You’ve signed on to our elephant conservation programme to volunteer helping the Human-Elephant Conflict in Wasgamuwa and you’re getting yourself excited for your time in Sri Lanka. Whilst exploring the travel blogs and Lonely Planet pages, you realise that there is SO much to do and see and that’s when it hits you… how are you going to choose and how are you going to fit it all in?
You have one weekend in Sri Lanka, a few weekends if you’re lucky…how do you spend it?
Good Question! That is where PMGY comes in.
Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definite answer. As you may be a beach fanatic, you may be an eager hiker or even a passionate historian. You may want to spend your days on the coast or spend your time in the mountains. But lucky for you, Sri Lanka has it all, and I can give you some top tips on where you should spend this one valuable weekend in this incredible country.
If you are joining us in Sri Lanka but not on the Elephant project, it is quite likely that you are looking for the sister blog One Weekend in Sri Lanka, which will give you some incredible ways to spend your weekend whilst on our programmes in Ambalangoda.
Here are three weekends for your time whilst volunteering in Wasgamuwa, perfect for three different kinds of travellers; the beach relaxer, the exploring historian and the adventurous hiker. I know time is of the essence with a short weekend, so I’ve also rated these weekends out of 3 for how adventurous, cultural and chilled they are to help you decide.
Our elephant conservation volunteers really are one of our hardest working volunteers. They are therefore the most deserving of a chill weekend on the beach, and there is no better place for this than Trincomalee. Also known as ‘Trinco’, the little town on the East coast is just under four hours from the Volunteer House and is the ultimate CHILL destination, offering white sand and arguably one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. The East coast is much quieter than the South West, surrounded by wildlife and hilltops, therefore it is the perfect place to relax after a busy week of volunteering.
For those ultimate chill travellers, spend your day on the untouched coast of Nivali beach or for a taste of culture you can check out the colourful Hindu temples in town. Try whale watching or chill at the laid back beach bars. For a little bit more of adventure, head out early morning to go snorkelling at Pigeon Island with super clear water and white sand beaches.
Trincomalee is a beach relaxer’s paradise!
Chill – ☀☀☀
Culture – 🕌🕌
Adventure – 🏔
If you are a keen explorer, then you will love Anuradhapura – the first Capital city of Sri Lanka. Its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization gave the city its title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Full of temples and ancient buildings, this place is a historian’s paradise. Not far is also the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa – definitely worth a day to explore.
A direct bus from Wasgamuwa will also take you to Kandy. Another of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka, the city is recognized as the island nation’s cultural capital. Home to the Temple of the Tooth considered one of Sri Lanka’s most holy shrines.
Chill – ☀
Culture – 🕌🕌🕌
Adventure – 🏔
If you are an adventure hiker, you are already in the perfect location in Wasgamuwa. Incredible hikes and walks are right on your doorstep in this National Park.
If you wanted to go further afield, it’s a must to check out Sigiriya Rock. Nicknamed ‘Lions Rock’, it was a Royal Palace built in the sky on top of a giant boulder. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site (as you can tell Sri Lanka is full of these), in the middle of a thick green tropical forest. The ascent is around 1.5 hours and it’s on everyone’s Sri Lanka bucket list.
For those who would like a beautiful viewpoint but a shorter climb, Pidurangala rock is a hike for the more relaxed explorers. A hike through the dense forest and an ancient Buddhist temple give you the opportunity to see Sigiriya Rock from up high.
Chill – ☀
Culture – 🕌🕌🕌
Adventure – 🏔🏔🏔
How do these weekends sound to you? Are some of you thinking… what if I want to surf AND explore the history of Sri Lanka? That’s the best thing about it, you can really do both! When you get to Sri Lanka, the coordinators are here to answer all your burning questions about exploring on your weekend. Gather your top places and come with lots of ideas and PMGY will help you.
Where ever you decide to go, I can promise you that Sri Lanka will blow your mind and your weekend will be unforgettable!!
PMGY INTERNATIONAL TEAM