Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha

Tripoto
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 1/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 2/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 3/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 4/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 5/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 6/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 7/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 8/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 9/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 10/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 11/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 12/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 13/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 14/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 15/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 16/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 17/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 18/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 19/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 20/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 21/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 22/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 23/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 24/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 25/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 26/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 27/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 28/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 29/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 30/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 31/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 32/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 33/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 34/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 35/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 36/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 37/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 38/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 39/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 40/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 41/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 42/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 43/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 44/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 45/46 by Jyoti sharma
Photo of Sri Lanka – Sun, sand, beaches and the Buddha 46/46 by Jyoti sharma

Itinerary: ChennaiColombo – Trincomalee – Dambulla – Sigriya – PolonnaruwaKandy – Nuwara Eliya – Adam's peak – GalleMirissa – Colombo – Chennai

Visa: Apply for ETA online at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ for 15 USD. And then you can straight get to immigration though there is visa on arrival option also available.

India-Chennai Airport If you are a tea and coffee lover like me, then Madras cafe outside the airport in Chennai had a very yummy coffee to offer!

Colombo:

Take 187 bus to Petah. This is the central bus stand from where you can take bus to any other place. As I had a booking in YWCA so I took bus 100 to YWCA which dropped me at Kolpity from where I took an auto for few meters for 150 LKR as it was quite early in the morning. Colombo is a modern city with more to chill out than to see. What I liked in the city was the mix of architecture,traditional old buildings vs sky scrapers. Like the Dutch hospital building converted into the shopping mall.

#Stay:Women can stay in YWCA for 800 LKR in dorm or 2500 LKR in an independent room. YWCA of Sri Lanka No.7, Rotunda Gardens, Colombo 3. Sri Lanka, Tel : +94-11-2323498 / 2328589 , E-mail : natywca@sltnet.lk

Mount Lavinia : book by mailing Priyani. priyani09@gmail.com

#Food:If you are fond of authentic food then you can try Kaema Sutra which offers a meal for around 3-4k LKR. Behind Kaema Sutra you will find a food joint with tables outside. You can try some authentic Lankan dishes there also. Near YWCA you could also try Raja Bhoujan as suggested by a friend but I didn't try it myself.

#Places to visit:

Gangarmaya shrine: Free of cost. Walking distance from YWCA. Come out of YWCA, take left and walk by the lake.

Independence square: At a distance of 3 km from the temple , you will find independence square which has museum underneath with entry ticket of 300 LKR.

Arcade: This is the building converted into a mall.

Galle face promenade: see the sun setting on this road, take an evening walk on this road when you can see the hustle bustle of Lanka on this road.Lighthouse: Drive down further and you can see the light house which is a nice place to spend sometime.Dutch hospital: Dutch hospital building converted into a mall has nice and posh restaurant and pubs. Recommended is Taphouse.

Trincomalee:

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 beach: Spread over 6 km. Awesome sandy beach.

Koneshwara temple: 5-6 from the beach. I walked to the temple but you can take bus till city bus stand from main road and then tuk tuk for 100 LKR or by meter.

7 springs: Close to the Trincomalee beach are the hot springs but I missed these due to lack of time.

Pigeon island: Beautiful island. Good place for dive and snorkelling though you have to pay separate for boat and entry to the island.

Dambulla:

From the city bus stand at Trincomalee, I took a bus to Dambulla which is around 3 hours away.

#Stay:

Dambulla city hostel: Very nice and comfortable hostel with many guests to talk to and share information, though the hostel is expensive with 2 nights at 3600 LKR with breakfast which is mostly bread jam and butter. You can cook your own food as well. Very nice and friendly Mario who would in every possible way, help you to plan your day.

PS: I could have taken a bus to Anuradhapura and stay there if I had not booked city hostel for 2 days at Dambulla.

#Food:

Local rice and curry at Ninu which is just opposite to the Dambulla main bus stand.

#Places to visit:

Golden temple and cave temple which is open from 7 a.m. To 5 p.m. You have to walk up for cave temple for around 1/2 an hour ( at my pace). The entry ticket is 1500 LKR.

Sigriya:

From Dambulla bus stand bus number 490/1 goes to Sigriya. The buses are available every half an hour. It takes an hour to reach Sigriya from Dambulla. The last bus to come back to Dambulla from Sigriya is at 5:30 p.m. So don't miss this bus.Sigriya fort: Entry ticket 3900 LKR. For SAARC countries if you have your passport then ticket prices are halved so for me the ticket was for 1900 LKR. You have to walk up the stairs which are steep. Hence the whole trip can take around 4-5 hours including bus travel to and from Dambulla.

Polonnaruwa:

Still difficult to pronounce this destination for me but it's a must watch. From the main bus stand buses are there every half an hour. This trip was one specific trip where I didn't get seat in the bus. It takes around 2- 2.5 hours to reach Polonnaruwa from Dambulla.

Once you get down at the bus stand, you could rent a bicycle. I rented for 200 LKR after bargaining. Go to the museum and buy your ticket first.The ticket is for 3250 and 1640 for SAARC if you show your passport. After visiting the museum, I set for the ruins which are 1/2 a km from the museum. Initial citadel and outer space are close by but other places like Siva devtal, lotus pond, Gal vihar etc. are far and hence the bicycle comes handy. The whole trip would take 3-4 hours

Must carry: Socks as you have to remove shoes and sun makes the stones too hot to walk on. Water Umbrella as it's really hot and sunny. Sunglasses as it's really hot and sunny

The trip to Polonnaruwa will take one full day if you visit all the places and go in detail and also if you are travelling to and from Dambulla.

Kandy:

Being lazy and talking to Mario late in the night previous day, I started late for Kandy but it's advisable to start early as Kandy has few places to see. There are frequent buses from Dambulla to Kandy.

#Stay:Mount view inn for 1000 LKR . This hotel is 500 meters from bus stand and hence very accessible. The owner is very friendly and helpful but otherwise the place and the room is average. No,163/1, William Gopollawa Mawatha, Kandy, 20000 Kandy, Sri Lanka Phone +94812228995Kandy city hostel: expensive but much nicer option to stay over night in Kandy. If you stay in multiple hostels , you also get discounts from city hostel chains in Sri Lanka.

#Food:Kandy has many options to eat. I tried kottu at Kandy Muslim restaurant. This was nice. There are many bakers and shops who server Ceylon bun and butter cakes which are delight for your taste buds.Slightly Chilled is also a happening place, if you wanna chill out over couple of beers with friends specially after the quiet and calm of Dambulla.The place also has many cheap options for shopping, if you want to buy souvenirs.

#Places to visit:Tooth relic temple: Entry fee 500 LKR for SAARC countries though at the counter they didn't see my passport. For foreigners from other countries the entry fee is 1000 LKR.

Kandyan dancing: According to my interests and taste, this is a must do if in Kandy. I thoroughly enjoyed 1-1.5 hours of traditional Kandyan dance which happens every day at YMCB at Kandy at 5:30 p.m. for 500 LKR. If you want good pictures and better view then be there earlier so that you can grab some front seat.

Nuwara Eliya:

From bus stand at Kandy, take a bus for Nuwara Eliya for 120 LKR . The buses are more frequent for Nuwara Eliya. It takes around 2-3 hours as the terrain is mountainous.

#Stay:Near the bus stand you can find many options but as this place is a main tourist attraction, all the places are pretty expensive.Through a friend, I got a place in Nuwara eliya inn near 'The pub' for 1000 LKR. Unfortunately, the place was not clean, the room didn't ve wifi coverage and I got a rat in my room in the night.

#Food:In front of the lake there are many hotel. I had my meal of very taste rice and curry at The Green Gregory hotel. In the main city centre : veg : Hotel Ambaal. Non veg: De silva , Milano

#Places to visit:

Lake: Take a bus from city stand to lake for 10 LKR and you can have a relaxed walk by the lake.You can do boating, jet skiing also on the lake.

Seethe temple: same bus from city stand for lake goes further to Seetha temple. Here ravana kept goddess Seetha after kidnapping her from lord ram and this is where first lord Hanuman found goddess Sita.

Pedro factory: from the bus stand take a bus to pedro factory for 20 RS. You can have a guided tour for tea processing here for 200 LKR. If you are a tea connoisseur then you can buy some tea here. I bought 250 gm of bop tea ( you know what is it once you have the factory tour) for 250 LKR.

