Things to Do

Your guide to the best sights, attractions, festivals and events throughout Sri Lanka

Smart and Snazzy Snacks
Things to do

Smart and Snazzy Snacks

Swing with the new wave that's fast blowing a whole array of neat smart snazzy snacks to make your side dish come alive. 

Arugambay at Night
Things to do

Arugambay at Night

After a day of sunbathing, surfing and exploring, the cooling night provides the ideal atmosphere to enjoy the many cuisines and snacks available. If you simply want to have a roti, hopper or a crispy vadai you can make a quick stop at one of the food carts while walking along the road. Lamps are lit and grills are fired as the restaurants get ready to serve. Fresh fish and various types of seafood are laid out for diners to make their pick. This area is renowned for its selection of seafood. Thereafter, the dish is prepared according to their preference. Spicy aromas drift in the air, as the BBQ is prepared. There are restaurants that serve delicious pizzas, burgers, Sri Lankan, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and also fusion cuisine. However, if you wish to try something different you could head to some of the hotels such as the restaurant at Blue Wave Hotel, which offers both Sri Lankan and international cuisine. You may also dine at Arugambay Roccos, amidst the relaxing ambience of the Square. The delicious cuisine are freshly made and will be definitely satisfying as you enjoy the evening. Take a short ride to Whisky Point and dine at Dream Garden. With a delectable menu, you can enjoy your dinner while admiring the charming surroundings. Paper Moon Kudils also provides a unique experience as you savour the flavoursome dishes served at the Kusini. Prepared freshly, with many of the ingredients from their very own garden, the cuisine is a blend between Sri Lankan and contin

Minneriya Great Gathering
Attractions

Minneriya Great Gathering

Gusts of a balmy breeze rustle the green plains and the peaceful realm of the wilderness is alluring. Spanning over 88 square kilometers, the famed Minneriya National Park is a green oasis. Traversing the deep forest to catch a glimpse of its serene wonders is itself an adventure. As the descending sun glimmers over the waters of the massive Minneriya reservoir, it creates a spellbinding vista against the lush green backdrop. The reservoir was built by the great King Mahasen during the Anuradhapura kingdom. With the fall of dusk, one by one or sometimes in herds, mighty elephants and majestic tuskers head to the banks of the reservoir. A haven for its primary occupants, the reservoir and its banks do not fail the jumbos who come in search of water and food during the period from August to October. They journey together towards the tank, as Minneriya is the only place, which has sufficient food and water for them during the dry season in the region. This mass flocking of elephants in Minneriya is said to be the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants. While wandering around the banks and making trumpeting calls, the giant creatures enjoy the nourishing grasslands. Even before devouring a wholesome meal, some rush to the reservoir to indulge in the cool waters. As the elephants start playing with the water, the reservoir turns into their bathtub in the wilderness. They romp and play in the reservoir flapping their huge ears while enjoying a mud bath. One might give

Picturesque Passekudah
Attractions

Picturesque Passekudah

Turquoise waters shimmer and fringe the pale sands curving Passekudah bay. Located on the north eastern part of the island, approximately 35 kilometres from Batticaloa, Passekudah offers a serene getaway. The sunny shoreline is shaded by overlooking coconut palms. The shallow warm waters attracting holidaymakers from all corners of the globe. Depending on the season, one can wade through the pristine sea for several metres. Hushed by the sea breeze, there is a calming atmosphere in Passekudah. The serenity being the reason the beautiful coast is home to popular resorts curating a memorable getaway. Dawn and dusk are the ideal hours to witness the beauty of the beach. Watching the sun rise over the horizon, colouring the sky in shades of gold and orange, is a remarkable experience. Once the much-awaited daylight begins to permeate the atmosphere, the waters curdle with thrills of water sports. Water skis and jet scooters whiz past filling the air with a sense of excitement. Boat rides and yacht sailing are a much-loved family activity. Immerse yourself in relaxation, by taking a boat out to go deep sea fishing. Windsurfing is also popular along the bay, where the waters are shallow and the sands are soft. Passekudah is known for its unique coral reefs protecting the beaches.  On clear days snorkellers and divers can plunge into the pristine blue waters and witness these natural marvels as well as the marine life they sustain. The bay area has been declared a marine sanctu

