Sri Lanka Experiential Journey Information: 19 Issues to Do & Locations to Go to – TrendyHub

Considering of touring to Sri Lanka, however unsure of the place to begin? Which locations to go to, issues to do or how you can plan your journey? And how will you finest keep away from the crowds? We’ll reply all these questions and extra on this Sri Lanka Experiential Journey Information and two-week itinerary.

From assembly folks on trains, sharing dawn with pilgrims and vacationers alike on the high of Adam’s Peak, wandering by means of the tea gardens, studying to pop spices and prepare dinner Sri Lankan meals in clay pots, admiring sleeping Buddha sculptures in caves, and far more, here’s a style of the variety of experiences and locations you will discover touring by means of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide
Dawn on the high of Adam’s Peak, a sacred place for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians.

Sri Lanka. Ceylon. The little tear-shaped island simply south of India. Our go to there wasn’t my first.

I lived there for 18 months when my father labored on the U.S. Embassy. My reminiscences of Sri Lanka from my six to seven year-old self consisted of brightly coloured saffron robes worn by Buddhist monks, child orphan elephants bathing within the river, large sleeping gilded Buddhas, and a vibrant inexperienced so far as I might see throughout the rolling hills of tea plantations within the north.

Sri Lanka Elephant Orphanage
Six-year previous me with orphan elephants once we lived in Sri Lanka.

One thing I respect now as an grownup, but didn’t totally perceive as a baby besides to notice variations in folks’s clothes, was the variety of ethnicities, cultures and religions in Sri Lanka. This features a majority Sinhalese inhabitants who’re predominately Buddhist, a Tamil neighborhood composed of each Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils who’re largely Hindu, and likewise Christians and Muslims.

Add to this a protracted and sophisticated historical past relationship again 8,000+ years — together with energy struggles between kingdoms, colonialism, and compelled migration — and you’ve got the mix that makes Sri Lanka the fascinating and complicated place that it’s, the identical mix which helped divide it and drive it right into a devastating 26-year civil struggle (1983-2009).

My household left earlier than the civil struggle started. Because the struggle unfolded, we watched as Sri Lankan mates emigrated to keep away from the battle. And simply as peace and stability returned during the last decade, we watched as lots of them returned residence. Dan and I got here near visiting Sri Lanka in 2008 once we have been in southern India. It was a time simply earlier than the top of the civil struggle. On the counsel of Sri Lankan mates, we determined to attend. When the struggle lastly led to Could 2009, we regarded for a possibility to go to.

One lastly offered itself years later. Spurred by a gap in a Vipassana meditation course at a middle in Sri Lanka, we booked a last-minute flight to Colombo. As I sat my meditation course, Dan made his method south to a seashore for his personal self-made retreat. After the meditation course completed, we launched into a two week journey across the island collectively.

To assemble an itinerary we collected suggestions from mates who had lived or visited there lately, piecing collectively a tough route targeted on prepare journeys, tea gardens and treks. We left issues versatile, usually reserving lodging the day earlier than or the day of, to permit shifts and changes as we wished.

In the long run, it turned out to be an excellent higher two-week journey than we might imagined, flush with a variety of experiences and locations which belied the comparatively quick period of time we had. Regardless of the bottom we might coated and all that we might skilled, we by no means felt rushed.

Trains, tea gardens and treks. Listed here are the most effective experiences from our Sri Lanka travels and two-week itinerary.

Easy methods to use this experiential journey information to Sri Lanka: The next experiences are in chronological order from our journey. You probably have round two weeks, you’ll be able to conservatively accomplish one thing comparable and slot in trains, treks, tea plantations and extra. With three to 4 weeks you’ll be able to add in additional seashore time, a meditation course, a go to to the japanese aspect of the island, or a couple of extra hill cities alongside the way in which. We embrace ideas of prepare journeys, pleasing treks and notable resorts in Sri Lanka to assist spherical out your itinerary. The intention: you’ve gotten all of the inspiration and sensible journey info to create your personal Sri Lanka itinerary and journey.

Replace: This put up was first printed in April 2019 and was up to date and republished with extra particulars and choices for day journeys on 28 December, 2019.

Our Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary: A Map

Our two week journey collectively by means of Sri Lanka included:

Sri Lanka 2-Week Itinerary Map
You may view the interactive Google My Map right here.
  • Colombo – Kandy (prepare): 2 days
  • Kandy – Dambulla Caves – Sigiriya – Kandy (bus): 2 days
  • Kandy – Hatton (prepare) + rickshaw to Delhousie – Adam’s Peak – Hatton: 2 days
  • Hatton – Haputale (prepare) + rickshaw to Lipton’s Seat: Three days
  • Haputale – Ella (prepare): Three days
  • Ella – Colombo (prepare): 2 days
  • Be aware: Dan’s seashore section took him from Colombo by prepare to Galle after which a bus onto the southern seashores between Godellawela and Goyambokka.

