55 Best Places to Visit in Central Province Sri Lanka - 2020 With

Recommendations for Central Province Sri Lanka

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Colombo
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Think of Sri Lanka and what springs to mind? Beaches and Buddha, temples and tree clad hills. Heady metropolitan sophistication? Not so much, right? But after 5 years of the civil war between government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil eelam, Colombo has transformed itself. From a shabby sprawl, to be skirted enroute the beaches of south, Colombo has become a confident Cosmopolitan. Largest city and former capital of Sri Lanka, originally Kalantotta(“Kelani ferry”) was corrupted to Kolumbu by Arab traders and was changed to Colombo by Portuguese. Colombo is a burgeoning must see tourist place in Sri Lanka today. It is no longer that boring city that you simply had to get away with it when on your way to the Southern Beach but is rather a worthy holiday destination in its own very right that demands a definite visit when in the country.

City’s major sections are the old area of narrow streets and colorful market stalls; modern commercial and government area and a wealthy residential and recreational area. Along with the shady paths, the legacies of the colonial Colombo’s garden roots are indeed unmarred with its garden roots. While Pettah brims with boisterous commerce and shopping hubs, Fort restores its historic colonial architecture. Even the congested Galle Rd is getting swanky with its gleaming hotels, resorts and stays. On the other hand, the seafront gains massively from the new roads which are stimulating hotel construction. The urbane side of Colombo supports further more stylish galleries, eateries and museums. Marvels are plentiful in the old quarters where one can avail succulent local food and tiny convivial cafes or characterful shops..

Adding to this charm, the tourist places in Colombo include some of the historic Buddhist temples, monuments and places that showcase the socio-cultural richness of the place. Being famous for its Nightlife, Colombo has numerous trendy bars, pubs and lounges. Hotels are well-equipped with modern amenities, therefore making them well-placed in the hospitality sector. There are all kinds of restaurants here, serving scrumptious Sri Lankan meals that have gained global popularity with their blend of fiery spices, rich flavours and unique textures. With everything it has to offer, this city is indeed an interesting start or even end to your Sri Lankan ventures and adventures

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Places to Visit in Colombo
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Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara
Also known as the Kelaniya Temple, Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a Buddhist temple which is situated seven miles from Colombo. This temple is well known for its magnificent sculptor’s art. Kelaniya Temple was built on the bank Kelaniya River which is believed to be one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka.

This temple was built in the era prior to the chronologically recorded history of Sir Lanka (since 543 B.C). The ancient temple was destroyed by a lot of invaders but was reconstructed again.

Highlights: The best feature of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is its amazing architecture which has grabbed the attention of lot of tourist around the world. There is a vaulted grill that opens upto the lower patio of the temple yard. The lower patios lead four sets of flights in four directions to the Upper patio where you can see the image of Hose, Dagaba and the Bo Tree (Peepal tree) with other buildings.

Location: The temple is located at Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Price: The entry is free of cost.
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Seema Malaka

Standing tall along the banks of Beira Lake, Seema Malaka forms a part of the southern region of the Colombo City of Sri Lanka. It lies in conjunction with the Gangaramaya Temple, which is the main shrine there. Residing on three man-made podiums, Seema Malaka Temple stands unrivaled in both its location and architecture. The architectural allure of this temple is highly inspired from the ancient forest monasteries Ritigala and Anuradhapura. The building of the temple is built in the Kandyan style and is characterized by its hanging blue tiled roofs. There is a pontoon boardwalk that links the premises of the Seema Malaka temple with its mainland. The outer boundary wall of this shrine is adorned by numerous Buddha statues representing different sitting postures.

There are three raised platforms which divide the temple and are connected with the walkways. The four-sided blue roof on the central platform of this temple is quite evident. On the very next platform, you have a statue of the Treasury of Truth which has got its own significance. This platform at the Seema Malaka temple is actually a treasure of ancient Buddhist texts, which is usually stored in locked conditions and is accessible only to the monks.

