Things to do in Sri Lanka

Our most recommended things to do in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

1. Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area or Park Entrance you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. With your private 4WD Jeep and expert guide, the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day will be used to focus on leopard spotting, either the first 2 hours or the last 2 hours of the day. Throughout this safari, you will search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. The morning tour will begin at 5am from your hotel, to take in sunrise as the park opens at 6am. Whilst the afternoon option allows you to explore from 2pm until sunset when the park closes at 6pm. Situated on Sri Lanka’s south-east, hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala is a wildlife sanctuary and home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. Leopards, elephants, water buffalo, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, and crocodiles can all be found in this rich environment.

Mirissa: Morning Whale Watching Tour

2. Mirissa: Morning Whale Watching Tour

Set sail from Mirissa to witness the breathtaking sight of the planet’s largest mammal, the blue whale, in its natural habitat. Sri Lanka’s southern waters are rich in aquatic life. As well as blue whales, you might see fin whales, sperm whales and pilot whales, as well as many species of dolphins. Depart at 6:30 AM, ahead of the other boats. A complimentary breakfast of sandwiches and fruits will be served on board, along with water and tea or coffee. Knowledgeable guides are on board to answer any questions you may have and help you spot these wonderful creatures. The boat is fitted with a GPS tracking systems, to guide you to the best location to see these extraordinary animals. With over 90% probability of seeing whales and dolphins, you are promised a morning to remember.

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

3. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

Sri Lanka: Yala National Park Private Safari

4. Sri Lanka: Yala National Park Private Safari

Enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty and amazing wildlife of Sri Lanka on a private safari through Yala National Park. Discover leopards, elephants, water buffalo, and more among tall trees, scenic lagoons and golden sand dunes. With the highest concentration of leopards of any national park in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts to get their fill. Catch a glimpse, and maybe some great photos, of these elusive predators. Watch elephants playfully bathing in the mud, and encounter other fascinating animals, including sloth bears, wild boars, spotted deer, and golden jackals. Check out the vast array of interesting birds. Keep your camera ready as you roam through these animals' natural habitat on this wonderful private safari through Yala National Park.

Galle/Unawatuna/Weligama/Mirissa: Yala National Park Safari

5. Galle/Unawatuna/Weligama/Mirissa: Yala National Park Safari

Your experience begins with a pickup from your hotel in either the Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama or Mirissa areas. From there, relax on your drive to Yala National Park. Upon arrival you'll go for a safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Other indigenous wildlife which are able to be spotted in this park includes sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, spotted deers, buffalo, wild boars, sambhur, and hare. Now the most-visited park in Sri Lanka, Yala is also an important nature reserve for 50 species of butterflies and many species of birds. After the safari, journey back to your point of origin to be dropped off back to your accommodation.

From Kalutara: Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Full-Day Tour

6. From Kalutara: Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Full-Day Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Kalutara. You will be starting your tour at 0600 hrs from your hotel in Colombo, where you will be picked up your chauffeur. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you, if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel. The first stop on your itinerary will be the Dambulla Cave Temple which you will reach by approximately 1000 hrs. (Travel Time 4 to 4 ½ hrs) View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple (Entrance Fee Per Person USD 11), a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. At approximately 1230 hrs you will be have lunch at a place of your choice (At your own expense) and reach Sigiriya by 1400 hrs and visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. (Travel Time 35 to 45 mins) Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, thought to be once the epicenter of the short lived kingdom of Kassapa. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where the King Kasyapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, ' the Lion Rock'. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Walk through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past. You will be finishing the tour at 1700 hrs and returning to your hotel in Kalutara by approximately 2200 hrs. En-route you may stop at Restaurant at your choice and have dinner.

Kaudulla National Park: Private Safari

7. Kaudulla National Park: Private Safari

Witness Sri Lankan wildlife up close on this three-hour safari through Kaudulla National Park. Located near the city of Galoya, this park provides ample opportunities to spot majestic elephants and other animals in their natural habitat.   Pass by the reservoir, the lifeblood of the park, which attracts herds of elephants from nearby parks. In addition to elephants, you’ll get the chance to see Sambar deer, Axis deer, chevrotains, wild boar, Asian spoonbills, painted storks, and more. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of leopards or sloth bears in the forest.   As you drive along, admire the green line of trees in the distance, the blue sky, and emerald green grasslands. Breathe in the fresh air and cross an amazing safari off your bucket list.