The times for every itinerary section listed above and under embrace journey occasions between locations. Transferring between locations can usually take most to all of a day while you consider time on the prepare (or bus) and rickshaw transfers wanted. Nevertheless, these journeys are additionally experiences in and of themselves to satisfy locals and benefit from the altering landscapes and luxurious tea plantations.

Sri Lanka Journey Information: 19 Issues to Do and Locations to Go to

1. Take the prepare in Sri Lanka – repeatedly and once more

Touring by prepare in Sri Lanka, regardless of which class carriage, is one of the simplest ways to get across the nation for views, hanging with locals, and finances minding. It’s greater than only a transportation choice to get you from level A to B; it is an expertise. We traveled in each class, from third class to 1st class A/C (air-conditioned), and extremely suggest making an attempt all of it when you can.

Sri Lanka Travel by Train
Prepare journey in Sri Lanka: one of the simplest ways across the island.

Sri Lankan trains don’t go in all places, however they attain near most locations in Sri Lanka that you simply’d wish to go to. Moreover, many prepare routes take you thru beautiful surroundings and landscapes — tea gardens, forests, villages, coasts — usually the place there aren’t any roads.

The contemporary air and meditative gradual motion and sound of the prepare is a lot extra pleasing than diesel-filled roads and the jerky actions of bus transport. We traveled by prepare from: Colombo – Kandy – Hatton – Haputale – Ella – Colombo.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Hill Country Tea Plantations
Views from the prepare in Sri Lanka’s hill nation.

Regardless of which prepare journey you select, you gained’t be upset. Though the prepare path to Ella will get a lot of the press and hype, we really felt that the section from Hatton to Haputale was essentially the most spectacular.

Given the recognition of prepare journey with locals and vacationers it may be difficult to safe tickets for reserved seats. Learn under for recommendation on shopping for tickets and touring by prepare in Sri Lanka with no reservation.

What to do in and close to Kandy: Three days

2. Admire the murals and gilded Buddha statues at Dambulla Cave Temple

We are able to develop “temple fatigue” rapidly. As such, and primarily based on our analysis, we arrived at Dambulla Cave Temple with managed expectations. However because it was solely a pair hours north (72km) of Kandy and en path to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, we opted to cease off and test it out.

We’re so glad we did.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Dambulla Cave Temple
Buddha statues on the Dambulla Cave Temple.

These Buddhist cave temples, additionally a UNESCO website, date again to round 1st century BC. The advanced contains 5 caves open to the general public, every a bit totally different from the following when it comes to its measurement, and its fashion and vary of work and Buddha statues. In fact, the work and statues have been renovated and brushed up over time. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless spectacular to absorb Buddhist spiritual artwork spanning 22 centuries and to witness the residing historical past of how native folks nonetheless use these caves right now for spiritual functions.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Dambulla Cave Temple
Sleeping Buddha, Dambulla Cave Temple.

This can be a widespread website for each Sri Lankans and vacationers, so when you discover that one cave is crowded, simply transfer to the following one till the crowds dissipate and transfer on. It’s definitely worth the further effort to have the ability to get pleasure from every of the caves with some quiet and stillness.

Easy methods to go to the Dambulla Cave Temple: Buses depart Kandy bus station (simply subsequent to the prepare station) for Dambulla all through the day. The journey is about 90 minutes every method. Ask the bus attendant or driver to drop you off on the Cave Temple entrance so that you simply don’t should double-back from Dambulla city a couple of kilometers away. We opted to spend an additional greenback or two to catch an air-conditioned bus from Kandy bus station. It’s not the simplest to search out so simply ask one of many males on the info desk. They will level you in the correct path.


You probably have a backpack or baggage with you, ask to depart your baggage on the Police/Safety checkpoint on the way in which as much as the temple. There aren’t many meals choices across the entrance to temple, so take into account bringing some snacks or taking a tuk-tuk into Dambulla city for lunch.

Once we visited there was no entrance charge. We might learn beforehand to count on an entrance charge, so we’re unsure if we simply acquired fortunate the day we visited.

3. Climb to the highest of Sigiriya (Lion Rock) Citadel earlier than the crowds arrive

The story goes that within the fifth century King Kasyapa wanted to construct a brand new, safe capital after usurping the throne. He brutally murdered his father and scared off his brother, the rightful inheritor to the throne.

After this Sport of Thrones-style transfer, he headed simply north of Dambulla and constructed his palace atop an enormous 180-meter excessive rock – Sigiriya, or Lion Rock – giving him a vantage level from which to see any armies coming from miles away. His palace served him effectively and guarded him throughout his reign. After he died, it was used as a Buddhist monastery till the 14th century.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Sigiriya
Sigiriya Palace, views from the highest.

Most vacationers go to Sigiriya, one other UNESCO website and probably the most visited locations in Sri Lanka, as a day journey from Kandy. Our recommendation is to spend the night time in one of many family-run visitor homes near the positioning and take a tuk-tuk early within the morning so that you arrive at 7AM when the ticket workplace and gates open.

