The article is based on my own experience living in Hikkaduwa (a small town in Southern Sri Lanka) for over three months. The post covers what you may want to do in the town within a day, such as finding yourself a place to stay in, surfing, cafes, working (for freelancers), partying, etc. First, let’s see how you can get to Hikkaduwa.
If you did not bother booking accommodation beforehand, that’s no problem at all. That especially holds true if you come not around the New Year season because Hikkaduwa has a superfluous amount of accommodation options. You can just take a quick walk along the main street (or even adjacent ones for that matter) and you’ll see ads claiming free rooms availability before you know it.
It’s OK to just use tuk-tuks if you stay for a few days or weeks. In case you intend to stay for longer (for a month or a few), it’s best to rent a bike or scooter. You can do that for $100-120 per month. If you’d rather rent a bike, you may need to shell out something around $150-200 per month. In case that’s just too much, you’ll be able to easily catch a tuk-tuk to give you a ride at any time. They are everywhere here.
The South province of Sri Lanka is a mecca for novice surfers. You can both fine-tune your surfing skills if you’re not exactly a newbie as well. Long story short, surfing is available here in all shapes, forms and colors. Since it’s best to start surfing in the morning, you need to get ready for getting up in really wee hours. If that’s not exactly what you’ll looking to do on your vacation, you can just visit multiple cafes.
There are tons of cafes on the Hikkaduwa ocean shore. Though you won’t find a super classy pub with a bartending school here, most pubs still cut the mustard. Plus, it’s not exactly what you come to Sri Lanka for, right? You want to focus on the scenery and the grandeur of the ocean and beaches.
You can eat different types of dishes, which include prawns, fish, tropical fruits and vegetables, such as pineapple, mango, papaya, just to name a few. The prices are low enough, but you need to keep in mind that they add 10% of taxes to your bill in all cafes. That’s still very affordable, but you need to remember about it in case you like partying big time.
If you’re on a shoe-string budget or just want to save some money, you can visit the local farmer’s market and buy all sorts of ingredients for cooking your own meals. If you cook for yourself at least from time to time, you can save good money here. Before you do that, you want to make sure that your place has the required kitchen utensils. We’re talking about sauce pans, frying pans, etc. Otherwise you’ll have to buy it additionally as well.
If you’re into huge waves and hot Sun, Hikkaduwa is a great place for you. You’ll find what to do here no matter if you’re a big-time surfer or just a pensioner who finally decided to visit a tropical country. Since the sun can be really burning here (you’re close to the equator), using some sunscreen really hits home here.
Speaking of huge waves, they are really ginormous here and sometimes you want to stay away form getting in the water altogether. Things is, waves can get so huge and massive that they drift you along the shore pretty fast and you need to really make sure that your swimming skills are good enough before you take the plunge and swim in such conditions.
If you’re a seasoned freelancer who combines work and travel, you may have issues in Hikkaduwa (just like in whole Sri Lanka in general). Thing is, there’s no real unlimited broadband connection. So you will have to constantly keep track of how much Internet you use on a daily basis. It’s still possible to work online, but you’ll need to take the factor into account.
Though Hikkaduwa or Sri Lanka itself is not really that big in terms of partying, you still can find a few places to have fun at. In Hikkaduwa, you can visit a few places on the sea (or rather ocean) shore. Most of them close after 10 p.m, but some (like Funky da Bar) work late at night. You’ll be able to sip your fresh tropical drink or the local Lion beer and enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery.
In case you don’t want to just enjoy the ocean landscape but you’d rather party a bit harder, you have the option to visit the Vibration music bar that throws parties every Friday. Alternatively, you can drop by Blue Moon which is located right on the beach. You’re going to love it if you’re a big fan of dancing on the sand.
Hikkaduwa is a great place for you if what you want is surfing and relaxed leisure time. You can easily find accommodation, find where to do some surfing, relax and have fun. Most people who come here find what to busy themselves with in accordance to their preferences. You can rest assured that you’ll be able to find something right up your alley.
If you like everything authentic and you really want to see and feel how the locals get around in Sri Lanka, you most definitely want to take a regular bus. Though such buses move pretty fast and create some wind inside, you still want to make sure that your grab some cold beverage with you before you get on the bus because regular buses have no conditioners and your journey to Hikkaduwa can take up to 5 hours or so.
Alternatively, you can catch a luxury bus with a conditioner and toilet inside. The option works better for older folks and people who just can’t stand harsh conditions for a few hours. Also, it may be a good option if you’re really tired of your air flight to Colombo. In case it’s also not right up your alley, you may just take a taxi.
If you’re not a big fan of getting to know how the local people get around, but you just want to get to your destination, you may want to consider using a taxi, you can find them right when you go out of the airport in Colombo. It will cost you a bit more (around $50-60), but you’ll get to Hikkaduwa within 2-3 hours and with by a long shot more comfort.
Other than that, you may use the local railway to get from Colombo to Hikkaduwa for as low as $1. You just need to make sure that you buy a class one ticket. Plus, you need to be fast if you want to get a sitting spot in your carriage, because you can get a class one, but you may still have to stand all the way to Hikkaduwa.