From Hikkaduwa: Udawalawe National Park Safari Tour

8. From Hikkaduwa: Udawalawe National Park Safari Tour

Ride in a jeep and be fascinated by an elephant safari in the Udawalawe National Park. Learn about the herd of elephants that permanently reside in the park from your knowledgeable guide on this adventurous tour. Begin your tour at Hikkaduwa and be picked up by your driver. Proceed to the National Park and spend a thrilling 3-hour trip spotting wildlife on a safari jeep. Find the gracious herd of elephants that live in the park thanks to its abundant water sources. Learn about the hundreds of elephants that annually migrate to the park from nearby protected areas. Finally, head back to the car and be transferred to your hotel in Hikkaduwa.

The True Essence of Colombo:Private Highlights & Hidden Gems

9. The True Essence of Colombo:Private Highlights & Hidden Gems

Ayubowan! Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital: Colombo! Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this vibrant city together with your private host. The very best must-sees, hidden gems, and local snacks await! So, hop on a colorful Tuk Tuk and let your private guide take you from one highlight to another. The Independence Square is a must visit and a great place to kick off your tour. Stroll through the spacious green lawns and marvel at one of the islands' longest standing colonial buildings. Your host can tell you all about Sri Lanka’s historic past and how the city has changed to the modern city of today. Do as the Sri Lankans do and grab some delicious hoppers and vegetable roti. Locals simply love to start the day with this tasty morning snack, especially when heading to Colombo’s biggest park! Filled with lush vegetation, 100-year-old trees and a replica of the White House, this park is a tranquil gem away from the city buzz. Tuk Tuk your way to the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo with a beautiful lake. Check out an amazing collection of Buddha statues, take a look at a holy tree and admire a relic of Buddha’s hair. Feel free to ask your host any burning questions! Get immersed in real local life and visit one of the liveliest markets. See where locals buy and sell everything from vegetables to electronics. Wander through the labyrinth streets and follow your nose to a nearby cassava chip vendor. See how this yummy snack is made and make your taste buds dance! Head to the banana market and try as many different bananas as you fancy! Curious what else awaits? How about a visit to a mosque in the shape of a pomegranate, followed by a beautifully minimalist Hindu temple? A visit to Sri Lanka’s last King’s jail cell is also a unique gem! While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the stunning view from the lighthouse. What better way to top off your tour than at the relaxing ocean side of Galle Face? Unwind and relax with a cold drink, a delicious prawn cake and a marvelous sunset over the western coast of Sri Lanka!

From Ella: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari Tour

10. From Ella: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari Tour

Visit Ruhunu National Park and explore its 126,786 hectares including the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II). The most familiar is Block I, established in 1938. Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of elephants, leopards, spotted deer, sambhur, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boar, wild buffalo, and many other animals. More than 130 bird species are recorded, including the resident and winter visitors. Head to the National Park to take an afternoon safari around 1:00 PM, as the time of day when you can see leopards and sloth bears emerge out of the shady jungle and roam around. Head to great spots for birdwatchers. The water holes and tanks are a birdwatcher's paradise, offering the chance to see the famous peacock dance. For wildlife lovers, Yala is a must see site in Sri Lanka. Once you've finished your tour, return back to your hotel in Ella.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sri Lanka

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What people are saying about Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 515 reviews

We enjoyed our tour with Muditah a lot! He is an incredibly knowledgable guy, speaks flawless English due to his studies in the US, brought us to some fantastic places and shared some valuable tips with us. Now we feel even better prepared for our 4-week-trip through Sri Lanka! Thanks a lot, Muditah, and hopefully we see each other again at the end of our trip for your street food tour! :)

Very reliable tour pickup operator. No drama, I been contacted via WhatsApp 1 day before , driver was already at my hotel lobby 15 mnt before the pick up time. Good condition and nice car and the driver are polite and good at communication and everything are clear and reliable. Must book when you are in Colombo

Tolle Tour und sehr empfehlenswert für Teeliebhaber! Deen hat immer wieder Stops für Fotos eingelegt und uns alles gezeigt. Wir durften auch selbst Tee pflücken. Sehr interessant war die Führung durch die alte Teefabrik (leider darf man hier keine Bilder machen).

A great tour! I was lucky enough to be there outside of mass tourism, as there is currently a travel warning. On site, however, the situation is completely relaxed. The tour was absolutely fantastic and was great fun!

Had excellent time, tour operators are second to none Driver Chris excellent fit for the job we are lucky to have him as driver and guide Me and my wife thanked Chris thousand times