Welcome to Hiriketiya Beach, a hidden paradise along Sri Lanka’s famous south coast. Imagine a charming bay with curved palm trees, clear turquoise water, and rustic cafes right on the beach. The tropical jungle provides a lush backdrop, and cozy guesthouses blend seamlessly with nature. Hiriketiya used to be a quiet gem, but now it’s a hotspot for surfers, backpackers, and digital nomads exploring Sri Lanka.
The relaxed atmosphere of Hiriketiya Beach is unparalleled, making it the ideal haven for those seeking the easygoing beach life. Whether you want to surf, do yoga, or simply chill, Hiriketiya has it all. One of our favorite things was purely enjoying lazy breakfasts while observing monkeys swinging in the trees, watching surfers during sunset, and listening to the waves hitting the rocks. Hiri Bay’s beauty stole our hearts, making it one of our favorite spots in Sri Lanka. Prepare to extend your stay beyond intentions; that’s the magic of Hiriketiya.
This blog post covers everything – from the best things to do and where to stay to how to get there and the top places to eat. Get ready to fall in love with the laid-back charm of Hiriketiya Beach.
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Sri Lanka Trip Planning Essentials
VISA |Apply for a tourist visa online, which allows a 30-day stay. Submit your application at least a week before departure to secure your Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) confirmation promptly.
TRAVEL INSURANCE | Safeguard your backpacking journey through Sri Lanka with comprehensive coverage from Heymondo for trustworthy travel insurance.
STAY CONNECTED | Secure internet access by either obtaining a local sim card from SLT Mobitel upon arrival at the airport or opting for an E-sim in advance throughAiralo.
CURRENCY | The local currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR), and the exchange rate is around 1 USD = 325 LKR. Check XE Currency Converterfor updated exchange rates.
HOW TO GET THERE | Explore the best flight deals to Colombo, Sri Lanka, using Skyscanner.
ACCOMMODATION | Discover budget-friendly hostels and hotels through Booking.com.
TOURS & ATTRACTIONS | For the best and most cost-effective tours and day trip excursions, check out GetYourGuide or Viator.
TRANSFERS | Ready to travel to your next destination in Sri Lanka? Book your onward bus or train tickets via 12go.
WHEN TO GO | Plan your visit between December and April to experience the country’s highlights while avoiding the main monsoon season.
Best Things To Do in Hiriketiya Beach
Embark on a journey to discover the captivating allure of Hiriketiya Beach, a coastal gem that has won the hearts of surf enthusiasts and leisure seekers alike. Nestled in a small horseshoe-shaped bay, this beach in Sri Lanka has gained widespread popularity, particularly among surfers.
1. Surf & Chill at Hiriketiya beach
Step onto the lively scene of Hiriketiya Beach, a small horseshoe-shaped bay, adorned with surfers on colorful boards. This beach offers fantastic surfing conditions for ten months of the year, peaking from August to December, with the best conditions for beginners from December to February. Whether you’re a novice or an intermediate surfer, Hiriketiya Beach accommodates all skill levels with its two distinct breaks.
Enjoy the convenience of affordable board rentals, ranging from 250 to 500 LKR ($1.50-2.75) per hour at various spots along the beachfront. For beginners, this beach serves as an ideal learning ground, and private surf lessons are readily available. Consider Hiri Surf School, conveniently located on the beach, offering personalized lessons at 3500 LKR, inclusive of an hour of expert guidance, a wetsuit, and a beginner’s board.
Not really into surfing? Hiriketiya Beach transforms into a haven of tranquility, embracing the laid-back spirit of the South coast of Sri Lanka. It provides the perfect setting to unwind and soak up the sun. Lounge on sun beds available at various beach bars, immersing yourself in the serene atmosphere while watching surfers gracefully ride the waves, all while enjoying a refreshing coconut.
As the day winds down, Hiriketiya Beach turns into a captivating spectacle. The palm-fringed beach, adorned with charming cafes and restaurants, becomes the perfect backdrop for a breathtaking sunset. The entire bay emanates a paradise-like aura, capturing the essence of a tropical getaway. For an affordable dining option, explore Roti Hut on the left side of the beach, serving budget-friendly roti and coconuts.
2. Relax at Dikwella Beach
Explore beyond Hiriketiya Beach, and you’ll find the expansive beauty of Dikwella Beach, just a short 15-minute walk away. Unlike the bustling vibes of Hiriketiya, Dikwella offers a more laid-back beach experience, perfect for those seeking tranquility.
