The Yala National park is one of the most popular animal sanctuaries in Sri Lanka as well as the second largest one after the Wilpattu National Park. This gloriously wild national park, to most people who visit looks like ‘’The Jungle Book’’ coming to life, because of its exuberant wilderness. Encompassing a land of 979 square kilometers, this park is divided into 5 blocks, out of which only two are open to public viewing while the rest of the park remains a strict nature reserve. It is said that dawn and dusk is the best time for the safari rides, because animal viewing becomes all the more livelier at these times. From the famed Sri Lankan leopard skulking in the shadows to the crocs lazing away in the lagoons, you will be a able to witness a diverse array of wildlife spread out across multiple habitats.
Polonnaruwa, the magnificent medieval capital of Sri Lanka and the second most ancient kingdom in the country is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is during the reign of King Parakramabahu from 1153-1186 A.D, that that the city of Polonnaruwa flourished and was known as the ”Golden Age of Polonnaruwa”. With historic sites such as the Parakrama Samudraya, the ruins of the ancient palaces, The Quadrangle with its collection of ancient buildings and Stupas like the Thuparamaya, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa is one of the most loved cultural tourist sttractions of all time.
Trincomalee located 257km due north east of Colombo, is known to be one of the best natural deep water harbors anywhere in the world. There is the famous Kandasamy Kovil located at the rocky outcrop of Trincomalee. This revered place of worship is one of the five historical Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Trincomalee is also home to some of the finest beaches such as the Nilaveli beach and the Uppuveli beach. About 1km offshore from Nilaveli you find the Pigeon Island, which is home to some of the best coral reefs in the country. The seven hot water springs located at Kanniya, only a distance of 8km away from Trincomalee is yet another attraction for the crowds.
Located on southern coastal belt Tangalle is approximately 295km south of Colombo. This small uncrowded beach resort is the ideal location if you are looking to spend a lazy and relaxed beach holiday, with some amazing views. But if you are looking to have a blast in the water with some adventurous water sports and other adrenaline rush activities then Tangalle is definitely not the place for it. You will better suited heading out towards the more popular bay beach resorts of Bentota or Unawatuna for this.
Sigiriya, also called the Lion Rock Citadel or Sinhagiri in Sinhalese, is one of the most famed sights in Sri Lanka. This well preserved illustrations of ancient architectural ingenuity is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. Established by King Kasyappa during the years 477-485 AD, the rock fortress was mostly forgotten after his defeat and death, until the British discovered it many years later. On yuor way up to the summit that holds the ruins of the castle, you will witness various terraced gardens and water gardens all cut into the rock, as well as the famous Sigiriya Frescos, whcih are paitings of Celestial Nymphs.
Ratnapura, which means ‘’City of Gems’’ in the Sinhalese language, is located 103km away from Colombo in the Sabaragamuwa District. This city is the country’s primary source of both precious and semi-precious stones such as sapphires, rubies and cat’s eye, which are mined from the Kalu Ganga, and is thought to have the highest concentration of gemstones anywhere in the world. On your visit here, here you will come across rambling waterfalls such as the Bopath Ella Falls, Katugas Ella Falls and the Kirindi Ella Falls.
The little village of Pinnawala is located in the Kegalle district and is about 90km away from the city of Colombo. To most people the name Pinnawala is synonymous with the elephant orphanage that is located here, which is the sole attraction in the village. Established in 1975 in order to care for four orphaned baby elephants, today with more than 70 elephants residing there, the orphanage holds the largest captive herd of elephants in the world. The purpose behind the establishment of this orphanage was to provide a lifeline for the orphaned baby elephants as well as the injured and lost adult elephants.
With its sun kissed beaches, and shallow waters, Pasikuda located in the Eastern coastal belt, is thought to be one of the best place for a beach holiday in the eastern coast. Pasikuda is thought to have the one of the world’s longest shallow coastlines, making it possible for people to walk a distance of about 250 meters into the sea. The gentle waves of the beach here make it ideal for surfing.
Nuwara Eliya, one of the prime hill country resorts of Sri Lanka with an altitude of 1800m above sea level, is the city that has the highest altitude on this beautiful island and lies behind the Tallest Mountain in Sri Lanka, Pidurutalagala. Located 180km away from Colombo, the journey to Nuwara Eliya along the meandering roads of the Kandy-Nuwara Eliya motorway is truly inspiring and builds up your expectations of what lies ahead, because of all the breathtaking views of mountains, greenery and valleys that you come across, most of it filled with nothing but tea plantations.
Negombo, situated on the Western coastal belt of Sri Lanka, is located 37km to the north of Colombo city and is the closest beach resort (6km away) to the Bandaranayake International Airport. One of the major and most famous beach resorts in the West coast, well known for its safe waters and sandy beaches, Negombo is located at the mouth of the famed Negombo lagoon. With the availability of seafood in abundance, Negombo is a gourmet food lover’s paradise. The population in Negombo is dominated by Roman Catholics, and the town itself has been given the title of ‘’Little Rome’’ owing to the presence of a large number of Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches that you will find within the city limits. The St. Mary’s Church by far is the most picturesque of them all. From the Ruined Dutch Fort to the Dutch Canal, this town really does give you medieval feel.