Things to Do

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

The Fascinating City
Restaurants

The Fascinating City

The bustling city never runs out of its lively ambience filled with good food and invigorating beverages. From happening streets to subtle and intimate settings, there's a choice for everyone. 

September High Five
Travel

September High Five

September greets a more laidback Sri Lanka, but the island is still bursting with life and unveils a new facet that enthrals the visitors. The slow pace of life is perfect for exploring the diverse culinary traditions in different regions, visiting idyllic villages or to simply immerse in the cultural wealth that the island has to offer.

Koggala
Attractions

Koggala

Fishermen on stilts patiently waiting for fish to gobble up the bait dangling from thangus thread attached to long thin poles made out of kithul stems are an iconic sight in Koggala. One of the most attractive and longest beaches of Sri Lanka, Koggala is favoured by fish such as koraburuwo and bollan. Visitors to the Koggala beach can still see fishermen practising this slowly dying but nevertheless charming fishing technique.  In the afternoon, beachgoers can stay to watch as these fishermen walk chest deep into the waves to perch on their stilts and cast their fishing rods into the water. Lingering on as the evening gives way to night, visitors can enjoy stunning sunsets, where the entire sky appears to be set ablaze by the fiery sun sinking beneath the waves. Koggala is also the home of the famous Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum. The veteran Sinhala author penned many a story with Koggala as the setting, and at the museum, various traditional kitchen utensils and Sri Lankan carts, kolam masks, and Buddhist artefacts are displayed, providing an insight to Sri Lankan folk culture of days gone by. The Sri Lanka Air Force plane parked permanently at the end of the Koggala airstrip is another attraction that lures in the visitor. On the nearby beach, there is a swimming pool blasted into the rock by British airmen stationed at Koggala in the 1940s. At the quaint Ranwella Temple in Giniwella, visitors can see the first press in Ceylon. Gifted by the King of Siam in 1859, i

Top 10 things to do this September!
Things to do

Top 10 things to do this September!

September offers a bounty of interesting things to do, from English plays to fascinating art exhibitions and fairs for everyone.

Remember me Sri Lanka by LAF
Things to do

Remember me Sri Lanka by LAF

The events begin with Run to Remember, which will kick off from the Taj Samudra North Lawn on September 1 at 4.30pm. The first event, which is a five kilometre run, will be flagged off by Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries – the first Sri Lankans to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Runners will have to be present at the venue by 4pm for registration and the briefing. The runners and spectators are also encouraged to purchase a t-shirt and other memorabilia sold by the volunteers to help raise awareness and funds for the Foundation. A unique art exhibition titled, “Remember me Sri Lanka” will be held from September 22 – 30 at the Barefoot Gallery from 10am – 7pm. The exhibition will feature the works of Sabine Ferber, a volunteer of LAF. The vibrant collection of 26 collages are skilfully created as a means of holistic therapy. A theme featuring Sri Lanka enables the members of Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation to enjoy while at the same time enhance their social engagement by inspiring conversations among people who generally have difficulties in expressing themselves. Cinnamon Grand’s Angsana Garden will hold the five kilometre Walk to end Alzheimer on September 29 at 8.30am; the participants are invited to gather there at 8am to meet prior to the commencing of the walk. Refreshments will be provided as the walk routes out through key roads of Colpetty, with police escorts assisting at all times. There will also be a raffle draw with attractive prizes to culminate th

Major festivals in Sri Lanka

Festivals
Things to do

Festivals

September marks many significant festivals including the Feast of Our Lady of Matara, Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya, Festival of Vallipuram Vishnu Kovil, Getabaruwa Esala Perahera and Maha Saman Devalaya Perahera. The Nallur Kandaswamy Festival, also continues this month.

