Sri Lanka things to do with kids

Sri Lanka is a country with a very high level of diversity. Sri Lanka offers countless tourist attractions, from historical temples to rolling tea plantations, colonial heritage sites, wildlife reserves, amazing beaches, scenic landscapes, and many more.When it comes to family-friendly activities in Sri Lanka, there are numerous options available, including visiting ancient temples, embarking on safaris, beach hopping, participating in water sports, engaging in adventure activities, and many more.  We have compiled a list of things to do in Sri Lanka below, but the duration of your trip plays a crucial role in determining the number and types of places you can visit during your trip.

Table of Contents

Here are the best Sri Lanka things to do with kids

  1. Wildlife safari
  2. Visiting Anuradhapura ancient city
  3. Visiting Sigiriya rock fortress
  4. Taking a look at Sigirya frescoes
  5. Visiting the temple of the tooth relic
  6. Exploring the Royal botanical garden
  7. Tea factory visit
  8. Exploring Galle Fort
  9. Colombo city tour
  10. Sampling delicious fresh fruit
  11. Taking a hill country train trip
  12. Visiting Ella
  13. Visiting the golden temple of Dambulla
  14. Visiting Pidurangala Ancient temple
  15. Visiting Mirissa Beach
  16. Visiting red mosque Colombo
  17. Safari at Yala National Park
  18. Climbing Adam’s peak
  19. Exploring Mihintale
  20. Take in little Adam’s peak at sunrise
  21. Visit Bundala National Park
  22. Visit Ganduwa cinnamon Island
  23. Visit Bundala National Park
  24. Ascend Pidurangala mountain and watch the sunrise
  25. Visit the isolated Kalpitiya Peninsula
  26. Make camp in the highlands of Haputale
  27. Travel from Colombo via train
  28. Savor Sri Lankan rice and curry
  29. Visit Wilpattu National Park
  30. Take in the world’s largest gathering of wild Asian elephants
  31. Visit Unawatuna
  32. Get to know the indigenous people of Sri Lanka
  33. Sample some street cuisine, kottu roti
  34. Stroll through the peculiar alleyways of Galle Fort
  35. Ride the waves at the first female-run surf club in Sri Lanka
  36. Ride around the Polonnaruwa old kingdom
  37. Spend time in a treehouse to get in touch with nature
  38. Enjoy a hopper snack
  39. Walking, hiking and trekking
  40. Play golf

1. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Wildlife Safari

Sri Lanka is one of the best places for a wildlife safari. Sri Lanka is considered the best safari destination in the world, outside of Africa. Sri Lanka has one of the highest numbers of indigenous fauna and flora in the world. There are two dozen national parks in Sri Lanka, and travelers can choose one of them to do a safari in. The variety of wildlife observed in the national park depends on the region. If you choose Yala National Park on the south coast of Sri Lanka, you can witness a wide range of wild animals, including elephants, leopards, bears, crocodiles, jackals, wild buffaloes, and many more. Spotting leopards and bears can be difficult in the national park; however, spotting a wild elephant is fairly easy. Some of the popular places for safaris in Sri Lanka are Yala National Park, Minneriya National Park, Udawalawe National park and Wilpattu National Park.

What are the best places for a Sri Lanka safari?

  • Yala national park
  • Wilpattu national park
  • Minneriya national park
  • Udawalawe national park

2. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: exploring the ancient city of Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is the first recorded capital of Sri Lanka. You can explore the city on foot, by bike, or by private taxi. The ancient city’s history dates back to the 3rd century BC, and Anuradhapura is one of the world’s oldest capitals. During its heyday, the ancient city was home to hundreds of Buddhist temples, palaces, gardens, monasteries, stupas, and other historic buildings. According to the historical notes, tens of thousands of monks lived in the ancient city. While exploring archaeological sites, travelers can cycle through the ancient city. Visiting the three largest man-made stupas on the city tour is a main highlight for most travelers. Jetawanaram Stupa was the biggest supa found in Anuradhapura, and it was the 3rd largest man-made ancient structure in the world after the 2 pyramids in Giza.

3. Things to do in Sri Lanka: visiting Ritigala monastery

Tucked away about 200 km from Colombo, Ritigala Monastery is a rare gem. Buddhist monks and devotees frequently visit this forest monastery, which receives very few travelers. Ritigala is one of the oldest monasteries in Sri Lanka; it is as old as the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Buddhist monks lived in this sizable, off-the-beaten-path forest monastery, which spans 700 acres. The monks lived in the forest and had a very modest lifestyle while practicing the teachings of Buddha. The forest monastery is now vacant, and the jungle has taken over a sizable portion of it.

4. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Climbing Sigiriya rock

Most Sri Lanka tour packages include the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of the country’s most important tourist attractions. Sigiriya Rock Climb is about conquering 12,000 steps along with a walk of many hundreds of meters through the ancient city. However, most travelers say that it is 100% worth the time and calories spent at the ancient site. Patches of forest, isolated villages, beautiful countryside, rice paddies, lakes, and crumbling monuments surround Sigiriya, one of the most beautiful historical sites in the world. The Sigiriya rock fortress has a rich historical past; it shows very high knowledge of the ancient people in engineering, water management, and arts and crafts.

5. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Visiting the temple of the tooth relic

Sri Lanka is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country. Many religious and ethnic groups live in this cultural melting pot. Buddhism, on the other hand, is the most popular religion on the island, with about 69% of the population adhering to it. All parts of the country are home to thousands of temples scattered throughout the island.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is the holiest and most sacred Buddhist temple on the island, and visiting this ancient temple is on the bucket list of all Buddhists around the world. The temple houses one of the most important and sacred elements for Buddhists; the left eye tooth of Buddha, brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD from India. Tens of thousands of locals and tourists go there every day because it is the most revered Buddhist temple on the island. The best time to visit the temple is during the ritual hours, which happen three times a day. To enter the tooth relic temple, visitors must wear an appropriate dress and remove shoes and head covers.

6. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Explore the Royal Botanical Garden

The Peradeniya Botanical Garden, better known as Peradeniya Botanical Garden, is the largest of its kind on the island and is located only a few kilometers from the ancient city of Kandy. This is heaven for anyone who is obsessed with trees, plants, orchids, and other flowering plants.

7. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Visit a tea factory

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest tea producers, and the tea industry helps the island earn a significant amount of foreign currency. The tea industry is the third-most important foreign exchange earner for the island after textiles. A tea factory visit includes both a tour of the tea plantation and a factory visit.

8. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Explore Galle Fort

Exploring Galle Fort is on the bucket list of most foreign travelers in Sri Lanka. Galle Fort is a huge contrast to most things that visitors see on their Sri Lanka trip. The Galle Fort is purely about the colonial past. Galle City is located towards the southern tip of Sri Lanka, and it hosts the best preserved colonial city in Sri Lanka. The Galle Fort is the best preserved colonial city in Asia. The Portuguese built it first in 1505, and the Dutch East Indian Company later widened it. Explore the ancient fort on a walk along the cobble-stoned pathways and visit its museums, galleries, temples, and churches to learn about this fortified city’s rich historical past. While rubbing shoulders, see the many ethnic and religious groups living in the city.

9. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Explore Colombo

Colombo provides a different experience for travelers; here you see a bustling metropolis against the charming remote village and lush jungle landscape that you see mostly in other parts of the country. In Colombo, you will encounter high-rise buildings, a large number of Tuk Tuks, packed streets, and urban temples. Colombo is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious city with hundreds of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Islamic religious sites throughout. Depending on the time you can dedicate, you can explore Colombo on a 4-hour city tour or a full-day city tour. With other interesting temples, parks, beaches, and historical monuments, Colombo also offers a wide range of restaurants and eateries; therefore, Colombo can be considered one of the best places to enjoy typical Sri Lankan food varieties.

10. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Eating fresh fruit

Sri Lanka is a tropical country with dozens of delectable fruit varieties. You can find fruit stalls everywhere on the island. They are selling fresh fruits at a low cost.

11. Sri Lanka things to do with kids:Taking a hill country train journey

The train trip from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and Ella is considered to be one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. The hill country blue train travels along the rail track, passing through green-capped mountains, tea plantations, patches of forests, and gorges. A Sri Lanka hill country train trip offers a good opportunity for travelers to witness the breathtaking scenery in the hill country. The train trip is also a perfect opportunity to interact with the local community and taste delicious Sri Lankan food.

12. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Explore Ella

Ella is one of the most popular hill country resorts in Sri Lanka. Lush tea plantations and patches of forests surround Ella. If you look for stunning mountain scenery, natural scenery, and a couple of interesting hikes and treks, Ella is the best bet for you. Most travelers spend some time exploring the gorgeous natural forest covered by mountains in Ella, and it is on their bucket list. There are numerous guest houses, cafes, galleries, and cozy corners nestled in the hills for a peaceful getaway. Some of the most popular places to visit in Ella are the Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Rock, Mini Adams Peak, Tea Factory, Ravana Waterfall, and Spice Garden.

cultural triangle temple, sri lanka things to do

13. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: visiting Golden Temple Dambulla

Dambulla is a charming city in the north-central province of Sri Lanka. Dambulla is one of the most popular cities in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle due to its epic golden temple. Dambulla Golden Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical and religious importance to the world. This ancient temple has been a sacred place of worship for Buddhists for more than 2000 years. The temple consists of five natural granite caves. They are filled with giant Buddha statues and wall paintings. The dress code plays an important role in visiting this ancient temple. Read our article about visiting a Sri Lanka Buddhist temple.

14. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: visiting Pidurangala Temple

In the past, it was considered an unconventional tourist destination in Sri Lanka. But now it is gaining popularity among travelers. Pidurangala is another ancient temple, and historical records suggest it served as the official Buddhist temple of the nearby Sigiriya rock fortress. The rock cave temple consists of a single natural cave that houses numerous Buddha statues and Buddhist paintings. The image house, monks’ dwelling houses, and the sacred bo tree are located at the foothills of the Pidurangala rock, which forms part of the cave temple. Climbing the Pidurangala rock is not a tedious task if you have already climbed the Sigiriya rock fortress. Plan your Pidurangala temple visit early in the morning so that you can also witness the sunrise from the top of the rock.

15. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: visiting Mirissa

Mirissa is a beach town on Sri Lanka’s south coast that offers pristine beaches for swimming, surfing, diving, and whale watching. Mirissa has become a popular whale-watching destination in Asia, and its pristine beaches attract a large number of travelers each year. Whale watching is a seasonal adventure in most places around the world; however, whale watching is a year-round activity in Mirissa, and there is a very good chance of spotting a couple of blue whales on your whale-watching trip. Mirissa lies approximately 150 km away from Colombo. Hundreds of beach restaurants, cafes, and bars dotted the beach of Mirissa, making it ideal for nighttime activities.

16. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: visit Red Mosque

Located in the busiest part of Colombo, the red mosque is one of the most visited Muslim religious sites in Sri Lanka. Originally built in 1908, the mosque was initially small but has now expanded to become one of Sri Lanka’s biggest mosques. The mosque boasts unique architecture, featuring red and white painted walls. In the early days, Arab traders who arrived at Colombo port used the mosque.

17. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Safari at Yala national park

Yala National Park is a highly recommended destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Yala National Park allows travelers to have a top-notch wildlife experience, and Yala is the most popular safari destination in Sri Lanka. The travelers can witness a wide range of wild animals in Yala National Park, including leopards, panthers, elephants, crocodiles, bears, and many other creatures. Yala is Sri Lanka’s second-largest national park and is considered one of the world’s best national parks to spot leopards due to its high density of leopards. The national park also boasts numerous archaeological sites, such as the 2nd century BC Situlpawwa ancient temple.

18. Sri Lanka things to do with kids-Adams peak hike

The Adams Peak hike is popular among pilgrims and adventure seekers. Adams Peak hike is an adventure activity with a twist of cultural and religious significance. The sacred mountain in Rathnapura is a popular pilgrimage site among local travelers. The shrine with a footprint at the pinnacle of the mountain is important for Sri Lanka’s main three religions. Buddhists say that the footprint belongs to Buddha, while Hindus claim that it is the footprint of Adam. Catholics say that it is the footprint of St. Thomas.

Adam’s Peak is Sri Lanka’s third-tallest mountain, standing at 2300 meters. Apart from religious reasons, many travelers climb the mountain as an adventure activity.  Hiking at Adams Peak is perhaps the most challenging in Sri Lanka. The hike at Adams Peak lasts about 5 hours. Usually, the pilgrims take the arduous journey during the night to escape from the heat of the sun; however, some are choosing the day hike. The Adams Peak hike provides spectacular views of the surrounding lowland and mountains.

18. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Exploring Mihintale

Mihintale is located near the oldest capital of Sri Lanka. The majority of travelers who arrive in Anuradhapura visit Mihintale. Mihintale is considered the cradle of Buddhism, where the first Buddhist king embraced Buddhism from Arahat Mahinda, who arrived in Sri Lanka from India in the 2nd century BC. There are many historically important monuments in Mihintale, like stupas, hospitals, and Buddha statues.

19. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Take in Little Adam’s Peak at sunrise.

Exploring the hill country resort of Ella is one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka, especially among foreign travelers. Little Adam’s Peak is a well-liked, short trip for visitors to Ella, the popular tourist destination. To catch the sunrise from the peak, begin your hour-long climb early in the morning, when it is still dark outside. If they still have more to hike, they can walk Ella Rock and take a path that leads to Nine Arch Bridge. Don’t confuse it with Adam’s Peak. Climbing Adams Peak is also a very popular thing to do in Sri Lanka for Buddhist devotees. This holy mountain, located next to Hatton, requires a strenuous 5,000-step climb.

The city of Ella has a relaxed environment. Travelers should immerse themselves in the cafe atmosphere at a local cafe, even if many choose to remain outside of town. Fans of adventure can go ziplining. Although Ella is deserving of all the attention, Ohiya, Idalgashinna, Haputale, and Wellawaya are additional charming mountain towns that are well worth a visit.

20. Visit Ganduwa Island to experience the greatest cinnamon on the planet.

Venturing on a Sri Lanka boat tour is one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka. There are many places where travelers can engage in slow travel on Sri Lankan waterways. Some of the most popular places for Sri Lanka boat tours are Bentota River, Madu River, Negombo lagoon and Muthurajawela.

Southern Sri Lanka grows some of the world’s best cinnamon, a sweeter, lighter variety than Vietnam and Indonesia. Travelers can take a boat to Ganduwa Island on Koggala Lake, which is located just south of Galle, and learn about the highly valued Ceylon cinnamon.

Peelers, who have been in the family for generations, carefully shave tiny layers of the tree’s inner bark to produce cinnamon quills. For roughly US$2, you may purchase them along with tiny sachets of cinnamon oil and powder. After that, the boat transports the passengers to a few more islands. As you head off, pick up a glass of fresh mangrove apple (kirala) juice from a local vendor on the jetty.

21. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Visit Bundala National Park to observe birds

Wildlife watching is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. There are many wildlife parks in Sri Lanka for travellers to choose from for their safaris, such as Bundala, Udawalae and Yala. In the southern part of the nation, Bundala National Park is a Ramsar-recognized wetland that is home to about 200 species of migratory and native birds. The park comes alive with brahminy kites, hundreds of storks, families of whistling wild ducks, Asian green bee-eaters, dancing peacocks, and resting crocodiles during the three- to four-hour bird-watching tours, which begin at 6 a.m. In the afternoon, among the Weera, Neem, and Palu trees, walk wild Asian elephants, spotted deer, and wild boar.

Planning advice: Make reservations for a 4WD safari with a tour operator to increase your chances of seeing wildlife. In Bundala Junction, look for offices right outside the park.

22. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Ascend Pidurangala to witness the jungle sunrise.

Visiting the iconic Sigiriya Rock fortress is one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka. Therefore, a large number of travellers take part in the trip to Sigiriya. A vacation to Sri Lanka would not be complete without seeing the Sigiriya, a gigantic rock stronghold near the enormous rock Pidurangala that has frescoes, water gardens, and the remains of an ancient palace. For those who like to see the sunset before the ticket office shuts at 6pm, pack your hiking shoes and trek up Pidurangala before 5am to witness the dawn.

Planning advice: This 45-minute hike has an admission fee of $30 USD. From the summit, you can see the magnificent Sigiriya rock, formed like a lion and encircled by man-made lakes and lush woods. You’ll be passing through a Buddhist temple on your way to the summit, so bring a shawl or sarong to protect yourself.

23. Visit the isolated Kalpitiya Peninsula and go kitesurfing.

The northwestern coast of Sri Lanka provides some of the world’s best kitesurfing conditions thanks to its abundance of flatwater lagoons and constant wind. The less visited Kalpitiya Peninsula, which is still relatively unknown to many foreign visitors, is located 3.5 hours’ drive north of Colombo. Numerous wild donkeys can be seen wandering across vast grasslands in the area, which also has few fishing villages and sandy beaches.

