Located in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, the town of Dambulla is an ideal destination to visit or be based at. If you have just one day here, these are some of the things you can do.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Get off to an early start by heading to the top of the iconic Sigiriya rock fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site within easy reach of Aliya Resort & Spa. You will pass rock frescoes, the Mirror Wall and the remains of huge lion paws leading up to the summit where palace ruins and inspiring vistas await.
Golden Temple of Dambulla
With a history that dates to the 1st century BC, another key local attraction is the Golden Temple of Dambulla. Hotels that are close by are ideal since you can plan a visit to this site where you will find Buddha statues and historical paintings within a stunning cave temple complex.
Minneriya National Park
In the second half of the day, you can plan a wildlife safari to the Minneriya National Park home to diverse animal and bird life; if you visit between June to September you are in for a treat since you can witness “The Gathering” where hundreds of elephants can be seen.
Ayurvedic Spa Bliss
Look to stay at a hotel that has an Ayurveda spa so you can enjoy some relaxing and rejuvenating treatments after all your adventures. Such spas offer traditional and holistic rituals with everything from herbal oil body therapies to herbal steam baths and more.
Located close to many Sigiriya hotels the likes of Aliya Resort& Spa, Dambulla is a significant city of the Central Province in Sri Lanka. Due to its central location, Dambulla is also used as a major vegetable distribution point in the country.
Visit Dambulla Cave Temple – Morning
Dambulla Cave Temple or the Golden Temple of Dambulla is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. It is one of the mostextensive and best-preserved cave complexes of the country.
Explore Ibbankatuwa Prehistoric Burial Site – Afternoon
Within a three-kilometre radius of the Dambulla Cave Temple lies an ancient burial site of the country called the Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs. Many ancient tools and goods along with cremated remains have been found during excavations.
Hike the Rose Quartz Mountain Range – Evening
Not many know that there is a Rose Quartz Mountain Range in Sri Lanka, which is the largest of its kind in Asia. At the very top of this mountain, one may come across a gleaming white statue of Lord Buddha. The legends say that Emperor Shah Jahan used rose quartz from this place to build his masterpiece, the iconic Taj Mahal.
Relax in NamalUyana – Late Evening
Spread over 260 acres of land is a forest of Ironwood trees in Dambulla. It also houses the Rose Quartz Mountain Range and contributes to an ecosystem of various birds and mammals.
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean sure has some amazing beaches that lure tourists every year. The coastal belt of Sri Lanka is something that you must explore. Here are a few beaches that are not too far from Colombo for starters.
This is a coastal city that is just 37 km away from Colombo which is about 1.5 hours travel time on the highway. Negombo is popular for beautiful beaches that are surfer friendly and safe for almost any water sport.
This is one of the most residential zones in Colombo, especially for the middle class. This place has one of the most scenic beaches where the middle class often visit in the evenings for a jog or to walk their pets.
This is a beach city that is popular for hotels.Beruwela offers some of the best luxury resorts such as The Eden Resort & Spa for a nice stay. The beaches here are great too but the waters can sometimes be too rough so look out for the red flag.
Unlike the rest of the beaches, this isn’t a crowded one. Instead, the ambience is of that of a calm village where you can just relax.
If you are looking for a “wild” holiday which is more about wildlife encounters than nightlife fun, then Sri Lanka is an ideal destination! Here’s a glimpse into the many species you may come across.
Sri Lanka has over 100 mammal species including the endemic leopard and elephant. Leopards can be spotted at the Yala National Park, while elephants can be seen at Minneriya National Park near Habarana; hotel options in the area such as Cinnamon Lodge Habarana offer excursions to see “The Gathering” of hundreds of elephants around July. The sloth bear, sambar deer, toque macaque and European otter are some of the other local mammals.
Over 500 species of birds have been recorded in Sri Lanka which encompasses endemic (like the Sri Lankanjunglefowl and Sri Lanka spurfowl) and migratory (like the Pacific golden plover and greater flamingo) species.The Sinharaja Forest Reserve andBundala National Park are two bird watching hotspots.
