With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about where you’ll be when that clock strikes midnight. While we were in Sri Lanka, we found ourselves, for that fleeting NYE moment, in Mirissa Beach. And in an act of serendipity, this New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka party in Mirissa turned out to be the best of our lives.
Mirissa Beach New Year’s Eve Party
Perhaps the wildest New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka party in the country, the Mirissa Beach New Year’s Eve Party takes over the entire span of Mirissa’s main shores for the evening. The popular beach transforms under the hand of New Year’s Eve, and there’s not a party person around that won’t be shaking their booty here for the evening. Bars, restaurants, and hotels on the beach line the entire coast with bustling stages and spinning DJ’s. Crowds galore of locals and tourists alike gather around the stages to dance to the music and live entertainment.
But that’s not all, ladies and gents. Throughout the night, you’ll be showered with fireworks, festive lights, bonfires, gazillions of sparklers, and floating lanterns. In addition to the energetic crowds of people dancing, fire dancers roam the sand.
Frolic freely with your shoes off and drink in hand around the lights, fires, sparklers, twirl beneath the floating lanterns as Saturn sucks them out the sky, and dodge the flames of the exuberant fire dancers—it’s enough to make your cheeks blush with excitement and your head spin with pleasant giddiness.
With all its glitz and perfect party chaos, Mirissa Beach’s New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka event is surely a party to remember! And the best part? The party itself is free.
How We Got There
We had been in Sri Lanka for a week before it was time to say sayonara to the previous year and usher in the next. You can check out our full Sri Lanka itinerary—but in short, we first went from Colombo to the ruins of Anuradhapura.
We then explored the city of Dambulla, including Dambulla’s Elephant Trash Dump, and then Sigiriya’s Lion Rock. After we got our fill of Sigiriya and its….bodily-fluid-injesting monkeys (NSFW)…we headed over to enjoy a full day in Kandy. In Kandy, we enjoyed the markets, Temple of the Tooth, and some of its delicious finger-lickin-good food.
After finishing a thoroughly enjoyable jaunt around Kandy, we embarked on an 8-hour train ride through Sri Lanka’s tea country, through Nuwara Eliya all the way to Ella. After we arrived in Ella, we made our way to Tissamaharama, where we began an incredible safari at Yala National Park, famous for having the highest concentration of leopards in the world.
It was only after we finished our safari that we began to make our way to Mirissa. We were tired but still fueled with energy and excitement for our upcoming New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka festivities!
New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka: The Night Begins
When we first drove in to Mirissa, we were dismayed by how empty the town appeared. We had come in on tuktuk from Tissamaharama having just finished our safari in Yala National Park that afternoon. While a bus is available from Tissamaharama to Mirissa, we were anxious about figuring out our New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka event for the evening, and didn’t want to risk being stuck on a bus when the clock stuck midnight. So, we looked around for a cab, and the cheapest price we found for the ride ended up being tuktuk.
After (hands down) the most uncomfortable tuktuk ride of our lives, we drove in to a dark Mirissa. Our first impression was that of a sleepy beach town—where were the groups of people? Where were the parties? The bustling bars? We began to prepare ourselves for a sleepier New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka evening than we had previously anticipated. We managed to find our guesthouse tucked away about a 5 minute walk from the beach, and got to talking with our host. It was then that we elatedly learned about Mirissa’s Massive New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka party.
The next tricky part was finding it. Our host had been fairly vague—”just go down to the beach,” he said. “The party will take over all of Mirissa Beach!” We knew the general beach area, but after stumbling upon only ticketed private parties (no thank you!), we asked a fellow tourist walking on the main street, who said that most of the other openings in the street should take us right to Mirissa Beach. After walking down the next beach opening, we found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a lively bar that opened out onto the sand. Finally, we could let the night begin.
We fought our way to the bartender and secured ourselves some party fuel in the form of cocktails—expensive cocktails, by the way. At about $6-8 a drink, that’s a standard American price (if not on the cheaper side, at least for LA). But for Sri Lanka prices, that’s fairly outrageous. If you’re planning on getting your alcohol kicks, either bite the bullet and accept that you’d probably be spending about the same at home anyway, or BYOB/pregame.
Love holiday parties?
A Free-Spirited New Year’s Eve
Besides the slight hiccup in drink prices, the rest of the night went off without a hitch. The open nature of Mirissa’s Beach Party allows you to roam freely, choose different bars or stages and peel of easily at your whimsy until you find something that fits with your vibe at that moment. Like a giddy child, I spent the evening chasing the lights. A sparkler here—Benny, let’s go! Fireworks over there—Benny, Benny, let’s run over there! Several glowing floating lanterns being released into the ether—weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
Perhaps my favorite element of Mirissa’s Beach Party was its diversity. Tourists certainly made a strong showing, but there were plenty of locals as well. As the beach event itself is all-ages, you’ll find groups of party-raging twenty-somethings, beaming families, and older couples, all having a blast together.
The locals show off their incredible dance moves, but it’s the silly tourists (of course) that might take the spirit of the evening to mean streaking down the beach and skinny-dipping in the moonlit sea. (There was one particular Australian in nothing but a Santa hat).
So that was our New Year’s Eve Sri Lanka experience at Mirissa Beach. And the best thing? It was completely spontaneous. Taking in the last breaths of the year beneath a sparkling sky, lit with the glow of bonfires and fireworks, is an experience I’ll never forget. The next morning, our host at our guesthouse prepared us a magnificent New Year’s Day breakfast at his insistence, saying it was Sri Lankan tradition. We enjoyed our traditional meal, and spent the rest of the day recovering at the Secret Beach. The main beach in Mirissa is perfect for the crowd-magnet of New Year’s Eve, but for our lounging day-time needs, we wanted something more secluded. Hydrating with a 30 cent coconut, we rested our heads on the warm sand, head still aglow in the glitz from the night before, feet still tapping from the bumping music hours later. Like we said, it’s a party to remember.
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What was your best New Year’s Eve?
Let us know in a comment below!