Sri Lanka is quickly becoming a popular destination for tourists of all kinds. Budget backpackers, families and luxury groups are finding this island an absolute delight with a wealth of history, culture and pure natural beauty, there is nothing to dislike.
It is surrounded by the warm turquoise waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.But Sri Lanka has more than great beaches, relaxation and incredible oceans. Here are 9 attractions and activities to put onto your Sri Lanka bucket list.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Located in the heart of the Sri Lanka wet zone, is Sinharaja (Lion King) Forest Reserve. In 1989, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its importance to the local ecosystem. It provides a water resource for the population of the southwest of Sri Lanka and it many rain clouds keep the soils, trees and wildlife flourished. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve does not allow vehicles so, walking everywhere is mandatory. Due to this, all visitors are accompanied by a guide.
Cycle through the ruins of Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa is an ancient city that was once the epicentre of the commercial and political World of Sri Lanka, but that was 800 years ago. Now it is full of religious buildings and ruins, ready for you to explore. Hire a bicycle to a cycle the town to witness the royal palace, The Vatadage in the Quadrangle and the Shiva Devale, which is the oldest building in Polonnaruwa dating back to around 1070. Other notable stops on your biking tour are Pabalu Vehera and Dagaba Kiri Vihara, which is still covered in the original white lime plaster from 700 years ago.
Safari Trip in Yala National Park
The Yala National Park is the most visited national park in the country and it covers 979 square kilometres. Yala became a national park in 1938 and in 1990 was designated a wildlife sanctuary. Making it a great place for a safari. You can be guaranteed to see elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes and monkey’s.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
This is THE place to see Elephants in Sri Lanka. Its popularity is what lead Sri Lanka to be synonymously linked with elephants. Not only can you learn about and get close with these friendly giants. But you can also take part in a fruit feeding session. Twice a day you can witness milk feeding and watch the elephants bathe in the nearby river, Kuda Oya. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a really happy and magical place, with 93 elephants.
Boogie Boarding in Mirissa
Break up your cultural trip in Sri Lanka with half a day boogie boarding on Mirissa Beach. It a safe place to catch a few waves whatever your age. If you are lucky your hotel with have some boards that you can use for free. But if not, they can be hired from a beach vendor. You may need to haggle.
Visit Galle, Sri Lanka
Galle is one of the main cities in Sri Lanka and needs a whole day to explore, if you are a dawdler then two. Walking the roads of the old town and the paths around the fort are enchanting. As you walk you will have various attractions to explore, like museums, art galleries, cute café and market stores.
Discover Adam’s Peak
This is the 4th highest mountain in Sri Lanka and it is 2244m tall. Adams Peak plays an important part in religious pilgrimages. The famous Sri Pada or “sacred footprint” will be discovered on your hike It is close to the summit of Adam’s Peak. Who the footprint belongs to depends on your religious beliefs. Buddhists believe it is the footprint of the Buddha, while Christians believe it the foot print of Adam. No matter what your beliefs, you should add this hike to your to do list because it is a tranquil and unique experience, with incredible views.
Dambulla Cave Temple
The Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site and a sacred pilgrimage site. It has been in existence for 22 centuries and is the largest and best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. Travel through the caves to admire the many Buddhist mural paintings and statues.
Explore the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
The Temple of the Tooth is the most visited attraction in the region of Kandy, so get there early. As well as housing the tooth of the Buddha it offers the perfect view point of Udawatta forest, as it is 5,350 feet above sea level. Within the temple you will find a statue of Wariyapola Sumangal. Unlike the traditional idea of a monk this statue stands in an aggressive stance.
These activities will keep each day in Sri Lanka new, fresh and full of adventure. The best times to visit are between December and March. Avoid April, October and November. To find out more information about this wonderful Indian Ocean island, click here.