There are beautiful wooden panels embracing the décor of the central building of this shrine - where people reach out for meditation. In case you have any queries, you may approach the caretakers there. The outer area surrounding this room features several Buddha statues. If you keenly observe them – some of them have their hands placed on their lap, while others are portrayed yogic postures.

At the next platform, you have a Bodhi tree in the central portion, which is all over flanked with several Buddha statues. On special occasions, you can mark the presence of numerous Locals here to venerate the Bodhi tree. Apart from all these, the four corners of the Seema Malaka temple, you also have shrines which are entirely dedicated to the Gods of Hindu religions – Ganesha and Shiva.

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Gangaramaya Temple
Gangaramaya Temple is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is more than a century since this temple was constructed; however even today, the temple doesn’t stop to surprise tourists and devotees. The pathways and doors that lead into the main sanctum sanctorum contain intricately carved sculptures that are simply breath-taking.

Highlights: The ceilings and walls contain pictures and miniature paintings that explain stories from Buddhism religion. In the main sanctorum, a huge Buddha statue exudes a brilliant sense of calmness in the devotees. Built in a mix of various architectural styles including India, Burmese, Thai and Chinese, this temple also houses a museum.



Location: The temple is located right on the Jinaratana Road in the heart of Colombo city.

Timings: The temple is open from 5.30AM to 10PM.

Price: Entry fee is LKR200 per adult.
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National Museum
The largest museum in Sri Lanka, the National Museum of Colombo was established in January 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, the then British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Currently maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government, the museum is home to a lot of important collections, including the crown and throne of the Kandyan monarchs.

Housed in a two-storied building, the museum has a big, well-maintained, lush green lawn right in front that is shaded by mighty banyan trees, which adds to the beauty of the place. As you enter the museum, you shall also find a fourth-century Buddha smiling at you in the lobby. Going forward, you will be mesmerized to find the collections in the museum.

The galleries are as old as 1877, and you shall find all sorts of ancient art, carvings, and statues from Sri Lanka’s past along with a collection of antique demon masks. You can also find guns, swords, and other things from the colonial times. If you love art, you are totally in for a treat as the gallery also has in display 19th-century reproductions of English paintings of Sri Lanka.

On display are the royal throne made for King Wimaladharmasuriya II in 1693, the 9th-century bronze Bodhisattva Sandals, and much more. And that is not all. There are agricultural displays and many more things that are sure to grab your attention and leave a mark in your memories.
Galle Face Green
Galle face green, a mesmerizing destination with a magnificent coast, it is one of the most admired grounds in the world. Found in Colombo, the Galle face green park is spread across an enormous area of more than 12 acres.

Running alongside the picturesque costs, the park is celebrated among various tourists as an extraordinary spot to relish upon a number of activities including gazing at the mesmerizing sunset, enjoying delicious street food, picnics, taking a tour of the ancient Galle Fort, kite flying, volleyball, and many more adventures.

The origin story of this enigmatic urban park goes way back to the 18th century. It was Sir Henry Ward, Governor of the British Ceylon who had first proposed the notion of constructing this park. The park is now a go to spot for tens of hundreds of localities and international tourists for various recreational activities.

From delicious delicacies of Srilanka to multitudes of beach adventures, visitors are found here having a time of their lives. What makes the place even more special is it's fun ambiance that allows even the little ones to open their wings and fly.

In other words, it doesn't matter if you are a sports fanatic looking to indulge in some thrills or a food fanatic craving for some flavorful munchies, you will find everything here at the Galle face green. Additionally,  some of the most prominent events including hosting the largest artificial Christmas Tree in the world during Christmas are held on this ground. 

