Discover the best top things to do and see Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka in its purest and most satisfying form, whether you are looking to laze on the golden sands of its beaches, spend hours discovering the joys of the sea, following hidden trails to uncover the island’s past, embark on wildlife adventures or simply indulge in the curative powers of Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation.
Hot Air Ballooning
Balloon flights are a great way to explore the landscape of the Cultural Triangle. (Hot Air Ballooning) Balloons that travel with the wind, make for one of the most surreal and tranquil sensations of flight. Following the initial adrenaline rush of the take off, one could settle down to absorb the wonder of the colorful earth below. Balloons usually leave early in the morning from near the Kandalama Lake and take in the Dambulla Cave Temples and Sigiriya Rock. The season runs from October / November through to April and flights usually end with a champagne breakfast at the landing site. Trips are run by several tour companies including Adventure Asia, Eco Team and Sun Rise in Lanka Ballooning. Things to Do Sri Lanka
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Over the last few years, whale and dolphin watching has really taken off in Sri Lanka. The country sits alongside one of the world’s great cetacean migratory routes, and sightings are guaranteed for large parts of the year. Mirissa and Dondra Head on the South Coast are perfectly placed for some excellent whale watching, with the former being the hub for expeditions and accommodation. While the migratory season lasts from December to April, the first and the last months are the best time to spot blue and sperm whales, as well as dolphins. Trincomalee on the East Coast has also been renowned for whale sightings since the 1980s and continues to attract large numbers of visitors. Blue whales can be seen here from February through August as they continue their migration around the island from the South Coast. Over on the West Coast, the Kalpitiya Peninsula is best known for its pods of spinner dolphins and sperm whales, spotted on a regular basis between November and March. As a result, Sri Lanka offers around 10 months of whale watching every year at different destinations along the coast.
Kite and Windsurfing
Bentota and Negombo are popular places for windsurfing on the West Coast Sri Lanka. The windsurfing season lasts from November to April on this coastal belt, after which the East Coast takes over from April to September. Uppuveli and Nilaveli beaches offer ample opportunities for windsurfing with their great surf. Sunshine Water Sports Center in Bentota is a VDWS certified company that provides internationally recognized windsurfing courses.
Kite surfing is a relatively new sport in the Sri Lanka. The best time for kitesurfing on the West Coast is from May to October, when the wind conditions are suitable for the sport. While most kite surfers head for the Kalpitiya Peninsula, it is also possible to enjoy the sport in Negombo, Hikkaduwa and Bentota. Kitesurfing Lanka is a reputed operator that runs lessons for kitesurfers of varying levels of expertise, hires out equipment and arranges kiteboarding trips. The instructors here are IKO certified.
Trekking and Hiking
With picturesque scenery and a temperate climate, the Hill Country of Sri Lanka offers excellent opportunities for Trekking and Hiking. In Nuwara Eliya, it is possible to go for short treks to Single Tree Hill or for a day-long hike to the village of Shantipura. Knuckles Range is also popular among hikers for its diverse terrain of grasslands, mountain peaks and streams. In addition, the town of Ella makes a superb base for scenic walks.
Horton Plains National Park, with trails looping through forests and past waterfalls, is a paradise for hikers. There is plenty of good hiking in the ridges and valleys of Sinharaja Forest Reserve as well visitors can hire knowledgeable guides at the Sinharaja Rest. Those seeking a more challenging hike can attempt Adam’s Peak. Things to Do Sri Lanka
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Sri Lanka’s mountainous terrain offers cycling enthusiasts’ many opportunities to see the beautiful and awe-inspiring sights of the country. Cycling in the Central Highlands is rewarding with a view of the landscape studded with tea plantations running seamlessly over the ranges of hills, terraced rice cultivation and farmlands. The network of main roads and innumerable country roads, gravel paths, foot paths, cart tracks, dirt tracks and estate tracks make all corners of the small island accessible to the cycling aficionados holidaying in this island nation.