This can permit you to stroll by means of the gardens, benefit from the frescoes — together with the well-known Sigiriya Maidens — within the caves alongside the rock face (cool, however you’ll be able to’t contact!), climb to the highest of the rock, stroll across the palace ruins, benefit from the views from up excessive, and head again down. And to do all this earlier than the hordes of vacationers on bus excursions from Kandy arrive. On our method down from the highest of the rock, we noticed a whole bunch of holiday makers lining up.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Sigiriya
Strolling as much as Sigiriya within the early morning mist.

One other profit to this method is that you simply’ll have the ability to discover Sigiriya within the early morning coolness earlier than the day warms up and views turn into hazy.

A word on entrance charges and a substitute for Sigiriya: The doorway charge for foreigners to go to Sigiriya is a slightly hefty $30/individual. We made the choice to go to anyway, however if you’re on a strict journey finances take into account skipping Sigiriya and climbing close by Pidurangala Rock for a view of Sigiriya and the encircling landscapes.


The place to remain to go to Sigirya early within the day: We stayed at Gagadiya Relaxation just some kilometers from the doorway to Sigiriya. This can be a small family-run guesthouse with simply two rooms – very clear and new. They have been within the technique of constructing a second ground and extra rooms once we stayed, so that they in all probability have extra rooms now.

We obtained a free tuk-tuk trip from the guesthouse within the early morning out to Sigiriya after which ate breakfast there once we returned, earlier than heading again to Kandy that day. It’s additionally doable to get an awesome home-cooked dinner there, however ask concerning the worth because it tends to be a bit greater than in different lodging, maybe as a result of there’s not a lot round and you’re a captive viewers. It’s also possible to seek for different resorts and guesthouses in Sigiriya.

NOTE: If you’re quick on time you too can e-book a day journey to Sigiriya and the Dambulla Caves from Colombo.

4. Eat your weight in Sri Lankan rice and curry.

The essential Sri Lankan meal, whether or not at a hole-in-the-wall or high-end restaurant, is rice and curry. Usually, you’ll get a giant plate or bowl of rice after which a collection of a number of totally different curries to go together with it. In lots of easy cafeteria-style locations the curries will probably be laid out buffet-style and also you’ll level the server to which of them you need. It’s finest to eat throughout native meal hours in order that the meals is freshly cooked and never sitting out for hours within the warmth.

Sri Lanka Food, Rice and Curries
Rice and curries, a typical Sri Lankan lunch at an area restaurant.

Vegetarians ought to rejoice at Sri Lankan meals. There are often a number of sorts of daal (lentils), sabjis (combined greens), beet root, eggplant and different vegetarian curry choices on supply. For meat eaters, you’ll discover several types of rooster, meat or fish curry choices with numerous ranges of warmth and spice. In additional formal eating places you’ll have the choice to decide on what number of curries — and which of them — you need served along with your pile of rice.

Sri Lankan Food in Ella
Scrumptious meal at Matey Hut in Ella with a selection of 4 curries.

Don’t neglect to hunt out or ask for the several types of sambols (salads), chutneys or sizzling sauces accessible. A few of our favorites included pennywort salad (gotukola sambol), spicy coconut chutney (pol sambola), and spicy onion sambol (lunu miris). While you do, you’ll usually get a nod of approval and smile out of your waiter as effectively. For extra info on Sri Lankan meals, take a look at this text from our pal Mark.

5. Pay a go to to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy.

Inside the previous royal palace advanced in Kandy, Sri Dalada Maligawa (aka, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) is what’s believed to be the relic of the tooth of Gautama Buddha, rescued from his funeral pyre in 543 BC. Virtually 800 years later, the story continues with the tooth having been smuggled to Sri Lanka from India within the early 4th century.

Along with its spiritual worth, the relic of the tooth introduces one other Sport of Thrones-like twist: it’s believed that whoever holds the relic additionally guidelines the nation. So it turned a prized possession and political instrument of monarchs over the centuries. Its last resting place is now in Kandy the place it’s stated to be safe contained in the palace’s principal shrine.

Sri Lanka Travel, Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
One of many many elaborately adorned hallways within the Temple of the Relic of the Tooth.

Though it is not doable for guests right now to see the precise tooth relic, it’s nonetheless price visiting the palace and temple if you’re in Kandy. The procession of pilgrims, devotees and rituals surrounding this sacred relic supply a little bit of energetic devotion, of residing historical past. You may discover lotus blossoms and frangipani choices heaped all through the totally different temples, tucked into sacred nooks. The palace and temples grounds — with their elaborate wooden carvings, gilded statues and work, and manicured gardens — serve up a little bit of visible overload.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Kandy Temple of the Relic of the Tooth
Flower choices on the Temple of the Relic of the Tooth. Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Be aware: If you happen to occur to go to Kandy throughout July or August ask concerning the dates for that 12 months’s Esala Perahera (Pageant of the Tooth), a two week interlude when the city fills with adorned elephants, dancers, ceremonies, and extra.

