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Sri Lankan elephants cooling off | ©Ted Drake / Flickr
Sri Lankan elephants cooling off | ©Ted Drake / Flickr
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11 Unforgettable Experiences You Need to Have in Sri Lanka Before You're 30

Picture of Orana Velarde
Sri Lanka Hub Writer
Updated: 23 October 2017
When traveling to an exotic location like Sri Lanka, you might as well go all out and have the trip of a lifetime. Take part in some activities that will create memories for the rest of your life. Here is a list of 12 unforgettable experiences you should have in Sri Lanka before you turn 30.
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Deep sea diving

Sri Lanka is an island, and no stranger to offshore diving expeditions. Apart from coral reefs and ocean life, there are also lots of amazing ancient shipwrecks just waiting to be explored. If you are a PADI certified diver you will have no trouble finding shops full of equipment. If you have never dived, there are also PADI certified schools to learn and get certified. Check out Poseidon Dive Station and visit one of their their three stations around the island. If you want to know more about all the diving going on in Sri Lanka, check out Dive Sri Lanka for adventures like underground lake diving.

Poseidon Dive Station, 304 Galle Road, Hikkaduwa 80240, Sri Lanka

Gorgeous fish off the coast | Courtesy of Poseidon Station

Old statues found in an old shipwreck | Courtesy of Poseidon Station

White water rafting and river expeditions

Rivers have always been a favourite natural playground for adventurers and Sri Lanka is no different. If you are a white water rafter, kayaker or just love being on the river for days on end, then Sri Lanka has it all for you. The Kitulgala rainforest on the west coast of the island is the best place to take part in all sorts of river activities. Contact Kitulgala Adventures to go on your own river adventure in Sri Lanka.

White Water Rafting!
White Water Rafting! | Courtesy of Kitulgala Adventures
Sliding down a waterfall!
Sliding down a waterfall! | Courtesy of Kitulgala Adventures

Surfing

For the ocean lovers out there, the coasts of Sri Lanka have great waves for all levels. You can find surf schools for beginners and hubs for more experienced surfers. Sri Lanka has different weather in different parts of the island. The best surfing season around Weligama for example is from October to April, but it’s perfectly good for beginners all year round. Surf South Sri Lanka is one of the best surfing hubs in the south and they are happy to give you more surfing information for the south of the island.

Surfing in Sri Lanka!
Surfing in Sri Lanka! | Courtesty of Surf South Sri Lanka
Awesome waves in Weligama
Awesome waves in Weligama | Courtesty of Surf South Sri Lanka

Kite surfing

For even more adrenaline pumping water sports lovers, there are plenty of great spots to do kite surfing on the west coast of Sri Lanka. If you have never kite surfed, you can also learn here as there are coaches willing to train you. The best spot for kite surfing is on a little peninsula off the coast of Puttalam. You can kite surf in the lagoon and out in the ocean as well. Contact Kitesurfing Lanka for more information on classes or kite surf trips.

Catching the wind over the Sri Lankan ocean
Catching the wind over the Sri Lankan ocean | Courtesty of Kitesurfing Sri Lanka

Whale watching

The coastal town of Mirissa on the south of Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to see blue whales. The best time to see the whales in Mirissa is between March and December when they are migrating. For some time, there were companies who promoted swimming with the whales in open water but this is actually forbidden by Sri Lankan law and we do not recommend you seek to do that. For safe whale watching contact Whale Watch Mirissa for more information .

A killer whale saying hi to the whale watchers
A killer whale saying hi to the whale watchers | © Jose Ozorio / Flickr

Travel by seaplane

Sri Lanka is not only surrounded by water, it’s also spotted with lakes of all sizes. The roads on the island are not all that wonderful and it can take many hours to get somewhere that isn’t actually that far away. One of the best and most memorable travel options is to take a seaplane. Cinnammon air has daily seaplane routes around the island and you can also charter other routes. They also offer scenic flights and other routes upon request.

The Cinnamon Air seaplane will take you almost anywhere in Sri Lanka much faster than a car
The Cinnamon Air seaplane will take you almost anywhere in Sri Lanka much faster than a car | © Amila Tennakoon / Flickr
The views from the seaplanes are amazing
The views from the seaplanes are amazing | © Amila Tennakoon / Flickr

Extreme Biking

If you are a motorbike lover you will love the Extreme Biking tour scheduled for February 2018 in Sri Lanka. With a limited group of only 10 bikes, the trip will take you along the best roads on the island to experience the sights and sounds first hand. The roads pass through unforgettable tea plantations, mountain ranges and through the island’s famous national parks. When you book with Extreme Bike Tours, all is sorted for you except extras. It can’t get any better than that. A great option for motorbike lovers. Contact Extreme Bike Tours for more information.

Gorgeous views on the roads in Sri Lanka
Gorgeous views on the roads in Sri Lanka | Courtesy of Extreme Bike Tours
Riding next to the tea plantations
Riding next to the tea plantations | Courtesy of Extreme Bike Tours

Hiking the Knuckles Mountain Range

If hiking is your thing, the Knuckles Mountain Range is the place to go. The Knuckles mountain range in the center of the island is all about wonderful mountain views. Valleys and peaks dotted with lakes and tea plantations will make any hike memorable. Take a day trip or go camping, both possibilities are amazing.

View of the Knuckles Mountain Range
View of the Knuckles Mountain Range | © BMR & MAM / Flickr

Seeing elephants

A herd of Sri Lankan elephants is a favorite sight for visitors to the island. You can go on Jeep Safari at one of the National Parks like Yala or at Minneriya. There are also elephant watch huts in Habarana, where you can see elephants roaming in the elephant grass. Another option is to visit one of the elephant orphanages where captured elephants are taught to be relatively wild again. The Culture Trip does not recommend that you go on elephant rides that use wooden chairs strapped painfully to the elephants’ backs.

Elephants at Pinnawela elephant orphanage
Elephants at Pinnawela elephant orphanage | © SJ Pinkney / Flickr
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Eat giant crabs at Ministry of Crab

One of the top 50 restaurants in the world, Ministry of Crab boasts giant crabs for seafood lovers. The giant Sri Lankan crab is mostly exported to Singapore but some stay behind to be cooked and served at Ministry of Crab. Located in one of the only Dutch colonial buildings left in Colombo, the Dutch Hospital, Ministry of Crab is a must visit if you like eating amazing seafood. The giant crabs in chilli or pepper sauce are unmissable and some people come to Sri Lanka just to eat them!

Ministry of Crab, Old Dutch Hospital, Fort, Colombo, Sri Lanka +94 11 2 342722

Eat rice and curry with your hands

Eating with your hands doesn’t necessarily sound like an unforgettable experience, but in Sri Lanka it’s a bit different. Eating rice and curry with your hands is just the way it’s done here. All the locals eat with their hands, specifically their right hand. Rice and curry is the local dish of excellence in Sri Lanka and no visit to the island is complete without it. Eating with your hands is optional but if you go for it, it will be memorable.

Rice and Curry
Rice and Curry | © John Walker / Flickr