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If you’re having trouble choosing between a trip lounging on the beach, exploring the wild, or soaking in the history of rich new culture, a Sri Lanka holiday is the answer.

Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka

Picturesque beaches, kilometres of rolling hills, ancient temples and ruins, and lush green forests filled with extraordinary wildlife make Sri Lanka the perfect destination to explore a little bit of everything.

But with so much on offer, there’s a new problem: what sites and experiences need to be on the itinerary? To help you settle it, we’ve compiled a list of 7 must-do things while travelling on your Sri Lanka holiday.

SigiriyaRock fortress at Sigiriya

1. Witness the ancient rock fortress at Sigiriya

There’s a good reason locals refer to the ancient rock fortress at Sigiriya as the 8th wonder of the world. Formed from the magma of an extinct volcano, sitting 200m above the surrounding jungle are the ruins of an ancient stone palace.

Outside of its crumbling walls, you can explore a maze of fortifications, gorgeous gardens, serene ponds, canals, alleys and fountains. Our trips to Sigiriya let you explore this magnificent wonder. 

Take me there: Sigiriya trips

Tea PlantationSri Lanka tea plantations

2. Tour the beautiful highland tea plantations

While the tea plantations are a legacy of British colonialism, they have become a truly integrated part of Sri Lankan culture. Atop gorgeous green hills that spill into an endless blue horizon, locals in brightly patterned garments gently pick leaves from the millions of tea bushes that surround them. 

Visit the Dickoya tea plantations on our Highlands of Sri Lanka trip

Tuk TukTuk-tuk

3. Try a tuk-tuk

The tuk-tuk has become an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka. And there’s no better way to explore the country than hopping into one of these small, brightly coloured, 3-wheeled vehicles and roaming off the beaten path. Travelling an average of 45km/h, tuk-tuks go the perfect speed to relax and take in the sites.

Experience these nifty little modes of transport on our Sri Lankan Highlights Tour

DambullaCave temples at Dambulla

4. Explore cave temples at Dambulla

Sitting 160m above the plain, the cave temples are carved from rock and filled with wonders you can’t find anywhere else. Inside, the gilded gold walls shelter hundreds of Buddha statues and paintings, as well as other important and evocative Sri Lankan art – both ancient and modern. 

You can visit these magnificent temples on our Discover Sri Lanka trip.

Yala National ParkLeopard lounging in a tree

5. Search for leopards in Yala National Park

Spanning 130,000 hectares of land and containing 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species, Yala National Park is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wildlife up close. Its residents include elephants, sloths, jackals, peacocks, crocodiles – and of course – leopards.

Although the animals rule the land today, the park also reveals hints of lost civilizations in the form of ancient temple ruins.

Visit the national parks and discover more amazing animals on our Wild Sri Lanka tour

Talalla BeachTalalla Beach

6. Visit the tranquil Dickwella Beach

Nestled on the popular south coast of Sri Lanka, Dickwella is one of the best-hidden beaches you’ll ever find. While others have been overdeveloped and draw massive crowds, Dickwella remains a mostly untouched, quiet gem near a small quaint market town. It’s the perfect place to grab a book at the end of your trip and lie down close in the shade of towering palm trees.

Unwind on this beach at the end of our Wild Sri Lanka trip.

SinharajaSinharaja Rainforest

7. Discover Sinharaja Rainforest

Sinharaja is the last viable sliver of rainforest in Sri Lanka and has been a protected world heritage site since 1989. It’s also the perfect place to discover the beautiful and rare flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. Just remember to pack a jacket to protect yourself from the heavy rains that feed this delicate ecosystem.

Discover one of the best birdwatching hot spots in the country on our Wild Sri Lanka trip.

If this is a place you can’t wait to discover, find more Sri Lanka tours below.