Visit Kite Center Sri Lanka at Kappalady on the Indian Ocean to take kitesurfing instruction from local experts. For more experienced kiteboarders, the school may organize kitesurfing safaris or tours to neighboring locations like Donkey Point, Dutch Bay, and Vella Island. Kayaking through the lagoons and taking an ethical dolphin-watching excursion, where hundreds of spinner dolphins swim in enormous groups, are two other things to do in Kappalady. Reputable operators will only rent out tiny boats, stay out of the pods, and refrain from giving the animals any food. In Kappalady, there are also a few places to stay by the beach.

24. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Make camp in the highlands of Haputale

Exploring Haputale is another popular thing to do in Sri Lanka, similar to exploring Ella. The foggy highlands of Haputale, filled with tea plantations and freezing streams, are an hour’s drive from Ella by bus. Choose to stay in a family-run campground in the area, like the Dias family’s Eco Lodge Haputale. They will bring you through a tea garden to their campground, which consists of multiple tents with a dining area that overlooks the Haputale mountains and a tiny kitchen, after you’ve had a few cups of sugary milk tea at their house. The best part of a visit here is witnessing the sunrise while waking up to the sound of chirping.

25. Travel from Colombo via train

Experience Sri Lanka through train travel is an absolute must. Take the train from Colombo to Ella, which also crosses the Instagram-famous Nine Arch Bridge, for vistas of the mountains mixed with tea gardens, railway stations dating back to the British colonial era, and gushing water bodies. There are a number of trains that travel the route, but because it is popular with tourists, make sure to reserve your tickets in advance.

Don’t, however, stop there. For vistas of the Indian Ocean and swaying palms, take a coastal train from Colombo that heads south towards Galle. After that, take a train north to Jaffna. As you pass Anuradhapura, the scenery changes to palmyra trees, bushes, and arid soil in place of the verdant rice fields and coconut trees.

Planning tip: There are lots of vendors on the trains, in addition to local families, tourists, and everyday commuters, offering tea cups, instant coffee, fresh fruits dusted with chili, roasted peanuts, yogurt, and even cellphone top-up cards.

26. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Savor the Sri Lankan rice and curry

Sampling delicious Sri Lankan rice and curry is one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan rice and curry are in high demand among foreign travellers and are hardly found on menus in most countries around the world. However, this is about to change. Visit one of the local restaurants in Colombo, Kandy or on the beach for a classy sample in Colombo.

Planning tip: If you’re in the north of the nation, you have to eat the spicy, pungent Jaffna crab curry at Cosy Restaurant, which is located close to the Jaffna Railway Station.

27. Visit Wilpattu National Park to search for the elusive Sri Lankan leopard.

Wildlife watching at Wilpattu National Park is one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka. Seeking the endangered Sri Lankan leopard is the primary reason most tourists visit Yala National Park. Nevertheless, congestion is frequent, and safari 4WDs have a history of frightening off wildlife.

Make reservations with a responsible operator and travel to the northwest of the island’s Wilpattu National Park for a better and more ethical safari experience. Although their guides don’t pursue potential sightings, they do switch off their cars’ engines when they get close to any animals. Moreover, they will whisper close to any sighting to avoid upsetting the animals. The park is home to Asian elephants, sloth bears, and bark deer in their natural habitats, in addition to leopards.

As an alternative, birdwatchers should visit Kumana National Park, which is located in Yala’s eastern region. With any luck, you might even spot a leopard curled up on a jagged rock.

28. Take in the world’s largest gathering of wild Asian elephants

An estimated 4,000 wild Asian elephants can be found in Sri Lanka; these animals are best viewed in the national parks that make up the nation. Herds of wild Asian elephants congregate in Kaudulla and Minneriya National Parks’ enormous reservoirs during the dry months of July through September to graze on grass, take baths, and play with one another. Elephants hide in the surrounding jungles on hot days, but they slowly come out around 4 p.m. This is your chance to witness the world’s greatest gathering of wild elephants—thousands of them lounging around the lakes.

A helpful travel suggestion is to avoid areas that house elephants in captivity, with the exception of Udawalawe’s Elephant Transit Home. The Born Free Foundation provides funding for the management of this elephant transit home, which takes in injured or abandoned elephant calves and releases them back into the wild once they have recovered.

29. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Visit Unawatuna and enjoy the sea.

