What to see in Sri Lanka? We collected in one article the best attractions of Sri Lanka, which you must visit during a vacation on the island: photo, video and descriptionas well as a map with their location.
Excursions or independent visit?
Most of the attractions of the island of Sri Lanka can be seen as part of the tour, or on their own.
If you have time, it is more convenient to rent a car and travel around all the interesting places of Sri Lanka on your own. If you came to rest on a tour for 5-14 days, you will have to choose only a few of their available places, since it is impossible to visit them all in a short time.
How to find cheap flights? They are easy to find through the search engine Aviasales. It’s best to look for tickets in advance and consider different departure dates.
Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapur
Anuradhapura - the first capital of ancient Ceylon, is located 200 km northeast of Colombo. You can get from the capital by bus, which is on the way for 6 hours. There is a railway connection between the cities, the train runs 5 hours.
All attractions are concentrated in the old city of Anuradhapura. Entrance to tourists everywhere is paid, but you can buy a single ticket for 3700 rupees. By ticket, you can visit the Abhayagiri complex.
All monuments can be examined in two days. Because of the heat, it is recommended to visit the sights from any transport: bus or rented car. Parking space costs about 25 rupees.
Separately, it is worth visiting the sacred for the Buddhists of the Bodhi tree. This ancient ficus grew from a shoot taken from a tree, under which the Buddha became enlightened. Therefore, the Bodhi tree is the most sacred and oldest in Sri Lanka.
Inspection of the sacred tree will cost a tourist 200 rupees.
Video about the attractions of the city of Anuradhapura:
What you can see next:
- 50 meters from the Bodhi tree is the Bronze Palace. It was built before our era and lost its original appearance. It is forbidden to enter the territory of the palace.
- You can view the largest brick stupa - Jetavana for free. This large building was erected in the third century AD. Located 300 m from the tree.
- At a distance of one kilometer from Bodhi is the palace of Isurumuniya, carved into the rock. It was built before our era. Entrance is paid and costs 200 rupees.
- You can visit the stupas of Ruvanvelisius and Mirisaveti for free. Both buildings are 200 meters from the tree.
- In the northern part of the city is the Abhayyagiri complex. On its territory is the second highest stupa of the city of Anuradhapura, there are Buddha statues, a museum, a pond and two lakes.
- You can explore the caves of Wessagiriya, the royal palace of King Vijayabahu and artificial ponds for free.
- A visit to the Museum of Folk Art will cost 300 rupees.
Gal Viharaya in Polonnaruwa
Monuments in Polonnaruwa are not only available for viewing with group excursions, but they can be visited on their own and examined in 2 days.
In Polonnaruwa, you should definitely see the Temple in the Rock or GalViharay with its huge Buddha statues. This temple has no analogues and is located in the vast Archaeological Park. Entrance to the park is paid, the ticket costs 3250 rupees.
Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Polonnaruwa Museum. The territory of the park is huge, and it is recommended to move around it by car, motorcycle or bicycle.
The park has several temples and monasteries, a stupa, a complex of the royal palace. There are also artificial ponds and stupas.
Photo and description: Gal Viharaya © vasse nicolas, antoine / flickr.com
- Polonnaruwa is located 200 km east of Colombo. Very inexpensive and convenient you can go to Polonnaruwa by train. There are two flights: one train leaves early in the morning and arrives at noon. The second leaves at 7 pm and arrives at Polonnaruwa at midnight. A ticket costs from 185 to 600 rupees.
- The second option is a bus service. Due to the heat it is better to leave the earliest flight. The trip from Colombo to Polonnaruwa lasts 6 hours, and the ticket costs 160 rupees.
Sri Lanka Attractions Nearby:
- The Hinduistic complex of Naipen Vihara,
- Palace of King Nissankamall,
- The ruins of the library and the statue of King Parakramabahu 2.5 kilometers from the park,
- Near the ruins of the library you can see the Parakrama Sea - a lake created by order of the king.
One of Sri Lanka's most famous attractions by TripAdvisor rating is Sigiriya (Lion Mountain). It is a rock 370 m high with a complex of cultural monuments inside and on top. It is the object of many tourist routes and is protected by UNESCO.
Entrance tickets cost 3,900 rupees. The price includes a visit to the museum, which tells the story of all the structures.
Panorama with a view of the Lion Rock:
- You can be reached by buses No. 48 and 49 from the Pettah bus station in Colombo to the Inamaluwa stop. There you need to transfer to bus No. 490/1, following the route Dambulla - Sigiriya. The total travel time is 6 hours.
- From Colombo, buses leave for Lion Mountain every 30 minutes.