The Happening Hospital Street
Things to do

The Happening Hospital Street

Surrounded by the aura of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, Hospital Street in Colombo Fort is the city’s quaintest street. At night, the paved path transforms into a bubbly and relaxing venue with live music and great food. Along the street are a range of bars, restaurants and café serving delicious food and beverages on terraces that open out to the avenue. At the corridor of the Dutch Hospital are the acoustic bands playing soothing music or the DJ filling the air with energetic tunes. Sitting on the tables arranged along the street at night, people are animated with laughter and chatter as they unwind after a busy day at work. It is the best place for a meet up with friends, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. As the night progresses the ambience takes many forms, ranging from soothing to energetic and toe-tapping to groovy. A few steps away is the open courtyard of the Dutch Hospital Precinct, which adds to the liveliness in the vicinity. Many travel between the courtyard and Hospital Street socialising and experiencing the best of both atmospheres. Hospital Street has become a popular place for those seeking unique experiences in an iconic atmosphere. Hence, there are street food festivals, jazz nights, art exhibitions and even cultural shows taking place nearly every month. During these events, the quaint path twinkles with lights and is sheathed with mouthwatering aromas rising from the live food stations. It’s an ambience that welcomes everyone, from families to

Major festivals in Sri Lanka

Festivals
Things to do

Festivals

July marks many significant festivals, including Feast of the Visitation at Madhu Shrine, Kataragama Perahera, Aadi Vel and Esala Full Moon Poya.

Adi Vel reverence for Lord Murugan
Things to do

Adi Vel reverence for Lord Murugan

In fact, the Aadi Vel festival in Colombo coincides with the Kataragama Perahera in the South of the island. Aadi Vel custom in the city is said to have started in 1874, when the colonial government forbade devotees from embarking on the traditional walk to Kataragama known as Pada Yatra owing to a spread of cholera. The Kataragama festival is a celebration of national significance and those who were unable to travel, initiated their own observance around Murugan temples in Colombo. There are two main Aadi Vel festivals in Colombo; one begins from the Sammankodu Sri Kathirvelayutha Swamy Temple in Pettah and travels to the Sri Manickavinayagar Temple in Bambalapitiya. The other parades the streets from the Kathiresan Kovil in Pettah to the New Kathiresan Kovil in Bambalapitiya. Aadi Vel is a colourful festival. The chariot decorated with two beautifully carved wooden horses and colourful garlands and flowers is drawn amidst a great deal of display. It bears the idol of Lord Murugan with his vel (golden spear) and his consorts, Theivaanai and Valli. As the chariot parades the streets, devotional sounds of Thavil and Naathaswaram – a traditional drum and wind instrument reverberate. The sound of fire crackers rings through, heralding the celebration of the great warrior god. Followers chant “haro hara”, while devotees smash coconuts before the chariot in fulfilment of vows, and countless bare trays with garlands, betel leaves, fruits, coconuts, burning incense sticks and ca

The calling of Kataragama Deviyo
Things to do

The calling of Kataragama Deviyo

The Kataragama Esala Perahera, set around the historic Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya in the south-east of Sri Lanka, begins this month with much reverence. An awe-inspiring annual ritual, which has been held for centuries; the festival draws thousands of devotees from various faiths and ethnicities who unite in worship as they pay reverence to the god Kataragama, the deity with six faces and twelve hands, mounted upon a peacock. The 15 days of the festival is a deeply sacred time in Kataragama. There is an air of exultation, with streets beautifully lit-up and decorated for the celebrations worshipping the deity also known as God Skanda and Lord Murugan. Worshippers of the God travel from across Sri Lanka for the festival. One of the most importance aspects of the Kataragama festival is the Pada Yatra. It is a walk of faith by devotees who travel from Jaffna to the island’s Southern coast in time for the Kataragama Perahera. Generally, the procession commences from Nagadeepa in the North and thousands of pilgrims brave the walk through wild terrain amidst rain and sun. The origins of the Pada Yatra are linked to the Veddas or indigenous people of Sri Lanka, who made the long journey in honour of their jungle princess Valli Amma, who was God Kataragama’s consort. As a testament to their profound belief, the pilgrims -men, women and children, embark on this spiritual voyage, walking through the East coast jungles and dry land with only the bare necessities. They camp in t

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What to do in Sri Lanka

Today
Things to do

Today

Feeling spontaneous? The best things to do today are listed out here.

