Adding Sri Lanka to your bucket list for 2024

by | May 23, 2024

Sri Lanka is fast becoming one of the hottest bucket list destinations in the world. Thanks to its remarkable combination of diverse natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, exotic wildlife, culinary delights, wellness traditions and affordability, it presents a compact location for all to enjoy. A stone’s throw from India and Maldives, it is perfectly positioned at the tropical getaway hotspot. Here are some compelling reasons that make the island truly bucket list-worthy.

Over 800 miles of coastline (much of it pristine)

Perfect for every beach holiday, Sri Lanka’s coastline offers a paradise of tropical delights. It offers everything from tranquil retreats to surfing to snorkelling. There’s variety, beauty and activity. Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Tangalle on the south coast are known for their reefs, secluded beaches, swells, breaks and marine life. You can also encounter sea turtles, whales and dolphins.

The East Coast, with shallow waters, white sands and quiet beaches, is also a treat. Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Uppuveli, and Pasikudah beaches are famous for their outstanding beauty. Arugam Bay on the southeast is Sri Lanka’s surf mecca, and Kalpitiya peninsula on the northwest coast is a hidden gem for kite surfing, snorkelling, whale & dolphin watching and lagoon safaris.

8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Eight of Sri Lanka’s cultural and natural sites have World Heritage status. These include the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, the sacred cities of Anuradhapura and Kandy, the old town of Galle and its fortification, Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple, the Central Highlands of the island and the Sinharaja Rain Forest.

The cultural sites are some of the most significant in the Buddhist world and showcase over 2500 years of culture and tradition. For example, the stupas of Anuradhapura are a staggering collection from the ancient world and the most unique. Sigiriya and its water gardens are a testament to the engineering marvel of the times.

The Horton Plains National Park, the World’s End, and the Knuckles Mountain Range of the Central Highlands contain some of the best-preserved cloud forests and montane grasslands. The World’s End offers sweeping views across the Highlands to glimpses of the southern coast.

Sinharaja is one of the most crucial rainforests in Asia, with an impressive degree of endemism.

Sinharaja Rainforest

26 National Parks

Sri Lanka’s national parks offer an exotic world of wildlife, from herds of Asian elephants to colourful coral reefs. Yala, the most visited national park on the island, has one of the highest concentrations of leopard populations. Yala East, or Kumana National Park, is renowned for its bird populations. Wilpattu, the largest national park in the country, also has a healthy leopard population with frequent sightings.

Minneriya, Udawalawe and Wasgamuwa National Parks have a record number of elephants. The Great Elephant Gathering happens in Minneriya National Park from May to September, when hundreds of elephants come to the park for food and water during the dry season. Gal Oya National Park has numerous species, including herds of elephants who swim in its enormous reservoir.

Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka

Tea Country

Ceylon tea is one of the major exports of the country. A legacy of British Ceylon, the highland and lowland tea of Sri Lanka grows in the hill regions. Some of the best high-grown tea comes from estates in Nuwara Eliya in the central highlands. Take the scenic train journey from Kandy to Badulla and hop on and off tea-growing towns.

Lipton Seat in Haputale and Taylor’s Seat at Loolkandura are magnificent viewpoints attributed to the fathers of Ceylon Tea. Visit a tea estate to watch tea pickers pluck the leaves at record speed, see how the leaves get processed at the factory and enjoy a fresh, warm brew. And do not forget to take home some original Ceylon tea with you.


Sri Lanka is known to have the highest density of waterfalls in the world, with over 380 waterfalls. Most of these are in the hill country, dotted across its verdant landscape. Diyaluma, Dunhinda, Bambarakanda, Baker’s Falls, St. Clair’s Falls, Aberdeen Falls, Bopath Ella and Ravana Falls are some of the most stunning. There are numerous waterfalls in nature reserves, such as Sinharaja and Knuckles.



With its wealth of natural beauty, wilderness and wildlife, Sri Lanka is one of the top glamping destinations in Asia. Yala, Wilpattu and Gal Oya National Parks, Knuckles, Pidurangala, Belihuloya, Hunnasgiriya and Ahungalla are places popular for glamping on the island. Luxury tented lodges offer creature comforts amidst unadulterated wilderness.

Wild Glamping-Knuckles

Ayurveda wellness

It is a healing tradition more than 5000 years old. The practice is a way of life and includes therapies fragrant with herbs, flowers and oils. Stay at an Ayurvedic retreat to indulge yourself in emotional and physical healing. Yoga, an extended part of the tradition, is also a part of most packages. Immerse yourself in calming environments, natural aesthetics and Vedic pampering. Ayurveda is a holistic way to decompress and nurture your well-being.


Sri Lankan cuisine

Influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch, British, Indian, Arab, Malay and Moors, Sri Lankan cuisine is eclectic. Rice and curry, the centrepiece of the island’s culinary prowess, is as diverse as you can imagine. It is a symphony of colour, aroma and flavour. From its traditional iterations to Dutch Burgher Lamprais to Chinese-inspired fried rice, rice in every possible version exists here.

From Jaffna crab curry to kottu from a street stall, savouring Sri Lankan cuisine is an experience. Do not forget to sample the ‘short eats’ and fusion pattisseries. And, leave room for dessert – watalappam and curd & treacle included.

Sri Lankan cuisine Regal Réseau Hotel

Tick off your travel bucket list with Blue Lanka Tours!

Personalised for you, we create holidays from your dreams. Discover characterful places, real people and unique experiences. See beyond the travel brochures and explore without the stress. We ensure your travel is tailor-made, smooth and hassle-free. With a fleet of luxury vehicles and an impressive portfolio of properties, you can travel the length and breadth of Sri Lanka with us without a care in the world. Responsible travel at the heart, let Blue Lanka Tours tick off your Sri Lankan bucket list in style.