Yala National Park Overview

Spread across 979 square kilometres, the Yala National Park is one of the largest national parks in Sri Lanka. It is one of the most visited, thanks to the 200 bird species and 44 animal species that live here. This park continues to attract tourists from across the world for its pristine atmosphere and the lush greenery. 

The Yala National Park takes pride in being the second largest national park in Sri Lanka and continues to attract tourists from around the world. This park borders the Indian ocean and is an important conservation area for animals like elephants and leopards. The park is known for having the world's highest leopard density and is a home to more than 200 unique bird species. The Yala National park is also home to two important Buddhist sites, namely the Sithulpawwa and Magul Vihara.

In fact, the area of this park has been a part of several civilizations, as it is believed that Ravan from the Ramayana had established his kingdom here. Even today, the park continues to attract Buddhist devotees to pay their respects in Buddhists place of worship. Apart from animals, the national park is also home to some unique bird species too. Some of them include the lesser whistling duck, greater flamingo, and the crested serpent eagle. 


• Take a private or a group safari and explore the premises of the national park to spot animals like leopards, bears, and elephants.
• Keep your eyes wide open to spot more than 200 bird species, like grey heron and the black headed ibis. 
• Go camping in the middle of the national park and experience what it’s like to camp under thousands of stars. 
• Learn more about the different types of bird species by taking help from a local guide.
• Explore the beaches and admire the pristine and unexplored parts of the Yala National Park.
• Pay your respects at the memorial near the beach that commemorates the lives lost in the tsunami. 
• Stay in a hotel on the premises of the park and experience the best of being surrounded by nature. 

How To Reach

1 By Car: The Yala National Park is 300 kilometres away from the heart of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Therefore, if you're driving, the Southern Expressway route will get you to the Yala National Park in 8 hours.

2 By Train: Take the daily train from Colombo Fort station and get down at Haputale at 9:45 am. From the railway station, you can hire a private taxi to take you to the Yala National Park. 

Best Time To Visit

The Yala National Park is open on all days of the year and comes with all types of experiences and activities.

1 Best day of the week: You can visit the Yala National Park at any day of the week as it is open throughout the year. However, we recommend visiting the Fantasy Park during the weekdays as there is less crowding and you can explore comfortably. 

2 Best time of the day: Travel to Yala National Park at any time of the day, preferably between morning to afternoon. At this time, you can explore the Yala National Park patiently and explore all that it offers.

Other Essential Information

  • If you are into photography, make sure you carry a zoom lens to click some great pictures. 
  • If you are planning any reservations, make sure you do so well in advance. 
  • Stay in Yala to explore the majority of the park’s premises. 
  • Using flash photography can disturb the animals and can agitate them too, so it is better to avoid any. 
  • The Yala tour can take up to four hours, so in case you are planning a visit, do plan your trip accordingly. 
  • The guides here may not be well versed with English, but are great in helping you spot animals. 
  • Under any circumstances, do not feed the animals. 
  • Do not dirty the premises of the park by dropping any trash. 
  • If you are carrying your cellphones into the safari, make sure that they are in silent mode. 
Read More
Point of Interest for Yala National Park
Take a Safari Tour

Take a Safari Tour

The most obvious experience of the Yala National Park is to take a safari tour. The park opens up at 6 am and 2 pm everyday and you can choose from a group tour to even a private tour. You will be escorted in a safari vehicle to get a glimpse of the different types of animals in the park. You are most likely to spot animals like elephants and bears. However, if you are lucky enough, you are most likely to spot leopards too. So keep your eyes wide open to spot some of the animals in the Yala National Park. 

Go Birdwatching

Go Birdwatching

Apart from animals, the Yala National Park is a home to some diverse bird species. Here, you can find waterfowls, grey heron, black headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill and painted stork. If you travel during the migration season, you are more likely to spot birds like the white winged tern, whimbrel, and the ruddy turnstone. Even if you are not into bird watching, the vibrant colours of the birds are sure to invite you to check them out. If you are going with a guide, you are more likely to identify the birds easily, so keep an eye out. 

Go for Beach Walks

Go for Beach Walks

Sri Lanka is known for its pristine beaches and continues to attract tourists from around the globe. This beach at the Yala National Park is no exception. Although the beach has some places where you cannot go, there are some designated spots that you can check out. When visiting the beaches, do go for a stroll and admire the views. This beach also had some bungalows that were wiped out during a tsunami and ever since then, a memorial stands in its place. The beach is known to be calm and peaceful, and is a great place to unwind. 

Go Camping in the Park

Go Camping in the Park

There is nothing like camping in the wilderness and under the numerous stars in the night sky. The Yala National Park has campgrounds for you to pitch your tent and spend the night in the wilderness. Camping is an exciting activity, so whether you are doing this with your friends, family or even alone, it is sure to excite you. This activity comes with a lot of rules, so make sure you follow them for a hassle-free time at the park. Also, when camping, do make it a point to be very mindful of the activities and not cause any harm to nature. 

Tourism Board Alliances

Why Choose Thrillophilia