Sri Lanka is a wonderful tourist destination that has always lured tourists from all over the world with its rich heritage, enticing beaches, diverse wildlife, and exquisite landscapes. The country is miraculous owing to the fact that it presents an abundance of physical diversity in a compact bundle. First-time visitors are easily captivated by the pearl-shaped island's uniqueness. Yatra.com offers exciting and affordable Sri Lanka tour packages, availing one of which gives tourists an opportunity to explore the best of this nation in a very hassle-free manner. Beaches are truly a blessing to this beautiful country and that is one of the reasons why people prefer it for a beach holiday. Beaches of Sri Lanka are spotless, fun-filled and some of the most stunning in Asia. Gentle waves overlapping the white sandy shores populated by angling palms makes for a picture perfect setting for spending peaceful holidays. Negombo, Kalutara, Bentota, Ambalangoda, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Weligama, Mirissa, Arugam Bay, Trincomalee and Matara are some of the most popular beaches in Sri Lanka, waiting to be explored. The island of Sri Lanka also contains wetlands, lagoons, rivers and forests apart from exuberant beaches. For people who like to visit heritage sites and peep into history a little bit, Sri Lanka boasts of having thousand years of rich heritage. BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SRI LANKA: Sigiriya Located atop a rock plateau overlooking verdant jungle and a vast plain is Sigiriya, the mysterious remains of the 5th-century fortress of King Kasyapa. These ruins of Sigiriya are the most unique of the ancient sites in Sri Lanka. Be sure to brave the rickety-looking spiral staircase to see the awesome 1500-year old painted frescoes located beneath an overhang about 90m up the rock. This archaeological site, unparalleled in South Asia, is a place of pilgrimage for Sri Lankans and has been declared a World Heritage Site. ￼ Polonnaruwa The glory of medieval Sri Lanka is best appreciated at Polonnaruwa, an ancient and compact city featuring 12th-century stone sculptures and the Gal Vihara, comprising three enormous Buddha figures. One of the statues is reclining and is 13 metres in length, another in a standing position and the other seated. The statues, located in a cluster along a dirt road, are revered as being among the most sacred monuments in all of Sri Lanka. There are also palace ruins, great bas-reliefs and friezes to see. ￼ Kandy The hill city of Kandy was the last bastion of the Sinhala Kings and is a charming place offering a living record of a magnificent past and is set around an attractive man-made lake in scenic hill country. It is also the site of Sri Lanka’s greatest annual spectacle, the Esala Perahera Festival in August, also known as the Kandy Festival when thousands of people from all parts of the country and Elephants are paraded in the courtyards of the temple during Esala Perahera. Kandy’s star attraction is the ornate Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) which houses a sacred relic in well-guarded casket. ￼ Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka’s cool hill country offers a welcome antidote to the heat of the coast and low-lying plains. Situated among verdant tea plantations and at an elevation of 1990 metres, Nuwara Eliya is one of the highest and most attractive towns in Sri Lanka’s hill region. Built by English tea growers, it remained their favourite hill station during colonial times. Nuwara Eliya boasts the best golf course in Sri Lanka and is home to the impressive Hakgala Botanical Gardens. ￼ Colombo As the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a modern city filled with good hotels, restaurants, al fresco cafes, shopping and every form of transport imaginable. Just off the north end of Galle Road is the Fort, once a colonial stronghold but now home of many government residences and offices. To the south is Galle Face Green, a seaside promenade where informal cricket games are played out among city folk. Just east of the Fort is the Pettah, a traditional bazaar where you can enjoy a colourful retail experience. ￼ Anuradhapura Brimming with ancient ruins and mystery, Anuradhapura is one of Sri Lanka’s most fascinating destinations. Founded in the 3rd century BC and at one point the heart of Sri Lankan civilisation, the city is tucked away within dense jungle and was inaccessible for hundreds of years before regaining its rightful place on the map. While you are here, be sure to marvel at the sight of the three main dagobas, which were among the largest structures ever built in the ancient world. Another highlight that cannot be missed is the scared Sri Maha Bodhi, one of the world’s most revered trees. It is said that this tree grew from a cutting that was taken from the original bodhi tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment in India. Yet the city isn’t all sombre worshipping - frequent ceremonies and celebrations inject the streets with life and vibrancy. ￼ Yala National Park Sitting on the