All in all, a fun place to delight upon the beautiful landscape, indulge in some adventures with friends and family and savoring a few delicious street foods, Galle face green can quite simply be your next weekend destination.
Galle
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This historic city of Sri Lanka is located on the country’s southwest coast, and is famous for its portuguese heritage and dutch colonial buildings. The best tourist places in Galle includes grand museums, mansions, churches and mosques. Offering the ocean and pretty sunsets, the beautiful city of Galle was founded by the portuguese in the sixteenth century, and you will find the city embracing its ancient heritage every inch. Galle will remind you of its dutch and portuguese lineage, a town famous for its rich Sri lankan cuisine, pepper pot towers and bastions. The city gives you a Mediterranean feel with its bright sunny skies, beaches and blue waters, rainforests of Kanneliya and Hiyare, the city’s narrow lanes lined with various shops that sell you everything from intricate jewellery to shoes and garments.

If you visit Galle between November and April, you can drop by a Mirissa to see the largest animal on the planet; a blue whale. For a beach lover who loves the ocean and the warm sun, there’s no better place to go other than this tropical retreat. The rainforests of Kanneliya and Hiyare are famous for the nature walks they offer, you will see small animals and an excellent diversity when it comes to the flora and fauna. To sum it up, the tourist places in Galle offers you a variety like no other place in the country.

You can explore historical buildings, relax at any beach, go scuba diving, go cliff jumping at Flag Rock, go for safaris, discover the city and its culture on foot, shop artefacts, go for nature walks, and simply relax at your hotel while enjoying the tropical spirit. You can even go on boat trips in the Indian ocean; you may be able to spot humpback whales, dolphins, blue whales, sperm whales etc. The Sri Lankan cuisine has been largely influenced by the Dutch cuisine, as you will find from the dishes.

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Places to Visit in Galle
Koggala Beach
Have you seen the waves dancing freely? Koggla beach is one such place where you will find a combination of warmth of the golden sand beneath your feet along with sea breeze caressing you. Located 140km from Colombo, this idyllic place is for all the beach lovers to spend some time and enjoy life as they have always wanted to . Leave your care and worries behind and just be a part of some breath-taking moments.

You will surely treasure some of the fond memories of this beach. Get into the adventurous mood by trying snorkelling and diving. If you are not too fond of adventures you can sit by the beach and enjoy the sight of the mighty waves.

Highlights: If you are going to Koggala, you can’t miss the chance to visit the Turtle Hatchery which is an initiative taken against selling the turtle’s eggs for the purpose of food.

Jungle Beach

Located west to Unawatuna, Jungle Beach is a pretty bay nestled in a forested area. It is one of the secret gems of Sri Lanka which has everything to make your holiday experience one of its kind. The place retains its pristine natural charm as it is not ventured by a large number of tourists throughout the year due to its secluded location.

Jungle Beach offers a plethora of water sports such as snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, boat ride and many more. The reefs jutting out of water a few metres offshore make a good site for snorkelling which introduces you to the exotic marine life of the region. Apart from schools of colourful fishes you will spot moray eels, encounter crabs, barracudas, trigger fish and many other reef dwelling creatures. The other activities you can indulge in Jungle Beach include whale watching, visiting historical ruins, jungle hiking and many more.

There are top notch resorts and cabins at Jungle Beach furnished with plush amenities and offering you a tranquil retreat amidst the jungle settings. The resorts and cabins have private walkways which will lead you to the calm shoreline caressed by the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean. You can savour traditional Sri Lankan cuisine in a communal restaurant or enjoy private dining on a beachside restaurant. In a nutshell, Jungle Beach is the place which awaits you to explore its hidden treasure and spend your vacation in style and luxury.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 percent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 percent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve. Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. The area span of the reserve is about 21 KM from east-west and about 7 KM from north-south.

 

Location: Situated in the Southern Province, a two-hour drive from Galle via Galle-Deniyaya-Madampe Highway.

Highlights: Experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendor of dense and copious evergreen rainforests. The guide will tell you about different endemic species of flora and fauna that you encounter during your guided tour.

Timings: Opens daily from 6:30 AM to 6 PM

Price: Approximate price ranges from 664 LKR to 1160 LKR

Galle Dutch Fort

The Galle Dutch Fort happens to be one of the treasured historical monuments of Srilanka located on the southern coast of the country. The fort was constructed by the Portuguese in the course of their reign in Srilanka and was later renovated by the Dutch. The fort is one of the most important UNESCO world heritage sites out of many in Srilanka. This is because of its wonderful illustration of European Architecture and South Asian Traditions of the 16th and 19th century.

