Must Try Water Sports in Sri Lanka

 

It is no secret that Sri Lanka is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. If you are looking for something more exciting than just lazing by the beach, here are some thrilling water sports to try while holidaying in this tropical paradise.

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Scuba Diving

Home to a host of natural reefs and sunken ships, Sri Lanka is a hotspot for divers. You can choose between dive stations offering easy dives and those offering full PADI certifications. Some of the most famous scuba diving destinations in and around the island may include Unawatuna, Mirissa, Kalpitiya, Trincomalee and Hikkaduwa.

Surfing

The rippling ocean waves in this tropical paradise are ideal for surf lovers. Considered one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka for some fun under the sun, there is no reason to be discouraged if you are still an amateur in the sport, simply because there is a host of places offering surf lessons to level up your skills. With waves that can be surfed all year round, next time you are holidaying on the island, make sure you ride these swelling waves.

Kayaking

With ample rivers, lakes and rainwater tanks scattered across the island, Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to have a fun kayaking expedition. As you paddle across the river, you are bound to encounter exotic wildlife not to mention plenty of exquisite flora, you have never seen before. Interestingly, if you are staying at a beach resort belonging to the famous chain Amaya resorts & spa, a range of water sports including kayaking expeditions can be easily arranged at your convenience.

White water rafting

As dangerous as it may sound, white water rafting is one of the most exciting watersports to be enjoyed. As long as you are above the age of 10 years and are equipped with all the safety gear, you meet all the requirements to try this watersport. Kithulgala would be one of the best places to try this thrilling sport.

  

 

A Visit to Yala National Park

Being one of the biggest national parks in Sri Lanka, a visit to Yala National Park is a must if you are ever on vacation on this charming island. Here are some of the highlights.  

 Yala National Park

Spanning a total area of 900 sq km, Yala National Park is easily one of the most enormous national parks in Sri Lanka. This exotic sanctuary was once a popular hunting ground for the British but now claims to have the highest leopard density in Asia whilst sheltering a host of other fauna the likes of sloth bears, deer, crocodiles and exotic bird species.

 What to see and do

Yala National Park
Yala National Park – Image by Nadil Jayakody from Pixabay

The Yala National Park tops as a hotspot for spotting leopards. Hop on board a 4 x 4 safari ride with binoculars in your hand during dawn or dusk to catch these inimitable animals in action. Whilst catching a glimpse of leopards has become a coveted attraction among travellers, there is a host of other wildlife to be seen amidst these exotic savannahs. During a ride along this wildlife sanctuary, you can easily spot some sloth bears, ample endemic birds emerging out of mangroves and elephants roaming across the land.

 Hotspots for Accommodation

From small boutique hotels and eco-friendly villas to opulent hotels and retreats by the jungle, you are spoilt for accommodation choices when holidaying in Yala. Amongst the top-notch accommodation spots in the area, a Yala hotel the likes of Cinnamon Wild Yala is indeed a wise pick for the hotel is kin to camping in the wild except with luxurious amenities brought to your arms.

 Best time to go on safari

The dry season from February to June is the idyllic time to go on a safari in this exotic wildlife paradise. With water levels decreasing, there is ample opportunity to witness wild animals emerging out of their habitats in search of water. The park also boasts a serene year-round temperature of 29°C and only experiences heavy showers during the months from September to December.

 

 

 

 

A Guide to Visit Yala National Park

Sri Lanka is home to many wildlife parks, and Yala is one such popular park that is also UNESCO recognised. If you want to travel deep into the forests and take a closer look at the wildlife, Yala is the ideal destination for you. Planning to visit Yala National Park for the first time? This guide is for you.

Lepord Yala
Leopard in the wild on the island of Sri Lanka image by Byrdyak  via Wikimedia Common,CC BY-SA 4.0

How to Get There!

