Sri Lanka’s central hills and forests afford plenty of opportunities to get truly up close and personal with nature. The camping experience can be coupled with bird watching, canoeing, trekking and a jungle safari to truly make for a memorable holiday.
Classic Car Tours
Relive a bit of Sri Lanka’s colonial past by taking a drive through Colombo, visiting its old colonial buildings, in a vintage car from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Places of interest that will be visited in this tour include Galle Face Green, the Viharamahadevi Park, National Museum, Twin World Trade Center towers, Old Parliament Building, Fort district, Independence Hall at Independence Square, and prominent Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian places of worship.
Those seeking a visual and adrenaline-filled holiday can take a ride on the 4WD vehicles and set out across Yala or Udawalawe National Parks. Witness untouched land where some of the Sri Lanka’s most magnificent endemic creatures lead their secretive lives. Cross sand dunes, drive down Makara (Dragon) Drive to the Gal Oya National Reservoir – all incredible experiences with your name on it.
Trekking / Hiking
Sri Lanka’s hill country is a treasure trove of hiking and trekking paths, for both the beginner and the seasoned pro. Belihuloya, a hill town south of Ratnapura, is a superb base from which to hike across the hill country – from here you can climb mountains, work your way through rain forests, and pass through friendly villages.
Adam’s Peak, perhaps Sri Lanka’s most culturally significant mountain, is an ascent that combines the religious with the physical – a cleansing experience indeed. The mountain has three main paths, each offering a unique perspective and route to the peak. The climb from Nalathany is recommended for most people with average fitness, but even this requires a steady five hour climb on stone steps.
Haputale is a gorgeous mountain Eden of a town. From here, other hillside resorts open up for visitors especially Ella and Bandarawela - the latter is a local favourite, famous for enjoying the most comfortable climate in the island.
A quick and breezy way of exploring Colombo is through the famous three-wheeler taxis. Known locally as ‘Tuk Tuk’, these tiny vehicles can accommodate two passengers, and is the best way to work your way around Colombo’s traffic. Most drivers can speak enough English to get you from point A to B and, with the introduction of meters in all tuk-tuks, it is no longer necessary to bargain beforehand. Most drivers will also be happy to take you to the best restaurants and night clubs in the city.
Tea Plucking Experiences
What would be the ultimate souvenir from the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, but a bag of hand-plucked tea plucked by yourself. Some destinations have a tea-tasting after the plucking, which many tea enthusiasts will certainly enjoy; other tea plantations may take you on a tour of a Mini-Tea Factory.
Cycling is a much loved local mode of transport. Outside the cities, it offers an ideal and idyllic counterpoint to using motor vehicles. It lets tourists truly go off the beaten path and interact with locals during the journey.
What better way to experience Sri Lankan rural life than spend time with the villagers and understand their lifestyles? Depending on the region you visit, there will be even more activities to take part in such as traditional fishing at the local lakes, coconut plucking, crafting clay pottery, and learn to cook traditional Sri Lankan food.
Golf in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is home to three of South Asia’s most prestigious golf courses. Based in Colombo, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, these golf courses were built by British colonists – thus these courses are both an arena for play as well as historical introspection. The Victoria Golf Course in Nuwara Eliya is the most picturesque – and shares weather that is similar to the highland golf courses of Scotland – while Colombo’s is found within the midst of the city, and Kandy’s golf course is renowned for its botanical delights. A local caddy is recommended in order to carry the golf bag, but also to bargain with ball spotters and pond boys.
The best way to explore Sri Lanka – the trains that cut across the island can take you to the beaches of the south, the hills in the centre, and the peninsulas in the north. Sri Lanka’s small size and incredible topographic diversity are best experienced in a train. Untroubled by mere traffic, these trains will take you over precipitous mountains, jungles and arid plains in the space of hours. These train journeys across Sri Lanka are also photographers’ delight.
Double Decker City Tours
It isn’t just London that is known for its iconic double-decker buses. These venerable machines were used widely for local transport before being reconditioned for modern tourists use. Today, visitors to Sri Lanka in Colombo can be seen taking a tour of the city, seated in the open air top deck. It is a truly wonderful way to experience Colombo’s mix of the heritage with the cutting edge. Visit colonial buildings, renowned public promenades, temples and eateries – all while a qualified tour guide explains these points of interests, and their significance to the residents of Sri Lanka’s commercial capital.
World War Jeep Tours
World War jeeps are remnants of Sri Lanka’s colonial past. These jeeps offer an unobstructed 360 degree view of your surroundings as the driver takes you through the majestic maze that is Colombo. Clients will enjoy visits to renowned heritage sites within the city before ending the tour inside the Aththidiya Bird sanctuary. Inside the sanctuary, guests have the option of self-driving one of these jeeps.
Sinhala and Tamil New Year is a time of festivities and joy. Nowhere is this highlighted better than Avurudu Games; held by villages, organizations, and towns, these games consist of pillow fights, tug-of-war and eating races. Anyone can take part, regardless of age.