Sri Lanka Tour Itinerary - 4 days in Sri Lanka & Top 10 things to do
Traveling as a group does play a significant role in making a trip luxurious at a relatively cheaper cost!...
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Explore the art scene in the city of ColomboThe charming capital is brimming with city lights. Situated on the shore, Colombo’s beaches are its greatest asset. One of the most happening cities in Sri Lanka, Colombo’s local art scene, nightlife, food culture and sights stand uncontested.Read More
Explore the art scene in the city of ColomboThe charming capital is brimming with city lights. Situated on the shore, Colombo’s beaches are its greatest asset. One of the most happening cities in Sri Lanka, Colombo’s local art scene, nightlife, food culture and sights stand uncontested.
Spend a day out at beachesKosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project lies an hour away from the Colombo city and makes for a perfect escape on the second day. A few kilometres away is Hikkaduwa, the surfing beach where you can indulge in other seaside activities.
Got up early today. The driver arrived on time around eight in the morning. I had my trip planned by the staff at the Regent Hotel. It is an eight-day road journey around the coast and northern area of Sri Lanka covering more than a dozen cities like Kandy, Trichnapali and many others. The road trip to Jaffna started smoothly. My driver, Joseph, spoke good English and was alert all the way. We stopped over at a few ancient Hindu temples on the way. The most remarkable thing I found was how distinctly different these temples and deities were from the ones I had seen in south Indian cities like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The colours were very bright and vibrant. The sculptures of the various Gods, Devis and Divas also varied from the ones I had seen in, say, Kanyakumari and other south Indian cities. The domes of the temples carried the images of Devis and Divas in itself. Blue, pink and gold were the predominate colours used.
Day 1 - ColomboOur journey started with a late night flight from Mumbai. There are many options available in flights, to make the travel as economical as it can go consider travelling from Chennai and if money isn’t the concern then go for direct flights which ply 2 a day from Mumbai.For VISA, it is suggested you apply online @(http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/) as the on arrival VISA facility has been terminated.The VISA (ETA) is issued in 24 hours post you fill in the required details and make a payment of 20 USD.We reached at around 4.30 a.m, and just FYI the airport is in Negombo and buses for Colombo ply every half an hour from in front of the airport starting 5.30 a.m.The bus ride is approximately of 45mins and it would leave you at the Pettah bus depot. We reached Pettah at around 7 and took a Tuk Tuk to our Hostel at Galle Face, Colombo.Word of Advice - ~ You should try and book your stay near Galle Face in Colombo for it’s the most happening part of the city and positions you among the posh and main highlights the city has to offer~ Ensure you take a Tuk Tuk (autorickshaw in common language) that runs by meter and not otherwise We started on our mission of discovering the city only post grabbing some sleep at the hostel. Our first destination was a local mall - ‘Crescat’ for we were famished. The mall is small and boasts of many unseen Sri Lankan local brands, the food court is at the ground floor. Do not forget to feast on some Sri Lankan delicacies which a variety of stores there offer.Our next destination was the famous ‘Gangaramaya Temple’ of Colombo which boasts of a huge Buddha inside and a small floating monastery on the lake. Post grabbing some quick pictures, National Museum of Colombo became our next stop.
We were then outside our hotel and were busy negotiating with an Tuk-Tuk guy and I tried my luck talking in Tamil. To my surprise, the auto driver agreed to guide us the city tour with half the cost - just because I am from India and I spoke in Tamil. I was little hesitant with the generous offer and was not comfortable riding a Tuk-Tuk in an unfamiliar city fear of getting ransacked popping in my mind, after all we are all biased with prejudice and took an Uber ride (who took 200 LKR) to the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple patting myself on my back having taken a safer option.
