Mirissa is no longer the sleepy coastal village it once was, yet, in many ways it feels as though it still is. Mirissa Bay is arguably one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, drawing hundreds of tourists – mainly from the West – in the peak November-January season. Located 150km south of Colombo, Mirissa is a tourism hotspot with an active night life. The New Year’s Eve parties here, in particular, can and do get pretty wild. The beach stretches for about a kilometer, and on a good day is wide enough to play football on. On the left side of the bay is smaller cove protected by a reef, making it ideal for a quick dip. While it’s no Arugam Bay, Mirissa is also a highly recommended surfing spot for beginner and intermediate surfers. The beach is dotted with a long line of restaurants that cater to hungry and thirsty tourists. Despite all this, Mirissa still hasn’t lost its old, “undiscovered” feel and is still one of the best vacation spots on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It’s also the base for most of the south coast’s whale watching operators, with a resident population of dolphins and Blue Whales, and offers one of the best places in the world to see these gentle giants.