Hiriketiya Beach is one of the places we had heard least about when we were planning our 3 week trip around Sri Lanka. I wouldn’t quite call it the hidden gem of the south coast, as it is growing in popularity, but it’s not too far off it.
The neighboring town, Dikwella (known locally as Dickwella), has become a huge draw to people visiting Sri Lanka’s south coast. The laid-back lifestyle and surf vibes at Hiriketiya Beach and Dikwella have created those amazing coastal towns we absolutely love. The result is this magnetic draw similar to other trendy surf towns worldwide, whether it is Siargao in the Philippines, Tofino in Canada or Margaret River in Australia – people love the environment it creates. The fun atmosphere and dreamy setting make it an incredible place to spend a few days. There are loads of awesome things to do, cheap places to eat and endless waves to surf.
Getting to Hiriketiya Beach
There is a direct public bus between Mirissa and Dikwella but it doesn’t seem to come very often. The easiest way is to first get a bus from Mirissa to Matara, which is 30 LKR ($0.17 USD), and takes 25 minutes. Then jump on a second bus from Matara to Dikwella for 50LKR ($0.29 USD), which will take around 45 minutes. Public busses are the cheapest way to travel in Sri Lanka.
From the bus station in Dikwella, there are numerous tuk tuks to take you the rest of the way to Hiriketiya Bay. It is about a 5 minute drive or it is only a 20 minute walk.
Things to Do in Hiriketiya Beach
1. Surf at Hiriketiya Beach
Surfing in Hiriketiya Bay, one of our favourite beaches in Sri Lanka, has to be the main attraction when visiting this region. It’s an awesome little mushroom-shaped bay that provides pretty mellow waves for beginners, but also has a decent left hand point break for the more advanced surfers. Surf board rental costs 500 LKR ($2.86 USD) per hour from the beachfront rental places.
Prepare for CARNAGE here. At certain times of the day it gets super busy in the water. I went out surfing each day we were there and found it to be quietest in the middle of the day due to the sun. At sunset it is a kook fest with boards flying every direction. Grab a drink on the beach instead and watch the madness unfold.
Keep up to date with the surf forecast for Hiriketiya Beach!
2. Hang out at Verse Collective
This was one of our favourite hangout spots in Sri Lanka. It is the perfect place to go and get some work done, plan the rest of your trip or just chill out. A shared workspace is available for free use, they have some great food and there is even a mini ramp for the skaters to rip on. They also have a DJ a couple of times a week. It’s an all round, awesome place to hang out, enjoy some food and get some work done.
3. Swing at Mahi Mahi
We searched Dikwella Beach twice for the famous swing we had seen so many photos of. We are pretty sure it is gone now after talking to some locals on the beach. Luckily, just around the corner in the next bay over, Mahi Mahi Restaurant have built some swings on the palm trees right on the beach. It’s pretty sweet to swing out over the water and enjoy an ice cold beer here for sunset.
4. Catch some live music at Dots
Dots Bay House in Hiriketiya is definitely the place to go and catch some live music. Set back just a few metres from the beach, they had live music on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays while we were there. Get some friends together, have a few beers and enjoy the good vibes.
5. Dikwella Beach
Take some time to check out Dikwella Beach in town. It’s not quite as stunning as Hiri Beach but definitely worth a visit. You won’t be short of a bit of peace and quiet on this long stretch of golden sand.
6. Play pool at Hiri Five 80
One evening we found ourselves twiddling our thumbs after dinner, wondering what to do for the rest of the evening. Hiri Five 80 proved the perfect place to entertain us for the night. They have a free pool table, board games, a dart board and even bean bag toss. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours for the cost of a couple of drinks.
I’d be lying to you if I said I was big into yoga, but people who visit Hiri seem to really love it. There is no shortage of yoga studios and beach yoga on offer here. It makes sense due to the surf vibe around town. If having a surf and loosening up with some yoga afterwards is your sort of thing, then you’ll love Hiri.
8. Spend a day in Tangalle
Tangalle is just 25 minutes from Dikwella. Grab a scooter and go explore for the day. Goyambokka Beach was the highlight of our time in Tangalle. It is a scenic little beach that doesn’t attract too many people. It also has some amazing food served right on the beach. Tangalle is often overlooked but it is worth spending a day or two here.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season on the south coast of Sri Lanka runs from December to March making this is the best time to visit to try and guarantee good weather. Monsoon season in this area is from May until September meaning it may be best to avoid the area during this period.
Where to Eat in Hiriketiya Beach
Garlic Café – A superb rice and curry buffet. The pumpkin curry here was so good. 450 LKR ($2.57 USD) for the vegetarian buffet.
Priyanka Restaurant – Lunch with the locals. The vegetarian rice and curry buffet here is just 150 LKR ($0.86 USD). One of the cheapest in all of Sri Lanka and the food is really tasty.
Jayantha Hotel – Another cheap and delicious buffet where you’ll be surrounded by locals. 250 LKR ($1.43 USD) for the vegetarian buffet.
Malu – Mix it up a bit and grab a poke bowl from Malu. A bit pricier with average cost per bowl 1100 LKR ($6.29).
Verse Collective – Great place for a light snack. Cheese toastie was a winner and was 500LKR ($2.86 USD). Full meals are around 1100 LKR ($6.29 USD).
Where to Stay in Hiriketiya Beach
Budget: Chandra Holiday Home – A great location right in the middle of everything. While it was a bit further from Hiri Beach than we might have liked, we were much closer to the main town centre with lots of good, cheap eats, so it made for a good balance. It’s just 1800 LKR ($10 USD) a night here for a double room – great value. It was also one of the few places we had access to a kitchen which we loved.
Mid-range: Sea View Clay House – A really unique accommodation that is right on the water. These clay huts are the perfect place to stay for those looking for a little bit of luxury without breaking the bank.
Luxury: Salt House – The ultimate place to stay in Hiriketiya and just a few steps from the beach. It has its own pool, yoga studio and restaurant on site and you will love the relaxed atmosphere that Salt House is renowned for. We visited Salt House when we were in Hiri and loved the funky decor and overall feel here.
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We loved our few days in Hiriketiya Beach and looking back, wish we could have stayed an extra couple of days. The laid back, surfer atmosphere here was right up our alley. If you do visit the region, be sure to make the most of everything Dikwella has to offer. While Hiri is certainly the highlight, there are lots of other awesome things to do.
Next stop Yala National Park!
*Please note, prices are a reflection of our experiences while traveling Sri Lanka in March 2019 and are subject to change. Prices quoted in LKR were the exact prices we paid and USD conversions are listed for your convenience.