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Things to do in Sri Lanka

Vacationers wondering what to do in Sri Lanka won't be disappointed by the wide array of activities and outings the island has to offer. From exploring the ancient ruins and temples, to hiking through the tropical rainforests, to spotting wildlife on a nature-safari to visiting baby elephants at the country's world-famous elephant sanctuary, nature-lovers would be hard-pressed to run out of things to do in Sri Lanka.

After the island's interior has been sufficiently explored, visitors wondering what to do in Sri Lanka should head to the coasts and explore the dazzlingly white, fluffy beaches that encircle the island. Perfect for essential vacation leisure activities such as sunbathing, lounging and reading, Sri Lanka's beaches also offer up a host of nautical activities, including surfing, kitesurfing and scuba diving. For a special treat, guests should take a hot air balloon ride, an experience that provides romantic, sweeping views of the gem-like island paradise down below.

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  • Ashish Sanghrajka

    Special booking: Escorted clients on a pilgrimage to the Gujarati holy site of Palitana, in northwestern India. They climbed 4,000 steps to the tem... More
  • Barbara Gallay

    The travel agent of choice for a who's who of notables, including Fortune 100 companies, members of European royalty, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers... More
  • Colombo National Museum

    Antique furniture, Buddhist bronzes, and royal dress are all on display. There are live puppet shows on weekends in the first-floor Children's Muse... More
  • Dambulla Cave Temple

    What Lies Beneath: Hundreds of gilded Buddhist statues, some 50 feet long, sit, stand, and lie beneath 21,000 square feet of tapestry-like cave pai... More
  • Ellison Poe

    Excited about: For the ultimate culture fix, head to the Festival of the Tooth, in Kandy, Sri Lanka, a celebration in July that commences with the ... More
  • Galle Fort

    The UNESCO-preserved fort, built by the Dutch in 1663 on Galle's southern isthmus, completely surrounds the city's Old Town. More
  • Gangaramaya Temple

    Visit this peaceful temple in Colombo, near Beira Lake; the resident elephant is a highlight. More
  • Handunugoda Estate

  • Jonny Bealby

    Insider tip: The Chandrabhaga Cattle & Camel Fair near Jhalawar, India, happens on the same full moon as the Pushkar festival; it easily attracts a... More
  • Mimimango

    The shop's boho-chic sequined or embroidered silk caftans are perfect for beachside lounging. More
  • Peradeniya Botanic Gardens

    Founded in the 16th century, the largest botanic garden in Sri Lanka is 2 1/2 miles from Kandy, the country's second-biggest city. More
  • Polonnaruwa

    The ruins of Sri Lanka's medieval capital can be toured on foot or bicycle. Several buses make the trip from Kandy to Kaduruwela, the closest bus s... More
  • 201401-a-sri-lanka-travel_standard_thumb


    The Mount of Remembrance, originally a king's fortress, sits atop a 560-foot-high rock. Buses depart hourly from Dambulla. More
  • T Lounge

  • Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa)

    Erected in the 18th century to guard the Buddha's sacred tooth, the pink temple is open 24 hours; there are daily prayer sessions, and a museum ope... More

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