Sri Lanka was one of my favorite countries visited last year — it was an adventure unlike any other. These top ten things to do in Sri Lanka were some of my favorite experiences. I think that’s what I loved so much about Sri Lanka — the diverse adventures to be had across the island. In one breath you could be surfing on beautiful beaches, and the other, in the high mountains draped in tea fields. Sri Lanka is certainly the place to go for those looking to dive into a culture unlike any other, and be taken away by the friendliness of the locals.
If you’re not sure how to arrange your time there, check out this 2 week itinerary for the first-timer.
Top Ten Things to Do in Sri Lanka
Go on a safari to see the leopards and elephants in Yala National Park.
One of my highlights during the trip was seeing leopards in the wild. You can take safari into Yala National Park on a guided tour (I went with Chena Huts) and it was a few hours into the park to see the local wildlife.
2. Hit the surf in Mirissa.
One of the best surfing spots on the island is on the idyllic beachs of Mirissa, where you’ll find the beaches packed with surfers. Definitely head here to catch the waves or even take a surfing lesson!
3. Explore the historic Galle Fort.
The beautiful old town of Galle Fort was a personal favorite for exploring and definitely worth doing when visiting. It’s a special place, with plenty of historic sights to see. Check out this guide to Galle Fort.
4. See one of the most beautiful mosques in Colombo.
With architecture being diverse, the red mosque in Colombo was one surprise I adored. Head here to see the colorful walls of the iconic mosque.
5. Enjoy the local tea with a view in Nuwara Eliya.
There’s plenty of tea plantations, with the highest concentration in Nuwara Eliya. It’s beautiful and you can have your driver stop wherever you like, making it a fun day of exploring!
6. Hike to the top of Little Adam’s Peak in Ella.
You can’t miss this experience when in Sri Lanka. The views are beautiful in hill country and absolutely magical from here!
7. Swing on the famous “Instagram” rope swing in Unawatuna.
You’ve probably seen more than a dozen photos here but it is quite the rush swinging off the tree. It’s worth the few dollars for the experience.
8. Chill out at Tri Lanka with yoga and health-inspired food.
If you’re looking for a healthy escape, Tri Lanka Hotel on Koggala Bay is the place to go for a few days of R&R.
9. Explore the beautiful beaches of Tangalle.
Dotted with multiple beaches, you can make your way down the coast, going from one stunning beach to the next.
10. Take a peak into the local culture in Kandy at the markets.
This is the place to head if you’re looking to dive into the heart of Sri Lanka culture. There’s plenty of temples, local markets, and sights to see here.
Looking for more Sri Lanka posts? Head here to see a wide range of posts.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: