Sri Lanka Things to Do

  • Sampath Bank, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Sampath Bank, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty
  • Sampath Bank, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Sampath Bank, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty
  • Elephant Ginger Beer, Sri Lanka.
    Elephant Ginger Beer, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty

Most Recent Things to Do in Sri Lanka

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    An excellent place to change money.

    by planxty Updated Apr 14, 2014

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    Sampath Bank, Wellewatta, Sri Lanka.
    3 more images

    I had not changed any money in Sri Lanka but it was getting near time it happened. As I was walking back from the zoo (see separate tip and travelogues) I came upon this place and could not believe my luck. It was a Sunday afternoon at about three in the afternoon and I really didn't fancy my chances of finding a bank. I also don't like using my ATM card if the bank it is attached to is not open. I like to be able to speak to someone if something goes wrong. The sign on the Sampath Bank proudly proclaimed that they were open 365 days a year from 0800 - 2000 and so in I went. I was greeted by a smart security guard and directe towards a couple of desks where a couple of youngish tellers were sitting.

    I went and explained what I required and it was no problem at all. I got a rate that i thought was reasonable and although there was the usual Asian bank bureaucracy to deal with it was no problem as the two lads were such excellent company. There was nobody in the place and I think they were bored. We were chatting about this and that and they asked to see my camera which I showed them. In that typically Asian way that Westerners sometimes find a little odd they asked me if they could look at my photographs. No problem although I had forgotten I had loads on the flash card from a recent trip to Madrid, all of which had to be explained at some length, they appeared fascinated. All this meant I probably spent a bit longer there than I needed to but it was in interesting experience.

    I did enquire and should inform the reader that not all branches of the bank are open 365 days a year and some keep shorter hours. You should look out for Super Branches of which there are currently eight. I got what I believe to be a reasonable exchange rate as well. Definitely recommended.

    Update April 2013

    Readers of my pages will know that I like to keep my tips as up to date as possible so here is an update to this one which was originally on my Colombo page. I had written about the very positive experience I had had changing money in the Sampath Bank. I subsequently had ocasion to use the branch in Matara and again was very pleased with both the service and the exchange rate offered.

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    You really should try this.

    by planxty Updated Mar 25, 2014

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    Elephant Ginger Beer, Sri Lanka.

    In the first few days I was wandering around Colombo I saw a lot of posters bearing the tagline, "No EGB, no food" which is quite some claim. It was obvious from the graphics that the advertising was for some form of soft drink but what exactly was EGB? I had no idea but I certainly do now and I absolutely love it.

    EGB is an acronym for Elephant Ginger Beer and it is gorgeous. Elephant is a major soft drinking producer in Sri Lanka and this is easily their flagship product, it is absolutely ubiquitous. It has a bit of a kick to it, reflecting the Sri Lankan love of all things spicy. It rather reminded me of the stuff I used to get when I worked in Jamaica some years ago and fell absolutely in love with. Elephant cream soda is also popular although a little sweet for my taste. I should mention that whilst it is called beer it is actually non-alcoholic if that is a concern.

    The attached website is interesting as it shows how the production of the ginger employed in making this excellent beverage, which is made to a recipe over 100 years old, supports local farming communities and provides a livlihood for over 1100 people. That should easy your conscience a bit if you are worried about the calories involved in fizzy drinks although you can opt for EGB Light in these health conscious times.

    If you do want something a little stronger try mixing arrack (the local rough spirit), EGB and freshly squeezed lime - quite delicious. Whether you liven it up or not, as the title suggests, you have to try it at least once.

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  • elephants. must see

    by direct187 Written Nov 19, 2004

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    what a ride....

    when you get there arrange a trip to see the elephants and have a ride.The blood pumps round your body and your pulse will rush.To have such a wild and powerful animal walking along with you on his/her back(no seat). you can put your hand out straight and touch the power of the back and the shoulders.a must to do....

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Zoo

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  • Lime Stone Caves of wawulpane

    by YannickPeeters Updated Mar 31, 2004

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    on the way back ( between Udu walawa and Ratnapura) we went to see some caves recomended by the Hotel Centauria Inn.

    you will only like it if you don't mind getting dirty ( Bat sh*t , insects,...)

    nice experience !!

    tip :
    - put something on your head (plastic bag).
    - your shoes will get covered with ***.
    - only go if you are mobile ( jumping from one rock to another, crawling, ...)
    - take a good lamp with you
    - BEWARE

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  • Uda Walawa national Park

    by YannickPeeters Written Mar 31, 2004

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    Situated 170 km. South East of Colombo the Uda Walawe National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This Park which lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts acts as the catchment to the Uda Walawe Reservoir and is located in the Dry Zone. This Park comprises grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees are found within it. Large herds of Elephants and Deer species such as spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, Jackal are some of the prominent wild animals found in this Park and a variety of avifauna is seen.

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  • National Parks

    by YannickPeeters Written Mar 31, 2004

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    uda walawa national Park:
    Large herds of Elephants and Deer species such as spotted Deer, Water Buffalo , Sambhur, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar,and Jackal !
    Many Elephants!

    yala national Park:
    within 1200 square kms you will find roam bear, elephant, boar, leopard, deer, sambhur and peacock. And many other birds and reptiles. you will see Water holes, small lakes, lagoons and streams provide water for the animals and birds. situated 309 km. from Colombo.