Beach hopping is one of the most exciting and loved things to do in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka harbours many dozens of coastal villages that can be suitable for beach holidays. Unawatuna is among the best beaches for beach holidays. This year-round holiday destination offers pristin beaches and sandy beaches with a wide range of accommodation facilities.

30. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Get to know the indigenous people of Sri Lanka.

Learning the culture of Sri Lankan aborigines is not a very popular thing to do in Sri Lanka. Only a fraction of travellers engage in the opportunity to visit Dambana, where the aborigines of Sri Lanka are living. The native inhabitants of Sri Lanka are known as the Vedda. Their numbers have decreased over time as a result of migration, habitat loss, and absorption into the country’s predominant Sinhala-Buddhist culture. Originally, they lived in forests. Some Vedda families are now dispersed over the island in small groups, but they are still able to maintain their traditional customs, language, and cuisine in places like Dambana, an indigenous village and museum in the southern region of Maduru Oya National Park.

Planning advice: Go east to Gal Oya to visit the Vedda’s old caverns and hunting grounds with guided tours for a more immersive experience. To arrange moral meetings, Wild Glamping Gal Oya collaborates closely with the Vedda community.

31. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Sample some street cuisine, such as kottu roti.

Eating Kottu can be a very exciting thing to do in Sri Lanka. Kottu roti embodies Sri Lanka unlike any other dish. This well-known street dish consists of leftover roti (flatbread), eggs, fresh veggies, and your choice of meat or seafood. It’s high in carbohydrates. When combined, placed on a metal griddle, and cut into small pieces with two metal blades, the unique sound of metal on metal can frequently be heard from a distance of several hundred feet. You can find kottu roti all around the island, but in Colombo, try it at Hotel de Pilawoos or Hotel de Plaza (note: Sri Lankan eateries go by the term “hotels” a lot).

Planning advice: Be wary of falling for any Pilawoos or Hotel de Plaza scams because there are other shady businesses using the same name. The authentic establishments may be found on Galle Road in Colombo 3. Get yours with an iced glass of Milo, a well-known chocolate malt beverage that pairs well with a hot kottu.

32. Stroll through the peculiar alleyways of Galle Fort

Learning about the rich historical past of Sri Lanka is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. There are many places where travelers can see ancient monuments. Galle Fort is one of the popular site that showcases the remnants of colonial history of sri Lanka.

A unique blend of Portuguese, Dutch, and British architectural styles, Galle Fort is encircled by spas, five-star hotels, ice cream shops, souvenir shops, and gem boutiques. Arrive as the Fort lanes gradually open in the morning. First stop: National Tea Rooms, the oldest cafe still standing in Galle Fort and owned by a welcoming Sri Lankan family since 1932, serves you a delicious Sri Lankan breakfast.

Stick No Bills, you may purchase retro maps, tuk-tuks, and postcards featuring quirky Sri Lankan designs. Don’t miss Church Street Social’s spicy black pork curry for lunch. Especially around sunset, the view from the ramparts is not to be missed.

33. Ride the waves at the first female-run surf club in Sri Lanka

Beach hopping is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka and Arugambay is one of the most popular beach destinations on the island. However, aurgambay is also popular for surfing in Sri Lanka. On the east coast, surfers of all skill levels go to Arugam Bay. This curly, ocher sand beach comes alive at night with parties, alcohol, and live music from April to August. Arugam Bay Girls Surf Club, the first all-women club in Sri Lanka, offers swimming, surfing, and yoga lessons to the local community. It also boasts a laid-back surf culture.

Planning tip: For a post-surf pick-me-up, try the delectable Sri Lankan roti that are packed with chocolate, banana, chicken, cheese, and vegetables from the beach shacks that line the beachfront.

34. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Ride around the Polonnaruwa old kingdom

From 1070 until 1232, Polonnaruwa served as Sri Lanka’s second capital when Anuradhapura fell, and its ruins are currently recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Vatadage, a circular relic house featuring a big Buddha statue, is not to be missed. After that, take a bike tour of the historic city and stop by the historic Royal Palace.

Additional striking artifacts from archaeology are the standing Buddha in Lankatilaka Vihara and the granite-carved Buddha statues in Gal Vihara. Because the old kingdom was subject to multiple South Indian invasions during that time, you may detect the impact of South India in some of the remnants.

