The beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka offers a variety of landscapes for guests to indulge in. Colombo, Kandy, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya, and Galle are undoubtedly some of the most popular places to visit in Sri Lanka. In this article, our team of consultants at Travel Treasures Sri Lanka has prepared a list (in no particular order) of off-the-beaten track places to visit during your holiday in Sri Lanka this December! Without further ado, let’s drive straight into our list!

  1. Ambuluwawe Tower
  2. Pidurangala Rock
  3. Delft Island
  4. Gal Oya National Park
  5. Riverstone
  6. Nil Diya Pokuna
  7. Kalametiya Lagoon

1.      Climb the Ambuluwawe Tower in Gampola

Ambuluwawe Tower is a notable attraction located on Ambuluwawe Mountain in the Gampola area of Sri Lanka, close to the town of Kandy – in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. It is a striking tower situated on a hill, surrounded by lush greenery, and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Also, the complex within which the tower is located includes gardens, walking trails, and educational facilities focused on biodiversity and environmental sustainability.

The tower itself is an impressive structure that resembles a lighthouse. Visitors can climb the tower to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding hills, forests, and plantations. It’s a popular spot for photography and offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Moreover, Ambuluwawe is known for its birdwatching opportunities, making it a great place for nature lovers.

Ambuluwawe Tower is not only a place to enjoy scenic views during your holiday in Sri Lanka but also a center for environmental education and awareness. The hiking trails in the area offer opportunities for nature enthusiasts to get closer to the region’s diverse ecosystems. The peaceful surroundings of Ambuluwawe Tower make it an ideal place for meditation and relaxation. Many visitors come here to find tranquility and enjoy the natural beauty.

2.      A challenging, yet scenic Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya

Pidurangala Rock is a prominent rock formation located in the vicinity of Sigiriya, a popular tourist destination in the central part of Sri Lanka. It’s a part of the same geological formation and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, including Sigiriya.

Climbing Pidurangala Rock is a popular activity for visitors. While the trail to the summit is generally well-marked, you may find it somewhat challenging in places such as steep staircases and rocky terrain. The hike takes about 30-45 minutes, and it’s advisable to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is not just to avoid the heat but to also take advantage of the breathtaking views from the summit. Pidurangala Rock provides one of the best vantage points to see the majestic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which we often referred to as the “Lion’s Rock.”

3.      Delft Island (Jaffna) holiday in Sri Lanka

Delft Island, also known as Neduntheevu in Tamil, is a picturesque island located in the Jaffna Peninsula of northern Sri Lanka. It’s known for its unique natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage. Situated in the Palk Strait, the island is characterized by its stunning and otherworldly limestone formations, white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters. In fact, the most famous natural feature is the “Delft Island Wild Horses,” a herd of feral horses that roam the island.

In terms of historical significance of the island, the Portuguese and Dutch occupied Delft Island in the 17th century, and some of their architectural remnants can still be seen. The ruins of a Dutch church and a Portuguese fort are notable landmarks. In addition to that, the Vettankudi Temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan, is a significant Hindu temple on the island and an important pilgrimage site for devotees.

The island’s crystal-clear waters and coral reefs make it a great destination for diving and snorkeling. Visitors can explore the underwater marine life and coral formations. Accessible by boat from Jaffna, Delft Island is a serene and unique destination for travelers interested in exploring off-the-beaten-path locations during their holiday in Sri Lanka. Its natural beauty, historical sites, and cultural heritage make it a captivating place to visit.

4.      Escape into nature at Gal Oya National Park

Gal Oya National Park is a beautiful and relatively lesser-known national park located in southeastern Sri Lanka. In fact, national park in the country where boat safaris are a prominent attraction. Covering an area of about 259 square kilometers, the park is renowned for its scenic beauty. The Senanayake Samudraya is the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka and is a central feature of the park. Gal Oya home to diverse flora and fauna. In addition, it is also one of the best places in Sri Lanka to observe elephants in their natural habitat. Other wildlife includes deer, wild boar, water buffalo, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. Moreover, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with numerous avian species, including the majestic Fish Eagle and the colorful painted stork.

