Our most recommended things to do in Central Province, Sri Lanka

From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

1. From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kassyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

Kaudulla National Park Half Day Sri Lanka Jeep Safari

2. Kaudulla National Park Half Day Sri Lanka Jeep Safari

Embark on a thrilling adventure through the heart of Sri Lanka's wild landscapes with our Kaudulla National Park Safari. This unforgettable experience begins with a convenient pick-up from your hotel in the enchanting areas of Dambulla, Kandalama, Sigiriya, or Habarana. Our friendly and knowledgeable guide will ensure your journey is comfortable and informative from start to finish. As you set off towards Kaudulla National Park, you'll receive complimentary water bottles to keep you refreshed throughout the day. The park, located in the heart of Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle, promises an awe-inspiring encounter with the region's diverse and captivating wildlife. The main highlight of this safari is the spectacular Elephant Gathering, a mesmerizing phenomenon that occurs during the dry season when large herds of elephants congregate around the Kaudulla Tank. Witness these majestic giants in their natural habitat, an experience that is sure to leave you in awe. However, the wonders of Kaudulla extend far beyond the elephants. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of other animals that call this lush jungle home, including crocodiles basking in the sun, graceful deer grazing in the meadows, majestic eagles soaring high above, mischievous monkeys swinging through the trees, and elusive water monitors gliding through the waterways. The park is also a bird lover's paradise, with a plethora of colorful avian species filling the skies and trees with their melodious calls. Our safari lasts for approximately three hours, allowing ample time to explore the park's diverse landscapes and encounter its remarkable inhabitants. Our experienced guides are well-versed in the park's ecology and will provide fascinating insights into the behaviors and habitats of the animals you encounter. After an exhilarating journey through Kaudulla National Park, we will safely transport you back to your hotel, ensuring your return is as comfortable and convenient as your arrival. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Sri Lanka's wildlife with our Kaudulla National Park Safari, a journey that promises unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders of this remarkable island nation. #srilankajeepsafari #safarisrilanka #srilankasafari #kaudullanationalpark #kaudullasafari #elephantgathering

From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

3. From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

Get picked up directly from your accommodation and travel to the city of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress. Marvel at the 200-meter-tall Sigiriya Rock, which, according to an ancient Sri Lankan chronicle, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital.  Next, admire paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before stopping for lunch. Then, see some of the traditional crafts of the region such as wood carving and batik textiles, a dyeing technique developed in ancient times. You can take a piece of traditional craft home with you as a souvenir.  Then, journey to Dambulla and explore the largest and most well-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and vividly colored rock paintings, painted between the 2nd-century BC and the 18th-century Kandyan era.  Finish your day by getting dropped back at your accommodation at Kandy.

Kandy: Experience the city like a local on a TukTuk

4. Kandy: Experience the city like a local on a TukTuk

I’d be honored to be your guide showing you my hometown Kandy from a local’s point of view. I will take you on a spectacular drive through the Sacred City of Kandy, now a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let’s explore some amazing sights together as you get to know my hometown: We will visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth, situated in the Royal Palace Complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, I’ll drive you to the Queen's Bathing Pavilion, the National Museum of Kandy, the Buddhist Temple on the top oft he hill and a breathtaking view! On the way to a tea plantation we will come across one of my favorite spots - the banks of the river Mahawali. We will definitely see some monkeys on our day together - with some luck we might even spot a jaguar in the distance along the river. I suggest we grab some food at a local restaurant - at your own expense. Please make sure to bring drinking water, as tourists often don’t take our tap water well. I’ve got these favorite spots but of course if you have any preferences or places you’d like to see that aren’t mentioned above - just let me know and I’ll make sure to incorporate them into our day together. I’m happy to meet you at the railway station or even pick you up at your hotel. If you want to make this a full day tour, just let me know! I‘m looking forward to meeting you. :) Yours, Dinesh

