Unparalleled Adventure

Sri Lanka is a land of adventure. There are endless ways to escape the ordinary during your trip, whether you want to take to the sea, hike to hidden parts of the hills, or cross the country on a heritage railway line. Experiences range from expert-testing challenges to family-friendly entertainment, so we mean it when we say that there are adventure activities in Sri Lanka for everyone.

One of the best destinations for adventure in Sri Lanka is its idyllic central highlands. This region is an elevated area of rolling hills, terraced tea estates, spice plantations, and rushing rivers and waterfalls, all set against a majestic mountain backdrop. Walking is rewarding in Sri Lanka’s hill country, and tourists have a variety of routes to choose from to suit all physical abilities.

More gentle hill country trails include the stroll up to Lipton’s Seat in Haputale, the favourite viewpoint of British tea planter Sir Thomas Lipton, and the climb up to Little Adam’s Peak in Ella. The actual Adam’s Peak climb is a three-hour ascent attempted at night which rewards hikers who reach the summit with one of the most beautiful sunrises in Asia. Other incredible treks include the walk to World’s End in Horton Plains National Park and exploring the montane cloud forests of the UNESCO-recognised Knuckles Forest Reserve.

On the edge of the hills is Kitulgala, a scenic spot dominated by the Kelani River. Here tourists can indulge in a range of exhilarating activities centred around the river, from canyoning and abseiling to white-water rafting. This river has grade II and III rapids, and adults and kids alike will love tackling this journey in a kayak led by an expert guide. All safety equipment is provided.

If this type of adventure activity is too hectic for your taste or you are planning a more leisurely itinerary, try riding the railway through the island’s hills. The journey from Kandy to Ella was named by Lonely Planet as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world! You are also directly experiencing a core part of Sri Lanka’s heritage as this is the train line that was fitted by the British over 150 years ago.

From the centre of the island to the shore: Sri Lanka’s coastline boasts a swathe of adventure activities. Tourists can charter a boat and sail out into the sea, either to explore hidden coves and remote islands or simply to soak up some sun and idyllic scenery on deck and when paddleboarding. Private and group boat excursions from Mirissa offer the chance to spot whales and dolphins in the wild between December and March.

Surfing is another sea-based adventure activity that should not be missed in Sri Lanka – in fact, the south-east coastal resort Arugam Bay is ranked as one of the top ten surf spots in the world! A’ Bay, as it is affectionately known, has breaks to suit everyone from beginners to experts. Weligama is the perfect spot to learn how to surf, while Hiriketiya is the latest trending surfing spot in the south.

Other water-sports in Sri Lanka include snorkelling, scuba diving, jet-skiing and kite-surfing. The lagoons and coastline close to Kalpitiya in the north-west are the best option for kite-surfers. Snorkelling opportunities are widespread, but perhaps the most rewarding location is Pigeon Island, a marine wildlife reserve near Trincomalee on the north-east coast. Scuba diving sites range from pretty coral reefs to shipwrecks where whale sharks have been known to roam.