Dikwella Beach stretches out with plenty of space, providing a peaceful atmosphere with fewer people, gentle waves, and clear waters. This beach isn’t a hotspot for surfing, making it the ideal spot to just relax. With fewer crowds and limited beach bars, Dikwella Beach encourages you to unwind and take it easy. Several beach shacks are scattered around, offering sun beds for day rentals. Perfect for a day relaxing with a book!
When hunger strikes, Dickwella has some great places to eat. Check out Verse Collective, a popular hostel and co-working space known for its fantastic coffee and food. And on your way from Dikwella to Hiriketiya, you’ll stumble upon cool bars and restaurants like Smoke & Bitters.
Although the once-famous swings at Dikwella Beach seem to have disappeared – at least, we didn’t spot any during our visit. But here’s a tip: Mahi Mahi Restaurant a bit further up the beach might have swings on the palm trees in front of their place, offering a fun touch to your beachside hangout.
Picture by Oliver Sjostrom via Unsplash
3. Walk to Blue Beach Island, Nilwella
Just a quick 10-minute tuk-tuk ride (around 300 LKR each way), or if you’re up for it, a relaxed 2.5km walk, and you’ll find yourself at Nilwella Beach – a tranquil haven with crystal clear waters. If you decide to take the scenic route on foot, start from the left side of Hiriketiya Beach and make your way up, passing Jasper House and cozy guesthouses hidden along the narrow streets.
Once at Nilwella Beach, you’ll encounter a small fishing cove and a sand bar where waves crash on both sides. The standout natural wonder here is Blue Beach Island, a tiny palm-filled paradise just off the coast. Accessible only by the narrow sand bar during low tide. Follow the trail that winds up and around to the top for stunning views. Visiting during low tide is recommended to fully experience the sandy strip between the waters – a dream for photographers, especially if you have a drone for those unique shots. There isn’t much around, except for a beach shack, so if you plan on hanging out, bring some snacks.
Picture by Jared Rice via Unsplash
4. Go for a yoga session at Salt
If you’re a yoga lover, Hiriketiya is the place to be, with several yoga retreats to choose from. One standout option is Salt House, located just a short walk from the beach. They offer daily yoga classes set in the open jungle – a truly peaceful experience where you might even spot monkeys on the treetops. A drop-in class at Salt costs 1500 LKR, and if you’re staying at Salt House, it’s free!
For alternative yoga spots, consider Dots Bay Houseor Jasper House. Both offer classes at the standard rate of 1500 Rupees (about €5). The schedules are convenient, with Dots and Salt House holding sessions daily at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Jasper House at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer a later practice, Hiriketiya has the perfect yoga session for you.
5. Explore the surrounding jungle of Hiriketiya Beach
During our time at Hiriketiya Beach, we opted for a stay at House on the Bend, just a short walk away from the beach. As we headed towards the water, we decided to take a little detour and unexpectedly stumbled upon a charming lagoon nestled in the heart of the jungle. This hidden gem turned out to be a beautiful haven for spotting wildlife, including water monitors, tortoises, a variety of fascinating birds, and, our personal favorite, monkeys!
It’s quite surreal to transition from a laid-back beach setting one moment to finding yourself in a mini jungle oasis the next. Here, we had the delightful experience of watching monkey families playing in the trees and by the water.
Throughout our journey in Sri Lanka, we noticed that the best time to spot monkeys being active is during the early morning and late afternoon, probably because the daytime also gets pretty hot for them. So, if you’re keen on catching them in action, and witnessing their playful antics those hours are your best bet.
6. Experience the World’s 2nd Biggest Blowhole
Just a short drive from Dikwella, you’ll discover the famous Hummanaya Blow Hole in Kudawella, claiming its title as the world’s second-largest blowhole. As the waves crash onto the shore, their power funnels into a small opening in a rock, creating a breathtaking spray that can shoot up to an impressive 26 meters into the air. To witness this incredible show of nature’s force, stand at the designated viewing area – it’s a safe distance away from the blowhole.
For the best experience, plan your visit during the monsoon season when the waves are at their peak, and the blowhole is at its most energetic. Beyond the natural wonder, you’ll find stalls selling local souvenirs and refreshments, making it a perfect spot for a quick break during your day trip.
