Top Five Things to Do and See in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island nation located on the Indian Ocean south of India. It is popularly referred to as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’ owing to its sandy beaches, highlands, wildlife sanctuaries, ancient Buddhist ruins and more. Tourists can easily access the country through direct flights from various destinations to the capital city of Columbo. Here are the top 5 activities to do in Sri Lanka.

Ascend Sigiriya

The 5th-century castle of Sigiriya is a good example of an ancient urban enterprise. The fortress was constructed by king Kaspaya and rest atop the towering rock formation. Tourists can go up to the peak through a series of winding steps leading to an entryway. The fortress also features King Kaspaya’s palace which is adorned in colorful frescoes. The neighboring landscape, consisting of water gardens and green forests certainly add to the excitement and makes Sigiriya a renowned World Heritage Site.

Explore the ancient ruins of Polunnaruwa

The kingdom of Polunnaruwa was set up in the 11th and 12th Centuries AD. It was famed for its tall buildings, superb parks as well as a 25 km² lake. However, its prominence started to fade and was later abandoned by the 13th century. The remains of this once famous metropolis are now a tourist site and provide some splendid photography opportunities including the 13m tall King’s Royal Palace. The city of Polunnaruwa also features several Buddha statues most of which in different levels of decays. Nevertheless, the 4 Buddhas located at Gal Vihara are in almost great condition.  A great way to survey these ruins is through cycling. You can rent a bicycle from nearby cafes and guest houses.

Board the express train from Kandy to Ella

If you want to explore the different and striking landscapes of Sri Lanka, then get on the train from Kandy to Ella. The conspicuous blue and red express train usually takes about 6 hours to travel from Kandy to Ella. Don’t worry; there are many stops along the way. On the journey, you’ll see cascading waterfalls, dense forests, misty mountains and local farmers tending to green crops and tea plantations. The spectacular views are best enjoyed while standing in one of the carriage entryways.

Udawalawe National Park

Nestled in the southern part of Sri Lanka, Udawalawe National Park is home to elephants. It consists of dense forest cover and grasslands and accommodates more than 500 species of flora and fauna. Just like in many other countries, the elephant species in Sri Lanka are endangered because of illegal poaching. The park is a safe and secure sanctuary for about 2000 elephants. Apart from elephants, you can spot water buffalo, deer and sloth bear in the park.

Arugam Bay

Located on the south-east coastline of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is a perfect surfing spot. The bay is moon shaped and usually attracts a relaxed crowd eager to surf on the waters of the Indian Ocean. There are specific spots for those who love high and strong waves and quieter areas for those who love serene waters.

Sri Lanka is undergoing a renaissance at the moment and you should make it a point to visit this island and sample what’s on offer.