Many people come to Tissamaharama (Tissa) because it is the gateway to Yala National Park. But Tissa is also one of the country's most ancient and important historical sites. It is here that the country's most famous king, Dutugamunu, was born and raised an army to march north and defeat the Tamil general Elara near Anuradhapura.

If you want to understand the history of Sri Lanka this is the place to start. There are many sites to visit in this area dating back to the second and third centuries BC when King Dutagamunu and before him his father, King Kawantissa, ruled the ancient kingdom of Ruhuna.

Tissa itself has a number of beautiful white stupas and a tank (lake) you can walk around to view many birds and fruit bats. Or visit the small village of Kirinda and its rock temple, which looks out to sea, or the jungle temple of Katharagama where 12,000 monks once lived in caves.