Whether you’re a first time visitor or a veteran Colombo New Year’s Eve person, there’s lots to be done in Sri Lanka. Yes you should go to Bentota and lie on the beach. And certainly hit up Anuradhapura for a dose of history. But trust us on this one, whatever you do in Sri Lanka, do not, we repeat, do not skip these five absolute must-dos. Go book your tickets, grab your passport {no need of visa even!} and check these off your list. Thank us when you’re back.

Go Surfing In Merissa

mirissa beach for surfing in srilanka

Photo by: Ji Elle

Once a sleepy little seaside village, this one is now THE place to be for surfing. A little crescent curve beach, the waves are high enough for a thrill but not intimidating if you’re starting out. Plus, post riding the surf, it’s amazing to just find a hammock, sip on some fresh coconut water and dreams about living life this way, forever. Or was that just us?

Find more information about the surfing here.

Be In Fine Company At The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

pinnawala elephant orphanage in srilanka

Photo by: Bernard Gagnon

Get up close and personal with about 100 jumbos here. While some might disagree with the concept of fostering these many elephants {there are some orphan babies in this mix too}, it’s a lovely sight when the older and maternal ones play about with the littler ones. You get to watch them bathe and roam about freely. You can even try to bottle feed them if the mahout allows. Alternatively, just watch the gentle giants during visiting hours and you’ll find that humans have a long way to go when it comes to humanity.

Find out more about them here.

Dig In At Ministry Of Crab

ministry of crab in srilanka

Source: Ministry of Crab

What happens when Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Dharshan Munidase team up? No, you don’t get a great cricket score, you get a tribute to seafood like no other! Chilli Crab and Baked Crab are house specials and you’ll forget every other type of crabby dish you’ve had before. And the best part? Only fresh catch of the day here.

Check out their website for more on the Ministry, The Amendment and Constitution here.

Hop On Board The Viceroy Special Train

Traverse the length of the Emerald Isle on a train and route that dates back to the 19th century. Decked out in star-hotel style, with period fittings and tugged on by a vintage steam engine, this ride will give you memories to last a lifetime. Of course to stay current, there is WiFi, lavish four-course meals and even recreation areas. But all that pales in comparison to the scenery which goes from Colombo to Nanu Oya {for a beautiful view of the forest and hill areas}, Kandy {past the tea estates with a stop at the Elephant Orphanage} or Galle {for the stunning ride along the coast}.

Book yourself a ride here.

Gape At Stilt Fishing In Weligama

stilt fishing in srilanka

Photo by: Bernard Gagnon

Steve McCurry took stunning shots of this way back in the 90s, and that’s all we may soon have left of the tradition of stilt fishing. An age-old concept, practiced on the coastline, the tsunami reduced the prospects dramatically. So if you want to catch a glimpse of this fascinating technique {they really do sit and stand on stilts a way into the water}, the stretch between Unawatuna and Weligama are where you should set GPS to. Go away from the crowds to find the real fishermen as some of the lads just do it for the drama of getting a photo taken.

Featured image by: Amila Tennakoon