Memos from Asia

Unique Experiences in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka has a vast amount to offer visitors searching for unique encounters, ranging from breathtakingly scenic routes, ancient sites with a rich history, stunning wildlife, spectacular festivals, and a huge variety of outdoor activities. At the end of a hectic day touring the country, you can savour the deliciously spicy cuisine, relax with rejuvenating Ayurveda spa, or soak up a scintillating sunset.

Get A Taste of These Unique Experiences In Sri Lanka

Tired of the crowded destinations and cliched activities the world offer? Try these surreal, refreshing, and unusual things to do in Sri Lanka amidst nature that you’ll have you coming back for more!

Take a train ride in the hill country.

Picturesque train road in Sri Lanka

The most unforgettable and scenic way to travel around Sri Lanka is no doubt by railway. The train trip through the hill country (taking in must-see destinations of Kandy (https://www.karlaroundtheworld.com/awesome-places-to-visit-in-kandy-sri-lanka/), Ella (https://www.karlaroundtheworld.com/things-to-do-in-ella-sri-lanka/), Nuwara Eliya, and Hatton) is one of the most beautiful in the world. The British initially built the rail network to transport tea and opens a window to the cultural, historic, and scenic sides of Sri Lanka. Passing deep green tea plantations, remote villages, and mountain paths, Kandy’s train journey up into the highest corners of the hills often stands out as an experience to treasure forever. I suggest you opt for the third class section. Yes, it will be more rugged but this is the best way you can interact with the locals.

Climb Pidurangala Rock Instead of Sigiriya

Sigiriya lion rock fortress from Pidurangala, Sri Lanka

If you wish to avoid humans’ traffic pushing their way through to the climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, all you need to do is drive a little further and climb the Pidurangala Rock (https://www.karlaroundtheworld.com/pidurangala-hike/) instead.

Pidurangala hill surrounded with rainforest and lots of burning fires in Sigiriya

It may not be as easy as Sigiriya since there are a few large boulders you need to climb on your way up, but it is undoubtedly going to be more thrilling that Sigiriya Fortress (partly because there won’t be a crowd bumping into you).

The view from the top is simply breathtaking! You’ll also get a great view of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress from the top, other than the mountains of Kandy on the other side. It’s best to climb early in the morning or just before sunset as it’s an open space and it can get scorching during the day.

Surf at Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. Portrait format

If you are into surfing, Arugam Bay is the place to visit on this paradise island. The bay’s waves are ideal for both complete beginners and experienced surfers. Don’t miss the picture-perfect Peanut Farm beach, which is a surfing hot-spot and Panama Point, dotted with colourful fishing boats.

Fly Over The Clouds In Dambulla

Beautiful view from Dambulla rock temple

Don’t lose the chance to glide above ruined cities, tropical forests, meandering rivers, and peaceful paddy fields of Sri Lanka. Hop into a hot air balloon in Dambulla and indulge in a truly magical way of witnessing this country’s marvels from the skies. If you do not mind shedding a few extra bucks for some of the unique experiences in Sri Lanka, then this activity is just perfect for you! Offered by Adventure Centre Asia in Dambulla, this thrilling yet peaceful feat will take you about 2000 feet above Sri Lanka’s vivid terrain. And you won’t need to worry about safety while you’re in the most experienced hands in the field of hot air ballooning.

Dambulla rock temple

Snorkel at Pigeon Island National Park

(Photo Credit: AntanO, CC BY-SA 4.0)

An idyllic location, Pigeon Island is situated to the north of Trincomalee and is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Sri Lanka. The National Park’s name comes from the rock pigeon, which has colonized it, and you can spot them by climbing up the rocks on the nature trail. But the real treat for visitors is the chance to snorkel right off the beach and spot scores of tropical fish amid dazzling coral.

Meet Whales & Dolphins In The Waters Of Trincomalee

Whale and dolphin watching in Sri Lanka

Trincomalee had stayed hidden from the eyes of the world for a long time. But now, this serene town is starting to catch the attention of travellers who are particularly attracted to its two beaches that are the most beautiful in the country – Nilaveli and Uppuveli. Located on the east coast 265 km from Colombo, Trincomalee is blessed with azure waters and white sandy shores that are utterly secluded and clean. These crystal clear waters are also home to blue whales and dolphins that you can meet if you decide to go scuba diving at the Pigeon Island Marine National Park.

Experience the Kandy Esala Perahera

Esala Perahera, Kandy, Sri Lanka

As darkness falls, the streets of Kandy jostle with spectators eager to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s most spectacular processions. The Esala Perahera (also known as The Festival of the Tooth) takes place every July or August (depending on the Full Moon Poya Day). This awe-inspiring event includes hundreds of whip crackers, flag bearers, fire-dancers, Kandyan drummers, and elephants in bejewelled capes. After the grand finale, the event ends with the river’s ritual water cutting ceremony, and Sri Lankans believe that this water is sacred and dispels evil.

Discover Human Skeletons In Asia’s Largest Cave

(Photo Credit: Freelk, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chill, the cave ain’t haunted! According to archaeologists, the Pahiyangala Cave in Kalutara happens to have the remains of a 37,000-year-old prehistoric civilization inside it. Also known as the Fa Hien Cave, this mammoth cave is among the largest natural rock formations in Asia. Other than human skulls and weapons made out of animal bones and stones inside the cave, there also is a 40-foot long statue of the reclining Buddha at the entrance of this 200-meter high cave.

Conclusion

If you wish to see the true beauty and vivid culture of Sri Lanka, ditch the cliched tourist spots and engage in these unique experiences in Sri Lanka, and we promise you won’t be disappointed! So, what’s the hold-up? Start planning a kickass vacation in Sri Lanka right away and get ready for an experience of a lifetime!

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