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Top 21 Things To Do In Sri Lanka

This list is quite adventurous; it includes many natural resources such as wildlife reserves, rainforests, and mountains. The list also includes few cultural and historical monuments. Watching blue whale is a hot topic in the island as it gives you the opportunity to spot largest creature in the world in close proximity, so is the boat tour of Madu estuary to spot avian fain species. I have done all these activities and they are some of my favourite things to do in Sri Lanka.

Top 21 Things To Do In Sri Lanka

What are the things to do in Sri Lanka? what are the things to see in Sri Lanka? are very common questions among most travellers, who plan a Sri Lanka trip. We receive a large number of inquiries through our web page, which provide helpful information to travellers to plan their Sri Lanka trip and asking about the interesting things to do in Sri Lanka. That’s the main why we decided to embark on this article.

Sri Lanka or Ceylon as it was called earlier is also known as the pearl of the orient. Some people say the island was called pearl of the orient because it produces all varieties of precious stones. Some others claim that Sri Lanka is very rich in natural beauty and therefore it is called pearl of the orient. Whatever it is, the island is a great resource for explorers with any kind of taste. Maybe it is wildlife that you are fascinated by or beaches, cultural sites, adventure activities, historic monuments, perhaps you are a foodie traveller… plan your next trip to Sri Lanka, there is something on the island to keep you busy.

This list is quite adventurous; it includes many natural resources such as wildlife reserves, rainforests, and mountains. The list also includes few cultural and historical monuments. Watching blue whale is a hot topic in the island as it gives you the opportunity to spot largest creature in the world in close proximity, so is the boat tour of Madu estuary to spot avian fain species. I have done all these activities and they are some of my favourite things to do in Sri Lanka.

  • Kandy, Pinnawala elephant orphanage, tooth relic temple, royal botanical garden, Water rafting, jeep safari at Udawalawe national park, Boat tour at Madu river estuary, Bentota beach
  • Duration-4 Days
  • Places- Kandy, Udawalawe, Kitulgala, Bentota, Colombo
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 4-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner

Special Price US$ 690, save $60, Regular Price US$750

What are the top 20 things to do in Sri Lanka?

  1. Exploring the city of Kandy
  2. Whale watching Sri Lanka
  3. Having a Sea bath
  4. Diving & snorkelling
  5. Visiting Colombo Zoo
  6. Duck boat tour in Nuwara Eliya
  7. Madu Ganga River Safari
  8. Fish Massage
  9. Exploring Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary
  10. Bird watching
  11. Take a ride in a bullock cart
  12. Wash, feed and treat elephants
  13. Feed street dogs
  14. Trek in the Kanneliya Forest Reserve
  15. Trekking through Sinharaja Rainforest
  16. Spotting leopards at Yala national park
  17. Climbing Adams peak
  18. Hot air ballooning
  19. Wine and dine
  20. Experience the gorgeous sunset
  21. The train ride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya

Have you already planned the activities of your Sri Lanka road trip? Exploring Sigiriya rock fortress? A whitewater rafting in kitulgala? perhaps explore the cultural triangle with a hot air balloon ride on Dambulla. This article is about the top 20 things to do in Sri Lanka, and this article might be very useful to plan your fun-filled Sri Lanka activities during the holiday in Sri Lanka. With this long article, we hope to give some insight into several important and fun things to do in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is popular in the travel world as a beach holiday destination hence there is no Sri Lanka tour itinerary without a beach stay. The country is also popular among many travellers as a country with rich culture and history. But, unfortunately, the natural resources are not known to most of the people, who come to the island. Therefore the nature reserves, rainforests and national parks are largely unexplored and forgotten.

Do you know that Sri Lanka is very rich in natural wealth such as trees, plants and animals? why don’t you give it a try, I guarantee you will not be regret allocating several days of your holiday to enjoy the fascinating collection of fauna and flora of this tropical island. You will be surprised to see what Sri Lanka has to offer for you. Sri Lanka has become the hottest holiday destination in Asia and attracts a large number of holidaymakers from all around the world.

