Things to Do In Sri Lanka
Meaning: what my bad luck didn’t allow me to experience that was actually unmissable!
I may have been suffering from a nasty eye condition (my usual luck never fails me!) but hey, I still managed to see just enough of Sri Lanka to leave a lasting impression!
After all, I had the privilege of watching a Sinhalese Wedding, admiring the local elephants in their natural habitat and exploring the colonial sights of historic Galle. It sounds like a lot to enjoy in one trip, right?!
Although I spent eight unforgettable days in this Asian paradise, there were still plenty of things I didn’t do (try as I might!).
Unfortunately, an impromptu trip to a few local doctors and hospitals put paid to any chances of climbing the majestic Sigiriya Rock (natch!). It’s something that still haunts me to this day!
Ah well, there’s always next time —and there absolutely must be a next time.
Thankful for my recovery after my misadventures in Sri Lanka, I’m now yearning to travel back to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Here are some activities which have been added to the bucket list for the next trip.
Explore the Polonnaruwa UNESCO Site
Considered one of the best archeological sites in the country, this is Sri Lanka’s second most ancient city!
From what I’ve read and heard from my travel mates, you can take a walk around the labyrinth of ruins, admiring the 12thcentury monuments that are still left standing.
Many of these are Buddhist shrines, such as the Gal Vihara. This rock temple has not one, not two, but four jaw-dropping Buddhist statues carved from the granite cliff face.
They say the 14 meter reclining Buddha is the most impressive. I’ll find that out for myself when I go — so watch (read, anyone?) this space!
Other attractions include the Polonnaruwa Museum.
You can learn more about the city’s history, with the exhibitions offering an insight into the past. You can even marvel at preserved Chola bronzes which were taken from the site.
Conveniently, the Kaudulla and Minneriya National parks are both located within close proximity to this site. I may have to return for another magical day of spotting elephants. I certainly don’t mind if I do, as
I may have to return for another magical day of spotting elephants. I certainly don’t mind if I do, as that was one of the highlights of my previous trip!
Spot leopards at Yala National Park
With the highest leopard density of anywhere else on the planet, a visit to Yala National Park is my best chance of fulfilling a dream ambition.
Sri Lanka’s second largest national park can be found on the southeast coast. Most famous for its leopards that go by the name Panthera pardus
Most famous for its leopards that go by the name Panthera pardus kotiya — there’s no better place to see these creatures in their natural habitat, well maybe with the exception of Africa, where I finally saw a few of them (in Kenya), more on that in my upcoming posts of my African trip!
Not only can you marvel at these big cats, the park is home to over 44 species of mammal.
The sloth bears, crocodiles, and elephants are amongst those on the must-see list. Best enjoyed on a guided safari, you can even camp under the stars and wake up to the sound of the local wildlife.
Apparently, the months of February through to July, offer the best animal-spotting opportunities with water levels quite low during this period.
Trek to Sigiriya Rock
I was so close last time, but it wasn’t meant to be. On the next trip, I have to climb the 1,200 steps of this 200-meter high rock and finally accomplish my mission!
Actually a lava plug created from a long extinct volcano, it was used during the 5thcentury BC as a Buddhist mountain monastery. You can still marvel at ancient paintings on the walls to this day!
Steps lead all the way to the top, but they can get narrow, so for those with a fear for heights, it could be a challenge.
I’ve heard its best visited early in the morning, before the midday heat makes the climb to Sigiriya even more exhausting.
Of course, at the summit, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring views across the rural landscape and to the Royal Gardens in the west.
If that wasn’t enough, you can also walk amongst the ruins of the Sky Palace.
Again, I saw the pictures my travel companions took that infamous day when my eyes were hurting like hell and it is really breathtaking!
Return to Cinnamon Red Hotel in Colombo
I’ve been obsessed (in a good way of course!) by this hotel since the moment I set foot on it at my arrival in Sri Lanka!
The blissful spa at Cinnamon Red is calling me back for another afternoon of indulgent pampering.
Ideally located in the heart of Colombo, this is the perfect base to explore SriLanka’s capital. After navigating the bustling streets aboard a tuk-tuk, you’ll be well in need of a peaceful retreat.
This hotel offers just that (and more…ah the view on the roof top…simply paradise!)
Air conditioned rooms are comfortable, spacious and the hotel staff can’t do enough to please. The outdoor infinity pool is another sublime touch (I have a thing for infinity pools you know…), and did I mention the heavenly spa facilities? 🙂
You can also look forward to meal times with extra relish. The hotel restaurant serves up international dishes alongside Sri Lankan specialties.
Take a whale watching tour in Mirissa
Located on the island’s south coast, Mirissa offers far more than a relaxing day at the beach.
This laid-back traveler hotspot is the departing point for boat tours offering a one-of-a-kind experience to marvel at the local marine life.
In fact, visit during the months of November to April, and you could spot Blue whales, Sperm Whales and even Killer Whales!
All tours follow international whaling rules and take an eco-friendly approach. Not only should they keep a good distance from the whales, they’ll also stop engines to reduce any interference.
It’s an early morning start, with most tours departing at 7am or earlier. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some dolphins, turtles and the comical flying fish.
Fly to the Maldives
What better way to finish an adventure in Sri Lanka, than starting a new one in the Maldives?!
Last time, I missed out on an opportunity, big time! I won’t be making this mistake again. Traveling to this sun-soaked paradise is a no-brainer.
Luckily for me, I sort of made it up for this with a blissful week in another Paradise: The Seychelles, during my extraordinary visit to Africa (more on this to come of course!) and now
I really want to visit the Maldives and see if two Paradises can really be compared 🙂
An archipelago of 1,290 coral islands, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when choosing a secluded spot to unwind.
From all-inclusive resorts to over-water villas and beachside bungalows, the options are endless.
It also happens to be one of the best places on the planet for scuba diving. Exploring the local shipwrecks and admiring the colorful coral is an experience to savor.
Whether you’re enjoying the many water sports or simply soaking up the sun, the Maldives has to be included on any trip to Sri Lanka.
And next time… I WILL!
I had some great, and not-so-great experiences on my last trip to Sri Lanka. Although it turned out to be a success, I’m still anticipating an even better adventure on my next visit!
Notwithstanding unexpected eye infections, I’m planning to make the most of my time, exploring everything I missed out on.
This time using my glasses and avoiding contact lenses perhaps! 😉