Mirissa is a beautiful little village on the south coast situated between Galle and Matara. The beach dominates the lifestyle in Mirissa with a fantastic sandy coast stretching for about 600m. It has a really nice beach and is popular place to stay while learning to surf. It has also become a popular spot to go whale watching. Lovely sunsets to be seen in Mirissa.
Located about 100m back off the beach on a nice quiet road that leads down towards the beach and a couple of nice bars. The hostel facilities are excellent. They have a huge kitchen, free filtered drinking water and really large social area with bean bags lying around.
Just like the other Hangover Hostels in Sri Lanka, the facilities of this hostel are fantastic. They have hot showers and air conditioning in every dorm. The hostel is always kept very clean and each bed gets its own lamp, USB and charger. Just check out the reviews on hostelworld if you are in any doubt.
Sights and Highlights
One of my favourite spots in all of Sri Lanka. It can be a bit difficult to get to but it’s really worth it. There is a simple bar located on the beach that provides good food and cold beverages. But its the selection of hammocks and comfortable places to lazily spend the afternoon that makes it a beach worth visiting. There are signs in town that roughly point you in the right direction. Make sure to take a phone with GPS if you decide to walk to make sure you are going in the right direction.
In recent years blue whales have been spotted at Mirissa which has made it a popular tourist attraction. If you do decide to go whale watching please make it very clear to your guide / boat driver that you do not want to scare the whales by getting too close. One operator that seems to come with decent recommendations is RajaAndTheWhales.com. Check out a review of Raja over at ThisWorldRocks.com for a first hand account of what to expect.
There are a plethora of eating options located along the beachfront in Mirissa. The location can’t be beat. The beach-side restaurant views in Mirissa are quite beautiful. However there are some really good options for better prices that I can recommend for the budget traveller. For general information on popular Sri Lanka dishes, check out my article Sr Lankan Food on a Budget.
A popular spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner is this little roti shop. It’s located a short walk off the main road through Mirissa. Try the fantastic sweet rotis for breakfast or maybe some savoury selections for lunch. They also make a really good fresh kottu roti as well as rice and curry for dinner. The fresh avocado roti was a favourite of mine.
A great option if you are after a delicious meal of rice and curry (as you should!). It is located very close to the beach on the main road through town. The link above will take you to the location on google maps.
The nightlife in Mirissa is really centred on the beach front. Almost the entire length of the beach is covered by restaurants and bars. Each night there is normally at least one of these bars that throws a party with lots of dancing, drinking and fireworks. You shouldn’t have to look too hard to find it, just look for the fireworks, bonfire or lasers.
Tuk-tuks are the best way to get around Mirissa. The easiest way to get a tuk-tuk is to simply walk out to the main road and flag one down. It is possible to get Matara and possible even Galle by tuk-tuk, but a public bus is a cheaper option. Consider using a tuk-tuk to get to the secret beach mentioned above or if you are heading to one of the local surf spots.
Getting In and Out
Galle or Matara
Mirissa is located between Galle and Matara. If you walk out to the main road in Mirissa (called Matara Rd), the buses heading west will all be going to Galle and the buses driving east will be going to Matara. It is quicker to get to Matara, so if your final destination is an express bus or train to Colombo, it is actually quicker to go to Matara first even though the total distance travelled may be more.
In order to reach Colombo from the south coast, there are two option, bus or train. Both are good choices, there is no clear pick. If you take a bus, make sure it is an express bus with A/C. These buses take the highway route and do not stop to pick up passengers along the way. They are often called ‘highway buses’ for this reason. To catch one, head to either the Galle or Matara main bus stations and just ask for directions to the ‘Colombo highway bus’. The train journey takes between 2-2.5 hours from Galle and the bus a bit less than this. While the bus is quicker and may be air-conditioned, the train journey sticks to the coast the whole way and is very scenic.