12 Top Things to Do in Sri Lanka

Featured, 12 Top Things to do in Sri Lanka, Survive Travel

Sri Lanka may be a small geographically, but there is a lot to see and do. Here are 12 awesome things to do in Sri Lanka.

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12 Top Things to do in Sri Lanka

1. Anuradhapura Ancient City – Anuradhapura

Cost: 3250LKR (Approx $25USD)

The first thing on my list of Sri Lankan attractions is Anuradhapura Ancient City.

Best Things to Do in Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura Ancient Town - Ruwan Well

Ruwan Well

There is a lot to see in Anuradhapura Ancient City including the moonstone, ancient ruins, Ruwan Well, museums and much more.

Best Things to Do in Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura Ancient Town - Moonstone


Despite what Tuk Tuk drivers will tell you, it is possible to walk to all the sites. Another option is to hire a push bike.

Best Things to Do in Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura Ancient Town - Samadhi Buddha

Samadhi Buddha

2. Dambula Cave Temple – Dambula

Cost:1500LKR (Approx $11.50USD)

The Dambulla Rock Temple is a temple carved out of a cave. There are some impressive Buddha carvings and paintings and it is a nice (not to strenuous) climb up the stairs.

Best things to do in Sri Lanka - Dambulla - Golden Temple

Big Buddha at Golden Temple

Be sure to buy your ticket before you start climbing otherwise you will need to go back down to get one.

Dambulla Cave Temple Review - Dambulla - Cave Temple

Inside Dambulla Cave Temple

3. Pidurangala Rock Temple – Sigiriya

Cost: 500LKR (Approx $4USD)

Located close to the more famous Sigiria Ruins but not nearly as expensive (Sigiria costs $35USD) as the Pidurangala Cave and Rock Temple.

It’s a nice stroll to it, or take a tuk tuk to the start, then take a casual walk to the top.

How to Get to Pidurangala Rock Temple, Survive Travel in Sri Lanka

A big Buddha halfway up the Pidurangala cave ‘mountain;

On a clear day you can get a good view of the Sigiria Ruins. Unfortunately I was not there on a clear day.

4. Peradenia Botanical Gardens – Kandy

Cost: 1100LKR (Approx $8.50USD)

The Peradenia Botanical Gardens are a great escape from the busy city of Kandy, and are well worth the short bus ride.

Peradenia Botanical Gardens Review - Suspension bridge

View from the suspension bridge

The gardens have a lot to offer with giant bamboo, a suspension bridge, palm avenues, an orchid house and much more.

Peradenia Botanical Gardens Review - Garden

Outdoor Garden

It is a very pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon.

Peradenia Botanical Gardens Review - Orchid House

Just one of the many Orchids in the Orchid House

5. Temple of the Tooth – Kandy

Cost: 500LKR (Approx $4USD) for SAARC country citizens (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) or 1000LKR (Approx $8USD) for everyone else.

The Temple of the Tooth is located smack bang in the middle of the city of Kandy and is said to house an actual tooth of Buddha (hence the name). It is considered one of the most (if not the most) sacred sites in Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately I didn’t actually go into the Temple of the Tooth because I was eager to get out of Kandy, but I wish I had.

Temple of the Tooth Review - Getting the train from Kandy to Ella

The Temple of the Tooth is one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka

6. Catching the Train From Kandy To Ella

Cost: 400LKR for a 3rd class seat (Approx $3USD)

The scenery on the train from Kandy to Ella is absolutely breath taking.

The whole journey is just shy of a 7 hours ride, but even just doing a section of it is worthwhile.

Catching the train from kandy to ella - Tea Fields

View of tea fields from the train

7. Little Adam’s Peak

Cost: Free

About a 2km walk from the town of Ella is a pleasant walk up a hill through tea fields to Little Adams Peak.

The pathway is well maintained so the climb is fairly easy, and the view from the top is worth the walk.

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka - Little Adams Peak - Ella - View

View from the top of Little Adams Peak… maybe this is Mt Ella??

8. Galle Fort – Galle

Cost: Free

Just across the road from the Galle Bus Station is Galle Fort.

Along the outside you can walk on the walls and spend some time on the small beaches.

Off the walls the Fort has a museums, restaurants, accommodation, souvenier shops, a post office, a school and many archaeological sites.

Best Things to do in Sri Lanka - Galle Fort Review - Coastal View

Coastal view from the walls of Galle Fort

9. Jungle Beach – Unawatuna

Cost: Free

A short bus ride from Galle is Unawatuna. Inside this small town is Jungle Beach.

I had a pretty interesting walk from Unawatuna beach along the cliff face and through the jungle paths to get to the Jungle Beach. Actually, I enjoyed the walk more than the beach.

7 Getting to jungle beach- Unawatuna-Sri Lanka Day 11, Survive travel

Jungle Beach – this is the second beach. The first was very crowded

10. Kalutara Bodhiya Temple

Cost: Free

I saw a lot of temples in Sri Lanka, but the Kalutara Bodhiya Temple was definitely my favorite.

At about 1800 the play drums inside the temple and the echo is amazing.

Best things to do in Sri Lanka Kalutara Bodhiya Temple

Inside the Bodhiya Temple where at 1800 the play drums

11. Ayurvedic Massage

Cost: 2000LKR (Approx $15usd) for a 1 hour Ayurvedic Massage and a 15 minute Sirodara Puncha Karma therapy.

A massage using herbal oils that apparently have strong healing powers. The healing powers are debatable in my mind, but the massage was very good none the less.

Sirodara Puncha Karma is basically oil dripping on your head while you lie there. Surprisingly relaxing.

6 My ayurvedic massage experience- Sri Lank Day 14, Survive Travel

This drops oil on your head.

12. Colombo Pettah Markets

Cost: Depends what you buy

The last thing on this list of cool things to do in Sri Lanka is the Colombo Pettah Market. If you are into markets, this is the place to go.

Survive Travel - Free walking tour of Colombo - Pettah Street Market - Closed

Kids playing cricket where the Pettah Market would be if it was not a holiday

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I spent 16 days in Sri Lanka and it was no-where near enough time. I could easily have filled another 3-4 weeks of constant travel and sightseeing.

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