Mirissa is gradually gaining popularity amongst tourists for its spectacular seascape. What you see on the coast of Mirissa is a stunning bay of golden sand and bright blue sea. A couple of years ago is how recently tourism began in Mirissa and local communities developed by learning to live off the natural beauty of the sea, but they had very little knowledge on how to cater to the needs of travelers.
There is a saying that goes…
“Where there is demand, there will be supply”.
Just how Mirissa tourism in terms of eateries and amenities developed recently, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna also started out slowly with little restaurants appearing on the beachside – offering shade, cool drinks and a ridiculous range of beach grub.
Today though there is much buzz about the opening of new hotels and hangout zones – offering tourists a good range of budget and luxury accommodation and meal options to enjoy a lovely stay in Mirissa. The accommodation options are carefully planned in Mirissa, not making it a very commercialized area. Also, it is important to take the monsoons into consideration when planning a trip here. There is a 5 month window (Nov/Dec – Mar/April) during which the beach is swim safe and we would advice picking that time frame for a stop in Mirissa.
Here are a few interesting things that you should do to spice up your holiday in Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
Whale watching is most definitely a ‘not-to-miss’ activity in Mirissa. We at Blue Lanka Tours recommend choosing responsible and reputable tour operators for this venture. There have been many incidents where boats have driven too close to the whales; scaring them away. Also, since this is an activity that takes you deep into the sea, regulation and caution should be taken.
Mirissa offers surfing options for beginners as well as experts. The west side of the beach, known as point break, is where the waves break as they hit a point of land extending from the coastline. The waves here are easy for beginners to practice surfing techniques and hence this is the spot where most surfing schools in Mirissa take out their lessons.
The experienced surfers will enjoy further down on the more secluded stretch of the beach, just past the Giragala Rock. This hill protrudes from the sea and acts as a windbreak but as a result, the sea develops more intermediate levels of waves.
Unobstructed views and clear waters make Mirissa an amazingly beautiful surf destination in Sri Lanka. The best time to catch the waves is either early morning or late afternoon.
Fishing is one of the oldest industries in Mirissa, as is the case with most coastal cities in Sri Lanka. For several decades it has been the norm to see fishermen in dozens of fishing boats departing the Mirissa Fisheries Harbour at approximately 3.30pm, spending the entire night out at sea, returning at the crack of dawn the next morning with their catch.
We found some interesting news from some of the local fishermen. Apparently many of them do not use fishing nets for the catch. Instead, they use the bare fishing line, also known as stilt fishing. Bigger fishermen in the Harbour are those who use fishing nets and they spend about a month and a half at sea! The boats used by these fishermen contain a hull that is loaded with ice so that they can store their catch and keep it fresh.
Most families that are into the fishing industry have been in the trade for many decades. According to one particular family, the income from fishing was excellent about 30-40 years ago and is still very profitable today. These fishermen believe that they do not harm the ocean environment with their fishing spree. Instead they are proud to be responsible in keeping the traditional method of stilt fishing still alive.
Stilt fishing is an activity that many tourists are amazed by. The art of balancing oneself, for hours together, on a wooden plank connected to a stick and anchored into the ocean. In fact many visitors have taken up stilt fishing as a must try activity when in Mirissa and other cities such as Unawatuna and Weligama in the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
You could also walk up to the Mirissa Fisheries Harbour one morning and observe the fishermen striving hard to sell their catch to a number of retailers and staff from neighboring hotels and restaurants coming to purchase their stock of fish. The array of fish that you find here includes some of the oceans finest: tuna, mahi mahi, seer, tiger prawns and garupa.
You have got to try this out – sailing off the coast of Mirissa to witness the sun drop slowly over the horizon – it is indeed a majestic and unforgettable experience.
Sailing associations have formed in Mirissa offering tourists with sailboat opportunities to create a boating and sailing culture in Sri Lanka. With this new eco-friendly activity concept, the associations are providing training and employment opportunities to the youth in the neighboring region.
A typical sailboat ride would offer a two hour, high speed adrenaline pumping ride cruising you through many of Sri Lanka’s breathtaking golden beaches. The sailboat also stops for fishing, swimming and snorkeling activities if requested, thereby making it an absolutely adventurous experience for sports enthusiasts. Departure timings for these boats are at 9.00 a.m. and 3.00p.m. everyday and your package will include life jackets, insurance and mineral water bottles.
One of the best hotspots in Mirissa is a view of the stunning sunset from the top of Giragala Mountain. Don’t worry, you don’t need to schedule an entire afternoon geared up in trekking shoes for this climb!
The strategic location of Giragala Rock is in between the two bays of Mirissa. At the point where these bays meet, there is a sandy pathway that leads toward the Rock. Within just a minute, you can climb up to an elevated position that opens up to an unobstructed view that goes beyond the edge of the west end of the bay. This is the perfect spot to catch a spectacular view of the sunset, as the sky transforms into a medley of lovely shades of pinks, purples and reds.
While in Mirissa, don’t forget to enjoy a meal at Dewmini Roti Shop. The charming owner – Gayani first opened up the shop in 2009 and it instantly became very popular, particularly due to the convenient location on the main road in Mirissa. Soon she was forced to relocate her business and now operates from her family home which is located a bit more inland. The new beginning did give her some struggles but with word of mouth advertising, she was soon able to attract the crowd to her new location.
According to Gayani, her roti menu is created from suggestions that people give her, and hence she is greatly blessed to have met so many good people to help her succeed in her roti shop. She initially started out with the usual egg, chicken, cheese, onion, chocolate and choco banana roti flavors. One day, a German Chef taught her how to use avocado and guacamole in her roti mix and this became a huge hit with people coming back for more. From then onwards more suggestions kept coming in such as the Banoffee Roti and she kept upgrading the menu accordingly.
Dewmini Roti Shop holds a strong ‘no take-away’ policy for the sole reason that no one can copy their creations. The quaint location and the charming garden setting makes it a relaxing, yet vibrant atmosphere and the open kitchen concept is a hit as people love to see Gayani doing what she does best!
Gayani has also started up a rice and curry cooking class that goes on from 3.30pm to 6.30pm every day. Because her rotis are so delicious, it is quite certain that attending one of these classes would be very well worth it.
As you can see… from whale watching to surfing to mouthwatering Rotis, Mirissa has it all. You have got to include a few days in Mirissa when planning your Sri Lanka holiday itinerary to try out all these one-of-a-kind activities and make your holiday a memorable one.