Yala National Park can only be accessed through Tissamaharama City. You can get to the city via a bus or your private vehicle. Before you visit the park, it is best to leave your belongings at one of the Yala hotels you choose for accommodation and travel light. Leopard Safaris Yala can be an ideal destination to save your travel time.

What to See!

This gigantic park stretches from the jungles to the beach and is divided into five blocks. You are only allowed to explore blocks 1 and 5, and the rest remains close to the public to leave the wildlife as undisturbed as possible. Elephants, leopards, deer, crocodiles, monkeys, and buffalos are some commonly sighted animals, while you can also see a range of birds.

When to Go!

The dry season for the area falls between February to June, and this is the best time to visit the park. You can easily spot animals as they frequently gather at ponds to drink water. If leopards are who you’re excited to see, February and March are the ideal months to visit Yala. The park is usually closed in September, but you can visit any day of the year for affordable rates.

Experience Sri Lanka without breaking the bank – Pro tips

The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is a precious island in the shape of a jewel. The island itself is a treasure trove of beauty, culture and history. There are numerous historical landmarks and lovingly preserved relics everywhere and there is so much to see! Here are a few tips for you so that you too can experience this lovely island without denting your savings.

Eat the local food

Sri Lankan cuisine is delicious! Primarily centred around rice and curries, all the savoury dishes are made using coconut milk and fresh, aromatic spices. A meal would typically cost you less than 5 USD and even if you go to a local restaurant, it is only 15 USD including table service. The fancier, western-style food here is what will cost you a lot but it’s not worth it, especially when the local food is out straight up to God’s food.

Accommodation

If you’re a solo traveller or a backpacker, many hostels and guest houses charge around 6 USD per night; you can’t go wrong with that price as you get a bed, mosquito net, shower, and a fan. Worrying too much about accommodation is not recommended because you can get amazing food and everything else you need for so cheap. However, if you’re travelling with your family or want to treat yourself to a nice vacation, investigate less travelled areas such as Kalutara; resorts are relatively easier to book. There are so many rooms, suites, and villas to choose from at places such as the Avani Kalutara Resort.

Image via Avani Kalutara Resort

Getting around on the island

Conveniently, there is a bus from Colombo Fort Bus Station to the airport leaving every 30mins. It costs less than 10 USD and is the cheapest way to get to and from the airport. Getting from major cities to other destinations is easiest by train. It is cheap and the routes are very scenic. If you want to travel within a city tuk-tuks are your best bet! Seriously, these tiny taxis are a quintessential Sri Lankan experience that you must have.

What’s there to see?

If you have the time, go everywhere! Although the north suffered decades of civil war, they’re rebuilding and re-energizing which is an amazing feat that must be witnessed. The southern parts of the country are serene and beautiful with azure blue beaches, rainforests with magic in the air. The hill country is enchanting on its own with a different vibe and energy from the rest of the island. It truly is a beautiful country with so many diverse experiences all a few hours away from each other.

Water sports in Bentota

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island nation with many tourist destinations inland. With rivers and lakes irrigating the fertile soil of the country, the country is known the world over as a water sports destination. Bentota, a town in the Southern Province, is loved by tourists visiting Sri Lanka. If you are planning to visit Bentota, here are some of the water sports you can enjoy.

Jet skiing

One of the most thrilling activities that there is, jet skiing is a popular water sport with tourists vising Bentota. Heading out into the ocean on a jet ski at unbelievable speeds and besting all the waves cannot be compared to anything else! If this is your first time trying to jet ski, get your hotel or a tour operator to find an instructor for you.

Diving

Diving is another activity you can enjoy during your time in Bentota. The best time to dive here is from November to May; this is when the visibility is at its best. Divers encounter a range of marine creatures on their excursions. Tourists can also find several diving schools all over the town.

Windsurfing

Visit Bentota from November to April for an unforgettable windsurfing experience. There are numerous academies where tourists can learn windsurfing. Those staying at 5-star hotels in Bentota can get their hotels to arrange lessons for them.