Sri Lanka is a holiday destination with a wide range of attractions and activities. Pristine beaches, fascinating landscape, primaeval rainforests, animal world, historical cities, ancient culture, and tradition are some of the assets of Sri Lanka that helps the island to attract holiday lovers.

Wildlife holidays, adventure holidays, cultural tours, health tourism or Ayurveda courses and many other variations of holiday packages are offered by travel agents such as Seerendipity tours. Holiday in Sri Lanka has become very affordable with compared many Asian holiday destinations such as Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and India. So, pack yourself and set off to Sri Lanka for a memorable holiday for a very affordable price.

Whether you like to travel solo and have a personalized tour or join a group, hotel reservation, day tours, multi-day tours such as 10 days Sri Lanka tour whatever it is Seerendipity tours can help you to organize your holiday in Sri Lanka. Call or write to us for any inquiry regarding your holiday in Sri Lanka. Following are some fun activities that will make you happy during the holiday.

These are some of the places in Sri Lanka that holds a lot of value for the nature lovers.  So don’t think twice put them on your tour itinerary and enjoy the nature in its wild form.

Kandy city tour one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka

Kandy is a cultural city and probably the most visited city on the island. It attracts locals as well as tourists and offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy your holiday in Sri Lanka. Kandy is a historical city dating back to many hundreds of years. Kandy is a popular destination for locals as well as foreign tourists. Kandy shows the best picture of colonial influence in the past. Still, a large number of colonial buildings is occupying the centre of the city while some other buildings show the typical Kandyan architecture.

In the heart of downtown Kandy are shops and market to keep you busy with purchasing. Kandy shopping area has an interesting blend of merchandise from souvenir, clothes to vegetable and fruits. The number of shops, restaurant and bars are exceeding many hundreds. I can guarantee that you would stay in the city for the whole day, at least one half of the day. So, just drop into an open restaurant and sip a typical Ceylon tea, while enjoying the busy outside world.  I would choose devon for a quick bite and a drink because it is clean, affordable and good food.

Galle Fort and City Cycling Tour

Explore the fortified city of Galleon a 4-hour bike tour, led by a local guide. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site…

Special Price US$ 30, save $10, Regular Price US$40

Whale watching Sri Lanka

Do you know that Sri Lanka has resident whales? Maybe you are not aware that the ocean around Sri Lanka has a sizable whale population. Sri Lanka is one of the best places for whale watching in Asia. A large number of whale gatherings can be seen in areas such as Arugam Bay, Matara, Mirissa, Kalkudah and Pasikuda. According to the naturalists, there are permanent resident whales around the island, other than the migrating whales, which are coming from the direction of Arabic sea. Therefore chances of seeing whales are at a very high level especially in the waters of southern Sri Lanka.

The ocean around the island is resided by a large number of whales. Therefore, whale watching is a very popular Sri Lanka activity among travellers, who spend a holiday in Sri Lanka. Apart from the resident whales, the sea around the island is visited by migrant whales coming from other areas such as the Arabian Sea. Therefore, the ocean around Sri Lanka shows a healthy concentration of this largest marine mammal.

The chances of spotting whales are very high due to the healthy population of whales. Whale watching cruise tours are offered by tour operators such as Seerendipity tours and it takes around 5 hours for the entire whale watching trip. If you like to hear whales sing-song then get on board and set off to the deep sea, Oops don’t forget your camera.

