Idyllic and calm, Minneriya is a rather small village located in the dry zone in Sri Lanka, which is famous for two things, the Minneriya National Park and the beautiful Minneriya Lake built by King Mahasen during the 3rd century AD.

The park is spread over 8,890 hectares and contains many ecosystems. It’s also home to endemic birds such as the great white pelican and painted stork. The major draw of the park, of course, are the large herds of jumbos, who roam around the lake to feed, especially during the dry season.

It’s also a great place to camp, hike and maybe enjoy a hot air balloon ride apart from the jungle safaris. Like its neighbours, Habarana and Dambulla, it’s also a great spot to base yourself while visiting the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and Sigiriya.