Snorkelling

Snorkeling
Snorkeling | Image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

You can find snorkelling sites minutes from Cinnamon Bentota Beach. This is one of the best ways to admire the beauty of Sri Lanka’s marine life. Don’t worry if you are new to snorkelling, a professional guide can help you get the trick of it.

 

Adventure Experiences in Sri Lanka

Adventure lovers will be in their element in Sri Lanka as the island nation offers many exciting outdoor experiences for active visitors that are sure to captivate and delight.

Image credit- Unsplash,achinthya dinoli,CC0

Climbing Adam’s Peak

A unique adventure experience in Sri Lanka would be ascending the sacred mountain known as Adam’s Peak and catching the sunrise from its summit; there are several available trails by which to access this mountain featuring different levels of difficulty. To learn more about such places to visit in Sri Lanka, check specialist travel websites like Truly Sri Lanka.

Bicycle tours & water sports

Another appealing adventure excursion in Sri Lanka would be embarking on a bicycle tour in the environs of the town of Bentota along lanes that are flat, quiet and shaded. Bentota also happens to be a hub for water sports and you can take part in everything from jet-skiing and banana boating to water-skiing and surfing.

White water rafting

Drawing adrenaline junkies from around the world, white water rafting in Sri Lanka is not to be missed. You can experience this exhilarating activity along the Kelani River in the area known as Kitulgala set amidst stunning natural beauty. Some excursions will additionally include jungle trekking and visiting hidden rock pools too.

The hill country

There are plenty of thrilling adventures in the hill country of Sri Lanka. Here, you can go mountain biking and hiking amidst picturesque surroundings and mist-shrouded mountains such as the Knuckles Mountain Range. Other destinations like Nuwara Eliya and Ella are popular too and feature tea plantations to explore as well.

Deep-sea fishing

A deep-sea fishing excursion would be another exciting adventure experience that you could enjoy in Sri Lanka. Your fishing trip will take you into the expanses of the Indian Ocean where you could cast for the likes of tuna, snappers, barracuda, groupers, wahoo and so on; this is sure to be an absorbing escapade worth trying!

Bentota, A Heaven for Water Sport Enthusiasts

Bentota is one of the most mesmerising beaches in Sri Lanka for various reasons: As a holiday paradise for travellers, Bentota offers a spectacular beach with amazing palm trees and crystal-clear water for an array of water sports activities like wakeboarding, jet-skiing, snorkelling, surfing, banana boating, and many more. Apart from being the ideal location for a peaceful getaway, this coastal town is home to sacred Buddhist temples, a turtle hatchery, beautiful landscapes, and many more.

Jet Skiing

Jet Skiing
Jet Skiing – Image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 via Pixabay

This is one of the most popular water-based activities in Bentota. Many visitors who travel to Bentota usually hire a jet ski and glide through waves. Jet Skiing is an exciting activity you can experience at properties like Cinnamon Bentota Beach, one of the luxury 5-star hotels in Bentota.

Windsurfing

Bentota is the perfect paradise for windsurfers to have a fantastic time with the ideal atmosphere to cruise through crystal clear waters next to a pristine sandy beach. You can either hire or bring your equipment such as the board, sail, and rig, and even take advantage of the windsurfing classes Bentota offers!

Banana Boating

This is ideal for families and friends who want to share a thrilling adventure in Bentota. As a super fun and easy activity, Banana Boating guarantees an exhilarating time as you sit astride the inflatable Banana-shaped boat that gets pulled along the water by a speed boat. Get ready to bounce along crashing waves!

Wakeboarding

If you are an adrenaline junkie, wakeboarding in Bentota is perfect for you. Prepare to ride a wakeboard towed behind a motorboat at the speed of 30-40 km/h and witness the marvellous Bentota sea while gliding above the water.