Tomorrow
Things to do

Tomorrow

Check out the best of tomorrow, ideal for some last minute planning

This weekend
Things to do

This weekend

Here’s whats up during the weekend

Next seven days
Things to do

Next seven days

A guide to live it up the coming week featuring festivals, food, music, exhibitions and all kinds of entertainment

More things to do...

Sports
Things to do

Sports

Cheer on your favourite sports personalities as the games move forward.

Top 10 things to do this month
Travel

Top 10 things to do this month

July has some exciting things to do; from festivals to sports and wildlife adventures. 

Places to visit in the east

Arugambay at Night
Things to do

Arugambay at Night

After a day of sunbathing, surfing and exploring, the cooling night provides the ideal atmosphere to enjoy the many cuisines and snacks available. If you simply want to have a roti, hopper or a crispy vadai you can make a quick stop at one of the food carts while walking along the road. Lamps are lit and grills are fired as the restaurants get ready to serve. Fresh fish and various types of seafood are laid out for diners to make their pick. This area is renowned for its selection of seafood. Thereafter, the dish is prepared according to their preference. Spicy aromas drift in the air, as the BBQ is prepared. There are restaurants that serve delicious pizzas, burgers, Sri Lankan, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and also fusion cuisine. However, if you wish to try something different you could head to some of the hotels such as the restaurant at Blue Wave Hotel, which offers both Sri Lankan and international cuisine. You may also dine at Arugambay Roccos, amidst the relaxing ambience of the Square. The delicious cuisine are freshly made and will be definitely satisfying as you enjoy the evening. Take a short ride to Whisky Point and dine at Dream Garden. With a delectable menu, you can enjoy your dinner while admiring the charming surroundings. Paper Moon Kudils also provides a unique experience as you savour the flavoursome dishes served at the Kusini. Prepared freshly, with many of the ingredients from their very own garden, the cuisine is a blend between Sri Lankan and contin

Somawathi National Park
Things to do

Somawathi National Park

Located 266km north-east of Colombo, the 37,762ha park is one of the four under the Mahaweli River development. Home to elephants along with other flora and fauna, the park joins with Trikonamadu Nature Reserve and Flood Plains National Park. The park is home to historic Somawathiya Chaitya, the stupa which was named after Princess Somawathi.       

Underwater Safaris
Things to do

Underwater Safaris

Underwater Safaris has one of the most interesting histories of all Colombo businesses. It was started by the fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke with his partner Hector Ekanayake in the 1950s. Today it boasts two centres, one in Colombo and one in Hikkaduwa. Boats leave at around 9am to dive 28 feet below the surface of the sea, offering ample opportunities to see everything the ocean has to offer. Both dive sites are within range of shipwrecks, which are some of the best places to dive and see wonderful tropical fish. It's an experience which shouldn't be missed.

Fort Frederick
Attractions

Fort Frederick

Built in the 1600s, Ford Frederick is a colonial fort by the Portuguese in the Trincomalee Town. The Fort is well known to house within it, the Koneswaram Temple, yet another attraction in this area. Captured by a Dutch fleet, the Fort was re-created, to defend against any threats from the British and the French.  Currently, it is manned by the Sri Lankan Army and is an alluring tourist destination depicting the footprints left behind by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Inside, you will also stumble across the Gokana Temple and the Wellesley Lodge, among other historical imprints. The remarkable landmark offers an unparalleled experience, taking you on a journey back in time. 

Get ready for the East Coast!
Travel

Get ready for the East Coast!

From surfing to leisurely evening strolls and exciting whale watching, there are plenty of things to do. Visit religious sites and enjoy safari rides. 

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