31 Best Things to Do in Sri Lanka in 2023

31 Best Things to Do in Sri Lanka in 2023

We love Sri Lanka. Having visited Sri Lanka four times, we still manage to discover something new. It is one of the few countries that we actually felt sad leaving. While visiting this beautiful island located off the southern coast of India in the middle of the Indian Ocean, we enjoyed the warm Sri Lankan hospitality of the Sri Lankan people, had awesome wildlife encounters, and enjoyed some much-needed time on the beach.

Top Things to Do in Sri Lanka

This Sri Lanka travel guide will help you plan the perfect trip for when you travel to Sri Lanka.

1. Go Surfing

No Sri Lanka trip would be complete without getting in the water. Sri Lanka is a beginner surfers paradise. Hikkaduwa on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast is the popular spot where we tried surfing. The sandy break cushions your fall and the waves are not the gigantic intimidating pipes seen in Hawaii or Australia.

If you have never surfed before, Hikkiduwa in Sri Lanka is the place to do it. It is very easy to learn here and the conditions are perfect for the first-timer. So if you are looking for something to do in Sri Lanka, give surfing a try!

There are plenty of things to do in Hikkaduwa besides surfing. It has a long sandy beach filled with beach bars, resorts and shopping. So spend a bit of time chilling in this popular expat town.

2. Aragum Bay

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Arugam

On the west coast of Sri Lanka, there is a popular beach that offers bigger and better waves that is an awesome spot for surfing called Aragum Bay. This is where you’ll find a lot of surfers hanging out waiting to catch a wave. The season is different than Hikkaduwa’s however, so make sure to check when surfing on the west coast is popular.

Arugam Bay, with its perfect waves, became our favorite spot for surfing. Even as beginners, we enjoyed the thrill of riding the waves in this surfer’s paradise. But surfing is not all Arugam Bay offers. Its relaxed vibe and beautiful beaches make it a perfect getaway.

Make sure to explore the local cuisine and the nightlife of Arugam Bay. The delectable seafood, coupled with lively beach parties, made our stay unforgettable. If you’re seeking adventure or just wish to chill, Arugam Bay is an excellent choice.

We stayed at the Hikka Trans by Cinnamon and loved its modern amenities and location. Located directly on the beach and close to all the action. Check Reviews and Availability here

2. Visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Sigiriya

Nothing prepared us for the awe-inspiring sight of Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Known as the ‘Lion Rock Fortress,’ this ancient palace and fortress complex enthralled us with its sheer magnitude and ingenuity. The arduous climb to the top was instantly rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, something that will remain etched in our memories forever.

During the climb, take your time to see its impressive frescoes, the mirror wall, and the lion gate. The important archeological site is very impressive. Gracing the covers of many Sri Lankan Guide books, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Sri Lanka’s most recognizable sites.

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Sigiriya hiking

It is also set in a beautiful location in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by jungle, villages, and farmland, Sigiriya Rock is a location set back in time. Monkeys play on the trails and crocodiles dwell in its moat. The entry price is steep, but it is a beautiful view with an impressive museum as well.

Hiking to the top of Sigiriya Rock is a treat offering views of the surrounding jungle. It takes about an hour to get to the top of Sigiriya Rock and it is hot. Try to go in the morning for cooler temperatures. If you love history and archeology, Sigiriya is for you.

Helicopter Flight Over Sigiriya

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Helicopter Sigiriya

We also recommend booking a helicopter flight over Sri Lanka to see it from above.

3. Go on Safari in Yala National Park

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Yala National Park

Yala National Park is one of the few places in the world where you can see a leopard. I put Yala up there as one of our top things to do in Sri Lanka. We had so much fun looking at all the wildlife and four-wheeling through the park in our safari truck. Hanging out and making new friends was part of the fun!

This incredible reserve in Southern Sri Lanka is filled with wildlife. Leopards, sun bears, wild elephants, water buffalo, peacocks, monkeys, jackals, crocodiles, and monitor lizards to name a few.

You won’t be disappointed on a jeep safari and it is the best place in the world to spot leopards! Even if you don’t see a leopard, you will see a beautiful landscape and an abundance of wild animals.

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Leopard Spotting Yala National Park

However, chances are pretty good that you will see a leopard and prices are so reasonable, that even if you don’t, you can try to see one again on another safari.

