Traveling with kids can be tricky! So, if you’re planning a group trip to the Sri Lankan shores, then you need to have a diverse itinerary in mind, to keep your tots from holiday boredom! Arm yourself with a list of the best family events and festivals in Sri Lanka in 2019, with this essential guide!
A fantastic choice for all types of holiday, the island was recently voted the number one travel destination in 2019 by Lonely Planet, and offers a wealth of festivities suited to all. Here, we explore the coolest family things to do in Sri Lanka, so you and your little ones will remain thoroughly entertained!
If you need accommodation while exploring the island with your loved ones, then it’s the right moment to book your perfect family villa in Sri Lanka.
Poson Poya Day
If you’re planning a family vacation to these climes, then make sure it coincides with Poson Poya Day. Mihintale Temple sits on a mountain peak near Anuradhapura and is one of the most sacred spots in the country. Many believe that it was here that Buddhist monk Mahinda first met King Devanampiyatissa, marking the beginning of Buddhism across the island.
Now a renowned pilgrimage site, the hilltop temple plays host to annual Poson Poya Day, taking place on the full moon of Poson (June). Join the queue and steadily climb the mountain’s hundreds of steps to reach the peak, where blessings, prayers and amazing landscape views can be enjoyed!
Of all the unique family events in Sri Lanka in 2019, Poson Poya will remain a lifelong memory.
Getting there: Buses to Mihintale run regularly from Anuradhapura and tickets cost around 30 LKR per person ($0.20). The journey takes around 30 minutes and it’s a gentle walk to the temple steps.
Date: Sunday 16 June 2019
CMB Street Shopping & Food Festival
If you’re looking for laid back family things to do in Sri Lanka this year, what better way to experience the country than with a bowl of local grub?
CMB Street Shopping & Food Festival takes place in the heart of Colombo and is a fantastic chance for you and your little ones to immerse yourself in regional culinary flavors and traditions, as well as sampling some unusual dishes!
Eat local, browse hand-made crafts and do some relaxing retail therapy with your whole clan!
Address: Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 00700
Dates: Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April 2019
Kandy Perahera Festival
If you and your clan find yourselves in Kandy, be sure to add Perahera Festival to your to-do list. Also known as The Festival of the Tooth, this incredible cultural event is full of drama and beauty. Imagine decorated elephants parading through the streets, beautiful authentic costumes, dazzling light displays and exotic fire dancing!
This annual procession takes place throughout the month of Esala (July) and is sure to be one of the greatest family events in Sri Lanka in 2019. The elaborate parade celebrates the island’s important traditions by honoring the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha, an ancient relic that resides in The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy! If you’re looking for spiritual family things to do in Sri Lanka, then this should top your list.
Address: The Temple of the Tooth, Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000
Dates: Sunday 7 July until Wednesday 17 July
World Surfing League Competition
If you and your family are fans of sport and are looking for active and adventurous activities to try in Sri Lanka, then head to Arugam Bay for the World Surfing League championships. This year, the island will welcome some of world’s most accomplished surfers for the World Qualifying Series competition.
Arugam Bay is considered the greatest surfing spot on the island’s East Coast and the sporting spectacular is sure to be one of the coolest family events and festivals in Sri Lanka to attend this year, with first-class surfers taking to the water. The event will see 145 competitors and 105 officials from 22 countries participate, making it a sporting event not to be missed
While you’re there, you may even be able to watch some cricket!
Address: Panama Rd, Arugam Bay
Dates: June 2019 (exact dates to be announced)
Vesak Poya Festival
Another incredible option for family events in Sri Lanka, Vesak Poya is a two-day holiday celebrating the birth and death of Buddha. This stunning light and paper lantern festival sees every Buddhist house and temple across the country come to life with colour.
Vesak Day is celebrated every May during the full moon and is one of the most significant dates in the Buddhist calendar. As well as an impressive light display, numerous religious ceremonies take place around Colombo, retelling the history of Buddha. This annual ceremony is a sight to behold, with flowers, lights and incense.
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Address: Various, including Gangarama Seema Malaka, Sir James Pieris Mawatha, Colombo
Date: Saturday 18 May until Sunday 19 May 2019
Adam’s Peak Pilgrimage
Taking place every year between December and May, the Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) pilgrimage allows Buddhists to show their respects to this important spiritual site. Buddhist believe that the summit of Adam’s Peak is shaped like Lord Buddha’s footprint, with loyal locals embarking on the five-hour hike to reach the top of this spectacular mountain.
You and your group can join in the fun and take a scenic walk through one of the mountain’s six walking trails, enjoying incredible views when you reach the top.
Getting there: Travel to Nallanthanni, Palabaddala or Erathna and then head into the forest to begin your ascent. Most people follow the Hatton walking paths, although this route is steep, so best avoided by families with little ones.
Dates: Pilgrimage season begins on the full moon of December and ends on the full moon of April
World Elephant Day
The last (but not least) suggestion in our list is the World Elephant Day. This annual event started in 2012 and has since partnered with 100 elephant conservation organizations worldwide, to protect the animals and raise awareness of these gentle giants.
Celebrate the day however you like, but we recommend visiting Yala National Park, an elephant hot spot, to witness these gorgeous creatures in their natural habitat. Book a safari and take to a jeep to get up close to the park’s 300-plus elephants – a special opportunity for you and your kids!
Address: Various, including Yala National Park, Hambantota
Date: Monday 12 August 2019