Top 10 Things To Do In Badulla, Sri Lanka

things to do in badulla

Do not let the fact that Badulla is not as popular as other cities fool you for it’s actually a major city in the Uva Province. Due to it being surrounded by the Badulu Oya River, this makes it an aesthetically pleasing place to explore. Furthermore, with splendid parks and tea gardens enhancing the natural beauty of Badulla, this destination has become a beloved eco-friendly tourist spot. You will be surprised by the activities to do and places you can explore in this small but beautiful city. If you have plans to visit Sri Lanka and are indecisive about whether to include Badulla in your travel plans, worry no more! On this list, we have put together the top things to do in Badulla, Sri Lanka, to help with your itinerary.

1. Explore Badulla Kataragama Devalaya

Badulla Kataragama devale
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user L Manju used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This is an ancient temple situated in the center of Badulla Town, dedicated to the Sinhalese deity Kataragama deviyo. Recognized as a protected monument by the government, it has interesting architecture with beautiful carved wooden doors at the entrance. Although the exact construction date remains a mystery, some historians speculate that it was built in the 17th century, during King Vimaladharmasuriya’s reign over the Kingdom of Kandy. History lovers will find much to explore here and you’ll love to view the Kandyan-era paintings adorning the walls. The Pilimageya (Shrine room) and Sinhasanaya (Chamber of Throne) adds to the fact that it’s worth taking a look.

Badulla Kataragama Devalaya

Address: Dewala Veediya, Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: Badulla Kataragama Devalaya

2. Visit St. Mark's Church

St. Mark’s Church, Badulla
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AntanO used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This Anglican church is visited by travelers regardless of religious beliefs. Built to commemorate the life of Major Thomas William Rogers, who died tragically from being struck by lightning, this church stands out as the first one to be consecrated by James Chapman, the first Bishop of Colombo Rev. In April 2008, it was officially declared as one of the country’s archaeological protected monuments by the Government, along with its bell tower. Since then, it gained fame and popularity as a notable heritage attraction among tourists.

St. Marks Church

Address: A5, Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: St. Mark’s Church

Price: Free

3. Discover how tea is grown at Chaplon Tea Estate Passara

Sri Lanka Tea Harvest
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Christophe Meneboeuf used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

As one of the largest tea producers in the world, there is no surprise that there is a plantation dedicated to just growing tea. Spread across a wide area is the Chaplon Tea Estate, where you can see nothing but tea plants within your scope of vision. The well-kept tea estate is an aesthetically pleasing sight, boasting a lush green field. You can request a private tour, in which you are given permission to pick the leaves. If you want some quality tea leaves or a stroll in the tea garden, this is the place to go.

Chaplon Tea Estate Passara

Address: Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: Chaplon Tea Estate Passara

4. Tour the Buddhist temple of Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara

Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user L Manju used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in the heart of Badulla town. A very organized and tranquil place, this site is one of the most respected sites of worship in the country. It is especially beloved among Buddhists due to the belief that Lord Buddha once visited it and because King Indaka built the temple on the spot where Buddha preached. Inside the temple, there are plenty of beautiful carvings and figures of various animals. There are also some amazing statues of Buddha around the temple, and of King Indaka, who later became a deity.

Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara

Address: Muthiyangana Temple, Station Rd, Badulla

Website: Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara

Opening hours: 24hrs (daily)

Price: Free

5. Go shopping at the Old Welekade Market

Welekade old market- Badulla
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user L Manju used under CC BY-SA 4.0

While the history of its construction is unknown, many people believed that the Dutch built it as a castle or fortress. Due to its historical importance, this renowned colonial building became a protected monument. Old Welekade Market was built on an escarpment near a paddy field, which may have inspired its name, Welekade, which means the shop of the paddy fields. This market has a past-era feel about it and it makes shoppers feel like they stepped back in time. The wares aren’t too shabby either, having some of the finest handcrafted items on sale. It’s a place to go if you’re looking for souvenirs to take home.

