Sri Lanka Destinations You Never Heard Of

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sri Lanka is an island located in Southeast Asia. There are lots of Sri Lanka destinations that attract tourists from all around the world. The country has a very diverse culture.

In the past, Sri Lanka played a major role in the Silk Trade. This trade helped to bring lots of cultural and religious influences to the country that are still prominent today. Tourism is always growing in Sri Lanka. 

The country has several reasons that make it a popular destination. It’s known for its wildlife, entertainment, heritage, scenery, and more. 

The capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo. This city is a hub for tourism in the country, but several other places are worth exploring.

Gampaha

Gampaha has one of the many other botanical gardens of Sri Lanka.

Gampaha is one of the many Sri Lanka destinations that’s often overshadowed by Colombo. It is one of the larger cities in Sri Lanka located in the greater Colombo district.

The development of Gampaha goes way back in history. It was initially covered in forest but was planned and designed as a city. Many of the original sites and structures are still present today.

Several tourist sites are worth visiting around Gampaha. The Henerathgoda Botanical Garden is a must-see. There are lots of botanical gardens around the country, and this is one of the earliest ones. This garden is home to the very first rubber plants on the island.

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Another place to visit is the Maligatenna Rajamaha Viharaya temple. This ancient cave temple is located atop a nearby mountain.

A short hike is required to reach the site which includes about 100 caves. These caves have been built over 2,000 years ago and are still an important site for the Buddhist religion.

It’s also considered the highest point in the district so you’ll have great views over the city.

Gampaha is a place for a bit of fun while discovering Sri Lanka. The Guruge Nature Park is a unique amusement park. This park blends the fun of a water park with a theme of Sri Lankan culture. Every feature of this park is some reflection of the Sri Lankan heritage.

Pinnawala

See magnificent elephants in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage while on Sri Lanka.

If you are looking for Sri Lanka destinations to explore the wildlife of the country, then Pinnawala is the place to visit. Pinnawala is a Sri Lankan village located just a short distance away from Colombo. This village is most known for the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage holds the largest herd of rescued elephants in the world. This orphanage is home to over 80 elephants.  

In addition to being an elephant care center, it also caters to tourists. Visitors are allowed to view several stations of the center to see up close how the animals are cared for.

Another wildlife experience in Pinnawala is the Pinnawala Zoo. This zoo is the first open-air zoo in Sri Lanka. The zoo is divided into two animal zones.

One zone is dedicated to animals found only in Sri Lanka. The other zone is devoted to animals found in other parts of the world.

Chilaw

It's a very short distance from Chilaw to Colombo, and here you can see the magnificent Munneswaram Temple.

Chilaw is found on the western coast of Sri Lanka. One of the biggest draws to the country are the festivals surrounding the Hindu temple. 

Chilaw’s famous temple is the Munneswaram Temple. This temple is the first of Sri Lanka’s five sacred Shiva Temples. Several large annual festivals draw people from all around the country.

It’s a sight for many tourists that may be visiting. There are lots of vendors that sell a variety of locally made handicrafts.

You’ll also come across the Chill Cathedral Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Chilaw. It is the main cathedral here. Visitors can explore the inside of the cathedral which holds an iconic statue of the Virgin Mary. 

There is a myth surrounding the origin of this statue as well as the development of the cathedral. These stories have led to major religious celebrations being held here. 

One of the most notable things about Chilaw is that it was a visiting site of Mahatma Gandhi. That was the only place in the country that Gandhi visited. It was a visit for peace in the village.

Ampara

Kumana National Park is one of the best places to enjoy the nature and the diverse wildlife of Sri Lanka.

The town of Ampara is located in Eastern Sri Lanka. Historically, it was predominantly a residential area then later transformed into a town. There are several sites for visitors to see at one of the most unique places of all Sri Lanka destinations.

The Kumana National Park is one of the best places for bird watching on the island. This national park has thousands of birds that flock here from around the world. The safari tours are a great way to learn more about the bird variety.

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A site you’ll surely want to see is the Deegavapi Stupa. This stupa is considered the first temple built in Sri Lanka. It’s not easily accessible for tourists unfamiliar with the area due to the surrounding rural landscape. Renovations have been made for the stupa, but it still maintains a lot of its original construction.

Ohiya

Bambarakanda Waterfall is the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and it's absolutely breathtaking.

Ohiya is one of the Sri Lanka destinations where you can truly appreciate its nature. It is a rural village that’s most famous for the Horton Plains National Park. This national park has a central location in the country full of mountains and grasslands. 

The most visited site in the park is called World’s End. This site is a massive cliff that drops off approximately 4,000 feet. Another major site to see in the park is Baker’s Falls. 

It is a well-known waterfall that was named after an explorer. Sri Lanka’s highest waterfall is located not far from Ohiya. This waterfall is called Bamabarakanda Falls.


Tourism in Sri Lanka attracts visitors all year round to experience the island. Many of the most popular Sri Lanka destinations are centered around the tourist hubs. There is an entire island to discover with lots more to offer. You can find a lot of natural wonders in Sri Lanka. You’ll also see the traditional heritage that has influenced a lot of the top landmarks in the country. Some of the less common tourist sites just may become your favorite places in Sri Lanka.

Bryan Shelmon a freelance writer for aSabbatical.com
The best part about travelling is experiencing completely different ways of living that make you appreciate life even more.