The anticipation of spotting a leopard lurking behind the bushes or an elephant frolicking in the water was thrilling. Each safari ride was a roll of the dice, and the unpredictability made it all the more exciting. Yala is not just a wildlife safari, it’s a captivating encounter with nature that leaves you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

We stayed at Cinnamon Wild at the Yala National Park gates. It is pure luxury and you feel as if you are staying within the park with wildlife roaming freely. Check Prices and Reviews on TripAdvisor or Booking.com

4. Join the Adam’s Peak Pilgrimage

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Adams Peak

In my opinion, the top attraction of Sri Lanka is Adam’s Peak. Our climb to the top of Adam’s Peak at sunrise was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had in the country. Adam’s Peak is Sri Lanka’s most sacred site and you can join thousands of pilgrims from December to April as they pay homage to the first place that Adam stepped foot on earth when he was cast down from Heaven.

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Adams Peak Pilgramage

It is a climb that doesn’t require any technical skill, but it is a workout. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment taking part in this spiritual journey. Adam’s Peak is by far our top recommendation of things that you should make sure to do when visiting the country. This climb is what drew us to visit Sri Lanka in the first place.

Climbing Adam’s Peak, a holy mountain known for its sacred footprint at its summit, was an exhilarating and spiritually uplifting experience. The panoramic views of the sunrise from the peak were a sight to behold.

5. Ride the Train

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Ride the trains

One of the things you must things to do in Sri Lanka is ride the trains. Sri Lankan trains are like stepping back in time. They chug slowly along through hills and valleys. It is the slow journey that makes it special.

Looking out over the mountains and tea plantations rival any view in the world and the people that you meet on the train will be remembered forever. So if you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka make sure this makes your to-do list and take the time to travel by train. It will be an experience you will remember and cherish forever.

A top train journey in Sri Lanka is to Ella. When you take this train you will cross the famous Nine Arch Bridge that has become Instafamous in recent years with backpackers taking Instagram-worthy photos of the historic landmark.

The train ride from Kandy to Ella was beyond mesmerizing. Winding through misty mountains, lush tea plantations, and charming villages, this journey was the epitome of scenic beauty. The train ride is more than just a mode of transport; it’s a window into the soul of Sri Lanka.

When we made the trip again, we opted for the observation car. Watching the changing landscapes from the wide windows, sipping on local tea, and interacting with friendly locals made the journey an unforgettable experience. If there’s one thing you must not miss in Sri Lanka, it’s this magical train ride.

6. Sip Tea in Nuwara Eliya

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka is one of the most important tea producers in the world and its hill country is stunning. Nuwara Eliya is tea country and visiting a tea plantation here is a must. Colonial towns dot the landscape surrounded by tea plantations. One of the best places to sip tea is in the town of Nuwara Eliya.

The vegetation is lush and green and the rolling hills make for an awesome site. Pretend you are in jolly old England for a few days.  Stay in old plantation homes, drink tea, and eat baked goods.

It doesn’t get any more civilized than this. Don’t miss going to Ella and Nuwara Eliya to see the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. Exploring the scenery of the hills is a must-do when visit visiting Sri Lanka. It’s absolutely beautiful and you feel as if you are in another world.

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Sip Tea in Nuwara Eliya

Our first impression of Nuwara Eliya was of a lush green paradise. Known as the ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, this hill station with its cool climate and sprawling tea plantations was a visual treat. We learned about the tea-making process, tasted different types of tea, and even picked tea leaves ourselves.

On our second visit, we discovered more of Nuwara Eliya’s charms. From boating in Gregory Lake to exploring the Seetha Amman Temple and hiking in Horton Plains, every experience added to the allure of this picturesque town. Nuwara Eliya, with its colonial charm and natural beauty, is a must-visit destination in Sri Lanka.

7. Go to Udawalawe National Park

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Udawalawe National Park

Sri Lanka is filled with national parks and trekking through Uda Walawe is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the towns. What is special about this park however is the Elephant Transit Home an orphanage and rehabilitation centre for orphaned and injured elephants supported by the Born Free Foundation.

You can watch elephants being fed, but unlike the Pinawale Orphanage, the ETH cares only for the elephants well being. They have as little interaction with humans as possible. 