What you can see next to Sigiriya:
- Pidrunagala cave temple, located 1.5 km north of Sigiriya, entrance tickets cost 200 rupees,
- Dambula city and cave temple,
- Polonaruwa city with attractions.
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy
Kandy is the second most populated city located literally in the center of Sri Lanka.
The city is famous for its Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which is the main Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. It is located on the shores of a man-made lake. The temple itself has retained its original architecture, which can be found on the outside and inside. Entrance to the temple is paid - 1,500 rupees.
Photo: Buddha Tooth Temple - Kandy's main attraction © Jorge Lascar / flickr.com
- To get to Kandy from Colombo, you need to drive 120 km, moving directly to the east by bus No. 1, departing from the Pettah bus station. Travel time is 4 hours.
- You can get from Colombo to Kandy by train even faster, in just 2.5 hours.
In addition to this Buddhist shrine in Kandy, there are other attractions worth seeing:
- Asia's largest botanical garden is located 12 kilometers from the city.
- An elephant nursery where they bring up little elephants left without mothers.
- A stone's throw from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth is the Kandy National Museum. It occupies part of the royal palace, and royal regalia and other historical artifacts are stored there. Ticket price - 500 rupees. Here, on the territory of the palace, is the International Museum of Buddhism. Entrance to the museum costs 500 rupees.
- Near the Temple of the Tooth Relic there are four Hindu temples. Hindu temples are also located outside Kandy.
- Within the city is an amazing reserve Udawattakele - the forbidden forest, a piece of wildlife in Sri Lanka. It is a must visit to understand what the real nature of the island looks like.
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu Park is located 180 km north of Colombo and 30 km west of Anuradhapura. Within its borders there are six dozen lakes. Wilpattu Park is the largest in the world in size. It is also the oldest park on earth.
In order to see more attractions in the park, it is worth renting a car. Entrance costs 2,300 rupees.
There are a huge number of local and arriving birds. There is a Bengal monitor lizard, a large and active predator. You can also see local swamp crocodiles reaching 4 meters in length.
The park is inhabited by deer and monkeys, as well as elephants and leopards.
Photo: Leopard in Wilpattu National Park © Shashin Wijenayake / flickr.com
- From Colombo and other cities you can come here by bus. The driver must be warned in advance so that he stops at Wilpattu Park.
What to see next:
- Sights of the city of Anuradhapura,
- Mihintale Temple.
Golden Temple in Dambulla
The Golden Temple is located in the small town of Dambulla and is part of an entire temple complex consisting of six temples and caves. The city is located near the cliffs of Sigiriya. You can view everything in 1 day.
The complex was built in the first century BC. In the twelfth century, more than 70 statues of Buddha, covered with gilding, were installed here.
Very close to the Golden Temple is the Museum of Buddhism. There are also ticket offices where you can buy tickets to the temple, which costs about 1,500 rupees.
There are many paintings on the subject of the earthly life of the Buddha, as well as water that does not obey gravity and flows up.
Panorama from the side of the mountain where the temple is located:
- Dambula can be reached from almost any city by bus. They arrive at the city station, from where you can walk to the temple in 20 minutes or take a tuk-tuk for 100 rupees.
Sri Lanka attractions nearby:
- If you move away from the temple at 100 m, you can see the Museum of Buddhism. Here is a collection of paintings on the rocks. A ticket there costs 250 rupees.
- You can explore the Somavati Stupa for free. It is located at the foot of a small mountain on which the complex is located.
- It will be interesting for tourists to visit the Dambula market, which is located near the bus station.
Sinharaja Unique Park
In Sinharaja Park, you can see how the rain forests of Sri Lanka looked like. In a small area of the park there are rare plants and animals. The last wild elephants of Sri Lanka, leopards, monkeys, three species of endemic deer, reptiles and many insects are still found here.
An excursion to the park is a pedestrian. The rainforest flora is very widely represented here. Many plants are now found only in this park. It is not uncommon to meet a tree of 50-meter height. There are beautiful waterfalls
Entrance to the park is paid and costs 500 rupees. If it was not possible to arrive early, then you can stay for the night in a special camp, which is at each entrance, in order to go on a tour in the morning. A four-hour walk with a guide will cost 1600 rupees, an eight-hour trip - 3200 rupees.
Photo and Description: Sinharaja Park © Stefan Krasowski / flickr.com
- You can take a bus from Colombo to Sinharaja Park. The forest is located very close to the city of Galle.