6. Purchase some artistic, colourful and eco-friendly souvenirs in Kandy.

We weren’t searching for souvenirs or to purchase something once we stumbled upon EarthBound Creations (28 Yatinuwara Veediya, Kandy) as we wandered the streets of Kandy. Nevertheless, the colorfully artistic use of recycled supplies (recycled newsprint, plastics, and so on.) modified that. Along with the environmentally delicate use of recycled supplies, this social enterprise additionally works with ladies who have been affected by or displaced by the tsunami in 2004.

Sri Lanka Travel, Kandy Social Enterprise Souvenir Shop
Our recycled Sri Lankan newspaper souvenirs from EarthBound Creations in Kandy.

This implies while you purchase cool souvenirs and presents right here — we purchased a basket and an previous bi-plane made, each manufactured from recycled cardboard and newsprint — it helps present revenue and coaching to this deprived group of ladies. Stock there’s cool, visually interesting, fairly priced and feel-good.

What to do in Hatton and Adam’s Peak: 2 days

7. Get up at 2AM to climb Adam’s Peak (Sri Padaya) and revel in dawn on the high

This mountain is taken into account sacred by a number of religions, together with all of the outstanding ones practiced in Sri Lanka. Sri Pada (“Sacred Footprint”), a rock formation close to the height, is taken into account to be the footprint of Buddha for Buddhists, of Adam for Christians and Muslims, and of Shiva for Hindus.

Throughout your stroll up, you’ll discover loads of native pilgrims of various religions and vacationers alongside the way in which. You may discover much more gathered in giant numbers on the high close to the temples ready for the solar to rise.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Adam's Peak Sunrise
Dawn at Adam’s Peak.

The concept is to hike up Adam’s Peak at midnight so you’ll be able to get pleasure from dawn on the high, adopted by views from the mountain within the early morning gentle on the way in which down. We set our alarms for the ungodly hour of 2AM, bundled up in a number of layers of clothes in opposition to the morning chill, acquired a tuk-tuk trip to the bottom of the mountain, and set off for the height (2,243 m / 7,359 ft).

Though we loved the anticipation of dawn subsequent to the Hindu and Buddhist temples on the peak whereas we watched them carry out totally different ceremonies and prayers, we discovered the crowds and all the cameras and selfie-sticks a bit a lot after some time. We headed down earlier than the solar was totally up and left the crowds behind us.

This was such a great determination.

Sri Lanka Travel, Adam's Peak at Sunrise
Early morning gentle on our method down from Adam’s Peak.

We had views of the close by mountains and hills nearly all to ourselves in an ideal early-morning gentle which lasts only some minutes at finest. It’s magical.

How lengthy does it take to climb Adam’s Peak? It’s not a technically troublesome climb, but it surely’s a reasonably difficult stroll up with lengthy stretches of steep steps (estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 stairs). We have been suggested that it took about 3-3.5 hours to get to the highest, however we discovered ourselves in within the last stretch after round 2.5 hours with one other hour to attend earlier than dawn. So we escaped the chilly at a conveniently-placed tea home earlier than the ultimate set of stairs and loved cups of steaming milk tea.


It takes round 1-2 hours to return down. The steep descent may be robust on the knees, muscle groups and different joints. Convey a knee and/or ankle brace when you’ve got any points. Even higher, convey a strolling stick or two.

Greatest time of 12 months to climb Adam’s Peak: Pilgrimage season at Adam’s Peak runs from December to Could, coinciding with the most effective climate within the area. At different occasions of 12 months you may encounter rain or get fogged-in views on the high. If you happen to can handle it along with your schedule, attempt to keep away from the weekends as we heard the crowds swell much more with native pilgrims.

Easy methods to get to Adam’s Peak: Take the prepare to Hatton station after which an area bus (often waits outdoors the prepare station) or rickshaw (about 1,000-1,500 rupees) to Delhousie.

The place to remain to climb Adam’s Peak: We suggest staying in Delhousie, the village constructed up close to the doorway to the Adam’s Peak path. We might hoped to remain at Hugging Clouds, however by the point we acquired round to reserving it was bought out so we stayed about 3-5 km away. Though our lodging supplied a free tuk-tuk switch at 2:30AM, being that far-off from the doorway was nonetheless a little bit of an annoyance. And on our method again we needed to seek for and negotiate one other tuk-tuk. You may seek for different resorts and guesthouses close to Adam’s Peak.

8. Rickshaw trip the hill nation and tea plantations

Generally it’s definitely worth the splurge of some {dollars} to take your personal rickshaw slightly than the general public bus. It is positively a smart concept while you’re in the midst of hill nation surrounded by tea plantations and also you want to take all of it in a bit extra slowly and to take images alongside the way in which.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Hill Country and Tea Plantations
Tea plantations and inexperienced for so far as the attention can see.

The 2 routes we suggest for taking your personal rickshaw: from Delhousie to Hatton (or the wrong way) and from Haputale to Dambethenna Tea Property (additionally the place to begin for the hike to Lipton’s Seat). Don’t be afraid to ask your driver to cease for picture alternatives and simply to benefit from the views. We discovered that our drivers snapped images of the tea plantations and views with their cellphones, identical to us.

