhist temple with a valuable historical background, is situated in the village called Telwatta in the north of Hikkaduwa. Even though the present temple was built in the 19’s, the beginning of the site goes way back in the 14’s.
The temple was inhabited by popular scholar-monk Sri Rahula in the 1500s. The Makara thorana at the entrance of the temple is believed to be one of the best craftsmanship of the Kandyan period. What noteworthy is the god figures with arrows that have blood on tip of it? The wall painting of the image house shows the scenes from the life of Buddha.
Exploring village life in Hikkaduwa
Dodanduwa which is inhabited by fisherfolk is situated between Rathgama and Hikkaduwa. Rathgama Oya is another attraction in the area that has a number of islands. The area around Rathgama is popular for the cinnamon plantations in south Sri Lanka.
Kumarakanda temple with a large number of beautiful religious paintings and the footprint of Buddha is also situated in Rathgama due to the popularity of Buddhism. It is believed that the first Buddhist school in Sri Lanka was started here with a training school for Buddhist monks.
Boat tour one of the popular things to do in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka
One popular island of the Rathgama tank is the Polgasduwa, which can be reached by boat. The monk who was born in Wiesbaden in Germany had built a monastery here in 1878. He had contributed to the Buddhist literature by translating many Pali Buddhist publications, Visuddi Magga and Anguttara-Nikaya are among the translations. Last four years of his life was spent in a forest monastery in Kandy and the monk died in 1957 in Colombo after an operation.
The beginning of Tourism In Sri Lanka hippie beach Hikkaduwa
The Hippie crowd came across the city with the beginning of tourism (in the 1980s) in the island, and since that time Hikkaduwa has been developed to an offbeat holiday destination among the budget-conscious travellers. The snow-white beaches of Hikkaduwa stretch about 5 kilometres from the southern border of the city to the Ginga Ganga Bridge towards Galle direction.
The tourist who gathers to the beaches of Hikkaduwa has plenty of space to stretch themselves and have a sunbath. The people are evenly split in the free space between hotels and the Indian Ocean. Backpacking tourists, teenage travellers, adventure lovers, and leisure holidaymakers all are enjoying the pristine beaches in harmony.
Nightlife in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka
Other than swimming, surfing, snorkelling, partying and basking in the sun, there are many other interesting activities for travellers to engage in. There are many mind-blowing and thrilling spots to explore in Hikkaduwa, and most of those places open its door to the sunset.
Unlike most cities in Sri Lanka, there is a thrilling nightlife at Hikkaduwa. A lot of tourists is gathering at the beach bars and restaurants in Hikkaduwa and takes a glimpse of the brilliant sunset. Beach bars and restaurants share the live music with the gathering. Hikkaduwa is one of the best places to order seafood on the west coast. The nearby fishing harbour provides the fresh fish for the hotels and restaurant in Hikkaduwa, where they are served at very low prices.
Hotels in hippie beach Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka
When it comes to accommodation there might be no other place in Sri Lanka, where you get so many possibilities and options for hotels, like in Hikkaduwa. Especially for budget travellers, the possibilities of getting cheap hotels in Hikkaduwa is endless.
Hikkaduwa remains as the most loved holiday destination among the budget travellers since the beginning of tourism in the island. And the travellers with the tight budget has the best settings here. Cheap hotel facilities such as rent rooms, homestays, guest houses and rest houses are the most common accommodation facility here. Usually, the guests opt to book their accommodation on a room only basis here, therefore they are able to make food their own or buy it outside at a cheaper rate.
Even though Hikkaduwa is a destination for backpackers, it is not a location for camping. But travellers have plenty of opportunities to book cheap accommodation facilities such as guest houses, rest houses and rent rooms. Those are the cheapest form of accommodation in Hikkaduwa. Large hotels with better facilities can also be found here, but the rates are high compared to rent rooms and guest or rest houses.
There is a large number of restaurants, bars and pubs are scattered along the main road that runs through Hikkaduwa. Same times a large number of shops, Ayurveda spas also established here and mainly target the foreign tourists. Finding accommodation is very easy here, keep on knocking on the door until you get the proper place to sleep.
It is very easy to find accommodation here because almost every household provides some kind of accommodation facility. And also all the hotels, guest houses, rest houses, restaurants all are tightly packed head-to-head along the coast.
How to find cheap hotels in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka?
Due to a large number of cheap hotels in Hikkaduwa, there is a very good chance of finding the best accommodation for what you pay for, especially with regards to low-cost accommodation. There is a large number of small-scale accommodation providers in Hikkaduwa, therefore, they are in high competition to attract customers. Hence as a customer, you have the better chance of negotiation and get the best price.
Most accommodation providers do not have a fixed rate and they are selling at varying prices. If you have a negotiation skill, you can secure good accommodation at a low price. Also, the duration of stay makes a big difference, when you wish to get a discounted price, the longer you stay higher the discount.
Travel to Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka hippie beach, Hikkaduwa can be reached easily by public bus, train or other forms of private transport such as the taxi. Since its proximity to the main railway line and bus route that runs between Colombo and Galle, the train is the most convenient and cheapest form of transport to reach Hikkaduwa. It takes around two hours to reach Hikkaduwa by train if you start your journey from Colombo.
The drive from Colombo to Hikkaduwa Taxi takes around 4 hours. Buses are also a quite handy transport method but it consumes more time than the train or taxi, and buses might take around four hours to reach Hikkaduwa from Colombo. The distance from Colombo to Hikkaduwa is 98 kilometres. If you start the journey from Galle the distance to Hikkaduwa is 19 kilometres.
Speedy Access to Hikkaduwa via highway
Some tourists may reluctant to spend their holidays in Hikkaduwa due to the time-consuming journey from the international airport of Sri Lanka (Bandaranayake international airport), which is around 5 hours on the normal road. But with the opening of the middle portion Sri Lanka southern express way, it is just a matter of three hours drive to reach Hikkaduwa from any of the 2 international airports of Sri Lanka via southern express way.
Now the travelling time between Hikkaduwa and Colombo airport (Bandaranyake international airport) had been further curtailed to 1 hour with completion of the outer circle of the southern highway. The outer circle, which opened on 7th November 2019, connects the southern express way and airport express road, means the travellers can bypass Colombo and avoid chaotic Colombo traffic and drive direct to beach resorts in the west and south at speed of 100km per hour.
Do we find touts in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka?
Yes! Touts are occurring in Hikkaduwa like all other beach resorts in Sri Lanka and you better be prepared deal with their tempting invitations. You will meet touts on the road and as well as on the beach, who persuade you to buy tours and excursions. Usually, they make an acquaintance with the tourist and suggest various activities, excursions and tours.
Accommodation facilities also can be booked through these touts. They may not charge you anything for the service that they provide but they are benefited from the other party of the deal, therefore that rates of whatever you purchase might have shoot-up when you purchase it. So try to stick to SELF SERVICE as much as possible it might be good for you.
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