The island country of Sri Lanka is known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. With diverse landscapes and cultures spread across the different regions of Sri Lanka, there really is something for everyone. This list is quite adventurous and involves a few hikes and all things action! The culture and food of Sri Lanka are incredibly unique and will captivate you throughout your adventures. During two trips to the tropical island, these are my favorite things to do in Sri Lanka.

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Ella is a hiking hotspot in the mountain country of Sri Lanka. Some of the views from hikes in Ella are phenomenal with the region well known for its tea plantations and spectacular mountain ranges. If you want to enjoy some of the best views without needing to hike for hours, Little Adam’s Peak is the perfect trek, especially for an unforgettable sunset. It’s one of the top things to do in Sri Lanka if you enjoy hiking!

The trail begins with a moderate incline as it winds through tea plantations. It will lead you up to 1141m above sea-level although you already begin at a high elevation so you will only hike up a few hundred meters. The trail is marked the whole way with well-maintained paths and stairs to the first set of viewpoints. There are multiple platforms, rocks, and viewpoints perfect for photos once you hit the top of Little Adam’s Peak. Although, you can and should keep going along the ridge, you will agree that the view only gets better.

As you continue along the ridge the trail gets a little wilder and you might get a little dirty, managing your way up and down to the final viewpoint.

We hung out at the top of Little Adam’s Peak with no one else around, taking in the mountains and the epic scenery of the 360-degree views. We probably waited a little too long to head back and ended up trekking back down in the dark. For just a short hike, Little Adam’s Peak gives you unbelievable views and is the ideal way to spend sunset in Ella. Stay safe and enjoy!

The Kandy to Ella train journey is said to be one of the most scenic, epic train journeys in not only just Sri Lanka but the world. So with a few days to spare in Sri Lanka.

The views on both sides of the rail are breathtaking. The train winds through the mountains overlooking farms and villages and of course vast tea plantations. The scenery changes throughout the trip. Often at times, you are looking out at an entire green view than the next minute you are in the middle of a woodland forest.

Hanging out of the train gives you the best views and is an awesome feeling but be careful not to leave your limbs out of the train at the wrong time as there are trees and tunnels that come close to the train. Riding this train was definitely one of my favorite things to do in Sri Lanka.

While Sigiriya Rock is rich in history and has some pretty dramatic features such as the lion’s paw and the mirror wall, Pidurangala Rock has a much more natural feel, despite also housing a temple.

Pidurangala Rock is adjacent to Sigiriya Rock and is the best viewing spot of Sigiriya Rock as it is only slightly lower. Pidurangala is a popular spot for sunrise as you can enjoy 360-degree views of not only the valleys but also Sigiriya Rock.

There is no need to choose between the two. Many travelers wake up for the sunrise at Pidurangala and then head to sunset on top of Sigiriya Rock. This is exactly what I did and I highly recommend it.

Sigiriya Rock is referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. It is a truly astonishing feat of architecture. The fortress at the top has been subjected to many wars and invasions, making this a very historic site. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. It is 370 meters above sea-level and 200 meters higher than the jungle below, is the top of Sigiriya Rock. The fortress is comprised of abandoned palaces, ponds, waterways, canals, stairs and walls. We climbed all the way to the top for the sunset and witnessed Sri Lanka’s most popular site during one of the best sunsets of the year.

The Nine Arch Bridge in Ella is on the Demodara loop and spans 91 meters at a height of 24m. The beautiful nine arches make it a very picturesque spot especially as it is located in a dense jungle and agricultural setting. Behind the railway, a forest is booming and below, tea leaves are being cultivated.

The bridge was built at Gotuwala between the Ella and Demodara stations during the British Colonial period. Locally it is known as ‘Ahas Namaye Palama’ meaning nine skies bridge in Sinhala. The name derives from the visual experience. When you stand below the bridge and look up you can see the sky through the nine arches.

The unique part about this bridge is that it is built entirely from rocks, bricks, and cement with no use of steel or metals throughout the structure. The bridge was commissioned in 1941 and the story goes that as the bridge was being planned World War I broke out. The steel and metal materials destined to be used in the bridge were reassigned to be used for military purposes. The materials were then gathered in the form of rocks, bricks, and cement to make sure the bridge construction still went ahead.

There are a number of cafes in the hills with vantage points of the bridge but down at the bridge is where you want to be. The Nine Arch Bridge has a huge bend in it so in my opinion standing on the side the bridge bends away from makes for the best photos and accentuates the arch. Watching a train come around the bend on this bridge was one of my favorite things to do in Sri Lanka.