9. Take a break from Sri Lankan rice with some roti (flat bread)

Though the usual Sri Lankan fare of rice and curry is tasty, you might end up reaching a degree of rice fatigue. That’s the place roti (fried flat bread) or kottu roti (diced roti which is combined with greens like a fried rice) come to the rescue.

Sri Lanka Food, Roti and Curry
Excited for a giant stack of roti with curry (as an alternative of rice).

If you happen to nonetheless have a hankering for curries, take into account switching out the rice for a stack of freshly made roti to go along with your daal (lentils) and different curries. One in every of our favourite locations for this was Malabar Restaurant and Bakers in Hatton. It was so good we ate right here two days in a row as we transited by means of city on the way in which to and from Adam’s Peak.

Sri Lankan Food, Kottu Roti
Hearty plate of kottu roti, made out of finely chopped roti.

One other different to rice and curry is kotti roti, which primarily seems like fried rice made with greens and totally different meats, however the place diced roti replaces the rice. You at all times know when that is being made as you’ll be able to hear the kottu roti grasp clanging away together with his knives to chop the roti tremendous nice. The flavour is hearty and the sound satisfying. And the entire expertise presents a welcome break from the rice and curry routine.

What to do close to Haputale + Tea Plantations: Three days

10. Discover a room with a view in a hill station

Though Nuwara Eliya and Ella is likely to be the extra widespread and complicated hill stations in Sri Lanka’s tea nation, we determined to attempt less-visited Haputale for a few days primarily based on the advice of mates who lived in Sri Lanka for a number of years. A lot of the visitor homes and inns on this space are within the countryside outdoors of city, however we acquired fortunate with this room and consider on the town.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Haputale Tea Plantations
Balcony view over the tea plantations in Haputale.

To be sincere, there’s not so much happening within the city of Haputale and never many vacationer companies. However, it’s a great base if you wish to go to close by tea plantations, go on some hikes within the space (e.g., Lipton’s Seat), witness native life, and simply chill with a pleasant view for a couple of days.

The place to remain in Haputale: We stayed at ABC Visitor Home, however not all rooms have balconies and this view. Get in contact to substantiate that you simply’ll be put in one of many upstairs rooms with a balcony. In any other case, take into account staying elsewhere within the space…and ask a few view.

11. Hike as much as Lipton’s Seat and have a cup of tea

Mr. Lipton of Lipton Tea actually did exist. He’s not only a advertising persona. He’s credited with remodeling Sri Lanka right into a one of many world’s largest tea producers after a illness worn out a lot of the nation’s espresso bushes within the late 19th century.

Sri Lanka Travel, Lipton's Seat
The place Lipton supposedly sat overlooking his tea plantations.

Right this moment, you’ll be able to hike up by means of the tea plantations to the place on a hill the place he used to supposedly look out over his numerous tea plantations to take inventory and guarantee every part was so as. A bit make-shift hut has been arrange there so you’ll be able to have a cup of tea as you benefit from the views of the tea gardens under. How applicable.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Lipton's Seat
Strolling as much as Lipton’s Seat by means of the misty tea gardens.

The stroll takes a few hours alongside winding plantation roads and thru the totally different segments of Dambethenna Tea Property tea gardens to reach at Lipton’s Seat. Relying upon the time of day and season you may additionally catch the tea pickers at work at they methodically make their method by means of the slender rows of tea bushes and choose solely their high, inexperienced leaves.

Easy methods to hike to Lipton’s Seat: We took a tuk-tuk from Haputale to Dambethenna Tea Property and walked the winding highway from there. We caught to the primary highway slightly than looking for short-cuts within the tea bushes. If you happen to resolve you don’t wish to stroll, there are many rickshaws on the able to take you all of the up. You probably have further time, cease off at Dambethenna Tea Property for tea tasting and a manufacturing unit tour.


Native buses depart recurrently all through the day again to Haputale.

What to do in Ella and Close by: Three days

12. Get pleasure from sundown atop Little Adam’s Peak close to Ella

In full disclosure, we hadn’t really deliberate to be on the highest of Little Adam’s Peak at sundown. We determined to take the “scenic route” prompt by our guesthouse proprietor in Ella and as is typical for us, we acquired a bit of circled alongside the way in which. So there we have been on the golden hour mountain climbing the final leg of what’s affectionately often known as Little Adam’s Peak. Seems, ultimately, that our timing was nearly excellent.

Sri Lanka Travel, Little Ella Peak
Capturing the waning gentle at Little Adam’s Peak.
Sri Lanka Travel, Little Adam's Peak
Tacky selfie atop Little Adam’s Peak.
The place to remain in Ella: We opted to splurge a bit and keep at Ella Grand View on the sting of city. Rooms are new and properly adorned, and every has its personal balcony. The proprietor could be very pleasant and serves a hearty breakfast. The quickest option to get there’s by strolling the railroad tracks from the Ella prepare station. Search right here for different resorts and guesthouses in Ella.