So far 65 wild elephants have been rehabilitated and let back into the wild. If you have your heart set on seeing and helping elephants, we suggest going to Udawalwe over the other Elephant Rehabilitation Centres. They are doing a great job.

8. Royal Palace of Kandy

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Royal Palace of Kandy

Kandy was the former ancient capital of Sri Lanka and was the residence of the Sri Lankan Monarchy until 1815. Kandy is one of Sri Lanka’s 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is definitely worth spending some time exploring.

Take a tour of the complex to see the king and queen’s palace, the temple of the tooth, and the royal court. Be sure to dress respectfully as it is a holy temple so cover your shoulders and knees.

Kandy, the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, wowed us with its rich heritage and natural beauty. The sacred Temple of the Tooth, the serene Kandy Lake, and the colorful Perahera festival were highlights of our visit. Kandy’s unique blend of tradition and natural charm was simply irresistible.

During our next visit, we explored the Royal Botanical Gardens, trekked through Udawattakele Forest Reserve, and experienced a traditional Kandyan dance performance. Every moment in Kandy revealed a new facet of its multifaceted personality, making us appreciate this vibrant city even more.

9. Una Watuna

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Una Watuna

Many people travel to Sri Lanka for its beaches and Una Watuna is one of the most popular. It is a beach town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. What makes it special is the fact that the highway bypasses the town making walking through the narrow lanes easy and free from traffic.

There are picturesque beaches and it is here that you can see fishermen still fishing from stilts. The Sri Lankan stilt fishermen are one of the country’s most iconic symbols. When in Sri Lanka explore the south coast in search of these fishermen, they truly are a beautiful sight to see.

10. Polonnaruwa

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Polonnaruwa

Exploring Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, felt like stepping into a historical documentary. The ruins, the sculptures, and the ancient reservoir spoke volumes about the Kingdom’s glorious past. This UNESCO World Heritage Site left a lasting impression on us.

During our return, we chose to explore Polonnaruwa on bicycles. Riding around the ancient city, taking in the sights at our own pace, and discovering lesser-known ruins made the experience even more special. History enthusiasts or not, Polonnaruwa has a mystic charm that no visitor can resist.

The ancient city of Polonnaruwa is Sri Lanka’s second oldest kingdom dating back to 1070. This UNESCO listed site is still inhabited by people. It’s in great shape with many monuments still standing. It’s not as large as many of the other ruins we visited around Asia, but it is a fascinating walk through time.

11. Hike to Pidurangala Rock

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Pidurangala Rock
Sigiryiya in the distance from Pidurangala Rock

We enjoyed hiking Pidurangala Rock to see Sigiriya Rock at sunset more than actually visiting Sigiriya Rock. It is a great sunset hike that takes you up a mountain adjacent to Sigiriya, offering amazing views of the giant rock.

The hike takes about 30 minutes to get to the top of Pidurangala Rock and you pass ancient monasteries and tombs as you make your way to the top of Pidurangala Rock. The views are out of this world and offer the best views of Sigiriya Rock Fort without having to take a helicopter tour. (which we also highly recommend) 

13. Huluru Eco Park

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Huluru Eco Park

Huluru Eco Park is another excellent place to view wildlife in Sri Lanka. Hire a truck and go on safari to see the best of Sri Lankan wildlife. We saw elephants and monkeys and what makes this park special, is that you can get out of the jeep and hike up to a high lookout.

Designated a biosphere reserve in 1977, Huluru Eco Park is an important habitat for Sri Lanka’s Elephants.

14. Visit a Turtle Hatchery

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Turtle Hatchery
Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery

Our next suggestion for things to do in Sri Lana is to visit a Turtle hatchery. Sea Turtles are under great threat due to fishing, pollution, habitat loss, and hunting. Of all the Sri Lanka tourist places, this is an attraction that will truly fill your heart. Turtle Hatcheries are doing their best to keep the turtle numbers alive and well.  One of the best is The Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. He loves turtles and lets them into the ocean nightly.

You can even take part in their release if you go at sunset. A person can’t go to Sri Lanka without visiting a turtle hatchery. It is a right of passage of visiting the country.

15. Hike to Ella Rock

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Ella Rock

The town of Ella feels more like an English Country village than a South Asian community. Complete with red phone booths, a horse track, and even fine white-glove dining you feel as if you are in Little Britain rather than Sri Lanka.

