Sri Lanka has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and the island attracts many million tourists every year. However, a large number of places in Sri Lanka still remains unexplored and hidden secrets. As a local traveller, I thought of crafting this article on unexplored places in Sri Lanka, here is a list of 5 places to explore ahead of the crowds.
Top 10 Unexplored places in Sri Lanka
1.Meet Sri Lankan aborigines, at the unexplored destination, Damnbana
Mahiyangana used to inhabit by a large number of Vedda community. Vedda community considered being the ancestors of Stone Age inhabitants of the island, who believed to be a crossover to the island from India about 1600 years back. The community still has the old lifestyle and they are mainly living on hunting while some people are engaged in agriculture. Today most of them are living in Dambana, which is located about 19 kilometres eastward from Mahiyangana.
Visiting the Vedda community is an interesting thing to do because there is still stick to their age-old lifestyle. They are still clinging to their customs and traditions and they are fascination. However the Vedda community is shrinking past due to the changing lifestyle of modern Vedda generation, they are absorbing the average Sri Lankan lifestyle, traditions and customs while alienating their traditional life.
A village tour of Dambana in the Vedda territory allows you to meet these indigenous people; the Vedda will host a traditional meal for you and take you to their village. This is a perfect opportunity to meet the tribesman, who still lives partly in the jungle. Hunting and agriculture are the main income for the people in the village. This is a perfect opportunity to discover the jungle territory and get a clear insight into the rural life of the Vedda community.
2. Knuckles forest is one of the unexplored places in Sri Lanka
The knuckles forest sits in the central province of Sri Lanka; this jungle terrain is remote, beautiful and visited by few travellers every year. Sinharaja is a bio-diversity hot spot and hosts a large number of fauna and flora species, and many dozens of endemic species among them. The patch of forest with mountainous backgrounds is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2010.
Trekking through the knuckles forest enables you to explore one of the most beautiful patches of cloud forests in the island. Leopards lurk in the shadows (although they’re rarely seen) along with many other creatures such as purple-faced langur monkeys and giant squirrels as well as many endemic avian Fauna species.
3. Visit Pigeon Island marine sanctuary and swim with sharks
Pigeon island marine sanctuary is one of the 2 marine sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, located in the east coast of Sri Lanka off the town of Trincomalee. A short boat ride from Nilaveli beach takes you to the tiny island with pristine beaches known as Pigeon Island. He Island is surrounded by a plethora of marine life. A large array of exotic fish species, coral reefs, sea-weeds, sea turtles, are a very common sight for snorkelers here, and all life a few meters away from the beach. Here you can make a short boat trip to shark point reef, where you can spot blacktip reef sharks. Surfing, whale watching, fishing are some other activities readily available here.
4. Kalpitiya is a largely unexplored destination in Sri Lanka and best place to spot dolphins
Kalpitiya is fast developing beach resort on the north-west coast of Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya was out of reach for more than 30 years due to the north-east civil war, however, it has been able to get its due place in the tourism industry with the ending of civil war. Kalpitiya still largely unexplored, it pristine beaches awaits the attention of travellers.
The Puttalam lagoon from one side and the Ocean from the other side, this peninsula hide a narrow sliver of land, perfect for a tranquil beach holiday. The lagoon is the perfect spot for kite-surfing and fishing. The most popular natural splendour of Kalpitiya undoubtedly is the vast pods of spinner dolphins that can be spotted from the shore. A trip in a boat off to the sea gives you unforgettable experiences. As your boat runs over the waves, you will be accompanied by dozens of dolphins, racing alongside your boat. Occasionally launch their body into the air with a twisted acrobatic movement.
5. Enjoy the mesmerizing views at Yapahuwa
Yapahuwa was one of the many capitals of historical Sri Lanka and little remains from the ancient capital today. Much of it except the stoned staircase had been destroyed at the wrath of harsh weather. Visiting cultural triangle in the bucket list of most Sri Lankan visitors but Yapahuwa still remains in the list of unexplored places in Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa are some of the historical tourist hot spots in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka located within easy reach of Yapahuwa. Investing a little bit of your time is well worth; the astonishing near-vertical staircase is in very good shape and well preserved. The staircase is adorned with friezes of stone carved musicians and dancers while two lions guard the entrance. There had been a palace on the elevated platform to which the staircase is directed to. Today almost nothing is to be witnessed from the palace. However, the view from the top across the plain below is spellbinding. Some parts of the ancient city that stood at the foot of the rock can be seen from the top.
6. Explore Buddhist hermitage of Ritigala
Exploring Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla golden cave temple, crumbling monuments in Anuradhapura ancient city is part of most tour itineraries. Ritigala forest hermitage is equally magical but less encountered in most tour itineraries, by and large one of the least explored places in Sri Lanka. Ritigala forest hermitage sits in the forested hill of Ritigala, at the heart of the north-central province of Sri Lanka. The forest-dwelling monks used it as their abode for many millennia before, which is a perfect spot to carry out their mediations habit without any disturbances from the outside world.
According to the historical notes, many hundreds of Buddhist monks lived in the jungle hermitage about 5000 years ago. Most of the ancient building that stood in the hermitage is reduced to rubble. However substantial remains still hiding in the jungle and can be accessed. Meditation paths, in the deep jungle, could have been perfect spots for concentrations and calm the mind and body. Many quaint little monastic residences are still can be seen in the thick forest reserve. A pair of tiny houses, ponds, walking paths and a tiny bridge can be easily spotted here.
