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Updated by Hiru Piumwardena on Jul 12, 2019
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8 Experiences you Shouldn't Miss in Sri Lanka

If you’re wondering about what Sri Lanka has to offer, than this list is for you! Here are a few diverse experiences that are essential to any trip to Sri Lanka.

1

Diving in Hikkaduwa

Diving in Hikkaduwa

The number one thing everyone knows about Sri Lanka is its long stretches of beaches. Hikkaduwa is one of the most famous of these, but beyond the fun in the sun, the beach boasts one of the three famous marine national parks in the country. Diving, snorkelling and taking in the breath-taking coral that lives beneath the surface of the ocean is then a vital experience of the beach here, as you will have fun spotting turtles and shoals of colourful fish. Hotels in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka also usually feature stunning views of the sea, which makes for an amazing stay. Being so close to the sea may mean that you will never want to leave!
(Image credit to hikkaduwa_taxi_service | Instagram)

2

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

Another essential experience is getting to know the wildlife of the country. With a plethora of national parks, Udawalawe is one of the best, featuring elephants, deer, wild buffalo and a number of varying types of birds. If you’re lucky you may even see a leopard! The park has sparse vegetation, giving the plains a wild feel and has the added advantage of making it easy to spot the animals in their habitat. Book a safari and enjoy the services of the guides – who are wells of knowledge – to really appreciate these magnificent creatures.
(Image credit to srilankatravelgram | Instagram )

3

Sigiriya

Sigiriya

The lion fortress of Sri Lanka is famous, and it’s well worth the hype. Sprawling water gardens lead the way to steps cut out from the soil and rock that take you to two giant paws that protect the final staircase. At the top you will find the remains of a palace, with ponds and rubble all that remain of a fascinating piece of royal history. There are a number of things to explore on the way up, including caves with frescoes as well as other parts of the fortress. It’s also worthwhile to climb the neighbouring mountain, Pidurangala, as it offers a stunning view of the lion rock itself, as well as views of the surrounding plains.
(Image credit to jamestown.lp | Instagram)

4

World’s End

World’s End

World’s End gets its dramatic name from the escarpment that cuts off the trail, resulting in a sharp and steep cliff that makes it seem like you have reached the end of the horizon, thus the end of the world. It’s a good idea to start the trip in the early hours of the morning so you can catch the sunrise and enjoy the views in the dawn sunlight before mist wreaths much of the view. Make sure to dress for the walk, as it can get cold, and be safe as you walk. You can follow the trail back to the entrance and take the detour of seeing Baker’s Falls for an added treat.
(Image credit to pravana.bmp | Instagram)

5

Quadrangle

Quadrangle

Polonnaruwa in general is a must see city: an ancient royal kingdom that now is a leafy area of land that features a collection of fascinating ruins. There are halls, ruins of palaces and areas where monks lived as well as ponds. Marvel at ancient Sri Lankan architecture, as the bases of these old buildings are still standing so many centuries later! The sacred quadrangle in particular is a lovely place to wander around, and you will have much to explore in a close radius.
(Image credit to junglefowlholidays | Instagram)

6

Nine Arch Bridge

Nine Arch Bridge

A walk from Ella to the nine arch bridge through a pine forest is a lovely experience, and you can even walk on the tracks themselves. It’s lovely to glimpse the bridge through the trees, and then see the old fashioned train make its way across the curve of the old bridge that is a testament to the genius of its architect. It’s also worthwhile taking a ride in the train across the bridge, and enjoying the beautiful view as it goes across.
(Image credit to brionybob | Instagram)

7

Rice and Curry

Rice and Curry

While in Sri Lanka it is absolutely essential that you enjoy a rice and curry for lunch – more than once! This is the staple meal of Sri Lankans and while it consists of rice and curries, you can almost guarantee that you won’t have the same meal twice. The rice itself can be a variety of different types, and can even be red rice. The side dishes, or curries, will usually be dhal along with a meat curry and a bunch of vegetables made in a variety of ways. You may even get some crunchy papadam or dry fish, and it will all be tasty as you revel in the different textures and tastes.
(Image credit to craziest_chick_onthe_block | Instagram)

8

Ayurveda treatments

Ayurveda treatments

Ayurveda is a traditional holistic practice in Sri Lanka, and you can experience it by walking into an Ayurvedic spa and enjoying a series of massages that will soothe out the knots in your muscles and really help after a long day of exploring. Included in this is the practice of yoga. Most hotels will feature these, and there are plenty of spas and yoga centres that will give you a taste of these restful activities and practices.
(Image credit to suryalankaayurveda | Instagram)