It’s a great place to make a base for a few days to explore. One of the best hikes in Sri Lanka is the hike to Ella Rock. The Hiking Trail to Ella is a must-do when visiting the area. The popular trek here is Ella Rock located 5km outside of town. It offers great panoramic views of the hill country and tea terraces and is a good day trip if you are up for a steep and challenging hike.

16. Hike to Little Adam’s Peak

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Little Adams Peak

Little Adam’s Peak is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Sri Lanka, located near the town of Ella in the mountainous Uva Province. Named due to its resemblance to the more challenging Adam’s Peak (the fifth highest mountain in Sri Lanka), Little Adam’s Peak stands at an elevation of about 1,141 meters above sea level.

The hike to Little Adam’s Peak is relatively easy and very accessible, making it a favorite amongst tourists and locals alike. It typically takes between 1 to 2 hours to complete, depending on your pace. The trail begins at Ella town and passes through lush, green tea plantations, offering hikers picturesque views along the way.

One of the most significant features of the Little Adam’s Peak hike is the panoramic view at the summit. From the top, you are rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, which includes the Ella Rock, the sprawling tea estates, the deep valleys, and the vast countryside. On a clear day, you can also see the towering peaks of the central highlands in the distance.

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Little Adams Peak Hike

The trail is well-marked, so you don’t need a guide to reach the peak. The initial part of the hike is a gentle climb through a tea plantation. The last section consists of a series of steps leading up to the summit. While the steps can be a bit strenuous for some, the hike is generally considered suitable for people of all fitness levels.

The best time to start the hike is early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat and to catch the sunrise at the summit. Alternatively, hiking in the late afternoon allows you to witness a breathtaking sunset.

Little Adam’s Peak hike is an exciting adventure for those visiting Sri Lanka. It provides a gentle introduction to the country’s mountainous terrain and offers some truly unforgettable views. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a casual walker, this trek is definitely one to add to your itinerary.

17. Hike to the Nine Arch Bridge

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Nine Arch Bridge

The Nine Arch Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Sri Lanka. Located in the mountain town of Ella, this viaduct is a marvel of engineering and has a beautiful, almost fairy-tale-like presence amidst the lush greenery.

The bridge was built during the British colonial period, around the early 20th century. It stands at a height of about 24 meters (80 feet) and spans approximately 91 meters (300 feet). What makes the Nine Arch Bridge particularly interesting is that it is built entirely of bricks, rocks, and cement, with no use of steel or metal throughout its structure.

The bridge gets its name from its construction and design, which includes nine arches. The arches are perfectly aligned and symmetrically designed, demonstrating the precision and skill of the workers who built them.

The Nine Arch Bridge is located on the Demodara loop, a railway line that winds through the highlands of Sri Lanka. The loop itself is known for its stunning views and scenic train rides, making the bridge a popular spot for tourists and photographers. When a train passes over the Nine Arch Bridge against the backdrop of lush forests and tea plantations, it’s a sight to behold.

Besides its architectural splendor, the Nine Arch Bridge has a fascinating history. It’s often referred to as the “Bridge in the Sky” due to its height and the misty clouds that often surround it. There are numerous local legends about the bridge, including one about a self-taught local builder who took over the construction of the bridge when the original British engineers abandoned the project.

18. Anuradhapura Sri Lanka

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Anuradhapura


What I love when I travel to Sri Lanka is how modern civilization lives in harmony with its ancient past. Anuradhapura is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka that is the capital of the North Central Province. It was also the capital of the ancient cities of Sri Lanka.

Its ruins are well- preserved and a visit is a good way to learn about ancient Sri Lanka civilization. The towering dagobas, ancient pools, and intricate stone carvings left us speechless. But what stole our hearts was the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, a sapling from the very tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It stood there, serene yet powerful, epitomizing spiritual resilience.

19. Discover Galle

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Galle

Galle, with its historic Dutch Fort, charmed us with its quaint beauty. It is a picturesque city surrounded by a wall built by the Dutch in the 17th Century. Walking along the fort walls, exploring the narrow lanes, and watching the sunset from the ramparts was like stepping into a different era. The colonial architecture, cute boutiques, and numerous cafes made us fall in love with Galle instantly.

