Traveling without a plan and going wherever the road takes you might sound cool and adventurous but when you have only a few days to explore the country, it is always better to plan in advance, otherwise you may miss the important places. We were a group of 3 who wanted to do this trip and hence we brainstormed for a few hours over Skype and Whatsapp to come to the final itinerary which I will explain in detail in the next section.
The next thing to consider is the visa. Indian nationals do not need a stamped visa to enter the country but what they do require is an Electronic Travel Authorization or an Online visa. One can fill a form in the below link and after making a payment of 20 USD, an ETA will be granted in 24 hours:
Next in line was the transport. As we wanted this to be a backpacking trip, we decided to travel using local transport. As per our research from various travel blogs and also after talking to a couple of friends who has been to Sri Lanka, this option seemed pretty safe and feasible based on the itinerary we had chalked out for ourselves.
Day 1: 23rd Feb 2017:
We started our journey for the city of dreams Mumbai, We booked an early morning Jet Airways flight to Colombo, so that we could reach there by 5:00 AM. Please note that if you are staying in South India the flights to Colombo are cheapest from Madurai and not from Chennai as most people think. I booked from Mumbai as my friend was based in Mumbai and it made sense to travel together. The flight was scheduled at 2 AM and we reached the Bandarnaike International Airport at about 4:30 AM. It’s advisable to reach the airport early especially if one is travelling from Mumbai as there are huge lines in the emigration and security checks.
The international airport in Colombo is about 40 Kms from the city and we took the AC Volvo bus from the airport at 6 AM. The service runs from 6 AM to 6 PM and the price is 150 LKR, the road was amazing and the rising sun created an magical aura in the surrounding as the bus sped over the amazing highway. We reached main bus stand of Colombo (Colombo Fort) in about 40 minutes. We had already booked our hostel at Galle Face , so we took a Tuk-Tuk from the bus stand. The driver might try to overcharge but we insisted on going by the meter and after a bit of haggling one of them agreed. We reached our hostel in about 15 minutes, it was situated at one of the best places in the city with embassies, 5 star hotels and even the Prime Minister’s residence in the vicinity. The Galle Sea face about 5 minutes from our hostel, is also beautiful and has a touch of Dutch and Portuguese architecture. After checking in, we took a quick nap before we started our exploration of the town.