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Beautiful Sri Lanka - Paradise on Earth (Places of Visit, Tourist Attractions & Historical Sites)

Updated on March 5, 2014
Sri Lankan National Flag
Sri Lankan National Flag | Source
'Wonder of Asia' concept put forward by the government
'Wonder of Asia' concept put forward by the government | Source

Visit Sri Lanka

"Visit Sri Lanka" is an official promotional campaign put in motion by the government of Sri Lanka to improve and increase the tourism and related sectors in the years to come.

As a result of the efforts of this program Sri Lanka is now a top tourist location in the world.

Promotion and preservation of the tourist hot spots is conducted by the Ministry of Tourism along with the projects such as 'Visit Sri Lanka'.


What to expect when travelling in Sri Lanka...

Sri Lanka is endowed with many beautiful natural locations. The country is surrounded by a beautiful ocean and sandy beaches that extend for miles.

Within the country are countless natural forest reserves, which house thousands of different types of animals both endemic and not. A huge variety of flora and fauna in almost all parts of the country. Wildlife at it's richest!

Towards the middle of the country is the central hill lands. These hills give birth to countless rivers and waterfalls that enrich the soil and aid the cultivation of Sri Lanka. These rivers flow to all four corners of the land, making the land ever so greener and bountiful.

Then comes the 2500 plus years of history of Sri Lanka and the ancient ruins of the great cities and palaces where the kings and queens used to walk. Most of these structures were destroyed by enemy invasions but the ruins are still visible today and are breathtaking.

Finally there is the most amazing group of people you wouldn't find anywhere in the world. Humble and ever so ready help another. You will find Sri Lankans to be one of the most welcoming group of people.

beautiful beaches with golden sands
beautiful beaches with golden sands | Source
Galle beach
Galle beach | Source
Hikka Fest party
Hikka Fest party | Source

Beaches

Sri Lanka can proudly boast about some of the best beaches in the world.

  • Hikkaduwa
  • Unawatuna
  • Arugam Bay
  • Marble Beach, Trincomalee
  • Nilaveli beach, Trincomalee
  • Pasikudha
  • Negambo beach
  • Galle beach

Arugam Bay beach is world famous as a surfing hot spot. Hikkaduwa beach is an amazing scuba diving location with lots of corals and marine fish. Also Hikkaduwa and Unwatuna are the beach party locations and hosts some of the most famous beach parties such as 'Hikka Fest' and 'I Love Una'.

Some of the world famous beaches in Sri Lanka

show route and directions
A markerUnawatuna -
Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
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B markerHikkaduwa -
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
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C markerArugam Bay -
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
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D markerPasikuda beach -
Pasikuda Beach, Kalkudah, Sri Lanka
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E markerNegambo beach -
Negombo Beach Park, Negombo, Sri Lanka
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F markerNilaweli beach -
Nilaveli Beach, Sri Lanka
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Gorgeous waterfall in Sri Lanka
Gorgeous waterfall in Sri Lanka | Source
Ella Fall
Ella Fall | Source
Bopath Falls
Bopath Falls | Source

Waterfalls in Sri Lanka

If you are visiting Sri Lanka for it's waterfalls, you would not be disappointed. During the rainy season the hill country forms some of the most beautiful waterfalls you have ever seen in your life.

These waterfalls are available throughout the year. But are more majestic during the rainy seasons between August through January.

Some of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in Sri Lanka are as follows:

  • Bambarakanda Falls (tallest in Sri Lanka)
  • Diyaluma Falls
  • Devon Falls
  • Dunhinda Falls
  • Gerandi Gini Falls
  • Kirindi Falls
  • Kurundu Oya Falls (Maturata Falls)
  • Lakshapana Falls
  • Mahakandura Falls
  • Ramboda Falls

For a full list of all the waterfalls visit here: Angelfire

Sri Lankan bio diversity
Sri Lankan bio diversity | Source

Forest Reserves and Wildlife

Sri Lanka is gifted with a large bio-diversity. There are so many different species of animals in the forests, oceans, rivers in their natural habitats. There are a million things you can do to enjoy the wildlife in Sri Lanka.

  • Wildlife safaris
  • Hiking
  • Camping inside forests
  • Diving
  • Exploring rain forests
  • Study endemic species

"Sinharaja" natural rain forest is the home to a wide variety of animals and flora and fauna.
"Sinharaja" natural rain forest is the home to a wide variety of animals and flora and fauna. | Source
Animals at Sinharaja forest reserve
Animals at Sinharaja forest reserve | Source
"Yala" is one of the top destinations to watch elephants in their natural habitats
"Yala" is one of the top destinations to watch elephants in their natural habitats | Source
Cheetah is found in Sri Lankan dry-land forests reserves
Cheetah is found in Sri Lankan dry-land forests reserves | Source
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A markerSinharaja Natural Forest -
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
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B markerWilpattu National Park -
Wilpaththu National park, Sri Lanka
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C markerYala National Park -
Yala, Sri Lanka
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D markerWasgamuwa National Park -
Wasgamuwa National Park, Sri Lanka
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Every year thousands of tourists visit Sri Lanka to enjoy these wildlife and relax themselves.