Galle is located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka and is one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Take a walk around the city to explore the colonial buildings. Colonial customs are still strong in Galle and you can have afternoon tea at one of the high-end hotels. If you are lucky, you may see some locals cliff diving from the high walls.

20. Farm Visit

Cinnamon Wild hosts a farm visit to help keep farm animals safe from leopards, which in turn saves the leopards of Sri Lanka. They provide fences and safety for the cattle so that leopards do not snatch the calves.

In the past when leopards killed the livestock, farmers would retaliate and kill the leopards. Now that they have fences and are secure from the leopards, they can thrive and co-exist in the wild. A farm visit is a wonderful way to learn and understand what it is like to live in rural Sri Lanka.

21. Spend Time in Colombo – The Capital of Sri Lanka

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Colombo

Colombo, Sri Lanka’s bustling capital, enthralled us with its vibrant markets. Walking through Pettah Market, we were captivated by the colorful stalls, aromatic spices, and buzzing energy. It was a sensory overload but in the best possible way.

On our subsequent visits, we explored other markets in Colombo, each with its unique offerings. From fresh produce and seafood in Manning Market to handicrafts in Laksala, shopping in Colombo was an adventure in itself. If you’re a shopaholic or simply love the chaos and charm of local markets, Colombo won’t disappoint.

Colombo is a bustling city filled with luxury hotels and the Capital City of Sri Lanka. We stayed at the Cinnamon Grand. A luxurious hotel in the heart of downtown.

Colombo has come a long way since we first visited in 2010. It now is a bustling city with fine dining, nightclubs, rooftop patios, and cafes. Our favorite rooftop bar was at the Cinnamon Red Boutique Hotel.

Things to do in Colombo

National Museum Gangaramaya Temple Simamalaka Shrine on Beira Lake Get lost in the streets of Pettah Explore Colombo’s Colonial Buildings

22. Kaudulla National Park

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Kaudulla National park

There are 26 national parks in Sri Lanka and chances are you will see elephants. But when you visit Kaudulla National Park, you will literally see hundreds of elephants.

Kaudulla National Park is different from the other parks as this one seems to be solely dedicated to herds of elephants. We were surrounded by elephants on every side, but it was this elephant that took a keen interest in our jeep and slowly inched towards us that caught our attention.

23. Minneriya National Park

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Minneriya National Park

If you still want more elephants, Minneriya National Park is a far more popular spot to see them than Kaudulla. But you will see more tourists.

It is the largest known gathering of Asian elephants in the world and taking a private jeep safari is the best way to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.

There could be an entire post about the national parks of Sri Lanka. For a small island nation, this is staggering. Other national parks to visit in Sri Lanka include Wilpattu National Park,

24. Get to know the locals

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Meet the locals

Nothing feels better than being invited to someone’s house for dinner. The Sri Lankan people are a giving bunch. They are the friendliest people we have met in all our travels and we made great friends with our Tuk Tuk driver Ajith and his family.

What a wonderful experience getting a glimpse of local life in the country. If you are privileged enough to be invited to dinner, take it. It is a heartwarming evening filled with genuine hospitality. The Sri Lankan people are some of the friendliest people in the world.

Unawatuna, with its golden sands and turquoise waters, quickly became our favorite place to unwind. The beach town’s relaxed vibe was the perfect antidote to our urban fatigue. Whether it was lounging on the beach, savoring delicious seafood, or swimming in the clear waters, Unawatuna was the epitome of beach bliss.

25. Laze on the Beach

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Beaches

A trip to Sri Lanka wouldn’t be complete without visiting a beach! Sri Lanka has some great beach life and there are several beaches to choose from around the country. Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, and Kosgoda are some popular beaches, but you can find secluded beaches all along Sri Lanka’s coast.

Some are eroding away, but others are pristine. Rent a bicycle or motorbike and get out there to explore the island. The beaches are the number one reason why people come to Sri Lanka and once you see them, you can understand why.

26. Go Whale Watching

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka Whale Watching

The coastal town of Mirissa, located in the southern part of Sri Lanka, is the most popular base for whale watching. Other sites include Trincomalee in the northeast and Kalpitiya for watching dolphins.

The tours usually start early in the morning, around 6 am, and can last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours depending on how far out the whales are that day. Boats head out into the deeper waters where whales are commonly sighted.

