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Habarana Tourism And Travel Guide
16.7° C / 62° F
May to October
2 to 3 Days
Sigiriya Airport, Dambulla (14 kms)
Habarana (2.5 kms)
Habarana is a small city in Sri Lanka’s Anuradhapura region and one of the most renowned destinations for tourists, being the starting point for Wildlife Safaris to the neighboring National Parks and a major transport junction to travel to major cities in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Located close to the ancient rock castle ruin in Sigiriya and on the main road from Colombo-Trincomalee-Batticaloa & Polonnaruwa, Habarana has a variety of luxury resorts and hotels, considered some of the best in the Island Country along with its beautiful natural wonders and scenic views. Here is a travel guide to Habarana and a brief description of how tourism fares there.
How to Reach
The international airport of Sri Lanka is located 35 km to the north of Colombo and has plenty of flights from India coming in, with leading operators like Srilankan Airlines, Air India, Jet Airways, Spicejet and Indigo. With over a 100 combinations of flights operating on this route, the flights differ in costs and travel time. On arrival at Colombo, the fastest way to reach Habarana is a flight from the Domestic Airport to Sigiriya, which is nearest to the city and takes just 30 minutes. The onward journey from Sigiriya is by a taxi in less than 20 minutes.
Operated by Srilankan Railways, one of the cheaper options of reaching Habarana is to travel by train. With trains operating 3 times a day along the Colombo- Trincomalee rail route, it takes about 1 hour and a few minutes to reach the nearest station to Habarana which is only 2.5 km by taxi. The train fare costs anything between INR 80 to 120, while the cab fare will cost max INR 130.
Habarana is a busy junction for the bus network in terms of public transportation, given its close proximity to some major cities in Sri Lanka. However, to reach Habarana, it is best to cover the road journey from Colombo by either driving down or hailing a cab. With a distance of approx. 173 km, that’s best covered in roughly 3 hours, the cab drive may cost you about 7000 INR.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The hottest months in Habarana are May, June and July. Tourism is busy during July & August and then January, making the end of May through the early part of October, the best time to visit Habarana.
Owing to the humidity levels and average high temperature from 34.9°C-32.2°C, spring in Habarana witnesses at least 4-10 days of rainfall per month. The months of March through May are quite dull for tourism making spring the slowest season.
The months of June to August are quite warm with least rainfall amounting to barely 3 days in a month and high temperatures, making the summer season quite busy from a tourism standpoint. You will find price surges in flight bookings and hotel stays quite common during this period.
Fall witnesses average temperatures on the higher side from 29.7°C to 33.3°C. September to November is rather pleasant, thanks to the humidity levels and wind. With a significant ratio of 4 to 10 days of snowfall or rains in a month, the tourist traffic is somewhat slow during this time and is a good time to look up travel deals.
December through February is the best time for travellers who love the warm weather. The average temperature oscillating between 28.4°C to 32.2°C and over a week-12 day of rainfall per month, winter is the second most preferred time of the year to visit Habarana.
Things to Do
Even though Habarana doesn’t have much in terms of tourist attractions, with the exception of Lake Habarana, it is one of the most popular spots in Sri Lanka, which is considered the commencement point for travel to any city in the country’s Cultural Triangle.
Minneriya and Kauduall National Parks are two most popular national parks in Sri Lanka and Wildlife Safari is a must do when in this part of the country. Minneriya’s the only place in the world where you can witness the largest congregation of Elephants and witness them living their life majestically in their natural habitat. Spread over 21,000 acres of dry plantations, Minneriya boasts of an assortment of nearly 300 species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and butterflies, in addition to the Elephants and also some rare types of Bamboo Trees.
Hike to Knuckles Riverston:
Knuckles Riverston is a scenic hilltop with a magnificent view of the encompassing plateaus and to explore its natural beauty, an overnight hike is called for. Riverston’s foggy summit has an extreme drop of 300 m and is also the best place to have an incredible view of the countryside, the layered fields, the entire range of the Knuckles Mountains and the Thelgamuwa Valley. There’s the Sera Ella Waterfalls as well, which is a good trek through the jungle.
A village trip to Hiriwadunna:
Take a trip to the local village of Hiriwadunna and witness their daily lifestyle and the wilderness of the countryside in the company of the villagers, an expert guide and a scrumptious lunch during a day trip to Hiriwadunna. Enjoy a jeep ride to the manmade reservoir that’s surrounded by a scrub jungle, indulge in fishing with the locals or take a boat ride on the lake, and ride the bullock cart to a village house during the village trip.
An overnight trip to Tea Plantations:
Established by a former British, Simpson’s Forest is about 4½ hour’s drive from Habarana and you can look forward to a delicious Srilankan meal, amidst a live cooking session in an old-fashioned dining area in the Hilly Country. Become familiar with the tea plucking process at the tea plantation and climb up to breath in a mind-blowing view of the countryside and the encompassing wildlife and plantation around the forest. Finish the next day with a luxurious breakfast and a trip to Lake Sembuwatta, which is a lovely spot with a natural spring and the hill country’s most frequent attractions.
Where To Eat
Eateries in Habarana are few, however, you can look forward to plenty of home cooked meals at your guesthouse or smaller joints nearby with good food at pocket friendly prices, but somewhat moderate hygiene standards! Of some of the places you can explore for some delicious eats, here are few.
Dining by the Garden with a lake view and chirpy birds for company, the Chaaya Village, Habarana has a multi-cuisine for all the major meals in a day and has options for vegetarians as well. The Lucky Restaurant, Anuradhapura Road specializes in vegetarian, vegan & gluten free meals in Asian, Srilankan and International cuisines and has a warm and welcoming host and staff. The Vegetarian Kottu and the different varieties of curries with rice are a must try here. Windy Corner seafood restaurant is one of the most visited places for authentic Srilankan food and seafood options in Habarana on Dambulla Road. The seafood kottu, kottu roti, grilled chicken are noteworthy.
Some other lovely restaurants to explore include the Cinnamon Lodge for their buffet spread, the Dewata Villas Village on Dambulla Road for the BBQ platter and Grilled Chicken, Hangout for an ala-carte menu of authentic Srilankan, European, Asian meals with a fusion of sour, sweet, tangy & bitter on the same table!
Where To Shop
Amidst the scenic views of Habarana’s lush greenery, just a short distance away is a Gift and knick-knack shop called the Craft Avenue which has an exclusive selection of items that signify the spirit and vibrancy of Sri Lanka through its handicrafts, handmade décor items and different kinds of collectibles & gifts. En route to the heritage attractions in the neighborhood, you must stop by the Craft Avenue to get a souvenir or two of your trip to the Island Country and who knows, you may end up possessing some unique and rare artefacts as well!