There are plenty of reptile species in the island which include a great many snakes such as the sand boa, green vine snake andIndian cobra. Also grouped amongst reptiles are the mugger and saltwater crocodiles as well as five sea turtle species like olive ridley, hawksbill and green turtles.
Out at sea, Sri Lanka is blessed with more diversity and one will find over 900 marine fish species; these include reef fish as well as larger varieties like marlin and sailfish. The country also offers one a chance to spot marine mammals from blue and sperm whales to spinner and bottlenose dolphins.\
Ever had the thrill of seeing regal leopards and majestic elephants roam free in their natural habitats? Such wildlife encounters and a whole lot more awaits at the Yala National Park!
Plan Your Safari
Located in the southeast part of the country, this park can be accessed via the gates at locations such as Palatupana and Katagamuwa. For a safari tour, Sri Lanka is best explored via 4WD vehicles and Yala is no exception. A little after 6:00am and again after 4:00pm are generally the best times for spotting wildlife.
Kings of Yala
The apex predator at the park is the Sri Lankan leopard; safaris here are very popular since it has the world’s highest density of leopards in the wild. Such wildlife drives can be organised by local travel specialists the likes of Walkers Tours as part of unforgettable excursions to spot these stealthy felines.
On your adventures in Yala, you mayobserve many other creatures too including elephants who may be gentle giants, but shouldn’t be disturbed! Keep watch to also spot sloth bears, water buffalos, spotted deer, toque macaques and mugger crocodiles. Part of the park encompasses the coast where sea turtles are known to visit too.
Equally impressive are the diverse bird species at Yala; one of the best places for birdwatching in Sri Lanka, the park has recorded around 215 bird species. These includeendemic varieties such as the Sri Lanka wood pigeon, Sri Lanka grey hornbill and Sri Lankan junglefowl which is also the nation’s national bird.
With crowds of buzzing people and vehicles moving in a huge rush, Colombo- the commercial capital of Sri Lanka is an ever-busy city. Have you explored some of these iconic places in this metropolitan city?
Galle Face Green Promenade
From any city hotel in Colombo, the Galle Face Green Promenade cannot be too far for an evening walk. If your kids are with you, take them too as they will love a kite flying session here, and also to enjoy some amazing street food.
It’s the National Zoo of Sri Lanka spanning across 24 acres of land. If you are spending a family vacation at a hotel such as Mandarina Colombo Hotel, visit the zoo with your kids because they will simply love the birds, fish, reptiles, and other animals that you will find there.
Sri Lanka is a country with a proud history. So, if you want to know some interesting facts about it, the best place to head to is the National Museum of Sri Lanka. It is a huge white painted building that has been constructed in 1877.
Victoria Park was its old name and now is called the Viharamahadevi Park. It also has a kiddies’ zone where children can play, while you have a leisurely walk around the park.
The small town of Kataragama is one of the most venerated religious sites on the island of Sri Lanka, which people of all ethnicities flock to pay homage to.
Kataragama embodies a sense of spiritual divinity and lays claim to historical relevance dating back to the 2nd century BC. The town’s most popular temple is the one dedicated to the Kataragama deity, a Hindu / Buddhist lord. It is believed that King Dutugamunu built the shrine for the deity to fulfil a vow made to him when he defeated, King Elehara.
Things to Do
While the town is peaceful, it undergoes a dramatic transformation when its time for the evening Pooja. Hundreds of devotees assemble on the site carrying platters of fresh fruits and garlands of scented flowers to seek blessings, and taking part in it would prove to be an unforgettable experience!
If you ‘re planning on visiting the sacred town, choosing to do so in the month of July would be ideal as it will enable you to experience the Kataragama Festival. Rituals rooted in ancient traditions along with a colourful parade known as a Perehara which includes dances and acrobatics could be seen in all its glory.
Minneriya National Park is located in the north central province of Sri Lanka and was marked as a national park in August 1997, after being designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The park is home to the ancient Minneriya water tank, which provides as the main source of life to its inhabitants. If you’re staying at a hotel in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, it’ll be easier to get to the Minneriya national park, due to its close proximity. Some hotels such as Fresco Water Villa will be able to organize safari trips to the national park.