The fort displays an amazing amalgamation of age-old architecture and antiquity in the middle of astounding natural beauty.You will come across a number of lively shops, cafes, exhibition halls, lifestyle stores, and villas, which adds to the beauty of the place. It would be just amazing to move by the walls witnessing the intricate artworks and sheer craftsmanship. At the present time, the fort is still home to multi-ethnic and multi-religious population, as some properties inside the fort are still owned by many Dutch people and local Srilankan people as well. 

Old Dutch Hospital
This building is one of those areas that have preserved their charm for quite a few centuries now. Constructed during 1681, this building crossed many stages before getting converted into a shopping complex that it is today.

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Location
: This shopping arcade is located in the Galle Fort area, at Hospital Street.

Highlights
: This is the most ancient building in Colombo Fort and was set up with the main purpose of providing medical assistance to people working for Dutch East India Company. Do not miss to visit Odels, one of the most decent joints selling high-quality souvenirs and clothes. If you are interested in shopping and eating good food, you have to visit this area as it lined with lots of cafés and eating joints.


Timings
: It is open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on all days of the week. 

Price
: Entry to this place is not chargeable.

Kandy
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Rated among the major cities of Sri Lanka, Kandy is a special city. Surrounded by dense forests and mountain ranges, acquiring a height of 500 meters from the sea level, the tourist plces in this town gives you a feeling that you are living in a modern valley. Nature supports this place immensely and makes it the city with a pleasant climate. A city with lakes and special landscapes is always a delight when you plan to spend some romantic evenings and playful late nights while mooning around.

Kandy has a rich historical background covering the major events of the medieval era and colonial era. Every square inch of this nicely planned town has a piece of Sri Lankan history to share with you. You can feel the pulse of royalty in some colonial architecture and feel the divine blessings while visiting a large temple where science meets religion and together they try to explain the complexity of life. The Colonial-era constructions left an imprint on various cities of the world, current generations term these imprints as "old world charms." While moving in the capacity of a tourist, Kandy gives you this opportunity to capture the old world charm where the ambiance of the city plays a pivotal role and transports you into the world where things were easier and more enjoyable. For many of you, it can also become a travel in time when you will visit this nice city that has a mystique associated with it.

If you wish to explore the evolution of a cityscape and witness that how historical factors contribute to it, then the town of Kandy is the right place for that. Check out the map of the city drawn in 1815 and visit the present city. You will understand the point that we are trying to make here, also about the tourist places in Kandy. The town of Kandy added a value to its legacy and never changed its roots for the sake of development. This one virtue makes this town worth a visit.

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Places to Visit in Kandy
Royal Palace of Kandy
The Royal palace of the Kandyan Kingdom is the last reminiscence of the reigning King of Kandayan, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. The palace dates back to the 14th century, yet witnessing the glory and glamour of the kingdom is stupendous. The Palace has seen scars from many wars and tremors of foreign invaders like the Portuguese.

The Royal court, another architectural capture has confronted many meetings formed by the king and it is here that the end of Kandyan Kingdom convention was signed.
The temple of Tooth contributes maximum attraction to the tourists. Even though, the original palace walls have been burnt and rebuilt, the interiors remain the same.




Highlights: Dalada Maligawa - Temple of Tooth (relic of Buddha’s Tooth), Royal Court (Magul Maduwa), Queen’s Bathing pavilion – Ulpange and the Royal gardens inside the Palace gates

 Location: Sri Dalads Veediya

 Kandy Price: Rs 100 per head Timings: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Kandy Lake

Kandy Lake is an artificial lake built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1807. The lake, also called Kiri Muhuda or Sea of the Milk, is situated in the heart of the Kandy city. It covers an area of 6,544 sq. m. with a circumference of 3.21 km. The lake boasts of a small island at its center. A building, together with some earliest ruins is also located at the center of the lake.

