Try stilt fishing

Stilt fishing was invented because the Sri Lankan fisherfolk knew that the best way to catch fish was to keep the fish’s environment as undisturbed as possible. Stepping into the water would disturb the fish, so they used stilts.

Of course, they could step on the rocks that jutted out of the water – but there just weren’t enough rocks for all the people who wanted to have something for dinner. The stilts, then, replaced the rocks.

Now you may ask, why don’t they use nets instead? Well, if they did, the fish would get disturbed so much, they would go away, and it would be a long time before they come back.

Incidentally, the Sri Lankan fisherfolk also fish without bait. They simply jiggle the hook to attract the fish. It obviously works, as the tradition has lasted years, and the people relying on the method look like they are able to eat.

If you think you’re an angler, try fishing the Sri Lankan way. No matter what you catch, you’ll have something to brag about to your angler friends at home.

If you’re not an angler but come simply to watch the fishermen, then don’t go splashing into the water where they’re fishing! As you can see, they go through a lot of trouble to keep the fish undisturbed. They won’t like it if all that trouble they went through were wasted just because you and your companions decided to take a dip.

Watch a Kandyan dance

The Kandyan dance originated from the Kandy region – hence, its name – but it has now spread to the rest of Sri Lanka.

It is believed that the Kandyan dance began as an exorcism dance performed by Kandy’s witch doctors, and was first used to heal a Kandyan king who had been suffering from a recurring nightmare. The dance was performed before the king, and the nightmares ended.

When the Kandyan kingdom fell to the British rule, the dance nearly disappeared. Fortunately, it has been revived and is now considered a performing art rather than a healing technique.

Pick Ceylon tea leaves

Sri Lanka is the home of some of the best teas in the world, so your tour will inevitably bring you across some tea plantations.

When you get there, learn more about the tea you drink by asking for a quick tutorial on how tea leaves are harvested. You will find it is not as simple as plucking the first green thing your fingers touch. Since tea leaves are easily damaged, you’ll have to be very careful when you pick them.

Tea pickers use a “fine” plucking method that takes only the newest leaves on the plant. These create a light and delicate tea.

Of course, there is also a “coarse” plucking method, where you get a bit older leaves – so you’re able to harvest three or four rather than just one or two – from each plant. Naturally, though, this will result in lower quality tea.

Take a scenic train ride

Trains are the cheapest and one of the safest and most enjoyable ways to travel around Sri Lanka. For the most comfortable sightseeing session, book a seat in a first-class observation car; this is normally found at the train’s rearmost part.

These cars have comfortable armchair seats that face a large window facing the tracks, so you can see more and farther as the train moves along.

One of the most scenic routes to take is the one from Badulla to Colombo. This will take you through the Nuwara Eliya hill station, which is 2,000 meters above sea level and is surrounded by tea plantations.

Visit an elephant orphanage

If you want to see elephants up close, the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala is a great place to do that. The elephants here are so used to human visitors, they won’t panic if you come close to them.

There are at least 60 orphan elephants in this nature sanctuary. You can observe their daily rituals such as feeding time – usually at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. – and bath time, about an hour and a half after their meals.