Hikkaduwa in Galle district of southern Sri Lanka is a paradise for backpackers. The most clear close beach snorkeling that one will ever experience and the best value for money seafood you’ll eat will be here. Hikkaduwa is like the best one-stop backpacker destination to freak out and have some fun without the smartphone. Here are some things to do:
1. Stay close to the beach
Hikkaduwa is all about the beach and staying in close proximity of the beach is an absolute must. All along the beachfront, there are plenty of hotels and hostels which offer great AC and Non AC rooms but come at a steep cost. Just across the road which is less than 20 metres from the beach, you’ll find again plenty of accommodation options which are nearly half the price of the ones on the beach. If money is not a concern then stay along the beach and if it is then you know where to stay.
2. Go snorkelling
The minute you reach this beach town, you’ll find nearly every shop renting out snorkelling gear. You’ll be surprised to know that out in Hikkaduwa all you need to spend on is the gear to snorkel, unlike other places where you need to pay for a boat ride to go further into the sea to get a glimpse of the coral and marine life. Here at Hikkaduwa, it’s funny how close to the beach it is, less than 10 metres into the sea. This is an absolute must do and don’t miss out no matter what.
3. Watch the sunset
Like all beach sunsets this is no different. Grab a beer and burger by the beach shack and watch the sun dip into the ocean. You’ll see the sky changing colours and it’s a great way to end arguably the most fun day you’ll ever have at the beach.
4. Glass boat ride
A short 100 metres away from the coast and you’ll spot at least a couple of giant turtles. The glass boat helps you identify them before you jump into the sea and get a first hand glimpse of them and even feed them some sea weeds.
Hikkaduwa attracts so many local and foreign tourists that the main town area has turned into a small hippie shopping zone. Shops sell everything from Sri Lanka themed t-shirts, tea, fridge magnets, beachwear and a lot more. Haggling is a skill which won’t come to much help since nearly all the shops have a fixed price.
6. Night walks
Just like the rest of the southern belt in Sri Lanka this place is extremely safe to go out for a night walk and get some cool breeze to beat the heat.
7. Sea food
Red lobster that’s the name of the place where you need to at least have one meal. The food is wow and the pricing is just perfect. The prawn and crab curry are simply mouthwatering. It’s the kind of place where you eat a lot and you won’t end up with a huge bill. The walls of the restaurant are very interesting with scribble writing from past customers all over.
8. Scuba diving
This is something worth doing if you really want to explore the marine life in-depth. If you’re just the average Joe who is happy with snorkeling, then skip this. If you’re more than the above, then this is an absolute must. The marine life deeper into the sea is out of this world and the water is extremely clear. You’ll be able to see a lot more than what you have paid for. It’s a value for money deal at Hikkaduwa.
9. Underwater selfie
The water and marine life is so clear out here that this is easily the best place to get that all exclusive underwater shot with a bunch of colourful fish and some coral reef. Be sure that you have a camera which is waterproof.
10. Stay a couple of days
Yes, the place is so good and the beach is so much of fun, why would anyone want to leave without spending a couple of nights. So if you’re backpacking around the southern coast, keep two days for Hikkaduwa. There might not be a lot to do, but this is easily the most fun you will possibly have. (Unless you’re a pro-sufer. For an average backpacker this place is perfect.)
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