The boat ride can be quite long and the waters can get rough, especially if you are traveling during the edge of the season, so it’s recommended to take precautions if you are prone to seasickness. Operators often provide life jackets, and some offer light refreshments on the larger boats.

As for the whales, seeing a blue whale in its natural habitat is a breathtaking experience. They are magnificent creatures, and sightings often include the iconic spray as they surface and the majestic sight of their enormous bodies gliding through the water.

Apart from the blue whales, you might also see sperm whales, and if you’re lucky, orcas. It’s also common to spot various species of dolphins, including spinner, bottlenose, and striped dolphins. Sea turtles and flying fish are other marine animals that can often be seen during the tour. Remember that wildlife viewing is always a matter of luck and patience. There can be days when you might not spot any whales. The experienced boat guides, however, usually have a good idea of where to find them.The peak season for whale watching in Mirissa is from November to April, and in Trincomalee, it’s from June to September.

Lastly, responsible tourism is crucial. Choose operators that respect the animals by keeping a safe distance, not chasing the whales, limiting the noise, and avoiding any form of littering. Overall, whale watching in Sri Lanka is a magical, unforgettable experience, offering a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural environment.

27. Go Dolphin Watching

Fun things to do in Sri Lanka Dolphin Watching

Mirissa stole our hearts with the chance to witness majestic whales and playful dolphins in their natural habitat. The early morning boat ride, the anticipation of spotting these creatures, and the joy of seeing them leap out of the water was an experience of a lifetime.

On our second trip, we decided to lounge on Mirissa’s beautiful beach post our whale-watching expedition. The stunning sunset, the tranquil beach, and the laid-back vibe provided the perfect setting to reminisce about our delightful encounter with marine life. If you love wildlife and serene beaches, Mirissa is the place to be.

28. Visit Jaffna

Things to do in Sri Lanka Jaffna

Visiting Jaffna, the vibrant city in the northernmost region of Sri Lanka, was a cultural feast. From its unique cuisine and beautiful temples to its poignant war history, Jaffna offered a perspective different from the rest of Sri Lanka.

During our return, we delved deeper into the local life. We participated in local festivals, tasted traditional dishes, and visited the offbeat islands nearby. Jaffna, with its distinct culture, provides a enriching travel experience.

29. Explore Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla Cave Temple left us in awe of its religious significance and artistic grandeur. The various Buddha statues and intricate murals inside the caves were mesmerizing. Dambulla Cave Temple is not just a place of worship; it’s a testament to Sri Lanka’s rich Buddhist heritage.

Our subsequent visit to Dambulla included a hike to Pidurangala Rock. The hike, although challenging, rewarded us with a breathtaking view of Sigiriya and the surrounding landscapes.

30. Enjoy Water Sports in Bentota

Fun things to do in Sri Lanka Bentota

Bentota, with its beautiful beaches and azure waters, provided us the perfect setting for water sports. Whether it was jet-skiing, windsurfing, or a thrilling banana boat ride, Bentota had something for every adventure enthusiast.

When we returned, we opted for a more relaxed experience – a boat ride on the Madu River. The ride, with its mangrove tunnels and local wildlife, was a refreshing change from the adrenaline-pumping water sports. Bentota, with its blend of adventure and serenity, has something to cater to every traveler’s taste.

31. Take a Cooking class

Fun things to do in Sri Lanka Cooking Class

Sri Lankan food is right up there with Thai food as delicious cuisine that is perfect for taking a cooking class. It is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine and here are some Sri Lankan dishes that you must try when visiting Sri Lanka. Rice and Curry are typically eaten at lunch and are served with fish, chicken, or beer. Hoppers are bowl-shaped pancakes made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk.

Kottu Roti is a popular street food made from godamba roti (a type of Sri Lankan flatbread), vegetables, egg, and/or meat, all chopped and mixed together on a flat iron skillet. It is often accompanied by a spicy curry sauce.

Pol Sambol (Coconut Sambol) is a side dish made from ground coconut mixed with chilies, lime juice, salt, and Maldive fish. It’s used to add flavor to many dishes or simply spread on bread.

