Srilanka Tourism - 2020 (167 Tours & Activities)

A land of myth, legend, history and one of the richest cultures, Sri Lanka is one of the hottest travel destinations and lures adventurers of all kinds. Perhaps you’re someone who loves the solitude of nature and steady walks through trails. Maybe you love relaxing by the sea with the sun warming your face and a cool breeze caressing your skin. Or, maybe it’s nightlife you crave and a little game of chance at a casino – whatever your thrill is,with the best tourist places to visit in Sri Lanka, this island nation has it all.


Ravana’s Lanka has a long history and over 2,000 years of written record. It’s been mentioned in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata too. Over the years, Sri Lanka witnessed occupation by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British and this colonization is evident from the colonial architecture, Catholicism, surnames and vocabulary that you’ll notice on your visit here.

Although small, Sri Lanka has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that must be visited as well as religious sites, numerous national parks, verdant tea estates and, of course, beaches. Take a scenic train ride past plantations and hills and try your hand at blackjack and poker at one of the many casinos. Tickle your taste buds with local favorites like rich curries, fragrant polos and the odd-smelling wood apple.


Excited yet? You should be! With the best tourist places to visit in Sri Lanka, so much diversity and culture, there really is no place quite like Sri Lanka. If you’re still wondering if this is the destination to head to, read on and you’ll find yourself convinced!

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The tour was amazing and everything was nicely arranged, and there were variety of facilities with included transfers from the airport to the hotel. Nice experience!
Excellent
What a wonderful day it was , we did Ella Rock, Nine Arch Bridge and Little Adams Peak in the tour.
This was one of the many falls we visited on our way from Nuwara Eliya to Yala. It was awesome tour
The purchase of this package made transportation and discovering Mirissa very comfortable and economical
We were 3 Passangers and we chose the option for 8 hour and this was an amazing experince. Thanx for this wonderful experience.
Amazing, all the spots were beautiful, the boat is nice. Snorkeling was great too. Overall it was an amazing tour.
It was the most wonderful 7 days of my life and we cover the places like the prehistoric Sigiriya rock fortress , etc
Everything was well managed. We have covered all the places mentioned in the iternary and enjoyed adventurous water activities.
All were exceptionally good. Driver was punctual and trustworthy Best memories as far as your services are concerned
Amazing Tour! I don't think we have missed any architecture, spiritual and fun sites of Sri Lanka.

People Also Ask About Srilanka

  1. Travel Advice

    • Don’t expect a lot at once: In other words, be prepared to go flow. The infrastructure in this region is improving and there are several transport options that one can easily choose from. However, you as a visitor have to be patient with a place whose economy is still under development. Instead, enjoy the lovely life in its simplest form in Sri Lanka.


    • Transportation options: The country is well connected. However, the public transports are a bit slow and steady. The main regions around the country are generally spaced out and thus traveling by a bus or a tuk-tuk may be required.


    • Get away from the crowd: The real joy and essence of one place can truly be experienced provided there is lesser amount of distraction. Visitors would quite naturally want to visit Sri Lanka during a time when it’s less crowded. Thus, avoid visiting Sri Lanka during peak periods of March, April, October and November as the hotel and resort bookings get full almost instantly and air tickets get quite expensive too.


    • Expect a relaxed lifestyle: There are numerous beach resorts and hostels that you can stay at. While, luxury hotels and resorts surely do exist for your convenience but, try enjoying the local lifestyle in a simple manner for a change. Common stays are many family-run guesthouses that you can choose to stay in.


    • Drinking laws: Sri Lanka as a whole has a very strong drinking culture. Therefore, alcohol is sold largely in this place and accessibility to the same won’t be troublesome for the tourists. However, remember that consuming alcohol in certain public spaces in prohibited. Thus, one must keep a check regarding the same. The night-life otherwise is quite great.

  2. Things to do in Sri Lanka

    • Bask on Sri Lanka’s numerous beaches: Sri Lanka consists of approximately 1,000 miles full of beautiful shaded beaches which are punctuated by wonderful resorts that are present at your service when you’re tired of wandering through the sandy dunes. Unawatuna beach is among the most popular destination when it comes to beaches in Sri Lanka. Indulge in water sports-related activities such as swimming at this incredibly fun-filled place.


    • Go climbing at Adam’s peak: Are you an adrenaline junkie? Then this is the perfect place for you. Adam’s peak is the highest mountain that reflects some of the deepest folklore tales of Sri Lanka. This place is also recognized as the Sacred Footprint and is a popular pilgrimage site since centuries.


