Yala National Park
Southern (Sri Lanka) : Yala National Park
Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu National Park) is in southeast Sri Lanka.
Flora and fauna
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.
It used to be possible to enter the park from Katharagama, but that entrance is currently closed.
Currently 3,500 rupees for a day pass.
There is a small and spartan store at the entrance. It sells chips and soda mainly.
It is best to bring your own snacks for the duration of your trip.
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.
Just stay in the vehicle. These are wild animals. There are crocodiles hidden everywhere, dangerous lizards, and heaps of other troublesome critters.
Also hold on the ride gets very bumpy and its easy to bang your head or get tossed around.