The nature-kissed tropical island of Sri Lanka has more to it than meets the eye. Since not many are aware of all the blissful and unique experiences in Sri Lanka, they end up struggling to catch a glimpse of the popular attractions in its crowded locations. Though tiny in size, this island nation is brimming with rich experiences that will give you a taste of its untouched nature, unexplored villages, and unaltered heritage. Once you indulge in these hidden experiences there, you’ll be able to see the real Sri Lanka – peaceful and pristine!
Get A Taste Of These Unique Experiences In Sri Lanka
Tired of the crowded destinations and cliched activities the world over? Try these surreal, refreshing, and unusual things to do in Sri Lanka amidst nature that you’ll have you coming back for more!
1. Live In A Sri Lankan Village
Ditch the wealthy towns and indulge in the true essence of being in Sri Lanka. Get to the stunning town of Marawila located in Sri Lanka’s northern province where you’ll get to encounter the rural Sri Lankan life. From biking through the pretty plantations, buying regional food in the farmer’s market, visiting the local temples, to learning the art of manufacturing organic coconut oil, there’s a lot you can learn here about the Sri Lankan way of life.
2. Climb Pidurangala Rock Instead Of Sigiriya
If you wish to avoid the traffic of humans pushing their way through to the climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, all you need to do is drive a little further and climb the Pidurangala Rock instead. It may not be as easy as Sigiriya since there are a few large boulders you need to climb on your way up, but it surely going to be more thrilling that Sigiriya Fortress (partly because there won’t be a crowd bumping into you).
The view from the top is simply breathtaking! In fact, you’ll also be able to get a great view of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress from the top, other than the mountains of Kandy on the other side. Try to indulge in this unique Sri Lanka travel experience with a group, since you can get stuck and lose your way if you’re alone. Also, start the climb before sunset as it can get pretty hot once the sun is out.
3. Trek Through Sri Lanka’s Biggest Cloud Forest
Yes, we are talking about the Horton Plains National Park! Most people prefer visiting the Yala National Park over this one since they are oblivious to the gorgeous natural resources of this park. Horton Park happens to be a grassland as well as cloud forest tucked away in a protected area of central Sri Lanka. It has its own climate owing to its unique ecosystem, exploring which is one of the most offbeat things to do in Sri Lanka.
Stepping into this surreal terrain will make you feel like you’ve entered Narnia! You’ll be met with gnarled trees in odd shapes, native mammals like the Sri Lankan sambar deer and blue magpie, gorgeous natural attractions like the World’s End drop and Baker Falls in the mist-covered forest.
4. Stay At An Organic Farm
Located in the town of Pallepola, Jim’s Farm Villas offers the best what Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle has to offer. Set in the countryside, this luxurious abode is surrounded by wooded hills on one side, and paddy-fields with occasional vegetable patches on the other, occupying a massive distance of about 50 acres. It is here that you’ll get to enjoy the goodness of these farms on your platter in the form of delicious home-cooked organic food. And if you love spotting exotic birds, you’re in for a treat!
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5. Fly Over The Clouds In Dambulla
Don’t lose the chance to glide above ruined cities, tropical forests, meandering rivers, and peaceful paddy fields of Sri Lanka. Hop into a hot air balloon in Dambulla and indulge in a truly magical way of witnessing this country’s marvels from the skies. If you do not mind shedding a few extra bucks for some of the most unique experiences in Sri Lanka, then this activity is just perfect for you! Offered by Adventure Centre Asia in the city of Dambulla, this thrilling yet peaceful feat will take you about 2000 feet above Sri Lanka’s vivid terrain. And you won’t need to worry about safety while you’re in the most experienced hands in the field of hot air ballooning.
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6. Discover Human Skeletons In Asia’s Largest Cave
Chill, the cave ain’t haunted! The Pahiyangala Cave in Kalutara just happens to have the remains of a 37,000-year-old prehistoric civilization inside it according to archaeologists. Also known as the Fa Hien Cave, this mammoth cave is among the largest natural rock formations in all of Asia. Other than human skulls and weapons made out of animal bones and stones inside the cave, there also is a 40 foot long statue of the reclining Buddha at the entrance of this 200-meter high cave.
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7. Chug Some Lankan Arrack
Your trip to Sri Lanka remains incomplete if you haven’t tasted its local flavors! Sri Lanka’s locally made alcohol is called the Lankan Arrack and is unique in every sense. It is one of the oldest distilled spirits in the entire world and is often derived from fermented fruit or distilled molasses. Out of the many varieties, the Coconut Arrack is the most popular, and Sri Lanka also happens to be the largest producer of that in the world. You can enjoy this rich, flavourful, yet strong drink with coconut water or ice.
Suggested Read: 3 Interesting Things To Do In Pinnawala Sri Lanka On A 2021 Tour
8. Meet Whales & Dolphins In The Waters Of Trincomalee
Trincomalee had stayed hidden from the eyes of the world for a long time. But now, this serene town is starting to catch the attention of travelers who are particularly attracted to its two beaches that are the most beautiful in the country – Nilaveli and Uppuveli. Located on the east coast 265 km from Colombo, Trincomalee is blessed with azure waters and white sandy shores that are utterly secluded and clean. These crystal clear waters are also home to blue whales and dolphins that you can meet if you decide to go scuba diving at the Pigeon Island Marine National Park located here.
9. Let Locals Teach You The Art Of Fishing
You needn’t sit far away and merely watch fishermen experience the thrill of catching fish when you’re in Sri Lanka. You can join in on the action and catch a few yourself! Fishing is an integral part of Lanka’s culture and a major source of income for the locals here owing to the vast coastline and various inland lakes and rivers.