    • Discover the vibrant reefs of Bentota: What better way of spending your perfect getaway than with the surroundings of natural beauty? Bentota is one such place that offers activities such as deep-sea diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing and more.


    • Explore the ancient location of Anuradhapura: Wonder at the extra-ordinary civilization that once ruled the very lands of Sri Lanka. Their remains still exist as a form of proof to the world. Visit Anuradhapura and know for yourself the majestic culture that once ruled Sri Lanka.


    • Activities in Kitulgala:  Kitugala – also known as the adventure capital of Sri Lanka is tucked away amid the hilly regions of the country. Exciting activities such as kayaking, rainforest trekking, mountain biking and more are some things one can explore by visiting this place.

  3. What will you like in Sri Lanka

    • Indulge in kite-surfing: This activity is so popular among the masses in Sri Lanka that it is easily available at most beach locations in the country. You will be provided with your own kite surfing gear which you can use to get a thrilling experience of the place. The best times to visit is between November and April.


    • Hot air balloon rides around Sri Lanka: Get the bird’s eye view from atop a hot air balloon ride around Sri Lanka. Get the kind of perspective that you wouldn’t have ever imagined. These activities are available from the north-central plans of the island at rates that can be considered affordable.


    • Explore the misty waterfall: Sri Lanka is filled with tropical jungles that hold rich fauna and flora. Imagine you taking a graceful, enchanting walk through the misty waterfalls of one of these forests. It is a perfect weekend or honeymoon getaway – be it for first time visitors or others.


    • Boat tours through the lovely oceans: Sri Lanka has its own share of lush-green paddy fields and tropical shallow coral reefs. But the crystal clear oceans are quite irresistible too. Go on a boating tour through these lovely oceans and discover a new you while you’re at it as well.


  4. Recommended Reads

    Government website: Srilanka Travel

    Books to read: Colombo, Lonely Planet – Sri Lanka.

  5. When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka sees two monsoon seasons so different parts of the country are best visited at different times of the year. The Yala Monsoon, which occurs from May to August, affects the south and west coasts of the Hill Country. This is the best time to visit the north and east regions. The Maha Monsoon, on the other hand, takes place from December to March and covers the north, east and west regions, leaving the west, south and Hill Country perfect for visiting. Overall, however, April and September are among the best months to vacation as the weather is pleasant and there are no rains.

  6. How to reach Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka can be reached by air. There was a ferry service that is no longer operational.

    Bandaranaike International Airport is the country’s only international airport and is well-connected to major cities in India and abroad. It’s about 30 kms from the capital of Colombo. Passengers flying in from India commonly do so from Chennai, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.

     

    Bentota River Airport and Koggala Airport also service passengers from India with direct flights from cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirapalli.

  7. Do I need a visa for Sri Lanka? How does one get a Sri Lankan visa?

    Yes, a visa is required to visit Sri Lanka.

     

    For a short visit, visitors can obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) – valid for 30 days – by logging on to www.eta.gov.lk and applying for the same. Take a print out of the approved authorization and present it when required.

    It’s also possible to get a visa at Bandaranaike International Airport. However, the wait can be long and the cost higher.

     

    Visa fees can range from INR 200-13000/USD 3-200

  8. What is the currency of Sri Lanka and where can I get my money exchanged?

    Sri Lanka rupee is the currency used in the country. However, USD is also widely accepted and is the preferred choice for many travelers.

    There aren’t many Forex counters in the airport so it’s best to convert some amount before arriving into the country. Once you’re in, you can approach Forex services in the cities.

    Another option is to get an international ATM card that you can use to withdraw money when necessary.

  9. Which are the major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka is a country that’s rich in history and culture. Having been mentioned in several ancient texts such as the Ramayana and being the island fortress of the 10-headed king Ravana, there are many places associated with the epic that you must visit. Its natural beauty is also well-known and adventure-seekers will love spending time trekking, camping and going on safaris.

    • Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara
    • Munneswaram temple
    • Citadel of Sigiriya - Lion Rock
    • Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
    • Ceylon Tea Museum
    • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
    • Dambulla cave temple
    • Polonnaruwa
    • Yala National Park
    • Old Town of Galle
    • World’s End – Horton Plains
    • Viharamahadevi Park
    • Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya
  10. What is the local food of Sri Lanka? Which are the best places to taste this food?

