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Yala National Park – Explore an Unforgettable Yala Safari Experience

Welcome to Yala National Park

Yala National Park (Ruhuna National Park) is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of grasslands, light forests, scrubs, tanks, lagoons and, five blocks. There are 130,000 hectares of land that belong to the park.

Yala National Park Entrance

Yala was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka. It became a wildlife sanctuary in 1900. The Yala national park is the best place to see a variety of wild animals. It uses conservative Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards, and aquatic birds. If you love safaris, Yala will be a perfect place for you.

Yala Elephants

Make sure to bring a valid passport or National Identity Card to enter Yala National Park Sri Lanka.

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Yala National Park Tourist Map

Yala National Park Tourist Map

Yala National Park Location

Yala national park extends in Southern Province (Hambantota district) and Uva Province (Monaragala district) of Sri Lanka. Also, it locates about 300 Km southeast of Colombo and 190km east along the coast of Galle.

Yala National Park Location

There are four park gates in Yala National Park.

  • Katarugama Entrance [Gate 1]
  • Palatupana Entrance [Gate 2] – The distance from Colombo to Palatupana is 305 km.
  • Galge Entrance [Gate 3 and 4]

How to Reach Yala

If you come from the north, you can take a direct bus to Tangalle, Matara, Galle, etc. You can get down at a Tissa-Punnegamuwa-Junction Stop. Then you have to take a tuk-tuk to reach your location. From the south, you can drive to Tissa directly.

Directions to Yala

You can find two access routes to reach Yala national park.

  • Tissamaharama – Yodakandiya – Kirinda – Nimalawa – Palatupana
  • Tissamaharama – Yodakandiya – Situlpahuwa – Bambuwa – Palatupana

Yala park locates 300 km from Colombo. It takes around five hours in a car and three and a half from Galle. There are two main entrance gates to Block 1. The other entrance is at the north to Block 1, called Kataragama. You can enter Block 5 and 3 from a gate called Galge. It is closed to the Buttala-Kataragama Road.

Yala National Park Animals

Yala National Park provides the best opportunity to see Sri Lanka’s variety of animals.


Birds - Yala National Park

Yala national park is one of the Important Bird watching Areas in Sri Lanka. There are 215 bird species with seven endemic birds and, many water birds live in Yala Park.


The Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan sloth bear, leopard, and 44 mammal species live in Yala National Park. Yala is one of the highest densities of the leopard population in the world. So, it calls Leopards Park also. The leopard safari Yala and elephant corridor Yala are the most popular among tourists.

Yala Elephants


 There are 47 reptiles has recorded from the park. Out of six are endemic. 


There are 18 species of amphibians have found from Yala Park.

Yala Crocodile

Yala Blocks

There are five blocks numbered in Yala national park. All the blocks except for Block 4 are open to visitors.

Yala National Park
  • Yala Block 1 – It is also known as Ruhuna National Park. The highest leopard density lives in this area. Also, most of t the animals live in Block 1. So, you have to use safari jeeps to visit there. It is easier to see the elephants and leopards here.
  • Yala Block 2 
  • Yala Block 3 – main entrance in Galge area, on Buttala-Kataragama Road. It is adjoining Kumana Park (Yala East). 
  • Yala Block 4– Not open for public.
  • Yala Block 5 – Lunugamvehera National Park

Yala National Park Safari Tour

You can search online and coordinate with your hotel to Yala safari booking. They are ready to arrange the jeep safari from your hotel. If you are booking the tour, make sure to select the best-reviewed safari companies. It is banned to do night Yala National Park Safari.

There are no shops and no toilets in Yala National Park. So, do not forget to bring everything you need when you do a safari. If you plan to do a half-day safari in the morning, make sure to leave your accommodation before breakfast.

Yala Safari

The park is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. There are two safaris (in the morning and the afternoon) every day. If you wish to stay in Yala for a couple of days, you do a morning and afternoon safari to get an unforgettable experience at different times of the day. The early morning safari is ideal for the rainy season (May to August) to see leopards and bears. The afternoon safari is best during the dry season (December to March). You can have unforgettable mobile camping safaris in Yala National Park by exploring nature.

Be aware not to get down the Safari Jeep and be inside the vehicle. The best safari times are between 6:00 am – 9:00 am and 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Yala safari jeep price can slightly differ from the supplier.

Yala National Park Ticket Price

You have to buy tickets from the entrance. The entrance fee may change from time to time. Yala national park ticket prices for foreigners and locals may vary. Make sure to pay in Sri Lanka Rupees only as entrance fee of National Parks of Sri Lanka.

Best time to Visit Yala National Park

The best time to visit Yala National Park is February to June/July. The best months to see the sights of leopards are from January to July. The best period to watch the Yala elephants is the dry season (May to August).

Yala - Leopard

Be aware Yala National Park is usually closed in September each year for animal simulation & to complete regular maintenance activities. Early morning is the best time to view wildlife.

Yala National Park Hotels / Best Hotels in Yala Sri Lanka

 You can enjoy the comforts of luxury 3 Star and 4 Star hotels surrounded by thick jungles and wild animals. You can find some Yala hotel offers from time to time.

  • Jetwing Yala (4 Star)
  • Cinnamon Wild Yala (4 Star)
  • Elegant Lake House
  • Saffron Lake Yala 
  • Uga Chena Huts 
  • Safari Lodge Yala

Places to Visit in Yala

  •  Sithulpawwa – The Sithulpawwa Rock Temple is in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. This ancient Buddhist monastery is always full of pilgrims.
  • Magul viharaya
  • Kataragama – Kataragama is a pilgrimage town located in the Monaragala District of Uva province, Sri Lanka. It is a multi-religious sacred town and one of the famous places to be visited in Sri Lanka. 
  • Kirinda Beach – Kirinda beach locates in between the Yala National Park and Kumana national parks.
  • Ranminithenna Tele Cinema Village – During your Yala journey, you can visit Ranminithenna Tele Cinema Village in Tissamaharama


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