Sri Lanka is a majestic travel destination packed with things to do. Here are our five best alternative things to do in Sri Lanka…

Sri Lanka is back on everyone’s radar. Following lowered travel warnings, from several countries including the UK, Lonely Planet recently published its decision to stand by Sri Lanka as its Best in Travel 2019. As a writer who grew up on the island and has a unique insight in to it I have an affinity to Sri Lanka which gives me a humble authority on what’s authentically good and what quite simply is not. With beaches, wildlife, lakes, mountains and culture I feel that the real challenge is keeping away from the island. Whilst I urge that you check Foreign Office guidelines before travel here is a hand-picked list of my five best alternative things to do in Sri Lanka.

Experience Flamingo House, Colombo

alternative things to do in Sri Lanka

In the heart of Colombo sits ethereal Flamingo House, the first in our list of best alternative things to do in Sri Lanka. The restaurant is created around a fictional forbidden love story, set in colonial Sri Lanka, between a British tea planter and a local peasant girl. It recreates Flamingo House; the imagined home shared by the lovers for 22 years. Expect a riot of colour, a clash of cultures and a sumptuous dining experience. With an à la carte menu of local dishes such as Hot Toddy Chicken (£7) and international dishes such as Slow Roasted Pork (£8) the restaurant is one of a kind in the city. Be sure to enjoy a drink in the beer garden, The Aviary, before dinner. It’s the most romantic restaurant in Colombo.

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Enjoy the rooftop pool at Mövenpick Hotel, Colombo

Colombo is overrun with hotels to suit every budget. However, luxury hotels in the city have cornered the market on a deal breaker; rooftop pools. One of the most centrally located hotels is Mövenpick. I was a guest here and it is wonderfully placed for ease of access. The infinity pool on the 24th floor overlooks the Indian ocean on one side and the hustle and bustle of all that is Colombo on the other. With an open air bar and poolside dining Mövenpick Hotel makes for an immersive urban stay in Colombo.

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Go whale watching by air

alternative things to do in Sri Lanka

Whale sightings along the southern coast of the island are so frequent that hundreds of boats, both licensed and unlicensed, take to the water each morning. This can be distressing for the animals. However, we consider this a must-do on our list. F.airways offers a more marine-friendly way to see these wondrous creatures which is why we say it’s on our list of best alternative things to do in Sri Lanka. The company has introduced small, low-noise planes that allows visitors to whale-watch by air so the animals are not disturbed when they surface.

F.airways further contributes to private marine research and conservation efforts by recording every whale sighting. Take off is from Koggala Air Force base on the southern coast which any tuk tuk will be able to drive you up to. Passports are required for identification and the experience costs US$150 per person (maximum of three people) for a 45 minute flight.

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Take a day trip to Lake Bolgoda

alternative things to do in Sri Lanka
The Marina and Flow houseboats, part of the Amber Collection, Sri Lanka

Lake Bolgoda is the untapped jewel in Colombo’s crown. Located 45 minutes from the city by tuk tuk or car it’s an accessible and authentically off-the-beaten path experience. Visit The Marina which offers jet skiing, tube rides, water skiing and fishing. A Day Pass costs just £20 (paid in LKR) and pass-holders can enjoy the gourmet restaurant, private lounge, pool, jacuzzi and water sports. The cost of the pass is redeemable against food, drink or activities.

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Enjoy a beach bar with a difference

alternative things to do in Sri Lanka

If you’re a fan of the beach then no doubt you will head straight to the south coast when you arrive in Sri Lanka. However, it is now so overrun with bars and tourists that it’s become near impossible to enjoy the white sand, lush palm trees and the quiet fishing villages that make up this magnificent coast.

For a beach experience with a difference head further south than the crowds and arrive in Midigama. This is the new home of recently-opened yet widely popular Kama which serves chilled out vibes, magnificent cocktails and locally sourced seafood. With a quiet private beachfront and breathtaking views Kama has made every effort to become a part of the village that it calls home. For more information visit: kama midigama

What do you think of our list of best alternative things to do in Sri Lanka? Let us know in the comments below.



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