Note: There’s a small admission fee of around 200 LKR to witness the blowhole’s spectacular display.
7. Visit Dondra Lighthouse – the most southern tip of Sri Lanka
Situated a half-hour west of Hiriketiya Beach, Dondra Lighthouse claims its fame as the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka. This picturesque structure, completed in 1890, stands as Sri Lanka’s tallest lighthouse and shares a striking resemblance with the one at Galle Fort. Surrounded by palm trees and set against a stunning coastal backdrop, the light-colored Dondra Lighthouse is a must-visit destination.
The best part? Entry is free, and reaching the lighthouse is a breeze. You can hop on a tuk-tuk (approximately 500 LKR one way), rent a scooter, or opt for the local bus from Dikwella to Dondra (priced at 50 LKR per person one way). The lighthouse welcomes visitors every day from 9 am to 7 pm, (you are not able to go inside though).
8. Catch the sunset at the beach with live music
You’ll find yourself transported to a world far removed from the hustle and bustle, thanks to Hiriketiya’s laid-back atmosphere. Both Dikwella and Hiriketiya Beach offer stunning settings to witness the enchanting sunset. While this may not be the go-to destination for party enthusiasts, if you’re after a relaxed vibe and daily happy hour, Dots Bay House is the spot to be. Nestled right on the beach, this venue not only serves excellent Western and local cuisine but also crafts delightful cocktails and often hosts live music. The daily happy hour, running from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, is the perfect time to savor their fantastic passionfruit Mojitos. Picture-perfect while enjoying the view of surfers catching waves as the sun gracefully sets.
9. Enjoy an Ayurvedic Massage
If it’s not already evident, spending time at Hiriketiya Beach is the epitome of relaxation. An excellent way to enhance your inner zen is by treating yourself to an Ayurvedic massage. In Sri Lanka, massages predominantly revolve around Ayurveda, a holistic science that considers physical, emotional, and spiritual balance. Ayurvedic massages prioritize relaxation, stress relief, and the release of emotional blockages, incorporating essential oils and herbs for a rejuvenating experience. It serves as the perfect remedy for the energy expended during weeks of intensive backpacking.
In Hiriketiya, you’ll find a variety of Ayurvedic massage options, with prices ranging from USD 21 for more affordable sessions to USD 60 for the utmost luxury that spans multiple hours. Along the beach, there are immediate options for on-the-spot bookings at places advertising Ayurvedic massages. Well-known establishments like Jasper House and Salt House also offer comprehensive massage menus, but it’s advisable to book in advance. For the ultimate relaxation experience, consider Tonic Spa, located just north of Hiriketiya’s main beach. Their offerings range from deep tissue to relaxation massages, body/face scrubs, and herbal baths (starting from 3,500 LKR).
Venture half an hour to the east of Dikwella, and you’ll discover the beauty of Tangalle Beach. This 3-kilometer-long stretch of pristine white sand is adorned with numerous inviting beach bars and restaurants. Many of these establishments offer complimentary sunbeds if you purchase a drink, creating the perfect setting for a leisurely day by the ocean.
There are plenty of things to check out around Tangalle. As you travel a bit north to Harmony Beach, you’ll encounter an extensive stretch of sand beach leading to Tangalle town center, where vibrant fishing activity unfolds. Another gem, Goyambokka Beach, sits midway between Hiriketiya Beach and Tangalle, offering yet another stunning coastal experience.
For an additional dose of fun near Tangalle, consider kayaking in Tangalle Lagoon. Navigate through a maze of jungle, surrounded by the melodies of birdsong. If time permits or if you’re open to changing accommodations, spending a few nights here is highly recommended. Tangalle has much to offer, making it a worthwhile extension to your coastal exploration.
11. Eat, work, chill & repeat at Verse Collective
If you’re a digital nomad or simply like to stay productive while on the road, a great spot to hang out is Verse Collective. Situated at the serene Dikwella Beach, Verse Collective proudly holds the title of being the first co-working space in Sri Lanka. Offering ample space, delicious iced coffee, high-speed internet, and tasty food, this venue is tailor-made for digital nomads seeking an inspiring environment for a productive day.
Featuring an expansive open-plan layout and comfortable chill-out couches, Verse Collective goes beyond being just a co-working space – it also functions as a hostel/guesthouse. Within the complex, you’ll find super cool dorms and double rooms. So, whether you’re the ‘eat, work, sleep, repeat’ kind of person, or you simply want a comfortable space to get things done, Verse Collective is the perfect place for you.
