Yala National Park
Venture deep into Sri Lanka’s leopard country for this rugged park, home to the world’s highest density of spotted wild cats. Fellow residents include ponderous Asian elephants, native and migratory birds, crocodiles and reptiles. The park sprawls across a staggering 378-square-mile tapestry of forest, grassland and lagoons in southeast Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean. Two important pilgrim sites – Sithulpawwa and Magul Maha Viharaya – are also situated within the park. Yala can be accessed from the city of Kataragama; it closes every year from September until mid October.