Mirissa is a world-class whale-spotting destination where interactions with the largest of the marine animals are frequently up close and personal! Just off the pristine Mirissa coastline is home to a large number marine animals including the gentle giants themselves almost year-round. Sightings of blue whales, sperm whales and spinner dolphins are common with occasional sightings of filter whales and killer whales. Various other type of dolphin and sea-turtle are also often seen in herds here. We organize whale watching tour from 4,000 LKR per person with boat having up to 60 people on board. It leaves at 6.30am lasting up to three - five hours. Breakfast and refreshments, and hostel pick-up are included. We can help arrange the tour that’s right for you, just ask at reception.
Want to to see some of Sri Lankas deadliest animals? This enchanting snake farm is more of a conservation centre for rescued snakes. Here you can see a collection of many dangerous venomous and intensely colourful exotic snakes including cobras being handled by the tamers. If you’re brave enough, you can also hold some of the safer ones yourself. The centre is located on Horagoda Rd., Matara.
Batik is a method of cloth design that has become prominent in Sri Lankan art, culture and fashion, though it is traditionally Indonesian. Traditional dyes and tools are used to paint patterns on cloth and the finished product has many uses such as decorative art, mats, clothes, tablecloths, sheets etc. Viewing the unusual manufacturing process is very interesting. Using a wax outline, the picture or pattern is painted on the cloth, which is then dyed. By removing or adding more wax to the cloth in different areas a coloured pattern gradually emerges and you get the finished designed cloth. There is a local batik factory a short drive away which you can visit to watch this unique and fascinating process. Here, you can see the batik/cloth treatment in various stages of development. Batik cloth souvenirs can be purchased here at reasonable prices.
Just beyond Hostel First and over the headland you can find yourself on an isolated beach with incredible views of the southern Sri Lankan coastline and an unparalleled sunset view. Though its not much of a secret anymore (because its so damn nice), you can now enjoy a drink at the aptly named Secret Beach Bar as you watch the pink and orange hues morph and change as the sun dips down over the horizon. The view from the nearby lighthouse is also pretty amazing. If you go in the morning or early afternoon, this isn’t a bad spot for a bit of snorkeling. To get there, go out of the gate, turn left and follow the road until you get near the harbor. (Ignore the first sign saying secret beach, it’s a shortcut suitable for seasoned rock climbers.., but if you’re up for a scramble, go for it!) Take a left close to the harbor and you’ll arrive at the little idyllic palm tree covered cove.
The south Sri Lankan coast offers excellent surfing conditions especially from late October through to April. Hostel First Mirissa is within walking distance to one of these points, which is best in the afternoon and we are also close to many other points. Nearby Weligama offers good conditions and opportunities for beginner surfing with most of the large collection of board rental shops also offering lessons. Weligama is only a 10 minute tuktuk or 15 minute bus ride to the west. Board rental can go from 200- 300LKR per hour, but do your best to whittle them down if you plan on taking it more for an hour or two. A Private 90 minute lesson should cost around 2,500LKR. The best time to go here is in the morning and there’s no need to book in advance. If surfing’s not your thing but you still want to take advantage of some of Mirissa’s sick waves, we have bodyboards for rent at reception for 200LKR per hour.
Snorkelling is best in the mornings in the bays beyond Parrot Rock (the big orange island down the eastern side of the beach). The fish population isn’t too spectacular, but there’s a high chance you’ll see a couple of few-decade old turtles. You can rent snorkeling gear……….
Swimming is best in the bay past Parrot Rock where the waves aren’t so big and calm and casual swimming is possible without being water-boarded by every second breaking wave...
Just behind the main road there’s a guesthouse that offers rafting trips to a nearby lagoon. The trip costs about 1,000LKR pp and lasts for 2 hours leaving at 6.30am. Ask at reception for directions to the guesthouse (the day before.. zzzz).
Exploring this beautiful south coast is best done by scooter. There are many rental places around Mirissa (mostly around Udupila Rd.) offering a range of bikes from scooty right up to 250cc+ off road bikes. The nearest shop is about 100m to the right when leaving the hostel. Scooter prices are from about 750LKR per day, negotiate a better price if you’re taking it for longer than this. Make sure you get a helmet. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is illegal in Sri Lanka and you may be fined, and also, fractured skulls and death aren’t so fun either.. Driving up and down the coast road is guaranteed to be a fantastic day out.
If you’re not keen on the idea of braving the Sri Lankan roads on a scooter, hiring a bicycle is also a good way to explore the nearby coastline and the smaller roads inland from the coast. You can hire a bicycle from the hostel for 300LKR a day.
Not ready to give up Sri Lankan curries, hoppers, and the other dishes you love when you leave? Try one of No. 1 Dewmini Roti Shop’s cooking classes. This is one of a few cooking classes in the vicinity and is highly recommended. To get there, follow the signs on Udupila Rd. to the right and the café is down a small lane (the second on the right). They also make a mean milkshake!
Fancy some pampering? Get a 90 minute massage at Badora Spa. Ask at reception for details.