Old Welekade Market

Address: Bandarawela Rd, Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: Old Welekade Market

Price: Free

6. Admire the flora and fauna in Badulla's Botanical Garden

Hakgala Botanical Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Own work of Buddh... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This botanical garden is revered among the locals, particularly among those living within the surrounding areas. After all, it’s a great place to take a break away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city area. The botanical garden has a variety of plants and animals, and some are native to Sri Lanka. The garden is a sight to behold, with quite a few old trees of rare species that refresh you mentally and physically. Due to the beauty of the garden, it’s a popular location for photography, especially for wedding pre-shoots.

Botanical Garden, Badulla

Address: 27 River Side Road, Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: Botanical Garden, Badulla

Opening hours: 8.30am - 4.30pm (daily)

7. Enjoy a meal at Hela Bojun Hala

Restaurant Food
Source: Pxfuel

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Hela Bojun Hala literally translates to “local food stall". If you ever wonder what authentic Sri Lankan food tastes like, then visit this place. It may be small, but people like it. They have a variety of food at a reasonable price, such as Kurakkan roti, Kola Kenda, and Dosai. If you’re vegan, there are dishes such as kithul thalapa, kos koththu and mung kiribath. What’s more, all the food on sale is free of artificial flavors and their drinks are all-natural. It’s a nice place to visit in the afternoon if you ever want to stop by and have a snack or a herbal drink.

Hela Bojun Hala (Badulla)

Address: Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: Hela Bojun Hala, Badulla

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7am - 7pm (closed on Sun)

8. Take a picture of the pretty Badulla Clock Tower

Badulla Clock Tower
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user L Manju used under CC BY-SA 4.0

You will never miss the tall clock tower towering above everything else in the heart of Badulla, which is one of the things Badulla is famous for. Built in 1932, the clock tower is one of the vestiges of past Sri Lanka, retained after its industrial development. Located beside the bus station in a gazebo on King Street, the clock tower is painted white and it has beautiful colonial architecture. It is built in the style of Buddhist temples and there is an inscription of the date of construction in the year 1932. It is still one of the older clocks that continues to tell time even today.

Badulla Clock Tower

Address: Badulla-Passara Road, Badulla, Sri Lanka

Website: Badulla Clock Tower

9. Check out the shops along Bazaar Street

Street Shopping
Source: Pxfuel

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Near the bus station lies Bazaar Street, which has been the city’s market street since the colonial era. Located near the clock tower, it is lined with shops and informal businesses. You can find shops such as Rafeique’s, which sells mainly electronics, or Kailash Fashion, where clothing is sold. If you’re looking for footwear, why not check out F.N Shoe Palace or I’m Yours or find natural remedies in Lakshmi Stores. There is no end to the interesting wares they have on sale. A good souvenir to bring home is the Miel de Palma (palm syrup) that goes well with yogurt.

Bazaar Street

Address: Badulla, Sri Lanka

10. Take a walk on the Nine Arch Bridge

Nine Arches Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AntanO used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Also known as the Bridge in the Sky, the Nine Arch Bridge is a 78.7-foot (24-meter) bridge in Demodara, Badulla. While it is unknown why the bridge was made out of only stone bricks and cement, there were rumors suggesting that the steel they were supposed to use was reassigned to Britain’s War-related projects during the Great War. Nevertheless, its architectural ingenuity and the surrounding greenery on the nearby hillsides make it a very picturesque place to go for a hike. The local farmers will sometimes grow tomatoes next to the bridge and sell roasted corn to the tourists, giving you a healthy snack if you ever need a break.

Nine Arch Bridge

Address: Demodara 90080 Demodara, Sri Lanka

A change of pace in Badulla

Badulla is a nice city to explore, especially for those who are fanatics of history. Its collection of historical monuments makes it more appealing for a peek at the past. Sometimes, it even provides a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, which appeals to nature lovers as well.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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