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TOP TEN things to do in Sri Lanka

What are the top ten things to do in Sri Lanka?

The tropical sun, white beaches and calm waters. Add to the mix friendly locals, luxury holiday resorts, mouthwatering cuisine and a dollop of history and culture – think the Galle Fort. And did we forget to mention the famous Ceylon tea? With so many things to do in the Asian south Asian country Sri Lanka, it is truly a traveler’s delight.

The diversity in the wealth of experiences that Sri Lanka offers is truly amazing. You have the cultural delights of Kandy, the tea plantation beauty of Nuwara Eliya, the caves of Dambulla and rock fortress of Sigiriya, the quaint seaside resort town of Hikkaduwa, the beaches of Mirissa and Dalawella, the coral reefs off Unawatuna, surfing in Kalpitiya, and a National Park visit – there are several to choose from – make a Sri Lankan holiday truly delightful. 

So if you are wondering what to visit in Sri Lanka then this is the guide for you. Here is a list of the top ten things to do in Sri Lanka curated by our Enchanting Travels specialists, which should definitely be part of your Sri Lanka travel guide

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Sigiriya Lion Rock fortress and landscape in Sri Lanka. - Ideal for winter travel

1Explore the rock fortress of Sigiriya

Venture back in time in Sigiriya. Explore the marvels of this ancient World UNESCO site in Sri Lanka. Built in the 5th century on a monolith and surpassing the surrounding jungle, you will find artistic frescoes in Sigiriya that highlight silent testimonies to Sri Lanka’ s moving history.

Enjoy one of the best rock-climbing excursions in Sri Lanka here in Sigiriya as you ascend the steep steps to reach the fortress. 

Near Sigiriya, lies the beautiful town of Dambulla, known for its Royal Cave Temple, Minneriya National Park and Pidurangala Rock among other must-see sites!

Beeindruckende Tempelanlage in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

2Enjoy a historical tour of Anuradhapura

For more than a thousand years, Anuradhapura was the seat of Sinhalese royal dynasties. There are many things to see in Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and capital for many centuries.

Learn about the ancient Sri Lankan civilization as you see the impressive temples and monasteries, huge bell-shaped stupas, palaces and ancient drinking-water reservoirs. Visit the Sri Maha Bodi, the oldest tree planted in the world, which is a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. You can also to the ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain in Ritigala from here.

Ayurveda

3Experience Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

Experience a traditional Sri Lankan Ayurveda treatment at a resort in Sri Lanka. What is Ayurveda? It is centuries-old healing art that focuses on the regeneration of body and mind with the help of tools such as yoga, meditation, massages and a balanced diet.

Sri Lanka has numerous retreats famous for Ayurveda. They include the Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort, the Lotus Villa, Dalmanuta Gardens, Heritance Ayurveda Resort, Shunyata Villa and Lanka Princess among others, which offer holidays aimed at balancing mind, body and soul.

4Relax in the fishing village of Balapitiya

Balapitiya offers an authentic Sri Lankan experience. This small, traditional fishing village with golden sandy beaches has retained an untouched vibe. 

Explore nearby attractions like the famous mask carvings of Ambalangoda. Balpitiya is known for its sunshine as well as its calm waters, making it the ideal spot for watersports such as diving, snorkeling and swimming. Scenic Balpitiya’s diverse flora and fauna are also a big draw.

5Experience the Esala Perahera Parade in Kandy

One of the cultural centers of Sri Lanka, Kandy‘s architecture is a stunning medley of colonial, Buddhist and post-independent Bawa influences. Enjoy scenic views of the city’s outskirts with its plethora of rubber and tea plantations and paddy fields, stroll around the beautiful manmade lake, one of the landmarks of the city.

Each year, Kandy hosts the world-renowned Esala Perahera, a magnificently regal parade, complete with decorated elephants, trumpet fanfare and costumed drummers.

And that’s not all. When in Kandy you must visit the Sri Dalada Maligawa temple or the Temple of the Tooth, and enjoy scenic treks in the Knuckles Mountain Range. From Kandy, you can also make the journey to Dambulla, 

Best places to visit in the world in 2018

6Explore the colonial marvels of Galle

Galle, with its natural harbor and gentle sea breezes, offers a unique historical and cultural perspective into the development of Sri Lanka during its colonial era. The city’s main feature is the foreboding historic Galle Fort, one of Galle’s top attractions, which was built during Dutch rule and towers over the Indian Ocean with its architectural marvels and administrative buildings within.

Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s much to do outside the fort – there are bustling markets as well as eclectic restaurants and a host of shopping as well as cultural options including several art galleries!

From Galle, you can head to Unawatuna. The coastal town of Unawatuna is known for its beautiful beach and coral reefs. You can also head to the town of Hikkaduwa, a beautiful beach town with a bustling nightlife. Another popular beach town that can be visited from Galle in Mirissa. The Mirissa beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Sri Lanka. Mirissa is popular for a range of watersports including snorkeling and surfing. 

7Enjoy a safari in the Yala National Park

Explore varied landscapes, where lush jungles with open, wide areas alternate in Yala National Park, one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.

The park is home to wild elephants, buffaloes, leopards, bears, a variety of birds and crocodiles. Shrouded in legend, Yala is believed to be the former kingdom of Ravana, from the Hindu epic Ramayana. Yala also has two major sacred pilgrimage sites frequented by Buddhists and Hindus. Around an hour from Yala National Park is the town of Haputale, known for its rich biodiversity. 

Another popular national park is Bundala National Park, known for its migratory birds. You can also visit the Wilpattu National Park. This National Park is known for its natural water basins. 

8Relax in idyllic Wadduwa

Wadduwa beach is one of the most scenic beaches in Sri Lanka. Fringed by coconut palms and bright coral reefs, its magical sunsets are truly spectacular.

The beautiful calm waters of the Bentota river flowing into the Indian ocean is ideal for a variety of water-sports and the coral reefs make this a diver’s paradise! Wind your day down savoring seafood at a nearby restaurant.

Wasserfälle im Sinharaja Regenwald

9Make a trip to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve

he lush, green Sinharaja Forest Reserve is populated by countless colorful bird and butterfly species. As Sri Lanka’s only remaining rainforest, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is arguably the most important site in Sri-Lanka and is internationally important for its biodiversity.

Embark on Sinharaja Forest Reserve foot tour to best understand appreciate its natural life. natural life.

Sri Lanka Travel Tips - Ancient Buddha statue of temple ruins in ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, Asia, shutterstock_147899873

10Marvel at the majestic architecture of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka and is today home to marvelous ancient Sri Lankan architecture dating back to 12th Century AD. See Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century, apart from various other notable art and architectural marvels. 

Extra tip: If you have had your fill of beaches and coastal delights, head to the tea country of Nuwara Eliya. Stay in any of the quaint English style hotels in Nuwara Eliya and make a trip to the tea factory as you take in the idyllic charm of the region!

Discover all the best things to do in Sri Lanka by booking your vacation with our experts at Enchanting Travels. Contact us for your tailor-made and obligation-free tour itinerary.

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