Top 10 things you absolutely MUST do in Sri Lanka

Updated: Apr 7, 2018

Activities that give you the whole Lankan experience that you should not miss!

Witness a sunrise at Adam's Peak

Witnessing a bucket-list sunrise at the top of the Adam's Peak is without a doubt our number one pick of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. It is definitely tests one's mental and physical stamina - what with getting up in the wee hours of the morning, in time for the night trek, and walking up about 5,800 steps to reach a beautiful little temple monastery at the top of Sri Lanka's 5th highest mountain peak. But it's worth so much more when you reach the top and stand amidst the clouds to watch the sun rise up from the horizon in the distance, while a soft cool breeze makes the Buddhist prayer flags gently flutter around. To read more about the Adam's Peak trek and prep, read this blog post.

Explore Galle Fort

This fort was first built by the Portuguese in the mid-1500s and later forified by the Dutch in the mid-1600s and as such is of vast historical and architectural significance from both the eras. Amidst the numerous archaeological and historical museums and a beautiful lighthouse, the fort also contains a modern houses and buildings and some luxury hotels, dotting the little cobbled streets. Also within the fort are beautiful, quaint little cafes and restaurants, scores of shops selling a variety of things from precious and semi-precious gems to little knick knacks, and shops where you can pick up postcards and souvenirs. Explore the different parts of the fort on foot, soaking in the history and architecture in this UNESCO world heritage site. To know more about this, please read this blog post.

Discover the ancient kingdom of Sigiriya

Immerse yourself in Sri Lanka's ancient history in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the adjoining Sigiriya Museum to see precious, very well-preserved historical artifacts from a kingdom that flourished over 2000 years ago. Then take a hike back in time to the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, to discover ancient wall paintings, a sky palace and admire the impeccably planned kingdom below. The gorgeous 360 degree panoramic views are just an added bonus! To know more about this, please read this blog post.

Trek to the World's End at the Horton Plains National Park

Situated about 32 km from Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains National Park is a protected area that is rich in plant and animal species endemic to Central Sri Lanka. Take a 9 km hike to the World's End and Mini World's End cliffs, to enjoy the breathtaking scenery (read: acres and acres of rolling green hills under a blue sky!) around the National Park, petting a Sambar (local deer) or two in the process! The trek also takes you to the beautiful Baker's Falls, tucked in among hills- a beautiful cozy spot to take a short break during the hike and just listen to the gushing waterfall. To know more about this place and how to plan a trip here, please read this blog post.

Snorkel in the Coral Sanctuary, Hikkaduwa Beach

The Sri Lankan coastline is replete with pristine turquoise beaches! The south and east coast beaches are especially gorgeous, and you can plan a bucket load of activities to do. From Arugam Bay in the east to Hikkaduwa in the south-west, these beaches are surrounded by coral reefs and beautifully diverse underwater life, and make for a great haven for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts! These beaches are ideal for first-time surfers as well. There are glass boat rides available too, where the bottom of the boat is made of glass so you can admire the underwater life while taking a boat ride out in the sea. And if you're one of those people that love to just relax and read a book at the beach, these beaches are ideal for you too.

Take a train from Kandy to Ella and admire the picturesque Lankan countryside

The Sri Lankan countryside is undoubtedly green, luxuriant and gorgeous! Sit back and relax with a book and get completely besotted with the picturesque views of sprawling tea estates and beautiful waterfalls, as your train meanders its way from Kandy to Ella. To know more about the train system and how to book your tickets, please read this blog post.

Join the morning prayer ceremony at the Tooth Temple of Kandy

There's nothing more calming than witnessing the morning prayer at the tooth temple of Kandy, which houses the sacred tooth relic of the Buddhists. Spend a few moments of quiet prayer and introspection in the prayer hall. You can then take a walk around this beautiful temple and admire the beautiful architecture and soak in all the history! To know more about the temple and it's history, please read this blog post.

Cycle through the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa

The ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa date back 8 centuries, and there's no better way to discover this ancient city than by cycling through the ruins, stopping every now and then to check out the numerous historical buildings and architecture. This UNESCO world heritage site has a well curated museum too, where you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of that time in Sri Lanka. To know more about this, please read this blog post.

Check out the Cave Temple at Dambulla

Also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, this UNESCO World Heritage Site houses five caves containing beautiful and well-preserved Buddhist wall paintings and statues. It's a refreshing short hike to get to the caves and the views are breathtaking from the top. Downhill from the caves is the giant beautiful Buddha statue and a golden pagoda. To know more about this attraction, please read this blog post.

Take a tea factory tour and indulge in some tea tasting

Going to Sri Lanka and not trying tea there is almost blasphemy! For Sri Lankans, tea is a way of life and this is reflected in the many tea estates and factories all over central Sri Lanka. No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without a visit to a tea estate and a tea factory. Check out the different mechanisms and machines used in the grueling tea manufacturing process and marvel at the different varieties of tea. Most tea factory tours also include a tea tasting experience where tea veterans guide you through the tasting and explain the different nuances of the fine art of tea making and drinking! To know more about this, please read this blog post.

There are so many more wonderful things you can do in Sri Lanka, and we encourage you read our other blog posts to know more about them.

We'd love to help you out with your Lanka trip planning in the comment section below, so do let us know if you have any questions or topics you'd like to discuss.

Happy planning and bon voyage!

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