Sri Lanka is a wonderful country with profound traditional and cultural beliefs. The beautiful beaches, amazing mountains, green tea gardens, interesting wildlife, renowned Buddhist temples, and diverse foods are the real attraction of this country. This country is very well known for its amusing Buddhist culture. Many holy temples like Bahirawa Kanda, Temple of the Tooth are situated in this country. Many UNESCO accredited World Heritage Sites are also in this country. Tourists/ explorers from all over the world attracted to visit this country to encounter those religious and historically significant places. Sri Lanka is a very budget-friendly country. You will find budget destinations with low-cost transportation options, inexpensive food costs, and reasonable room rates. If you are planning on going to Sri Lanka, here are the top 30 things to do in Sri Lanka that you should make sure not to miss.
You might also interest with: Top 30 Places to Visit in Colombo
Top 30 Things to Do in Sri Lanka
1. Go Surfing
To begin to list the top things to do in Sri Lanka, surfing certainly comes first. Sri Lanka is a well-known destination for surfing that combines all levels of facilities. The most famous areas for surfing are Arugam Bay in the east, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, and Weligama in the south. Among them all, Arugam Bay regarded as the best surf spot in the country.
If you have never tried surfing before, you can easily learn it here. The conditions are perfect for the first-timer here. Besides, there are also many surfing schools on each beach. So, if you are looking for things to do in Sri Lanka that you have never done before, go for surfing.
2. Take a Tea Factory Tour
To get a very exotic experience, a tea factory tour is one of the must do things to do in Sri Lanka. It will give you a mysterious tour of the tea factory and thus you will get a very close encounter of the process of collecting tea leaves, the process of packaging, and so on.
One of the best places to visit the tea garden is Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. Other famous tea estates in Sri Lanka include the estates of Pedro and Bluefield. However, there are various types of tea available in Sri Lanka. Don’t forget to try some of the flavors on your visit.
3. Catch a Magical Train Journey from Kandy to Ella
Sri Lanka offers the most beautiful train journey as the train takes you through the enchanting tea plantations, the cottony clouds, the amazing scenery of hills, the waterfalls, the quaint villages, and many more. This train riding is another must doing things to do in Sri Lanka that will surely give you a wonderful memory to recall. So if you are planning to travel to Sri Lanka anytime, make sure that you have enough time to take a train ride from Ella to Kandy.
4. Visit Temple of the Tooth
The Temple of Tooth Relic is one of the most ancient and peaceful temples in the country. In addition to witnessing the magnificent beauty of this place and having the sights of the sacred teeth, visitors will also find fascinating sights to practice Buddhist. For Buddhists and travelers, here is one of the most prosperous things to do in Sri Lanka to find inner peace.
5. Go Hiking
One of the most challenging things to do in Sri Lanka is to take an opportunity of hiking. Most of the hiking spots are in hill cities such as Nuwara Eliya and Ella. If you are interested in hiking but not a profession hiker, then you must choose to hike among Adam’s Peak, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, and Ella Rock. These places have better arrangements for hiking. Top of these hills offer breathtaking views, therefore hiking any of the hill is one of must things to do in Sri Lanka.
6. Climb Adam’s Peak
Adams Peak is one of the most sacred places in Sri Lanka where you can see Adam’s first step as he steps down from heaven. This one of the most visited place of Sri Lanka. Being on top Adam’s peak is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka on your visit.
Climbing Adam’s peak does not require much technical skills. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment if you take part in this spiritual journey. This hiking is one of our top recommendations so far that you must make when visiting the country.
7. Taste Kottu Roti
Kottu Roti is a very popular go-to fast food of Sri Lanka. It is also known as Sri Lanka’s hamburger. It is a lot like fried rice, but as a substitute for rice, it is made with a type of roti. This cheap but tasty Kottu Roti is a favorite of every Sri Lankan as well as travelers who have been to Sri Lanka at least once, suggest other travelers to try this too. Hence, tasting Kottu Roti is one of the top things to do in Sri Lanka.
8. Shop at the Pettah Floating Markets
The pettah floating market is a very interesting place to explore, you can buy a variety of gimcrack like various types of jewelry, accessories, clothes, bags, footwear at very cheap rates. So whenever you visit Sri Lanka, shopping at the pettah floating market is one of the must things to do in Sri Lanka.
The pettah floating markets are in Bastian Mawatha in Pettah, and there are several stalls established on boats on Beira Lake. We do shopping when we travel to other countries, hence buying local products in the Pettah floating market in Sri Lanka is something you should try.
