Kaudulla National Park

The Ancient Cities

Like Minneriya, Kaudulla offers a good chance of getting up close and personal with elephants. In October, there are up to 250 elephants in the park, including herds of juvenile males. There are also leopards, fishing cats, sambar deer, endangered rusty spotted cats and sloth bears. The best time to visit is from January to March and, less reliably, May to June.

This park stands on the fringe of the ancient Kaudulla Wewa, 6km off the Habarana–Trincomalee Rd at Gal Oya junction. It is part of a 66.6-sq-km elephant corridor between Somawathiya National Park and Minneriya National Park.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Ancient Cities attractions

1. Mandalagiri Vihara

6.38 MILES

This vatadage (circular relic house) is virtually identical to the one at Polonnaruwa, but while Polonnaruwa's is ringed by many other structures, this…

2. Minneriya National Park

9.32 MILES

This national park is one of the best places in the country to see wild elephants, which are often present in huge numbers. Dominated by the ancient…

3. Tivanka Image House

13.21 MILES

Polonnaruwa's northern road ends at Tivanka Image House. Tivanka means ‘thrice bent’, and refers to the fact that the Buddha image within is in a three…

4. Nelum Pokuna

13.37 MILES

A track to the left from the northern stretch of road leads to unusual Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond), nearly 8m in diameter, which has five concentric,…

5. Damila Thupa

13.74 MILES

King Parakramabahu I planned this 12th-century stupa to be the world's largest Buddhist monument, but even with the enforced assistance of Tamil prisoners…

6. Exit

13.76 MILES

Most visitors exit the archaeological site here.

7. Gal Vihara

13.92 MILES

Part of Parakramabahu I’s northern monastery, Gal Vihara is a group of beautiful Buddha images that probably marks the high point of Sinhalese rock…

8. Vishnu Devale No 4

13.95 MILES

This minor Hindu site is outside the main archaeological area and can easily be skipped.