Adventure holidays in Sri Lanka
Are you someone who craves adrenaline-pumping activities and heart-stopping adventures? If so, then Sri Lanka should definitely be on your travel bucket list. This tiny island nation in South Asia is a veritable paradise for thrill-seekers, with its diverse terrain and a wide range of exciting activities on offer.
Not to take away from the culture it is so famous for, a Sri Lanka adventure holiday takes you into a whole other world. Cycle around its vast network of quiet roads alongside coconut groves, paddy fields and tea plantations. Or hike in tea plantation regions of Nuwara Eliya and The Knuckles Ranges. The white water rapids on the Kelani River at Kitulgala are also rafting and canyoning central. And you can even go whale watching.
From surfing on the sun-kissed beaches to trekking through lush forests and mountain ranges, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a beginner looking for an exciting challenge, you’ll find plenty to explore in Sri Lanka.
Water based adventures
Sri Lanka offers a vast range of water sports for people who seek real adventure on their holiday. So, here we have listed down the best water sports in Sri Lanka that will give gift you the best time of your life. Take a look! Snorkeling in Sri Lanka is one of the best water sports that will thrill your senses! Go deep in the sea and be delighted by the tropical fishes, colored coral reefs, and the shipwrecks. The best places to indulge in snorkeling are Pigeon island, Hikkaduwa Beach, and the Kalpitiya Beach. So, now you also know where to head right away!
2. White Water Rafting
One of the top water activities in Sri Lanka, White Water rafting offers a fun-packed experience. Kelani river is famous for white water rafting where you will get to raft through the rapids and minors of the water. If you are visiting Sri Lanka with friends or family, this is one thing you must do!
One of the best water activities in Sri Lanka, Kayaking is the safest thing that everyone can experience on their trip to Sri Lanka. Paddle through the river, explore the wildlife and relax while enjoying the serene views of the surroundings, is all that one has got to do!
4. Whale Watching in Mirissa:
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience, don’t miss the chance to go whale watching in Mirissa. This charming coastal town in the south of Sri Lanka is known for its whale watching tours, which take you out into the deep waters of the Indian Ocean to spot blue whales, humpback whales, and other marine species. The best time for whale watching in Mirissa is from November to April, when the seas are calm and the whales are most active.
Sri Lanka is home to a variety of unique and fascinating wildlife, and there’s no better way to experience it than on a wildlife safari. Yala National Park, located in the southeast of the country, is one of the best places to spot leopards, elephants, and a variety of bird species. Other popular parks include Udawalawe National Park, which is known for its large herds of elephants, and Wilpattu National Park, which boasts the highest concentration of leopards in the country. Wildlife safaris are typically conducted in jeeps or on foot, with experienced guides who can help you spot and identify different species.
2. Hiking and trekking
For many tourists, Sri Lanka is all about its idyllic, blond beaches, but the country’s exotic, mountainous interior holds a whole other world that’s ideal for hikers.
The main method of transportation on this stunning tropical island was hiking until railways were constructed through the highlands. Within easy striking distance of the coast, modern trekkers can enter a wonderland of rugged ruins, sacred sites, epic viewpoints, and tumbling tea estates.
Adam’s Peak-Best spiritual hike
7km (4 miles), 2.5–4 hours, moderate
Known variously as Adam’s Peak (the spot where Adam first set foot on earth after being cast out of heaven), Sri Pada (the “sacred footprint” left by the Buddha as he headed towards paradise) and Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain, where butterflies go to die), Sri Lanka’s most sacred summit is revered by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. The dawn hikes up the 5200 steps leading from the village of Dalhousie to the mountaintop is as much a spiritual journey as a physical expedition, offering a window onto Sri Lanka’s soul as well as views over its jaw-dropping landscapes.
Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock-Best easy hike
4.5km to 10km (3 to 6 miles), half-day, easy
Ella is the hiking hub of the hills, and pretty much every guest house in town can provide a map of the tracks and trails that wind between the ridges to tea estates, waterfalls and viewpoints. It’s easy to fill several days wandering to lookouts and posing for pics (or watching Instagrammers do the posing) beside the landmark Nine Arches Bridge. Staying in a guesthouse also means a fabulous, home-cooked meal at the end of a day of walking. Start your explorations with the 4.5km (3 mile) round-trip to Little Adam’s Peak – a green knoll with great views of waterfalls and tea factories shimmering out of the mist that cloaks the surrounding hills. The 10km (6 mile) walk to Ella Rock is more demanding, but also more rewarding; a sustained climb through classic highland country, starting right on the railway tracks at Ella Station. A final ascent through eucalyptus forests will drop you on top of a rocky outcrop with dizzying views over the hill country .
The Knuckles – Best hike for adventurers
Distances vary, 1–2 days, hard
To trek off the tourist map in Sri Lanka, head to the densely forested Knuckles Range northeast of Kandy. This rugged massif forms part of the UNESCO-listed Peak Wilderness Protected Area, founded to protect the island’s threatened montane and cloud forests. Hiking in the Knuckles Range, you’ll see more locals than tourists, and probably more buffaloes, monkeys and birds than people. With a bit of luck, you might even glimpse a leopard or wild elephant amidst the misty greenery. Guides are mandatory though, so you’ll need to make arrangements with an agency in Kandy.