Nallur Festival – A magnificent adoration of Lord Murugan
Things to do

Nallur Festival – A magnificent adoration of Lord Murugan

With origins dating back to the reign of Aryachakravarthi’s rule during the 13th century, the Kovil has a remarkable history. Since the re-emergence of the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil during Dutch colonisation, the kovil has flourished under the custodianship of the Maapaana Mudaliyar family, where the traditions of Shaivism and worship of the Divine Child – lord Murugan are strictly upheld. The simple brick structure built for the ‘Vel’ in the early days still remains as the Sanctum Sanctorum, preserved amidst the Dravidian and Hindu architectural characteristics added over the centuries. All worshippers are treated equally and it is the only Kovil in Sri Lanka where archanai or personal pooja is offered at one rupee. The Custodians have over the years ensured that time is upheld as sacred, and all customs, pooja and even festivals are held on time. The Mahotsavam also called Nallur Festival is the grandest and most venerated with processions and elaborate festivals. It commences with the Flag Hoisting Festival on August 16 and concludes with Vairavarshanthi on September 11. Some of the main festivities include Mancham (Aug 25) when lord Murugan and his consorts are taken in procession in the outer (premises) Prakaram of the Kovil. During the Kailasa Vahanam (Sept 4) pageant, worshippers are filled with awe amidst the astounding chariot representing Mount Kailash in the Himalaya range. Lord Murugan and his consorts are mounted on elaborate horse chariots for the Orumuga (Sept

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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...

Discover the island on a train – the best views around the country
Travel

Discover the island on a train – the best views around the country

The first steam powered train in Sri Lanka rolled into the Ambepussa station on December 27, 1864 via the Main Line being built from Colombo to Kandy. Since then, the Sri Lankan railway has travelled on a progressive journey and has served countless passengers, daily commuters and holidaymakers. One of the most romantic ways to discover the tropical island is by train. Colloquially known as the yakada yaka, these iron devils rumble along the tracks, allowing countless passengers to enjoy delightful views of the scenic landscape; and the rhythmic and repetitive sound of the train can be heard as it passes over the railway sleepers. There are three main rail lines that take passengers to the south, the east and the north, all setting forth from Colombo. Each of these railway lines offer splendid scenery before arriving at the final terminus. 

Sports
Things to do

Sports

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

September High Five
Travel

September High Five

September greets a more laidback Sri Lanka, but the island is still bursting with life and unveils a new facet that enthrals the visitors. The slow pace of life is perfect for exploring the diverse culinary traditions in different regions, visiting idyllic villages or to simply immerse in the cultural wealth that the island has to offer.

Minneriya Gathering
Attractions

Minneriya Gathering

The Minneriya National Park has at its heart the ancient Minneriya reservoir, built by King Mahasen. As the dry season begins to wither the green land of the rustic North Central province, and suck dry the waters in the area, the elephants have no option but to follow their scent looking for sweet grass and water. The Minneriya reservoir never dries, so it becomes the centre of herds literally nosing their way through. The herds converge and their ‘gathering’ can grow up to 300 elephants. The Gathering has the allure of being the biggest annual grouping of elephants in Asia. The drought months of late June to September propel it. If you wish to experience the complete splendour of the giants living out their life in the open, be ready before dusk. Late afternoon is when the peace-loving, gentle animals prefer to have this social evening or garden party. In their hundreds, the elephants are happy to squelch in the precious pocket of lush sweet grass and muddy water. Their hides will be bathed in the golden dusk light and, possibly, their glow of happiness, at this massive herd rendezvous. They bathe, mate, eat and socialise. You will have a good number of animated action to witness on the same plane. Look out for the adorable tiny ones that run like nobody’s business, but approach with care because the jealous mothers, aunts and uncles are quite protective. The Gathering in Minneriya is truly a rare and must-see spectacle!  The Gathering is best witnessed at dusk in the mon

