With so much to do and see in Sri Lanka, if you’re travelling there soon, you’ll want to make sure you’ve squeezed in everything on your bucket-list. To help you choose the best possible day trips, and maximise your time in this beautiful country, we’ve asked our Sri Lanka local expert and tour guide Prateeque, what he recommends and where he loves visiting on day trips.
With so many Sri Lanka day trips, it can be hard to pick the best one for you – so hopefully Prateeque can shed some light on it for you, and help you in the decision making process!
“Having worked in Sri Lanka for a large part of my life and travelled to every corner of it, it’s fair to say I know the country like the back of my hand and have a passion for showing people the true beauty of this wonderful country”
Jaffna and Delft island
Jaffna and Delft Island are as unique as they come, and they have to be seen to be believed. You won’t want to miss this day trip in Sri Lanka, but we’ll let Prateeque explain a bit more…
“Firstly, no tourists ever go here, it’s pretty unique. You can hire a boat to get there, but you can also take the navy ferry which runs everyday from about 8am, and it takes about an hour to get to Delft island. It is a tiny island, which is where the Portuguese and the Dutch used to have a military base. It’s really interesting because all the buildings and monuments are made from coral (as in sea coral). So there’s a church, the boundary walls are all made from coral. Also the Dutch used to use the island as stables for their horses, but after they left, all these horses have now shrunk so they’re more like ponies now and they just roam around free on the island”
Safari at Minneriya
Minneriya is a small town in Sri Lanka that is famous for… elephants. That might sound a little strange… but once you see the abundance of elephants roaming around near here – you’ll soon understand why. Elephants are stunning and graceful creatures, and for many people, seeing them in the wild on safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and definitely not to be missed.
“The best time to visit is usually around August, as there’s something called the ‘elephant gathering’ where’ there’s around 300-400 elephants gathering there at once. It’s amazing, and something you won’t want to miss”
The Temple of the Tooth
This must-visit site, is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy. Why is it such a famous spot? Well, it’s home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. According to ancient history and tradition, whoever holds the tooth of the Buddha, has governance over the country, so Kandy was in fact the last ancient capital of Sri Lanka.
It’s a fascinating place to visit, and you can even see the Buddhist rituals being performed throughout the day too. Our ‘River Rafting & Mountain Trip to Temple of the Tooth’ trip will take you to this part of Sri Lanka, as well as several other historic and cultural sites around the region.
Primate centre in Polonnaruwa
“This place is actually located in the old ancient capital Polonnaruwa and the primate centre is located within these ruins and the monkeys roam free within them. Here you can get a primatologist that takes you on a short walk through the ruins and you learn about the monkeys and the different monkey families. It’s really interesting, you get to see the historic side of the area and the natural side. Polonnaruwa is a popular destination but doing the monkey walk is pretty unique, not many people know about this”
You’ll get to do this monkey walk as part of our “Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka – An Ancient Story” tour, and it’s a memorable and unique experience that not many travellers or visitors to Sri Lanka take part in. This day trip is packed full of fun – and it’s definitely something you’ll be telling friends about when you return home.
Snorkelling in Polehnna
For a nature experience and a relaxing day trip in Sri Lanka snorkelling in Polehnna is a great choice. This is a great choice as a one-day day trip in Sri Lanka too.
“I did it last weekend and you can see like huge turtles just off the beach, you don’t have to take a boat out or anything”
The small farming village of Hasalakais is only 2 hours outside of Kandy, but visiting there lets you glimpse a different way of life within the Sri Lankan community. This is an authentic glimpse into how the economy and farming trade works in Sri Lanka, and it’s a wonderful chance to meet locals too. Part of this day trip that is so popular, is getting to see the Vadda Pani Falls, and the Rathana falls, which are the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka.
You’ll get to take a refreshing swim in the waterfalls, and a fun hike to and from the village to get to each of the falls. It’s a unique and diverse day trip (we offer it on our website as our ‘Hasalaka Village Explorations’ tour), and gives you a real taste of what life in Sri Lanka is really like.