There's never enough time to see all the things you want to see and do all the things you want to do when you travel to a new destination. Sri Lanka is certainly no exception. Here are a few things I didn't get to do in Sri Lanka... This time!
1. Whale watching in Mirissa
Depending on the season. sperm whales, bottle-nosed dolphins, and the mighty blue whale all frequent the waters around Mirissa, Sri Lanka.
2. Sea Turtles
There are many sea turtle conservations in Sri Lanka, like the well-known Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation where you can go to see sea turtles (even baby ones) and you can even volunteer time there. Besides the conservations, however, there are opportunities to swim with sea turtles in the wild Indian Ocean if you are willing to swim our just a little bit! In the south of Sri Lanka you can swim with sea turtles in areas like Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Dalawella, Wijaya ... just to name a few places.
3. Spot a Leopard
Safaris in Sri Lanka offer the thrilling possibility of seeing a leopard in the wild. We safaried (is that a word?) at Udawalawe National Park where there are fewer leopards than the larger Yala National Park.
Read about our Udawalawe Safari Experience Here.
There is never a guarantee of seeing a leopard on a safari and some have visited Sri Lanka’s national parks many times and never seen one. Others get really fortunate and spot one on their first visit!
4. Hike Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya Rock is an ancient palace and rock fortress that some refer to as the eighth wonder of the world. The main entrance was originally a huge stone lion, but since it was originally built (around the 5th century!) much of the stone has been destroyed although the feet do remain to this day. The name Sigiriya comes from the word which means Lion. So, fittingly this place is called Lion Rock. It’s a popular hike and fascinating to see the fresco paintings, the mirror wall, the gardens, and irrigation systems that were in place in this ancient civilization. It is supposed to take from 1.5-3 hours to climb up and back. The annoying part is the cost. Because this has become such a hot tourist spot the entrance for foreigners is going to run you at least $30 USD. Hiking is often a free-low cost travel experience, so it’s a but of a bummer this hike is so steep in cost. It is what it is.
5. Hike Pidurangala Rock
Another hike near Sigiriya Rock with a much lower entrance cost ($3) is Pidurangala Rock. You can actually see Sigiriya Rock from this hike too, which is cool. This hike is a bit more of an undiscovered gem at this point from what I understand, so you can beat the crowds if you get there soon! If you have time and funds, why not do both and let us know which you prefer!?
Jaffna, in Northern Sri Lanka, is coming off of a fairly recent civil war which ended in 2009. Tourism is starting to pick up and hopefully this can have a good effect on the local people there. I would love to visit this area for a truly authentic experience. Meeting locals and eating their famed Jaffna mangoes while sipping Ceylon tea sounds great to me! They also have several beaches you can visit because who doesn’t love a beach day?
7. Ampara Hot Water Springs in Wahawa
Sri Lanka is home to several hot springs. Geothermal heat coming from the earth’s crust brings these springs to temperatures that will make any hot tub sweat. Hot springs can have great health benefits from general relaxation to improved circulation and lower blood pressure. It just blows my mind to experience this naturally. I did once in Thailand and the water was so hot I could barely stick my toe in!
8. Visit Trincomalee Pigeon Island National Park
Why visit Trincomalee Pigeon Island National Park? Trincomalee is a highly biodiverse park with a long coral reef of over 100 varieties of coral. Where there is coral there are fish and other exciting marine life. I would love to try snorkeling here!
As you can see, there are an endless amount of things to do in the beautiful island country of Sri Lanka!
(Not to mention eat!)
I can only hope to be so fortunate to have the opportunity to return.
Even if not, it was truly special to visit this "Pearl of the Indian Ocean"!
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