You’ll see fishermen engaging in this daily ritual everywhere you go, so it will be super easy for you to try this offbeat experience in Sri Lanka. One of the best places to try this is the backwater lagoons in Arugam Bay where the locals will happily teach you how to catch tuna with nets. And if you’re lucky, you may even get to try the traditional stilt fishing!
10. Check Out The World’s Tallest Stupa
Sri Lanka is a treat for history lovers across the world, and for good reason! There’s no end to the number of spiritual sanctums and heritage sites in this Buddhist country, and one such unexplored and unknown shrine lies in the old city of Anuradhapura. In fact, the world heritage city of Anuradhapura is home to the tallest stupa in the world. The Jetavanaramaya stupa is es that is located inside the Jetavana monastery in this city. Wandering through the ruins of the most unexplored places in Sri Lanka and witnessing this massive marvel built by King Mahasena is an experience you should not miss out on during your trip.
11. Learn To Cook Sri Lankan Cuisine
Travelers always tend to fall in love with Sri Lankan cuisine and end up wondering how it is prepared. Now imagine if you could actually make it yourself! Some highly experienced chefs across Sri Lanka offer various cooking programmes and classes to teach visitors how to make the tempting, unique, and unbeatably healthy cuisine of Sri Lanka. Conducted at varied locations in Colombo, Galle, Bandarawela, Pinnawala, Aluthgama, Bentota and Ahangama, these classes will tell you everything from the basic spices and ingredients used in coming simple dishes to the complex processes involved in making delicacies of superior standards. In addition, you will also get to experience Sri Lankan hospitality while learning.
12. Stay At A Bizarre Bohemian Hotel
Why stay at a boring hotel with the usual facilities when you can stay at the eccentric and creative hotel of Helga’s Folly in Kandy? Believe it or not, this vintage and classy abode of faded luxury is a paradise for those looking for absolutely unique things to do in Sri Lanka. Nestled inside a jungle far away from the city’s chaos, this crimson mansion was once the home of proprietor Helga de Silva Blow Perera. And even today, it is filled with her memoirs and belongings. The framed mirrors, pictures, vintage furnishings, fluffy pillows and couches, king-sized beds, and various rich parlors will make you feel like you’ve entered Alice’s Wonderland!
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13. Savour The Sweetness Of Watalappam
Those who have tasted Goa’s sweet delicacy called Bebinca will probably have an idea what this delightful dessert tastes like. Watalappam is essentially a coconut custard pudding that is made out of coconut milk (or even condensed milk), jaggery, eggs, refined flour, cashew nuts, and an assortment of spices like cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. And if your chef decides to add a little pandan juice or grated vanilla pods to the whole mixture, what you’ll get is pure heaven! This is usually a part of every meal in Sri Lanka, and even for visitors, no meal is complete without trying this creamy Lankan pudding.
14. Ride Tuk-Tuks Across The Towns
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If buses and trains refuse to take you to your choice of offbeat places in Sri Lanka, you can always hail a tuk-tuk no matter where you are in this entire country. Coming in various eye-catching colors, these charming tuk-tuks are a great way to travel across Sri Lanka, and even you can drive one for a while if the driver allows (which they usually do! However, do make sure you confirm the price of your location from some locals before you agree to the fare quoted by the tuk-tuk driver, just so that you don’t get scammed. In fact, riding tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka are a great way to connect with the locals, drink in the beautiful views, and truly absorb the Lankan culture.
If you wish to see the true beauty and vivid culture of Sri Lanka, ditch the cliched tourist spots and engage in these unique experiences in Sri Lanka, and we promise you won’t be disappointed! So, what’s the hold-up? Start planning a kickass vacation in Sri Lanka right away and get ready for an experience of a lifetime!
Frequently Asked Questions About Unique Experiences In Sri Lanka
A. Here are the best things to do in Sri Lanka that you must not miss:
– Staying in a Sri Lankan village
– Riding a train to Ella
– Parasailing on the beaches of Bentota
– Seeing elephants play and eat at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
– Enjoying a hot air balloon ride in Dambulla
– Visiting the Pahiyangala Cave in Kalutara
– Going for scuba diving at the Pigeon Island Marine National Park
– Climbing atop the Sigiriya Rock Fortress
– Tasting the delicious Sri Lankan cuisine and beverages
– Riding in a colorful tuk-tuk across the towns
A. Sri Lanka is famous for various things. Some of the best things to buy in Sri Lanka include:
– Gems and jewelry
– Porcelain Ware
– Cinnamon sticks
– Tea and coffee
– Handicrafts and batik clothing
– Leather products
A. Some of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka include the likes of:
– Nuwara Eliya
– Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
– Dambulla Cave Temple
– Kandy Tooth Relic Temple
A. December to March is considered to be the best time to visit the West and South coast of Sri Lanka. Other than this, April and May are said to be the best months to visit the East Coast. Out of all these, January is considered to be the best time to take a trip to Sri Lanka as the weather is at its most pleasant.
A. You would need about 8 to 9 days to fully explore Sri Lanka and visit famous places like Nuwara Eliya, Bentota, Kandy, Colombo, Dambulla, and more. You can add a day or two to enjoy some leisure time in Nuwara Eliya and Bentota, or relax by the secluded beaches of Negombo. If you wish to visit offbeat places like Polonnaruwa and Unawatuna, you would need 3 to 4 days more.
A. A minimum of INR 1,800 (£20) per person, per day, would be ideal to cover Sri Lanka and would include aspects like travel, food, drink, and basic activities. The amount you spend will also depend on the places you choose to visit and the type of accommodation you pick. This amount is applicable if you stay in a 3-star hotel, and would go up if you choose to stay in a 5-star hotel or a lavish resort instead.