Weligama fishermen, Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 12 July

8 unique adventures that you can only experience in Sri Lanka

There's far more to Sri Lanka than beautiful beaches. Save turtles, learn to cook a curry and perhaps come face-to-face with a leopard in Asia’s diverse and beguiling nation

1: Meet Sri Lanka’s elusive leopards

Leopard in Sri Lankan National Park (Dreamstime)
Leopard in Sri Lankan National Park (Dreamstime)

Come face-to-face with one of Asia’s most beguiling creatures on this intensive leopard safari in Yala National Park with Wildlife Trails.

With five half-day jeep safaris and one full day drive, everything about this safari is designed to maximise your chances of quality leopard encounters. The park is also home to a substantial elephant population, as well as spotted deer, sambar, wild buffalo, sloth bear, jackal, mongoose and crocodiles, so keep your camera ready for Sri Lanka’s premier wildlife experience.

Who: Wildlife Trails

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 5 days

How much: From £840 (exc. flights)


2: Eat your way around Sri Lanka

Milk rice for sale in Sri Lanka(Dreamstime)
Milk rice for sale in Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)

Leave moderation at home and indulge yourself on this gourmet adventure in Sri Lanka with Intrepid.

From super fresh seafood straight from the Negombo seafood market to fiery curries cooked in local homes, your tastebuds will experience every flavour this beautiful island has to offer. 

Shopping trips to local markets reveal the colourful spices and exotic vegetables on offer. You’ll also take lessons in Tamil, Sinhalese and Bergher cooking so you can reproduce these treats for friends and family back home.

Who: Intrepid

When: Regular departures throughout 2017

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1194 (exc. flights)


3: Do your bit to save Sri Lanka’s sea turtles

Sea Turtle At Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project (Dreamstime)
Sea Turtle At Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project (Dreamstime)

Help monitor sea turtle activity and preserve the local nesting sites in the Kosgoda region of Sri Lanka on this conservation holiday with The Great Projects.

For two weeks, you will live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of Sri Lanka. You’ll play a vital role in the hatchery program, where eggs are collected and hatched safely away from predators, before being released into the sea. 

Thanks to you, the number of hatchlings reaching the sea will be maximised and their chances of surviving the critical stages of their early life will be greatly enhanced. 

Who: The Great Projects

When: Departures every Sunday

How long: 14 days

How much: From £545 (exc. flights)


4: Sri Lanka’s most luxurious body and soul retreat

Vrikshasana tree pose by the sea in Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)
Vrikshasana tree pose by the sea in Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)

Recharge your batteries, get in touch with nature and revel in luxury on this sumptuous surfing and yoga retreat with Exsus Travel.

Combining total relaxation with the impeccable service offered by Aman retreats, you’ll spend the first half of your trip at Amangalla, near Galle, and the second at the south coast beach hideaway of Amanwella. There's also the opportunity to enjoy holistic wellbeing treatments at the Samadhi Centre in Kandy.

Who: Exsus Travel

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 8 nights

How much: From £3,390 (inc. flights)


5: Make tracks through the real Sri Lanka

Life in the back roads of Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)
Life in the back roads of Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)

Trek deep into the heart of Sri Lanka and discover little visited parts of this island paradise on this two-week walking holiday with KE Adventure Travel.

Few places on Earth can rival the geographical variety of Sri Lanka. From 2500 metre peaks and emerald-green tea plantations to vast forest reserves and tropical coastline, this trip is designed to take you to its very heart. 

Trek the newly opened Namunukula range, conquer Adam's Peak, explore Aurugam Bay and a jeep safari in the Yala National Park. This is the Sri Lanka very few visitors get to see.

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: 21 Aug, 13, 20 Nov & 23 Dec

How long: 14 days

How much: From £1695 (exc. flights)


6: Discover Sri Lanka’s abundant sea life

Spinner dolphins in the wild (Dreamstime)
Spinner dolphins in the wild (Dreamstime)

The balmy waters around Sri Lanka are home to a wealth of cetacean life and you’ll see them all on this marine-themed nature adventure with Wildlife Worldwide.

Your first stop is Kalpitiya in the north-west, home to huge pods of spinner dolphins. Next up is Mirissa on the south coast, the best place in the world to see blue whales and sperm whale in deep water. 

If land-based mammals are more your scene, there’s the chance to see the elephants of Udawalawe National Park and the leopards of Yala National Park.

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Flexible dates Nov- Apr

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,195 (exc. flights)


7: Cycle the back roads of Sri Lanka

Bike parked in front of Buddhist ruins (Dreamstime)
Bike parked in front of Buddhist ruins (Dreamstime)

Explore varied Sri Lanka in depth and at a more revealing pace on a 14-day cycling tour with Exodus.

Cycling primarily along back roads, you’ll get under the skin of the country and its people, enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like cycling through the tea estates of Nuwara Eliya and the Buddhist ruins of Buduruvagela. 

A ride through Bundala National Park is one you’ll never forget and your downtime on the beaches of Ahangama will be a welcome and enjoyable break.

Who: Exodus

When: 29 Oct, 5, 12, 19 Nov & 17, 24 Dec 2017

How long: 14 days

How much: From £1699 (exc. flights)


8: Experience Sri Lanka’s wild side

Wild elephant at Udawalewa lake (Dreamstime)
Wild elephant at Udawalewa lake (Dreamstime)

Venture off the beaten track and experience Sri Lanka's wild side on this adventure-focused holiday with Selective Asia.

From close-up encounters with wildlife in Sri Lanka’s famous National Parks, to rafting and kayaking on its wild rivers and oceans, the action doesn’t let up. You'll climb to the summit of Adam’s Peak and trek through tea country to the spectacular World’s End cliff face. 

You could relax on a pristine Sri Lankan beach at the end, but we suspect you will succumb to the siren call of some of the world’s best breaks and do a bit of surfing instead.

Who: Selective Asia

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 14 days

How much: From £1804 (inc. flights)


Main image: Weligama fishermen, Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)