The only wide bit of sand in Hikkaduwa (Narigama beach)
Hikkaduwa's reputation preceeds it - it's meant to be a naff resort with a main road running right through it. The latter is true, the main A2 Galle-Colombo road runs about 70 metres from the beach and the crammed in string of guesthouses/hotels have one end on the road and one on the beach...no, actually in the water. That's the extent of the erosion problem here and rather crazy development. They seem to almost have forgotten the fact that people like to actually have a bitof beach before they get into the sea! But I've jumped ahead of myself....I arrived on the train, which I have to say is a much more calming and relaxing experience than I expected and much nicer than getting a crowded bus. The train was pretty busy too as it left Mount Lavinia station (LKR85/50p/85c), and with only 3rd class available to start with it was standing room only.
..christ I had thought, 3 hours of this ain't going to be too fun! But luckily the train emptied out the further we went out of Colombo, and I even managed to get one of the rare hard plastic seats near the window to take in the coastal view. I changed half way onto a train that had 2nd class (much more similar to what we'd know as train travel, but still on a train that seemed unchanged since 50s Soviet Russia) and trundles its way down towards Galle. A helpful young chap told me when I needed to get off, although the trains are that slow that you would do well to miss your stop.
the back of Why Not? guesthouse, on the beach
The train station (and bus station for that matter) is in the main 'town' of Hikkaduwa, but you wouldn't want to be staying there - dirty and no real beach.
It's about 2km south (15-20 mins walk or LKR100 tuk-tuk ride) to Welawala/Narigama, where the main strip of hotels, cafes and restaurants are. I'd by now downloaded an online section of the Sri Lanka Lonely Planet (having unsuccessfully tracked one down in Colombo) so had ann idea of some places to stay. I checked a few out and some others, and the prices varied dramtically, with a few 'hotels' wanting LKR2,500 (£15/$25) for a basic room with only cold water bathroom - errr....no thanks! I eventually settled on 'Why Not?' which had a decent location in the middle of the strip and managed to get a room for LKR1,200 (£7/$12) - more than I had really wanted to pay, but I guess I was 5 metres from the beach! I checked out the beach with a relaxing walk and found the wider bit of sand to the south of Narigama - and it was pretty nice really.
Its an extremely touristy place, lots of couples, lots of surfers - not many backpackers that I could spot! But I chatted to an English couple at the beach bar in the hotel and had their curry for dinner, before waiting for the sunset, which was disappointingly covered with cloud - damn it! But it was still fun watching the surfers, who stayed out there until it was pretty much pick black and some of them were pretty bloody good, I have to say, it's a difficult sport if you ever give it a try! Finished the evening with a few cold Lions (apx LKR200/$2/£1.20 each), not a bad life....
The sunset clouded over a bit....
I stayed another day in Hikkaduwa, with much the same routine....good book, sun, sea and a cold beer. Oh, and a nice rotti for lunch, don't forget that! Typically Sri Lankan, rotti are like crepes with all manner of fillings and usually a bargain too. You wouldn't have known it was election day in this tourist-bubble, with all sorts of fun and games happening 3 hours away in Colombo (the presidents main rival candidate being esconed in a hotel, with 100 soldiers outside apprently!), but I think not being in the capital was a good choice. If there was going to be trouble, it would've probably been there! So the day passed without incident in Hikkaduwa. Two days was definitely enough here and tomorrow its onwards, to Galle and beyond.
Hikkaduwa Hotels & Accommodations review
Nice beachside guesthouse
I looked around a few places in Hikkaduwa before staying here. There are a load of guesthouses to choose from, all very similar. I ended up paying m… read entire review