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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Best things to Do and See in Yala Sri Lanka – Exploring the Country's Untouched Areas
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Best things to Do and See in Yala Sri Lanka – Exploring the Country's Untouched Areas

Yala, located in the Southeast of Sri Lanka, is an untouched area that showcases the best of Sri Lanka's diverse flora and fauna. Here is a list of the top things to do in the area.


Visit the Yala National Park

Home to the largest concentration of leopards in the world, it is hardly a surprise that the Yala National Park is the most visited park in the country. Encompassing a total area of over nine hundred and fifty square kilometres, the park is home to many iconic animals. These include herds of trumpeting elephants, the elusive Sri Lankan leopard and peacocks to name a few. The multiple lakes and ponds in the premise are home to the mugger crocodile while the Russel viper and other venomous snakes also reside in the park. The Yala National Park borders the Indian Ocean and its beach is a common nesting spot for turtles. Most Yala hotels specialize in tours to the park so you should be able to easily book a safari.


Bird watching

Although the Yala National Park is well equipped in terms of birds, the neighbouring Bundala National Park eclipses the former by a huge margin. Home to around three hundred and fifty different bird species which range from Bee-Eaters to Open Billed Storks, the Bundala National Park is just the place to be at for anyone who loves bird watching. The peak season is between December and April. The park has a number of lagoons, thick forests and tall dunes which allow multiple ecosystems to live within the premises. The black-necked stork and the great thick-knee are also occupants of the park. Aside from the birds, the park is also home to animal species like sloth bears and Sambar Deer.


Try your hand at fishing

Fishing in the area is an excursion that is fast becoming popular. Most hotels such as Cinnamon Wild Yala can facilitate a fishing charter should you wish to. Interested individuals have the option of either fishing in one of the many lakes around the area or in the sea. The fishing gear is generally provided by the operator while experienced locals will drive you to hotspots where you are more likely to catch rare species.



As mentioned above, the area surrounding Yala has a large number of lagoons, lakes and other waterways that make canoeing a simple yet interesting sport to try out. The lakes have a number of picturesque islands and other sights that make for great viewing.


Visit Kataragama

Although a bit away from the area, Kataragama is one of the holiest areas in the country and is a must visit for anyone looking to get a first-hand glimpse of the country's culture. Kataragama is sacred to all the religions in Sri Lanka – even the indigenous tribes – and is regularly flooded by pilgrims. However, ensure that you dress in an appropriate manner before visiting the town in order to respect the religious significance of the town.