Sri Lanka's diversity of topography and climate results in the island begin the perfect year-round location for activity and adventure. And there's a host of experienced operators offering a plethora of services ranging from white water rafting and hot air ballooning to trekking, cycling and surfing.
There is no better or more exhilarating way to discover Sri Lanka’s spectacular scenery than white water rafting down of Majestic River. For instance, join the boulder-strrewn and picturesque Kelani Ganga(river) above Kitulgala and navigate name-chilling rapids such as Killer Falls and Head Chopper.
The higher-grade rapids of the Sithawaka Ganga and the icy depths of the elevated Kothmale Ganga between Hatton and Nuwara-Eliya provide experienced rafters with more of a challenge, while both black water rafting- carried out in the night three days prior to or after a full moon (poya)day- and white water kayaking, lend an even more thrilling angel to the sport.
With 103 rivers and a wealth of lagoons, reservoirs, swamps and ancient canals, opportunities to explore the island’s aquatic treasures by canoe and kayak are endless. Such trips also afford intersection with nature as spectacular scenery filled with wild life dominates the horizon. Furthermore, you can gain a privileged insight into rural Sri Lankan life by observing villagers’ going about their daily activities.
From leisurely trips of a few hours to more breathtaking journeys to a few days, both canoeing and kayaking opportunities are available for every skill level. The Kalu Ganga, which flown from the hill country to the west coast, offers one of the most enthralling journeys. The scenery changes spectacularly from upland tea, jungle and rubber plantations to serene palms, plains and paddy before finally reaching the famous Gangathilaka Vihara(temple) in Kaluthara.
Rock-climbing is a relatively new activity in Sri Lanka. The rugged terrain of the Knuckles Mountain Range offers some advantages locations for this sport, and scaling the rock-face of Bambarakanda waterfall, Sri Lanka’s highest, is exhilarating. Sri Lanka has many caves, which has given rise to the activity of carving. Some of the island’s caves date back 500 million years, so this activity provides a trip into the past.
Trekking and hiking are excellent ways to not only explore a country but also gain an insight into her people, their traditional and beliefs. The hill country offers some of the best terrain and scenery as trails wind through dense forest, up Steed Mountains, past flowing waterfalls, between fields of tea and through clear rivers that offer a cooling dip. In addition, the paths within the Cultural Triangle offer hikers a chance to abandon the beaten track and discover little-known temples, uninhabited jungle and archaeological remains.
Horton Plains, at an altitude of 2,134m, has a refreshing climate and a variety of walks though unusual high-attitude vegetation. The trek past Baker’s Fall to the dizzying 880m escarpment of World’s End is memorable, and scaling the holy mountain of Adam’s Peak(Sri Pada) is a physical and spiritual experience. The Knuckle Mountain Range is a delight as scenic trails wind though five major forest formations offering hikers the unique opportunity to see a variety of rare and endemic flora and fauna. Nature lovers will also enjoy the Sinharaja Forest Reserve whose biodiversity makes it one of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Much can be achieved by exploring the hill country, dry zone and rural roads by mountain bike. Sri Lanka’s trails offer something for everyone, with the hill country – the Knuckle Mountain Range especially – offering the experienced biker some of the best mountain biking terrain in the world.
Riding the ancient trade routes and old hunting paths through tea plantations, jungle and lush valleys can be merged or alternated with leisurely rides along the coast, besides reservoirs, though rubber and spice plantations enveloped by palms and paddy. Tip; the extensive remains of ancient cities such as Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Anuradhapura are best explores by bike.
Horde riding, which provides an elevated view of the countryside, is the best way to seek out Sri Lanka’s hidden spots. Being on horseback takes you to the most beautiful and historic part of the country from spectacular Sigiriya to enchanting Ella. Go for the day or choose a three-day to 14-day fully-supported island tour for the complete equine experience.
The experience of sleeping under the stars surrounded by nature in one of the island’s national parks is second to none. Campsites are cited in the most beautiful locations off the tourist trail. Camping is available in most national parks and nature reserves – from participatory camping where guests work with the staff to run the campsite, to standard and super – luxury where the experience is similar to that of a five-star hotel.
Gain an aerial perspective of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and national parks by hot air balloon. Most fights take off from the Cultural Triangle. Marvel as you float high above the monumental rock of Sigiriya, look down upon elephant undisturbed in the wild, see your reflection in the placid water of tanks and paddy fields, and admire the varied patchwork beauty of this unbelievable island.
