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Things to do in

Sri Lanka

Our most recommended things to do in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

1. Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area or Park Entrance you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. With your private 4WD Jeep and expert guide, the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day will be used to focus on leopard spotting, either the first 2 hours or the last 2 hours of the day. Throughout this safari, you will search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. The morning tour will begin at 5am from your hotel, to take in sunrise as the park opens at 6am. Whilst the afternoon option allows you to explore from 2pm until sunset when the park closes at 6pm. Situated on Sri Lanka’s south-east, hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala is a wildlife sanctuary and home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. Leopards, elephants, water buffalo, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, and crocodiles can all be found in this rich environment.

Udawalawa National Park: Private Safari

2. Udawalawa National Park: Private Safari

Explore Udawalawe National Park, one of the most undisturbed and pristine natural ecosystems on the planet enriched with a wealth of Sri Lankan elephants. See huge herds of elephants, and enjoy glances of water buffalo, wild boar, spotted deer, jackal, and more. Discover an area of 30,821 hectares, which embodies the true essence of a tropical paradise. See a rich variety of exotic flora and fauna and enjoy the perfect getaway for bird-watchers. Enjoy ample opportunities for spotting endemic and migrated birds. This Udawalawe safari might even present you with the sighting of the Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl, Spur Fowl, and Green Pigeon.

Sri Lanka: 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella

3. Sri Lanka: 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella

Your guide will pick you up at 98 Adventure Park, Ella. The equipment will be provided, as will be your instructor and support crew. Cocooned within Sri Lanka’s Badulla District is an inviting haven, filled with an abundance of natural beauty and a cool climate.  Ziplining here is one of the best things to do in Ella, home to an abundance of breathtaking backdrops. Ella allows both the laidback as well as the curious at heart to voyage through some of Sri Lanka’s most cherished destinations.  Situated 3,415 ft. above sea level and 200 kilometers east of the capital of Colombo, this cozy hamlet offers numerous floral and faunal species coupled with towering mountain ranges and scenic waterfalls. Get a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful hills of the island.

Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

4. Minneriya: Minneriya National Park Private Safari

With the grace of majestic giants and pristine tropical dry forest settings, Minneriya National Park is a perfect spot to spend a few hours witnessing one of the most astonishing wildlife spectacles on earth.  Renowned as a prominent stopover for wandering elephants searching for food during the August and September the dry season, Minneriya National Park attracts up to 300 giants from the neighboring national parks. Enjoy the flicker of monkeys swinging through the branches and search the forest for the sight of majestic elephants, leopards, sloth bears, mongooses, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild buffalo, porcupine and Indian pangolins. Do not miss out on this quintessential safari destination in a strikingly beautiful forest.

Colombo: Half-Day City Tour

5. Colombo: Half-Day City Tour

Discover both the modern and traditional areas of Colombo and learn more about the city's colonial past on this tour, from a 100-year-old clock tower to British colonial-era buildings. During this tour, visit the Old Parliament, explore the affluent residential areas and admire the Bandaranaike memorial international conference hall, a gift to Sri Lanka from the people’s republic of China. Immerse yourself in a fascinating blend of cultures, religions, and socioeconomic classes and experience daily life for Sri Lankan residents. You will see attractions such as the Sambodhi Chaithya Buddhist Temple, the lighthouse, Red Mosque, the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, the Town Hall, and Independence Square. You may also choose to visit a handicrafts emporium for a spot of shopping if you wish. Get dropped off back at your hotel at the end of the tour.

Negombo: Dutch Canal, Negombo Lagoon, Muthrajawela Boat Tour

6. Negombo: Dutch Canal, Negombo Lagoon, Muthrajawela Boat Tour

Start your memorable boat ride through the Dutch canal. This was at one time an important link in the transportation route which supplied the Dutch colonial administration. You will continue your ride through the Canal to the lagoon which is fed by a number of small rivers and a canal. It is linked to the sea by a narrow channel to the north, near Negombo city. It is surrounded by a densely populated region containing rice paddies, coconut plantations and grassland. The land is used for fishing and agriculture. The lagoon has extensive mangrove swamps and attracts a wide variety of water birds including cormorants, herons, egrets, gulls, terns and other shorebirds.  Finally, you will reach Muthurajawela Wetland that provides a home for a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic and threatened. It is also an important area for migratory birds, making it a primary recreational and educational destination in Negombo. 

Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

7. Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

Following early morning pick-up from your hotel in Kandy, travel by chauffeur-driven vehicle to Sigiriya. Upon arrival, climb the rock fortress of golden-hued granite, chosen by King Kasyapa at the site for his new capital. Get stunning views of the surrounding plains, which in the rainy season can turn into a delightful water garden. Continue to the Dambulla cave temple complex, built by the 1st-century King Walagambahu as a site of worship after his exile from Anuradhapura. Enjoy lunch before the drive back to Kandy, and stop at the spice garden in Matale en route. 

From Kalutara: Lunuganga Estate, Turtles and Madu River Tour

8. From Kalutara: Lunuganga Estate, Turtles and Madu River Tour

Check out some of Sri Lanka’s most gripping scenery while experiencing firsthand the flora and fauna of this stunning region. Marshy wetlands, river islands, baby turtles and fish foot massages await you in this sultry, exotic wonderland. First stop: Bawa’s estate in Lunuganga. Sir Geoffrey Bawa, the renowned lawyer-turned-architect, made this place his country home and experimental lab from 1947 till his death in 1998. See the surrounding exotic gardens of this partial country inn, as well as Bawa’s many architectural additions. Next stop: Kosgoda for an exciting visit to a real turtle hatchery. Learn about the conservation of sea turtles and dip into touch pools, deep tubs of seawater where curious guests can actually handle the baby versions. Proceed to Balapitiya and enjoy a lovely boat safari on Madu River. This is a high biodiversity zone that relies on the lagoon created by the river as it flows into the Indian Ocean. See the dense mangrove forest that grows along the marshy banks of the river, as well as several free-standing islands. On one such island you will find an old Buddhist monastery. The locals work harvesting cinnamon, and here you can experience the famous fish massage at a ‘massage parlor’, or hut on stilts. Relax while the fish work their magic on your toes. Afterwards, stop for lunch on your way back to Kalutara.

Transfers From Bandaranayake Airport

9. Transfers From Bandaranayake Airport

Get picked up from Bandaranayake International Airport and proceed to the destination of your choice. This service includes the costs of highway tickets and drinking water. You will be looked after by an English-speaking, experienced, and friendly driver. Get transferred directly to your destination and avoid any hassle trying to arrange your transport at the airport. Once you have booked, you should send the supplier your arrival time and the number of passengers that will be travelling with you. Your chauffeur will be in the airport lobby waiting for you with a placard.

Mirissa or Galle: Transfer to Ella with Udawalawe Safari

10. Mirissa or Galle: Transfer to Ella with Udawalawe Safari

Enjoy a morning pick-up from your hotel in Mirissa. Weligama, Unawatuna or Galle area and head for Udawalawe National Park, where you'll switch to an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views. See the animals early in the day at their most active. Pass by herds of elephants and watch for crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalo, a large variety of bird species, and more. Snap some great photos and learn about the wildlife. Sit down to a packed meal later in the morning and then switch back to an air-conditioned car for the ride on to Ella where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sri Lanka

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What people are saying about Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 498 reviews

I highly recommend using apple vacations agency when you visit Sri Lanka! They offer a wide range of tours and packages to fit a variety of budgets. Our guide Niraveen and driver were on time and accommodating. This full day tour was lovely and enjoyable! Loved visiting the turtle hatchery center, the boat ride through the mangrove, and the place they took us for lunch was superb! Really trustworthy company!

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

I had a tour guide Muditha from Withlocals. A well educated and very nice young man with proper knowledge of English and international experience. Enjoyed talking to him and his company. From the downside - expected to see more for this money.

The tour was really great. They really took their time with us and tried to show everyone. What unfortunately didn't cooperate was the weather. But they can't do anything about it. They were all very friendly.

Great tour, guides and service. Everything was on time and smooth. The national park was beautiful. The only complaint we have is that it's more expensive than if we'd have just arranged with local tour operators.