The nearest attractions are in Unawatuna:
- Japanese pagoda, admission is free,
- Unawatuna Temple, admission is also free,
- Yatagala Temple in the vicinity of Unawatuna,
- Farm Turtles, entrance - 400 rupees.
One of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka is Adam's Peak. This is a mountain with a height of 2243 m, to the top of which you can climb as part of the tour.
At the top is a recess resembling the imprint of a giant leg. This is the “sacred footprint” of the Buddha. For the followers of Hinduism, this is a trace of the supreme deity of Shiva. And Christians consider this imprint after the apostle Thomas. A temple is built over the trail.
To climb to the temple, you need to overcome more than 5 thousand steps. The length of the stairs is 8 km. Every 150 meters there are platforms on the stairs where you can relax, buy water and food.
Many begin the ascent at night to reach the summit by dawn. The staircase is well lit. At the top of the peak it is always windy and cold, and you need to take warm clothes with you.
Ascent lasts from 3 to 5 hours, and the descent takes no more than an hour and a half. Entrance to the stairs for climbing is free.
Photo: view from Adam's Peak at sunrise © Manu Praba / flickr.com
- You can get to Adam's Peak from Colombo by bus, leaving from Pettah Bus Station, next to Hatton. You can come here by train.
What to visit in Sri Lanka nearby:
- Badullah city and attractions
- Sinharaja Rain Forest
- Pinavelle Elephant Nursery.
At the foot of Adam's peak is the city of Ratnapura. From Colombo you can come here by bus or train. The route is going over a distance of 100 km.
It is a center for mining Sri Lankan gems. The world's largest sapphires are found here. There are no modern high-rise buildings and entertainment facilities in the city. Strange huts are visible everywhere, which closed the entrances to the places where gems were mined.
Tourists who come here with a guided tour will see how they are mined. The most daring can go down inside, underground and examine the structure of the mines.
The work of the gem producers is very primitive. The rock is mined with a pick and shovel and then washed in a local river. Sludge from larger fractions is manually recovered. The excursion will continue at the factory for processing the mined jewelry.
Photo & Description: Gem mining in Ratnapur © hassage / flickr.com
What you can see in Ratnapur:
- In Ratnapur there is a state museum where there are collections of jewelry made from local precious stones, tools of the most primitive tribe of Sri Lanka - the Veddas, the remains of prehistoric animals.
- Near the city there is a very revered temple of Maha Saman Deval.
- Local market, which is located right in the city center. For the sake of this market, many visit Ratnapura. Here you can buy precious stones very cheaply.
Botanical Garden of Peradeniya
Sri Lanka Botanical Garden is one of the best in the world.
The largest river in Sri Lanka, the Mahaweli, flows through the park. Here it forms a loop. The park was created on the site of the ancient royal gardens, which were broken back in the XIII century.
There are collections of heat-loving coniferous, ebonite trees, palm trees, bamboos, ficuses, ferns. The main asset of the park is a collection of decorative and species orchids.
There are corners dedicated to the design of gardens and parks. This is a suspension bridge, and a Japanese garden, a flower garden, alleys from different palm trees, a spice garden, its own waterfall.
In the garden there are registered trees planted by famous people from around the globe. Including there are trees planted by Nicholas II and Yuri Gagarin.
Entrance to the garden is paid. Entrance fee is 1500 rupees
Photo: Peradeniya Garden © Buddhika Rangebandara / flickr.com
- From Colombo you can take a bus to Kandy. In Kandy you need to take buses No. 644 and No. 652 and get to the stop, which is called “Botanicgarden”.
What sights can be seen nearby:
- Temple of the Tooth Relic
- Royal Palace of Kandy,
Sri Lanka has beautiful beaches with clear ocean water. Hikkaduwa is a resort located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, about 100 km from Colombo. If you go from Bandaranaike airport, then a taxi will cost about 9 thousand rupees.
The beaches are large with a wide strip of excellent clean sand. There are beaches open to all the winds with a real ocean wave, and there are closed beaches where the excitement is not felt at all.
There is also a coral reef. It collapsed under the influence of the 2004 tsunami. You can see sea turtles swimming in shallow water and a variety of fish.
Hikkaduwa Coral Garden is one of Sri Lanka's most popular attractions.
Photo: Sri Lanka Hikkaduwa © Amila Tennakoon / flickr.com
What else can you see in Hikkaduwa:
- National park,
- Mines of precious stones
- Monument to the victims of the tsunami
- Mask Museum 10 kilometers from Hikaduwa.
Map of Sri Lanka Attractions
All the TOP of the main attractions that I recommend visiting are marked on the map (below) for clarity.
