13 Unexpectedly Awesome Things To Do On Your Next Sri Lankan Adventure! 

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With its exotic destinations and rich history, Sri Lanka is a magnet for travellers all around the world. It has a beautiful culture and history, along with so many tiny towns and villages in the provinces that have never been touched by tourists!

This little island nation has gone beyond its domestic problems and has been welcoming people from across the globe to explore its land.

Walk along its many beaches for a strong whiff of the sea and a taste of the street vendors selling their best fried fish and steamed rice. Your Sri Lankan experience will be dominated by the taste of coconut curry and 'arrack' and a lot many exciting things to do and see.

Here are 13 things to do in Sri Lanka that will make your trip to erstwhile Ceylon, absolutely perfect!

Explore the bustling streets of Colombo!

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Photo of Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

Sri Lanka is a hub of the apparel industry, and on the streets you will see many local boutiques and factory outlets selling branded clothes! Check out places such as Barefoot, which also has its own cafe, Laksala, a state gift shop and souvenir boutique or Odel, which is a huge shopping complex in the heart of Colombo. Your shopping spree will never come to an end if you visit these shops, or find better ones! All these outlets have good quality products, and are good value for money.

Bathe and feed the elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary in Kandy!

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Photo of Millenium Elephant Foundation, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

Did you ever think that you might end up bathing really cute elephants, and taking care of them for a day on your holiday? Well, this can happen if you visit the elephant sanctuaries in Kandy – there are two; Millennium Elephant Foundation and Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage. At the Millennium Elephant Foundation, you can spend your day walking with elephants, bathing them, giving them their meals and helping the organisation create awareness about taking care of wild or rescued elephants.

Check out the exquisite collection of gems at the Gem Museum and learn how they are carved out of rocks!

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Photo of Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

In Kandy, there are many things to do and see however, the most informational thing to do here, will be to visit the Gem Museum. The museum has a collection of over a thousand different types of gem stones of different shapes and sizes. They have a special area that shows how workers work in the mines to obtain these precious stones. Click here for more details.

The best tea in the world is actually made in Sri Lanka. Check out the tea-making process at the Ceylon Tea Museum!

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Photo of Ceylon Tea Museum, Hantana, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

The Ceylon Tea Museum stores the best tea leaves and showcases the history of tea making in Sri Lanka. Did you know that most of the popular tea companies actually import their tea leaves from Sri Lanka? Well, Sri Lanka is definitely a place where you can buy some exquisite variety of tea from the source itself. The Ceylon Tea Museum is a testament to the first crops of the different varieties of tea that are grown in Sri Lanka by British officials. The museum is open from 8.30am to 3.45pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 8.30am to 3pm on Sundays.

Go back in time at the Galle Fort, and experience the magic of Portuguese architecture!

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Photo of Galle fort, Galle, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

The Old Town of Galle and its fortifications have been marked as a world heritage site by UNESCO and you will realise why when you visit it. Entering the main arch door, you can spot the pinstriped lighthouse in a corner, and further down the road you will be surrounded by buildings painted yellow, blue and white, giving you an ethereal feeling. Walk around the fort or play at the beach, but be very careful of stuntmen who will be ready to jump off the cliff, a tactic used to get money out of tourists.

Eat scrumptious meals at quaint cafes, inside the buildings of the Portuguese era Galle Fort.

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Photo of Pedlar's Inn, Pedlar Street, Galle, Southern Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

After sunset, the Galle Fort looks even more amazing than it would in the morning. All the street vendors come out and shops open up. There are so many beautiful cafes and shops that are inside the Galle fort, that it might become a little confusing to pick one. But do go to a little cafe-cum-gemstone shop, called Pedlars Inn which is situated inside what used to be a British Post Office once. The staff is extremely friendly, and you might just get the best jewellery and clothing in Galle here.

Take a tour of Sri Lanka's rich history at the Golden Cave Temple at Dambulla!

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Photo of Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

The Dambulla Cave Temple, also called the Golden Cave Temple, is a set of five caves that are perfect for those who enjoy getting to know the history of different places. This temple is so pristine; people say visiting it will be a blessing for you. Considered to be one of the oldest temples in Sri Lanka, it has a huge statue of Buddha inside. This historical place will revitalise your journey ahead in Sri Lanka!

Visit the enormous Lion Rock Temple at Sirigaya

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Photo of Sigiriya, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

This magnanimous structure will blow you away because it is so overwhelming! The Lion Rock Temple at Sirigaya has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in Sri Lanka. It was constructed by a king who used this temple as his personal getaway, and after his death this temple was used as a Buddhist monastery. When you reach the top of the rock, you will have an incredible view to see!

Explore the temple of a thousand pillars, the Koneswaram Temple, and take your blessings!

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Photo of Koneswaram Temple, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

The Koneswaram Temple is an important pilgrimage site for Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka. This temple is beautifully decorated and has many statues buried underwater as well. Even if you are not very fond of religious sites, visit this temple to get a great view of the Indian Ocean and the 5th largest natural harbour in the world! This place is serene, and if you are a lover of the seaside, it is a must visit for you.

Take a break from all the sightseeing and rejuvenate at Bentota beach

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Photo of Bentota Beach by Pritha Puri

After finishing a lot of sightseeing, you can always take a break and relax at a pretty beach that has sand absolutely spotless, and the water crystal blue. The Bentota beach is in a little coastal town called Bentota, where you can engage in many exciting activities such as cycling, kayaking, or safari rides. Go for water sport activities on the beach, or take a kayaking trip around the village water trails, a much needed deviation!

Spend some time with tiny turtles at the Turtle Hatchery in Hikkaduwa and do a good deed this vacation

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Photo of Hikkaduwa Beach, Hikkaduwa, Southern Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

The Turtle Hatchery in Hikkaduwa is an amazing little place sustained by a man whose family got washed away in a tsunami. This man, who is the owner of the Turtle Hatchery continued to fulfil his father's dream and take it to great heights. This organisation runs on donations and its main purpose is to save little turtle eggs, wait till they are ready to hatch and then release the turtle babies into the sea again. There are many such turtle hatcheries in Hikkaduwa, which you can visit. The Turtle Hatchery is located on a very pretty beach, which you can explore.

Explore the beaches and waterfalls in the east of this little island nation!

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Photo of Arugam Bay, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

When on the East Coast, take all your time to try your hand at surfing, after all it is considered the best place for surfing in Sri Lanka. The beaches are clean, and you will not spot too many tourists around either. Arugam Bay is perfect for all kinds of travellers, ready to explore without any hiccups! You could be a backpacker or someone who loves to lounge in luxury, Arugam Bay has something for everyone. Don't miss out on experiencing an authentic coastal lifestyle.

Climb Adam's Peak at Ratnapura for an adventurous end to your vacation!

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Photo of Adam's Peak, Nuwara Eliya, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Pritha Puri

The Adam's Peak is considered holy by the people of Sri Lanka, and as legends suggest, this mountain has the sacred footprints of god. This peak is the highest point in Sri Lanka and undoubtedly the most beautiful as well. To reach Adam's peak, you have to trek up for a couple of hours. All the adventure junkies head to this point in favourable weather conditions, to get the best view one could get in Sri Lanka. There are many hiking and trekking routes up the Adam's peak, and you can pick one according to your own fitness level. You will not regret this at all!

Do you have any such experiences that should be on the list? Let me know by commenting below!

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