The lush and inviting island of Sri Lanka is often overlooked by travelers trekking their way through Asia. Situated in the Indian Ocean, just to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal, Sri Lanka is a country that offers a selection of unique things to see and do.

An ideal destination for animal-lovers, hikers, history buffs, and those who just want to relax, Sri Lanka will have your heart by the end of your visit. Keep reading to find out what 10 unforgettable things you have to do during your visit to Sri Lanka.

RELATED: 10 Best Things To Do In Seoul

10 Go Island-Hopping

The island country of Sri Lanka is an ideal place to go island-hopping. If you’ve been needing a relaxing break from your busy life and are in the mood to surround yourself with tropical scenery, island hopping in Sri Lanka could be the perfect remedy.

Located off the northern tip of the country is a collection of islands. While these don’t typically offer much more than accommodation, they do provide the perfect place to escape and unwind. Some of the islands are also home to interesting wildlife.

9 Hike Up The Famous Adams Peak

To change up the pace from your relaxing vacation in Sri Lanka, hike up Adams Peak. Grab your active-wear and climb up the famous mountain that will provide spectacular views when you get to the top. You don’t have to be a pro hiker to reach the peak, but you will probably break a sweat.

RELATED: The 10 Least-Visited Countries In Asia (& Why You Should Go)

Adams Peak is often considered the most sacred site in the country. For those who are familiar with the Bible, Adams Peak is said to be the first place that Adam set foot on the planet Earth after he was evicted from the Garden of Eden.

8 Sample Traditional Sri Lankan Food

You can’t visit Sri Lanka without sampling some delicious and traditional local fare. Many people assume that Sri Lankan food will be exactly the same as Indian food, due to the close proximity of the two countries.

While you will find all kinds of curry available in Sri Lanka, there are still some differences between the two cuisines. Sri Lankan cooking tends to make use of coconut and other ingredients more than its Indian counterpart. Many of the restaurants cater to western tourists but don’t be afraid to try some authentic dishes in less touristy areas. Just be warned that they can be spicy!

7 Check Out A Tea Plantation

The tea industry is thriving in Sri Lanka. One of the most popular things for travelers to do is visit a tea plantation and witness firsthand how the stuff is made. The best part about this is that you’ll also get the chance to purchase lots of delicious tea to bring home with you.

The famous brand Lipton Tea was founded by Scottish mogul Sir Thomas Lipton who was visiting Sri Lanka in search of new products for his chain of grocery stores back home. It was here that he first bought his own tea gardens.

6 Enjoy The View From The Old-Fashioned Trains

For some people, the thought of taking a train ride holds no excitement whatsoever. But those people probably haven’t been on a train in Sri Lanka, which is quite a different experience from the standard in many western countries!

RELATED: 10 Of The Most Beautiful Train Journeys In Asia

The trains in Sri Lanka are typically much slower than their western counterparts and are reminiscent of days gone by. Not only are the trains themselves old-fashioned, but the scenery you’ll get to witness as you wind through the hills of the country is reason enough to buy a ticket.

5 Explore The Cities Of Galle And Kandy

There are certainly many rural wonders to admire in Sri Lanka. But it’s also worth taking some time out to visit some of the big cities in the country. Both Galle and Kandy should be on your itinerary while in the Asian nation, as both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Located in the southwest, Galle is a coastal city that boasts sublime views and architecture that was influenced by both the Dutch and Portuguese. Kandy was once the royal capital of the country and hosts a selection of historically significant sites and relics.

4 Learn Some Local Buddhist Traditions

One of the best things about traveling is getting to discover new perspectives and ways of life that may be totally different from your own. In Sri Lanka, you’ll get the opportunity to learn a little bit about Buddhism, a faith that 75 percent of the local population follows.

RELATED: The Best Country In Asia To Visit Each Month Of The Year

You’ll have plenty of chances to see some spectacular statues, monuments, and monasteries dedicated to Lord Buddha around the country. Tour guides will often go into the history as well as the basic values and beliefs of the religion.

3 Get Up Close And Personal With A Blue Whale

Many people visit Sri Lanka just for the amazing opportunities the country presents to get up close and personal with the native wildlife. If you’ve ever been interested in whale watching, then you must travel to the southern tip of Sri Lanka, as you’re almost guaranteed to spot a blue whale between January and April.

RELATED: 10 Countries In Asia That Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List

Not only will you get a chance to see them, but there are also opportunities to jump in the water and swim amongst them. There are several tours you can book that will take you out so you can see the beautiful creatures up close.

2 Relax On One Of The Serene Beaches

Although Sri Lanka offers visitors plenty of things to see and do, it is also the perfect place to relax. Many travelers who choose to come to the country spend most of their time chilling out on one of the serene beaches.

If there’s one thing Sri Lanka has plenty of, it’s secluded beaches. Lining much of the southern and eastern coastlines, these beaches are isolated enough to make you feel like you’ve landed on your very own island paradise. For those who prefer more action at the beach, there are also several beaches that boast more of a party vibe.

1 Spot A Leopard In Yala National Park

If you are interested in seeing the native wildlife of Sri Lanka up close, then you should definitely visit Yala National Park. The drawing point for most travelers is the many leopards that live within the borders of the park.

It can sometimes be difficult to spot a leopard, but there are plenty of other animals living in the park that you’ll definitely get the chance to see on the iconic jeep safari. Among them are elephants, crocodiles, monitor lizards, jackals, and monkeys. As The Planet D points out, the National Park is quite cheap to get into, so you can always book more than one safari if you don’t see a leopard the first time!

NEXT: Top 10 Prettiest Destinations In Asia