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Sri Lanka was voted as the best Travel Destination by Lonely Planet – for a good reason. This country offers beautiful beaches, cool vibes, delicious food, beautiful nature and a culture which is worth to explore. And best of all – it is a very cheap travel destination.
In this article, we will introduce you to the perfect travel route from our point of view. We recommend three weeks for your Sri Lanka adventure.
Colombo or Negombo
Start in Colombo or Negombo and stay there for one night. That’s certainly enough. Both cities aren’t worth a longer stay, but after a long flight you don’t want to drive for a few hours to get to your accommodation. The taxi ride to Colombo costs between 2200 rupees to 2500 rupees. To Negombo you can take the Tuk Tuk for about 700 rupees (download the app Pick Me! It’s like Uber for Tuk Tuks). 100 Rupien are approx. 50 Cent (December 2018).
What to do in Colombo? Read here!
The next day or the day after you can head off to Dambulla. It is not a beautiful city either, but a good starting point to drive to Sigiriya and in order to climb the Lions Rock. In Dambulla itself you can explore the Cave Temple.
Kandy to Ella
The next day you can drive to Kandy by bus, which takes you about 2.5 hours. In Kandy you can do some sightseeing before taking the famous train-ride to Ella. BOOK SEATS AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE TO BE SAVE AND ENJOY the trip (You can book tickets approximately one month in advance). You can do a stop-over in Nuwara Eliya and then continue to Ella by train the next day.
In Ella you can spend easily two days exploring this area. It is definitely one of the most relaxed cities of Sri Lanka. Among other things, you check out the Nine Arch Bridge, tea plantations and climb the Adams Peak.
Onward journey to the coast
You can either travel east to Arugam Bay or south to Dickwella. From here you can also perfectly make a day trip to the national park. Arugam Bay is the better option if you want to visit Yala. If you would rather make the Udawalawe National Park, Dickwella is your choice. We didn’t do any of the national parks because we have already seen so many wild animals in South Africa.
Surfing in Welligama
If you want to learn surfing, Welligama is the right place. Perfect waves for beginners and advanced, delicious food and cool vibes. Rent a scooter and explore the coast. In Widigama you will definitely find some stick fishermen. If you drive the main road to the east, you also come to Mirissa. Here you will find nice beaches and great vibes. Welligama is the perfect place to stay if you have a scooter and like to surf. If you want to chill we recommend Mirissa (these places are quite close to each other).
Onward journey to Unawatuna
Again, a scooter is very helpful, but not a must have. You can reach Galle, the Jungle Beach and the Japanese Peace Pagoda easily by Bus or Tuk Tuk. In Galle itself you should visit Galle Fort. One day for Galle is enough though.
Onward journey to Colombo or Negombo
If you want to relax a day on the beach, Negombo is the better option. The beach is not that special compared to what you’ve seen before, but here you can calm down again. For all those who prefer to be chauffeured from temple to market and from market to temple by a tuk tuk in the hurry city – it is also fun and really affordable with the app PickMe.
We made our recommended route just the other way around. Driving through the innerland is exciting but sometimes exhausting. So make sure to calm down at the beach at the end of your Sri Lanka trip.
What to do where? In addition, there will be soon several blog posts!
Sri Lanka is a year-round destination. There is not a perfect period to visit because each side of the island has it’s own “perfect time to visit”.
You need a Sri Lanka visa to be allowed into the country. It is not difficult. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months. You can arrange a Visa on arrival, but it takes more time and costs you more money. So just do it online.
The easiest way to get your Sri Lanka visa is online at www.eta.gov.lk. It makes sense to apply at least a few days before your arrival. Usually, the applications are approved within a few hours and you will receive your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) for 30 days visit. It will cost you $30 and can only be paid by credit card.