Things to see and do in and around Mirissa

It’s unlikely that you will get bored in Mirissa but if you need to explore the surroundings then here are a few options and places to see.

Heading back in the direction of Colombo you will find the small fishing town and railway hub of Welligama . It’s a 15 minutes bus ride ( 4 KM ) and getting lost in the back streets of this small market town can be fun . Take a stroll along the sea front and watch the fishermen dragging their boats up on shore or selling their fish in their small shops. The is a bank here, some small internet shops and lots of places to buy small local items ideal for gifts.

The Port of Galle ( Galla ) is about another 30 minutes further on towards Colombo . If this is your main destination be sure to get a bus with a seat available or you will be standing all the way with a million other people.

Galle has one of the most beautiful old Dutch / Portugese forts in all of South East Asia. It is a port town and there is a thriving neighbourhood with the fort walls . Once inside you can walk around the old fort and get lost amongst all the small streets. Grab something to eat or quench your thirst with a orange coloured King Coconut and sit on the old walls and look out over the ocean.

Galle is famous for its lace and you will not get more than 100 M before some old lady tries to sell you some. Spend an hour or so wandering around the old Dutch Church in the heat of the day and read some of the old tombstones from 200 year ago.

The Fort is NEVER closed and there is NEVER and entrance fee to get in. It is a vibrant working part of the city and access to it is just across from the railway and the bus station. Galle is known for its creative Touts so beware of people who befriend you as they will eventually just happen to mention that they or a friend can get you a great deal on some gems . Its also not uncommon to be approached by someone who claims to be a Waiter in the restaurant in the Hotel you are staying at . They are just trying to make a living and their tactics and stories can be quire amusing. just tell them politely you are not interested and they usually disappear , I did say “ usually “

Heading in the direction away from Colombo and about 12 KM down the road from Mirissa is the bustling town of Matara. This is the final stop on the Train from Colombo and a major bus destination hub for the whole of the Southern Provence . It is from here that you can get back to Colombo or take a bus up to Ella and the Hill Country.

Here you will find everything you need from Hospitals, Pharmacies, modern super markets that sell a lot of Western goods to simple local markets selling cheap clothing and souvenirs. Matara also has many internet cafes and a couple of Banks where Travellers Checks and Foreign Currency can be exchanged. It might also be possible to get a cash advance or use one of the ATM machines here as well .

Commercial Bank on Railway Road is the most modern and seems to offer the best facilities.
The town itself has lots of Short Eats or Pastry shops where you can get a nice taste of local food at a reasonable price . In the main supermarket you can stock up on either local Spirits or the more expensive brand name imported spirits and wines. The local GIN is not that bad and its easy to get tonic water in Sri Lanka as well.

Matara also has its own Fort tucked away in a quiet corner of the town close to the main Bus Station. It is not as grand as the one in Galle , but it is still nice to spend a few hours walking around inside it .

Just after the Cricket Grounds is the extremely old Dutch Star Fort . This place dates back to 1600 and it is still possible to walk around inside it and with only a little bit of imagination its possible to transport yourself back in time and put yourselves in the shoes of one of the young soldiers stationed here from Holland.

Another 8 or so KM up the road is Dondra and this place is geographically the most Southern tip of Sri Lanka and the Indian Sub Continent . There is functioning lighthouse there and definitely its worth a trip to just to say you were there. Ask for details and directions at your guest house or hire a minivan or Tuk Tuk to take you there .

Dondra Lighthouse

If you do not want to stray far from Mirissa then simply walk across the road from the beach and stroll down one of the lanes and roadways to some of the local villages. Here you will be greeted by the beaming smiles of school children and the timid grins from the older people.


If you are an early riser , now by early we mean 6am , why not take a short walk to Mirissa Port to see the fish being unloaded from the boats and trawlers.

This is ground zero for the local fishing community where people come from all over the South of the country to buy. It is not unusual to see large sharks being hauled off boats that have just come back from a 2 week excursion to the water close to the Maldives.

You will see people haggling and arguing over the price of some of the strangest or most valuable seafood creatures available in this region. Bring a camera to capture the mayhem but be careful where you point it. It’s a place of intense business and the locals are not there to pose for the tourists.
The ever so friendly port security like to charge Tourists for the privilege of entering the docking area so be prepared to get hit up for whatever they think they can extort from you. Remember to get a ticket and a receipt. Definitely the photos are worth the hassle and the cost and to be up close and personal with a shark is an experience you will not forget.

For directions its best to ask at the place you are staying as the Port area, even though it is close by is tough to find.

Whale watching in Mirissa

Word has reaches us that many people visiting Sri Lanka have been taking side trip to Mirissa to do some Whale and Dolphin watching . A Company based in Mirissa reports to be able to introduce you to Spinner, Striped, Bottlenose and Spotted Dolphins.
Large whales are also seen in the waters off Mirissa. I suspect everything is seasonal so its best to give them a call and see what they have to offer.

The 2 Guesthouses mentioned above on Mirissa Beach can sell you tickets if you want to go whale watching in Mirissa. They can make reservations and buy tickets in advance for a whale watching trip.
They charge the same price for the ticket as the company does and in return they get a small commission as is usual. There are a few companies to choose from so spend a few minutes deciding before you commit to a whale watching in Mirissa trip.

Make sure of the following as they are in both yours and the whales interest.

Make sure the boat has enough lifejackets for everyone.
Check with the boat staff to make sure they have a maritime radio.

No flash photography as it scares the whales.
No swimming with the whales as it is dangerous.
No touching the whales, I know it sounds petty but it’s a general rule.
Be quiet and keep some spare batteries for your camera.
Oh, do not take fotos facing into the sun as they will not look good.
If you see one of the whales with the Canon G4 camera I lost in the tsunami, drop me a line. I am also missing 3 pairs of underpants as well.
Be careful of Dolphins, the get horny sometimes, if you do not believe me just check on google.

Something amusing I found on You Tube regarding dolphins.