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CREDIT: Ruth Morris ARPS

Hikkaduwa - Out of Season

Ruth Morris ARPS visits the Sri Lankan coastal resort during the off-season


Hikkaduwa is a holiday town on the South coast of Sri Lanka. Flying into Colombo Airport and then hiring a car, travelling by train or bus are the best ways to do the 3-6 hour journey (depending on traffic & how you travel). Sri Lanka is not too far from our home in Singapore & we try to get to Hikkaduwa at least once a year to get away from the city & visit relatives.



Hikkaduwa out of season is just about as relaxing as it gets, but you need to be prepared for a very mixed bag of weather. It really does rain hard between May and September! Most of the beach bars and restaurants are closed & don't open until September/October. But there were enough cafes & restaurants open to keep out-of-season holiday-makers happy. Sri Lankan local food is some of the best in the world and you will never be hungry or far from a snack.


The Sea Salt Society, opened in August 2018 for coffee, beer and food. The skeleton box frames contain comfy beach beds with curtains, cushions and sunbathers between October and May. We stay next door at, Drifters Hotel, we’ve been staying at Drifters for years, it’s fantastic, right on the beach & lovely staff. Out of season the sea almost reaches the door!


The Buddhist temple, Kumarakanda Maha Viharaya is definitely worth a visit. Kumarakanda is a walkable distance from Hikkaduwa, either by following the train tracks or a short tuk-tuk journey. If you recognize the temple, it might because the TV series, ‘The Good Karma Hospital’, was filmed around Hikkaduwa and Galle. Begin able to walk along the side of the tracks makes for some excellent train spotting photo possibilities. Trips from Hikkaduwa are easy to organize with a variety of different transport types and day trip destinations available. Catching the train from Hikkaduwa to Galle is easy, cheap & great fun...even in the rain! 


Portuguese invaders arrived in Sri Lanka in 1505. There are still plenty of examples of the Portuguese architectural heritage all over Hikkaduwa. Dutch protestant colonists followed the Portuguese into Sri Lanka in the 16th century. Due to their dislike of Catholicism and acceptance of Buddhism, the Dutch colonists began to rebuild some of the destroyed temples. One of the best places to see & photograph well preserved Portuguese & Dutch buildings is within the walls of the Portuguese built, Galle Fort; a 40min tuk-tuk ride from Hikkaduwa, costing around 1000 rupees one way.


Lions feature heavily in Sri Lankan imagery although there have been no lions in Sri Lanka since prehistoric times. The old national flag of Ceylon featured a golden lion and the golden lion has been adopted by the most popular local beer, Lion beer!


Famed for its surfing and coral reef reserve, Hikkaduwa attracts thousands of visitors during high season. Out of season the touristy parts of town go into hibernation, but the central areas around the bus and train stations and the fishing ports are all business as usual. Fishing carries on all year round & the opportunities for fishing boat photography are endless.


The 2004 Tsunami destroyed lives and lively hoods in Sri Lankan coastal towns and villages. There are many visible reminders of the destruction caused by the huge tidal waves that hit the coastline.