Devon falls : Take a bus from city bus stand which goes to Hatton and get down at Devon falls which is around 30-40 km from Nuwara Eliya bus stand and will take around an hour to reach.

Adam's peak:

Many people do the trek in the morning 2-3 a.m. and stay in Delhousie. My itinerary for Adam's peak was Bus to Hattoan at 7 a.m. from Nuwara Eliya for 120 LKR. Reached Hatton by 10 a.m.. Took a bus to Maskerliya for 45 LKR. It takes around 1.5 -2 hours. The view and terrain is amazing and beautiful. Take a bus to Adam's peak from Maskerliya for 40 LKR. This takes around an hour.

Take the road going down in front of the police station and the path will unveil itself. The route is completely steps. 5000 odd steps (yes I counted them and lost patience at 5000). Generally it takes 2.5-3 hours to reach at the summit where there is a temple. Jan - April is the season when the temple on the top and the small shops on the way are open. As October is rainy and off season hence all the shops and the temple were closed. The steps in the end are much steeper and arduous so save your energy for the last.Must carry:

Rain coat UmbrellaWater TorchFood

Be careful about your return from Adam's peak as the buses from Adam's peak are not very frequent. There are few guest houses available which you could book online in place called Delhousie in nuwara eliya district or else take the bus back. The place which I booked but could not stay was White House guest house Adamspeak road, Nallathanniya(Delhouse),Maskeliya, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka 22070. Phone: +94522055520

http://www.Agoda.com/white-house-guest-house/hotel/nuwara-eliya-lk.html

Galle:

There is only 1 bus from Nuwara eliya to galle at 7:50 a.m. from the main bus stand. It costs you 390 LKR. The bus will be very rushed throughout. And this bus goes via Mirrisa instead of via Colombo. As I had already done my bookings at Galle I went to Galle instead of getting down at Mirrisa though you could plan your trip accordingly.

#Stay:Opposite to Galle bus stand there is Galle fort and there are many places to stay. I booked in Travelers tree which was expensive but not very good. The wifi was pathetic and the hosts were not very friendly but the building is beautiful. Even if it's expensive to stay in places in Galle fort. I think its a must do to experience that chilled out atmosphere in Galle fort. Traveler's tree 67 Pedlers Street , Galle Fort , Galle , n/a , Sri Lanka . Phone : +94766277037 Mail : ttgallefort@gmail.com website to book : http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/sri-lanka/galle/84980/

#Food:Pedler's inn offers great food though on expensive side. On a full moon day they don't serve alcohol ( everywhere in Sri Lanka)Serendipity art cafe : more so for the ambiance as I only had my very nice tea in the morning.On the back side of Galle fort: you will see lot of street vendors : At one of the places, blue structure you must have ginger tea, samosa and egg roti. It was absolutely yummy.Ice cream at shop opposite to pedler's inn. My favorite flavours were passion fruit and lemon.

#Places to visit:The only place where I spent my time in Galle was at the fort though there are few temples which are there outside Fort.

Mirrisa:

There are frequent buses to Mirrisa from Galle for 60-70 LKR. Once you get down just head to the beach because that's what Mirrisa has to offer. This beach was recommended by lot of people so I assumed it can't be missed.The sea on west coast is rough during this season. There are many restaurant where you can keep your luggage and go and enjoy the sea , if you don't plan to take a room (like me as I had my flight in evening).

You can do whale watching for local price of 2500 LKR and 6000 or 4400 (on discount) LKR if you book online. Just that these online options are more fancy and give you breakfast etc. As I had splurged money in Galle pampering myself, so whale watching was out of my budget. If you plan to do whale watching, you have to be in Mirrisa by 6 a.m. remember that the whale story might not be all that rosy...you just might see a whale which might not flip for you in the air.

#Stay:If you would like to stay by the beach there are many options available. Also, you could stay in some places on the other side of the beach as well.

#Food:The restaurant around beaches offer pizzas, burger etc. though I kept myself to still the local food of rice n curry which was nice as they served me the food they cooked for themselves.

And then I headed back to Colombo. To save time I took bus till Galle and then express highway for 420 LKR from Galle. You can also go to Matara bus station and take the express highway bus as it takes much lesser time in express highway buses than the local buses. From express highway , take 138 to Petah and from there take express highwaybus.I wanted to board at 12 a.m. and it wasn't there but there are many local buses available. And voila! Your amazing solo trip comes to an end.

Few pointers: Change your currency into USD or Lankan rupees outside the airport in India. At airport you get 1 RS = 1.5 LKR when outside its 1 RS = 2 LKR.NOTE: In Lanka you ll not be able to exchange INR.

Booking online hotels is helpful but sometimes it made me inflexible as I couldn't change my itinerary in Dambulla and Galle. Also, I realised that booking.com is better than agoda.com as you can do booking without paying. If you can afford to , prefer to find places on the spot and then bargain. As suggested by a reader , you can also try airbnb.com for accommodation booking. Thanks blacksnowsurfer. There are buses to everywhere. Find your options before resorting to expensive tuk tuk or taxi.

Solo women travellers: You will constantly hear hi, hello madam where are you going from the local tuk tuk people but they are absolutely harmless. If you involve in a conversation with them, they actually help you to move around in local places. A stern look or a yell is what it takes to get them away if they get on your nerves.

This trip was originally published on Joey- my travels for your ease.

2 Comment(s)
Sort by:
Amazing cost break up... Cheers
Thu 01 19 17, 09:20 · Reply · Report
wow..such a detailed itinerary and very grassroot too.. thank you
Tue 08 30 16, 10:41 · Reply (1) · Report
Tue 08 30 16, 10:42 · Report
Related to this article
Weekend Getaways from Chennai,Places to Stay in Chennai,Places to Visit in Chennai,Things to Do in Chennai,Chennai Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Tamil nadu,Places to Stay in Tamil nadu,Things to Do in Tamil nadu,Tamil nadu Travel Guide,Things to Do in India,Places to Stay in India,Places to Visit in India,India Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Colombo,Places to Visit in Colombo,Places to Stay in Colombo,Things to Do in Colombo,Colombo Travel Guide,Things to Do in Sri lanka,Places to Stay in Sri lanka,Places to Visit in Sri lanka,Sri lanka Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Trincomalee,Places to Visit in Trincomalee,Places to Stay in Trincomalee,Things to Do in Trincomalee,Trincomalee Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Dambulla,Places to Visit in Dambulla,Places to Stay in Dambulla,Things to Do in Dambulla,Dambulla Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Matale,Places to Visit in Matale,Places to Stay in Matale,Things to Do in Matale,Matale Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Polonnaruwa,Places to Visit in Polonnaruwa,Places to Stay in Polonnaruwa,Things to Do in Polonnaruwa,Polonnaruwa Travel Guide,Places to Stay in North central province,Places to Visit in North central province,Things to Do in North central province,North central province Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Kandy,Places to Stay in Kandy,Places to Visit in Kandy,Things to Do in Kandy,Kandy Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Nuwara eliya,Places to Visit in Nuwara eliya,Places to Stay in Nuwara eliya,Things to Do in Nuwara eliya,Nuwara eliya Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Galle,Places to Visit in Galle,Places to Stay in Galle,Things to Do in Galle,Galle Travel Guide,Places to Stay in Southern province,Things to Do in Southern province,Southern province Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Southern province,Weekend Getaways from Mirissa,Places to Visit in Mirissa,Places to Stay in Mirissa,Things to Do in Mirissa,Mirissa Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Matara,Places to Visit in Matara,Things to Do in Matara,Places to Stay in Matara,Matara Travel Guide,Things to Do in Sri lanka,Places to Stay in Sri lanka,Places to Visit in Sri lanka,Sri lanka Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Colombo,Places to Visit in Colombo,Places to Stay in Colombo,Things to Do in Colombo,Colombo Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Galle,Places to Visit in Galle,Places to Stay in Galle,Things to Do in Galle,Galle Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Dambulla,Places to Visit in Dambulla,Places to Stay in Dambulla,Things to Do in Dambulla,Dambulla Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Nuwara eliya,Places to Visit in Nuwara eliya,Places to Stay in Nuwara eliya,Things to Do in Nuwara eliya,Nuwara eliya Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Kandy,Places to Stay in Kandy,Places to Visit in Kandy,Things to Do in Kandy,Kandy Travel Guide,