A beach-bum guide to marvellous Mirissa
My trip to Mirissia was one of the best beach-bum breaks I’ve ever had. Move over Phuket, Langkawi and Bondi Beach with your endless boardwalks, “international” restaurants and sugary cocktail bars. The seaside town of Mirissa, along the southernmost coast of Sri Lanka, is the fairest holiday spot of all. Mirissa beach has gorgeous grainy sand the colour of honey, sweeping blue waves and a warm jewel sun that kisses and never burns.
Besides the beautiful beach, there are also plenty of things to see, eat and drink in Mirissa. Read on for my guide on why Mirissa is the best place for a beach-bum break!
Getting to Mirissa
When I first planned my holiday to Mirissa beach I had every intention of braving the commuter train from Colombo. Colombo International Airport is located in the city of Negombo, which is a 1-2 hour bus ride from the capital, depending on traffic. Unfortunately, even before we reached Sri Lanka, my hubby and I realised we had made a dire mistake with our holiday booking. We had only booked one airplane ticket instead of two! So I flew to Sri Lanka and spent a few hours commuting to and from Colombo whilst waiting for my other half to take the next flight out.
In the end we said, “fuck it” and arranged to take a private car from the airport to Mirissa. The drive was 4.5 hours and it cost $100 Singapore dollars. If you plan in advance you can arrange a cheaper ride. Or, if you are game to try public transport, check out Rome 2 Rio for specifics.
Mirissa beach is just gorgeous. The sand is clean and the water is warm. More importantly, there are no annoying touts patrolling the beach flogging cheap tourist crap! You can rent a chair or just chill on the sand relatively undisturbed. Mirissa has a hippy vibe to it and there are one or two beach bars as well as a few hostels along the boardwalk.
Mirissa beach is split in the middle by a rocky stretch. It’s an easy climb to a grassy patch on the top and serves as a great vantage point for photos or an excuse to stretch your legs.
Mirissa beach is large and the waves can tower tall but they are not too choppy. You can surf and boogie-board here but if you are craving bigger waves then head to Weligama beach instead.
When visiting Mirissa, I recommend a half-day of whale watching with Raja & the Whales. A driver will pick you up at 5.30am from your hotel. When we went, there were approximately 30 people joining the tour. We were fitted with safety vests and offered sea-sickness tablets at the dock before boardeding the boat. On deck, we were served a light breakfast of tea and fresh fruit as we watched the glorious sun slowly rise. The captain showed us a map of the area and explained the type of whales we might see.
It was a wonderful day out on the water. We were fortunate enough to be sitting on the top deck from which we had a prime position to see the whales. We spent four hours at sea and we saw five whales! The water was not too choppy although we got a little wet so I recommend bringing a light jacket.
At the end of the trip we given a complimentary fresh coconut juice and took a tuk-tuk back to Mirissa beach.
The Secret Beach
One of the most idyllic places to chill at Mirissa is at the Secret Beach. Although it’s a secret there is fortunately some signage to help ensure walkers do not get lost. The Secret Beach is a 20 minute walk from the Mirissa town centre by foot and you will probably pass a cow or two, not to mention several street dogs, along the way.
Some people take a tuk-tuk to get to the Secret Beach but the walk is easy and the route is clearly marked on Google Maps.
The Secret Beach is a protected cove with shallow water, a few rocks where the baby crabs live and lots of luscious trees that shade the beach from the midday sun. There is a small cafe at the Secret Beach but I would recommend skipping this and just enjoying a free swim instead. We visited the Secret Beach at 10am and there were no other tourists!
If you’re anything like me, then cocktails on the beach is a must when on holiday. In Mirissa, head to the Zephr Restaurant & Bar at the end of the main beach for the zestiest cosmopolitan cocktails you’ve ever tried. They also make other classics such as margaritas and daiquiris as well as a few house specials. The cocktails cost around $7 Singapore dollars each.
For an extra-special alcoholic treat, take a tuk-tuk to the Doctor’s House. This is the ultimate chill-out joint. Be sure to take off your shoes on arrival and then find a cosy place to relax under the lofty palm trees. Hippy tunes by a live DJ play non-stop and the menu boasts lots of yummy cocktails, wines, beers and fresh fruit juices. I recommend their Walter Ego concoction made with vodka, orange juice, fresh pineapple and coconut water.
Delicious Food in Mirissa
Papa Mango is a rustic bar-shack right on the beach dishing up some awesome Sri Lankan fare. Ignore the Western and kid-friendly dishes on the menu and go for the seafood and Sri Lankan street food options. The briyani is delicious and the chilli crab with flat bread is to die for. They also serve classic cocktails and beer. We went to Papa Mango restaurant every night that we stayed in Mirissa. The fresh food and reasonable prices were unbeatable.
For breakfast, you will wanna head to Shady Lane. This place is a yogi-delight as they serve 100% wholesome and organic food. The coffee smoothies are heavenly and served with an environmentally-friendly bamboo straw. Shady Lane serve the typical Western brunch faves like poached eggs, smashed avocado on toast and muesli bowls.
Day Trip to Weligama
If you’re a surfing fanatic or fancy a change of scenery, then grab a tuk-tuk to the next beach along, which is Weligama. The ride will take approximately 30 minutes one-way. Weligama beach is much bigger and its caramel sand and wispy waves stretch out as far as the eye can see. Because the waves are a lot bigger and there is more space, this is the preferred spot for serious surfers. For beginners, there are many schools offering surfing lessons too.
If you’re like me and prefer to watch the surf from afar, Weligama is also a nice spot for a leisurely walk. If you keep walking eastward, away from the crowds, you will come across a few small boats and private islands. This is where the richer tourists like to hang out! After a good walk, you may want to finish up with a spot of lunch. Take your pick from the number of beach-side cafes serving drinks and grub.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy Mirissa beach. This is one of the most beautiful and chillaxing beach-bum towns I’ve ever visited. The budget accommodation by the main Mirissa beach is perfectly acceptable and you can rely on tuk-tuks to get around. Happy beach-bumming!