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Things to do in

North Central Province

Top sights in North Central Province

Our most recommended things to do in North Central Province

Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

1. Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

With the grace of majestic giants and pristine tropical dry forest settings, Minneriya National Park is a perfect spot to spend a few hours witnessing one of the most astonishing wildlife spectacles on earth.  Renowned as a prominent stopover for wandering elephants searching for food during the August and September the dry season, Minneriya National Park attracts up to 300 giants from the neighboring national parks. Enjoy the flicker of monkeys swinging through the branches and search the forest for the sight of majestic elephants, leopards, sloth bears, mongooses, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild buffalo, porcupine and Indian pangolins. Do not miss out on this quintessential safari destination in a strikingly beautiful forest.

All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

2. All-Inclusive Minneriya National Park Afternoon Safari

Begin with an afternoon pickup from your hotel or residence and make your way to Minneriya National Park to begin the safari.  Minneriya National Park comprises about 21,000 acres (8,889 hectares), and contains a vast abundance of wildlife species. Take the opportunity to observe the large herds of magnificent Sri Lankan elephants in their natural habitat at close range. Also, be on the lookout for two rare species of monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, namely the Purple-faced Langur Monkey and the Toque Macaque. Other rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear inhabit the park, as well as saltwater crocodiles and Indian pythons, which you may be lucky enough to spot! After a 3-hour safari spotting these various rare animals, your transport will return you to your accomodation.

From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

3. From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

After pickup from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, drive to Dambulla. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site then spend overnight in Sigiriya. On day two get an early start and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Take a cycling tour through the well-preserved ancient city to see the beautiful stupas or dagobas, moonstones, parks, buildings and stunning statues. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, regarded as one of the Wonders of World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend overnight in Sigiriya.   On day three after leisurely breakfast, visit an archetypal Sri Lankan village. Experience a bullock cart ride, see traditional cultivation methods, enjoy a boat ride and an authentic Sri Lankan lunch at a village house. After lunch, continue to Kandy, stopping at a wood carving center and a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival, take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, the market square, and more. Spend overnight in Kandy.     After breakfast on the fourth day, you will depart from Kandy and be driven back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, or dropped off at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

Wilpattu National Park: 3-Hour Morning or Evening Safari

4. Wilpattu National Park: 3-Hour Morning or Evening Safari

Go on a thrilling 3-hour morning or evening safari adventure in Wilpattu National Park, the largest national park in Sri Lanka. Capture unforgettable sights of a diverse range of flora and fauna, and an outstanding array of wildlife that charms travelers from all around the world.  Explore the stunning scenery and incredibly abundant wildlife overlooking the dazzling dry tropical rainforest and the silver-blue small water pools. Take in the sights of mighty elephants as well as views of spotted deer, barking deer, jackals, sambhar, wild pig, and water buffalo. Apart from the mammals, your safari can guarantee you ample opportunity for spotting incredibly beautiful swamps of butterflies saturated with vivid colors including great egg fly, great orange tip, glad-eye bushbrown, blue Mormon, common Mormon, crimson rose, and more. Thanks to the stunning coastal belt, shallow lakes, dense scrublands, treeless grasslands, and thick forests, catch a variety of wildlife during your safari experience. The small water bodies scattered around the park are a prominent feature that enhances the photographic character of the park, while also attracting a variety of aquatic birds and reptiles.

Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

5. Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

Enjoy a relaxing and comfortable private transfer from Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) to your hotel in Negombo. After landing at the airport, head to the arrivals lobby to meet your driver who will be holding a board with your name on it. If you are unable to locate your driver, a support team is on hand 24/7. Your driver will escort you and your luggage in a comfortable and safe vehicle so all you have to do is sit back and relax during the 1-2 hour journey. Rely on your driver's expertise to travel the safest, most traffic-free route possible. Feel free to let your driver know in case you need to stop for refreshments or emergencies.

From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

6. From Negombo: Minneriya National Park Safari Tour

Your friendly driver will meet you at your hotel in Negombo at 8:00 AM. The park is a 30-minute drive away. Sit back and enjoy the ride and take in some of the stunning landscapes as you head there. At Minneriya National Park you'll enjoy a safari experience by Jeep as you explore the vast expanses of land. The park is famous for its Elephant population and hopefully you'll see many of them roaming by the lakes or exploring the jungles. You'll also likely catch glimpses of Wild Buffaloes, Boars, Spotted Deer, Sloth Bears, and even Leopards and Crocodiles. The park is also home to many amphibians, different kinds of reptiles and birds also. Your guide will point out the extraordinary wildlife to you. After the safari, you'll be taken back to your hotel.