The exact coordinates of each attraction:
- Mount Pidurangala: 7.966209 80.761696,
- Gal Vihara Temple Complex: 7.966074 81.00494,
- Pasikuda Resort: 7.92645 81.563779,
- Kandy Botanical Garden: 7.270779 80.595764,
- Adam's Small Peak: 6.865051 81.063016,
- Ella Rock: 6.856047 81.053067,
- Beach without waves in Tangalle: 6.022628 80.800878,
- Mirissa: 5.944291 80.459974,
- City of Galle: 6.032826 80.214946,
- Hikkaduwa coral reef: 6.134924 80.099547.
The route with visiting the main attractions I described below.
Below is a detailed description of the attractions that I recommend visiting.
1. Sigiriya rock, Mount Pidurangala
Perhaps this is the most impressive place not only in Sri Lanka, but in general for a lifetime.
Up there, on Mount Pidurangala, with a view of the big world, you feel like a Creator, a part of God with great potential and power. Very inspiring!
Coordinates of Pidurangala Mountain: 7.966209 80.761696.
Going to Mount Pidurangala is best when the sun rises, at dawn.
How to get to Pidurangala Mountain?
You can rent a bike and have to go from the village of Sigiriya to Mount Pidurangala for about 25 minutes at fast speed, in complete darkness with flashlights.
It’s better to negotiate with the tuk tuker so that he will come to the hotel for you, take you to the mountain and wait for you there an hour or two.
We did just that, although we had a plan to ride bicycles first at dawn. But three people warned us that it could be life threatening, because on the way to Pidurangaly early in the morning flocks of wild elephants run across.
Admission fee for Pidurangala Rock -500 rupees or 190 rubles .
Why did we choose to climb Mount Pidurangala at dawn, and not Mount Sigiriya?
- Mount Sigiriya is not cheap - 25 $ per ticket ,
- Many more people choose to climb Mount Sigiriya,
- It’s easier to climb and descend to Mount Pidurangala - the sun doesn’t fry,
- From Mount Pidurangala overlooks Mount Sigiriya.
Why it is worth to climb Mount Sigiriya - to see ancient frescoes and study the history of Mount Sigiriya.
May be interesting article: Prices in Sri Lanka
2. Gal Vihara
Gal Vihara I call a flat wall with four statues of Buddhas in the historic city of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka.
The historic city in Polonnaruwa itself is worth a visit if you like: ruins, historical monuments, study history and monkeys.
Personally, I really enjoyed the whole day devoting to the ruins of the historical part of the city of Polonnaruwa, where the monument to Gal Vihara is located. We moved around the ruins on bicycles.
Gal Vihara coordinates: 7.966074 81.00494.
I highly recommend visiting Gal Vihara early Sunday morning (from 7 a.m., from opening). On this day, young Buddhists - students of the Buddhist school come to sing songs, pray to the Buddha. A very beautiful sight!
Pasikuda is located below Trincomalle, in the east of the island. Whether or not you visit the Pasikuda resort is a matter of seasonality.
The season in Pasikuda begins in May and ends closer to winter. It is during this period in the east of the island of Sri Lanka that the ocean will be calm and transparent water for visiting the underwater world (snorkeling, diving).
At other times of the year, I do not recommend visiting this place. It would be better to visit the resort of Hikkaduwa.
I recommend Pasikuda resort because there are sunken ships here - it is interesting to see the underwater world and the ocean itself for swimming in the season is incredibly flexible - calm, clean and pleasant.
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4. Kandy Botanical Garden
The city of Kandy itself did not impress me: it turned out to be rather dirty in my opinion (many birds spoil around) and not calm (many people, constant traffic, asking for a lot of money).
I would not recommend attending it, unless you plan to watch the only event of the year - Esala Perahera. You can read about it on the Internet. This is a spectacular sight. Very similar to the carnival in Rio De Janeiro.
Buddha Tooth Temple also - did not leave pleasant impressions, except for the huge queue is incomprehensible in fact to what and a decent waste of money. True, if you are a spiritually pumped person, you love places of power, then this place can “shake” you well, like my good friend.
I am I recommend visiting one of the most beautiful parks that I have ever seen - the botanical garden in Kandy.
He, along with Central Park in New York, left behind only the most pleasant emotions, enthusiasm and desire to see him again. Judge for yourself - here is More than 4,000 species of plants from around the world.
The park itself was born back in 1371 and this is felt: a huge variety of very different trees from all over the planet, which are hundreds of years old!
The exact coordinates of the Kandy Botanical Garden in Sri Lanka: 7.270779 80.595764.
