Called the Jewel of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has stunning scenery and well-kept cultural and historical sites. This is dream destination for travellers as there is so much to see and do: from the beauty of golden sandy beaches to the diverse of wildlife, from historic temples and sacred temples to tea estates and traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Here are 5 must do’s whilst holidaying on this incredible island.

Visit a Tea Plantation

In the 19th century the British turned the natural jungle landscape into an area which became an area devoted to the growing of tea. Sri Lankan tea is world famous so what could be better than sipping a cup of delicious Ceylon Tea on a veranda overlooking the sprawling tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya. Why not take a tour around Pedro tea estate, built in 1885 and full of 19th century engineering, to see where your morning cuppa originates. A visit to Dambatenne tea factory, built by Sir Thomas Lipton in 1890 is a very popular place destination where you can take a tour to learn all about the processes involved in transforming the humble green shoots into delicious tea so popular in the UK and around the world.

Climb Mount Sigiriya

The town of Sigiriya is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The town has one main attraction; its fortress, inclusive of various gardens and was built in the 5th century AD by King Kasyap. The fortress at Sigiriya is a World Heritage Site and even though the entire fortress is in ruins it is well worth a visit. Anyone taking the climb to the summit will be rewarded with picturesque views over the surrounding area.

Sigiriya Rock

See the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Another very popular attraction is the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage run by the Department of National Zoological Gardens. Pinnawela orphanage is situated northwest of the town Kegalla. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acre site is home to orphaned and injured elephants. Visitors and volunteers can get close to the elephants under the supervision of the keepers. Feeding the baby elephants with the largest milk bottle you ever saw is good fun, as is standing in the river Mahaweli watching the elephants bathing.

Sri Lanka Elephants

Visit a Turtle Hatchery

About 62 km south of Colombo in the South West is the city of Bentota. It is a city graced by palm trees and has a serene atmosphere. Here the Sea Turtle Project is a must if you want to take a look at the conservation of turtles in Sri Lanka. The turtle hatcheries are open from 06:00 in the morning to 18:00 in the evening. If you want to release a freshly hatched three-day old turtle into the ocean you can do it here.

Sri Lanka Turtles

Visit The Temple of the Tooth

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of the most-visited destinations in Kandy and is a UNESCO world Heritage site. It is the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world and is said to possess a sacred tooth relic of Buddha which has been preserved safely. The temple has a very long history, dating back to the end of the 16th century and although considerable damage was caused by the terrorist attacks of 1998 repairs have been made and it has not deterred tourists and pilgrims from visiting. The sacred tooth is housed in a Chedi made out of solid gold and once every six years the tooth is put on display for the public. Being a sacred relic for Buddhists it is cared for by the monks and priests who every Wednesday perform a symbolic bathing of the relic, with a preparation using scented water and fragrant flowers. This water is believed to possess healing powers.

Sri Lanka Temple

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