This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Habarana.
Habarana is one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the country of Sri Lanka. It is located just between the major religious sites of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and Dambulla. It is also in close proximity to the town of Sigiriya, a major tourist attraction, and Ritigala. There are many hotels and hostels in this town because of its great location. The hostels here are well maintained and are usually right next to forests, parks, or other naturally stunning locations.
When here, you have to check out the nearby national parks. The Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks are the most famous in the country for wild elephant watching. You can book a safari from your hostel and take a guided tour through the parks. It is a good idea to hire a local tour guide at the entrance to either park. These guides know all the out-of-the-way spots where you can find unique attractions like the elephants, peacocks, water buffalo, and even the occasional crocodile at the tank (a man-made lake).
Another unique thing to do in Habarana is riding elephants. (Note: some people say riding harms elephants, we leave the decision to you.) There are fully grown elephants you can ride for hours for as little as twenty dollars an hour in some places. After a day riding these animals, you are going to be sore. The Ayurvedic Spa in Habarana is a good way to relax for a very affordable price. It is not a luxurious location, but the service is highly rated. The Spa is usually only open to tourists, not locals.
One last place to visit here is the town of Ritigala, and the monastery deep within the jungle. This ruined abode of the monks was thought to be where the Buddha rested once. It sits halfway up the mountain of the same name. The walk to the ruins through the forest is beautiful too, with old trees and a calm atmosphere. Try arriving in the evening to avoid schoolchildren on field trips here.
Written by local enthusiast for Habarana hostelsJakob Lombardi