9. Witness Sunrise at Kandy Lake
The Kandy lake is one of the main attraction of the hill city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. Kandy Lake, also known as the Sea of Milk, as the lake is so crystal clear that it reflects the colors around it both day and night. Morning or evening walks around this beautiful lake is so refreshing.
Especially in the time of the sun rising, the lake becomes so beautiful that it cannot be expressed in language. If you are planning to witness sunrise at Kandly lake, you will see that the lake offers enchanting reflections of the cloud, sky, and sun.
10. Take a boat ride at Kandy Lake
Another interesting things to do in Sri Lanka is exploring Kandy lake by boats. Kandy lake is an artificial lake, it is located right next to the Temple of the Tooth. Therefore when you are on a boat trip to Kandy lake you can see the temple very closely.
If you are thinking of a boat ride then must carry a camera to capture the beautiful scenery on both sides of the lake. For your ride, you can rent a boat if you are there with your family or friends, however, if you are traveling alone, you may join other travelers for your boat ride. Boat riding with light rain falling in the background will certainly be one of the most peaceful things to do in Sri Lanka.
11. Explore Dutch Fort
The Portuguese built The Dutch Fort in 1588 in the bay of Galle, the southern coast of Sri Lanka. This fort preserved for its cultural heritage and in 1988 UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site. If you are a history lover make sure visiting this place is listed in your things to do in Sri Lanka list.
This fort is now surrounded by various jewelry shops, cafes, bookstores, restaurant, and hotels. If you visit there, you will have a lot of things to explore. While walking through the streets there, you will see the statues of Portuguese soldiers during the war. Again, you will be amazed by the lighthouses, the old churches and temples, and so on.
12. Go Whale Watching
Whale watching is by far, one of the most incredible things to do in Sri Lanka. Trincomalee and Marissa, both of the cities, have beautiful whale-watching spots. During your trip to Sri Lanka, you go for whale watching whichever city is nearby to you.
In Mauritius, the best time to visit whales is from November to April; In Trincomalee, the best time is from May to September. So before planning for whale watching keep these time period in your mind.
13. Take a Palm Tree Swing
Most of the beaches of Sri Lanka have tall palm trees surrounded by it. Many beaches offer palm tree swings to travelers. Palm tree swing near the beaches gives you an experience of swinging over the ocean. This is undoubtedly a breathtaking experience.
Plam tree swinging is one of the adventurous things to do in Sri Lanka. Don’t miss this chance to take a palm tree swing on your trip to Sri Lanka.
14. Visit a Turtle Hatchery
Next in our list of things to do in Sri Lanka is to go for visiting a turtle hatchery. Turtles at seashore is a common view in Sri Lanka. Recently, these cute little creatures are living under threat due to pollution, habitat loss and hunting. The turtle conservation projects in various area in Sri Lanka is doing great work to protect turtle.
You can visit a turtle hatchery on your trip to Sri Lanka. You can even take part in the occasion of releasing them into the ocean. One of the best hatchery to visit is The Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery.
15. Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Climbing Sigiriya Rock Fortress one of the alluring things to do in Sri Lanka. The travelers from all over the world enjoy hiking Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The top of Sigiriya rock offers spectacular views of the surrounding hills, forests, lakes.
Hiking through the rocky steps and the steep metal stairs would seem hard work, but when you reach the top, you will realize that your effort was well worth it. For ages, this Sigiriya rock fortress mesmerizes travelers with its beauty and majesty.
16. Visit Japanese Peace Pagoda
Japanese peace pagoda is one of the most unique and beautiful Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Japanese Buddhist monks built this temple in 2005 in order to bring peace. It is located in the hillside west of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.
Japanese peace pagoda is a very elegant and unique temple with an available circular deck for far-reaching views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Exploring this beautiful temple is one of the most calming things to do in Sri Lanka.
17. Try Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is such an experience one must do once before die, Sri Lanka offers plenty of amazing scuba diving spots. If you ever visit Sri Lanka, try not to miss this divine experience of watching vibrant corals, colorful fishes, and thousand living creatures of the sea so closely.
If you have never done diving before, you can learn it there. Sri Lanka also offers many schools to teach diving. Pigeon Island is one of the popular scuba diving spots in Sri Lanka.
18. Try Bodyboarding
Surfing may seem a bit daring to some people, for them there is another exciting option available and that is bodyboarding. This is one of the thrilling things to do in Sri Lanka. People of all ages enjoy bodyboarding. If you go to Arugam Bay or Hikkadua Bay, you will find plenty of kids doing bodyboarding there.
19. Visit the Elephant Transit Home
Elephant transit home is one of the most popular places to visit in Sri Lanka. Here, you will see a number of elephants, either baby elephant or those who were injured in the forest. Elephant transit home is a place that looks after those elephants and gives them the care they need before releasing them into the forest.
