5 amazing things to do in Sri Lanka

off the beaten path

Sri Lanka – an island of untold stories

Travelling to Sri Lanka – there is always something new and adventurous. Having lived most of my life in this beautiful island, there are so many places I like to visit and things that I still love to do. I would never get tired.
This is an island of untold stories, resilience and happy smiles. The more you discover especially non touristic and less seen and visited places the more you are likely to experience your journey in unique ways.
It can only get better.

These are my picks – 5 amazing things to do on an off the beaten path in Sri Lanka

1. Visit a rural village

Rural Sri Lanka is becoming a rarity. When I was growing up as a child paddy field were plenty. I lived in a the second largest city and paddy fields were still in abundance. However today with all the modernization and development, like anywhere else in the world the landscape is quickly changing leading travellers to non authentic commercial experiences (curated experiences rather than the real ones)

How can you experience genuine rural Sri Lanka

Genuine  rural Sri Lankan experiences are a handful, however they are scattered all over. If you are looking for totally outback experience, then rural Sri Lanka will disappoint you. Rural Sri Lanka is a mix of tradition and modernity, however with those beautiful genuine smiles of people and those who really welcome you to their personal spaces. 

What will you experience in a Sri Lankan village?
a. Happy faces, smiles and genuine hospitality
b. Lush greenery and beautiful tropical landscapes
c. Slow paced everyday lives of villagers
d. Leisurely gentle walks, cycling
c. Peaceful surroundings and fresh air
e. Opportunity to taste local cuisine – homemade style
f. An opportunity experience local culture

Sri Lankan  Village
Rural Sri Lanka with its’ lush landscape
Smiling people and genuine hospitality of Sri Lankans
Smiling faces and genuine smiles of Sri Lankans is hard to match
Seasonal cultivation in the Central Sri Lanka
Temple  Sri Lanka
Buddhist Temple
Smiling people Sri Lanka
That unforgettable smile!
Village Walk Sri Lanka

2. Learn to cook – a cooking lesson – Sri Lankan food

Sri Lankan food is world class! It gained its reputation as a notably distinct cuisine not too far off in history. Although Sri Lankan spices have been one of the main reasons for many milestones in the country’s history including colonization by the Dutch and the Portugese, it did not gain its popularity until recent past. I can go on an on, let me tell you the only way to find out t is by experiencing.

Scraping coconut is part of traditional cooking

There are lovely homes where you can get a cooking lesson if you opt for a home stay. If not there are quaint boutique properties which give you the opportunity to learn or you can arrange with a local home for a lesson. It usually takes a couple of hours.
I’ll be honest, taking a lesson and savoring your own cooking is fully worth and I will opt for a cooking lesson in a home every time as it is the most authentic experience.

What can you expect from a cooking lesson?

  • Learn the basics of Sri Lankan cuisine. You can try these recipes once you are back home, they are quite easy.
  • Its fun and exciting.
  • It feels like an achievement once you see the end result- especially your own production!
  • You get to taste your own food – so better make it work!
Sri Lankan traditional breakfast - hoppers
Sri Lankan traditional breakfast – hoppers

3. Splurge on an upmarket boutique/ Heritage property

Sri Lanka is not exceptionally a cheap destination. Especially if you are looking at staying in some of the beautiful upmarket boutique/ resort properties. However it is fully worth to spend a couple of nights in one of these beautiful properties. I would generally say to schedule this either towards the end or the middle of your journey.

I love heritage properties that have retained local architectural designs and styles that are stylish and modern. The stays include butler service and contemporary Sri Lankan gourmet cuisine.Read more about Ulagalla here https://www.ugaescapes.com/ulagalla/

Heritage Hotels Sri Lanka Ulagalla Resort
Heritage Hotels Sri Lanka Ulagalla Resort, Sri Lanka
Heritage Hotels in Sri Lanka, Kandy House
Kandy House, Heritage Hotels in Sri Lanka
Kandy House Sri Lanka
Kandy House Sri Lanka

What can you expect from your stay?

  • Beautiful, unique lux stay with modern amenities and stylish accommodation
  • Butler Service / personalised service
  • Gourmet cuisine – western and contemporary Sri Lankan cuisine
  • SPA treatment
  • Pure luxury!
Kandy House heritage hotel
Beautiful Kandy House can only bring up smiles
Rosyth Bungalow Sri Lanka
A foot massage on arrival is a great way to start

4. Visit a less known wildlife park

Sri Lanka is one of those few places on earth that is blessed with abundant nature and wildlife. Whilst the well known National Parks can be crowded and touristic, the less known and less travelled National Parks bring fresh air to the entire journey.

Some of my favorite parks are Gal Oya National Park, Kumana National Park and Maduru Oya National Park. Gal Oya National Park Can be easily fitted into a round tour while Maduru Oya and Kumana National Parks need a bit of deviation and time to visit. They are all fully worth the effort.

Read more about Maduru Oya Safari camping here https://www.mahoora.lk/mahoora-locations/maduru-oya-national-park.html

Go on.. stay at a unique lodge or go glamping. My favorite places to stay are in these parks are:

  • Gal Oya National Park: Gal Oya Lodge and Explorer by Mahoora
  • Kumana National Park: Explorer by Mahoora Tented Safari Camping
  • Maduru Oya: Explorer by Mahoora Tented Safari Camping
Gal Oya National Park, Explorer by Mahoora
Galmping at Gal Oya National Park, Explorer by Mahoorahttps://www.mahoora.lk/mahoora-locations/mahoora-tented-safari-camps-gal-oya-national-park.html
Gal Oya National Park Boat safaris
Boat Safaris are a great way to experience Gal Oya National Park
Kumana National Park
Exploring Kumana National Park

What to expect from glamping at a less known National Parks ?

  • Private Game drives with your own/ shared naturalists
  • Unique wildlife sightings with no rush of tourists
  • Unique landscapes
  • Great sightings of elephants, birds, leopards and a lot more
  • Glamping – camp in style with personalizes services, picnic breakfast in the National park and romantic BBQ dinners under the stars.
Kumana National Park
Kumana National Park
Maduru Oya National Park
Spot the elephants at a distance – Get as close as you can ever get to Sri Lankan Wilderness with Mahoora Tented Safari Camp -Maduru Oya National Park
Maduru Oya National Park
Maduru Oya National Park – Glamping at Mahoora Tented Safari Camp

5. Taste Sri Lankan fast food/ street food

Sri Lankan fast food, generally known as ‘short eats’ and street food are just another marvelous way of tasting the local food and getting an insight to the country.
While the list of food can go on here are some of my favorites, tea buns, coco (kimbula) buns, Laveriya, Koththu Roti, Chinese rolls and Patis.

Sri Lankan food
Sri Lankan food, Kimbula Buns
Sri Lankan Food, Laveriya
Sri Lankan Food, Laveriya

What are you waiting for? Go on…. travel those off the beaten paths


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