Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is nothing but a quiet mind-blowing surprise. You are going to love every bit of it: the charming landscapes, the tempting food, the very hospitable people and much more!
Travelling can be really tiring but it’s fun if you know what to keep an eye out for. It’s better if you can get a flight that arrives at CMB in the morning. Once you arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), you can get an Uber, PickMe or any taxi to Colombo and it will cost you approximately $10 (LKR 1,600). You will have to get some rest before you kick start the day. We recommend Yoho Rivi Ras Hotel to spend your first night. They’ve got comfortable rooms for the best rates and it’s such a nice place to revive yourself! It is located in Mount Lavinia, very close to the beach which will cost around $40 per night. If you feel like it’s too much for one day, you can visit yohobed.com and reserve cheaper rooms for yourself. Oh wait, make sure you book travel tickets/rooms for the upcoming days before you dive into your bed.
Things to do and see in Sigiriya:
Wake up! It’s time to go to Sigiriya. You can get on the 06.00 AM train from Colombo Fort to Palugaswewa which will cost $1.3-5 per person. It will be a 5 hour train ride so make sure you have everything you need, specially snacks and water. They will be available to be purchased at any station but it’s always better to be prepared. You will have to get off at the Palugaswewa railway station and get a taxi or a tuk tuk to Sigiriya which will cost you less than $12.
Start your journey to the top of the Lion’s rock right away if you are not tired but you will still need a place to leave your belongings. You can check-in to Yoho Sigiriya Nature Villa, it’s about 1km from Sigiriya. Start your adventure by visiting the Lion’s Rock which will cost you about $30 per person. If you are on budget travel you can skip it and visit the Pidurangala rock which is much cheaper than the visiting the Lion’s rock. You can get a really good view of the Lion’s rock from the top of it, but you won’t find historical paintings and all the fancy stuff in the Lions rock. You can spend the night there and get ready to leave to Kandy in the morning.
Things to do and see in Kandy:
Your bus to Kandy will be leaving at 6.30 AM. So even though it’s a bit difficult to wake up early in the morning you will have to because this is going to be worth it. You can get the bus from the Sigiriya Bus Station. It will be a 3 hour bus ride, so again make sure you have everything you need because the bus does not stop for rest. But if it does by any chance, you got lucky. You will reach Kandy at around 10.00 AM and it’s not going to be that tiring. Well, there are lot of things to see! You can refresh yourself at any Yoho Property, you can find very affordable hotels, guest houses, villas and homestays anywhere in Kandy with yohobed.com. Reserve one for yourself for two nights because you cannot cover all of Kandy in a day.
Let’s get going! Start by visiting Sri Dalada Maligawa aka Temple of the Tooth where you can get a lot of knowledge about the Buddhist history and culture. Once you are done with that, you can spend time by the lake where you can see schools of fishes! Trust me it’s so satisfying to watch and to feed them. Then make your way to Peradeniya in the bus. It’s about a 30 minute ride, can be even less you know Sri Lankan bus drivers are unpredictable.
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens will be open from 8.00 AM to 5.30PM. So it’s better if you can reach there before 3.00 PM to get the most out of it. Tickets will be priced $2 – $4 for non-residents. I’m not going to spoil it for you, experience it yourself. That’s pretty much it for the first day in Kandy. Go back to your room and get some well deserved rest. You don’t have to wake up early in the morning! Best part of it all.
You can visit the following places on day 4:
These are just few minutes away from Kandy, you can decide your own route for these depending on where you stay the night to make things easier. You also can Spend your time at the Kandy City Centre. It’s a lovely shopping mall with almost everything you need. Also make sure you explore the town if you have time to spare.
Things to do and see in Nuwara Eliya:
There are two choices at this stage. It’s either Adam’s Peak or Nuwara eliya. They are about 80 Km away from each other. So it’s up to you to decide. I would not recommend Adam’s peak now because it will take one whole day to hike up, rest and get back down. It’s a tough climb and also the fact that you got only another week it might be a bit hard to cover up. But it’s a nice thing to do after all, so much fun and adventure.