The Minneriya National Park is famous and most ideal for spotting elephants. Elephants numbers in the park are known to reach up to 200 or more, and are usually seen grazing near the watering holes for long periods of time before returning back to the thick jungles during the night. The park measures to about 90 square kilometres and attracts visitors, mostly to watch The Gathering – where elephants cluster near the famous watering hole. The ideal season to watch these gentle beasts in their natural habitat would be between the months from May to September, as most animals, including the elephants would be seen grazing and munching on the new grass that has sprung up, following the dry weather. This season is also a great time to watch these friendly giants frolic, socialise and bathe in their natural habitat, and provides for great photo opportunities. Do keep in mind not to pollute or cause any loud disturbances – remember to respect the animals in the wild.
Visitors are advised to keep a keen out for other species that reside in the park such as wild buffalo, deer, birds, crocodiles, sloth bears, sambar and monkeys!
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+
Your drive begins along winding roads that go up and down on a relatively wide path through the jungles. The trees act as sentinels on either side, varying in shape, size and height. You hear the cry of birds echoing through the leaves. You suddenly catch a glimpse of movement in the foliage and as your jeep rushes by, you spot a monkey swinging unhurriedly on its way. Soon you reach a clearing that opens out onto wide expansive areas of greenery with patches of blue reflecting the clear skies above. And as you head close to the water you see a gathering of blurry shapes of brown or perhaps gray. With each passing moment, the shapes get larger until you finally reach a point where they come into focus; a gathering of elephants, roaming wild and free, oblivious to these visitors. It is a truly awe-inspiring sight and one that will be etched in your mind, reminding you of your Sri Lanka holidays at Minneriya National Park.
One of the best places for an elephant safari, this popular national park and wildlife sanctuary has much to offer in terms of wildlife. Local tour operators such as Jetwing Travels provide exciting excursions to such parks. The best time to visit Minneriya is between July and October when one can witness the spectacular natural event known as ‘The Gathering’. Seeing close to 300 elephants gathered around the Minneriya Tank is truly an experience of a lifetime.
But the park has more to offer than just these gentle giants. On your safari at Minneriya National Park be on the lookout for some of the park’s other animal inhabitants. Spotted deer, toque macaques, sloth bears and the gray slender loris have all found a home here and if you are really lucky you may even spot one of the resident leopards. The park is also a hotspot for bird watching and has a rich avifauna be it endemic or migratory species. The brown-capped babbler, grey heron, little cormorant, Sri Lanka junglefowl and great white pelican have all been sighted here.
Discovering Sri Lanka’s ‘wild side’ is an experience like no other!
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+
Sri Lanka, an island nation located in South Asia just south of India, is a blissful tropical haven. Also known as the ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination known for its wide variety of attractions. Sri Lanka is best known for its golden sandy beaches, picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture, renowned archeological sites, and leisure attractions, making it an ideal destination for a colorful and memorable vacation. One of the most pleasant and attractive beach hotels in Sri Lanka is Citrus Waskaduwa.
Kalutara, a district in the Western Province of Sri Lanka just south of Colombo, has a reputation for being home to one of Sri Lanka’s most innovative weaving and handicraft cultures. Thus, it is no surprise that one of the best places to buy unique baskets, hats, souvenirs and other handicrafts is the Kalutara Basket Centre. Boasting authentic locally manufactured and handmade items, the Kalutara Basket Centre offers a host of unique items for day to day use and collectibles that you will never find anywhere else!
Located in the heart of the Kalutara city, the Kalutara Basket Centre has served as a platform to showcase the skills and talents of the local craftsmen. Almost all the items at the basket centre are made of natural materials. As the name itself suggests, the Kalutara Basket Centre is best known for its woven baskets. Using palm fronds from which there is no yield, the craftsman are able to weave thin strips of the palm frond to create a rather sturdy and durable material from which baskets can be made. You will find all manner of baskets at the Kalutara Basket Centre, as well as many locally manufactured hats, bags, and kitchenware, all with unique designs. Thus, the Kalutara Basket Centre is a great place to visit to appreciate the craftsmanship of local craftsman, and to buy some great souvenirs to take back home.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.