What happened to Mirissa, Sri Lanka? The party is over.

What happened to Mirissa, Sri Lanka?  The party is over.  After the infamous assault of Dutch tourists on Mirissa Beach in April, 13 locals were arrested and parties and party places were closed across the south coast of Sri Lanka.  Several bars tried to organize events but were shut down by the police.  However, travelers were still coming and expected something to do, being surprised at the lack of party scene and moving on quickly once they realized it was not what they had read about.  Soon the situation escalated even more, as most of the Mirissa beach bars have been destroyed by government bulldozers.

***Don’t forget to read to the bottom for a more recent update***

The newest development happened quickly.  On May 11th government bulldozers rolled into Mirissa town, along with more than 100 police officers, heavily armed soldiers, and a water cannon to fight back riots.  The government proceeded to knock down 21 structures deemed “illegal”.  This included nearly all the bars and restaurants leaving a big mess of mental, concrete, and other industrial waste along the beach.  Check out this article to read more from a local news report.

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All that’s left of the popular beach bars

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This might be another case of a story which goes a little deeper.  Only a few bars in Mirissa actually had a license to sell alcohol.  These places are still standing after the bulldozing.  Most beach bars in Sri Lanka choose to operate illegally, paying bribes over the obnoxiously priced and hard to get liquor licenses.   These licenses have a price tag of near one million Sri Lankan Rupees and take years of dedication through the proper channels to obtain.

There is also the factor that several large hotel chains have recently been “banging on the doors” of Mirissa.  It will be interesting to see if these large corporate companies are awarded the licensing that the local people were so long denied.

The government’s official reasons for the deconstruction was that A) the structures are illegal, and B) they are causing an environmental impact along the coast.  After the buildings were knocked down, there was no plan in place to clean up the destroyed structures.  These are still lining the beach, slowly getting picked though by the locals, hazardous asbestos roofing sheets thrown about in the sand.  Was this really the most environmentally safe solution, or did the authorities start a plan without a real finish in mind?

With the beach party scene being the reason most people came to Mirissa, Sri Lanka, we suspect it will take years for the town to recover.  Many honest and hardworking locals will be without work, not to mention the tremendous economic loss to the hundreds of local hotels and tourism businesses.

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This is why you should still visit Mirissa!

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We still recommend people go to Mirissa for the surf and awesome beachfront.  And don’t forget the sunsets!  Whatever ends up happening with all of this, hopefully in a few years Mirissa Beach will be in a better place because of the changes, however drastic that they were.  What do you think?  Did the government make the right decision?  Will you help us to have a clean up day, making the beach beautiful again?  Comment below!

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UPDATE October 2018:

We recently went to Mirissa to see if anything has changed.  The season is starting and tourists are beginning to flood to the area.  The beach is still a mess, lots of the debris has never been cleaned up.  Also, several of the bars/restaurants have reopened in the structures that were not eliminated.  All the rubble just makes the beach not seem as nice as it used to be.  Not sure if the parties will start again, supposedly we will see in the September season kick-off.

 

What we are doing now?  We’re in the Tuk Tuk Tournament in Sri Lanka!  Check out our Youtube series about the adventure!

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9 thoughts on “What happened to Mirissa, Sri Lanka? The party is over.

  • Nice ! I m not happy for the families and honest employees who will pay the consequences, but definitely Mirissa was an outlaw area, full of gangs and rowdie beahc boys that insetad of looking after the people that gives them a salary, just attempt agains the integrity of their customers every single day. Awful service, null customer service details, drogues, fights, harassments, overcharging..difinitely this suppose and after and a before with the aim of regulating the area as should be in one of the tourist destinations number 1 in Sri Lanka. And is coming late.

  • I just came back from Mirissa and was totally shocked when we drove in. The whole town looks like construction site with copious amounts of rubbish all along the towns main road.The rubbish is all over the beach and pushed up to the roadside at intervals to make it appear clean!! A local told us that the government refuses to pick up the rubbish of people running guesthouses who are not with booking.com and other online agencies because they don’t make any money!! The beaches are far from beautiful, a few small bays with lots of rocks and rubbish near the roadsides.

  • Hi there guys, an update on the subject???..we are heading to Mirrisa in the middle of december, we dont need the night life but we will sure don’t like the beach to be some kind of dumpster. Waiting for youre answer, thanks!

    • Hey T.Iulian! The beach is still nice, just not as nice as it used to be. Still a lot of rubble around and it’s honestly has more tourists than almost any place in Sri Lanka. In my opinion there are much better beaches, it just depends what you want in your “perfect” beach. How long will you be in Sri Lanka? Will you spend most of your time at the beach?

  • Hi Zack, thanks for replying. We will have 8 days to see the mountains and “green stuff” ( Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella) and 10 hot days on the beach, only in one place -Mirissa. We choosed Mirissa as it is right between Galle and Tangalle, and we want to be able to fast visit all of those beach in the south. If you have any suggestion about were is the best place for us to stay, we are open any for sugestions, you guys are the experts, for us is first time in SRI Lanka

    • that’s great, you should be able to see a lot in that time! We are getting to be experts, been here most of the year lol. What is your budget for nightly accommodations? Are you trying to surf or yoga or just chill on the beach? We have a bunch of new Youtube videos up if you want to check them out http://www.youtube.com/laaventuraproject . We just got back from the Tuk Tuk Tournament which was great. If you subscribe to our channel I’ll count that as “payment” for my advice 😉

      • Hehe i was already subscribed to your chanenl nad seen a couple of your videos :)))..we have already booked in mirissa, about 30$ home stay with bf and AC included, but we can cancel np, no surf or yoga..more on the chill side and travel to all cool location in south, south west.

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