Tissa is a gateway to Yala National Park. It is a charming village with lots of scenery and some ancient archaeological ruins.
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. Busses coming from the north, unless they are direct, will drop you at the Panigamo Junction. From there, a tuk-tuk to town costs around 200/300 LKR to town/your hotel. At the junction, there are several touts for hotel and safari combinations; some aren't a bad deal, so long as you know what you want and can bargain hard.
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.
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.
K Holiday Resort, Aluthgoda Road (In the town center, close to bus stand), ☎ 047-2239304. AC and very cheap, simple non AC rooms with attached bathroom, big communal balcony, recently 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. A restaurant will be opened in spring 2012.from Rs 1000.
Mihisara Lake View Guesthouse, No. 257-5 Debarwewa,Tissamaharama, ☎ 094777003337. The 6 well appointed 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.
Hotel Tissa, Main Street, Tissamaharama (Right on the beginning of main street). checkout: 11AM. Central hotel close to the bus and train station. Operated by a very friendly and helpful family. Rooms are ok and relatively clean. Restaurant serves a small, but freshly cooked menu for affordable prices (400-600 Rs for a curry). 1000-2500 Rs.
Pala Hotel, Kataragama Road (15 minute walk to town), ☎ 047-223-7648. Free wifi, private bathrooms with hot water. The rooms are spotless and spacious. Run by a local man by the name of Karunapala, aka "Pala" for short. They also have a restaurant serving western, eastern, and Chinese food. Single with fan/AC: 2000/3500; Double with fan/AC: 2000/3500; Triple with fan: 5000 LKR. Prices are negotiable during low season..
Roots Restaurant and Rooms, Downtown Tissa, ☎ 047-223-9755. A small place with a few budget rooms above a mostly local restaurant. No wifi. Single with fan: 1000; Double with fan: 1200..
Traveller's Safari Inn & Restaurant, Behind the bus station, downtown Tissa, ☎ 047-223-9606; 077-784-2656, . Free wifi. Rooms have private bathrooms with hot water. Single with fan/AC: 1200/2800 LKR; Double with fan/AC: 2000/2800..
Taprobana, (Kataragama Road, opposite the Safari, near the lake.), ☎ 077-605-7587; 072-834-4143, . Newly opened, this place is still a work in progress. There are two simple rooms with private bathroom and shared patio. No wifi or hotwater. The ground floor is a restaurant serving eastern dishes starting at 250 LKR. The very friendly manager, Joseph, may be adding a dormitory some time soon.Single or Double with fan: 1500..
Sakura communications is a comfortable air-conditioned cafe with good prices. They are around the corner from the bus station next to Commercial Bank.
Busses run into/out of Tissa along Kateragama Road and they can be flagged down from any point. Busses to Colombo pass by hourly for most of the day. The journey from Tissa to Colombo takes 8 hours and costs 460 LKR. It travels along Rout 2 and makes stops in all the major towns (you can ask to be let off at any point). The bus from Tissa stops in Tangalle (2 hours), Matara (3 hours), Galle (4 hours), Hikkaduwa (4.5 hours), etc. If you are staying at a hotel in south Colombo, you can ask the driver to drop you off along Galle Road (it helps if you know exactly where you are going or have a hotel card to show him), otherwise the bus continues to the main bus terminal.
If you are going north, you can catch the bus from the Panigamo Junction about 5 km from town (a tuk-tuk is 200-300 LKR). Busses to Ella take 3-4 hours, via Wellawaya. If you are going to Kandy you must change in Wellawaya and again in Badulla.