Sri Lanka Things to Do Tips by Maxus Top 5 Page for this destination
Sri Lanka Things to Do: 506 reviews and 756 photos
The Lion and the Unicorn
Galle is an easy day trip from just about any the west coast hotels and a perfect test run for anyone trying their hand at independent travel in Sri Lanka. Forget the car and driver routine or the over-crowded bus, get a ticket from your local railway station, jump on a train heading south and you will eventually reach Galle. The journey along the coast gives you some fabulous views.
Galle Fort is a Sri Lankan ‘must see’ and is only a few minute walk from Galle railway station (you can’t miss it) The Fort is free to get in and the sea breeze on the ramparts is a real treat. There are plenty of places to eat, drink and stay inside and outside the fort, watch out for touts, who can be a nuisance.
Galle is stuffed with history, the old gate (in the photograph) tells anyone passing through it something about the history of the Fort, on one side is the Lion and the Unicorn of the British Coat of Arms on the other the Lions and Cock of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
Address: South West Sri Lanka
Directions: On the west coast railway line (Colombo to Matara)
Approaching the Temple
On my first visit I arrived a little after dawn so it was cool, I had the place to myself and I guess I was very impressed because my diary says “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything produced by man as beautiful as the great Buddha at Wewurukannala” and it’s unusual for me to write tosh like that when I’m sober.
The Buddha is stunning, maybe not as big as the Buddha at Matara but more striking because it hasn’t had a silly shelter built round it, although behind the Buddha there is a structure you can climb which allows you to look inside his head.
There is also a network of rooms and tunnels including a Chamber of Horrors (it starts with impressive life-sized statues but quickly becomes simply wall paintings). First you see the various sins committed by us mortals, for example being nasty to the Buddha, eating meat, throwing your aged parents out of the house etc (every manner of naughtiness appears to be here somewhere) and then underneath is the suitable punishment which sinners will receive when we get to hell.
Unfortunately my next visit was during the afternoon and was ruined by a succession of 'guides' in each different part of the Temple who would mutter two or three unintelligible sentences and then hassle you for money. I was happy to pay my official Rs100 ‘development contribution’ and I would never normally visit a Temple anywhere without leaving a Rs1000 donation but these 'guides' so pissed me off that I left before I had chance.
Directions: Get to Dikwella (about 15 miles east of Matara) then turn inland.
Sri Lankan people love to learn and there are private English Classes everywhere outside normal school hours. Your presence for an impromptu teaching session is usually very welcome – don’t be shy, it’s great fun.
Other European languages are taught in some areas.
Good quality books and maps etc are usually appreciated, Sri Lanka kids are rarely short of a pen these days so I wouldn't bother taking lots of cheap biros with you (which are widely available in Sri Lanka) more interesting clickable 'novelty' ones might go down better but even then don't expect the vast majority of kids to be impressed with a pen - these days he probably has a mobile phone in his pocket.
Doing the Laundry
Sri Lanka is hot and after a hard days travel you will probably appreciate somewhere to cool off. The good news is that Sri Lanka is blessed with numerous rivers, tanks, waterfalls and pools so even off the beaten track you are never far from somewhere interesting (and usually beautiful) to go for a dip. Even a small stream is likely to have a pool somewhere deep enough to swim, even if it is man made, but you may need local help to find it.
Even if you are based in a beach resort a trip inland for a cool fresh-water swim makes a perfect afternoon out, particularly if sea conditions are not good and you are fed up with the hotel pool. Hotel staff, three wheeler drivers and just about any local will know the best places and may even offer to take you to their favourite spot. Villagers still use the rivers to wash themselves and their clothes and you will probably meet some local people so be prepared to share you picnic and if you smoke - your cigarettes.
Always take local advice before you enter the water, there is a tip on safe swimming inland which you can get to via my Sri Lanka travel page.
