'''Yala National Park''' (also known as Ruhunu National Park) is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.
[[Image:Wild Elephant yala small version.JPG|thumb|print=fullpage|450px|Wild Elephants Commonly Found in Yala : Elephant Rock in the background ]]
The western part of Yala ( block one) is named as the area with highest leopard concentration in the world.
[[Image:Leopards Yala.jpg|thumb|print=fullpage|450px|Yala : highest leopard concentration in the world]]
It is most easy to take a tour from the nearby town of Tissa (Tissamaharama). You can take a tour from any number of guest house/hotels in the city. Most leave at 5:00 or 14:30, but it depends on if you are going for half/full day or overnight. The entrance to the park is about 3,
500 rupees, but it changes often. The tours should cost about 4,000 to 6,000 on top of the admission ticket. It is usually split between the people in the truck, but you should negotiate this. It can be expensive to do alone, so it is best to try and partner with others to increase bargaining power. The tour guides often will use you as bait for people coming off buses. It makes both your lives easier to meet the people off the buses right away, as it gets competitive and most drivers will call their friends to tell them you are coming. They all know what travelers are coming here for.
It is also possible to stay at a bungalow more near the park, but it may cost more and is a little more difficult to reach alone.
[[Image:Yala map.jpg|thumb|print=fullpage|450px|Yala : Located in the southern coast of the island]]
==Fees/Permits== Currently 3, 500 rupees for a day pass.
*<sleep name="Lake View Bungalow Yala" alt="" address="59, Mahadeira, Yodha Kandiya, Tissamaharama" directions="At Yodha Kandiya, turn into Sithulpawwa Road. Immediately turn left into gravel road and travel 1 km for 5 minutes, keeping to the right when there is another road.
" phone="(011) 3071263" url="" checkin="12 noon" checkout="10 am" price="Call for details" lat="" long=""> Lake View Bungalow Yala is a modern luxury bungalow with 3 bedrooms with attached toilets with hot water. It could be rented with or without A/C. If provisions are taken the cook will prepare the food. If meals are required, it could be served with prior notice and will be charged per meal per person. The one acre property borders the Yodha Wewa. There is a small swimming pool. It is like home away from home. The bedrooms and toilets are very clean. The garden is well planted with many fruit trees and floweing plants. There is a lawn where children can play safely. Good comments are written in the Guest Book. </sleep>
Even though the guidebooks warn you about getting off the bus early - at the clocktower - most of the cheaper accommodations are possibly located near there, or at least the cheaper ones I found. But the touts there ARE strong. Beware that if you choose a cheap guesthouse, like Misihasa Lake View, the brother that runs the place is really aggressive about selling you his overpriced safari tour. He bragged that he sold an afternoon safari to a Japanese guy for 14,000 Sri Lankan Rupees. The guesthouses I saw are very business-oriented - so much so that they don't care about helping you! Good Luck.
(Sri Lanka )}}