Southwest of the Bay of Bengal lies the island of Sri Lanka, one of South Asia’s most naturally beautiful countries. Not only do its environments range from monsoon forests to south-central highlands to tropical coastlines, but its biodiversity is also regarded as Asia’s richest per unit area when it comes to flowering plants, reptiles, and amphibians. In fact, many of these species are endemic to Sri Lanka, meaning they can only be found here.
So, if you are looking to explore a land of endless natural beauty, Sri Lanka is the ticket. Here are the best nature-based experiences you can enjoy on holiday in Sri Lanka:
Walk through the sacred Dambulla caves
While the country might be known for its rolling green hills, it’s also home to an impressive network of caves. For thousands of years, the Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple has been a sacred site to the Sri Lankan people. Since the 3rd century BCE, forest-dwelling monks have frequented these incredible natural and decorated caves.
The Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its religious past and its sheer brilliance. It’s the country’s largest cave-temple complex and is home to intricately painted ceilings, ornate Buddha statues, and five sanctuaries.
Venture out on the toy train to Ella
Many travellers head to Sri Lanka in search of its stunning tea plantations. Over time, Sri Lanka has developed a rich history of tea cultivation, with it becoming one of the country’s main crops during the 1870s when it was still under British rule.
One of the best ways to explore this lush and vast landscape is with a scenic rail journey. Sit back and relax on the toy train departing from the Nuwara Eliya railway. The three-and-a-half-hour journey will carry you past tea plantations, gushing waterfalls, peaceful streams, and finally, the hill station of Ella. At your final destination, you will get to witness a panoramic view of Ella Gap and also Rawana waterfalls.
Experience a game drive in Yala
If you’re looking to spot local wildlife in Sri Lanka’s great outdoors, head to Yala National Park. The protected scrubland and forest is one of the country’s largest, oldest national parks. Head out on a safari here to spot wild boar, sloth bears, leopards, mugger crocodiles, wild buffaloes, elephants and more than 200 species of birds.
Unwind in the botanic gardens
For a nature-based experience that is a little less wild than a game drive, you can spend a leisurely day in the Peradeniya Botanical Garden. Follow beautiful flower bed-fringed paths and more than 4000 species of plants.
The gardens are best explored on a guided two-hour walk, led by an experienced botanist, so you can take in the beautiful attractions and hear all about the garden’s varied history. If you’re in need of assistance during your visit, or simply looking to take it easy, you can explore the gardens on a buggy.
Visit an elephant orphanage
Udawalawe, a town in the southern part of the Ratnapura District, is home to an elephant transit home which takes in orphaned elephants in order to raise them, rehabilitate them, and eventually re-introduce them back into the wild. At the home, you will be able to get up close and personal with these creatures and participate in a morning feeding session.
Fancy experiencing some of Sri Lanka’s best natural delights? Then join us on an escorted holiday to this intriguing South Asian nation. Book today.