A Mannar Adventure
Attractions

A Mannar Adventure

In the North, along the western belt of the island and amidst the vivid natural beauty of Mannar, there are hideem wonders to witness and experience. Cruising through shurbland and paddy fields, one can immediately understand why Mannar is called the "Rice Bowl" of Sri Lanka. Syop by the Giant Tank, an ancient engineering marvel that has for centuries sustained this fertile landscape and helped farmers reap their harvests. A century ago, the pearl banks in the waters off Mannar drew the attention of colonisers. Enticed by this prominent economic value, the Portuguese, Dutch and British left their footprints in Arippu. These ancient vestiges include the Doric House- the residence of the first British Governor of Ceylon, Fredrick North and the Arippu Fort. Visit the Mathota Raja Maha Viharaya linked to the port where Arhat Mahinda landed. The sacred Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu is the abode of a miraculous statue where devotees from all faiths journey to from far and wide for worship. The historic Thiruketheswaram Kovil is one of the island's five sacred Ishwarams dedicated to God Shiva. Journey along the causeway to Mannar Island; an isle of legend, fishing and bird watching. Be enthralled by a sprawling Baobab tree of the Mannar fort, planted by Arab traders. Witness the Adam's Bridge or Rama Sethu; limestone shoals that once connected India and Sri Lanka. Today, the bridge is popular for kitesurfing. Also, on the isle is the famed Adam's Tomb; an Islamic place of worship,

Places to visit in the east

Have a wave of a time in Arugambay!
Things to do

Have a wave of a time in Arugambay!

Sun, sands and whopping waves, the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka is in its element. Whether you are a beginner or pro, enthusiast or first-timer, grab a surf board and head on over. Along the beaches, nestled amidst forestry or rural villages, there are many surf points in the southeast, some hidden away in the wild terrain. It’s more than waves... There is so much to eat, see and do... Many hotels as well as restaurants are located in the southeastern coast and along the Main Street in Arugambay where the nightlife is especially happening (See East Coast). Relish delicious cuisine from around the world with a unique local twist, enjoy tasty Sri Lankan fare and street food and savour the delightful treats from roadside barbecues. Explore the untouched wilderness and witness herds of elephants, leopards, deer and birdlife at the National Parks, Sanctuaries and even lagoons. If you are lucky you might even catch a glimpse of elephants strolling along the roadside, especially in the evening and at dawn. Arugambay and the surrounding area was once part of the illustrious Magam Ruhunu Kingdom extending to the second century BC. Take some time to discover the ancient mysteries and be enthralled by remnants of structures built by kings of yore. Ride the waves, lounge on the sunny, sandy beach, explore and experience the best of Arugambay. Surf’s up in the East Coast and it is time for a wave of an adventure. Tip: Do not wander into the wilderness and water bodies. Al

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

Pigeon Island National Park
Things to do

Pigeon Island National Park

The island just one kilometre and a few minutes by boat, from Nilaveli Coast, Trincomalee is in itself a unique destination. Lush greenery and white sandy shores enveloped by the foaming waves of the bright sapphire ocean, The Pigeon Island Marine Park is a must visit for the ocean lovers and the adventerous; snorkelling amidst the colourful schools of fish and the conserved coral reefs is an exhilarating experience! Make sure you’re well equipped and accompanied by an expert, who will guide you through the sites and even take you to a shark point! 

Kumana National Park
Travel

Kumana National Park

Kumana is well known for its wildlife and more so for its migratory and indigenous bird population. Sightings of changeable hawk eagles, painted and rare black necked storks, egrets, godwits, ibis and many more are possible by the many lagoons, and reflected in eyes of curious, wandering jackals.  While on safari, watch out for the elephants, spotted, and sambhur deer. They too are quite active around watering holes like the Kumana Villu swamp, and in pockets of lush foliage. Kumana is situated in the eastern district of Ampara and is 12km south of Arugam Bay. There is a turn off just before the town of Panama, which leads to the National Park. 

Panama
Attractions

Panama

A little distance away from the South of Arugam Bay, you will come to an endearing little village called Panama. Unspoilt and remote, Panama is host to a charmed way of life and century-old traditions unheard of in modern Sri Lanka. Spiritual beliefs and faith intertwine irrevocably with the quiet everyday life in the village. The community of 5000 families harbours much faith in the blessings of the Pattini Deity and is venerated at the Angpiti Devale. Villagers are filled with tales of the past that weave the colourful history of the village. Amidst natural beauty and attractions, such as the Panama Lake and Panama Beach, the village is interspersed with farming lands, paddy fields and greenery. 

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