20. Explore the Beauty of Nine Arch Bridge
Nine arch bridge is an amazing place to take beautiful photos. If you visit nine arch bridge, you will find so many corners to take outstanding pictures. For this reason, this place is so famous among Instagrammers.
21. Travel the Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy are surely one of the loveliest places in Sri Lanka. This is one of the oldest gardens of Sri Lanka, almost 250 years old. Since then this garden is considered as an incredibly diverse garden. If you travel through these gardens, you will surely be fascinated by the colorful displays of different types of flowers and trees.
22. Go on a Tuk Tuk Safari Tour
Tuk tuk is a traditional vehicle of Sri Lanka. Traveling by tuk tuk is totally fun and along with that, you can roam around wherever you want with a tuk tuk. Perhaps this is the most convenient transportation to explore around Sri Lanka.
In addition to earlier efficiency traveling by tuk tuk is also inexpensive and comfortable for any non-native. When you will be in Sri Lanka, you can take a tour with driver otherwise you can rent a tuk tuk and ride on your own.
23. Feed Wild Elephants in The Middle of the Road
Sri Lanka is a small country with diverse resource and culture. On your trip to this country, you will be surprised from time to time. If you take any travel on the hill roads you will discover very usual and unexpected things. You will find that wild elephants are blocking the roads. It is quite difficult to shoo them away, you can take selfies with them or feed snacks or bananas at that time.
24. Explore Dambulla
One of the Sri Lanka’s religious places to visit is Dambulla. The biggest and best-preserved the cave temples are located in this beautiful town. The area consists of about 5 temples, each filled with several expertly carved Buddha statues. The walls and ceilings of the temples are also carved and decorated and are a great site to see.
25. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Hot Air Ballooning offers an amazing fusion of thrills and tranquility. This ride will give you are very heart-touching experience. In a hot ballooning trip, you will be floating in the clouds while viewing beautiful sceneries of the cities of Sri Lanka. This is certainly one of the unusual things to do in Sri Lanka that you should try on your Sri Lanka trip. This magical trip will definitely give you amazing memory that you will cherish lifetime.
26. Try Kite Surfing
The wonder country Sri Lanka offers another unusual experience of Kite Surfing. The beautiful location that allows Kite Surfing is in Kalpitiya. Kalpitiya is consisted of 14 islands and is very well-known for its natural atmosphere.
This kite surfing is one of the adventurous things to do in Sri Lanka. The experience of kite surfing is so thrilling and exciting that it will definitely make your Sri Lanka trip much more enjoyable.
27. Try Local Foods
No trip is complete without having tasted some of the ethnic food of that region. If you ever take a trip to Sri Lanka you should try some of their traditional foods. A simple list of the best Sri Lankan food items usually includes items like Sri Lankan Egg Hoppers, Fish Ambul Thiyal, Lamprais, Kottu Roti, Kukul Mas Curry, and many more.
Tasting various types of local and street food is one of the delighting things to do in Sri Lanka. Make sure to try local and street foods of cities of Sri Lanka while visiting those.
28. Pay a Visit to Gangaramaya Temple
The stunning Gangaramaya Temple is one of the main attractions for many travelers. This Buddhist temple located in Colombo. Visiting this gorgeous temple is one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka.
Gangaramaya Temple distinguishes itself from other temples by offering unique art and architecture. This temple reflects a combination of modern architecture and cultural essence. If you visit this temple, you will be mesmerized by the impressive combination of Indian, Chinese and Thai style architecture.
29. Visit Waterfalls
Glen Falls, Laxapana Falls, Devon Falls, Ramboda Falls are some of the most attractive waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Dipping in the amusing waterfall or relaxing on their shores will give you a feeling of serenity. Bathing in the waterfalls will give you such pleasant experience that you will not want to return from there. So before you start your trip to Sri Lanka make sure that you must put visiting waterfall in your things to do in Sri Lanka list.
30. Watch a Kandyan Dance
The cultural capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy offer very beautiful and distinguishing cultural norms. People of Kandy has very unique and fascinating dance style. To make your trip to Sri Lanka more delightful, attend a kandyan ceremony to watch a Kandyan dance performance. It’s an amazing display of rhythm, dancing, and discipline. So watching a kandyan dance performance is one of the enjoyable things to do in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a very beautiful destination for travelers to enjoy and explore the amazing cultural and traditional value of Buddhism. The very exciting top 30 things to do in Sri Lanka are discussed here for you, surely these will enhance the pleasure of your Sri Lanka trip.