southeast side of the island, the Yala National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular wildlife destinations. As the inspiration for Kipling’s Jungle Book, it should come as little surprise that this vast region of wilderness is teeming with exotic animals, many of which are now so habituated to seeing humans that they have no problem with getting up close and personal with safari-goers. Elephants, monkeys, sloth bears, wild boars and more all roam through the park freely, delighting photographers and animal-lovers as they do so. However, the real piece de resistance of the Yala National Park is the leopard. This particular leopard is endemic to Sri Lanka and is an epic and majestic sight to behold. The best time to head to the park is between February and July when water levels are lowest, meaning that animals will be more concentrated around water holes. ￼ Adam's Peak Shooting up dramatically from the lush jungle of Sri Lanka’s southwest region, Adam’s Peak, or Sri Pada as it is known locally, is one of the most sacred places in the country. For many centuries it has been a pilgrimage site for people from a range of different faiths, including Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Walkers usually start their journey in the middle of the night when the path to the top is lit up by strings of lights. The magical effect of this lighting technique is certainly not lost on hikers or observers as they climb the path that looks destined for heaven. The purpose of this incredibly early start is to ensure that your arrival at the summit coincides with sunrise. There are few sights more beautiful than watching the sun emerge across the horizon, lighting up the country as it begins to bathe the landscape in a warm golden glow. ￼ Udawalawe National Park Stretching across the southern lowlands of Sri Lanka, the Udawalawe National Park has gained fame among travellers for its large herds of elephants that can easily be spotted meandering through the reserve. There is a distinct lack of forest cover at the Udawalawe Park, meaning that the landscape is rather barren during the dry season - perfect for spotting wildlife and not just large animals like elephants. Once the rain comes, the park undergoes a metamorphosis into an oasis of vivid green, peppered with sparkling lagoons and waterholes. While the main draw of this park is its elephants, a number of other animals can be found here, including buffalo, monkeys, leopards, sambar deer and crocodiles. This park is also home to the Elephant Transit Home, an orphanage for elephants who need to be supervised as they grow and develop before being released back into the wild. After release, they continue to be monitored until they have fully adapted to their new habitat. ￼ Galle With the Indian Ocean lapping at its walled borders, Galle is a charming historical city located on Sri Lanka’s west coast. Teeming with stunning colonial buildings and infused with the scent of exotic spices, Galle is a blend of cultures and strikes a balance between modernity and antiquity, giving itself a unique cultural identity that doesn’t fail to captivate and enthral. The most famous part of the city is the Fort, which is surrounded by the sea on three sides and encompasses an entire thriving community, complete with boutiques, cafes and offices. Originally built by the Dutch in the 1600s, the main attraction of the fort is simply wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere and relishing in the tranquillity that comes with a lack of traffic. Once a hideaway for bohos and eccentric expats, the sleepy streets of Galle are slowly waking up thanks to foreign cash and interest. Major Attractions in SriLanka 1. Try Surfing Sri Lanka is a beginner surfers paradise. Hikkaduwa on Sri Lanka's south west coast is the popular spot where we tried surfing. The sandy break cushions your fall and the waves are not the gigantic intimidating pipes seen in Hawaii or Australia. Even expert surfers can enjoy themselves in Sri Lanka though. In the west coast there is a popular beach that offers bigger and better waves. surfing in sri lanka things to do Give surfing a try The season is different than Hikkaduwa's however, so make sure to check when surfing on the west coast is popular. 2 .Aragum Bay Aragum Bay was one of our favourite places to chill out in Sri Lanka. It has that old time backpackers feel where you can chill on a hammock, drink cheap whiskey and get to know the locals. It's also a surfing mecca. Hikkaduwa was where we learned, but Aragum Bay is where the serious surfers stop. If you have never surfed before Sri Lanka is the place to do it. It is very easy to learn here and the conditions are perfect for the first timer. So if you are looking for something to do in Sri Lanka, give surfing a try! 3. Sip Tea and explore the hill country. Sri Lanka is one of the most important tea producers in the world and its hill country is stunning. Colonial towns dot the landscape surrounded by tea plantations. Don't miss the tea terraces The vegetation is lush and green and the rolling hills make for an awesome site. Pretend you are in jolly old England for a few days. Stay in old plantation homes, drink tea and eat baked goods. It doesn't get any more civilized than this. Don't miss going to Ella and Nuwara Eliya to see the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. Exploring the scenery of the hills is a must do when visit visiting Sri Lanka. It's absolutely beautiful and you feel as if you are in another world. 