Top 5 sensational sights in Sri Lanka

They say Sri Lanka is the Jewel of the Indian Ocean, and who can argue when you see what this amazing country has to offer its visitors! From sandy beaches to green highlands, and from ancient cities to man-eating wildlife, Sri Lanka seems to have it all!


Often overlooked in favour of India – or even Nepal these days – Sri Lanka continues to impress tourists who choose to come here. The island is small enough to explore almost completely, if you allow yourself a few weeks at least, but the main sights are listed below. Travel time permitting, you should try to check out the 5 entries in my list. So, let’s count up from 5-1:


5. Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, just a few hours away from Colombo by train. Here you will find colonialism from days gone by, as well as the UNESCO listed Galle Fort and some amazing beaches nearby – and if you’re lucky you may see the famous stilt fishermen plying their trade!


4. Nuwara Eliya is part of the central highlands of Sri Lanka and can be accessed after a few hours drive from Kandy (or by the train from Colombo). The scenery up here in the highlands is incredible and shows another side to Sri Lanka after its beaches and ancient ruins. There is a successful tea harvesting trade at Nuwara Eliya – this is most likely where your Ceylon Tea comes from!

Leopard Spotting at Yala

3. Yala National Park is located in the southern reaches of Sri Lanka, about an hour’s drive away from Hambantota. This national park is the home of the largest concentration of leopard in the world, and sightings are almost guaranteed on your guided tour. Other wildlife includes elephants, crocodiles, and the occasional sun bear.

Trincomalee in the East
Trincomalee in the East

2. Trincomalee must surely go down as the finest beach area of Sri Lanka, although it is a good 6 hours drive from Colombo in the far north east part of the island (4 hours from Kandy). Your reward for the effort getting here is to find glorious sandy beaches and lush jungle, with azure waters of the Indian Ocean just a few footsteps away!


1. Sigiriya is the ultimate sight in Sri Lanka! Otherwise known as Lion’s Rock, this huge rock in the middle of the jungle provides great panoramic views for those who choose to climb its rickety old steps (though perfectly safe). Located just a couple of hour’s drive from Kandy, and less than an hour from Dambulla, Sigiriya is part of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Quadrangle (or Cultural Triangle if you don’t include the Dambulla Caves), and every tourist must make the effort to see it in person!


11 thoughts on “Top 5 sensational sights in Sri Lanka

    1. I used public transport to get around Sri Lanka, including the cheap trains. Presuming you fly into Colombo in the west, you can head south to the beaches (by train) or head inland to the likes of Nuwara Eliya and escape to the cooler climate of the highlands. This is also accessible easily by train.

      Sri Lanka must be a good family destination, although for me the best part of Lanka was the heritage sites like Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, and if you have young kids they may get bored with things like that. 🙂


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