Reasons why you should visit Mirissa Beach in Sri Lanka
Beaches can be found just about everywhere in the world, but each one has a specific character that is pretty unique. Some beaches, for example, are the perfect party place, with non-stop music and the throng of crowds. There are beaches that are more suited for quiet contemplation, for long afternoon walks and moonlit sojourns. Still, there are beaches whose sole intent would be to bring you closer to the raw wonders of the ocean and its inhabitants.
Sri Lanka’s Mirissa is a delightful combination of all three. It is one of the main beach regions in the country, and it really offers something for everybody. In previous years, Mirissa has had more of the raw beach vibe common in less-developed tourist sites. However, it has undergone significant commercialization over the years, so there are more places to hang out for drinks and company. There are still lots of places to peacefully watch the sand and the waves from if you so choose.
Should you find yourself in this region, here are some great things to do in Mirissa for you to get started.
1.Go Whale watching.
Go on a cruise on the deep blue waters and marvel at the sight of the ocean’s gentle giants. It wasn’t whale watching season when we came here, but if you drop by from November to April when the waters are warm and tranquil then this should be your top priority. The experience may be similar to Oslob’s butanding watching, but see for yourself.
2. Photoshoot in the Wonderful Dome of Coconut Spot.
A short walk from Mirissa itself is a coconut farm from which you can have a mesmerizing view of the sea. It is located on a hilltop, and there are various private properties here (we passed through one, called Gemini) of course, at that time we didn’t know it was private. The sign was covered. But to the left of it, you can see a path leading up. Similarly, the others passed through a temple. If you’re lost, Google Maps has the spot marked for you.
3. Relax in Mirissa Beach.
Of course, there’s the main beach itself! Mirissa Beach is a long stretch of sand with a smattering of good restaurants. It’s a strange mixture of crowded and serene here.
It’s pretty chill and cheap here, I mean for a tourist area, we got drinks for 350-400 rupees ( 2-2.5usd). Just find yourself a spot. I’m sure there’s plenty
4. Climb Parrot Rock.
Parrot Rock is a smaller version of the Coconut Spot (sans the coconuts) from which you can get a view. It’s quite a sweet spot for sunsets! I was so glad I was able to convince Tina to climb up for sunset. She usually doesn’t like hiking. But it was so amazing just watching the sun set as the waves crash into the rocks. Beware though, water was higher when we got down so the little sandbar connecting us back to land had slightly more water on it. I was still able to cross with my bag though. Water reached up until my knees. Well, I am also short (5 ft) so it might not be a problem for you.
5. Secret Beach
Not so secret, really, as the trails are well-marked and there’s Google Maps to guide you (though in our case, Google pointed us towards a wrong turn!). Good thing the locals are also glad to help. Fair warning though, it’s an uphill climb so the tuktuk won’t be able to take you all the way. From the sign that says secret beach, walk straight until you see a temple then turn left. Immediately after, turn right, there will be a set of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, turn left and just walk straight until you see a sign that says “beach bar”. You have reached the secret beach.
There’s a little seafood resto there but it was closed during our visit because it was off-season.
6. Go and Visit Galle and Unawatuna
If you’re on a slow day and would just want to visit one place, then take the bus to Galle. It will be around 40 minutes and you can pay 40-60 LKR (0.25-40 USD) depending on the bus you ride.
Unawatuna is 15 minutes away from Galle, but coming from Mirissa, you will hit Unawatuna first.
If you’re feeling more eager to explore, then hire a tuktuk safari . This is the perfect opportunity to learn all about the colonial history of the region, and marvel at things from the past. You can explore the Japanese Peace Pagoda, the Turtle Hatchery, the nearby town of Unawatuna, and the Dutch market (great shopping here, too!).There are even cooking classes you can attend.
Around 5-10 minutes from Mirissa is TwentyTwo Weligambay, which is popular for tourists for a variety of reasons. This is located in Weligama. You can go to this general area for good food, stilt fishing, and some beginner-friendly surfing lessons. It’s also a good place if you want to get away from the tourist crowd and mingle with locals instead.
8. Visit Matara day trip.
Matara Fort is another must-see area in Mirissa, and contains the administrative offices for the whole Matara Province. It sheds more light on the Portuguese and Dutch history of the area. I prefer Galle over this though but if you have the time, it might be worth the visit.
9.Cocktails and Seafood!
Truth be told, you can ignore the beach if you’re so inclined and crawl through the great food and cocktail place that dot Mirissa. Cocktails usually go for around 350 to 400 LKR each, and you can get fresh seafood catch almost anywhere.
Getting to Mirissa
Now that I’ve whet your appetite with the things to do in Mirissa, you should also know how to get there. From the Fort in Colombo, you can take a bus either to Tangalle or Matara and get of directly at Mirissa. This should cost around 250 to 370 LKR. If you’re coming straight from the airport, you can take advantage of the free government shuttle bus that ferries passengers to and from the bus station. Veer away from the taxi cabs as much as possible!
There you have it, a handy guide to a little piece of Sri Lankan paradise. Enjoy, and don’t forget to strike off the beaten path every now and then!