4. Adam's Peak Pilgrimage. In my opinion, the top attraction of Sri Lanka is Adams Peak and while there, you must climb to the top. Adams Peak is Sri Lanka's most sacred site and you can join thousands of pilgrims for 2 months of the year as they pay homage to the first place that Adam stepped foot on earth when he was cast down from Heaven. 5. Ride the Train. One of the things you must things to do in Sri Lanka is to ride the trains. Sri Lanka's trains are like stepping back in time. They chug slowly along through hills and valleys. It is the slow journey that makes it special. Looking out over the mountains and tea plantations rival any view in the world and the people that you meet on the train will be remembered forever. So if you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka make sure this makes your to do list and take the time to travel by train. It will be an experience you will remember and cherish forever. 6. Yala National Park. Yala National Park is one of the few places in the world that you can spot a leopard. I put Yala up there as one of our top things to do in Sri Lanka. We had so much fun looking at all the wildlife and four wheeling through the park in our safari truck. Hanging out an making new friends was part of the fun! Yala is an incredible park filled with wildlife. Elephants, peacocks, monkeys, jackles, crocodiles and monitor lizards to name a few. You won't be disappointed on a jeep safari here even if you don't see a leopard, you will see a beautiful landscape and an abundance of wild animals. However, chances are pretty good that you will see a leopard and prices are so reasonable, that even if you don't, you can try to see one again on another safari. 7. Go to Udawalawe National Park. Sri Lanka is filled with national parks and trekking through Uda Walawe is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the towns. What is special about this park however is the Elephant Transfer Home an orphanage and rehabilitation centre for orphaned and injured elephants supported by the Born Free Foundation. 8. Visit a Turtle Hatchery. Our next suggestion for things to do in Sri Lana is to visit a Turtle hatchery. Turtles are under great threat due to fishing, pollution, habitat loss and hunting. Turtle Hatcheries are doing their best to keep the turtle numbers alive and well. One of the best is The Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. He loves turtles and lets them into the ocean nightly. You can even take part in their release if you go at sunset. A person can't go to Sri Lanka without visiting a turtle hatchery. It is a right of passage of visiting the country. 9. Visit Sigiriya Visiting Sigiriya is probably the most famous thing to do in Sri Lanka. The important archeological site is very impressive. Gracing the covers of many Sri Lankan Guide books, hanging in the office of tour companies and standing proud on the cover of several coffee table books, it just may be Sri Lanka's most recognizable site. It is also set in a beautiful location. Surrounded by jungle, villages and farmland, Sigiriya is a location set back in time. Monkeys play on the trails and crocodiles dwell in its moat. The entry price is steep, but it is a beautiful view with an impressive museum as well. If you love history and archeology, Sigiriya is for you. 10. Hike Pidurangalu We liked hiking Pidurangala more than visiting Sigiraya. It is a great sunset hike that takes you up a mountain adjacent to Sigyraya, offering amazing views of the giant rock. Nothing feels better than being invited to someones house for dinner. The Sri Lankan people are a giving bunch. They are the friendliest people we have met in all our travels and we made great friends with our Tuk Tuk driver Ajith and his family. What a wonderful experience getting a glimpse of local life in the country. If you are privileged enough to be invited to dinner, take it. It is a heartwarming evening filled with genuine hospitality. 12. Laze on the Beach. A trip to Sri Lanka wouldn't be complete without visiting a beach! Sri Lanka has some great beach life. Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Kosgoda are some popular beaches, but you can still find secluded beaches all along Sri Lanka's coast. Some are eroding away, but others are pristine. Rent a bicycle or motorbike and get out there to explore the island. The beaches are the number one reason why people come to Sri Lanka and once you see them, you can understand why. Sri Lanka has everything that a traveler could possibly want. Adventure, spirituality, fine beaches and nightlife. A vacation to this destination will never disappoint. Team Traveliin!!