The name “Knuckles” comes from the profile of these craggy peaks, which resemble a closed fist from a distance. Most people visit on two-day camping treks from Kandy, exploring the small villages and terraced paddy fields in the foothills before climbing onto the high massif. Agencies usually traverse the park from east to west, staying overnight in safari tents and detouring to waterfalls and caves along the way. Bring a bird book – close encounters with many of the 128 bird species that inhabit the park are pretty much guaranteed.
Air based adventures
1. hot air balloon ride
When you ride in a hot air balloon over Sri Lanka’s Paradise Island, you will have truly experienced magic. Because it is so calm and predictable, the climate in Dambulla-Kandalama is ideal for ballooning.
Sri Lanka Balloon Rides typically take place in the early morning (when the weather is calmer), and depending on the wind speed and direction, the average distance traveled ranges from one to ten miles.
They will fly between treetop level, where you can enjoy low-level contour flying, and several thousand feet in the air, which is the ideal vantage point to take in the grandeur of the Dambulla-Kandalama region. They guarantee a comfortable Sri Lanka Balloon flight because they carry the fewest passengers per balloon. At the take-off launch, you can enjoy an open-barrel Sri Lankan breakfast while watching us inflate the balloons before your flight. They don’t just fly straight, either. soar high and descend to fly over lakes, trees, and all the natural beauty on the ground.
They don’t just fly straight, either. soar high and descend to fly over lakes, trees, and all the natural beauty on the ground.
Have you always wanted to soar high over Sri Lanka’s vast countryside? Take into account paragliding! Paragliding, one of the most well-known adventure and recreation sports in Sri Lanka, is the skill of flying a light, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft without any rigid structure. As you soar through the air like a bird, take in Sri Lanka from above. The best paragliding in Sri Lanka is found in the mountainous areas, and the breathtaking aerial views will give you a great rush.
Paragliding is an exciting sport that is done in specific places. While there are so many places to try paragliding all over the world, Ella in Sri Lanka is one of the best places for trying this activity. Paragliding in Sri Lanka exclusively takes place in Ella. It is a prime location for hundreds of foreign visitors. Ella Adventure Park, situated in the outer region of Ella, hosts the paragliding sports. The average flight time for intermediate level is usually 25 minutes. An average pilot is assigned for the adventure. Ella Adventure Park is the only provider of paragliding in the island as of now.
5 Tips for beginners
1.Bring insect repellent
Although Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free by the World Health Organization in 2016, there are still a lot of mosquitoes to be found, especially during the rainy season. Bring some powerful mosquito repellant with you if you’re prone to getting bitten by them because they just adore your sweet, sweet blood. Otherwise, they’ll drive you crazy and keep you up all night.
2.Bring decent hiking shoes
Last year Sri Lanka won an award for being the “Best Adventure Travel Destination in Asia” beating out competition from Nepal, Thailand and other more popular travel destinations. Backpacking Sri Lanka is perfect for those with a love of adventure and the great outdoors, with incredible hiking routes, waterfalls to explore, jungles to trek through and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences. Doing all these in flip-flops or sandals is definitely not recommended.
3.It might rain. A lot.
You must keep in mind that places like Sri Lanka, which are incredibly lush and green, wouldn’t be as stunning without all the rain they are blessed with. While it does rain frequently, and when it does, the skies open up, it really only lasts for a few hours before the sun returns to play.
It’s best to be ready for rain by packing an umbrella, a lightweight rain jacket, and some flip-flops or decent sandals to wear instead of your shoes, which will get ruined from walking through puddles.
4.Get up early
The weather in Sri Lanka is pretty much the same all year round – hot and humid every day! I found the earlier I got up, the better the day I had. Waking up for sunrise and doing a sunrise hike or even just going to the beach or a nearby lake, was the perfect way to start each day.
The light is so beautiful in the morning, perfect for photography, and the sun is low in the sky so it’s a nice time for hiking without getting burnt alive! Also, as there is not much of a nightlife scene anywhere in Sri Lanka, you will find yourself going to bed early and thus waking up early should be a breeze.
5.Be careful of leeches
If travelling to Sri Lanka during rainy season, you need to watch out for leeches. If hiking through jungle, near waterfalls, or across mountains with long gras…there will be leeches. You need to wear long pants and hiking boots and bring a bottle of water mixed with salt to get them off.
Sri Lanka is a fantastic destination for adventure holidays. With its diverse terrain, tropical climate, and rich cultural heritage, it offers a wealth of exciting activities for thrill-seekers and explorers. Whether you’re a fan of water-based activities like surfing and diving, prefer land-based adventures like hiking and wildlife safaris, or want to try something more extreme like paragliding or skydiving, Sri Lanka has something to offer you. And with so many amazing experiences to be had, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
Of course, no adventure holiday would be complete without comfortable and convenient accommodation. Fortunately, Sri Lanka has a variety of options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly lodges and homestays, all of which cater to different budgets and tastes.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your adventure holiday in Sri Lanka today, and get ready to experience the ultimate thrill of a lifetime!