Nestled in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, more than 5 hours north east from Colombo, the little jungle town of Habarana has quickly become a major tourist hotspot due to its rustic backdrop, the presence of luxurious accommodation providers and its close proximity to the exquisite national parks of Minneriya and Kaudulla, famed for its elephant population. Surrounded by jungle teeming with elephants, witnessing the very site of the majestic animals roaming around your backyard really does make Habarana quite a special town that reflects on what the Paradise Island stands for.

Top Reason to Visit

Although possessing a rustic jungle backdrop with abundant wildlife, along with some trendy accommodation providers, the top reason to visit the jungle town of Habarana is really due to its close proximity to the major sites of the Cultural Triangle, namely Sigiriya, Dambulla and Polonnaruwa. In addition to being close to Sri Lanka’s ancient history, another reason that accentuates the first reason is its close proximity to a part of Sri Lanka’s natural splendour, namely the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks. Thus being the perfect base camp to experience the best of culture, heritage and nature of Sri Lanka.

While You’re There

Base camp to experience natural bliss:

Due to the jungle town’s strategic position in the Cultural Triangle, Habarana is considered by many to be the perfect base camp to experience the best of Sri Lanka’s lush greenery and what dwells within it. Being in close proximity to the Minneriya National Park and Kaudulla National Park, witnessing the famed ’Gathering’ (the gathering of more than 150 Asian Elephants in one spot) is more closer than ever. Other parks, such as the Hurulu Eco Park too is another interesting sanctuary for the nature lover to delve into. Although not as popular as the nearby national parks, it still is a serene corner of Sri Lanka that boasts some of the country’s natural wonders.

Crossroads to ancient Sri Lanka:

In addition to being in close proximity to Sri Lanka’s great national parks, Habarana happens to be the perfect base camp to explore Sri Lanka’s unique culture and heritage, as many of the ancient cities can be reached easily. Delve into the history and significance of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Dambulla Cave Temples and the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa to name but 3 of the prominent places of bygone kingdoms of Sri Lanka.

A lake of serenity:

Habarana may be known for being the ideal base camp to witness Sri Lanka’s unique culture and natural splendour, however, the little town in itself is a place of natural wonder, due to its jungle backdrop, where wildlife roam around free. The best place to witness such wildlife is at the Habarana Lake, teeming with Asian Elephants. With luxury resorts setting up shop near the Habarana Lake, the lake has become a backyard for many nature lovers enthralled by the very site of the majestic animals wandering about the lakeside.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about Habarana is very simple, as it is a small town that really has a few attractions. Travelling by foot is the cheapest, while taking the bus is yet another affordable option. You could hire a tuk-tuk (do be mindful, since they could overcharge) or a vehicle from your accommodation provider.

Weather: Habarana generally experiences a typical tropical climate, with occasional rainfall. The months from May to October have proven to be the period in which the town experiences the ideal weather for many wildlife excursions, as the temperature averages around 29°C and the humidity remains stable for the most part.

Money: Apart from the supermarkets, a few shops and hotels, credit and debit cards are worthless here. Therefore, it is mandatory that you carry cash in hand with small notes like LKR 20s, LKR 50s and LKR 100s to make life all the more easier.

Clothing: Be sure to be clad in light, comfortable clothing, in order to cope up with the soaring temperatures.

Safety: The small town is very safe and tourist friendly, however, it does not hurt to be mindful of your belongings.

Meals and refreshments: There are several local eateries in the main street of Habarana, however, if you wish for a wider spread of food, then the hotels are the best.

In conclusion, the jungle town of Habarana may lack the historical or natural significance of its neighbouring parks and places, however, it does make up for it with the many trendy stays that have opened recently, along the surrounding jungle and lakeside. Therefore, making it an ideal place to get some down time and also serving as the perfect base camp to experience Sri Lanka’s ancient history and blissful nature.

Title image by: Roshie Kahandawela
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