The iconic serene lake is one of the greatest attractions for visitors for its lush green settings and pristine blue waters. It has several rest zones, where tourists can sit, breathe fresh air, and catch the glimpse of scenic beauty around them. Nature lovers and tourists can enjoy the picturesque surroundings and soothe their jittery nerves by taking a stroll around the 2.1 km pathway.

People generally stroll or jog the pathway in the evening, when the mercury drops considerably. It presents a beautiful sight at night. The palm trees in the middle of the lake add charm to the entire surroundings. 
Tourists can opt for boat rides and relish the experience.

One can hire the boat either for their party or join other passengers for a ride. The boat ride costs approximately Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 for a 20-minute boating experience around the Lake. 
Visitors can look forward to gratifying their senses, by buying products ranging from balloons to cashew nuts from vendors roaming around the lake.

Owing to the pollution and other factors, which led to shrinkage of the lake, the management has declared it as a protected area and banned fishing at this spot. However, animal lovers and ornithologists can revel in watching birds, fishes, and huge monitor lizards.

Tea Estate Trails

Waking up early in the morning and being served the finest bed tea by the butler will be a delight in itself. The tea planter will take you through the entire tea making process starting from the fields where the tea was first plucked and then taken to the factory where all the conversions take place. The tea trails will take you to the colonial era time. The afternoon cream tea is something to truly relish. The nearby places are an appropriate place to walk, cycle and biking.




Location:
 Close to Hatton, near Bogawantawala valley.

Highlights
: Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka which is a must watch.

Best Time:
December to April.

Price: The approximate price ranges from 484 LKR to 1626 LKR.


Millenium Elephant Foundation
MEF is an estate as vast as 15 acres and is dwelling to countless of majestic elephants. The name of the estate, Samragiri has been inherited from the Samarasinghe family who have lived here for many generations. It is the only foundation where visitors are allowed to ride elephants bare back and interact with them with safety measures in the form of a educational tour. The foundation also provides a special Elephant Walk where you would be taken a 30 minute walk along with the animal.

MEF has charity trusts for the welfare of these humble animals.

Highlights: One hour educational walk and a tour of the museum, personally bathing the elephants, exotic walk on the grounds of the estate with an elephant, entry to Maximus Dung Paper factory.



Price: 2000LKR for foreigners and 100 LKR

Location: Randeniya, Hiriwadunna, Kegalle

Timings: 8:30 am to 4 pm, all days

Commonwealth War Cemetery
This cemetery is maintained and served by the commonwealth war commission office. This graveyard is a humble reminder of those brave hearts of the country who sacrificed their lives protecting the nation’s honour during the World War II. The cemetery is beautifully kept and has over 190 tombs. Apparently, this place was initially known as Pitakande Military Cemetery and was owned by the Military authorities until it was taken over by the war Commission.

It is also noted that Army Graves from over 10 burial grounds have been transferred to this cemetery till 1958.  There are 6 commonwealth war cemeteries in Sri Lanka, but the Kandy War Cemetery is considered the best amongst all because of its stunning landscape and well kept land.



Highlights: The Kandy Botanical garden Location: Deveni Rajasinghe, Kandy

Price: No entry fee; the place is run by donation

Timings: 10 am to noon and 1 pm to 6 pm




Nuwara Eliya
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Nuwara Eliya, which literally means, ‘City of Light’, is the coolest city of Sri Lanka. The picturesque landscapes of this beautiful city will surely blow your mind if you love visiting hill stations. With the highest mountain peak in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya boasts on its natural beauty.

Nuwara Eliya is also the prime tea producing land in Sri Lanka. With is lush green terraces, it produces some high quality aromatic tea. Due to its cool climate in a hot and humid country like Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is also referred to as ‘Little England’. During the winters, the nights are chilling. But as soon as the day breaks, the place gets warm and comfortable.

In April, the natives of Nuwara Eliya celebrate Tamil New Year by taking out band carnivals on the street. If you are planning to come down to the city of lights during the festivals, you might not get an accommodation in the hotels easily.