There are 4 (four) National Cycling Trails in Sri Lanka. They are located in contrasting geographical regions and have now been developed over routes which include the magnificent Central Highlands, the Cultural Triangle in the North Central Province, the southern coast up to Koggala and the Sabaragamuwa province at the foothills of the Central Highlands.
Madu River Boat Safari
Sri Lanka is a real paradise for all nature lovers. Yet some places are especially beautiful and draw hundreds of tourists with enchanting sceneries and serene atmosphere. Madu River is located in the south of Sri Lanka near Galle. The water of the river is dotted with small islands and the banks are all covered with lush mangrove forests that are home to dozens of incredible animal species. Enjoy hundreds of vibrant tropical birds and a few crocodiles if you’re lucky enough. These creatures are pretty rare and don’t like crowds.The swampy marshlands that surround the Madu River are under protection of the government of Sri Lanka as it is a fragile ecosystem that is home to many rare animal species. There are around 300 animal species in Madu River, 19 of which are endemic. The soil there is also really fertile – it’s a real treasure trove for ecologists and biologists.
Turtles in Kosgoda
Turtles in Kosgoda, is one of Sri Lanka’s prime tourism attraction. Several endangered species of turtles nest along the coastline of Kosgoda. In fact, the stretch of sand near Kosgoda is the most important site for turtle nesting on the West Coast. The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) has set up a watch scheme to safeguard the eggs laid on the Kosgoda beach. There are also many turtle hatcheries on the coast near the town. These are frequented by tourists who come to watch the baby turtles being incubated. Kosgoda also offers a decent beach and accommodation options, while Induruwa boasts a beautiful stretch of coast and the sea here is safe for swimming. Things to Do Sri Lanka
Mediation and Yoga
Meditation is the attainment of a deeply relaxed state of mind and body. One’s rate of metabolism is said to slow down causing the release of anxiety, stress and even pain control. Breathing exercises, repeating mantras, and sitting in silence helps relax the mind and reduce focus on the stressful situations that surround us. Meditation is a component of serious Ayurvedic treatment that helps bring harmony to the mind and body.The term yoga comes from a Sanskrit word that means yoke or union.
Traditionally, yoga is a method that joins the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness. Physical and mental exercises are designed to help achieve this goal, also called self-transcendence or enlightenment. On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. These postures are performed to make the spine supple and healthy and to promote blood flow to all the organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the body systems healthy.
Shopping in Colombo
The sheer range of clothing coupled with outrageously low prices has made a holiday in Sri Lanka synonymous with clothes shopping in Colombo. From small boutiques selling hand-made clothes, batik fabrics to shopping malls dedicated only to clothes to brand names like Mango, Kelly Felder, Giordano and Nike among others. Places like Odel, House of Fashion and Majestic City mall are part of a city tour and tourists and locals alike rub shoulders in looking for the quality clothes at a fraction of the price. Gem and jewellery plays a major role in the socio-economic history of the island a myriad of precious and semi- precious stones can be found adorning the windows of numerous jewelers and lapidarists.
Sri Lankan Cuisine – Rice and Curry
The dish of “rice and curry” in Sri Lanka is rarely, if ever as simple as its name might be suggest. On the contrary it can be and frequently does, a veritable banquet comprise a large platter of rice surrounded by a number of smaller dishes made from vegetables, meat or fish and accompanied by chutneys, a sambol (relish) and poppadums. The smaller rice and curry dishes showcase the island’s spices, and will usually comprise such items as fish curry, dhal and curried okra or chili potatoes. Pumpkin curry is frequently served too, as is aubergine, but visitors may also come across such treats as curried mango or jackfruit. A popular relish is pol sambol, made from grated coconut, chili and salty shredded Maldive fish (cured and dried tuna) which has quite a kick to it. Seeni sambol is gentler and uses onion and tamarind for a sweet sour taste. The rice used is predominantly of the boiled white variety, but red rice is also served in some places. Things to Do Sri Lanka