From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

5. From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

Start your tour at 7:30 AM from your hotel in Kandy, where you will be picked up by your chauffeur. You will be taken you to the Kandy or Peradeniya railway station at approximately 8:00 AM, depending on respective availability.  The train departs at approximately 8:30 AM. Enjoy a scenic ride of about 3 hours through some of the most beautiful highland countryside areas in Sri Lanka. See the vast green hills of the tea plantations and spot the picturesque villages with misty mountain backdrops. Enjoy the amazing sights of intimidating mountains, deep and dark woodlands, and magnificent waterfalls as they go by your window.  Arrive at Nanuoya at 12:15 PM where your guide will meet you at the station, which has been serving Nuwara Eliya for over a century. After you stretch your legs a little, your guide will take you to Nuwara Eliya. Enjoy the thrilling half-hour drive up the winding road. Enjoy walking through the streets with their pretty little cottages, quaint villas, and beautiful mansions. Thereafter at approximately 13:30 PM, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice at your own expense. Afterwards, your guide will show you the most important sights of the town, including Lake Gregory. See the timeless post office and take the opportunity to buy a few as souvenirs. Begin the journey back to Kandy by approximately 3:00 PM. Whilst en-route, visit the picturesque Ramboda Falls and the Blue Field Tea Factory where you would see where the world-famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. Learn more about the history of the factory, which was founded in 1824. After this, depart at 5:00 PM to finish the return journey to Kandy, where you will be dropped back at your hotel at approximately 19:30 PM.

From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

6. From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

After getting picked up from your hotel in Bentota or Kalutara, begin the 3-hour journey to the Sigirya rock fortress. Here you will discover the historical and cultural values of ancient Sri Lanka and get to witness the engineering skills and artistic capabilities of Sri Lankan artisans and engineers. Wander through this vast complex and admire the various palaces, pools, gardens, and paintings. Later, head to the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world. Marvel at the beautiful Buddhist paintings and statues housed in this cave and see for yourself why it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, visit a spice garden where you can soak up the aromas of the various traditional spices grown here such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Head back to your hotel in the evening, just in time for dinner.

Exploring Knuckles: Hiking the Hidden Gem of Sri Lanka

7. Exploring Knuckles: Hiking the Hidden Gem of Sri Lanka

Join us on an unforgettable Knuckles Hike, beginning with a morning pick-up from Kandy around 6.00 am. We'll transport you to the hike head, a remote village named Tangappuwa, situated near the majestic forest range. The adventure commences as we meander through lush and green tea fields, immersing ourselves in the serene beauty of the surroundings. At the culmination of the tea fields, you arrive at the gateway to this pristine (UNESCO) world heritage conservation forest. As we venture deeper into the enchanting forest, nature's wonders unfold at every turn. Trekking along forest trails, we embrace the tranquility and harmony of this untouched wilderness. Traverse through captivating cloud forests, encountering endemic wildlife like the Hone Lizard, Samba deer, Leopard, Crestless Lizard, Pigmy Lizard, Kangaroo Lizard, and the elusive Leaf Nose Lizard found exclusively in this forest. The Knuckles range is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, home to over 200 avian species, including 15 endemic to Sri Lanka. Keep your binoculars handy to spot magnificent creatures like the Spot Wing Thrush, Sri Lankan Blue Magpie, Jungle Fowl, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Dusk Blue Flycatcher, Brown-capped Babbler, and Layard's Parakeet. As we progress, the symphony of nature guides us until we reach a gentle stream, its crystal-clear waters inviting us to follow its course. Traversing the stream, we find ourselves at the pinnacle—the top of a captivating waterfall. Here, we witness nature's power and grace, as water cascades down, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Take your time to savor the awe-inspiring views, capturing the moment in your memory. Descending from the side of the waterfall, we venture to the base, immersing ourselves in the cool mist and experiencing the exhilaration of being so close to this natural wonder. Spend precious moments soaking in the beauty and serenity of the surroundings, creating lasting memories of this magical spot. Our journey continues as we ascend from the other side, gradually making our way to a mountainous grassland that reveals breathtaking vistas of the Knuckles range. Surrounded by towering peaks, we bask in the panoramic views, feeling a sense of awe and admiration for the majestic landscape before us. As we begin our descent, we retrace our steps, reaching the point where we initially encountered the stream. From here, we follow the same path, relishing the familiarity of the route as we make our way back to the hike head. As the day draws to a close, we bid farewell to this remarkable journey and embark on our return to Kandy in the late afternoon. Reflect on the awe-inspiring landscapes, the magical encounters, and the sense of accomplishment gained from this unforgettable Knuckles Hike. Book your spot now and experience the beauty and tranquility of the Knuckles range, a haven of natural splendor tucked away in the heart of Sri Lanka.

From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle with Yala Safari Tour

8. From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle with Yala Safari Tour

Combine a transfer from Ella, Haputale, or Bandarawela to Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna or Galle area with a thrilling day trip to Yala National Park. Experience the immense biodiversity of this park on this Sri Lankan animal safari. Be picked up from your accommodation in Ella, Haputale, or Bandarawela. Relax and take in the local scenery on the drive to Yala National Park. Board an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views and photo angles. See the animals during the day when they are the most active. Watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalos, and a large variety of bird species. Get some great shots of these magnificent creatures. Hear about wildlife and get photography tips from your local guide. Let your guide show you the spots where the animals are likely to congregate. Then, head back to your air-conditioned car for the ride to your accommodation in Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna, or Galle.

