Holiday-makers have their pick of Sri Lanka beach resort towns on the west coast, but Hikkaduwa, which sits by the sea in between Colombo and Galle, has a bit more heart than the rest. By day, you won’t be able to stay away from the sand, with palm trees leaning into the wind on one side and crisp, blue water on the other. At night, the young travellers who were surfing, swimming and walking on the beach move to relaxing and mingling in the town’s bars. This beach lifestyle goes into full throttle for three days in July or August of every year when the Hikkaduwa Beach Fest moves in. You get international DJ sets during the parties and fun events like rugby games and a kite festival right there on the sand.
Even if you come to Hikkaduwa purely for the diving, it’s still a trip well spent. It is best to spread your dives between the Hikkaduwa Gala, where you’ll be able to twist and turn through reefs, caves and any number of the 16 shipwrecks you’ll find offshore. A favourite is The Conch, a steam-powered oil tanker that sank in 1863. The best period for diving in Hikkaduwa is between November and April.
When you’re tired of living the good life by the sea, you can change things up a little with a visit to a local temple or Hikkaduwa Lake nearby. The fresh-water lake certainly isn’t as blue as Hikkaduwa’s surf but its verdant green banks, boat tours and wildlife are a good reminder that there is a lot more to Sri Lanka than its beaches.
But the beach never goes out of fashion, so if you’re weighing your options for a fun holiday in the sun, our Hikkaduwa accommodation list is the best place to start, followed up with a choice from our flights to Sri Lanka.
Hotels in Hikkaduwa start at AU$49 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.