13. Take a cooking course in Ella and be taught the secrets and techniques of Sri Lankan meals

As a result of Sri Lanka is so near India one may assume that the cuisines are the identical. Whereas there are some floor similarities between the 2 nations’ assortment of cuisines, Sri Lankan meals is exclusive and employs totally different spice mixtures in its masalas, plenty of coconut milk, ample quantities of contemporary curry and pandan leaves, spicy sides referred to as sambols, and cinnamon.

Sri Lanka travel guide, cooking class in Ella
Getting began at a Sri Lankan cooking class in Ella.

To grasp the fundamentals of Sri Lankan meals and the way we might replicate some dishes at residence, we took a cooking class with Lanka in Ella. Over the course of a number of hours we discovered how you can prepare dinner 5 totally different curries (carrot, beet, inexperienced bean, eggplant, and rooster), plus a sambol and salad. It was wonderful.

Not solely did we be taught the basics, however Lanka was open to answering the slew of questions we had, together with these associated to Sri Lankan meals, what life was like in the course of the civil struggle, the tourism development spurt (or overtourism) in Ella, and absolutely anything else.

We extremely beneficial this expertise. It is also an awesome worth at round 2000 rupees ($12). There are different cooking programs on the town, however make sure to ask what number of dishes you’ll really make since among the different choices solely supply 2-Three curries for the same worth.

14. Hike Ella Rock within the morning sunshine

Though we didn’t rise up earlier than daybreak to climb as much as Ella Rock for dawn as many suggested (sure, we do get pleasure from our sleep), we made it up there for mid-morning. This nonetheless allowed us to get pleasure from among the morning gentle, coolish climate, views of Little Adam’s Peak and the hill nation, earlier than the haze settled in with the afternoon warmth.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Ella Rock
Having fun with the view from the highest of Ella Rock.

Though Ella Rock correct will get all of the limelight, we loved the opposite overlook, one about 5 minutes away that includes a small Buddhist temple in a cave. There are nearly no folks there and it’s a great place to breathe deeply and take within the magnificence round you.

Easy methods to hike to Ella Rock: The hike takes about 2-Three hours from Ella. It begins by strolling the railroad tracks for a number of kilometers. The path then cuts in on the left aspect close to a few makeshift eating places simply previous Kithaella prepare station. Don’t fear about strolling on the railroad tracks; you’ll hear the prepare coming from a great distance away. Here is an summary map of the route and a full information.


Do you want a information to hike Ella Rock? In doing our analysis for this hike there have been all types of tales of individuals getting misplaced and needing to choose up an area information to get to Ella Rock. Perhaps we simply acquired fortunate with our timing, however we discovered that regardless that the path wasn’t explicitly marked with indicators, the trail was clear sufficient to comply with, particularly given the opposite hikers alongside the way in which.

NOTE: If you’re quick on time, take into account taking this present day journey round Ella that features a hike as much as Ella Peak within the morning, go to to 9 Arches Bridge and a hike as much as Little Adam’s Peak.

What to do and eat in Colombo: 1-2 Days

15. Get your Sri Lankan road meals repair at Galle Face Inexperienced in Colombo

For the mixture of road meals, ocean views, and an awesome place to look at the sundown, head to Galle Face Inexperienced in late afternoon. Though a lot of the road meals right here is usually a bit on the fried aspect, there are some tasty crab and shrimp bites that you could find at choose meals stalls alongside the walkway.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Galle Face Green Street Food
Road meals stalls on Galle Face Inexperienced.

For a meal with an precise seat, take your choose of one of many restaurant stalls whose menus are stuffed with deviled and grilled seafood or rooster. It you order a beer, it is possible they will serve the can in a bag in order to keep away from their operating afoul of liquor license authorities.

To see extra of Colombo and study its historical past, take into account taking a half-day metropolis tour to see the primary sights of town.

The place to remain in Colombo: It would sound odd to remain in a capsule lodge in Sri Lanka, however the Star Anise Boutique Capsule Lodge was beneficial to us by one other traveler. Its novelty issue, the truth that it presents double mattress capsules, and the worth and handy location to the prepare station made it a simple promote for us. If you’re somebody who likes numerous area and privateness, this is able to not be the place for you. However, for a fast in a single day keep in Colombo this labored out nice for us. You may seek for different resorts in Colombo right here.

16. Discover the Hopper grasp within the Colombo Previous Fort space

Hoppers is a typical Sri Lankan dish that includes a bowl-shaped pancake made out of rice flour and coconut milk, usually with the choice of a fried egg inside, which is served with a easy curry. Virtually as enjoyable as consuming hoppers is watching the masters at work on the road with their hopper pans churning out completely shaped hoppers by the a whole bunch.

Sri Lanka Food, Hoppers
Hoppers, the Sri Lankan breakfast of champions.

If you happen to’re in Colombo search for this man on York road within the Previous Fort space. Hoppers with a smile!

Sri Lanka Food, Hoppers
The hopper grasp of previous Colombo.

If you happen to actually wish to go deep into Sri Lankan road meals in Colombo, take into account taking this Colombo road meals tour.