Small Town Sri Lanka
A cheap package deal with reasonable accommodation can work out cheaper than a flight only deal, so for less adventurous independent travellers booking a package deal and using the resort hotel as a base while you explore the country can give the best of both worlds.
With a package deal you will be met at the airport after your long flight and chauffeured to your hotel where you can sleep and spend a few days acclimatizing. When you’re ready to hit the road you can leave documents such as flight tickets and anything else you do not need to carry with you in your hotel, allowing you to travel relatively light.
You can also go back to your air conditioned hotel for a few days if the heat and hassle of travel starts getting you down and to relax for a few days before heading home.
There is a lot to see and do in Sri Lanka and it is a relatively safe and easy country in which to get around, so get a bag on your back and see where you end up. Use local buses and trains for transport, local inns and rest houses as your accommodation and local people as your guides - fantastic.
There is more info on getting around in Sri Lanka on my home and travel pages
Address: Negombo, Bentota
More Reviews (89)
- Cricket Crazy
- See All An easy (and cheap) day out.
- See All Boys will be boys - girls should be...
- See All Off Sales
- See All Who Lives Where?
- See All Safety First
Maxus' Related Pages
Sri Lanka Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Ayu Bowan Sri Lanka"
- "SRI LANKA: Tear Drop of the Indian Ocean."
- "India's tear"
- "Sri Lanka: An Island Full of Treasures"
- "CEYLON.SUMPTUOUSLY TROPICAL."
- "Sri Lanka - A wonderful Country"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Sri Lanka
- Hotels in Sri Lanka
- Transportation in Sri Lanka
- Nightlife in Sri Lanka
- Restaurants in Sri Lanka
- Shopping in Sri Lanka
- Warnings and Dangers in Sri Lanka
- See All...
Explore the World
- Stockton Hotels
- Djibouti Hotels
- Tettegouche State Park Hotels
- Saint-Denis Hotels
Badges & Stats in Sri Lanka
- 122 Reviews
- 309 Photos
- 437 Forum posts
- 12 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (10)
Have you been to Sri Lanka?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Sri Lanka
- Posted in Travel Sri Lanka Forum "Re: Ferry from India to Sri Lanka..."
- created a Sri Lanka Travelogue "South - East - North - East - West - North - South"
- Uploaded a Photo to "South - East - North - East - West - North - South"
- Commented on one of PierreZA's Sri Lanka travel pages
- Wrote a Review Cricket Crazy in Sri Lanka Sports & Outdoors
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Sri Lanka Intro, 94 reviews, 223 photos, 4 travelogues
- Lancashire Intro, 18 reviews, 33 photos
- Heysham Intro, 7 reviews, 16 photos
- England 1 review, 20 photos, 2 travelogues
- Matara Intro, 7 reviews, 13 photos
- Bharuch Intro, 1 review, 12 photos, 1 travelogue
- Haputale Intro, 2 reviews, 10 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Negombo Intro, 3 reviews, 8 photos
- Scarborough Intro, 2 reviews, 8 photos
- Kataragama Intro, 4 reviews, 6 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (26)
Top Sri Lanka hotels
- Colombo Hotels
- 348 Reviews - 614 Photos
- Kandy Hotels
- 283 Reviews - 687 Photos
- Nuwara Eliya Hotels
- 97 Reviews - 201 Photos
- Negombo Hotels
- 78 Reviews - 173 Photos
- Galle Hotels
- 70 Reviews - 212 Photos
- Trincomalee Hotels
- 23 Reviews - 54 Photos
- Bentota Hotels
- 56 Reviews - 132 Photos
- Hikkaduwa Hotels
- 44 Reviews - 71 Photos
- Aluthgama Hotels
- 5 Reviews - 7 Photos
- Peradeniya Hotels
- 1 Review - 11 Photos
- Anuradhapura Hotels
- 94 Reviews - 269 Photos
- Piliyandala Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Wadduwa Hotels
- 15 Reviews - 22 Photos
- Galkissa Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Panadura Hotels
- See nearby hotels