Things to See and Do in Sri Lanka -Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala

I think it’s a fairly common fantasy of travellers to spend a week at a sunny destination such as exotic and mysterious Sri Lanka and think you could see yourself living there.  It’s quite another to actually know when you arrive that you’ll be a resident for two years, possibly four.


When we were informed that Sri Lanka would be our next posting, I must admit, I knew very little about it, apart from the tsunami disaster of 2004.  We landed in 2009, when the 25 year civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamil inhabitants was just coming to an end.  This transition, together with it being a bruised and battered third world country, sparked much apprehension in what would lie ahead for my family.

In these series I will share with you some of the amazing places to see and stay in this country that we recently called home.

Elephant Orphanage – Pinnawala

There are few places where you can watch a herd of elephants being guided down to a river for a bath while you eat your lunch.  It really is an incredible sight when we are used to seeing one or two elephants behind a zoo enclosure.


Sana, on the left, lost part of her leg due to a landmine

Between the cities of Colombo and Kandy is a very popular stop for tourists known as the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.  Here you will find a large herd of captive elephants that are fed and led twice daily to a river for bathing.  When the orphanage was founded in 1975, it’s goal was a safe haven for elephants orphaned in the jungle.  Now it even consists of a breeding program.  You are invited to feed the elephants, watch baby elephants being fed by bottle, and follow the herd down to the river for bathing.

Patty and Elephant

Things to Do Near Pinnawala-Royal Botanic Gardens – Kandy

The island’s largest botanical garden can be found in Kandy and is a peaceful oasis away from the traffic and heat.  From towering trees with life-like limbs of elaborate roots to colourful hedges and rare orchids, this beautifully kept garden is great way to spend the day.  My son especially loved the giant bamboo bushes and the trees dotted with sleeping bats.
















Where We Stayed near Kandy – Amaya Hills Resort

As the name might suggest, Amaya Hills Hotel has a great view of Kandy.  Comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a large variety of foods at the buffet.  It’s a beautiful spot to sit and have your breakfast before heading out for a day of sight-seeing.




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The Traveling With Children Tourist is a well traveled mom of two young boys who has lived around the world