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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 things to do when you visit Dambulla - Exploring the beauty of Dambulla
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 things to do when you visit Dambulla - Exploring the beauty of Dambulla

Dambulla is a beautiful area in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Here is a list of things you can do to make your vacation a memorable one.


Go on a jungle safari

Go on a jungle safari

If you're a nature lover, Dambulla has the perfect fix for you. There are two national parks in the vicinity, Giritale and Minneriya National Parks. They both are the best places to observe elephants in their natural habitat. You will be able to see hundreds of these wild beasts roaming around freely and you might be able to ride on one of them. The parks boast of many flora and fauna endemic to Sri Lanka. There are more than 150 varieties of immigrant birds in the parks, so it is a good spot to spend an evening of bird watching. You can have lunch amidst the jungle and that would be an experience of a lifetime. Many Sri Lanka resorts in the vicinity the likes of Heritance Kandalama will arrange safaris for you.


Visit the Golden Cave Temple

Visit the Golden Cave Temple

Yes, it is just as enticing as it sounds. The Golden Cave Temple in Dambulla is one of the biggest temple complexes in Sri Lanka. The cave is well preserved and even though it's 22 centuries old, it is in good condition. There are frescos in the walls of the caves which carry historical significance. This is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka as well. The cave is a monastery which has five sanctuaries. There are most than 150 statues of Buddha inside the cave. There is a lot of walking to do to explore the whole cave so be prepared. Although the walk is tedious, it is definitely worth it. For those who seek adventure, this is perfect for you.


Visit the Dambulla Museum

When the museum was opened it was called The Painting Museum of Dambulla. Now, it is renamed to Painting Research and Conservation Centre in addition to being a museum. The museum carries on research on paintings and also works towards conserving the historical art forms. If you're an art enthusiast, there's no way you should miss this. The staff at the museum is friendly and will guide you through the artwork while explaining their significance. You can easily spend a whole morning in here.


Visit Popham's Arboretum

This is a popular site among locals and tourists alike. What's special about the arboretum is that it is the only arboretum in Sri Lanka that is located in the dry zone. The arboretum is around 50 years old and is spread across 7.5 acres. There are many shrubs and bushes in it and it is based on a 'chena' land. This is a paradise for nature lovers. Once you go to the arboretum, you will find many species of butterflies, dragonflies, spiders and birds. You must visit here to make the best of your trip to Dambulla.


Whitewater rafting

Whitewater rafting

If you're an adrenaline junkie, white water rafting is for you. You will have to travel to Kitulgala to engage in this activity which is a 2-hour ride from Dambulla. Before you step in you will be handed the rafting gear and safety instructions. You will go for more than 5km in the river where you will experience 4 minor and 5 major rapids. This is a great way to end your trip to Dambulla.