One of the unique attractions of Gal Oya National Park is the boat safari on Senanayake Samudraya. In reality, these boat safaris provide the opportunity to see wildlife near the water’s edge, including elephants swimming between islands, crocodiles basking in the sun, and a variety of birdlife. The boat safaris are a great way to appreciate the park’s aquatic ecosystem.

In addition to boat safaris, guided jeep safaris are also available in the park. These safaris take you through the lush forests and grasslands, offering the chance to spot a wide range of wildlife. Moreover, Gal Oya National Park offers camping facilities for those looking to immerse themselves in the wilderness experience. Camping here is an excellent way to connect with nature and enjoy the serene surroundings.

5.      Adventurous Riverstone holiday in Sri Lanka

Riverstone is a beautiful and lesser-known area in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. 5 hours from Colombo, Riverstone is known for its lush landscapes, scenic beauty, and outdoor activities. Here you will comes across various trekking trails and opportunities to explore the surrounding mountains and forests. Riverstone Peak Trail and the Mini World’s End are popular treks that offer stunning panoramic views of the Knuckles Mountain Range.

Nearby water activities and picnic spots that include an adventurous trek are the Pitawala Pathana (a natural grassland area surrounded by forests, with unique rock formations and a clear natural pool), Sera Ella Waterfall, Bambarakiri Ella Waterfall and Thelgamu Oya.

Moreover, the region is rich in birdlife, and offers picturesque landscapes, ideal for photography. Riverstone also offers camping opportunities in the wilderness, allowing guests to connect with nature and enjoy the serene surroundings. During your stay in Riverstone, be sure to visit nearby villages and learn about local traditions and way of life.

6.      Dive into Nil Diya Pokuna from Ella

Nil Diya Pokuna is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind pool construction, or bathing tank that dates back to ancient Sri Lankan history. It is believed to have been built by one of the Sri Lankan Kings in the 1st century BCE. Located 13kms, 25 mins from Ella, the pool is admired for its architectural design and aesthetic appeal. It has a classical stepped design with a series of stone steps leading down into the water, and is an attraction that must not be missed during your holiday in Sri Lanka.

The construction of Nil Diya Pokuna reflects the advanced engineering skills and architectural techniques of ancient Sri Lankans. Moreover, the pool was a part of a sophisticated ancient water management system that included reservoirs, canals, and other water sources. Such systems were crucial for sustaining the ancient city of Anuradhapura and supporting agriculture.

Nil Diya Pokuna served as a place for royal and religious rituals and was also used by monks and other members of the community for bathing. In fact, the site has undergone restoration efforts to preserve its historical and architectural value. Thus, ensuring that it can be admired by future generations.

7.      Boat Safari at Kalametiya Lagoon – Hambantota

Kalametiya Lagoon is a picturesque coastal lagoon located in the southern part of Sri Lanka, in the Hambantota District. It is one of the country’s most significant wetlands and a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The lagoon is relatively small in size, covering an area of around 14 square kilometers. Despite its size, it is of great ecological importance and is recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

Kalametiya Lagoon is renowned for its rich and diverse birdlife; hosting numerous resident and migratory bird species, including pelicans, painted storks, flamingos, waders, and various waterfowl. It is also home to other wildlife, such as crocodiles and various fish species. The lagoon is surrounded by lush mangrove forests, which provide important breeding and feeding grounds for various aquatic species. These mangroves play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region.

One of the best ways to explore Kalametiya Lagoon and observe its wildlife during your holiday in Sri Lanka is by taking a boat safari. Besides, local guides are available to take visitors on guided tours, providing insight into the local flora and fauna. November to March is the best time to visit this serene and unspoiled destination for those interested in ecotourism and wildlife conservation.

How to include these destinations in your holiday in Sri Lanka?

Get in touch with our friendly team of consultants at Travel Treasures Sri Lanka and plan your holiday with us. All you have to do is drop us a message online or via our whatsApp hotline and we will help include these off-the-beaten-path destinations in your Sri Lanka holiday.