Planning advice: Get here early in the morning to avoid the intense heat and to have the entire amazing archaeological park to yourself. On weekends, during school breaks, and during full moons, crowds of people visit the Polonnaruwa ruins.

35 Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Explore the laid-back hill country resort of Ella

One of the most well-liked activities in Sri Lanka is exploring the hill country resort of Ella, particularly with foreign visitors. For tourists visiting Ella, the well-known tourist site, Little Adam’s Peak is a popular, quick excursion. Start your hour-long trek early in the morning when it’s still dark outside to catch the sunrise from the summit. They can walk Ella Rock and follow the way to Nine Arch Bridge if they have more hiking left. It is not to be confused with Adam’s Peak. Another very popular activity for Buddhist devotees in Sri Lanka is climbing Adams Peak. This sacred mountain, which is close to Hatton, is reached after a taxing 5,000 steps.

The atmosphere of Ella City is laid-back. Even if many decide to stay outside of town, travelers should thoroughly enjoy the local café environment by spending time in one. Adventure seekers can go ziplining. Ohiya, Idalgashinna, Haputale, and Wellawaya are some other quaint mountain towns that are definitely worth a visit, even though Ella deserves all the praise.

36. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Spend time in a treehouse to get in touch with nature.

Sleeping in a treehouse is an experience that nature lovers will cherish. It is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka for nature lovers. Situated on a wooden platform, these dwellings are encircled by the neighboring jungle. If you don’t mind spending time with monkeys and lizards, reserve a treehouse at Back of Beyond in Sigiriya.

Tangalle, in Sri Lanka’s extreme south, features a mixture of rocky sandy beaches, lagoons, and shrublands. Jaywa Lanka has a treehouse here, close to the mangroves; the only sounds around you are the twittering of birds and the soft murmur of breaking waves. Occasionally, wild peacocks may stop by to try to win over their peahens.

37. Sri Lanka things to do with kids: Enjoy a hopper snack

Eating local, delicious food is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. If there’s one dish you should taste before you depart Sri Lanka, it’s hoppers (appam in Tamil; aappa in Sinhala), which are rice flour pancakes shaped like bowls. Plain hoppers are served with curries or a spicy sambal (chile sauce) called lunu miris, which is made with onions and dried red chili. The hoppers have crispy edges and fluffy centers.

When you enter a street joint in the evening, plain hoppers with an egg on top are frequently served. For some exquisite Sri Lankan cuisine, visit Palmyrah Restaurant in the Renuka Hotel in Colombo. The evening menu includes savory and sweet hoppers with milk or jaggery. Alternatively, try some hoppers from Aunty Radhika in the Wellawatta neighborhood if you don’t mind standing in line. Go beside the bank on WA Silva Mawatha and you’ll come upon this little yet well-liked hopper stand.

38. Walking, hiking and trekking

With the 300-kilometer Pekoe Trail, which explorer Miguel Cunat designed, Sri Lanka debuted its first long-distance nature loop last year. From its beginning point (Hanthana, Kandy) to its end (Kandapola, Nuwara Eliya), the 22-day walking, hiking and trekking path winds through highland tea estates and woods. Hiking novices should find Stage 1 to be suitable, but the terrain gets harder from there. The nice thing about this place is that you may make plans as you go, opting to hurry past the verdant towns of Hali Ela or pause to take in the breathtaking Horton Plains.

39. Play Golf

If not your game, then your attitude will be lifted by the mountain mist smothering golf greens. The Victoria Golf Club in Kandy, where chalets are available to stay, is a 6,933-yard, 18-hole challenge with stunning scenery all around; the Nuwara Eliya Golf Course, established by the British planters of the area, is an 1889 green. Both cities are located in the Central Highlands. Members only are allowed to stay, however guests can play ten holes for $5,000.

Sri Lanka things to do free

Travelers may find it expensive to do things like see the majority of Sri Lanka’s tourist sites, go on a wildlife safari, engage in adventure activities, and walk through the rainforest. These can be very expensive; in fact, they might account for a sizable portion of your trip expenditure. $35 for Sigiriya Rock Fortress? The ancient city of Anuradhapura, $30. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, $30. $10 for a tooth relic temple? $50, Yala Safari—the list is endless. Your trip budget will increase as you visit more tourist attractions.

However, it is possible to enjoy a lifetime of enjoyment without spending a single penny, and this isn’t limited to exploring park trails, bike routes, or window shopping.

