Sri Lanka Overview
Shaped like a teardrop, Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean. There are a variety of exciting and fun activities to try out in this stunning country. In fact, this island nation is one of the best exotic destinations and has everything to offer from beaches to jungle adventures to iconic monuments, not to mention its vibrant nightlife, food, and so on. There are many captivating sights and something for everyone – be it an adventure or relaxing on the beach with your loved ones. So, read on to see the 15 best things to do in Sri Lanka!
1. Explore Viharamahadevi Park
The first activity on our list is to visit this park located in Colombo near the Independence Memorial Hall. It is a perfect place for couples or families with children and definitely one of the best places to visit in the city. You can go for a walk and visit the nearby waterfalls or follow a hiking trail. Or, you can have a picnic, visit the zoo, and just relax while enjoying the fresh warm air.
2. Pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak
Adam’s Peak is the holiest site in Sri Lanka and one of the top attractions that you have to visit during your stay. You can follow thousands of pilgrims during the two months of the year they pay homage to where Adam first set foot on earth, or go on your own. You don’t need any technical skills to climb this peak, but it can be quite challenging. Though, you will reap the rewards of taking part in such a spiritual journey while in Sri Lanka.
3. Climb the Stairs to Sigiriya
Sigiriya is one of the seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka that you can visit. This ancient rock fortress dates back to the 5th century, and you will be surprised to find that the atmosphere here is more spiritual than militant. Considered one of the most significant urban development projects of the first millennium, this site was once a royal palace and a Buddhist monastery. You’ll also see some of the oldest landscape gardens in the world. You should also try to get a glimpse of the masonry wall, which was so well-polished that the king usually saw his reflection in it.
4. Visit Gangaramaya Temple
Another top attraction located in Colombo, Gangaramaya Temple, offers unique art and architecture that is even grander than any of the other temples you’ll find in the country. Its artistic brilliance has stood the test of time and reflects a fusion of Indian, Thai, and Chinese architectural styles. Don’t miss this temple and its breathtaking sculptures when in Sri Lanka.
5. Discover the Pettah Floating Market
This market is a little insider tip in Sri Lanka, as few people know about this floating market. It is a nice little market where you can buy many things like clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, electronics, jewellery, fruit, and so on. The market is located on a bridge over the lively Beira Lake in Columbo.
6. Visit the Sea Turtle Hatcheries
Near the beaches of Bentota, you’ll find many sea turtle hatcheries. One of the best and most interesting things to do in Sri Lanka is to visit one of the educational centres at a hatchery to learn more about these amazing creatures.
One of the top hatcheries to visit is the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, where they provide a safe place for the turtles from the time they need to feed after hatching until they make their way into the sea. The people at these hatcheries also strive to locate injured or endangered turtles in the wild and bring them back for protection and safety.
7. Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic
This is a popular temple where the sacred tooth relic of Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama has been kept for generations. One of Sri Lanka’s must-see attractions, the temple is also one of the most pristine and peaceful shrines in the country. You should visit this temple just to be wooed by its beauty and to see the sacred tooth relics. You can also see how people practise the Buddhist tradition of meditation and the chants that come along with it. This is an ideal place for tourists who want to seek inner peace and rediscover themselves.
8. Explore the Seetha Amman Temple
Locals believed that this temple was built on the site where the goddess Sita was held after she was violently kidnapped by Ravana. The temple is the epitome of peace and tranquility and is located in the middle of a picturesque landscape on a wooded hill. Nearby flows a refreshing stream, believed to be the place where Sita bathed every day during her captivity. You can also visit the magnificent temple, located right next to the enormous footprints of Lord Hanuman, who came to save the goddess Sita. You should definitely visit this site if you want to do something good for your soul in Sri Lanka.
9. Tour the Tea Factory
Sri Lanka is one of the leading tea-growing countries in the world. There are many tea villages in the country that you can visit but one of the best tea plantations is Nuwara Eliya. This plantation is one of the most wonderful places in Sri Lanka that you’ll ever see. Take a tea factory tour, where you’ll learn about the intricate tea making process. Towards the end of the tour comes the true highlight; a tea tasting you get of the tea made right there in the factory.
10. Walk Through the Temple of the Dambulla Cave
Surrounded by lush forests, this temple in Dambulla combines the unparalleled splendor of Sri Lanka with its tranquility. The temple is also considered one of the oldest buildings you’ll find in Sri Lanka. The highlights here are the enormous golden Buddha statue and the golden dome of the temple. The temple is also adorned with many prehistoric carvings and paintings for you to peruse at your leisure. It is a famous place for Buddhists and for all in search of spirituality.
11. Explore Hikkaduwa
Sri Lanka is blessed with a vast coastline, where you’ll find many beautiful beaches that have something for everyone. Here, you can choose from various beaches, such as Bentota and Trincomalee. The beaches are magnificent and offer travellers a unique experience in terms of activities and views.
12. Whale Watching in Mirissa
A guided whale or dolphin watching tour is one of the top things you can try in Sri Lanka. Mirissa is a town blessed with magnificent marine life. The best time to go dolphin or whale watching in Mirissa is between November and April, when the sea is relatively calm, and you can see mammals near the boat. If you’re the type that’s looking for some adrenaline, you’ve come to the right place.
13. Visit Yala-Nationalpark
This park is home to the Sri Lankan leopards and is the only place in the country where you’ll see these animals roaming in their natural habitat. One of the best offerings of the park is the jungle safari – especially for nature and wilderness lovers or photographers who are looking for an exciting adventure in the country.
Some other animals you’ll see here are sloth bears, elephants, macaques, turtles, fishing cats and so on. The park is also home to some dangerous reptiles such as monitor lizards, flying snakes, crocodiles, the Indian cobra, the Russell’s viper, the Sri Lankan krait and more! In addition to exploring the park, you can also visit the beach and the quaint little fishing villages nearby.
14. Explore Galle Fort
This fort was built in the 18th century and is located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as most of the building has been frozen in time. These old buildings have now been converted into trendy shops, restaurants, and cafés for you to explore.
15. Dive into Gorgonian Gardens
The final place on our list of the “best things to do in Sri Lanka” is a top hotspot for adventurous tourists and is also located in the capital city of Colombo. Gorgonian Gardens features a beautiful dive site with coral reefs. The clear blue water is absolutely perfect for diving and the marine life here will leave you in awe.