  • Highlights- Yala national park, Galle fort, pinnawala elephant orphanage, Spice garden, Tooth relic temple, Tea factory and plantation, Bentota beach, Galle, Madu River Estuary, Sea Turtle Conservation Center
  • Duration-8 Days
    Places- Yala, Galle, Kandy, Mirissa, Bentota, Colombo, Nuwara Eliya
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 4-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner

Special Price US$ 690, save $100, Regular Price US$790

Sea bath

Still, the palm-fringed beaches are the most important tourist attraction on the island. Almost every tourist spends at least one night in a beach resort to enjoy the secluded beaches and to have a refreshing bath in the sea. The sea bath can be dangerous sometimes due to the underwater current. Therefore it is highly advisable to consult the lifeguard at the hotel before going to the sea.


Sri Lanka has become one of the best destinations for diving and snorkelling enthusiast in the world. There is a large number of diving hot spots around the country. The fascinating deep water world of Sri Lanka is the home for a large number of species of corals, exotic fish, underwater plants and other sea creature. The shipwrecks in the waters of Sri Lanka are great locations to spot sea creatures, and most of these ships with historical value and dating back to many centuries.

Visiting Colombo Zoo

Colombo zoo is one of the best places for fun activities in the city of Colombo, especially for kids. It has a very interesting collection of animals from various parts of the world. Don’t miss out on the elephant dancing performance at the open theatres. It is the most fun activity in the zoo for most people. Kids will enjoy it and love it. The zoo is occupying a beautifully landscaped garden and it is a popular family outing place among the local people.

Duck boat tour in Nuwara Eliya

If you take a tour or excursion to Nuwara Eliya during your holiday in Sri Lanka, you have the opportunity to get into a duck boat. Duck boating is a popular fun activity among the travellers, who visit the hill station of Nuwara Eliya. Duck boats are small boats with the appearance of a duck. It can accommodate two persons at a time and they have to paddle to cruise on the water.  Gregory Lake is the location for this fun activity and boats can be hired for one hour or more. Duck boating is thoroughly enjoyed by kids and adult alike.

Sri Lanka Boat tour at Madu estuary with southern Sri Lanka

  • 2-hour boat tour at Madu exploring rich fauna, flora and mangrove forest
  • Cinnamon island visit
  • Mangrove forest visit
  • Galle Fort
  • Hikkaduwa beach
  • Moonstone mine
  • Sea turtle conservation project
  • Mask museum
  • Galle maritime museum
  • Galle Dutch reformed church

Special Price US$ 69 (Rs 12144 ), save US$ 15 (Rs 2640), Regular Price USD 85

Madu Ganga River Safari

Perhaps Madu Ganga or Madu river is the most popular wetland on the west coast of Sri Lanka. Madu Ganga river safari along the river exposes you to the existing set up of fauna and flora along the river. Here you have the opportunity to get through knowledge on Sri Lankan mangroves, fish species, and amphibian species. Being a wetland the richness of avian fauna is very high in Madu Ganga and the best place to spot many rare species of national and migratory bird species.

Madu Ganga or Madu river is widely considered as one of the best places to explore the fascinating aquatic environment of Sri Lanka. Madu Ganga is famed for its boat rides and mangrove forest exploration. Madu Ganga is declared as a Ramsar wetland and one of the last remaining verging riverine environments in the country. Madu Ganga river safari is one of the most popular excursions among the travellers who spend their beach holiday on the west coast.

While the river bank harbours a large number of mangrove species it allows you to see many species of aquatic birds and mammals such as monitors, crocodiles and, monkeys. Madu Ganga boat tour can be booked as an excursion from your beach hotel or it can be combined if you plan around tour during your Sri Lanka holidays. Madu Ganga boat tour lasts around two hours and it gives you a lasting impression on riverine vegetation in the island.

While a boat ride on Madu gives you a pleasurable time in the aquatic environment in Balapitiya, a Hot air Balloon ride will expose you to the fascinating historical sites of the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. You can have a bird’s eye view over the historical cities, monasteries, palaces, gardens, forests, paddy fields and man-made tanks of the dry zone. Be prepared to have a lifetime experience from the air which comes as a combination of nature and history.

