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.

Unusual Things to Do in Sri Lanka

Not many know of the off-the-beaten-path adventures that Sri Lanka hides within – so they often end up travelling in touristy places and miss out on the best of what this country has to offer.

Experience Village Life
Ditch the rich towns to seek the true essence of Sri Lanka – ask your travel guide to introduce you to rural village life. You’ll even be able to enjoy the authentic Sri Lankan cuisine while striking up a conversation with the friendly villagers.

Fly Over the Clouds

Vnonymous, Penang Hot Air Balloon, CC BY-SA 4.0

No, it doesn’t mean plane rides – prepare yourself for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of Dambulla, Sri Lanka with hot air balloon rides! It is an unparalleled experience to which you can look forward during a stay at a property such as Heritance Kandalama.

Climb Pidurangala

This is a lesser-known alternative for Sigiriya, but many tourists are only made aware of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Climbing Pidurangala will help you to avoid crowds that make their way up in Sigiriya.

Discover Stilt Fishing

The fascinating sight of fishermen perched atop branched poles is something you have to witness in Sri Lanka. Visiting Koggala, Ahangama, or Kaththaluwa will let you experience this unique method of fishing.

 

 

Waterfall Hunting in Bandarawela

Among the hundreds of waterfalls beautifying Sri Lanka, the most beautiful ones are located in Bandarawela and around. Here are just a few of them.

Kaleelnisfa , Ravana Water Falls Bandarawela , CC BY-SA 4.0

Bambarakanda Waterfall
The tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka (789 feet), Bambarakanda Waterfall is found when you are on your way to Haputale.

Ravana Falls
Interested in the Rama-Sita legend? Then, visit Ravana Falls during your stay at Bandarawela Hotel. Ravana Falls located 1.5 km from the hotel is one of the places in which Ravana hid Sita before she was rescued by Rama. The waterfall is not that tall, but it’s picturesque.

Devon Waterfall
Devon is a waterfall that’s to be adored from a distance. Stop by on your way to one of the Bandarawela hotels and enjoy what a graceful beauty she has, especially in the monsoon season.

Diyaluma Waterfall
Although Diyaluma looks taller than Bambarakanda, it’s really not! It’s the second tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka with a height of 720 feet. On your way to the waterfall, you may find many small shops selling everything ranging from boiled corn to fancy items. Do not forget to lend a helping hand to those small vendors too.

 

 

Discover the Best of Hikkaduwa

Vacationing in Hikkaduwa is something wonderful you can try out during your tour to Sri Lanka. It’s a small coastal town located 116km south of Colombo.

Hikkaduwa beach SriLanka
DaemonX, Hikkaduwa beach LK, CC BY-SA 4.0

Swimming at Hikkaduwa Beach
Needless to say, Hikkaduwa beach is one of the safest for swimming. You may also indulge in snorkelling if you prefer, and spot huge turtles in the evening.

River safaris
For river safaris in Hikkaduwa, you have the Madhu River very close to Balapitiya. Exploring this lake system will expose you to many birds, reptiles, and also a rich network of mangroves. If you are a nature photographer, you are sure to click some of the best shots during this boat ride.

Enjoy all sorts of seafood
Any Hikkaduwa resort the likes of Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon is specialized in seafood, and that’s a fact! You are sure to find the best seafood in the world here prepared using the Sri Lankan authentic cooking styles and flavours.

Explore an ancient temple
Hikkaduwa is home to the ancient Buddhist temple Sri Pushparama Viharaya. Visit this temple during your stay to know some details about Buddhist philosophy. The monks residing here are very friendly and they’ll teach you the facts without expecting anything in return.

 

5 Days in Trincomalee

Trincomalee is one of the best locations to visit in Sri Lanka, renowned for its pristine beaches, natural beauty, and charming atmosphere. So, if you find yourself in this fascinating region on holiday, here’s how you should spend the next five days of your vacation.

A Day at the Beach

The beaches are by far Trincomalee’s star attraction, so why not get your tour of the region started there. Uppuveli is one of the best choices available to you in this regard, here the sands are white and pristine while the waters are nice and calm.

Go for a Dive

Most resorts Trincomalee has on offer – such as the Trinco Blu by Cinnamon – will include scuba diving in their itinerary. So, on your second day, why not take them up on this. There are a number of great diving spots to choose from in the region, all of which are home to a fascinating array of marine life.

Touring the City

On your third day, consider going inland to see all the wonderful sites that Trincomalee town has to offer. A good starting point would be the famous Koneswaram Temple – a relic from the ancient Chola period. Along the coast, you’ll also discover Fort Frederick, an ode to Sri Lanka’s colonial past.

Going Snorkelling

As day four arrives, it’s time to head back into the water. Specifically, consider a day’s snorkelling session at the reefs bordering the famed pigeon island. Well away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, this is the chance to relax and spend some alone time with yourself.

