Sri Lanka – Things to do
It may be a small country, but you won’t run out of things to do in Sri Lanka. These magical experiences will give you memories which last long after you return from your holiday.
The world-class waves in this crescent-shaped bay attract surfers from all over the globe to this paradise on the south-east coast. The waters of Main Point have prime spots for both novice and advanced surfers and the best time to catch those waves is from May to July. There’s a peaceful laid-back vibe and a natural charm to the town that’s ideal for meditation and yogis, but it also comes alive at night with plenty of places to party.
You’ll never forget the jaw-dropping sight of this rock fortress as it rises dramatically 370m from the misty plains. For some, this stunning spectacle is enough. But if you’re feeling adventurous and energetic, you can climb its near-vertical walls. Take it slowly up the 1,200 steps, stopping on the way, and don’t miss the narrow iron spiral staircase leading to exquisite frescoes, about 1,600 years old which show King Kasyapa’s harem. On the flat-topped summit you’ll be rewarded by spectacular views and the ruins of an ancient palace.
Head north and into the hills for the second biggest city in Sri Lanka. Here you’ll discover temples galore, with the most famous being Sri Dalada Maligawaor, the golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Buddhist monks carry out rituals throughout the day but try to go in the early morning to beat the queues of pilgrims waiting to see the casket containing the tooth. You’ll be told the legendary story of the tooth that was snatched from the Buddha’s funeral pyre in India and smuggled into Sri Lanka hidden in the hair of a princess. You can get a superb view of Kandy by climbing the stairs at the back of the giant Buddha statue at Bahiravokanda Vihara. Also, worth visiting is the peaceful lake fringed with palm trees and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, where Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, astronaut Yuri Gagarin and King Edward VII have all planted trees. And while you’re in the hill country, why not stop by a tea plantation to see exactly how your daily cuppa is made?
Sri Lanka is packed with wonderful wildlife and stunning scenery, protected in its 26 national parks. Which one you choose to visit depends on what you want to see, whether it’s leopards in Yala (which has the highest concentration of leopards in the world), elephants in Udawalawe, Bundala for birds or the highlands of Horton Plains for spectacular views including a dramatic drop called the World’s End.