17. Top off on spices on the market to take residence

After our Sri Lankan cooking class in Ella we have been armed with a listing of Sri Lankan spices, sauces and different foodstuffs we wished to convey again residence. If you’re just like us and go for meals souvenirs slightly than typical memento tchotchkes, make a cease on the contemporary market behind the Colombo bus station to fill up on all of your Sri Lankan spice wants.

Sri Lanka Travel, markets
We want we might take these residence. We opted for dried spices as an alternative.

Not solely is it enjoyable to enter a market with a procuring checklist (in fact, we purchased greater than we anticipated), however the high quality and worth of spices in Sri Lanka is tough to beat. The perfume from the cinnamon sticks and cinnamon bark is one thing magical. Interplay with native distributors and asking questions on totally different spice qualities and choices is enjoyable, too.

Suggestions for a third Week in Sri Lanka

18. Disconnect and decompress in a small Sri Lankan seashore village

We didn’t do numerous seashore hopping to have the ability to provide you with a definitive “finest seashores in Sri Lanka” checklist. The rationale? As soon as Dan discovered this seashore and family-run guesthouse close to Tangalle within the south, he determined to not depart for ten days.

Sri Lanka Travel, Tangalle beachers
Godellawela to Silent Seashore…not removed from Tangalle.

So whereas I used to be at my Vipassana meditation course, Dan created his personal retreat on the seashore. For him, mornings have been about meditation, studying and a leisurely breakfast with the visitor home household.

Days have been about extra studying on the seashore, exploration of close by cities and villages, and impromptu Sri Lankan delicacies classes at native eating places. And late afternoons featured extra seashore time and sundown with a beer below a palm swooping right into a strip of sand carved by the day’s waves. Sunsets, like snowflakes, no two have been the identical.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Southern Beaches Sunset
Colourful sundown marks the top of one other day.

The lengthy, empty seashore and vast horizons mixed with being disconnected and the laid again tempo and restricted motion have been precisely what he wanted to chill out, learn, and recharge.

Be aware: If the Godellawela seashore space lodging occurs to be full or the seashore is experiencing building or growth, take into account additionally the Goyambokka seashore space simply to the east. Likewise, take into account Silent Level and Paradise Seashore simply to the west.


Easy methods to get there: To get there from Colombo, take the prepare to Matara. From Matara take a taxi or an area bus. For Godellawela, ask the driving force to drop you off on the aspect of the highway at Muthu Resort and Restaurant. For Goyambokka, ask the driving force to drop you off on the highway between Grand Residence and Cafe Goyambokka.

19. Take a Vipassana 10-day silent meditation course

If you happen to actually wish to disconnect from the world to reconnect with and dig deep inside your self, there’s no higher option to accomplish that than by taking a Vipassana silent meditation course for ten days. Now, this isn’t a luxurious, laid-back meditation retreat with non-compulsory massages on the aspect. As an alternative, it’s extra like meditation boot camp with the morning bell at 4AM, round 10 hours of meditation every day and nearly nothing for dinner.

Sri Lanka Vipassana Meditation Course
Strolling to the meditation corridor (taken after the course was completed and telephones have been returned).

However doing a Vipassana course is SO price any momentary feeling of discomfort or lack of luxurious, and can possible be probably the most rewarding and memorable experiences of your life. I gained’t go into all the small print as to why, and the psychological and bodily advantages. Dan already did an unimaginable job doing that in his Vipassana course article. I ought to word, nevertheless, that every Vipassana expertise is totally different and distinctive.

Discovering a Vipassana Meditation Course in Sri Lanka: I searched round on the Dhamma web site for Vipassana facilities in heat climates — in order to flee winter in Berlin — which had availability after I had a break in my schedule. Discovering an accessible Vipassana course in Sri Lanka motivated this journey, and its timing, to Sri Lanka.


I selected Dhamma Sobha Vipassana Meditation Centre, a few hours by public bus outdoors of Colombo. I had a great expertise there, however I’d have most well-liked a bit extra inexperienced area to stroll and wander in the course of the free time between meditation classes. If I have been to return to Sri Lanka for a Vipassana course I’d as an alternative go to Dhamma Kuta Vipassana Centre close to Kandy as it’s reported to have actually pretty grounds and gardens with mountain views.

Important Sri Lanka Journey Info

The next sensible journey info is aimed that can assist you plan your journey to Sri Lanka, from visas to flights to coach tickets, in order that all of it goes easily with none disagreeable surprises.

Day Journeys and Different Excursions in Sri Lanka

Though two weeks in Sri Lanka is not a ton of time, we did have sufficient flexibility in our schedule to arrange issues final minute and piece issues collectively on the spot. Nevertheless, when you’ve got a tighter schedule or wish to e-book day journeys, transfers and different actions upfront (beneficial for prime season) we will recommend utilizing our companion, Get Your Information. It presents many alternative day journeys and different excursions in Sri Lanka with no reserving charges and free cancellation as much as 24 hours earlier than.

