Sri Lanka boasts many natural scenic delights, from mountainous terrains and agricultural landscapes, waterfalls and diverse climate zones, to wewas (reservoirs).
Thailand boasts numerous cultural attractions, such as temples and museums that showcase its rich history and culture.
1. Adam’s Peak
Sri Lanka’s premier tourist attraction, this mountainous peak is well known for the giant rock formation known as Sri Pada or Sacred Footprint that bears it. Considered holy by Buddhists, Hindus, and Christians alike, every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims scale this majestic mountain to witness its stunning sunrise while praying.
No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without experiencing this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its mesmerising rock fortress and palace ruins of Sigiriya. It will truly captivate and mesmerise.
2. Pinnawalla Zoo
Pinnawala Zoo was opened to visitors on 17 April 2015. As the first open concept zoo with immersive shows, this wildlife sanctuary can be found close to an elephant orphanage and makes an excellent stopover on travelers’ adventures to experience exotic fauna.
This animal sanctuary offers visitors both local and global sections to learn about efforts to preserve captive wild animals in Sri Lanka, while also seeing some up close. Popular activities include watching elephants bathe in the river and bottle-feeding them, as well as visiting the Leopard Enclosure to observe these predators in their natural environment.
3. Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Sinharaja Forest Reserve, one of India’s Unesco World Heritage Sites and biological hotspots, offers visitors a rich collection of endemic wildlife. Here they will encounter numerous plant and bird species as well as some unique creatures such as leopards, badger mongooses and an endangered Purple-faced Leaf Monkey!
Bird enthusiasts should keep a sharp eye out for Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and Green-billed Coucal – among many other rainforest birds – while snakes and amphibians such as Green Pit Viper, Hump-nosed Viper and Wrinkled Frog may also be present in large numbers.
Travellers to rain forests often witness mixed foraging bird flocks scurrying about in the understory for food, which adds another element to the experience.
Kataragama is an important pilgrimage site with deep historical and religious significance, offering abundant wildlife sightings such as leopards, wild pigs, deer, and various bird species.
Buddhists and Hindus from across Southeast Asia visit this shrine regularly for religious rites, with special ceremonies like Kap Situweema taking place soon after Poson Poya Day.
Kiri Vehera, built by King Dutugemunu as one of his sixteen sacred sites for Buddhism, is another must-see spot in Kataragama.
5. Yala National Park
Yala offers an unparalleled wildlife safari experience. Home to 44 mammal species such as deer, peacocks, sloth bears and elephants; Yala boasts one of the world’s greatest concentrations of mammal life.
For the full Yala experience, consider booking a tour that takes you into Block 1; its less populated and remote nature will allow for greater chances of seeing leopards in their natural environment as well as elephants roaming free in their habitats.
Explore wildlife safaris, UNESCO-listed ruins and unwind beach time during this nine-day introduction to Sri Lanka. Witness Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa Ruins as well as train ride through tea country; search for leopards in Yala National Park!
6. Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay, an intimate surf town located in Cambodia, has become world renowned during peak surfing seasons for its waves. Big names such as Red Bull host international surfing competitions here; moreover, Arugam Bay Beach has also become popular with travellers for its tropical palms, fine golden sand and casual backpacker atmosphere.
Pottuvil Lagoon, in nearby Coimbatore, offers an aquatic experience filled with islands, canals and mangroves. A boat tour around this wetland environment is popular and visitors may even spot crocodiles, elephants or monitor lizards!
Arugam Bay lies on Sri Lanka’s east side and may not be on a regular tourist itinerary, yet can easily be reached with day or overnight buses from Colombo or Kandy/Ella.