Wilpattu National Park: Leopard Safari Experience

7. Wilpattu National Park: Leopard Safari Experience

This tour starts with a pickup from the park entrance, where you'll then drive into Wilpattu National Park on a modified game viewing safari Jeep, then start your game drive at the National Park. Wilpattu is situated in North part of Sri Lanka, comprising a range of habitats including scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. Wilpattu has one of the highest leopard sightings in the world. Its elephant heard is about 300-350. After a bit of exploring, your guide will deliver the picnic lunch to a location where you will enjoy a bite to eat. Unwind for a while after lunch and get ready to enjoy your second round of the game drive. Hop in to the Jeep and start the afternoon game drive by searching for leopards. If you are really lucky, you may be able to witness a few of them during this game drive. In addition to leopards, elephants, as well as mammals such as sloth, bears, black-naped hare, wild buffaloes, spotted deer, sambar deer, anuman, langur or toque monkeys, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, wild oar, and golden jackal can be found in Wilpattu National Park. You can also see reptiles like the water and land monitors and marsh crocodile.

From Negombo: Full-Day UNESCO City of Anuradhapura Trip

8. From Negombo: Full-Day UNESCO City of Anuradhapura Trip

Declared by UNESCO as a world heritage city, Anuradhapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for its cultural and religious value, the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who want to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka.  See the remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once 9 stories high, and the Sri Maha Bodhi a Bo Tree, which is over 2000 years old and grew from the branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Visit the ruins of the Ruwanweliseya Dagaba and see the 2nd-century BC shrine, containing the Buddha’s collarbone relic. Explore the Abhayagiriya temple and the Jetawanaramaya dagobas.

From Colombo: Private Minneriya National Park Day Safari

9. From Colombo: Private Minneriya National Park Day Safari

Your tour begins with 8:00 AM pickup. Your friendly driver will meet you at your Colombo hotel and you'll start the 4 to 5-hour journey to the Minneriya National Park by car. Enjoy the ride there and admire the stunning landscapes along the way.  At Minneriya National Park you will enjoy a safari experience as you explore the vast area in a 4x4 vehicle. The park is famous for its wild elephant population and you will hopefully see many of them roaming by the lakes or exploring through the jungles. You might see wild buffaloes, wild boars, spotted deer, sloth bears, and even leopards and crocodiles. The park is also home to many amphibians and different kinds of reptiles and birds. Your guide will point out the extraordinary wildlife. After the safari, you will be transported back to your hotel in Colombo.

From Colombo: Anuradhapura Day Tour

10. From Colombo: Anuradhapura Day Tour

Following hotel pick-up by your driver and guide at 06:00 in the morning from Colombo City area, you'll start for Anuradhapura. On arrival at Anuradhapura your first stop will be the Anuradhapura World Heritage Site and ruins. Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved ruins depicting the illustrious ancient Lankan civilization. There are several interesting locations one can visit, namely, the majestic Ruwanweliseya Stupa, one of the largest structures of the ancient world, Brazen Palace with its 1,600 stone columns showing the remnants of a multi-storied residence for monks, Isurumuniya rock carving of ‘The Two Lovers’, the twin ponds used by Buddhist monks as a bathing pool and Thuparama Dagoba, the oldest Dagoba in the country believed to enshrine the collarbone of the Buddha himself and several other dagobas. Next you'll head to explore Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. The Sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura is reckoned as the oldest surviving historical tree in the world. It was brought to Sri Lanka by the Theri Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Asoka and was planted in the Mahameghavana Park in Anuradhapura in 249 BC by King Devanampiyatissa. It is said to be the southern branch of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. Then start for Jethawanaramaya Stupa. The Jethawana stupa, the central ritual monument of the Jethawana monastery, had a diameter of 370 feet. Established in the 3rd century A.D., the monastery was the residence of 3,000 monks. Recent excavations confirm that the foundation of the stupa was 28 feet deep and rested on bedrock. This stupa, the tallest brick structure in the world, was built in keeping with engineering principles which are fol­lowed even today.  You'll explore Abhayagiri Dagoba. The Abhayagiri Dagoba is the second biggest brick structure in the world after the Jetavana Dagoba. It was built by King Gajabahu (114-136 AD) and reaches a height of 370 feet (115m). After lunch at local restaurant by your own cost proceed to Moonstone or Sandakada pahana. Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sri Lankan Buddhist architecture of ancient Sri Lanka.It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances. First seen in the latter stage of the Anuradhapura period, the sandakada pahana evolved through the Polonnaruwa, Gampola and Kandy period. Later visit Mihintale. Mihintale hill is the spot where King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura met Mahinda, a Buddhist monk and son of the Indian Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka. Mahinda asked the king a riddle and when the king was able to solve it, Mahinda deemed him to be a worthy disciple and converted him to Buddhism. There are religious monuments all over the hill, and the ruins of a monastery and a hospital. At approximately 20:00, you'll arrive back at your hotel in Colombo where the tour will end.

Other Sightseeing Options in North Central Province

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What people are saying about North Central Province

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 20 reviews

Lalli (German speaking guide) and Jayasuriya (driver) did a super job. We got to see many places and were able to experience Sri Lankan culture. It was fun, thanks for that.

The driver was ready on arrival, even after being delayed for 2 hours. Recommend everyone to start the journey like this.

Arranged and paid from home. When we arrived at the airport, our taxi was ready even though we were quite late. suoer!

Very friendly driver. Was in plenty of time and communicated via whatsapp which was very convenient. Recommended!

great day, had a very knowledgable driver, great food and learned a lot about the people and the country.