Sri Lanka things to do free: visiting Kelaniya temple

A well-known Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka that draws a sizable number of visitors each day. The easy access to the Buddhist temple at Kelaniya from the international airport and famous tourist destinations make it a popular destination for day trips in Sri Lanka. One of the island’s holiest temples is Kelaniya Temple. Kelaniya Temple, with origins dating back to the sixth century BC, is another of the island’s most historically significant locations.

Historical places like Sigiriya and Dambulla require visitors to purchase an entrance ticket in order to enter, yet Kelaniya Temple doesn’t charge visitors anything at all. This exquisite shrine is accessible every day. There are several statues and priceless religious paintings around the shrine. One of the island’s most talented painters, Jorge Keyt, painted the Kelaniya Temple, which is a popular location to view some of the best religious artwork.

Sri Lanka things to do free: visiting Independent Memorial Hall

The Independent Memorial Hall is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Sri Lanka and is situated right in the center of Colombo. An important national monument created in honor of Sri Lanka’s independence from British control, the Independent Memorial Hall, was completed in 1949. One of the primary attractions of the Colombo sightseeing trip is the Independence Memorial Hall. The Independence Memorial Museum, a popular tourist destination with free admission, is located next to the memorial hall.

Things to Do for Free in Sri Lanka: strolling about Galle Fort

The medieval castle of Galle rises from the shore like a gigantic mushroom toward the southernmost point of Sri Lanka, kissing the western border of the city and providing a view of the Indian Ocean. Constructed starting in the fifteenth century AD, this Portuguese-built and later expanded Dutch castle is perched on a hill and has several residences, offices, storage spaces, chapels, and temples in addition to a massive granite wall and two imposing gates. Galle Fort, along with over sixty other colonial-era forts in Sri Lanka, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The remarkable Dutch architectural style permeates every building within the fort. The only tourist destination in Sri Lanka that has the UNESCO world heritage site label and allows cashless entry is the Galle fort.

Free activities to explore Kande Vihara in Sri Lanka

The majority of Sri Lankans worship at the thousands of Buddhist temples, stupas, dagobas, image houses, and monasteries that are dispersed throughout the country, from the north to the south.

However, the majority of these Buddhist temples lack the religious and historical significance of Kande vihara. The temple is located on Sri Lanka’s western coast, a short distance from the spotless beaches of Bentota, Beruwila, Kalutara, and Hikkaduwa. On the west coast, Kande Vihara is a significant pilgrimage site.

A Buddhist monk established the majestic temple, which has been serving the public since 1734. Over the ages, pilgrims and travelers from all over the world have come to Kande Vihara to pray and travel. The temple’s main features are the 48-meter-tall sitting Buddha statue, the holy Bo-tree, and an image palace filled with Buddha statues and paintings.

Kande Vihara is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the west coast these days. The temple’s management does not charge its patrons any fees, even with its widespread appeal and significance in both history and religion.

You are well on your way to exploring this intriguing Buddhist temple if you are on a beach tour to the western coast, such as a five-day beach vacation in Sri Lanka. Try to schedule it for a day like the weekend or full moon, when a large number of Buddhist devotees gather to participate in religious observances.

Free activities in Sri Lanka include going to a spice garden.

A cornerstone of any traditional Sri Lankan meal are spices, from the devilled, fiery chilies left by colonial rulers to the fragrant cinnamon that drew Portuguese sailor Lorenzo De Almeida. Ella is home to several green-capped mountains, ravines, year-round rivers, waterfalls, and chilly evenings. In addition to being a well-liked travel destination, the lush, wet mountain resort grows pricey spices like turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, and curry leaves. Consequently, Ella has evolved into a destination for tasting delicately flavored traditional foods cooked with coconut milk instead of spicy chili.

The majority of the island’s numerous spice gardens are found in the mountainous regions, where the warm climate and rich soil with a PH of 5–6 provide ideal growing conditions for spices. Ella Spice Garden is a popular tourist destination that provides guests with complimentary tours. Even though Ella Spice Garden is smaller than the Royal Botanical Garden ($10), it can still be a decent substitute for it.

The spice garden features pepper, pandam, vanilla creeper, cocoa tree, and spicy chilli plants. In addition to learning how to produce spices, you can also discover new ways to use them in the preparation of delectable Sri Lankan meals. The cooking lesson is offered at no cost.