Along with the suggestions above, listed here are a couple of different day journeys and excursions that you simply may take into account doing in Sri Lanka.

  • Day Journey to the UNESCO Metropolis of Anuradhapura: Sadly, we didn’t have time to go to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital and an vital Buddhist spiritual website. Nevertheless, it is on our checklist for our subsequent go to as mates of ours who used to reside in Sri Lanka beneficial it.
  • Minneriya Nationwide Park Day Journey:  Seeing elephants within the wild is fairly exceptional, and Sri Lanka has one of many highest populations of untamed Asian elephants. On this present day journey to Minneriya Nationwide Park from Colombo you will have an opportunity to see elephants within the wild (MUCH higher than seeing them at a middle). This can be a lengthy day, however all of the transport is taken care of for you so you’ll be able to chill out and revel in.
  • Colombo Metropolis Tour by Tuk Tuk: We went by means of Colombo in a short time on our method in and in another country and need we had spent extra time there. Given the dimensions of town, a tuk tuk metropolis tour like this is able to permit you to see the primary highlights of town inside a brief time period with all of the historical past, tales and context that solely an area information can convey.

Greatest time to go to Sri Lanka

The nation has a number of monsoon seasons so “finest time to go to Sri Lanka” relies upon a lot on the place you wish to go. For the southern, central and western elements of the nation (i.e., the place we have been) December – Could is taken into account the most effective time. Within the japanese a part of the nation, April or Could to September is taken into account finest. Climate is altering in all places and monsoons appear to come back and go at totally different occasions every year.

Sri Lanka Travel, Beaches
Large waves with the early monsoons in southern Sri Lanka.

Easy methods to Get a Sri Lanka Visa

Most nationalities want a visa to Sri Lanka. One may be obtained on-line simply and rapidly. Simply fill out the e-visa to Sri Lanka software and pay $30 wanted for a 30-day visa. Our functions have been authorised inside 24-hours. Though we carried a replica of our visa approval, the immigration officer didn’t ask for it.

Flights to Sri Lanka

Flying from Europe we had fairly a couple of connection choices to Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB). Lots of the European flights do land very late at night time or early morning so we booked a lodge close to the airport for that first night time. It’s also possible to pre-book your airport switch to make it much less disturbing while you arrive.

We regularly use Skyscanner to test availability and worth of flights as its database contains all low-cost airways. As soon as you discover your finest route or worth then you’ll be able to e-book straight by means of the airline with no further charges.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Rickshaw art
Journey-inspired rickshaw artwork in Colombo.

Easy methods to E book Prepare Tickets in Sri Lanka

Many reserved seats on widespread prepare routes promote out early. Don’t be deterred, although. You may at all times get on the prepare you need with a 2nd or Third class ticket bought the identical day, with no seat project.

To get a really feel for the prepare routes and the way you may wish to plan your personal prepare journey by means of the nation take a look at this prepare route map on the official Sri Lanka Railways web site. It’s also possible to discover schedules and costs for trains there as effectively.

Touring by prepare with no reservation: Lots of the native trains don’t have reserved seating so that you simply want to indicate up 30-60 minutes earlier than the prepare to purchase a 2nd or Third-class ticket (often very low-cost). Then, it’s a matter of ready on the platform for the prepare to reach, and positioning your self near the doorways so that you may be one of many first to enter and snag a seat. Even when you don’t find yourself with a seat, don’t fear. One is more likely to come accessible at one other station.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide, Train Travel
Touring with no prepare reservation = a enjoyable balancing act.

Shopping for prepare reservations: If you’d like a little bit of consolation on the prepare with an precise assigned seat then you definately’ll must do a little bit of advance planning to determine your route and dates of journey. We went straight to the primary prepare station (Colombo Fort Railway Station) once we arrived in Colombo and acquired as many reserved seats as we might for the prepare routes we knew we wished to take. Regardless of this being 10 to 14 days upfront of the particular journey dates, some routes have been already booked full.

We’ve got heard, however haven’t tried ourselves, that it is doable to work with native journey brokers to purchase reserved prepare tickets upfront. Seat 61, the web site of all issues prepare journey, has recommendation on how to do this right here.

Discovering and Reserving Accommodations in Sri Lanka

Though we traveled in the course of the excessive season we have been in a position to make most of our lodge bookings in Sri Lanka simply a few days earlier than — and even the day of — our arrival with none drawback. We largely stayed at small, family-run guesthouses and used to search out and e-book lodging.

English is spoken at various ranges in smaller guesthouses so we discovered reserving lodging by means of was simpler, rapid and safer than making an attempt to name and make a reservation over the telephone or by e mail.

Shopping for a SIM card in Sri Lanka

While you arrive at Bandaranaike Worldwide Airport airport in Sri Lanka you’ll discover a number of cell phone operators providing totally different “vacationer plans” SIM card for cell calling and web. We ended up selecting Mobitel SIM playing cards with a number of gigabytes of cell information and a piece of SMS and calling minutes for round $10. It was simple to arrange and we had fairly good protection all through Sri Lanka throughout our journey.

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