Mirissa is a small city on the southern coast of Sri Lanka and is known for its good nightlife and surfing.
Mirissa is 170 km from Colombo and is easy to reach by train, bus or taxi.
The easiest way to reach Mirissa is by train. Depending on which direction you’re coming from, the nearest train stations are in Weligama (8 km) and Matara (12 km). From these stations, you can take either a taxi or a tuk-tuk to Mirissa.
The bus is normally the cheapest option and runs more frequently than the train. However, buses can be crowded and uncomfortable, especially if you’re carrying bulky luggage.
You can take a taxi to Mirissa from anywhere in Sri Lanka. You can hail a taxi from the street, but it’s easier and cheaper to book a taxi via taxi apps like Uber and Pickme or online booking websites like BookAway and 12GoAsia.
The nearest airport from Mirissa is Koggala Airport, about 25 km away. However, flights to this airport are normally quite expensive. Also, flights, in general, are harmful to the environment. We recommend that you travel by train, bus, or taxi instead.
How to get to Mirissa
Getting to Mirissa by Train
Mirissa doesn’t have its own railway station. The nearest train stations are in Weligama (8 km) and Matara (12 km).
When coming from Colombo, we recommend getting off at Weligama. You have 5 train options from 06:55 to 15:50 on weekdays. On weekends, there are 2 more train options, with the last one departing at 18:05. Travel time from Colombo is at least 2.5 hours.
You can book train tickets online, but you can also buy them at the train station on the day of your trip. Check out our page on how to book train tickets in Sri Lanka to secure good seats. For more schedules and train routes, visit the Sri Lanka Railways website
From these train stations, you can either take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to Mirissa.
Getting to Mirissa by Bus
Buses passing by Mirissa run more frequently than trains. When coming from Colombo, take a bus bound for Matara (#2) or Tangalle (#32-4). Fares start at 335 Rs ($4.00) for a semi-luxury bus. Travel time is around 3.5 hours.
If you’re coming from Ella or Nuwara Eliya, there are no direct local buses available. You will have to make at least one transfer. However, Brown Tours offers direct tourist bus trips via 12GoAsia for 3,630 Rs ($43.50). The journey takes 5.5-8 hours.
Buses normally drop you off near Mirissa Beach. From here, you can take a short tuk-tuk ride to your hotel.
If you’re coming from other towns, it is also easy to just hail a bus. Make sure to ask your hotel which bus stop to get off at or to track the location of the bus on Google Maps if you have a 3G/4G sim card.
Note that if you’re travelling with bulky luggage or a surfboard, you might not be allowed to enter the buses due to lack of space.
Getting to Mirissa by Taxi
A taxi is a good option if you’re coming from little towns or destinations that don’t have a direct connection by bus or train with Mirissa.
If you’re coming from Colombo, a taxi journey takes less than 3 hours. Rates start at 7,850 Rs ($94.00).
Getting to Mirissa by Flight
From Mirissa, the nearest airport is 25 km away at Koggala Airport, but we don’t recommend taking flights when travelling in Sri Lanka.
Flights going to Koggala are quite expensive and short-distance flights are extremely harmful to the environment. With the bus or the train, you will have a very scenic and more sustainable journey.
As we still want to share all the options on how to reach Mirissa, we can inform you that there are no direct flights from Colombo. When coming from Kandy, a flight takes 30 minutes and tickets start from 24,120 Rs ($290.00). From Koggala, you can take a taxi to Mirissa for around 1,100 Rs ($13.00).
7 Awesome Things to Do in Mirissa
Despite its small size, Mirissa is surrounded by great beaches to learn to surf and sunbathe, as well as lots of great restaurants.
See here the highlights of Mirissa:
Note that the best time to visit Mirissa is between October and February when the weather is mild and dry.
During the monsoon season, the beach will be empty and the weather will not be as great. If you are travelling in Sri Lanka between April and September, we recommend visiting Arugam Bay instead.
#1 Spending a laid-back day on Mirissa Beach
If you are looking for beautiful white sand beaches in Sri Lanka, this is it. Lined with palm trees, Mirissa Beach has a clear blue and green sea that is hard to resist. Its shore is lined with restaurants and cafes, but there is still a lot of space left for you to sunbathe or play in the sun without being disturbed.
PRO TIP: If Mirissa beach is too busy for you, there several nearby beaches with less toursits in nearby towns (Hint: Ahangama).
#2 Swim and snorkel with giant turtles
One of the greatest experiences to do on the south coast of Sri Lanka is swimming with the giant turtles. Turtles are most active a few hours after sunrise or before sunset, so this gives you the best chances to swim with giant creatures.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to snorkel and swim with these turtles, please keep a distance of a few metres and never touch these underwater animals. This can be harmful to them and they can even get sick from this.
PRO TIP: For the best experience, go early (around 08:00) to Polhena Beach and walk straight from the beach in the ocean to snorkel with these massive mammels.
#3 Learn or level up your surfing
Mirissa and nearby Willingama are probably among the busiest surfing spots in the world. Its waters are normally crowded with beginner and intermediate surfers enjoying the good swells.
More experienced surfers also often stay around this area and visit the more secret spots which are about 20-30 minutes from Marissa.
#4 Visit the famous Coconut Tree Hill
This small coconut farm on top of a hill offers the best views in Mirissa, especially during sunset. It’s often crowded with people taking photos, but you can’t really blame them for wanting the best shot.
You can reach the hill through a short hike from the beach or a quick bike ride.
#5 Go on a Whale Watching tour
Mirissa is the best place to see Blue Whales and dolphins in Sri Lanka. Boat tours last around 5 hours and a sighting is 99% guaranteed from November to April. Some tour companies offer a portion of the fee to be refunded in case of no Blue Whale sighting.
We recommend booking a tour with Whale Watching Chaminda and Raja and the Whales as they both get great reviews. They are known for respecting the whales’ natural habitat and they don’t chase whales the way some other operators do.
Note that you will be travelling through rough seas so this tour is not recommended for people who get seasick easily.
PRO TIP: Make sure to take motion sickness medicines with you in case the ocean gets too rough.
#6 Try out a few of the many good nearby restaurants
As good as Sri Lanka’s cuisine is, you will want some variety after staying here for a few days or weeks.
The restaurants lining Mirissa Beach offer a diverse food choice. Sushi, burgers, vegan, roti with a twist, almost any cuisine you’re craving – Mirissa offers quality food for everybody.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Shady Lana for the best smoothy bowls in town
- Nomad Cafe Boutique for a delicious breakfast or lunch
- The Kip for unforgettable Tapas Lunch or Dinner
- Doctor’s House for the best pizzas (Tip: Go on Saturdays)
#7 Experience Sri Lanka’s beach party’s
The fun doesn’t end when the sun sets in Mirissa. Although it is still quite laidback, you will always have somewhere to party in this small town.
They have a rotating schedule for parties among the beachside bars, most of which offer happy hour during sunset.
PRO TIP: Make sure not to miss the live bands (and delicious pizza) at Doctor’s House if you are in Mirissa on a Saturday. Come before 18:00 to avoid the queue.
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Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.