12. Take a safari day trip to Udawalawe National Park
Aside from its dreamy beaches, Sri Lanka is a fantastic place for some thrilling safari adventures. The country is dotted with national parks, offering plenty of opportunities for an exciting wildlife experience. If you’re up for a more active day after chilling at Hiriketiya Beach, consider heading to Udawalawe National Park, just a 1.5-hour drive away. This park is a hotspot for viewing elephants and a wide variety of wildlife, including buffalo, monkeys, deer, crocodiles, and, if you’re lucky, even leopards.
Opting for a safari tour to Udawalawe National Park makes the whole adventure more convenient. You’ll get hotel pick-up in a comfy, air-conditioned vehicle, park entry fees are covered, and you’ll have a guide accompanying you on the safari. It’s a fantastic way to fully immerse yourself in the fascinating wildlife and natural beauty that Sri Lanka has to offer.
Dickwella and Hiriketiya boast an array of accommodation options, from cool hotels and upscale hostels to charming guesthouses, strategically positioned near the beach and nestled into the surrounding jungle. There’s a wealth of choices, all conveniently within a 10-15 minute walk. Here’s a curated selection of our favorite budget-friendly hotels and more luxurious retreats:
Indulge yourself in a serene getaway with enchanting beach views right from your balcony. Located in Dickwella, just moments away from Hiriketiya Beach, Haven Beach Hiriketiya offers a romantic escape surrounded by lush gardens—a true haven for relaxation.
Explore the allure of House on the Bend, a delightful retreat merely a five-minute stroll from the beach. Nestled in a tranquil setting, yet close to charming restaurants, this hotel boasts spacious, clean rooms equipped with all the essentials. With a welcoming and attentive staff, along with a delicious breakfast, they ensure your stay is nothing short of perfect.
Discover spacious, clean, and newly furnished rooms at Wilson’s Place, just a brief 5-minute walk from the beach. The accommodating staff offers services such as motorbike rentals and local insights. Overall, it’s exceptional value for money, ensuring a comfortable stay without straining your budget.
Where to eat in Hiriketiya?
Roti Hut – Roti Hut is the go-to spot for a quick, budget-friendly snack. Their rotis, priced at less than $1 each, are not only affordable but also incredibly delicious.
Garlic Cafe – A fantastic family-run gem with friendly staff and a charming backyard surrounded by greenery. For delicious Sri Lankan cuisine, head to Garlic Cafe. Don’t miss their Rs1000 rice and curry buffet – a steal! If you’re a seafood enthusiast, their fish dishes are a must-try. The evening ambiance, adorned with fairy lights, adds to the festive vibe.
Esco bar – Being close to the beach, you will find a variety of restaurants with fresh seafood. We had a fantastic experience at Esco Bar with their Fish Kottu and prawns – highly recommended.
Duni‘s Hoppers– A great spot for breakfast and coffee. Check out Duni’s Hoppers for sweet and savory hoppers. While their smoothie bowls might be a bit pricey, the hoppers are reasonably priced and delicious.
Hirketiya Beach Bus Restaurant – A unique and fun place to eat, especially if you’re on a budget. This roadside bus restaurant offers beachfront seating and quick eats like roti, noodles, and Kotthu – their shrimp dishes are amazing. Perfect for an afternoon hangout with a beer!
Lemon Grass Café – One of the best places for rice and curry in Hiriketiya, this tiny family-run restaurant is next to their fruit shop. Highly recommend their vegetarian rice and curry, which includes at least four curries, rice, and fruit for dessert, all for 1000 LKR per person. They also serve other Sri Lankan dishes like Kothu and traditional breakfasts with hoppers and coconut roti.
Malu Poke – Right near the beach, this is the go-to spot for a satisfying lunch. Enjoy delicious food at a fair price, and personalize your poke bowl ingredients for 1200 LKR.
How to get to Hiriketiya Beach?
Situated just off the main road outside Dickwella on Sri Lanka’s south coast, Hiriketiya Beach is becoming more accessible thanks to its growing popularity. When planning your trip to Hiriketiya, Dickwella is a key reference point, especially if you’re not using private transportation since there’s no public transport directly to the beach.