The main attraction of this city is the highest peak in Sri Lanka named Pidurutalagala, which is 2524 m high. The other attractions include a beautiful golf course, an oasis named Victoria Park, Lake Gregory, and many more alluring tourist spots.

If you have a query like where to stay and where to eat in the city, here are some suggestions. The Blackpool Hotel, Heritance Tea Factory, Jetwing St. Andrew’s, Stafford Bunglow, etc., are few good places for your stay. Grand Indian, Salmiya, Mackwoods’s Labookellie Tea Centre, etc., are great ideas to visit and dine in.

If you want a happening nightlife in Nuwara Eliya, visit 19th Hole Pub for some good drinks. If you are wondering where to shop in this city and you can bargain hard, visit Cargil’s. There you will get a lot of stuffs cheaper than other markets. Happy shopping!


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Places to Visit in Nuwara Eliya
Galway's Land National Park
One of the newest and the smallest National Parks, Galway's Land is a dense forest. This is another best places to visit in Sri Lanka. This park is situated at within the city limits of Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka. This National Park was declared as a sanctuary in the year 1938. Apart from the avifauna, the park has valuable floral species of both native and foreign origin. The park is open 6 AM- 5PM.

Highlights: The National Park is a habitat to 10 Sri Lankan endemics, Wild boar, Barking deer and exotic birds.

Location: The National park is located Department of Wildlife Conservation, Havelock Rd, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.

Price: The entry fees is 1490.65 LKR

Nuwara Eliya Golf Club
Founded in the year 1889, Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is one of the oldest clubs in Asia. Surrounded with some of the most excellent gardens this club is situated at the foot of tea gardens in Sri Lanka. Nothing can be a better recess time the visiting this extravagant place in Sri Lanka. So if you are looking for a friendly match with your friends then this place is a must visit for you. The Golf coerce remains open from 8 AM to 7 PM in the evening.

Highlights: The The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club has 18 holes in the court in a 6075 yard. There are 71 testing pa of fairways which are long and narrow, bordered by tall trees and shrubbery.

Location: The Nuwara Eliya Golf Club is located at Nuwara Eliya 22200, Sri Lanka

Price: On Weekdays – 2,800 LKR ( 10 Holes) and on Weekends – 3,300 LKR (10 holes) approx.
St. Clairs Falls, Tawalantenne
If you are planning to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life then St, Clair Falls is the perfect option for you. Also, known as the Little Niagara of Sri Lanka this is one of the wildest waterfalls here. It is one of the famous Sri Lanka tourist places visited ample of tourists every year.

There are two waterfalls namely Maha Ella " Maha Ella " (Sinhalese "The Greater Fall"), (260 ft) high and "Kuda Ella", (Sinhalese "The Lesser Fall"), which (160 ft) high and located immediately downstream of the main fall. These breath taking waterfalls are located along the Kotmale River.

Highlights: This cascading waterfalls falls under one of the six waterfalls affected by the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project.

Location: The St Clair’s Waterfalls are located at Tawalantenne - Talawakele Rd, Sri Lanka

Price: Free entry for the waterfalls.
Anuradhapura
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The remnants of Anuradhapura are unequivocally the most expressive sites of South Asia. This sprawling complex is composed of an opulent collection of architectural and archaeological marvels: gigantic brick towers, crumbling temples, humongous dagobas and archaic pools that were all constructed during the rule of Anuradhapura which went on for several thousand years. At present, most of the sites here remain in use solely as temples and holy places. Incessant ceremonies retain the very ebullience and buoyancy of Anuradhapura which is a stark reverse of the the ambience at Polonaruwa.     

Present day, Anuradhapura is significantly different. It is rather engaging albeit sprawling city. Its main street is orderly in comparison to the the ugly concrete agglomerations found elsewhere. This saintly city was entrenched around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment' which is supposedly the Buddha's fig tree. Legends say that in the 3rd century B.C, the tree was brought there by Sanghamitta who was the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.  