A cruise along the Madu Ganga is a pleasant excursion to explore the rich natural riverine wealth of the island.  It gives you some outstanding view both across Magu Ganga wetland and of the surrounding mangrove forests. Stopping off at one of the islands makes it an even more impressive experience.  One of those islands is the cinnamon island, which is covered by the rich cinnamon plantation.

Fish massage

Madu Ganga Fish massage centre is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. You need to take a boat ride in order to reach the message centre. It is located in one of the islands of Madu Ganga Wetland.  Dip your toe into one of the tanks that are teeming with fish species such as tilapia and enjoy the fish therapy.

Affordable Sri Lanka beach holiday package

  • 2 days of a beach holiday
  • Accommodation in a 4-star beach resort
  • 1 breakfast and 1 dinner
  • Arrival/departure transfer

Special Price US$ 60, save $30, Regular Price US$90

Glass bottom boat tour at Hikkaduwa Marine National Park

If you like to have a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world of Sri Lanka you have heading on to Hikkaduwa during your  Sri Lanka holidays. Hikkaduwa is an area with high biodiversity within the Indian Ocean. It is the home for one of the largest colonies of coral species and exotic fish species. It also harbours a huge number of other sea creatures such as endangered sea turtles. Don’t forget to visit one of the sea-turtle conservation centres on the west coast during your Sri Lanka holidays, where the members are happy to tell you about the conservation efforts of their organizations.

Bird watching

Sri Lanka is very rich in avian fauna species and the country is inhabited by 425 bird species. Therefore Sri Lanka is visited by a large number of bird lovers every year. But, it is not necessary to undertake a deep jungle journey to witness birds in Sri Lanka. Birds can be seen without any great effort by approaching the countryside, where the paddy fields, woods and waterways to be found. For people, who especially travel to Sri Lanka for bird watching, they must be heading to places such as Kumana, Attidiya and Rekawa.

Take a ride in a bullock cart

Bullock cart, one of the cheapest and nature-friendly transport method, unfortunately, can be seen very rarely today. But, it had been the leading transport method in the past. Today, bullock carts can be found in some areas and services for tourists. They can be borrowed only for an enjoyable ride in places such as Sigiriya.

Wash, feed and treat elephants

Grooming, washing and feeding the Elephant are some of the jobs to be done by the mahout (companion of the elephant). Every tamed elephant is accompanied by a human companion or mahout. The animal can be controlled by the specific mahout at most of the time. It can be very enjoyable to groom and feed one of the jumbos, but it is advisable to have the mahout always with you.

Feed street dogs

As soon as on the streets of Sri Lanka, one can see the number of wild dogs. Even though they are not aggressive and harmful to human, it is advisable to keep a distance from them. Most of these animals are mainly dependent on the litter bins for their foods. Therefore if you have any leftover from your lunch packet or breakfast packet, be nice, open it to one of the hungry dogs.

Trek in the Kanneliya Forest Reserve

Exploring the tropical vegetation on the island is another brilliant idea to enjoy your holiday. Even though the island is small in size it has a large number of forests and national parks. Visiting national parks and forests is the best way to embrace the natural beauty of the country. One day tour of the beach resort gives you plenty of opportunities to see the wildlife of the country.  Travel companies such as seerendipity tours are always prepared to organize your short trips at an affordable rate.

Kanneliya is another protected wildlife area, which is considered to have one of the highest bio-diversities on the island. The forest is consisting of a vast tract of land with many endemic species of fauna and flora. The fascinating eco-system here harbours many species of birds, mammals, reptiles unique to the country. Kanneliya is one of the least known rainforests in Sri Lanka and therefore it is not a very popular natural attraction among travellers.  Kanneloya is overlooked by most travellers and fail to visit this rainforest during their Sri Lanka holidays.