I would recommend getting a train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya which will be one of the most beautiful train rides you will ever have, trust me on this! There will be 3 trains from Kandy to Nanuoya from 03.00 AM to 11.00 PM. I would suggest the express train at 08.00 AM which will arrive in Nanu Oya at 12.30 PM. If you want some rest there are Yoho properties almost everywhere in Nuwara Eliya, you can reserve on for yourself!
Start off by going to the Gregory lake. It’s such a beautiful place! You also have a lot of water sport activities there. They are not free of charge, prices may vary but one thing I know for sure is they are going to quiet expensive. And yes! There are so many waterfalls to see. You won’t have that much of a time though. Tea plantations are something you are going to see almost everywhere in Nuwara Eliya so let’s not focus much on that. Stay the night in Nuwara Eliya.
Make your way to Horton Plains National Park in the morning, it’s declared a UNESCO Heritage site and is unimaginably beautiful with waterfalls and mountains. ‘The World’s End’ is the highlight of the park. It takes about 3 hours to reach the World’s End, to experience the most stunning views it’s best to get up there before 9 AM. Get a bus or a taxi and get back to Nanu oya railway station by 3.00 PM. The last train to Ella will depart at 3.50 PM so make sure you get there in time or else you can leave in the early morning which I prefer not to because it’s going to tiring again. It’s again another 3 hour train ride..! It’s going to be late when you reach the Ella so make sure you have your accommodation reserved.
Things to do and see in Ella:
Wake up very early in the morning and make your way to the Little Adam’s peak to see the sunrise between 5.30 AM to 6.30 AM, the views are miraculous and also you can hike up Ella rock which is 6.3 km away. Once you are done with the hiking head to the Nine Arches Bridge which is located 2.4 km from the Little Adam’s peak. It’s marvelous, and one of the most Instagrammable sites in Ella. Once you are done with that have your lunch and take a little rest. Make sure it’s all done before 12.00 PM and head to the Ravana falls which is quite far away, but it’s worth the time! Stay the night in Ella and prepare yourself for a long drive and for some wildlife adventure.
Things to do and see in Tissamaharama:
Make your way to the Ella Bus station at around 11.30. Take the Bus from Kandy-Tissamaharama from Ella Bus station at 12.40. It will approximately take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Tissamaharama. Check out the prices for a safari at Yala National park on the Internet, there are many safari operators so it’s best you pick the cheapest one out. Go to bed early because you will be having to travel for almost 4 hours on the next day.
Take a tuk-tuk or a taxi from Tissamaharama to Hambantota it will cost you about $30 and take #32 to bus to Galle. A ticket will cost you about $4 each and the ride will be about 4 hours.
Once you reach Galle, have some rest, because there not much things to do in Galle.
You will be able to see:
It’s totally up to you to decide your route. And do not forget to take a walk through the streets. There are lovely restaurants, and stores. Do shopping and enjoy your evening at the beach!
On your 9th day, grab a tuk-tuk or take the bus to Unawatuna, which is a 15 minute drive from Galle. Enjoy yourself at one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. The longer you stay the better it gets. You can also get involved in surfing, there are a lot of surf schools around the area, where you can rent and learn to surf. The waves are not very rough, but it’s ideal for surfing.
Spend your evening in Unawatuna until you get fed up of it and head back to your accommodation in Galle for a good night’s sleep.
This is pretty much optional. If you want to add more adventure and fun to your vacation, Bentota is recommended. You can either take the train or the bus from Galle to Bentota. You will be able to reach Bentota in a hour if you manage to get the Highway Bus to Bentota.
Accommodation will be very easy to find because you can find so many hotels and resorts right next to the beach. You can do a lot of water sports in Bentota including: Jet skiing, sofa rides, skiing, river safaris and much more. They are quite expensive but extremely fun.
First off have the well deserved rest. After all the early bus/train rides and hikes you need to feel relaxed. It’s alright to sleep the whole day because after all sleep comes first. Enjoy the Nightlife in Colombo. Treat yourself and have fun.
Reserve the 13th day for all the shopping and packing! That’s the best part of the trip isn’t it? Besides all the fun you had and things you experienced. And say goodbye to an unforgettable vacation.