Explore Sri Lanka with this Travel Guide!

by | May 26, 2021 | Uncategorized

Your Sri Lanka travels start now…

Here in this Sri Lanka travel guide, we cover the most exotic places which are a must-visit during your Sri Lanka travels. Throughout your travels, you will find that communication will rarely be a problem because English is widely spoken in all parts of the country. Place names and signboards are in the national languages Sinhala, Tamil, and English. The currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee divided into cents, plus the foreign currencies enjoy a favorable exchange rate. So, let us help you plan your Sri Lanka trip today!

DAY 1 


A girl laying on a sun bed in Balapitiya.

In our Sri Lanka travel guide, you will be first landing at Colombo Airport on the very first day. We would suggest moving straight to the town of Balapitiya instead of exploring Colombo first.

Balapitiya is a coastal town, in southwest Sri Lanka. It is located in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Situated 80 km south of Colombo, about a two-hour drive from the capital.

Once you reach Balapitiya first you can visit the Kothduwa temple. The Kothduwa temple, or Koth Duwa Raja Maha Viharaya, is a Buddhist temple located on Kothduwa Island on the Madu Ganga in southern Sri Lanka.

After visiting the temple you can head towards Ahungalla Sea Turtles Conservation Project. Here you can spend quality time with turtles. The Green Turtle is the most commonly found turtle in Sri Lanka. They are also found in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. If you would like to know more about where you can see turtles, read our blog on the 10 best places in the world to see turtles here. 

Ahungalla Beach in Sri Lanka during the sunset.

After this, we can go and cherish Ahungalla Beach. You can relax here. Ahungalla Beach is a Coastal hangout with fine sand and rocky outcrops, plus a rustic outdoor restaurant and a modern resort.

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If you crave some peace and quiet, the Madu River is a great way to start our Sri Lanka travel guide. Head out on a boat tour on a day trip to explore this remote area; including about 35 breath-taking islands.

You’ll see traditional fishermen out trawling, encounter orange juice stands stationed in the middle of the lake, and spend the day lazing in the sun.

Ask your boat driver to drop you off at the Cinnamon Islands to see peeled cinnamon and cinnamon oil made by local traders or stop at one of the ‘fish pedicure’ stands, if you dare! For the afternoon, we’d highly suggest getting an Ayurveda massage in Balapitiya.




Galle Dutch Fort during the sunset.

Catch an early breakfast and head out towards Galle Dutch Fort and the south coast. This is a fortified city built by the Europeans and stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On your way, stop in Ambalangoda, a town known for its traditional mask carving. Visit one of the mask museums and buy yourself a keepsake for your trip. Make sure to shop around though, since prices vary hugely from place to place.

In Galle, wind your way around the Greenmarkets and the narrow streets of Galle. Collect street food from smiling vendors and eat some local cuisine. You’ll then be well-fed and happy to take a tour of the Galle Fort. If you’re still itching to explore more of Galle, you could head to the boutique shops around the Fort, or down to the natural harbor, the National Maritime Museum, or St Mary’s Cathedral.

After lunch, get onto the coastal route so that you can make a stop at Weligama, which translates as ‘sandy village’. Here you’re able to head to the beach to find the famous ‘stilt fisherman’ of Sri Lanka. 

Many colourful fishermen boats out in the blue sea in this Sri Lanka travel guide.

While no one seems to know where or how this type of fishing started, it’s an old tradition that still stands today. The fishermen spend 2-4 hours sitting on a thin plank on stilts, hoping to catch a fish or two for dinner.

You can also drive from Weligama to Mirissa, and check out the whale watching! After this, you can head towards our next destination, Ella.

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A view of the city Ella in Sri Lanka with this travel guide.

I would recommend visiting here once during your Sri Lanka travels as this town is specially built for tourists. When you arrive, you’ll notice the queues of bright red and blue backpacks trekking up the streets of the hillside town. Ella is one of the most magnificent stops in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by towering mountains, you can just spy the ocean through a gap in the hills, known as the Ella Gap.

First, hike up to the Lipton Seat, located at the top of Poonagala Hill. This unique viewpoint is quite literally where Scottish tea baron, Thomas Lipton, would sit and survey his tea plantations. You can also opt to drive most of the way if you aren’t feeling that energetic.

The nine arches bridge in Ella with a blue train driving past.

Many people also go to the Nine Arches Bridge in Ella, for a great photo opportunity.

Next, spend the afternoon at the Dambetenna Tea Factory. Built in 1890 by Lipton himself, this is the place where the term ‘Ceylon tea’ was coined and where Lipton Tea was founded. Take a tour of the factory to learn how this special brew is made. You’ll experience everything from fermentation to rolling, drying, cutting, sieving, and grading of tea. The tour ends with an authentic tea tasting (closed on Sundays).




A view of Little Adam's Peak during the sunrise in this Sri Lanka travel guide.