I really liked the Swedish lunch in a cafe in the center of the botanical garden. He walked from 12 noon and cost approximately 800 rupees per person . There was a large selection of plant and vegan food, which I was delighted with.
It is also great if you take your favorite food with you and have a picnic in a beautiful place in the garden. Remember to bring a bottle of water with you.
5. Adam's Small Peak
Yes, this is certainly not the peak of Adam, 2.3 km high, but it is first of all a beautiful, sincere place, which I visited easily and with pleasure three times in 5 days in the town of Ella.
Exact location coordinates: 6.865051 81.063016
Admission here is free.
I even edited a short video from the small Peak of Adam. See below.
You may also be interested in exploring tea plantations, tasting.
Yes, tea plantations, as well as in the city of Nuwara Eliya can be found in Ella and there are tea factories, but not in such large numbers and territories.
Eliya is colder in Nuwara than in Ella. It is already advisable to bring a jacket, hat, warm pants with you.
6. Ella Rock
Ella Rock is a beautiful, tall mountains. They are located in the city of Ella and it is more convenient to get here with a guide, as the road winds, you can get confused with the maps me, the instructions in the travel blogs did not help us get out of Sri Lankan forest.
We (two men, two women) got out of Ella Rock to the city probably 2 times longer than if we took a guide with us. We got very lost and wandered a lot along different paths.
I was exhausted and was all wet, so without hesitation I recommend taking a guide with you. I'm glad I didn’t pick up leeches there.
Ella Rock coordinates: 6.856047 81.053067
Also, I highly recommend walking after Ella Rock 10 minutes to the next observation deck in the coordinates: 6.850809 81.052448.
There we did not meet a single person, very beautiful trees along the way, and most importantly, no less spectacular views from there.
Tangalle fascinated me for the first time back in 2013.
Here, the atmosphere of Sri Lankan simple happy life still reigns here, where locals like to drink coconut, many fish, love to swim on weekends. They are happy with what they have, and tourists do not have a strong influence on their lifestyle.
The ocean itself is calm and optimal for swimming from winter to spring.
Where I took a picture above is a beach without waves. The waves are surrounded by large boulders and this place is perfect for snorkeling. I saw about 12-15 different types of fish in the water on this beach.
A slender man of 40 years old rents a mask with a pipe in the morning for little money.
The coordinates of this beach in Tangalle: 6.022628 80.800878.
There are usually many locals here on weekends, so come to this beach on weekdays.
An article may be interesting: The best beaches of Sri Lanka
8. Whales in Mirissa
Whales, in principle, surround the unique island of Ceylon from all sides. It is believed that near the ocean near the island of Ceylon, a special, alluring, attractive water for the world's largest mammals.
In winter, I took an excursion to whales in the town of Mirissa, where the ocean did not rage. It cost me $ 25, including a hearty breakfast and insurance.
The downside of this tour is that there are a dozen boats, one of which you will sail in pursuit of poor whales and dolphins. If you respect the freedom of wild animals, against zoos, then I do not recommend attending this tour.
I really dreamed of seeing a live whale and I saw!
9. The city of Galle
The Portuguese city of Galle is an unusual place for Sri Lanka. There is a European atmosphere. Buildings, shops, lighthouse, cafe, atmosphere - everything is done in a European style.
I liked the city of Halle and it is more suitable for creative people, lovers and lovers of the beauty of buildings, design, buyers of original gizmos.
Galle city coordinates: 6.032826 80.214946.
10 the underwater world of Hikkaduwa
Hikkaduwa is a beach resort where there are many Russians and many underwater inhabitants near the Hikkaduwa coral reef.
Coral reef coordinates: 6.134924 80.099547.
A snorkelling mask, life jacket and fins are available for rent near the beach. Renting one mask with a pipe for 2 hours cost me in 500 rupees or 200 rubles .
Right on the coast near the coral reef you can already see a huge crowd of different fish.
I regretted that I did not take an underwater camera with me, because there really is something to shoot here. There were probably hundreds of fish around me. Very impressive!
It is also advisable not to touch the coral with either feet or hands for the benefit of the prosperity and ecology of this place.
In this article you can learn more about what to see in the city of Nuwara Eliya.
Sri Lanka Route Map
It is such a route with attractions that I recommend including in my travel program for Sri Lanka. For minimum distances you can visit a maximum of interesting places.
Of course, there are still many other interesting places to visit in Sri Lanka, but after 2 months of traveling there I remembered as the most unforgettable, interesting these.
However, remember that seasonality is important.