Best Natural Forests/National Parks

  • Sinharaja Natural Forest Reserve (wet zone, best bio-diversity)
  • Yala National Park (best for elephant watching)
  • Kumana National Park (bird watching)
  • Wilpattu National Park (dry zone animals)
  • Udawalawa National Park
  • Wasgamuwa National Park
  • Minneriya National Park


Whale & Dolphin Watching


Tanks (Irrigation systems by ancient Kings)

  • Parakrama Samudraya
  • Minneriya Tank
  • Basawakkulama Tank
  • Nuwara Tank
  • Tissa Tank


Hiking Spots

  • Horton Plains and World's End
  • Knuckles Mountain ridges
  • Adam's Peak
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Adam's Peak at night
Adam's Peak at night | Source

A rich culture...

Kandy Esala Perahera held annually in tribute of The Buddha
Kandy Esala Perahera held annually in tribute of The Buddha | Source

Ancient Ruins and Buddhist Monasteries

Sri Lanka has a rich and long history dating back to over 2500 years of time. Kings and Queens ruled Ceylon (ancient Sri Lanka) and then the Portuguese, Dutch and British.

The Kings built massive structures - palaces, tanks, Buddhist temples etc. Some of these were destroyed by the invading nations, but the rest still stand today. Walking among these ruins takes you to a time beyond your imagination.

"Ruwanweli Seya' - a structure built enshrining the relics of The Buddha and is worshipped by millions of deities every year.
"Ruwanweli Seya' - a structure built enshrining the relics of The Buddha and is worshipped by millions of deities every year. | Source
"Jethawanaramaya Temple"
"Jethawanaramaya Temple" | Source

One of the most comprehensive elaborations of the ancient Ceylon

These colossal structures were built by ancient kings of Sri Lanka and are as old as hundreds of years and still stand today. It is difficult to imagine the level of technology that was used in construction of these structures.


Some of the most famous historical cities are:

  • Anuradhapura (city of ruins, house to countless temples, palaces, tanks, irrigation works, monasteries and massive structures)
  • Polonnaruwa (ancient hub of paddy cultivation, has the best network of irrigation systems)
  • Kandy (holds the sacred Temple of Tooth Relic)
  • Dambulla
  • Sigiriya
  • Yapahuwa

Parakrama Samudraya (Sea of King Parakrama)

One of the largest tanks in Sri Lanka. So large that there are waves of water such as in an ocean. Constructed by King Parakramabahu and still used today for irrigation.
One of the largest tanks in Sri Lanka. So large that there are waves of water such as in an ocean. Constructed by King Parakramabahu and still used today for irrigation. | Source
The statues of The Buddha at 'Gal Viharaya', Polonnaruwa. This statue is made entirely out of stone from a single piece of rock.
The statues of The Buddha at 'Gal Viharaya', Polonnaruwa. This statue is made entirely out of stone from a single piece of rock. | Source
The ruined remains of the Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu. In ancient days this building was said to have risen up to seven stories. The base is made completely out of brick and stone and believed to have used wood in top storeys.
The ruined remains of the Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu. In ancient days this building was said to have risen up to seven stories. The base is made completely out of brick and stone and believed to have used wood in top storeys. | Source

Places of Historical and Religious Significance in Sri Lanka

There are literally countless amounts of places of historical and religious significance in Sri Lanka. There is not one spot in this land where there isn't a historical story related to it. So it is very difficult to list all the places. But this will list down the most important places in Sri Lanka that you must not miss in a tour.

  • Temple of Tooth Relic, Kandy
  • Ruwanweli Seya, Anuradhapura
  • Jethawanaramaya, Anuradhapura
  • Mirisaweitya temple, Anuradhapura
  • Sath Mahal Prasadaya, Anuradhapura
  • Gal Viharaya, Polonnaruwa
  • Sri Maha Bodhi, Anuradhapura
  • Sigiriya, Sigiriya

show route and directions
A markerRuwanweli Seya -
Ruwanweli Stupa, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
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B markerSri Maha Bodhi Tree -
Sri Maha Bodhi, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
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C markerThuparamaya Temple -
Thuparama Dagoba, Thuparama Mawatha, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
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D markerMihintale -
Mihintale, Sri Lanka
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E markerThissa Wewa -
Thissa Wewa, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
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F markerTemple of Tooth Relic -
Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy, Sri Lanka
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G markerParakramabahu Palace -
Palace of Parakramabahu, Maradankadawala-Habarana-Thirukkondaiadimadu Highway, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lank
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H markerGal Viharaya -
Gal Viharaya, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
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I markerSigiriya Rock Fortress -
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
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    • Nimesh De Silva profile image
      Author

      Nimesh De Silva 14 months ago

      @jenny2014 Sorry, is that a leopard? I think they have leopards there

    • profile image

      jenny2014 14 months ago

      Whoever is responsible for this post does not have a very good knowledge and should check his/her facts first. WE DO NOT HAVE CHEETAH IN SRI LANKA.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Wonderful job. Well presented with stunning photos. Shared here.