October 3, 2018

It isn’t a wonder to see why Sri Lanka has been touted as the next top Asian travel destination. With an envy-inducing catalogue of wildlife including leopards, elephants, sloth bears, blue whales, and over 400 bird species, the country might well be the Asian continent’s very own African safari. Although most people may know Sri Lanka for its ubiquitous Ceylon tea that can be found in every corner of the world, the country has a lot more to offer in terms of diverse landscapes, stunning beaches and ancient ruins. If you planning a trip anytime soon, here are 5 distinctive must-dos.

Visit a national park


The Yala National Park is renowned for having the highest density of leopards in the world, with many visitors renting jeeps to take sightseeing joyrides through Sri Lanka’s many national parks. But predators aren’t the only creatures that stalk these parks: you can also easily spot deer, buffalo, mongooses and monkeys among the flora. To sweeten the deal, Arugam Bay is a short drive away, so you can swim in the sea after a day in the sun.

Surf ‘n’ turf

Arugam Bay is widely regarded as the best place to go surfing in Sri Lanka, but it also boasts a whole plethora of activities that put it in the running for the best summer vacation spot. Start your morning right with a yoga class on the beach then go surfing on Peanut Farm. If you’re not a seasoned surfer, you can take a Tuk-Tuk ride to Whiskey Point for kinder waves. Whiskey Point is also a buzzing party destination at night, luring crowds in with the views and enticing them to stay for the music. Otherwise, rent a motobike and explore Panama Tank. Just watch out for the crocodiles.

Watch a cricket game

Do you really want to leave Sri Lanka without attending at least one cricket match in what’s arguably the cricket capital of the world? Nicknamed The Lions, the Sri Lanka national cricket team has won many international championships under their belt, yet their ongoing cricket rivalry with India has spectators constantly on the edge of their seats. The Sinhalese Sports Club or the R Premadasa Stadium is the most popular cricket venue in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo, and apart from cries of excitement or disappointment, you can expect the famous Papare bands to amplify your stadium experience. 

Try Ayurdevic healing

Ayurveda is an ancient healing system that has been passed down from mother to son for thousands of years. The name Ayurveda is a combination of “ayuh” (life) and “veda” (science), and practitioners take a holistic approach aimed at striking a balance between your mind, body, and spirit. Ayurvedic medicine can be found all over Sri Lanka, in hotel spas, clinics, and spiritual retreats. If you’re in the mood for some pampering, make sure you head to the Anantara Kalutara Resort’s spa for top-notch facilities and hours of unparalleled bliss. Even if Ayurveda is not your thing, Anantara Kalutara was designed by Sri Lanka’s most renowned architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa, so the property is definitely worth a visit—to marvel at Bawa’s living legacy.

Visit a tea plantation


Make memories that you’ll savour the next time you have a cup of Sri Lankan black tea. The tea estates in Nuwara Eliya are home to the world-famous Lipton tea, and the trails will take you through beautiful tea terraces in glorious curvilinear lines, with many comparing the town to the European countryside. The Pedro Tea Plantation prides itself on its ethical practices that emphasise sustainability and staff empowerment in a well-intentioned endeavour to reconcile the historic transgressions that plagued tea production in colonial times. Best of all, you’re sure to catch a glimpse of the gentle beasts that roam the tea estates—Sri Lanka’s very own elephants.