  • Highlights- Sinharaja rainforest trek 4 hours, Fesh water river bath (optional) exploring fascinating Fauna and Flora of the Rainforest
  • Duration-1 Day
  • Places- Sinharaja
  • Start/End-Colombo, west coast beach hotels
  • Transport-Private vehicle
Special Price US$ 75, save $75, Regular Price US$150

Trekking through Sinharaja Rainforest

Sinharaja rainforest is a stunning protected patch of forests, that should be recommended to visit during the Sri Lanka holidays if someone fascinated by faun and flora. Including Sinharaja forest in a Sri Lanka holidays allows you to spot a large number of fand flora of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja forest reserve is declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO by considering its importance for the world.

The entire forest reserve is a conservation land visitors get the opportunity to see a large array of fauna and flora here. There are many fantastic footpaths readily available for you to explore the forest reserve and see the beautiful scenery. Exploring Sinharaja during your Sri Lanka holidays allows you to experience the most important natural asset of the island.  This virgin rainforest is one of the least disturbed rainforests in the world and has very high biodiversity.

Sinharaja is a natural world heritage site in Sri Lanka. It is one of the last remaining primaeval rainforests in the region and dating back to millions of years. Sinharaja is a strict nature reserve and visitors allow having a walk in the buffer zone of the forest.  You will be astounded to see the gloomy, serene and calm atmosphere prevails in the forest. Upper canopy and canopy block the sun rays reaching the lower part of the forest resulting very gloomy lower part even during the very sunny days. Frequent rain is usual here and heat of the environment is considerably lowered by the water resources and thick grown trees and plants.

  • Highlights-Sinharaja Rainforest, Udawattekele, Galway’s bird sanctuary, Horton plains, White water rafting, Udawalawe national park, Yala national park, waterfalls, Spice garden, tooth relic temple, tea factory and plantation, Bentota beach
  • Duration-5 Days
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 4-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner

Special Price US$ 530, save $80, Regular Price US$610

Spotting leopards at Yala national park

Sri Lanka is not a safari destination like Kenya or Tanzania but the island is inhabited by a large number of the animal. One distinct advantage of Sri Lankan safari is the higher possibility of seeing wild animal within a small geographical area.

Yala national park is situated in the south-east corner of Sri Lanka. This is the second biggest national park in the country and spread over 97000 hectares. This national park can be comfortably reached from Colombo and the west coast and it takes only a few hours to get there by a private vehicle. Public transport may take several hours more due to the many transit points. Yala is the most suitable national park to witness the largest carnivore of Sri Lanka-leopard. Yala block 1 is ranked among the best places to witness leopards due to the large concentration of them.  Therefore you have the best chance of seeing leopards in Yala. Elephant, bear, wild boar, deer, crocodile, monkey and many species of birds and snakes are some of the most spotted here.

Climbing Adams peak

While Mt.everst is the most widely known mountain in the world due to the height, Mt. Adams peak has its advantage of being a pilgrimage site.  If you love to experience have adventure, history, religion and get to know the local people in one journey then head on to Sri Pada or Adams peak.

Sri Pada or Adam’s peak is a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and most tourists are not forgetting to include Adam’s peak in their Sri Lanka holiday packages. Sripada Mountain dominates the sky in the mountains and the most popular peak in the island. The shrine on the pinnacle, which lies well over 2300 meters above the sea level, is a place of veneration for all major religions. If you do not belong to any of the native religions, still it is highly worthwhile to go up the mountains due to the awe-striking scenery across the country from the pinnacle.

Local people are heading to the summit of the mountains due to the religious and historical reasons. This is a pilgrimage site for all major religions in Sri Lanka. The mountain is situated in a strict nature reserve and surrounded by thick jungle. One can have a breathtaking view over the surrounding jungle and the view of the sunrise from the summit is a highlight for any person climb Adams peak.  There are 2 major routes with varying distance to reach the pinnacle of the mountains. Both are very picturesque and adventurous.  The route that starts in Hatton is the shortest and less difficult.

