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Tissamaharama is a town in southeast Sri Lanka.


Tissa is a gateway to Yala National Park. It is a charming village with lots of scenery and some ancient archaeological ruins, dating back from the 3rd century BCE when it was the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom of Ruhuna.

An ancient Buddhist dagoba located in Tissamaharama

Get in[edit]

There are no trains that come out here yet. There are regular buses from most major cities in the south. Expect about a 4-5 hour journey if coming from Galle.

Get around[edit]

Map of Tissamaharama

It is mostly walkable. You may also take local buses with the help of friendly villagers. As normal in Sri Lanka, a tuk-tuk is never far away.



  • Walk around Lake Tissa. Take a walk around Lake Tissa and the surrounding wet lands. It is full of all sorts of wild life. There are small dirt roads that take you through farm fields and modest homes. It is a great way to see how real Sri Lankans live. Along the main lake, there are often locals fishing with cane poles. Right behind them another person is breading and frying these tasty morsel to sell to anyone passing by. Stay out of the water though as crocodiles are masters of camouflage. When the weather is good, it is a great way to pass the time, while waiting for others to join your safari party or is a budget way to taste the tip of what Yala National Park has to offer.





Most of the cheaper accommodations are possibly located at the clocktower. If you getting off at the bus station expect to face some aggressive touts.

  • 1 Hostel First Yala Park, Hostel First Yala Park, No.25, Tissa-Kirinde Rd, Tissamaharama, Yala Junction, Kirinda (If you go by bus, hop off at Tissamahamara and take a tuk-tuk to Kirinda. The building is known by locals as 'Thippola' and it is located at Yala junction (Tissamaharama - Kirinda Road) where all safaris start. Look for a wooden gate and hostel logo), +94 76 7284 788, . Closest hostel to Yala National Park. Has open-air dormitory, private room with AC, shaded outdoor patio, and rooftop. It is suitable for those not afraid of occasional wildlife wandering in the premises. Dorm US $10, private room $20.
  • K Holiday Resort, Aluthgoda Road (in the town centre, close to bus stand), +94 47-2239304. AC and very cheap, simple non AC rooms with attached bathroom, big communal balcony, opened by a motivated couple. They can arrange tours, but are not at all tour-pushy as most of the competitors. One of the few places in Sri Lanka you can have a conversation with a female host in good English. There is a restaurant. from Rs 1000.
  • Mihisara Lake View Guesthouse, No. 257-5 Debarwewa, +94 777003337. The 6 rooms of the Mihisara Lake View Guesthouse are all en-suite and fitted with hot water. A/C rooms are available. Food and service is exquisite and cheap Jeep tours can be arranged to Yala National Park. Well worth the stay.
  • My Village Guesthouse. The rooms are all very modern, very clean and very large. The owner is very helpful and honest. It is a short drive out of town (Rs 200 in a Tuk Tuk) but air conditioned and clean, it is worth the trip. There is very little to do in Tissa other than get up at 5am to see Yala National Park, so really no need to stay in town.
  • Yala Leopard Paradise, 259/8 Rubberwatte Road (1 minute walk from the main bus station), +94 77 784 2656, . Very clean,new guesthouse in Tissa just a minutes walk from the bus station. The owner Metthe also has his safari company based at the house so its a great place to get everything taken care of in Yala. Breakfast is included and his wife is an incredible cook. The guesthouse is new, with WiFi and lots of space to relax, inside or up on their beautiful terrace. The more people the better when it comes to Metthe's safaris, Rs 4500. A lot of places charge the same amount no matter the number of people on the tour. So if you can get a few friends or meet people in town, Metthe can give you a really good discount with tea and snacks too.
  • 2 Kithala Resort, Kataragama Road, +94 47 2237206, . This nature resort offers 1 suite and 39 rooms with balconies facing paddy fields and streams. Rooms include A/C & fan, mini bar, tea & coffee-making facilities, electronic safe, and bath.



  • Sakura communications is a comfortable air-conditioned cafe with good prices. They are around the corner from the bus station next to Commercial Bank.

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