Ceylonese’s religious and political capital, Anuradhapura bloomed for 1300 years but was then eighty-sixed post the invasion in 993. Shrouded in the dense jungles for several years, this magnificent tourist place with its breathtaking places to see, resorts, monuments, palaces and monasteries is accessible all over again.  


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Places to Visit in Anuradhapura
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu National Park is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka. The topography is dominated by fifty wetlands. With low scrubs and deep forests, the park is home to numerous species of flora and fauna. The biggest attraction for tourists is the spotting of leopard and sloth bear.

The other animal species that can be found in this area are Asian Elephants, jackals, Sambar deer, water buffalo, crocodiles, spotted dear and many more. With its impressive array of bird species, the area is a haven for bird watchers.



Best for: The avid and serious safari-goers can see the elusive leopard and sloth bear.

Location: 25km north of Puttalam or 30km west of Anurdhapura. It is 4 hours drive from Colombo.

Best time to visit: February and October are the best time to visit.

Price: Full Day Jeep Safari price is LKR 10,000 per jeep.

Timing: Full-Day Safari 5.30am to 06.00pm.

Dambulla
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Places to Visit in Dambulla
Sigiriya
A visit to this place will show you a 1600 years old Sigiriya Fortress which was built by King Kasyapa. This massive compound is protected by two moats and three ramparts. It is once known to be the private residence of King Kasyapa. It is 165 km from Sri Lanka. Best time to visit: this area will be early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

 

Highlights: Sigiriya Frescoes are truly beautiful which was hand painted by the king himself depicting celestial nymphs all around the circumference. And on top of these rocks, he built for himself a white palace which stands as an epitome of beauty.

Timing:
Opens daily from 7 AM to 5:30 PM.

Price:  Approximate price starts from $15 to $25

Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla Cave temple is also known as the Golden Rock temple is also one of the world heritage city declared by UNESCO. The cave temple is made with a massive granite outcrop. The word ‘Damba’ means rock and ‘Ulla’ means fountain, hence you can see drip of water from the main house. If you have an eye for paintings then you can also see some of the historic paintings which shows the majestic manifestation of the first sermon of Buddha.



Highlights: Don’t forget to visit the Golden temple Buddhist museum which will leave you jaw dropped with its spectacular entrance from the golden mouth of lion like beast.

Location: You can come via Ambepussa and Kurunegala which is approximately 4 hours from Colombo.

Prices: There are no prices charged for the same, however you have to pay  200 LKR for keeping the luggage.
Habarana
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Most of us tend to talk about the African safari but in the process, forget that even the beautiful and one of the largest continents – Asia too consists of a range of unique ecosystems that connects to the country of India by another place called Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is known for many things especially its range of largest safaris and the beautiful city of Harbarana.

One can simply enjoy a stroll through this city by witnessing the numerous contrasts of green and ethnicity of the whole country. The elephant being one of the most significant animals there – there are numerous other animals that will come to sight too.

Harbarana is actually quite small when we speak about its geographical occupation in Sri Lanka. Situated in the Anuradhapura district, the city is perfect for visitors as not only is there a range of varied activities that they can choose from but also has numerous mid-range and up hotels aimed at package tourists. Avid travelers will know that Harbarana also serves as a departure point for numerous locations of greater interest.

Harbarana is a popular tourist destination especially for safari-lovers. There are special sessions conducted in the Habarana jungle and the Minneriya sanctuary that takes visitors through the beautiful and rich flora and fauna that is singular to the place. Other primary attractions of the place include the ruins of the fortress Sirigiriya, the roads that lie between Colombo and Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa and its delicious food.

The area has some of the best hotels and the wild life and greenery just adds extra value to the place.


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Matale
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Matale often spelled (or pronounced) as Mathale is a mid size regional city that geographically lies in the heart of the island. Located 142 km from Colombo, is nestled at an elevation of 300 meters in an expansive dense valley. Aa bland urban sprawl with a congested one way system, Matale doesn’t see too many tourists. So it is quite possible for you to wish to not dawdle here for long. However, the road that lies towards the north of the town is encrusted with an array of welcoming spice plantations where cocoa, rubber, vanilla, cardamom, cinchona and jackfruit thrive. This is not all. This Sri Lankan town is also popular for kohila (an acqutic plant/herb) as well as small benign chilies.   