After breakfast, proceed to ColomboEnjoy the drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. On arrival, check-in to your hotel.In the afternoon, proceed on a city tour of Colombo. It is a bustling metropolis that considerably generates 50% of nation's economy. Driving along the sweeping streets bordered by the race courses and World War II airstrip, Colombo is a tourist magnet. City's historical locales are transformed into modern day metropolitan area by lavish clothing, food and tea boutiques. Pettah is known for its floating market and the offbeat shopping experience it has on offer. It is worth strolling in the upcoming offshore city of Colombo Port featuring parks, commercial complexes and an F1 track. On your way to Bauddhaloka Mawatha, it is a must to witness the Independence Square Overnight in Colombo. (B)You can stay at-
After breakfast, proceed to Colombo. Enjoy the drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. On arrival, check-in to your hotel.In the afternoon, proceed on a city tour of Colombo. It is a bustling metropolis that considerably generates 50% of nation's economy. Driving along the sweeping streets bordered by the race courses and World War II airstrip, Colombo is a tourist magnet. City's historical locales are transformed into modern day metropolitan area by lavish clothing, food and tea boutiques. Pettah is known for its floating market and the offbeat shopping experience it has on offer. It is worth strolling in the upcoming offshore city of Colombo Port featuring parks, commercial complexes and an F1 track. On your way to Bauddhaloka Mawatha, it is a must to witness the Independence Square. Overnight in Colombo. (B, L, D)Request A Call Back
After spending a few hours on the beach, and having some sea food for lunch, I went back to Colombo for my train to Ella. Unlike India, you are not allowed to stay in the Railway Station. So for the first time, I slept on a bench near the beach with my bag as my pillow. I had good sleep with air from the beach. I had dinner at the Galle Face. It is the cheapest you can get in SriLanka. You can also get breads usually as breakfast or snacks.Day 3At 5 in the morning, I woke up, freshened in the Railway Station and took a beautiful train ride to Ella. It is in the Central part of SriLanka and is a hilly ride. I met a couple in the train. They taught me their own kind of "Poker", we played, took snaps of the train ride. Slept, Enjoyed the entire trip.
Day 1As the Airport is far away from the Colombo city and I reached very early. So, I took a shared mini van to Fort Railway Station. After around 1 hour of scenic travel through Negambo, I came out of the van. It was freaking hot. I never sweat like that before ever in my life, (damn humidity) though I live in the hottest part of the country. I poured some liters of cold water on me (literally on me) to ward off that sweat. I had to book a train ticket in advance to Ella. So i went there and asked a Window seat. And they gave it to me.
We got off at the train station and headed to the Dutch Colony where we booked our accommodation. (If you're visiting Galle, stay in the Dutch Colony and take a stroll around the Colony and you are sure to get lost on your way back. It's worth it.) The Dutch architecture astounds you. Every street, every house, every shop and every restaurant is built keeping symmetry as a key ingredient. The beauty of the architecture is in its simplicity. A tour around the Galle Fort gives you beautiful sights of the Ocean and drains your energy out. It gets a bit crowded in the evenings. Try visiting the place early morning. A visit to Japanese Peace Pagoda and Jungle Beach is also a must. Jungle Beach has bluish-green waters. It is tucked in a tiny corner beyond the Japanese Peace Pagoda. The food is good and you'll love the view and mood with Sri Lankan music band playing in the vicinity. While Galle and Colombo greet you with the tropical climate of the Coast, you could head to Mirissa which has Whale & Dolphin watching, with a cruise ride. It's also a surfer's paradise and has surfing schools. Living in the Wild However, our itinerary included Yala National Park (known for Leopard-spotting). The tented accommodation was eco-friendly and it's something that teaches you to adjust without daily pleasures of hot water and other luxuries. We did the evening safari which lasted close to 4.5 hours. It was totally worth it as we camped the night in the National Park, amid shrill sounds in the wild. This was a magical evening as it was a full-moon night with campfire and candle-light dinner (BBQ). We woke up to a beautiful morning with birds chirping and sounds of other creatures, had a good breakfast and left Yala where we met one of the best human beings in Sri Lanka, our tour guide, our driver and a good friend - Krishna ( His Facebook page). Krishna - Our saviour in Sri Lanka My friend spotted Krishna while researching about transportation in Sri Lanka and spoke to him a couple of times. He found him as the best tour guide in Sri Lanka, as suggested by Trip Advisor. Little did we know that he will be our saviour there. Krishna provides transportation/ guide services through his company Tuk Tuk and Taxi Services. Krishna brought Kumar, his friend and colleague along while ferrying us to Nuwara Eliya. A die-hard Sangakkara and A.R. Rahman fan, Krishna is sure to entertain you with his adrenaline-pumping music (if you too are a Rahman fan) and his love for Tamil movies. Not only does Krishna give you the right plan, he will also help you save a lot of money through right advice. He is also a great storyteller who gives you snippets about his life and keeps you entertained throughout the journey, provided you reciprocate. One of his witty quotes: "I'm sometimes, Hindu. Because I have to be religious in front of my wife". An excerpt from our conversation: Me: You are God. Krishna: Yes, I'm Krishna. We loved every bit of the journey from Yala to Nuwara Eliya (hilly region), with Krishna. (During the journey from Yala, you're most likely to come across an Elephant on the road.) Like I said, our itinerary wasn't perfect. Krishna helped us re-work on it and took us to Ella which was on the way to Nuwara Eliya. According to our itinerary, Ella came after Nuwara Eliya. (so, now you know why we're thankful to Krishna). Of Rama, Sita, Rawana Falls & Hanuman Footprint
Galle is the fourth largest city in Sri Lanka and an increasingly popular vacation destination. With a wide variety of landmarks, eateries and high class accommodation, Galle provides a tourist experience that you won’t soon forget. Temperatures remain at roughly 26 degrees Celsius (but can sometimes go high) and the city’s climate is tropical, with no regular dry season.