32. Temple of the Sacred Tooth

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Temple of the Sacred Tooth

Located in the Royal Palace of Kandy, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist Relic. If you have climbed to Adam’s Peak you will have already been to where Buddha first stepped foot on earth, and now if you go to the golden-roofed temple you will be in the presence of the sacred tooth relic of Buddha.

The Sacred Tooth Relic is the only remainder of Gautama Buddha who died in 543 BC. After he was cremated, the tooth was the last remains and is housed in the Royal palace in The Temple of the Tooth.

Relax in the Beach Town of Unawatuna

On our return to this coastal paradise, we discovered its vibrant nightlife. With beachside cafes transforming into lively bars, Unawatuna after dark was a different world altogether. If a mix of relaxation and entertainment is what you seek, look no further than Unawatuna.

Watch our video to immerse in Sri Lanka Travel

things to do in sri lanka video

Sri Lanka has everything that a traveler could possibly want. Adventure, spirituality, fine beaches, and nightlife. A vacation to this destination will never disappoint.

Where is Sri Lanka

Where is Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island country located in the Indian Ocean, to the southeast of the Indian subcontinent. It’s positioned just off the southeastern coast of India, separated from it by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.

The country is near the equator, which gives it a tropical climate. Its nearest neighbors, apart from India, are the Maldives to the southwest and Indonesia and Thailand to the east.

Sri Lanka is famous for its diverse landscapes that range from rainforests and arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches. The country’s coordinates are approximately 7.8731° N latitude, 80.7718° E longitude.

When is the Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a year-round destination due to its tropical climate and the two separate monsoon seasons affecting different parts of the country at different times. However, the best time to visit can depend on which parts of the country you’re planning to explore.

For the West and South Coasts and Hill Country: The best time to visit these areas is between December and March. During this period, these areas are usually dry and experience less rainfall. Locations such as Colombo, Galle, Nuwara Eliya, and Ella fall into this category. This period is also ideal for beachgoers aiming for the south-western coasts. For the East Coast and Northern regions: The weather is usually best from April or May to September. Destinations like Trincomalee, Pasikudah, Arugam Bay, and Jaffna have beautiful weather during these months. If you’re interested in surfing, Arugam Bay on the east coast has its high season between April and October. For Wildlife Enthusiasts: The Yala and Wilpattu national parks, famous for their leopard and elephant populations, usually close for about six weeks between September and October for the animals’ mating season. For whale watching in Mirissa, the peak season is from November to April.

Remember, the weather can be unpredictable, and it’s not uncommon to experience a little rain even during the dry season. However, these general guidelines should help you plan your visit for the best possible weather. As always, it’s a good idea to check the forecast and plan your activities accordingly when you’re preparing for your trip.

How to Get to Sri Lanka

How To Get to Sri Lanka

The most common way to get to Sri Lanka is by air, landing at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is the primary international gateway into the country. The airport is located in Katunayake, about 33 kilometers north of Colombo, the nation’s capital.

Here’s a general guide on how you might get to Sri Lanka from different parts of the world:

From the United States or Canada: There are no direct flights from North America to Sri Lanka. However, many airlines offer one-stop flights, usually through Middle Eastern hubs such as Dubai (Emirates), Doha (Qatar Airways), or Abu Dhabi (Etihad Airways). You could also fly via European cities like London (British Airways), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), or Paris (Air France). From Europe: Many major cities in Europe have flights to Sri Lanka. As mentioned above, you can fly direct from London with British Airways. Other airlines like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways also offer one-stop flights through their respective hubs. From Australia or New Zealand: Again, there are no direct flights, but several airlines offer one-stop services, often via Middle Eastern or Asian cities. For instance, you could fly with Emirates via Dubai or with Singapore Airlines via Singapore. From Asia: There are numerous direct flights from many Asian cities to Sri Lanka. For instance, SriLankan Airlines, the country’s national carrier, operates direct flights from several cities in India, China, Japan, the Maldives, and Southeast Asia.

Once you arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport, you can travel to Colombo city center by taxi, which takes about 30-60 minutes depending on traffic. Alternatively, you can take a bus or a train, which are cheaper options but take longer.

Remember to check visa requirements before you travel. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, most visitors need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before arrival. Be sure to check the latest information, as travel advisories can change.

Do you have some other suggestions of things to do in Sri Lanka? We’d love to hear in the comments below. 

Plan your Next Trip to Sri Lanka With these Resources

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