- Highlights-Water rafting, Boat tour, Rainforest trek, Visit temples, Jeep safari
- Duration-4 Days
- Places- Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Kithulgala, Tooth relic temple, Sinharaja forest, Udawalawe national park, Mirissa, Galle Fort, Bentota
- Transport-Private vehicle
- Accommodation 3-star hotel
- Meals-Breakfast and Dinner
- Availability-From Nov 2019 to Nov 2021
Special Price US$ 550, save $125, Regular Price US$675
7. Visiting most remote village in sri Lanka- Narak village
This remote village is located well over most villages and cities in Sabaragamuwa province. It is situated at a very high-altitude, 7200 feet above sea level, and only a few cities on the island lie at this altitude. Therefore Narak village is considered to be one of the villages that lie at a very high-altitude on the island.
The village is so unchartered by visitors that the road which leads to the village has no name boards or signs, making it difficult for the travellers to navigate without the assistance of a local guide. The village is about 50 kilometres from the nearest city (Balangoda) and the road that leads to the village is very narrow and should be used very cautiously. The narrow road is line-up with mountains from one side and the other side is the slanting face of the mountain.
The rapid slope is more than a thousand feet deep. The road is very narrow and it can accommodate only the small vehicles and several dozens of sharp bends make it more difficult and dangerous to traverse. The travellers need to be prepared to spend around five hours while careening around hairpin bends that snaked about 500m up from the foothills of the mountain.
What is most fascinating about this charming village is the richness of natural scenery. The surrounding low-level area looks like a green blanket which spreads thousands of kilometres in all directions. The mountains with the green cap are always in touch with clouds and thick fog. The temperature in the village is very low most of the time, especially after the sunset. From the access road to vegetation, climate, geographical location and everything that related to this beautiful village are unique.
Visitors can enjoy the awe-inspiring beautiful scenery of the surrounding valleys and mountains and the visitors are rewarded with refreshing, fresh air for breathing. But, on the other side, the villagers are very poor and live under very poor fasciitis.
Today about 30 families are living in the village and the number of people is nearly 200. Due to the high altitude, the village is under the influence of strong wind and cool climate. Three months from June blows the most forceful wind and it lifts the roofs of the houses in some instances. Therefore the people have put extra weight on their roofs in order to protect their shelter. In the windy days, it can be dangerous to travel on this road and one can even be drifted away leaving no chance of escaping.
At the end of the road to the Narak village, starts the narrow path, which leads to the worlds ends (Horton Plains) and the path is only two kilometres long. Even though it is not being used for trekking, this path can be a handy trek for adventure holiday lovers in Sri Lanka. This beautiful village and its beautiful environment are largely unknown to most people on the island. Difficulty in travel and remoteness are the other major reasons that keep people away from the village. Perhaps in the future, when the infrastructure is developed this beautiful village will come into light as a holiday destination and attracts some adventure as well as nature lovers.
8. Meditate in a health resort
Sri Lanka is a venue for Buddhist pilgrim tours for many millennia and Buddhism is a living religion. Sri Lanka is one of the best countries in the world to get a perfect picture of Buddhist spirituality. Meditation and Yoga practices are very popular among the locals as well as foreign travellers. There are large numbers of health retreats on the island providing all facilities for travellers, who wish to engage in Yoga and meditation in order to relieve from the stress and calm their body and mind. Most health retreats conduct the sessions for local as well as foreign travellers and many of them provide ac accommodation for their visitors. Many health retreats of Sri Lanka provide day tour packages for travellers to make use of benefits of Ayurveda treatments, Yoga sessions and Meditation.
9. Unexplored south coast beaches
Sri Lanka is a leading beach holiday destination in the world and visiting beaches is part of almost every Sri Lanka tour package while some other opt only to stay on the beach. West coast beaches are the most popular hideouts for foreign travellers and southern coast beaches are still not fully utilize for recreation activities.
The tourism infrastructure is not well developed to accommodate thousands of travellers on the south coast like in west coast beaches; however, there has been an improvement in the tourism industry during the recent past. Only a few tourists can be seen on the south coast beaches, means that you can evade the crowd, head to beaches such as Weligama, Tangalle and Hambantota and enjoy the peaceful holiday. In the south coast, there are many palm-fringed pristine beaches with warm torque water of Indian Ocean they are perfect spots for sunbathing and swimming.
10. Unexplored Aluvihara rock cave temple
Aluvihara Buddhist temple is one of the most ancient Buddhist temples on the island but it is coming under unexplored places in Sri Lanka. It is rarely included in most Sri Lanka tour itineraries as it is not coming under top-notch tourist attractions.
The temple is located in a series of natural caves. The ceiling and the walls of the caves are hidden with religious paintings depicting sceneries of the life of Buddha. The cave temple houses 10 meters long reclining Buddha statue hewn into the natural granite rock. It is believed that the history of the temple goes back to the 3rd century BC. The oral teaching of Buddha was committed to writing at Aluvihara in 3rd century BC. That’s the most significant event took place in this temple that hides amongst the boulders.
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