Mirissa smelled of heavy salty wet air, damp greenery and petrol fumes. I arrived there on afternoon from Colombo and thick tropical rain had splashed on my train. The track which had briefly run along the coast was smooth and the views were worth the ride. Mirissa arrived amidst lush coconut plantations, wet paddy fields, rich red earth roads and lots of dripping umbrellas. The locals and taxi drivers had come rushing to meet the train and a pool of people had filled the little station. It was a bit of a strange sight to see so many people on such a tiny train station and it took me quite some time to get out of the crowd. Bargaining for a taxi ride to the main village again meant more delays and I finally reached my guest house a couple of hours post arrival at the station.
My guest house was a locally run budget on the beach shack, and it was clean and comfortable. I could see the aqua green sea from my wooden porch and the breakfast of Lankan appams and curry were wholesome. It was quite a blessing that the Mirissa guest house was pretty worth every penny because I hardly made any efforts to explore the much renowned Sri Lankan beach destination. Famous as one of the most appealing places to spend by the sea in southern Sri Lanka, Mirissa is a popular back packers “hanging the hat” kind of a place. The beach is quite pretty and it has fine golden sweep of sand. Lush dense coconut forests encircle the curving beach and a small rocky outcrop creates a picturesque headland at one end. Sunsets are spectacular there and on clear evenings stars shine bright and hard.
The beach despite being nice, is not very becoming since a busy highway runs right next to it and the entire stretch along the coast is a swish of various types of touristy housings. From ugly modern concrete blocks to rustic charming resorts, Mirissa‘s accommodations draw hordes of young travellers. It is also well known as a whaling destination and there are excellent chances of spotting the blue and sperm whales close to the shore. This however, creates an environmentally hazardous situation during whaling season and Mirissa‘s sea is choppy. The best way to enjoy Mirissa is to just laze in the hammock, sip tender green coconuts and relax your hours away. That is exactly what I did and once, on a very early golden dawn, I had ventured out into its busy fish market.
That is perhaps my nicest Mirissa memory and the sight of colourful fishing boats docking to unload glistening catch was a mesmerising sight. The rest of Mirissa was pretty forgettable and it was a relaxing filler in the midst of my hectic Sri Lankan work assignment.
TRAVEL TIP – Mirissa has one of the nicest stretch of sand in southern Sri Lanka. The sea, though is rough here and swimming conditions vary in different parts of the beach. For your own safety, it makes sense to ask a local or at your guest house about the safe areas to swim before venturing into the water. Apart from whaling, various snorkelling “safaris” and numerous other watersports, including sport fishing and sea kayaking, as well as cruises around the bay and beyond, can be arranged with Mirissa Water Sports. Mirissa‘s whaling season is around January and it is best to organise it with a well known operator. This ensures your and the environment‘s well being. There are plenty of low and medium budget accommodations in and around Mirissa and you will need to go to Weligama or Matara for most services. There are however, small market, stores internet and pay phone near the 149km marker.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE