But keep in mind, if you travel from Dambulla, you have to take one of the buses which are going from Colombo to Malee. No bus service was available originating from Dambulla when I travelled. And most likely, you'll not get a place to sit immediately after boarding the bus. For Solo Women backpackers - I travelled in shorts and it was comfortable in the bus. I didn't face any incident where people teased me or anything. By the time I reached Malee town, it was 1 pm (I started at 8 from Dambulla and this includes a bus repair on the mid way) and I saw the small harbours with pristine blue water. They were picture perfect. I was almost thinking this is it, nothing can beat this in such a place. I took a public bus from Malee bus station to Upuveli (Neelaveli is further and apparently more expensive). It took me a while to look for the hotels but I found few. It's a cluster of 8-9 shacks/hotels/resorts in Upuveli or may be a bit more. And you'll find all options starting from $7 (for a private room with bathroom No AC) to $$$ in big resorts, along with mid ranged hotels with pool and decorated bar in $40-$50. I chose the $7 one and that place happened to be the best bar at nights! French Hostel is what I remember the name was. Now you got there, there are plenty of things to do. Long bike rides, in empty roads, drenching in short and quick rains, the mountain temples, feeding the monkeys, trip to Nilaveli, morning breakfasts in near by villages are possible with a rented bike. I paid 250 SL Rupee, I had to keep my passport with the lady as deposit. I did both scuba and snorkelling, rate varies based on time. Dolphin watching and fishing is also possible. No whale watching in Malee, it happens in Merissa. Food is amazing, in all the restaurants, I chose typical SL food, with fish costing around $1.5 every meal. I also went to Nilaveli, for one evening. It is beautiful but expensive than Upuveli. And somewhere I found Upuveli more serene, calm and less crowded. There are also small beaches here and there in the city. Take your bike and just ride. Dip in the ocean and come back. On the way get into some temple, pose with kids, get fruits as blessings and ride on.
How To Reach Dambulla
Book Dambulla Tour Package
Dambulla Cave Temple
Now, I had to run to the Dambulla caves. Hence, I walked to the near Bus Stand. There was a bus there for Dambulla but no driver and passengers. Upon checking with some people around, I got to know that this bus was not going in my direction. I wanted to reach my destination before it gets dark, so I raised my thumb at a car coming to my direction. Thankfully, it stopped and offered me a ride till Dambulla. It was around 6 PM and I wanted to reach the cave temple as soon as possible as the entry closes after 6.30PM.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Lazy as I am, I woke up at 9 am. I quickly packed my bagpack and left for Sigriya. Sigriya has an entry charges but discounted for SAARC nationalities. It wasn't too hot there. The climb was not too difficult and worth the view after reaching the top.The another hill is free of charge but I was not having much energy to do that track as well. I got back to hostel and again slept without dinner.
My day started with a hefty breakfast. I was not sure when I'll be having my next meal. Therefore, I stuffed myself as much as I could. I was sure that I would be commuting by buses or trains. Thus, I headed towards the Kandy Bus Station, which was not far from the hotel. I wanted to visit the Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangala Temple first and then the Dambulla caves. I took a bus for Dambulla.
ROAD WAYS IN SRILANKA ARE PRETTY WELL MAINTAINED AND BEAUTIFUL
Well maintained roads - something i didn't expect of the islands. Was a perfect road trip !