Polonnaruwa is close to several of Sri Lanka's excellent national parks, including Minneriya and Kaudulla. They include populations of sambar deer, macaques, hornbills and much more. Their main attraction, though, is their elephant herds. During the dry season, roughly May to December in this area of the country, it is possible to see upwards of 150 elephants grazing and gathering around the central tanks, or reservoirs – a truly amazing sight.
Visit the nearby Nishantha Traditional Woodcarving Factory for an interesting demonstration in traditional carving using indigenous Sri Lankan wood: ebony, royal ebony, rosewood, teak, mahogany, sandalwood, rainbow wood, and coconut timber.
Explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s second capital and yet another of the country’s remarkable UNESCO sites. Have a privately guided tour of its well-preserved monumental ruins, which evoke the splendor of the 12th-century garden-city, and include the Royal Palace, various temples, and a series of colossal Buddha statues carved into the side of a granite cliff.