Try Some Seafood

With your time in Trincomalee slowly drawing to a close, it’s time to end things on a high note – flavourful high note that is. All along Trincomalee’s coastline, you’ll find a number of great seafood restaurants. You should definitely consider stopping by these and enjoying some signature Sri Lankan dishes.

 

Rock Climbing Adventure in Sri Lanka

There are plenty of great adventures to be had here in Sri Lanka – this includes the exciting and exhilarating sport of rock climbing! There are plenty of places to choose from in Sri Lanka as well, so here’s a quick look at some of the rock climbing adventures to be had here.

Why Go Rock Climbing

If you’re a bit hesitant about getting involved in rock climbing – don’t be! It is one of the most fun and exciting sports you can try out when you’re on vacation. It’ll be a test of your physical and mental strength – it will also help develop your endurance, agility, and balance.

Why Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a particularly good choice to go rock climbing in. The tropical landscapes coupled with excellent rock formations make for a great combination. There are options for all levels of experience as well – from rookies to seasoned veterans.

The Best Places

If you’re looking to conquer a mountain, you can’t go wrong with the Knuckles Mountain Range. Conversely, you might prefer to scale a single rock formation. If so, you might want to consider a region like Dambulla – there’s plenty of climbing ops to be had here. There’s also quite a lot of fantastic Dambulla hotels to choose from as well. This means you can kick your feet up and relax – perhaps at resorts like The Paradise Resort & Spa – and recover from the day’s excursions.

Rappelling and Abseiling

If you really want to get your adrenaline pumping, you might want to try your hand at abseiling here in Sri Lanka. It can be truly exhilarating to descend along massive waterfalls at high speeds. And don’t worry – with the right equipment and personnel in place, it’s perfectly safe!

Top Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka

While the island of Sri Lanka may be relatively small, within this land one will find a diverse range of attractions and things to do. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit.

Exciting Adventures
Thrill-seekers have much to enjoy when it comes to an adventure tour; Sri Lanka is an ideal place for trekking in the Knuckles Mountain Range, white water rafting along the Kelani River in Kitulgala and hiking to the summit of Adam’s Peak which has around 5,500steps!

Gorgeous Beaches

Praveenshashika, Secret beach – Mirissa Sri Lanka, CC BY-SA 4.0

There are some truly sublime beaches around the island which can easily be explored with tour specialists like Walkers Tours. South coast highlights include the Unawatuna, Hikkaduwa and Bentota beaches, while on the east coast you get Pasikuda and Arugam Bay, the latter being a surfing hotspot too.

Rich Heritage
The island has a rich heritage which can be experienced at many historical attractions in Sri Lanka including the iconic Sigiriya rock fortress and the archaeological sites in Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Other cultural sites include the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy and the colonial Dutch Fort in Galle.

Diverse Wildlife
There are many national parks in the country which provide encounters with a range of animal and bird species. Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka give you a chance to spot leopards inYala andWilpattu, elephants in Minneriya and Udawalawe, birdlife in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and even blue whales in Mirissa!

 

 

Water sports in East coast

Coastal cities such as Trincomalee and Pasikudah come under the umbrella of the East Coast in Sri Lanka and is indeed a coastal paradise.

The East Coast of Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan East Coast is best to be explored from April to September, considering the waves and the winds. Spend your vacation at one of the best hotels in Pasikudah such as Uga Bay and get exposed to a wide array of Sri Lanka water sports.

Surfing
Surfing is a must-do activity when you are on the South Coast. There are coaching centres to teach you how to surf right from the basics here, and there are also the equipment hirers.

Diving and snorkelling
The seas are calm and have the best visibilities from May to September. Diving on the East Coast will expose you to a colourful underwater world, and you’ll love it.

Fishing
Fishing has always been a part of Sri Lankan life. You can also join the local fishermen on one fine afternoon and go fishing with them to have a wonderful experience. If you wish, you can forget the trout and join the big game fish too.

 

Getaway to Dickwella, Sri Lanka

Dickwella is a coastal city in Sri Lanka located just beyond the southernmost point of Sri Lanka, ‘Dondrahead’. It’s a quiet city, but indeed has great experiences in store for you!

The beach
The term ‘Dickwella’ when translated into English means ‘long beach’. Yes, that’s quite right. It’s an endless beach that’s so pristine and perfect for snorkelling. You can also just sit back and relax on the beach as much as you want.

Nearby attractions
One of the most favourite attractions located close to Dickewella is ‘Hummanaya’. It’s a natural blowhole that is believed to be the 02nd largest in the world. It’s an enjoyable experience to wait for the water spray that happens every 10-15 minutes.

Tourism in Dickwella
The tourism sector in this area is booming. Many beach hotels in Sri Lanka have been newly established in this area, and Dickwella Resort & Spa is one of them. These hotels also provide many authentic experiences that are adored by guests from other countries.

Souvenirs to shop
If you ever get a chance to visit this beautiful destination, do not forget to shop for some ‘beeralu lace’ or ‘bobbin lace’ creations. This will be great support you can be a part of to strengthen the local livelihood as well.