Yala is Sri Lanka’s most popular and the most biodiversity-rich national park. It extends to the southeast coast and thus forms the perfect mixture of wetland, jungle, and coastal wildlife. The main feature of Yala National Park is its high-density leopard population, one of the highest in the world. You can easily catch sights of the elephant, water buffalo, sambar deer, peacock, and crocodile on a Yala safari. Yala and its satellite parks extend to some of the most significant historical and archeological sites in southern Sri Lanka. Evidence of past civilizations is found here, including 5th Century irrigation reservoirs and 2nd Century stupas.
- Kebiliththa is a sacred area in Yala Block 4, known to be God Kataragama’s residing place.
- The Great and Little Basses Reefs in Kirinda beach host some of the best snorkelling.
- Kumana National Park has large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds.
- Tissa Wewa in Tissamaharama is an artificial reservoir built in the 3rd Century BC.
- Kirinda Temple is a hilltop Buddhist shrine dedicated to Queen Viharamahadevi.
Best Times to Visit
February to June is Yala’s dry season and has the most reliable wildlife sightings.
Yala National Park
It is the largest and oldest of a chain of six national parks and three sanctuaries. There are 44 mammal species, 215 bird species, and dozens of reptiles.
Bundala National Park
It harbours around 197 species of migratory waterbird species and stretches 20km along the west coast of Yala. Greater flamingos are its main highlight.
This 2nd Century monastery atop a rocky outcrop is said to have built by King Kavantissa. It features ancient paintings and ruins of stone Buddha images.
These seven rock-cut Buddha figures date back to the 10th Century and belong to the Mahayana tradition. It also has a mysterious mustard oil lamp.
It is one of the most sacred multi-religious pilgrim sites in the country, with a shrine dedicated to a deity of both Buddhist and Hindu origins.
Considered to be the official entrance to Kumana National Park, legend has it as the place God Murugan first sailed into Sri Lanka in a golden boat.
Where to Shop in Yala
Yala is primarily a wilderness area, and most shopping is limited to in-hotel shops. You can buy handicrafts and traditional items in the surrounding towns.
Where to Eat in Yala
Yala hotels, which also provide luxury accommodation, offer a range of dining experiences. The Restaurant, The Chill, The Orchid, and Chef Lady Restaurant are places to dine out.
Explore where you enjoy a comfortable stay during your explorations.