Have you been travelling in Sri Lanka yet? I’m sure you will be adding it to your list of countries you want to visit once you have read about a few of the must do things in Sri Lanka below. Travelling in Sri Lanka is becoming more common as part of the South East Asia backpacking route, yet still doesn’t feel overcrowded with tourists which I why I loved it so much and why you should get here while it lasts. Here’s 7 must do things whilst travelling in Sri Lanka.
One of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the Huge, 200 metres tall, ancient rock fortress in the north, just outside the town of Dambulla. Rather than trekking to the top of the rock itself, I recommend checking out the Pidurangala Rock. It is a few kilometres away from the famous rock that stands, looking like its been placed there, but the views of the rock in the distance are some of the best in the whole of Sri Lanka. It takes around 20 minutes of walking to reach the summit for the amazing views but it will be well worth it.
Also known as the Bridge in The Sky, the Nine Arch Bridge is just on the outskirts of Ella. The iconic bridge is a fine example of the colonial British architecture that still remains in Sri Lanka. Located in the dense jungle and surrounded by tea plantations, it a great spot to get some great photos. There are a couple of ways of getting to the nine arches bridge, you an either walk 20 minutes through the jungle from Ella or you can take a short Tuk Tuk ride from town.
Sri Lanka is very famous for producing and exporting some of the best tea in the world. As you are travelling in Sri Lanka you will be surrounded by green rolling hills filled with tea plantations, where locals wander around with woven baskets and collect the tea leaves. There are many different tea plantations where you can actually go and learn how to pick and make your very own tea. A great experience where you can really get involved and be hands on, feeling like a local for the day.
One of the main highlights and bucket list things to do in Sri Lanka is to take a ride on the Blue Train from Kandy to Ella or in reverse. The beautiful 7-hour journey over the highlands is commonly known as the most scenic train journey in the entire world. Passing over mountains, tea plantations and through local villages in the rural parts of Sri Lanka. If 7-hours on a train is a little too long for you, then catch the train to Ella from Nuwara Eliya, as this will only take you 2.5 hours and you will still get to see the most beautiful parts of the journey. Breaking the journey up like this means you can travel to Nuwara Eliya by bus, stopping at the Ramboda Falls waterfall on the way.
It is everyone’s dream to go on a safari once in their life and Sri Lanka is home to national parks with elephants, buffaloes, deer, crocodiles, macaques, leopards, peacocks, flocks of birds and much more. There are several national parks you can jump on a jeep safari, but the two main places that are visited in Sri Lanka to spot the incredible wildlife is Yala National Park and Udawalawe National Park. Yala is the busier of the two and is also furthest away if you’re taking the loop around Sri Lanka. After visiting both, in my opinion, I preferred the quieter Udawalale, known for having a high population of Asian elephants, even more than some East African national parks. Best time of day to visit would for sunrise or sunset as it is cooler and you are more likely to spot the wildlife.
Travelling in Sri Lanka isn’t the same without having some time to chill, relax and surf (attempt to surf) on their most beautiful beaches. Backpacking through Sri Lanka can be hectic at times which is all part of the experience, so getting to the south of the island and allowing yourself to have some beach time is a must. Sri Lanka is renowned for having awesome surf, whether you are a beginner or a professional there are places for you to give it a go. Weligama is one of the coolest places to stay and surf as there are some really chilled vibes, plenty of nice cafes, quirky shops and of course awesome waves on the turquoise waters.
Whilst spending time on the beaches and relaxing in the south, to break that up you can take a visit to the old town and the fort of Galle, the old Dutch headquarters. Galle is another World Heritage site so all the old buildings have been very well preserved. The town is full with trendy shops, cafes and restaurants which can be enjoyed as well as learning about the fascinating history that it holds. Within the old fort walls, there’s museums and impressive monuments with beautiful churches, the clock tower and the Galle Lighthouse being a few of them. Head to Galle in the morning to avoid the busy streets or for sunset when it is a little cooler.