Named the Jewel of the Ocean for having some of the most envied and iconic landscapes in South Asia, Sri Lanka is an eclectic and diverse tropical paradise which seems to hold a compact universe within its borders. The island, located in the Indian Ocean and relatively close to the continent, is an explosion of shimmering colors and active cultures that has seduced all kinds of travellers for centuries. The Yala national park is one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Bordering the indian ocean, the park was initially used as a hunting ground for the elite under British rule. Yala is home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species, most of which are endemic to the country.
The Yala national park can be visited all year long, although it is advisable to avoid the monsoon season (from May to August)
There is no place like the Yala national park to understand the untamed and balanced world of wildlife. Whether you are an avid nature lover or a first time traveller, a visit to Yala will open your mind to a new conception of life. Home to the highest density of leopards in the world, the pure landscapes of Yala will remain in your mind long before you have left its dark green forest. Forgotten monasteries, magical temples taken over by nature and majestic ancient ruins offer a glimpse to what once was a thriving civilization made of gold and stone.
When planning a trip to Yala National Park, it is important to take certain practicalities into consideration. To enter the park, you are required to have a suitable car that allows you to move through the designated areas, although it is possible to book a group visit through the Yala National Park website. Although Yala is not too far from cities such as Galle, it is very advisable to book your accomodation in advance, preferably in the surroundings on the park.It is possible to reserve bungalows inside the park if you wish to extend your visit to Yala.
A leopard roams near the lake at Yala National Park, 2014
Before visiting Sri Lanka, you are required to apply for a tourist visa. This process can be completely carried out online and has a cost of US$30 and a validity of 30 days. A Sri Lankan travel visa can still be obtained at international embassies for the same price and duration. If you are already in Sri Lanka and you do not have a valid visa, there is a counter at Bandaranaike International Airport that provides short notice visas, although you will be required to pay a small penalty.
If you wish to extend your trip to Sri Lanka, it is possible to renew your 30-day tourist visa twice through a relatively simple bureaucratic process. For more information, contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration When travelling through Sri Lanka, you must carry a valid passport at all times. This is especially necessary when booking accommodation and accessing the international embassies in the capital.
Tips:Although obtaining a Sri Lankan visa for US citizens is not particularly difficult, make sure that you have a valid passport for more than six months. Also, it is advisable to apply for the visa as soon as possible, because your Sri Lankan visa may take weeks to be processed.