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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2018
Headline for Top Things to do in Yala - Grab your backpacks, get set, and go!
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Things to do in Yala - Grab your backpacks, get set, and go!

Yala is a famous location in Sri Lanka for backpackers, nature enthusiasts, campers and anyone willing to discover themselves in a little wilderness. Let's look at the top things to do in Yala.

1

Explore the Yala National Park

Being the 2nd largest park in Sri Lanka, the Yala National Park is home to an astounding variety of wildlife. The Sri Lankan Leopard is what everyone wishes to catch a glimpse of during their visits to the park. Native to the country these leopards are severely endangered from poaching and conflicts with humans. Yala is home to this creature and makes for the perfect viewing location. You'll find them perched on trees or even relaxing in the jungle. There are many Safari's on offer to take you to the park to witness all the animals such as elephants, peacocks, water buffaloes and even wild boars. While you may search for a Yala Hotel, consider camping in the buffer area of the National Park, many companies offer these services in both luxury and regular settings. WildTrails Yala is one of the providers of luxury camping in the area.

2

Visit Sithul Pawwa

Sithul Pawwa is one of the most famous locations in Yala. It is an iconic Buddhist temple located on the Tissamaharama road, with close proximity to the Yala wildlife sanctuary. Established almost 2000 years ago, it translates to 'the hill for a peaceful mind'. The temple lies on a large 400m high rock. Some points of interest when visiting Sithul Pawwa are the rock caves and nelum ponds which are some of the ancient ruins that you'll find towards the east of the rock. From the top, you'll get a breathtaking view of the luscious greenery that makes for a perfect location to catch a sunset or sunrise. The temple is only accessible via a very steep stone cut stairway along the rock. The temple itself is also home to many ancient frescoes and various artefacts that'll give you an insight into the art and culture prevalent during that time.

3

Go Bird Watching

Bird watching is a very popular activity among tourists and locals in the area. Yala is home to around 90 different water birds who inhabit its wetlands. You'll also see some raptors such as the Crested Serpent-Eagle and the White-bellied Sea Eagle in the park. Bird watching programs offer you the opportunity to learn about these magnificent creatures by studying them. You will see birds such as the Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Old World flycatchers, Orioles, Asian Paradise-flycatchers and even Hornbills.

4

Meet a Dairy Farmer

The Yala National Park exists amidst a rural village that is home to several hundred dairy farmers. Make it a point to visit the village and meet these dairy farmers to get a glimpse into their lives and work. You'll be able to absorb and observe their culture as you assist them during their morning chores and help them with the collection of milk.

5

Check out the Weedagama Rajamaha Viharaya

Secluded in nature, Weedagama Rajamaha Viharaya is a historical Buddhist temple set in the countryside. It is a gorgeous white temple with massive coconut trees in its surrounding making for some splendid photography. The temple features a whole slew of paintings that feature the life of Lord Buddha. Definitely, pay this temple a visit on your trip to Yala for some splendid serene bliss.

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