5 Excellent Destinations for a Day-Excursion in Sri Lanka
The paradise island of Sri Lanka is truly a blissful destination for sightseers, wildlife enthusiasts, thrill & adventure seekers and even those looking for a tranquil religious and cultural experience. With a multitude of wildlife sanctuaries blessed with exotic flora and fauna, a world heritage rainforest, golden and white sandy beaches all around, delectable cuisine…there’s so much to discover and most of the locations can be explored in a day tour or excursion!
Here’s our top 5 list of places that are ideal for day excursions!
Located in the Central highlands of Sri Lanka, amidst magnificent mountains and scenic landscapes caressed by refreshing breezes, Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka. If you are looking to have a relaxed day exploring Sri Lanka’s culture and rich traditions while enjoying unique treats such as delectable food and shopping, Kandy is the city to explore! Sports, religion, history and culture, Kandy has it all!
Places to Visit
- Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth Relic)
Sri Dalada Maligawa is a venerated Buddhist worship location as it preserves the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Decorated with a golden canopy, the temple is the most significant monument of this city and visitors can observe the occurrence of various religious activities and rituals throughout the day!
- Royal Botanical Garden
The Royal Botanical Garden in Kandy is renowned for its stunning array of flowers and glorious assortment of trees. With 60 hectares of land expanded over 2500 square feet, the garden includes more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees.
- Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Established in 1975, the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage is a breeding ground for wild Asian elephants. The aim of the orphanage is to protect and care for orphaned elephants found in jungles of the island.
- Ranweli Spice Garden
Located close to the royal botanical garden, at the Ranweli Spice Garden, visitors can see why Sri Lanka became a globally popular country for its herbs and spices. This location is curated in such a way that the environment possesses excellent conditions for growing cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, peppercorn, and other flavorful delights.
Being home to world-renowned Sigiriya Rock Fortress and surrounding remarkable landmarks, the city of Dambulla in Sri Lanka is a popular city destination for many tourists throughout the year. Being a town with such prominence and much to explore, Dambulla is a city you must visit when in Sri Lanka.
Places to Visit
Renowned as a UNESCO world heritage site, this ancient palace and fortress complex has immense archaeological importance in Sri Lanka and attracts thousands of tourists every year. The fortress complex includes remnants of a ruined palace, surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains.
- Dambulla Cave Temple
The Dambulla Cave temples have also been designated as a World Heritage Site and contains a mixture of religious and secular painting and sculpture. With two major caves to explore, cave 1 comprises of several reclining Buddha's while cave 2 contains over 150 statues illustrating various influences of Buddhism in the country.
- Minneriya National Park
With about 90 square kilometers expansion, the Minneriya National Park is home to one of the world's greatest wildlife sights - the Elephant Gathering. Elephants gathered here is numbering around 150-350, with some reports accounting the number of elephants to as high as 700. The park is also home to other species like wild buffalo, deer, the purple faced leaf monkey and lovely endemic birdlife and is a great place to visit if you’re in the Dambulla area.
Nuwara-Eliya is one of Sri Lanka’s most magical stops. Blessed with acres of emerald green tea yards, cascading waterfalls, cool weather and quaint colonial-style buildings, this destination is a fantastic location to spend the day in relaxation and pleasure.
Places to Visit
- Visit tea plantation factories
Given that Nuwara Eliya is blessed with relatively cooler climes, it is the most renowned destination for lush tea plantations in Sri Lanka. There are many factories ranging from small scale to large scale, in Nuwara Eliya such as the Pedro Tea Estate, the Labookelle estate etc., that offer opportunities to get on-site knowledge regarding tea industry of Lanka. If you’re lucky, you may even get some complimentary packages during the visits!
- Boat riding at Gregory lake
Lake Gregory is a picturesque, man-made Lake nestled at the bottom of small hills, bordering Nuwara Eliya and is especially popular for water-based activities including boat rides, sculling, fishing and paddle boating and you can easily get an opportunity for some boat riding through the boat house at Lake Gregory.
- Trek the Horton Plains
A renowned UNESCO World Heritage in Sri Lanka, the Horton Plains National Park is on the edge of the Central Highlands and consists of the highest plateau of the country. Horton Plains is a paradise for bird watchers, nature lovers and especially hikers. The precipice that falls vertically for over 1050 meters at the southern edge of the highlands to the lowlands below, called “World’s End”, is an excursion of a lifetime if you’re at Nuwara Eliya.