Get up early and hike up Little Adam’s Peak, for the sunrise. It takes about 35-40 minutes. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping views across the valleys, tea plantations, and waterfalls of Ella.

Now it’s time to make your way to the train station, to undertake one of the world’s most spectacular train journeys. 

Check out our blog post on the most beautiful train stations in the world here. 

The train ride is spectacular, snaking through the plantations and hills of Sri Lanka. Don’t miss it. I’d suggest taking Ella to Nanuoya (rather than the Kandy train route), so you can stop off at Nuwara Eliya for a quick tour.




A city view of Kandy in Sri Lanka with the sea.

The second-largest city in Sri Lanka, Kandy is a historical site that was ruled by great kings until the British took over in 1815.

There are 3 must-do items on the itinerary here: the Temple of the Tooth, the city markets, and a traditional Kandyan dance.

First up, the Temple of the Tooth. This impressive structure houses one of the most significant relics of the Buddha – the sacred tooth relic. It’s a must-visit but, you have been warned: It’s swarming with tourists at all times of the day. Be prepared to be crammed into the temple and inch slowly around the various sights. If you are skipping the traditional dance then I’d suggest visiting at night. This is when the candles are lit outside and the entire estate has an almost ethereal atmosphere.

For the afternoon, it’s recommended to mosey around the city and markets or take a walk around Kandy Lake.

Men walking around playing with fire in this Sri Lanka travel guide.

To round off the day, you can witness a traditional Kandyan dance. Rich in color and agile in movement, you’ll see Sinhalese dancers, energetic drummers, and fireproof fire walkers all in one spellbinding, almost hypnotic show.

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A huge golden statue of Buddha in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka.

After exploring the hustle of Kandy, it’s time to head off to a more peaceful corner of the country; the Cultural Triangle, as it’s known.

Today is another day of driving but you should undoubtedly stop en-route to see the incredible Dambulla Cave temple. The temple is a vast, isolated rock mass set about 150m above ground which includes a complex of five caves, boasting over 2000 square meters worth of painted walls, ceilings, and statues. Think gigantic Buddhas carved out of rock or 150 life-size deities, scattered amongst the caves. There is also another lovely temple next door, if you are feeling energetic I would suggest visiting it once.

After such a long day of traveling, I would recommend that you get back to the hotel and relax for a while.




The famous Sigiriya rock fortress covered in green in Sri Lanka.

Proposed as the eighth wonder of the world, Sigiriya Rock Fortress (also known as Lion Rock) is an imposing rock, arising out of the jungle at 370 meters high. Set atop it is a beautiful monastic complex including caved temples, ponds, and landscaped gardens, all built by King Kassapa between 477 and 495.

Head out early to beat the masses (ideally 7 am or so), because this attraction can get incredibly crowded.

You can also head to another viewpoint of Sigiriya, called Pidurangala Rock, to get a gorgeous view across the terrain.

After lunch, I would suggest going to the Minneriya National Park. On the banks of the Minneriya reservoir, the park boasts an event known as The Gathering when 250 elephants coming together at once every few days.




A white temple in Anuradhapura found in this Sri Lanka travel guide.

This morning you should leave Sigiriya and head to Anuradhapura. Seen as equal to the Pyramids of Giza in terms of architecture, this sacred city was the first Royal Kingdom and capital of Sri Lanka and is filled to the brim with history. Have a walk alongside pilgrims to see Buddha’s fig tree or take a stroll to see the enormous white Dagoba.

Stay in the area for lunch and then make your way to Wilpattu. Now, this is a national park that we love!

A leopard drinking water in Wilpattu.

Far more authentic, the Wilpattu National Park (Land of Lakes), is one of the largest and oldest parks in Sri Lanka. If you’re lucky it’s also one of the best places to see the elusive leopard. Make sure to read our blog post on how to sustainably support animal tourism here, as well if you are interested.

Wilpattu – a more rustic jeep, bouncing around the winding dirt roads with dust in your nose and the wind in your ears. A good-natured, experienced guide. And teeming wildlife – elephants, sloths, leopards (apparently!), water buffalo, crocodiles, and your standard list of birds, reptiles, and insects.

Yala National Park and Uda Walawe National Park are also great ones to visit. If you’re keen to look into something really special, you can visit here once.


DAY 10


A city view of Colombo, Sri Lanka in this travel guide.

It’s now time to leave Sri Lanka, but you can’t do so without visiting the beating heart of the country: Colombo.

Do a lightning-quick tour of the city, grab a tuk-tuk to see the key sights of the National Museum, the Gangaramaya Temple, Beira Lake, and definitely the colonial buildings of the Fort Area. If you have time, visit the Old Dutch Hospital or wander the streets of Pettah; a totally overwhelmingly amazing experience!

And, when in Colombo, you must eat crab.

We hope you have enjoyed our Sri Lanka travel guide. We are pretty sure you will be gaining endless memories and experiences while completing your Sri Lanka trip!

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