Dickwella has a local bus station linked to Matara along the coast. If you’re taking a tuk-tuk from Dickwella to Hiriketiya, the cost is around 300 LKR (US$1).
Matara serves as a major transportation hub for the south coast towns, equipped with a train station and bus station. It becomes a crucial interchange point, particularly if you’re traveling from Colombo or Galle. Additionally, there’s a highway expressway bus station in Matara for connections to Colombo.
How to get to Hiriketiya Beach From Colombo?
Getting to Hiriketiya Beach and Dikwella from Colombo is a straightforward journey with several transportation options. One convenient choice is taking the train from Colombo Fort to Matara, with approximately 7 daily departures and a travel time of around 4 hours. Train tickets are budget-friendly in Sri Lanka, and you can easily purchase them at the station. Once in Matara, a 30-minute tuk-tuk ride can take you to Dikwella/Hiriketiya. Alternatively, you can head to the Matara bus station and catch a local bus to Dickwella, a journey that typically takes about 1.5 hours.
For a quicker option, consider taking a highway express bus to Matara directly from outside Colombo. These buses depart approximately every hour, and the journey takes around 3 hours, with a cost of about 500 LKR per person.
If you prefer the convenience of a taxi, you can reach Hiriketiya Beach from Colombo in just two hours. Keep in mind that this option is a bit more expensive, with a fare of a minimum of 12,000 LKR (approximately 40 euros).
Getting from Mirissa to Dickwella provides a few travel options. You can take the direct public bus, Line 32, which completes the journey in nearly two hours for a reasonable fare of 100 LKR. Keep in mind that this bus may not always be the most dependable. Another route involves taking a bus from Mirissa to Matara, a short 25-minute ride costing 30 LKR. From Matara, catch a bus to Dikwella for an additional 45 minutes of travel time and a fare of 50 LKR. Unfortunately, there are no train services connecting Mirissa and Dikwella.
If you prefer a more convenient, albeit slightly pricier, option, you can hire a tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuk ride takes just under 2 hours and usually costs around 3000 LKR (approximately $10).
How to travel from Galle to Hiriketiya Beach?
The south coast of Sri Lanka is well-connected by a train track, and you’ll find frequent trains from Galle to Matara. Additionally, buses are a convenient option, departing from Galle to Matara every ten minutes at a cost of no more than 200 LKR. Upon reaching Matara, you can catch another bus to Dikwella, adding about 45 minutes to your journey with a fare of 50 LKR.
For a more convenient journey, consider taking a tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuk ride typically takes around 2 hours, and you can expect to pay approximately 5000 LKR.
How to get to Hiriketiya from Ella?
The most convenient way to travel from Ella to Dikwella is by car, easily arranged during your time in Ella for approximately 15,000 LKR (around $50). For a more budget-friendly option, you can opt for one of the several buses running from Bandarawela to Matara, passing through Ella daily. To catch these buses, wait at the bus stop located just down from the intersection of the Ella-Passara Road and the main street in Ella. Keep an eye out for bus #31 and wave it down; it follows a route down to the coast and then along the south coast to Matara. If you’re heading to Hiriketiya, disembark in Dickwella. The bus journey typically takes about 4 hours.
Practical Trip Planning Essentials
TRANSPORTATION | For hassle-free bus, minivan, and train bookings across Sri Lanka, we recommend using the user-friendly platform 12go. Skip the queues and reserve your tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons.
ACCOMMODATION | Booking affordable accommodations in Sri Lanka is effortless with Booking.com. This platform is perfect for discovering budget-friendly hostels, guesthouses, and hotels tailored to your preferences.
FLIGHTS | Find the best flight deals to Sri Lanka on Skyscanner. Benefit from their feature highlighting the cheapest days to fly and the flexibility to search by month or region.
TRAVEL INSURANCE | Ensure comprehensive and reliable coverage for your backpacking journey in Sri Lanka with Heymondo. Prioritize peace of mind with their trustworthy travel insurance options.
STAY CONNECTED | Guarantee reliable internet access throughout your Sri Lanka trip by using Airalo. Install it on your eSIM-compatible smartphone before your journey for convenient connectivity.
TOURS & ATTRACTIONS | Explore the best city tours, day excursions, safari trips, and cooking classes in Sri Lanka with GetYourGuide or Viator.
VISA ORGANIZATION | Check visa requirements for your passport nationality before your Sri Lanka trip with iVisa.com.
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