Galle is a district that lies in the southern coast of Sri Lanka. We took the train from Kandy via Colombo and came to Galle after an early morning commute. One sees some of the most beautiful sights from lush green hills and tea plantations to sea side towns as you arrive into Galle.
We checked out late from Mirissa and set for an overnight at Negombo as that's the closest to the airport (not Colombo as many would think). We stopped at "Galle" enroute for lunch and some photo ops. Tip - If you need a place close to the airport (or transit) I highly recommend "Neo Holiday Homes" as they are 1) close to the airport (10 mins) and 2) four star accommodation at 3 star prices.That brings me to the end of my trip. Sri Lanka is a must visit destination if you are a nature & beach lover. I was blown away by its beauty and people. I brought back with me some very fond memories and I am sure you will too.Happy travels!~Rochelle
Day 7 -Nuwara Eliya - Galle: This was the most unplanned but spontaneous bit of our journey , once we were rejuvenated and done with our winter wear after our stay in the idyllic upcountry we knew it was time to head to the shore We networked with the locals and managed to convince a young lad to take us to Galle and allow him to experience his country like never before . We were sure this 6 hour journey would take us much longer as we had decided to stop at every tempting village that we drove through.
Anuradhapura is historically rich and is a UNESCO heritage site and is in fact one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.Read More
The tourism industry in Sri Lanka is good and Sri Lanka offers amazing destinations for travelers and tourists alike. The Sri Lanka tour itinerary could be customized in line with your interests. Sri Lanka has more to offer on Diving, Cultural tourism in Anuradhapura, pristine coastal lines along Matara (a fishing hamlet), Arugam Bay and much more on eco-tourism. Experience the "Wonder of Asia".
While in Anuradhapura. I cycle around with a rented bicycle to visit the archaeological sites under the wonderful sun. I would say Anuradhapura is one of my favourite places to visit in Sri Lanka. The city is well organized. Tourist friendly place. You can clearly see and feel the city, it has its own charm without much effort put into it. I wish we stayed longer here..... oh well, travel must go on !
We stopped over at the Jaffna lagoon on the way which had a huge Buddha staring into the horizon. I chatted with some locals and some policemen. They informed me that Jaffna is now a peaceful area and there is no fear of the LTTE or their notorious gang leader Prabhakaran. The journey was a long one. It took us twelve hours to reach Jaffna and finally to my hotel.
In a country where the overwhelming majority of the population (about 8%) has a car, the buses are the most popular option, not only for urban routes but also to cover long distances, such as the 400 kilometers that separate Colombo of Jaffna, lasting more than 12 hours.Yes... the bus trips are long... very long, made at an average speed of 35 km/h. The buses don't necessarily run at this speed, but due to the traffic, that even in national roads is intense, and mainly due to multiple stops to pick up and drop off passengers, as breaks for rest and meals. Private buses, which are the majority that runs on national roads, are even worse in terms of stops, as they stop to collect passengers at any point, not limited only to the bus stands.Travel on night buses take less time, but this service is only available on few routes, between the biggest cities.In Sri Lanka is few the express buses, that link two points without intermediate stops. However buses with air-conditioning, which are available between the biggest cities as also to the airport, have fewer stops, and some even use the recently open "expressways", a kind of highway that shortens travel time and increases comfort.
Jaffna was once the third largest city of the country. To this day, it remains the most important city in its region. For the uninitiated, it is the cultural capital of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. With its kovils, fort, islands and spicy food, it is bound to charm every traveler.
I visited Sri Lanka in June end (pretty hot) but almost a very good season to travel across. Starting from Colombo --> Dambulla --> Sigiriya --> Polandua, we reached Trincomalee at the end of our trip. It takes almost 8 hours (a bit more or less) from Colombo, 4 hours from Dambulla. I travelled by public, non-luxury buses (definitely not with chickens) with local people, no AC and it was not horrible. They charged me almost $2 for the trip. Read More
I visited Sri Lanka in June end (pretty hot) but almost a very good season to travel across. Starting from Colombo --> Dambulla --> Sigiriya --> Polandua, we reached Trincomalee at the end of our trip. It takes almost 8 hours (a bit more or less) from Colombo, 4 hours from Dambulla. I travelled by public, non-luxury buses (definitely not with chickens) with local people, no AC and it was not horrible. They charged me almost $2 for the trip.
