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The best things to do in Sri Lanka

16 January 2015 ( 20 December 2016 )

We asked one of our expert Holiday Creators, Kathy Vigolo, why she has fallen in love with Sri Lanka…

Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka

“No other country expresses itself more through its colourful landscapes and unique blend of cultures than Sri Lanka, where a warm welcome awaits. T

here is so much diversity in such a small island! I’m particularly thrilled with our new addition to the collection – Sri Lanka Revealed – which features the beauty of the east coast, a great wildlife experience and stunning cultural sites.”

Here are some of Kathy’s Sri Lankan highlights…

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UNESCO-protected Polonnaruwa

You can discover a variety of archaeological monuments in this incredible city – the second ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka. 

Of particular note is the famous Gal Viharaya, or Stone Temple, which features four Buddha statues carved out of stone reflecting peace, serenity and strength.

Head out on safari

Wilpattu National Park covers an impressive 425 square miles and boasts a variety of flora and fauna – the perfect place to visit if you want to try and glimpse the elusive leopard, sloth bears and Sri Lankan elephants. 

There is also a number of natural lakes, which attract a large number of birds – from painted storks to kingfishers.

Browse our huge collection of holidays and cruises, including adventurous touring trips, relaxing beachfront getaways and luxury ocean cruises. Find out more here

Climb Lion Rock

Sigiriya’s famous ‘Lion Rock’ was the brief capital of King Kassapa I some 1,500 years ago. Sitting on top of the 80-metre tall granite rock are the ruins of an ancient palace complex. 

Two colossal paws still stand either side of limestone steps, a reminder of the huge lion figure that once guarded the entrance to the palace. 

Sigiriya is also well known for the ‘Heavenly Maidens’, rock paintings of beautiful women found on a sheltered ledge on the side of the rock, and now considered among the greatest art treasures of the world.

See Batik artists at work

The age-old art form of Batik involves creating ornate designs by applying wax to cloth and dyeing it. 

It’s a time-consuming technique, and some of the more intricate designs can take many painstaking hours to complete. It’s a fascinating process to watch, and the end results can be truly amazing.

Go whale watching

Sri Lanka doesn’t instantly spring to mind as a whale-watching destination, but from May to October there is a good chance of spotting both sperm whales and blue whales in the waters around tropical Pasikuda Bay.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.