If you travel to Sri Lanka in winter (from winter to spring), then the route points: 2. Trincomalee and 3. Pasikuda is better not to visit and vice versa, if you travel from May to October, I do not recommend visiting the south-west of the island, namely 8. Tangalle and 10. Hikkaduwa to explore the underwater world or swim.
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1. Adam's Peak
This is the name of the mountain located in the western part of the island. Its height is 2243 meters. At the top of the peak there is a small temple, Buddhists consider this place sacred. From the top you can see the “Buddha’s footprint” - a large cast on the surface of the rock, outlines similar to the footprint of a human foot. Climbing is quite difficult, but every year thousands of tourists and pilgrims overcome this route.
The Sigiriya World Heritage Site is a massive rocky plateau that rises above the surrounding plain to a height of 170 meters. At the end of the 5th century, a fortress was built by king Kasapa on the top of the cliff, and gardens with fountains were built around. Later there was a monastery. On the walls of the mountain there are a few frescoes - images of naked female concubines.
5. Kumana National Park
The park is located on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, 391 kilometers from Colombo. This is one of the most important places for migration, nesting and breeding of birds on the island. Kunama is known for its picturesque lagoons and plains, the park has a beautiful lake Kumana-Villa. Today, the park is at the stage of its initial development; campsites, hotels and a tourist center are being built here.
6. Yala National Park
The second largest national park in Sri Lanka, part of the park is bordered by the Indian Ocean. The area is about a thousand hectares. A jeep safari is organized here - a great opportunity to get acquainted with the local flora and fauna, which is very similar to the natural parks of Africa. The nearest town of Tissamaharama is 24 kilometers away.
7. Port of Colombo
The largest city in Colombo in Sri Lanka, is a kind of commercial capital of the island. Here is the largest seaport in South Asia. Next to it is the area called Fort - a business center with a large number of shops, hotels, banks, restaurants and entertainment venues.
8. St. Clair’s Falls
St. Clair Falls is part of the Cotmale River, it drops its waters from a height of 80 meters among the picturesque tea plantations that gave the waterfall of the same name. The width of the waterfall is 50 meters. In height, it is located only in the third ten in the list of Sri Lanka waterfalls. But its beauty attracts a large number of sophisticated contemplators.
10. Buddha Tooth Temple
The sacred relic of Sri Lanka - the Tooth of the Buddha is located in the temple of the same name in the city of Kandy. A tooth (one of the four teeth cremated after the death of the Buddha) was transported to India from the island in 371. Buddha Tooth Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tooth is credited with magical power; detractors have repeatedly tried to destroy it.
11. Royal Botanic Gardens in Paradenia
One of the best in Asia and the largest green park on the island, its area is almost 60 hectares. The Botanical Garden is divided into thematic zones, located on the banks of the Mahaweli River in a beautiful hilly area. The garden is well known throughout the world for its rich collections of plants. The year 1821 is considered to be the year of foundation (the times of the arrival of the British), although the first mentions refer to the distant 1371.
12. Pinnawela Elephant Shelter
The elephant nursery was opened in 1975 in order to shelter elephants who were left without parents. Then there were only seven individuals elephants. Now there are about 80 of them, including those born already in the nursery. Pinnawela is a very popular attraction in Sri Lanka, elephants are trained and trained here, and tourists have the opportunity to contact them very closely.
13. Pinnawela Zoo
More recently, on April 17, 2015, a zoo was opened next to the Pinnawela nursery. This is the second zoo in Sri Lanka, but the first, which is located in the open. An area of 17 hectares has become home to many endemic animals of the island. Construction continues, more than 862 million Sri Lankan rupees have already been spent on work.
15. Dutch fort in Galle
The fort was built by the Dutch in 1663 on the site of the ruined Portuguese fortress. In the 16th century, this place was an important strategic trading port. The fort is perfectly preserved to this day, on its territory today, as well as several centuries ago, there are many residential and administrative buildings. The streets are well preserved, there are interesting sights.
17. Negombo Beach
They often stop here in the last days of travel to Sri Lanka. The beach and the resort of the same name are located only seven kilometers from the international airport. In Negombo you can buy souvenirs and go to local restaurants, which are famous for seafood. There are many hotels on the beach, water sports are popular here.
18. Benton Beaches
An extensive resort area with numerous hotels and a long beach on the southwest coast of the island. Bentota has the status of a national resort, therefore, seeks to comply with this status.Bentota River flows near the coast in the shade of mangrove trees, and this is an opportunity to diversify beach vacations by boat trips along the river.
21. Mountain Park Mihintale
Very close to Anuradhapura is another interesting attraction - the Mihintale mountain range. This is a historical place with many remnants of Buddhist buildings. 1850 steps lead to the top of the mountain, from above you can see how big the monastery complex that existed here before was.
22. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa
The ancient city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is one of the most interesting places on the island, storing majestic archaeological monuments preserved from the time of the first rulers of the Kingdom. The stone temple of Gal Vihara, representing four carved statues of Buddha in the rock, is of the greatest interest.
1. The Golden Temple of Dambulla
The cave temple of Dambulla, carved directly in a high 300-meter rock, includes 5 caves, interconnected. In the main of the caves lies a large Buddha statue, as well as several other statues. In another room you can observe an unusual phenomenon: water from a cave source flows up the walls of the cave, refuting all the laws of physics. The age of the cave pagoda has more than 2 millennia, and its many statues are included in one of the greatest collections of sculptural sculptures of Buddha.
In the central part of Sri Lanka there is an important attraction that has become the hallmark of the country. This is Sigiriya, or “Lion's Rock”, located on the site of a volcano asleep millions of years ago. The frozen lava formed a plateau where an ancient castle was erected in the first centuries of our era. The ruins of this fortress have survived to this day, but even by the ruins you can judge the former grandeur of the structure. The entrance to the castle was once carved in the shape of a huge lion, but these days you can only see its paws - that's all that remains of the stone giant.
3. Adam's Peak
Among all the excursions in Sri Lanka, climbing the sacred mountain - the peak of Adam - is especially popular. This place of worship, located at an altitude of 2.2 kilometers, became the reason for the pilgrimage of representatives of the four religions, including Christianity. At the first steps of the climb participants are met by a Buddha statue, and then travelers will have a difficult path - about 6 thousand steps, the climb takes about 4 hours. The path that begins closer to the night ends with a bewitching dawn, and at the top, visitors have the opportunity to see the footprint, which, according to legend, the enlightened Buddha himself left.
4. Kumana National Park
In the southeastern region of Sri Lanka there is a national park, which is famous for the diversity of its feathered inhabitants - only about 250 different species, among which there are different types of inhabitants of swamps, lakes and ponds, as well as inhabitants of land. In addition to birds, there are many reptiles, as well as mammals, the largest of which is the Sri Lankan elephant. Vast wetlands and wetlands surround the drier rainforest zone. Those who wish can stay in the park for several days - for these purposes, the park has a campsite.
5. Kandy Valley
Reviews of connoisseurs of natural beauty indicate that one of the enchanting beauty places of Sri Lanka is located a hundred kilometers from the capital city of Colombo. We are talking about the beautiful Kandy Valley, which houses the ancient city of the same name, once the legendary capital of the island kingdom. In its center is an artificial lake, and in the middle of it an ancient palace rises on an island. Hiking is a convenient way to discover the original culture and natural beauty of Kandy, especially since there are many educational routes for trekking in the vicinity.
See the beautiful views of Sri Lanka in this exciting video!
9. Buddha Tooth Temple
One of the most important relics of the island is the tooth of the Buddha, stored in the city of Kandy, in the temple of the same name. This relic was brought to the island from India in the 4th century AD, and to this day it is credited with miraculous properties. The ill-wishers, having learned about the amazing properties of the shrine, have repeatedly tried to destroy the tooth, and with it the Buddhist faith. But not one of these plans was ever realized; the tooth remained intact. The temple itself rises on the banks of a beautiful lake, has a rich decoration, and every day several times a day there is a demonstration of the sacred tooth to believing parishioners.
10. World Trade Center in Colombo
The largest and most developed city in Sri Lanka, Colombo, offers huge opportunities for acquiring quality products - souvenirs, products, textiles and other groups of goods at minimal prices. And it is not surprising that the World Trade Center is located in Colombo. This is the tallest building on the island, its height exceeds one and a half hundred meters, and its design meets the highest international standards. The complex consists of 2 high-rise buildings and a connecting block, here are located shopping centers, offices, upscale Sri Lanka hotels and many restaurants.
11. Pinnawela Elephant Shelter
The turbulent political situation and the many years of internecine war in Sri Lanka have affected nature too - war and famine have reduced the elephant population. Indifferent people took on a mission to save these large mammals, and in 1975, the Pinnawela elephant nursery was founded. Here came elephants left without mothers, and adult individuals crippled by explosions and injured by poachers. The elephant shelter today has become one of the best attractions in Sri Lanka, where visitors willingly come who want to see the procedure for caring for elephants and even participate in this process.