Traversing east of Matale, through the Knuckles range, you’ll come across some striking mountain views. The B38 goes uphill from the northern end of the town and takes you to the Rattota whereas the other roads going south west will head you to the hill villages of Karagahandala and Elkaduwa before finally leaving you to Victoria Reservoir and Kandy. It is pristine, beautiful and a little backward in terms of development, but a single visit here when touring the other cities of Sri Lanka is very well worth it.    

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Places to Visit in Matale
St Anthony's Church
St. Anthony’s Church is one of the most-visited places in the city. During weekends, Tuesdays and on major festivals, the church is flocked by devotees who come here from different parts of the world, as the place is believed to produce miracles. The church was constructed as a very small mud structure many years ago and it was made bigger during 1806.



Location: The church is located at Kochchikade. 

Highlights:
The main altar holds the statue of St. Anthony, which was brought all the way from Goa, in a safe bullet-proof glass container. Tuesdays are considered too special days here and there are special masses and benediction services in Tamil, English, and Sinhala all through the day. On week days, the church conducts Tamil and Sinhala Mass. During weekends, the church conducts Tamil, English and Sinhala masses.

Timings: Open all through the day.

Price: Entry is free of cost.

Other Attractions

Horton Plains National Park
Established in 1988, Horton Plains National Park serves as the country’s platform to showcase the scenic panorama of Sri Lanka with an array of exclusive and extensive flora and fauna. Though there is an option to explore the park through jeep ride but the best journey is by foot as it has excellent trekking trails stretching for an area of 9kms. Along with the pictorial scenic beauty one can also see Sri Lanka Samba deer, wild boar and spot macaques. At an Altitude-2100-2300 meter, World’s End serve as the end point of this hiking tour. The look out from this point is simply amazing and provides an expansive terrain.



Location:
 Ohiya, Sri Lanka 

Highlights:
Sunrise at World’s End

Best Time: November to March

Things to Keep in Mind: The trek is not very easy throughout the trail especially near the falls. Reach at World End before sunrise for best view 

Adam's Peak
Standing tall at the south eastern edge of the hill country, Adam’s Peak (7,360 ft) is one of the most striking features in Sri Lanka. Also, this place is a distinguished pilgrimage in Sri Lanka for more than 1000 years. Adam’s Peak is known as Sri Prada and is believed that Lord Buddha left his sacred footprints while heading towards paradise. Poetically this places is called Samanalakande( Butterfly Mountain where the butterflies end their life).

Highlights: Adam’s Peak becomes the liveliest during the month of pilgrimage which starts on Poya day in December and continues through the month of May till the Vesak festival in May. Not just for the pilgrimage. As day break get the perfect view Adam’s Peak as the morning lights reveals the Hill country.

Location: Adam’s Peak is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province

Price: The entry to this place is free.

Wasgamuwa National Park
Sri Lanka is one of the finest places in the world where wildlife can be watched at its best. In the dry lowlands of the island lies the Wasgomuwa National Park with its flourishing flora and fauna. It demonstrates a rich biodiversity.

Stretching over 36,900 hectare this national park is home to 23 mammal species and a number of birds and vegetation species. It is renowned for large families of elephants. Though it will be difficult to get sight of leopard and sloth bear, the endemic purple-faced langur can be observed easily.



Best For: Watching large herds of elephants and endemic purple faced langur.

Location: Matale and Polonnaruwa Districts. 5 hours drive from Colombo.

Price: Full Day Safari Price is LKR 10,000 per jeep.

Additional Price: Tickets per adult is LKR 2,000 and per child is LKR 1,000.

Duration: Full Day safari duration is 8 hours.

Timing: 5.30am to 6.00pm

Popular Nearby Places Around Central Province Sri Lanka