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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Most Popular Sites in Yala - Get Closer to Nature
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Most Popular Sites in Yala - Get Closer to Nature

Yala is home to Sri Lanka's second largest national park which harbours all manner of wildlife including elephants and leopards. This area also bears the ruins of Sri Lanka's ancient kingdoms.


Explore the jungle

Yala is best known for its jungle and its inhabitants. Nature enthusiasts should not miss the chance to embark on a jungle safari to catch a glimpse of the country's top predator, the leopard, to imposing herds of elephants. Any of the hotels in Yala Sri Lanka would be able to arrange safari expeditions. The two main safari times for Yala are from 6 to 10 am and 2 pm to 6 pm.


Ancient Sithulpauwa temple

This ancient rock temple's name means 'hill of the quiet mind' hailing back to its days as a monastery. The area bears immense historic and cultural significance as the location houses a cave temple with ancient wall paintings that may date back as far as the 3rd Century BC. It continues to be an active place of religion and Sri Lankans still visit the temple to offer thanks and prayers. Surrounded by thick foliage at the edge of the Yala jungle, getting to Sithulpauwa alone is an adventure. Visitors may climb up to the top temple which would allow you to have a breathtaking view of the whole of Yala.


Magul Maha Viharaya

A little south of Sithulpauwa is yet another site steeped in history and if you make it to Sithulpauwa it makes sense to add this location onto your tour. This is the place where one of Sri Lanka's ancient kings, King Kavantissa married Princess Vihara Maha Devi. According to legend, the temple was built to commemorate the royal marriage. The causeway used to approach the 10,000 acre Magul Maha Viharaya complex was built over a reservoir which is still filled to the brim with lotus plants making it a photo opportunity you cannot pass up!


Bird Watching in Yala

With over 200 species of birds, Yala National Park is a haven for birds and birdwatchers alike. Hotels in the area such as Cinnamon Wild Yala often offer bird watching walks for ardent enthusiasts to become acquainted with the many colourful species of birds in the area. If you are lucky enough to be in Yala during the migratory season, you can spot even more birds. If you are really lucky, you would be able to capture a shot of one of Yala's many peacocks during a mating dance which is always a striking sight.


Yala Beach

Unlike the rest of the beaches in Sri Lanka, this is not the best place for swimming as there are dangerous currents. Of course, there is nothing to stop you from relaxing on the sand against some of the most spectacular sea views in the country. The beach is within a turtle conservation area and you may stumble across a turtle nest as you walk across the beach.

Yala offers both relaxation and adventure from its soothing beaches to the excitement of jungle safaris. The only problem with Yala is that you may never want to leave!