 

 

Lesser-Known Attractions in Kalutara District – Captivating Discoveries in Sri Lanka

While there are many attractions in Kalutara, not all are well-known by tourists and here are a few such sites in the district to add to your itinerary.

Kande Viharaya

While the city’s main temple gets all the attention, equally impressive is the Kande Viharaya Buddhist temple in Kalutara; beach resort properties can be found within easy reach of this site that dates to the 18th century. Highlights include various frescoes and Buddha images, a sacred Bo tree and one of the world’s tallest sitting Buddha statues.

Image by katkat from Pixabay

Thudugala Waterfall

Nature lovers can visit the Thudugala Waterfall, easy to reach on excursions from properties like the ‘Safe and Secure’ certified Avani Kalutara Resort. You must walk through a rubber estate and past an abandoned estate building before reaching the cascading waters, an enchanting site where you can have a refreshing dip as well!

Fa Hien Cave

The Kalutara District is also home to one of Asia’s biggest natural rock formations, where a pre-historic human settlement was excavated too. It’s named Fa Hien Cave after a Chinese Buddhist priest who is said to have visited this spot in the 5th century; here, you can see the archaeological dig sites, a Buddhist temple and a reclining statue of Lord Buddha.

Nachchimale Stream

Located near the town of Ingiriya, the Nachchimale Stream is another attraction that showcases the natural beauty of Kalutara. At this site, apart from the meandering stream, one will find a picturesque setting with small waterfalls and ponds set amidst lush foliage. It’s a great spot to have a bath and soak up sublime tranquillity.

A Guide to Minneriya National Park – Thrilling Wildlife Encounters

Providing some amazing wildlife sightings including wild elephants, the Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka is not to be missed; here’s a quick look at what to expect.

Planning Your Visit

This national park is in the island’s north-central region, within easy reach of Polonnaruwa; properties here including Hotel Sudu Araliya provide ideal accommodation options and will help organise excursions to Minneriya as well as places to visit in Polonnaruwa. The dry season from April to October is generally the best time to visit the park.

The Elephant Gathering

The key attraction at Minneriya National Park is undoubtedly what is known as the ‘Gathering’. From July to October each year, as many as 300 elephants gather around the park’s reservoir to bathe, feed and play. It offers an unforgettable elephant safari and the chance to see these gentle giants and their young up close.

Other Wildlife Species

On your safari, you will have the chance to spot many of the park’s other animal residents too. Keep watch to see toque macaques or purple-faced langurs swinging in the trees, mugger crocodiles soaking up the sun and cautious spotted deer in the jungle. If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard.

Image by Sanjeeva Pieris from Pixabay

Diverse Birdlife

Minneriya National Park is also ideal for birdwatching and more than 170 avifauna species have been recorded here. This includes endemic birds such as the Sri Lanka grey hornbill and Sri Lankan junglefowl. Due to the park’s reservoir, you will also see water birds such as painted storks, little cormorants and herons.

Unusual Things to Do in Kandy

Kandy is one of the most amazing places to visit in Sri Lanka and is known as the cultural capital of the country. Here are a few things you can try out to experience the city better.

Image credit- Unsplash,
Kirsty barnby,CC0

Visit the Temple of The Tooth Relic

Yes, this is the most iconic attraction here and it doesn’t really seem like an unusual thing to do. But ever thought of visiting in the evening? There are special rituals being carried out on some days after dusk, so you can inquire with your hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka before your visit.

Visit a spice garden

Ask around and you’ll find your way easily to the spice garden. It is usually one of the free things to do here in Kandy. You will come across plants like vanilla, cocoa, citronella, turmeric and much more.

Take the train to Ella

So, one of the most scenic train rides in the world would be the ride from Kandy to Ella. Try your best to hitch a ride and check out Ella as well.

Visit a gushing waterfall

If you stay at a hotel like Hunas Falls Hotel Kandy, the sound of the water will reach your ears no sooner you step out. Go on a tour and explore this wonder of nature, Hunas Falls.