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Updated by sahitra-uk on May 24, 2020
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Top 4 Unconventional Things To Do In Yala

Yala is a small coastal town in the south of Sri Lanka and it is best known for being home to its eponymous national park - the Yala National Park. However, Yala has many interesting activities that go beyond wildlife, here are the top 4 things to do in Yala apart from going on safari.

1

Dive at Great and Little Basses Reef

Dive at Great and Little Basses Reef

Being an island nation, Sri Lanka is definitely a premier diving destination. There are many great diving sites all around the island, but Great and Little Basses Reef is one of the country’s best-kept secrets, diving here is truly exceptional. Great and Little Basses are two offshore lighthouses that were built by the British during their rule over Sri Lanka.

Along with being an interesting historical monument, the lighthouses are surrounded by large reefs which attract a variety of colourful marine life, from different fish to sea turtles to rays and the occasional reef shark. There is also a shipwreck near the reefs which is thought to have been a treasure ship belonging to the Moghul Emperor, Aurangzeb. However, since the reefs are offshore, the currents can be quite strong so it is advised that only strong swimmers take part in this exciting adventure.

2

Visit Sithulpawwa Monastery

Visit Sithulpawwa Monastery

Sithulpawwa is an ancient Buddhist monastery that is situated on the outskirts of the Yala National Park. The temple is said to have been constructed by King Kavan Tissa during the 2nd century BC, and it houses several cave paintings, Buddha statues, an image house and a stupa. The temple sits atop a large rocky outcrop surrounded by lush greenery and as soon as you arrive you are washed over with a sense of serenity. During ancient times, Sithulpawwa was called ‘Chiththala Pawatha Vihara’ which translates to “hill of the quiet mind”, and that sense of peace still exists today.

3

Enjoy Afternoon Tea In The Jungle

Enjoy Afternoon Tea In The Jungle

Afternoon tea is not necessarily an activity you would normally find in the middle of the wilderness since the two seem like polar opposites. However, there are a handful of luxury hotels in Yala like Wild Coast Tented Lodge that offer this unique experience. After your game drive, you will be treated to plates of various delicacies piled high on gleaming silver racks accompanied with a cup of Ceylon’s finest. Indulge in a lavish tea while being completely surrounded in nature; this is a lovely thing to do while in Yala to add a bit of luxury to your trip.

4

Trek to Budugallena Forest Monastery

Trek to Budugallena Forest Monastery

Budugallena Forest Monastery is an ancient monastery complex that is found on the foothills of the Rahathungala mountain range in Buttala. This complex dates back to prehistoric times and it is believed to have been built by one of King Kavantissa's generals. Budugallena is extremely picturesque since it is spread out over a large area of woodland and this makes for a wonderful trek before you reach the temple complex.