Sigiriya, Dambulla & Minneriya day tour

9. Sigiriya, Dambulla & Minneriya day tour

Experience the ultimate Sri Lankan adventure with our Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Minneriya National Park one-day tour. Travel in style and comfort with a licensed guide and a climate-controlled vehicle, exploring ancient sites and immersing yourself in the country's natural beauty. Your adventure begins with a visit to the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 5th century AD. Enjoy stunning views as you hike to the top of the fortress, passing through ancient frescoes and mirror walls along the way. Next, we'll take you to the Dambulla Cave Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses numerous statues and paintings depicting the life of Lord Buddha and his teachings. Admire the serene beauty of these sacred caves and learn about the ancient religious beliefs and practices of Sri Lanka. The tour culminates at the Minneriya National Park, where you'll enjoy an open-air 4x4 jeep safari in search of elephants, the park's most magnificent inhabitants. Get up close and personal with these gentle giants and observe the park's diverse wildlife, including a plethora of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The picturesque landscape includes a beautiful lake surrounded by jungle, making the tour a wonderful opportunity to relax and unwind amidst the breathtaking nature of Sri Lanka. Throughout the tour, you'll have the expert guidance of a licensed guide to provide you with deep insights into Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage, its fascinating history, and diverse wildlife. The tour also includes transportation in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle and a delicious lunch to offer you the most pleasurable memories. This tour package is ideal for travelers seeking an intense cultural and nature experience within a short time. With #srilankabycar, the possibilities for adventure and exploration are endless. Join us on this incredible journey to experience the best of Sri Lanka's rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and wildlife diversity. Book now and discover why Sri Lanka is known as the land of wonder!

Ella Rock & 9 Arch Bridge, Little Adams Peak with Transfer

10. Ella Rock & 9 Arch Bridge, Little Adams Peak with Transfer

Enjoy the convenience of being picked from your accommodations in either Ella, Bandarawella, Haputale, or Wellawaya via tuk-tuk. Begin your tour with an early morning hike to the famous cliff, Ella Rock. Along the way, you’ll journey through tranquil woodlands and tea plantations. Walk alongside the iconic Sri Lankan railroad. Once you’ve reached Ella Rock, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing panoramic views. Hike down from Ella Rock to Nine Arches Bridge, a picturesque bridge which connects the Ella and Demodara railway stations. The bridge consists of 9 arches, which offer a harmonious sense of geometry against the lush green growth of the countryside. The bridge is made exclusively from rock, brick, and cement, and doesn’t use any steel. Stand underneath the bridge and look out into the beautiful “9 skies” framed by the 9 arches. Walk across the bridge and learn about its history from your knowledgable guide as you take in the surroundings. Sit down for lunch at a local restaurant before going for an afternoon hike to Little Adam’s Peak, Ella’s most well-known attraction. Enjoy an easy and gradual climb to the peak. Once there, take in a spectacular view of the Ella Gap. Walk through lush green tea plantations and paddy fields. See local people plucking and collecting tea leaves. Gaze over the valley into the island’s central highlands. Take a refreshing swig of complimentary bottled water. Your tour ends as you are returned to your hotel via tuk-tuk.

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 182 reviews

Aaron was very professional and made sure that we were comfortable throughout the trip, and also stopped at a cafe because we had not had any breakfast before the trip started. He also suggested different places to go to besides the two trips and recommended suggestions for us to do in Colombo. Strongly recommend this trip and Aaron as a tour guide!

This tour was INCREDIBLE!!! I cannot say enough good things. I had regretted signing up for a hard sunrise hike but it quickly turned into the best day of my vacation. Sanju, my guide, was so kind and patient and knowledgeable about Everything! Thank you so much for an incredible day, I will always remember it!

CJ was on time. Speaks good english and knows the area very well. He was very helpful and pleasant. Everything went as planned. Sigiriya is awesome. Prepare yourself for climbing the stairs! Great history in Dumbulla. Recommended.

The tour was excellent. I liked a lot the hotel in Sigirya and in Colombo. Keerthe, the driver, was very nice, respectful and always on time.

It was a nice day spent in Sigiriya and Dambulla. Very flexible upon request. Good experience that I recommend