12. Pinnawela Zoo
If you happen to be in the town of Pinnawela, then you will definitely find where to go in Sri Lanka, in addition to the elephant nursery. Indeed, most recently, in 2015, a zoo with open enclosures appeared here. Due to the proximity of the famous elephant shelter, this attraction quickly gained popularity. Despite the fact that living conditions for animals are created that are close to natural, and they are allowed to walk around the vast territory of several hectares almost freely, all zones of the zoo are equipped with strict safety standards.
13. Royal Botanic Gardens in Paradenia
The most magnificent and spacious botanical garden in Sri Lanka - Peradeniya - appeared back in the distant 18th century. Its territory of 60 hectares is replete with a wide variety of exotic plants, in total there are more than 4 thousand species. Trees, shrubs, flowers are indicated by information plates, and at the entrance there is a bright map-guide, by which you can find out the location of the gardens and other necessary information. A walk in Peradeniya is an opportunity to stroll through paradise fragrant land, familiarizing yourself with different cultures and gardening eras.
14. Tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya
Once upon a time on the site of plantations of Nuwara Eliya wild tropical forest grew. Having later discovered that the conditions for growing tea were extremely favorable in these parts, the British colonialists brought here the first tea bushes. For centuries, the traditional technology of growing, collecting and processing high-quality tea has been sacredly observed here. Sri Lanka guides will take you to the best plantations of Nuwara Eliya, lead you to the tea factory, where you can see with your own eyes the phased process of making tea. In addition, here you can visit a museum where acquaintance with various tea varieties takes place, or a shop where you can purchase any of the presented varieties.
15. Victoria Dam
In 1978, the construction of the highest dam in Sri Lanka began on the Mahaweli River, the main tasks of which were to supply the region with water and generate hydropower. 7 years later, the grandiose construction was completed, and the 122-meter-high Victoria Dam contributed to the formation of a large reservoir. You can see an incredible, impressive discharge of water from the top of the dam: the automatic system regularly opens the floodgates when the reservoir reaches the upper permissible threshold, and then the dam turns into an incredible artificial waterfall.
16. Ravana Falls
One of the popular tourist destinations is excursions in Sri Lanka to numerous waterfalls, and the best time to visit them is considered the period of the monsoon, when they become the most full-flowing. Despite the wide variety of waterfalls on the island, reaching a height of 270 meters, tourists fell in love with the relatively small 40-meter waterfall Ravana. The thing is that this picturesque attraction has its own interesting legend, according to which, right under the water cascade, a pot filled with gold is stored, and on certain days when the water recedes a little, this vessel comes to the surface.
17. Bentota beaches
The coastal city of Bentota is located in the southern province of the island, 65 kilometers from Colombo. Any tourist who comes here will appreciate the main advantage of this place.
- Its clean sandy beaches with hotels of the highest and middle class, located right by the sea. It is worth emphasizing the convenient geographical position of Bentota - the small distance from the modern metropolis of Colombo allows you to enjoy a paradise vacation on the coast without going too far into the wilds of pristine nature, but at the same time there is always the opportunity to comfortably get to the nearest civilization.
18. Negombo Beach
At the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon is the beach of the same name, the main one on the west coast of the island. It is also a popular resort, which is often used as an intermediate point of travel around the island. This is explained by a very convenient location - the airport is just a stone's throw from here, just some 7 kilometers away. Hotels along the beach offer a different level of services for any income, making this place accessible to any traveler. Various water sports and, of course, diving among the well-preserved coral reefs are very popular for entertainment. Gourmet seafood dishes are served at local restaurants.
19. Dutch fort in Galle
Vacationers on the southern beaches of Sri Lanka are advised to visit the island’s world famous historical landmark, Galle Fort, the largest fortification in Asia. Initially, the fortress was built by the Portuguese at the end of the 16th century, but with the advent of the Dutch, almost all was rebuilt, and since then for 2 centuries it has served as the main port of Sri Lanka. Today it is a whole tourist area of the city of Galle, where there are many shops, restaurants, offices and a market. But despite this, there is always a calm atmosphere conducive to a quiet leisurely walk.
20. The holy city of Anuradhapura
A very significant attraction in Sri Lanka in the Buddhist world is the city of Anuradhapura, once the former capital of the ancient Sinhala state. The holy city survived a lot in its lifetime - both prosperity and plunder by the invaders. And only in 1980 began the restoration of its ancient ruins. Buddhist pilgrims to Anuradhapura are attracted by the ancient cave temple of Isurumuniya, built as early as 4-3 centuries BC. Numerous tourists who do not profess Buddhism also find a lot of interesting places for themselves: these are numerous ancient monuments - statues, sanctuaries, palaces, artificial reservoirs that have become part of the glorious history of the city.