When planning your bucket list tour of Sri Lanka there are few things you simply cannot miss out on. In a two-part series well provide a guide to your cultural and wildlife bucket list items in Sri Lanka.  We’re aiming to give you some inspiration for fulfilling or adding to your bucket list adventures in Sri Lanka. The five things we think you must include on your Sri Lanka bucket list are:

In our first week, we’ll be looking at the cultural and wildlife experiences that cannot be missed, while the second week we’ll be all about beachside dining and that perfect cup of tea. Sit back, relax and get inspired to visit Sri Lanka with us.

With over 2000 years of culture, there is history around every corner!

Sri Lanka is no new country. With well over 2000 years of history there is always a story to tell as you visit different areas of the island nation. The cultural triangle is where most of the ancient history can be found. The three main cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy form the cultural triangle which follows the three main Kingdoms of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese history. The ruins of these kingdoms allow visitors to explore some of the oldest remnants of Buddhist architecture and art. The three kingdoms each have their own style and presence, reflecting the era and technology available to build what were once megastructures of the world.

Within the cultural triangle also sits Sigiriya’s impressive rock fortress. Although not one of the big three kingdoms, the rock plays an important part in the history of this nation. King Kashyapa overthrew his father established a fortress in Sigiriya, fearing reprisal attacks. The kingdom was ruled from a palace on top of the rock for just under 20 years before falling and returning to Anuradhapura. Although short lived, the palace was an impressive complex with frescoes lining the walls and ornate water gardens sprawling around the complex. This makes it a must see destination within the cultural triangle. We’d recommend at least 5-6 days exploring the cultural triangle, although you could easily spend more time exploring undiscovered ruins.

Recent history shouldn’t fall off the bucket list.

The history of Sri Lanka doesn’t end in the cultural triangle and is evolving year by year. Exploring the largest city, Colombo, provides an insight into the various traders that have come and established communities in Sri Lanka over the years. More recent history includes the remnants of the civil war that ended in 2009. After 26 years of fighting, many of the physical, emotional and psychological wounds of war remain unhealed, only to be compounded by the devastation of the Tsunami in 2004.

Zoo’s aren’t for Bucket Lists – Explore wildlife in their natural habitat on a Sri Lankan Safari!

Sri Lanka may not have all the big five, but it has enough stunning wildlife to keep any animal fan on the edge of their seat. Elephants are the main attraction as they gracefully roam the island. Your first encounter with a herd of elephants is a breathtaking experience that isn’t soon forgotten. Whether it be a small herd bathing in a stream or over a hundred elephants drinking and eating by the lakeside, every encounter is special and unique. September and October are special times to visit as the annual elephant gathering occurs in and around Minneriya National Park.

There are several elephant orphanages that can also be visited to get closer to elephants. Some of these are more genuinely involved in rehabilitation than others. We think you’ll enjoy spotting these beautiful creatures in the wild than behind bars. You’ll learn to appreciate how much space these amazing giants need to roam.

It’s not just elephants that will take your breath away. The smaller animals of Sri Lanka can also steal your heart as you explore the island. Monkeys of varying levels of social etiquette sprawl the island as do buffalo, crocodiles and the ever elusive leopard. Off the coast you’ll find dolphins and migrating whales as well as a plethora of marine life. Wildlife is easier to find when the weather is dry as they congregate around watering holes.

Coming up Next for the Bucket List? Beaches, Food and that authentic cup of tea.

Hopefully this has inspired you to learn more about the incredible history of Sri Lanka and explore some of it’s amazing national parks. In the next part of this series we will explore some amazing beach resorts and spill the beans on some mouth watering Sri Lankan dishes.