    Sri Lankan cuisine is vast and varied and is influenced by different cultures. Some of the most popular local foods are –

    • Idiyappam
    • Curry
    • Kottu
    • Polos
    • Wambatu moju
    • Kiribath with lunu miris
    • Wood apple

    The best places to taste local foods are –

    • Chooti Restaurant, Sigiriya
    • Green Cabin, Galle Road
    • Hotel de New Pilawoos, Galle Road
    • Street vendors at Pettah Market
  11. What is the best public transport to commute around Sri Lanka?

    Local buses are a cheap mode of transport and connect to most places. However, taxis are preferred by many visitors as they’re faster and more comfortable. Most taxis outside Colombo aren’t metered and charge about INR 45-50/USD .70-.78 per kilometre

  12. Do I need to have any vaccinations before the trip to Sri Lanka?

    There are no mandatory vaccinations to be taken before traveling to Sri Lanka but it’s advisable to protect yourself against diseases such as –

    • Tetanus
    • Typhoid
    • Poliomyelitis
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B (for trekkers)
    • Rabies (for trekkers)
    • Tuberculosis (if traveling to rural areas)
    • Japanese encephalitis (if traveling to rural areas)
  13. What is the local language in Sri Lanka and which are the most commonly used greetings? (mention at least 4) (Hello, Thank you, Good morning/night, What is the price of ____?, How far is _____?)

    Sinhala and Tamil are the two official languages in Sri Lanka.

    Here are a few phrases to help you communicate during your stay here.

    • Sinhala: How much - kee?y??dh??

    Tamil: idhevvalavu?

    • Sinhala: Thank you very much - bo?h??m? sthoo?thi

    Tamil: miga nandri

    • Sinhala: Good morning - subha udh?sanak

    Tamil: k?lai vannakam

    • Sinhala: How far is..? - kopama?a durada?

    Tamil: evva?avu t?ram

  14. Which are the best shopping places in Sri Lanka and what are they famous for?

    Sri Lanka has numerous shopping destinations that sell everything from clothes to electronics to handicrafts. These are among the best shopping places –

    • The Pettah Market: Fruits and vegetables, handmade bags, batik textiles
    • Odel Department Store: Fashion and lifestyle products
    • Majestic City: Fashion and lifestyle products, food
    • Laksala: Handicrafts, spices and souvenirs
  15. Here are the best tips Thrillophilia has to offer for your trip to Sri Lanka?

    If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country, there are a few tips you should know to make your holiday even more memorable. Here are some of the top tips -

    • Sri Lanka is hot and humid and even winters aren’t cold in some regions. Arm yourself with insect repellents to keep away the bugs that accompany such climate.
    • Road conditions aren’t the best so add more time to your schedule when traveling between areas. If you’re willing to spend, rent a car and a driver to take you around.
    • Plan your trip around the seasons. The monsoons can dampen your spirits and prevent you from ticking off everything on your itinerary.
    • Stick to local food when possible since western fare can be expensive and subpar especially in smaller joints.
  16. What are the best water sports adventures to try in Sri Lanka?

    Being an island, Sri Lanka offers numerous opportunities for fun water sports in different regions. Here are the best activities to try –

    • Scuba diving in Hikkaduwa
    • Snorkeling in Mirissam
    • White water rafting in Kithugala
    • Canoeing in Unawatuna
    • Jet skiing and windsurfing in Bentota
    • Kite surfing in Kalpitiya Lagoon
    • Wakeboarding in Negombo
  17. I have never been to Sri Lanka. What city should I start from?

    Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination and is easily accessed from major cities. If you’ve traveling from India, the cheapest way is to book a flight from Chennai, which takes between 1 and 1.5 hours.

    If you’re traveling from outside India, you can book direct and non-direct flights to the country from major international airports. If you’re coming from the UK, nonstop flights are available from Heathrow Airport that take about 11 hours to reach Sri Lanka. If you’re traveling from the US or Canada, you will have to fly via Europe, the Middle East or Southeast Asia.

  18. Where to go for whale watching in Sri Lanka?

    Whale watching is a popular activity in Sri Lanka. The majestic animals can be seen at Dondra Point and Trincomalee.

  19. Which are the must visit pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka is steeped in religious history and there are several important pilgrimage sites that should not be missed during your time here. They include –

    • Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
    • Kataragama
    • Adam’s Peak
    • Buduruwagala
    • Dowa Cave Temple
  20. What are the best beaches in Sri Lanka?