- Visit the Hakgala Gardens
The Hakgala gardens is one of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular parks and was established in 1861. While the roses that bloom during April to August steal the limelight at Hakgala, it also hosts a wide variety of foreign trees such as Californian Cypresses, fine old cedars, gigantic tree ferns, Japanese camphor, pines eucalyptus and bark-shedding Australian melaleucas. Additionally, this garden is also home to a considerable flock of endemic mountain bird species including the dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lankan whistling thrush and Sri Lankan bush warbler. If nothing else, it is the ideal place to spend a nice relaxing day with your special someone, or family.
- Visit the Lovers Leap waterfall
Lover’s Leap is a massive rocky cliff with a waterfall of the same name, and is a spectacular sight, cascading at a height of 30m long. Its name is derived from the fate of a young couple who decided to be bound together forever by jumping off the cliff to their demise. Located on a tea estate, the Lovers Leap waterfall is only 2km from Nuwara Eliya town, making it the closest waterfall to visit on a bustling tour when in Nuwara Eliya!
Bestowed with one of the longest beaches in Sri Lanka, Koggala is a charming city at the edge of a lagoon in Southern Sri Lanka. From enjoying a long walk along the picturesque beach to revelling in Southern culture and engaging in vivid activities, Koggala is a must-add city to your travel itinerary in Sri Lanka.
Places to Visit
- Koggala Lake
The Koggala Lake is a freshwater lagoon which sits 9.8 feet (3 metres) above the sea level, bordered by jungle and forest and is rich in wildlife.
- Koggala Beach & Stilt Fisherman
A relatively much less crowded beach, the Koggala beach is a great location to relax. Adding to the intrigue, visitors can also witness Stilt fishing – fishing method unique to Sri Lanka!
- Turtle Hatcheries
Having established these hatcheries to prevent poaching, this turtle conservation project is open to local and tourists alike to observe and admire.
- Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum
This fascinating museum is predominantly the house of the respected Sinhalese author late Mr. Martin Wickramasinghe which is an almost 200-year-old traditional Southern house with Dutch architectural influences. Visitors can witness a variety of historic Sri Lankan culture associated with dance (costumes and instruments), puppets, “Kolam” which is masked dance-drama and Buddhist artefacts.
Hambantota, considered as the heart of Sri Lanka’s “Deep South”, unique city that offers visitors a plethora of unique experiences from exotic natural beauty and wildlife to remarkable heritage sites and the sunny sandy beaches.
Places to Visit
- Wild Life National Parks (Yala, Bundala, Kumana) & Safaris
The Yala National park, the Bundala National Park and the Kumana National park are havens for wildlife. Whether to catch preying leopards, idling crocodiles, elephant herds or endemic birds, these parks offer multitudes of safaris and options for adventure.
- Hambantota Salt Pans
The Hambantota Salt Pans are one of the oldest industries in the area for salt harvesting equipped with fully automated salt processing and iodization plants and is a unique experience to add to the travel itinerary.
- Mahapelessa Hot Springs
The Mahapelessa Hot Springs are one set of the three natural hot springs in Sri Lanka. They are known globally as healing mineral thermal waters and are a fascinating sight enjoyed by both local and tourist alike.
- Agro Technology Park
The Agro Technology Park in Bata Atha, Hambantota is an area dedicated to nurturing and demonstrating various agricultural technologies. This location is ideal for agriculture enthusiasts and children as it is very educational and there’s much to learn and see about modern and historical agriculture methods and technology such as rain water harvesting systems, evolution of paddy cultivation irrigation methods etc. The park also distributes seeds, plants and other informative transfer materials for those interested in testing some of these demonstrated techniques. Additionally and to add to the experience, there is also you can yourself a free fish therapy session!
Sri Lanka is a wonderful island that offers a plethora of diverse and dynamic activities for various enthusiasts and traveling across the country has been made ever more convenient with Cinnamon Air’s daily scheduled flights to key tourist destinations across the island. You can book daily scheduled flights or an exclusive charter flight to Kandy, Sigiriya, Koggala, Nuwara Eliya, Hambantota and so many other destinations and travel swiftly and comfortably across destinations, enjoy your day immersed in fun activities and exploration and return to your respective hotels, all in a days excursion!