The next day we took another really early morning bus and headed to the Eastern province of Trincomalee, known for its pristine beaches, coral reefs, colourful ocean life and a multitude of water activities. Once you reach Trinco, you need to take another bus (or tuk-tuk if you may please) and head to Nelavelli. From Nelavelli you take a ferry to reach the Pigeon Island and that’s where all the action happens! We managed to sync up with a couple (from Turkey – United States – France – Portugal) and shared the costs of spending the day at Pigeon Island. Since I am a hydrophobe I pretty much spent the entire time there lying on the beach and soaking up the sun, but the others went snorkelling and even saw baby sharks!Shila and I came back to the mainland to look for food and as luck would have it, we got invited by one of the locals to have food at their home! So we ate our hearts’ full of some amazing Sri Lankan fare and headed back to Trino from where we were supposed to travel through the night to Nuwara Eliya for our last leg of the trip.
From Colombo to Trincomalee I took a train for which 2nd class ticket was booked by my friend in advance for 550 LKR. This is a chair car and only 1st class has an option to sleep. There are multiple buses available too. As one of my to do things was scuba diving which during October happens on the east coast, I chose to travel to Trincomalee. I booked my dive for 75$ with Feli (0094 777648459 locally 0777 648459). For PADI course they charge 335$ with course spread across 3-4 days. http://www.srilanka-divingtours.com/. In the morning Sanju (the talking tuk tuk driver sent by Feli) picked me and dropped me at hotel aqua.For scuba diving, first I had a pool practice and then immediately actual dive at the sea. The depth was 10 meters. There were beautiful fishes , corals. Initially for the first time ear pain can be the only issue otherwise if you learn at the pool, the diving is an amazing thing. Into the world of other creatures who give a damn about you being there and on the other side you are breathing hard for your survival. Sometimes there can be gaps between your practice sessions and the actual dive so plan your next destination accordingly#Stay:I took a room for 2000 LKR next to Feli. But interestingly Feli has concrete tubes in which you can stay for 1000 LKR per night. More expensive n luxurious rooms are also available at Feli's hotel.#Food:English breakfast at Fernendo's.The hotels are spread across the beach, you can pick your choices!#Places to Visit:
Trincomalee is a natural harbour on the eastern coast of the country. And, it probably is also one of the most picturesque places in the world. Devotees make a beeline for the Koneswaran temple in Trincomalee. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and situated on a hill, it offers breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean.
Nothing paints a prettier picture of the paradise island than coconut palms glinting in the sun. The tall palms along the beach are the embodiment of enjoyment—it truly is a tropical heaven. Yet, the copses of coconut that we glimpsed en route to Matara represent the economical importance of this unassuming palm. From its fruit to its root, this tree serves as cooking ingredients, medicine, roof material, and lumber for furniture. The estates of the coconut triangle that leans on the E01 span out in acres, catering to a never-ceasing demand.Read More
Nothing paints a prettier picture of the paradise island than coconut palms glinting in the sun. The tall palms along the beach are the embodiment of enjoyment—it truly is a tropical heaven. Yet, the copses of coconut that we glimpsed en route to Matara represent the economical importance of this unassuming palm. From its fruit to its root, this tree serves as cooking ingredients, medicine, roof material, and lumber for furniture. The estates of the coconut triangle that leans on the E01 span out in acres, catering to a never-ceasing demand.
Another option is to take a train to Matra and a bus or taxi to your beach. There are wide choices of accommodation available from the pricey ones to dorm rooms. On our visit in February we found you can easily get a room after reaching the beach.2. The Tea plantationsSri Lanka produces some really good tea. The hill country is covered with tea plantations and they open their doors to visitors. You can expect a tour of the estate covering the plantations, tea processing techniques along with tea tasting. Most of these are free though you might be offered some paid refreshments. You can take a train or bus to get to one of the towns. Most of these plantations will be around if you are in the hills. A few plantations can also be found near the coast. These produce spices, coconut and rubber along with tea. Most of the visits are usually day tours but you can ask for accommodation in the estate. These are quite expensive and may defeat the free purpose.3. The Alternate Sigiriya
Then came the fun point, beaches :) We started our journey from Nuwara Eliya to Matara beach in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. An awesome town and beach. We reached there around the sunset time and that would definitely be one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
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