Hikkaduwa is located on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka, south from Induruwa Beach Resort. It is primarily a tourist destination, and serves as a great beach with options to surf, snorkel and enjoy the sun. You can also ride in a glass bottomed boat to view the coral gardens. The town is laid on the Galle-Colombo main road. It is a busy road with vehicles travelling at high speeds; pedestrians and tourists are advised to exercise caution when crossing. The town has a plethora of tailors who will custom make shirts, pants, and shorts. It has become the place to go in Sri Lanka to have an island shirt fitted and sewn. The area also has a reputation for offering a vibrant nightlife.
Hikkaduwa boasts some of the best surfing waves, beaches packed with restaurants, souvenir shops and guest houses.
The foreign influx began in the mid-19th century, when ‘picnic parties’ were regularly held here and it became a stopping place for the Galle to Colombo stagecoach. The second influx came in the 1960s, when American and Australian surfers discovered the waves here and at Arugam Bay on the east coast. Soon the town became a surfing paradise, attracting not only surfers but fun-seeking visitors of all types.
The best period for surfing is November to April, as it is for diving and snorkeling, because the visibility is good during these months. There are a number of excellent wreck dives, including the Shell-owned SS Conch, the world’s first oil tanker, sunk in 1903. The Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary, established in 1988, ensures the underwater world is accessible to all whether they can dive or not. Snorkeling in the shallow waters 200m off shore is possible and you will come across a number of brightly-coloured fish as you float a few metres above.
Clothes are tailored here to western tastes and in western sizes. Jewelery is of the more understated silver type with beautiful semi-precious stones. There are dozens of souvenir shops with items such as masks, puppets, musical instruments, batiks and paintings.
There are several places of interest to visit in the area around Hikkaduwa. The Gangarama Maha Viharaya is filled with the lifetime work of an artist depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha. The Dodanduwa Lagoon and Telwatte Bird Sanctuary provide a wealth of fauna, flora and spectacular scenery.