Top 10 things to do in Sri Lanka 2019

Lonely Planet rated Sri Lanka as the number 1 destination to visit in 2019. If you’re planning your trip to the island soon, this guide will help you to create your ideal itinerary, listing some of the top activities in the country that you must try.

1.Kandy to Ella train

This activity should be at the top of everyone’s list. The journey has been described as one of the most beautiful in the world. If you take the train directly to Ella, it takes about 7 hours, or you can stop in Nuwara Eliya for a night or two to break the journey up.  During the journey, you can walk around the carriages, look out the window, or buy some tasty snacks from vendors who wander past. You can even stand in the open doorways to marvel at the beauty of the passing tea plantations, villages and bridges. The journey is very popular, so be prepared for busy carriages. You can book 1st clast tickets in advance, or buy 2nd class tickets on the day of travel. Make sure you get to the station early so that you don’t miss out!

2.Tea Plantation in Nuwara Eliya

Tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya, such as The Lipton Tea plantation, are beautiful spots to visit if you’re coming to Sri Lanka. Locals can show you round the plantations, taking you on guided tours up and down the steep mountains. If you want to gain historical context and perspective, this is an essential activity to do in Sri Lanka. The Royal Tea Trail begins by the roadside before starting to wind between steep tea terraces. The tea plants are mostly scattered without a pattern, but are often layered creating stunning scenery on the side of the mountains

3.Little Adam’s Peak

Whether you’re hiking mad or not at all, Little Adam’s Peak in Ella is a must-do. It is not a particularly difficult or long hike, but the 360 views from the top are breathtaking. You can either get a tuk tuk or walk from the town. Go in the morning for the coolest temperatures, or enjoy sunset from the top. Be careful not to leave it too late – you don’t want to have to walk down in the dark!

4.Nine Arch Bridge

The Nine Arch Bridge is another one of Ella’s must-sees. The bridge was built at Gotuwala between the Ella and Demodara stations during the British Colonial period. Locally it is known as ‘Ahas Namaye Palama’ meaning Nine Skies Bridge in Sinhala. The structure of the bridge is magnificent, spanning 91 meters in length 24 meters in height. The beautiful nine arches make the bridge a perfect hot-spot for pictures, especially as it is surrounded by green, dense jungle. You can get a tuk tuk for 200 rupees from Ella town for a short journey time of 15 minutes.

5.Go on safari

Udawalawe and Yala National parks are amongst some of the most beautiful safari spots in Sri Lanka. Cruise in an open top jeep and marvel and the abundance of wildlife that the island has to offer. You’re likely to come across families of elephants, buffalos, birds and even leopards! The landscape is truly stunning and the perfect backdrop for photos. Top tip: Yala has a higher concentration of leopards, so if you want to catch a glimpse of this beautiful creature Yala may be the better option.

6.Rope swing at Dalawella Beach

This is a very popular spot for social media lovers if you want to get that perfect sunset shot. The exact location of the original Sri Lankan rope swing is outside a guesthouse called Dream Cabana. A group of friends at Dream Cabana built the swing as a fun activity for themselves, but it has quickly evolved into one of the most talked about spots on the island. It’s crazy to think that something a few guys built for fun has become one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka!

7.Surfing on the South Coast

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best places to catch some waves. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there’s a special spot for everyone. When October comes and the season finishes over on the east coast, Ahangama or Weligama in the South are two of the most popular places to surf. The community is vast and there are plenty of surf and yoga camps to choose from. The chilled lifestyle and delicious food available in a growing number of hipster restaurants is attractive for all types of travellers.

8.Climb Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya Rock is popularly known as the eighth wonder of the world. Sigiriya Rock is only around 2 hours from Kandy and the architecture and views from the top are truly breathtaking. The top of the rock is 370 meters above sea-level and one of the most popular spots amongst tourists to watch the sun go down. You can explore palaces, ponds, waterways, canals, stairs and walls as you make your way to the top. The views are very rewarding after the climb.

9.Whale Watching

Mirissa is one of the best spots on the island to see blue whales, sperm whales and dolphins. Getting up close and personal with these beautiful creatures on a morning boat trip is one of the most magical things to do in Sri Lanka. Fun fact: The BBC made a documentary called Ocean Giants, which featured the lives of whales and dolphins and was filmed in Sri Lanka. Specialists claimed to have seen 30 blues whales in just one day of shooting!

10.Explore Galle Fort

In 1988, Galle Fort was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status as one of the best examples of a Dutch-built fortified city in South Asia. Wandering around the maze of streets is both a unique and enchanting activity to do in Southern Sri Lanka. The blend of commerce and culture creates an easy-going yet bustling atmosphere, packed with a number or beautiful places to shop and eat.

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