If you don’t have many days and still want to experience Wildlife, Beaches, History, Culture, National Parks, Hikes, Waterfalls, Mountain Chill etc. , Sri Lanka is the place for you.Have already been to a few countries but what made the Sri Lanks trip so memorable was that you could encounter a different vegetation and climate in every 100kms. To talk in Financial terms a SriLanka trip would give you the best ROI.
When did i Go? – July ( though you might feel that it is monsoons, yet the East Coast is good enough and can be traveled)
VISA- Book online through the official government website: https://www.srilankanvisagov.com/
Currency: I was traveling from Bangalore and carried Sri lankan currency through my local currency exchange place.(Please carry cash everywhere, I found Sri Lankan people very reluctant in accepting cash even at high end restaurants. Also at places where you have to pay entry fees, one was supposed to pay cash.
Flights: I took the Flight from Bangalore , it was Indigo and just 1 hour flight . Do look out while landing and if it is clear day you can clearly make out the Tail of India and beginning of Sri Lanka.
Local Commute: In Colombo I used Uber once as i had Wifi at the hotel. However you have taxis , local buses, autos for local commute. For intercity commute you have buses, trains, taxis(please bargain) and autos.
Stay: All the hotels I stayed in were pre booked at least 3 months in advance(it gives you a great choice of places at competitive Pricing)
Network : I prefer no network, however I saw Airtel advertisement in Sri Lanka, so you can find out.
Day 1: Land in Colombo
Day 2: Train to Kandy
Day 3: Kandy
Day 4: Auto from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Day 5: Nuwara Eliya
Day 6: Train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella
Day 7: Ella
Day 8: Bus to Tangalle
Day 9: Tangalle
Day 10: Colombo
Colombo: If you are coming to Sri Lanka , you must be definitely landing at Bandarnaike International Airport. For your information the Airport is quite far from the main city and even to reach to the first metro you will have to travel at least 30km. I took a cab (bargain)outside the airport and it dropped me to my hotel. You would be either moving towards Kandy or Galles side, either ways you might have to come to the the fort area. The fort area is crowded but beautiful.Don’t miss out on Pettah Market. I would advice you to stay in the Mount Lavinia area. There are plenty of hotels at a walking distance from the beach and this would be a great place to rest and soak the sun until you move to the next town.
I had booked a first class train ticket online from Colombo to Kandy. It was a 3 hour ride and a wonderful one. 500 meters above sea level this is the place where you get the first relief of getting away from the sea. A small clean city with a huge lake in the center will always remain in my memory, especially the run around the lake. Kandy is clean, green , pleasant with a lot to do. Temple of tooth relic, visit to spice gardens, elephant ride, a curry rice meal , visit to the buddha point are some of things that you should definitely do at Kandy. I had hired an auto to see the local places and my guy was very professional.
At an altitude of 1868m, this is an awesome destination in Sri Lanka. I took the auto from Kandy to Nuwara eliya. The route is scenic and had 2 huge waterfalls on the way which were pure bliss. The fascinating part was that in 3 hours you reach a place which is so cool. It is small lookalike of a British Town and has great places to eat. Don’t miss out the post office and lover’s leap waterfall. This is also the gateway to Horton National Park and we spent a good half day at the National Park.
We took the train from Nanu Oya to Ella. Nanu Oya is a beautiful railway station 9km from Nuwara Eliya and you will find it full of backpackers as this is the most coveted train route. We did not get the first class ticket and the train was full, we managed to squeeze in and in half an hour got place to sit. The train ride amidst tea gardens and greenery was just breathtaking. Our place to stay was at walking distance from the station. Did not expect Ella to be a party town, but yes, the main road has a lot of pubs/cafes and has a very touristy feel. We trekked to Ella Rock, the best part was a major part of the trek being on the railway track. You should also not miss out on the 9 arches bridge and have meals at various cafes. Ella was a happy happy place.
Tangalle is a lesser know, secluded beach destination of Sri Lanka. There is one long stretch of beach with varied choice of resorts and cafes. Since it was world cup time , a lot of cafes were screening the matches as well so it was double fun. We took an early morning bus from Ella and it took us 4 hours to reach Tangalle. Since we had to catch a flight in 2 days time we prebooked a taxi from Tangalle to Colombo(once again bargain). Tangalle like any other beach town offers you time to soak the sea, eat and rest. The water was very clean, however the sea was quite rough during our stay.
Stayed at amazing places with good deals, you could google these and plan you stay:
Kandy: Nature Walk Resort
Ella: Ella Eco Lodge
Tangalle: IBIS Business hotel