    Owing to its two monsoon seasons, you’ll always find a few great beaches open to tourists all year-round. If the south and west are hit by rains, you can head to the north and east and vice versa. While there are many beaches worth visiting, these are among the best –

    • Arugam Bay
    • Mirrissa Beach
    • Hikkaduwa Beach
    • Unawatuna Beach
    • Bentota Beach
    • Negombo Beach
    • Tangalle Beach
    • Nilaveli Beach
    • Weligama Beach
    • Uppuveli Beach
  21. Which are the best tea estates to visit in Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lankan tea is famed the world over and when you’re here, you certainly give the many tea estates a miss. The serenity and stretches of rich green will envelop you into a world far from the bustling crowd. Check out these terrific tea estates –

    • Kenilworth Estate
    • Herman Teas
    • Pedro tea factory
    • Somerset Estate Tea Factory
    • Loolecondera Estate
  22. What are the most scenic train rides in Sri Lanka?

    Sprawling tea and coffee plantations, sleepy train stations and hills dominating the horizon: Sri Lankan train rides are incredibly scenic and must be experienced at least once. You can go on a 6-hour trip, opt for a shorter 2-hour journey and even stop for a night at a couple of stations.

    The route from Ella to Kandy is among the most popular, not just in Asia but in the world. It covers lush tea gardens, fields, waterfalls and villages. Be ready with your camera because you aren’t likely to witness such picturesque sceneries anywhere else!

     

    A second popular route is the one from Colombo to Hill Country. Along the way, the train stops at Kadugannawa where exhibitions of trains outside the National Railway Museum will have you in awe. Winding tracks, tea plantations and rolling hills later, you’re well into Hill Country.

  23. Which are the must visit wildlife sanctuaries in Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka has several wildlife sanctuaries that leopards, elephants, birds and the elusive sloth bear call home. If you want to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures, these are the sanctuaries to head to –

    • Yala National Park
    • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
    • Udawalawe National Park
    • Horton Plains National Park
    • Wasgamuwa National Park
    • Horton Plains National Park
    • Kaudulla National Park
    • Minneriya National Park
    • Kumana National Park
    • Bundala National Park
  24. What is the nightlife in Sri Lanka like? What are the best casinos?

    Sri Lanka is known more for its natural beauty than its nightlife but bigger cities like Colombo see a lot happening as day closes. In fact, if you want to experience nightlife, the capital is the place to be. ON 14 Roof Top Bar & Lounge and In.. on the Green in Colombo are two popular spots.

     

    Colombo is also home to several hot casinos catering to middle and upper class visitors. If you want to try your hand at roulette, poker, baccarat and blackjack, these are the places to go to –

    • Bally's Casino
    • Bellagio Casino
    • MGM Casino
    • The Ritz Club
    • Casino Marina
  25. What to know before taking the tuk tuk drive in Sri Lanka?

    Tuk tuks are a cheap mode of transport for traveling short distances in Sri Lanka, especially around Colombo. However, it’s wise to choose those that are metered as you pay the precise amount. Even so, some metered tuk tuks can be rigged. If the meter is running too fast, it’s likely that it’s not legitimate. Fortunately, most are.

    Unmetered tuk tuks are commonly found in the outskirts. Since the fare is set to what the drivers quote, you can bargain to bring it down to almost half.

  26. Which are most popular festivals in Sri Lanka?

    Festivals tie in closely to Sri Lanka’s identity and there are many! If you’re fortunate enough to be the country during such celebrations, make it a point to check them out. Here are a few popular festivals –

    • Navarathri
    • Feast of Our Lady of Matara
    • Thai Pongal
    • Duruthu Poya
    • Maha Shivarathri
    • Sinhala and Tamil New Year
    • Vesak Poya
    • Ramadan
    • Poson
    • Maha Saman Devalaya festival
  27. Which are best destinations for Ayurvedic massage in Sri Lanka?

    The famed Ayurvedic massage can be enjoyed at several centers in Sri Lanka. The deeply relaxing treatment involving heated oils is extremely relaxing and healing. If you’re excited to try one, these are the centers to approach –

    • Bentota Ayurveda Center
    • Badora Spa
    • Jasmin Villa Ayurveda Resort
    • Barberyn Reef Ayurveda Resort
    • Siddhalepa Spa, Cinnamon Gardens
  28. What are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka may be small but it has a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – 8 to be precise. Even if you can’t make it to all of them, try to include a few in your itinerary. Here’s a look at these astonishing places –

    • Ancient City of Sigiriya
    • Sacred City of Kandy
    • Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
    • Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
    • Sacred City of Anuradhapura
    • Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
    • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
    • Golden Temple of Dambulla
  29. Are there any areas that I cannot travel to in Sri Lanka?

    No, there are currently no areas that are restricted to visitors in Sri Lanka.