Hot air ballooning

Hot air ballooning is one of the most popular activities among the tourists in Sri Lanka. For the past nine years, 1000’s of local as well as foreigners have experienced the hot air ballooning, especially in the cultural triangle. Commercial ballooning has been experienced even by the conservative.  The journey with a balloon is proved to be reliable with modern safety equipment and it provided a lot of satisfaction. One can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the sky and one can have a beautiful view of the beautiful vegetation and landscape of the country.

Balloon time can be varied depending on the different packages. The cause of the journey is determined by the wind and the guests are transferred by air-conditioned vehicles from the landing point. Commercial ballooning is frequently sighted in the areas of Dambulla, Sigiriya, and Habarana. The flights take place across the Cultural triangle over the beautiful evergreen dry zone forests. One can have a view over the Sigiriya rock, mountains, temples, lotus pond and local village life

Kandalama near Dambulla has earned a reputation as one of the best places for ballooning and it is voted as the “Top 5” ballooning destination in the world. there are many distinguished guests have undertaken the flight from this area and some of them are Movie stars, ambassadors, princesses, ladies and knights.

Ballooning started in France in the 1850s then spread around the world and today it has evolved into one of the key tourist attractions. It is estimated that 3.5 million tourists perform the balloon tours in Australia alone, for adventure and viewing the major cities from the sky. Ballooning believed in providing a more picturesque view during the flight that the fixed-wing flights.

With the well-trained pilots, sophisticated equipment and following strict international standards have made it a more trustworthy way of air travelling. Sri Lanka dry zone is the most favourable for ballooning in the island. Being in the dry-zone the cultural triangle does experience the rainy season only for a few months and the rest of the year usually warm and dry. Dry warm weather provides the ideal atmosphere to enjoy the ballooning.

Sampling seafood one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka for food lovers.

Being an island, Sri Lanka is famous for seafood and has plenty of variations of it. You may surprise to see the different variety of seafood dishes offered by local restaurants. Even though seafood available all around the country, the fresh seafood is available in the beach areas. Beach areas offer plenty of seafood restaurants, especially the resort areas gives you plenty of options to try delicious seafood menus. Jump into a fishing vessel and set off to the deep blue sea to catch the fish on your own. You can spend the entire day or several hours in the sea.

Experience the gorgeous sunset

If you are doing the sightseeing tours during your holiday, you will find many interesting things to do in Sri Lanka. But you also find some interesting to do in Sri Lanka as you make your beach holiday.

After the hard day of touring let your day to wind up in a beach restaurant, cafe or a pub on the beach. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery at the time of the sunset. West coast of Sri Lanka is the best place to see the sunset while the summit of the Sripada gives you the best view of the sunrise.

  • Highlights- Kandy, Temple of the tooth relic, Royal botanical garden, Nuwara Eliya, Ceylon tea trails, Elle, Hiking
  • Duration-4 Days
    Places- Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Elle
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle and train
  • Accommodation 3-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner
Special Price US$ 490, save $60, Regular Price US$650

The train ride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya and Ella both are mountain resorts and popular tourist hangouts I the island. What makes the tourist come to Nuwara Eliya and Ella? The answer is nature. The natural wealth of both locations tempts the travellers to stop at these places. Nuwara Eliya, I would like to say it is a small town with about a couple of thousands population. But Ella is a laid back small village with an extensive green cover. There are many dozens of hiking trails in Ella and some of them are easy to do and some other need bit of experience.

Other than trekking, hiking, exploring tea gardens, bathing in natural waterholes, the train journey is also among best things to do in Ella and this scenic train trip is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka.  The train journey from Ella to Nuwara Eliya or vice-a-Vera last bout 2 hours; you are exposed to the endless valleys as your travel around the jagged mountain. The visors are taken by surprise with the spellbinding view, so don’t forget to make time for it.


Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on admin@seerendipitytours.com... read more