Sri Lanka is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Asia, an asset best reflected in her national parks and reserves, home to thousands of different species from rare butterflies, brightly colored birds and iridescent tree frogs, to lumbering elephants, slothful bears and elusive leopards. A jeep safari will afford you the unforgettable opportunity to see some of the island’s most celebrated creatures.
Who would know that Sri Lanka has three of the finest 18-hole golf courses in Asia, one of which was designed by the renowned golf architect Donald Street, Well-Kept greens, charming caddies, immaculate club-houses and spectacular view of winding hills and large reservoirs characterize Sri Lankan golf courses, each of which is enhanced by an abundance of tropical birds and wildlife. The Royal Colombo Golf Club, the historical hill country golf course at Nuwara-Eliya and the Victoria Golf Course near Kandy offer varying challenges since their locations represent distinctive terrain and boast unique climatic conditions
Sri Lanka’s 1,340km of sandy coastline washed by aquamarine 270C water lends itself to the pursuit of water sports. Thanks to two well-defined monsoons occurring at alternating times on opposite sides of the island, these activities can be enjoyed year-round. The south-west monsoon (affecting the southern and Deep South coast) is from May to October, while the north-east (affecting the east coast) is from Mat to October.
The gentle swell of the Indian Ocean waves offer many opportunities for surfing. Arugam Bay on the coast is the island’s top surfing location. For its spectacular scenery and challenging breaks it’s well worth the long journey. The south coast has many secluded spots sited fairly close together allowing you to base yourself in one place and be able to try them all. Other top spots for surfing along the coast include Mirissa, Matara and Pottuvill Point. The best waves are generally around October to May.
Wind surfing can be carried out at many places along the coasting from Negombo to Tangalle. Benthota is the unofficial water-sports capital of the island because aside from its gentle rolling surfs and beautiful sandy beaches, it also has a river where beginners can gain valuable experience before heading in to the ocean.
Waterskiing, Banana Boating and Jet Skiing can be enjoyed in the calm water of the Benthota River and these fun activities offer excitement for all ages and any skill level. Trincomalee on the east coast offers a fantastic alternative for windsurfers when the south-west monsoon brings strong winds and rough seas.
In Negombo and Hikkaduwa, the increasingly popular thrill-seeking sports of wake boarding and kite surfing are beginning to take off.
Despite sports fishing being relatively undeveloped in Sri Lanka there are numerous opportunities to explore the open ocean, river or freshwater lagoon. Choosing to go with a professional and well-equipped guide in a powerboat or traditional outrigger canoe will reward you with a catch that might include barracuda, marlin, sail fish, Spanish mackerel and tuna. Freshwater fish include rainbow trout, which were introduced by the British.
A wide coral reef largely surrounds Sri Lanka’s coastline making it ideal for diving. An underwater journey into the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean rewards you with glimpses of a totally different world, full of astounding colour and life. Home to a magical variety of tropical fish and coral reefs, the calm ocean waters also lay claim to some historic wrecks that offer unusual exploration opportunities. The more laid-back activity of snorkelling is a popular past-time in many southern coastal areas while Pigeon Island in Nilaveli on the east coast offers some of the best.
Sri Lanka is the one of the best place in the world to see blue whales in their natural habitat. Sperm whales, killer whales, pilot whales and dolphins are also regularly spotted on whale watching trips organized from Mirissa on the south coast. Since the continental shelf is at its narrowest close to Dondra Head, Sri Lanka’s southernmost point, the deep water provides ideal feeding ground for migrating whales from November to April.
It is all about the Sri Lankan village life, We have an interesting excursion available in Habarana and Sigiriya, in the form of a traditional bullock cart ride. This maximum three hour program is designed for you to experience the real traditional Sri Lankan rural village style, where you will travel in a Bullock cart to a rural village through lush green paddy fields where you will be served tea and " juggery" along with lunch made to authentic Sri Lankan style. Traditional cooking methods, and a visit to a paddy field to see how the local farmers protect their crops from the wild animals, will be demonstrated. The finale of this excursion will be a traditional canoe ride in a lake.
five of the eight species of remaining sea turtles today, regularly visit the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka to nest. In Sri Lanka all sea turtles and their products are fully protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. Sea turtle frequent the western coastline and areas famous for turtle watching, are beaches around Induruwa and Kosgoda. Induruwa has a Turtle Research Project and Kosgoda has a Turtle Center, Conservation Project, Hatchery and a Research Centre as well.
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