    Go early or later in the afternoon 5 P.M. :
    they don't like the heat

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  • Beautiful honeymoon beaches

    by YannickPeeters Updated Mar 22, 2004

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    known for its nice hotels, the villas and less tourists.

    very close to Beruwela, almost near each other. if you go a little more down south you'll come to hikkaduwa witch i liked more. the coral reefs, nicer village, youth , pubs, ...witch is not really the case in Bentota.

    visit Brief Garden and also here you will find alot of seaturtles !!!

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Beaches

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    Wasuna National Park

    by GeoExped Updated Nov 7, 2003

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    Shocking, just shocking.

    It might seem a little strange that I've put up a picture of this board instead of a picture of any animals, but unfortuneately I was left with a greater impression of the Sri Lankan nature by the prices of park entry, in any case you can see the pictures of the Sri Lankan wildlife on the photo album on my main page.

    If you enlarge the photo you will notice that the price for a Sri Lankan local is 23 rupees ($0.25) whereas the price for a tourist (top right of photo) is $14.00, shocking.

    The park itself is very nice. You will get to see several elephants, and birds as well as buffalo and deer and if you're lucky you might even get to see a monkey. You also have the opportunity to swim in a baking hot river.

    You can stay overnight (although we didn't as it would have been too expensive) which might be a little more exciting.

    Is it worth the cost? Most definately so. A worthwhile day out.

    Related to:
    • Safari
    • National/State Park

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    The Botanical Gardens, Kandy

    by GeoExped Updated Nov 7, 2003

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    I have to admit that the botanical garden wasn't the most interesting thing that I saw in Sri Lanka, but if your a flower lover then you'll be in heaven here.

    I ate the first Western meal here that I'd eaten for weeks, at a nice little circular coffee house in the middle of the gardens, (The service was incredibly slow though) and as you eat you can look onto these bizarre trees that bend in all sorts of directions.

    If thats not enough, theres tonnes of orchids and other flowers as well as giant bats that hang from the tree.

    Be careful not to get caught out by the cheeky locals though, some of them showed me a scorpian they had found and then tried to charge me for looking at it.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Don't miss Mirrisa (sp?)

    by MarcusRR Written Jun 3, 2003

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    Mirrisa has a beautiful long and quiet beach. In the dry season the water is calm as a swimming pool, and just as clear. During the rainy season it gets quite rough and is good for surfing. The accomodation is simple but fine and all along the beach front. There's a very good little beach bar/restaurant. Life in Mirrisa is simple and relaxing, much like me.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Budget Travel

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    Come to Kandy

    by MarcusRR Written May 30, 2003

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    The lake at Kandy, with the Golden Tooth Temple on

    Kandy is Sri Lanka's 'second city', although to the locals it's just 'The City'. It's in the Hill Country and therefore at altitude so the temperature is bearable most of the time.

    Around the lake it's pretty nice, and the Golden Tooth Temple is worth a visit, but if you wander from the centre to the back streets it becomes a bit pokey, especially in the evening.

    There's loads of spice gardens around Kandy, which are quite interesting although they often end up as a trade show for their products.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    See Sigiriya

    by MarcusRR Updated May 30, 2003

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    Sigiriya, from the water gardens

    It's best to get to Sigiriya early in the morning because the steep climb in the midday sun would be too much for even the sternest monkey/camel hybrid.

    Once you've arrived in your Tuk Tuk, paid your entrance fee and chosen the least irritating guide (it is worth it, and only costs a couple of quid), you then head out through the extensive water gardens. They were built by a 5th-century King for his 300+ concubines. The path through the gardens takes you up to the big sticky-out rock - like Ayres Rock's little brother.

    The King built a fortress on the top to guard his kingdom, and a very steep climb, much of it up more recent spiral staircases, takes you to the top. There is thousand-year old graffiti, cave paintings of female nudes and then the palace at the top. You get great views from the top and just about see the huge gold Buda at Dambulla.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Archeology

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    Do Dambula

    by MarcusRR Written May 29, 2003

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    Dambula cave temples

    A sweaty half hour clamber up to the Dambula cave temples is definately worth the soggy t-shirt at the end.

    The temples are built into the actual cave and inside you are met with an odd view of 50 or so gold Budas, sitting standing and lying. There are a few temples to see and it's worth getting one of the official guides to explain why what looks like a reclining Buda is in fact dead, and vice versa.

    Note: Beware of the cheeky monkeys everywhere.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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  • City of Gems ( Ratnapura )

    by YannickPeeters Written Mar 31, 2004

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    no reason to stay there but if you're interested in Gems you can visit the museum.

    It can rain very hard !!! ( floods)

    there is a good resthouse where you can have lunch or diner !

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  • Seaturtles in hikkaduwa

    by YannickPeeters Written Mar 22, 2004

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    there is some volunteering work for travellers conserning the progress of the turtles.

    Saving there eggs from birds, ....

    there is more than one orphanage

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel
    • Aquarium

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Sri Lanka Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Sri Lanka things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Sri Lanka sightseeing.

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