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Sri Lanka is an island paradise with unimaginable variety. After years of civil warfare, the riches of this island nation have been left largely ignored by vacationers, but in recent times, increasingly individuals have include inquisitive eyes to be enriched by the gentle soul of the Sri Lankan individuals, enchanting landscapes, golden seashores and a number of the most flavorful meals in South Asia, if not the World!

Sri Lanka is true up there for travelers on the lookout for a slightly off the crushed path destination whilst still being straightforward to navigate, budget-friendly, and offering sensational scenes and sounds aplenty! To get an actual feel for Sri Lanka, we might advocate spending a minimum of two weeks exploring the island nation. Here is an example itinerary encompassing a few of our Sri Lanka’s greatest places to visit!

1. Sigiriya-Dambulla

Sigiriya rock Sri Lanka
For those with an eye fixed for landscapes and topography, Sri Lanka is residence to manicured leafy lawns that spread for as deep as the eye can penetrate the horizon, and there are usually not a lot better viewing factors than that atop the comparatively average, 45 minute climb up to the summit of Pidurangala Rock. Whereas many climb the ever in style Sigiriya Rock for the ancient ruins at the prime, Pidurangala Rock (reverse and rather less widespread) presents sweeping panoramas of each the Sigiriya rock column and the tropical terrain that surrounds it.

Methods to get there:

  • Taking the practice – From Colombo Fort Station, take practice quantity 6011 at 06:05am, arriving into Habarana Station at 11:16am. From Habarana Station, you possibly can then simply take a tuk-tuk to Sigiriya or most homestays will supply a pickup service for a further charge in case you allow them to know your arrival time prematurely. Depending in your choice of ticket class, you possibly can anticipate to pay between $2 and $10 a method.

What to do:

  • Climb Pidurangala Rock for sensational sunrise or sunset views, and climb Sigiriya Rock for a peek into the past.
  • Explore the encompassing rice terraces that sweep the circumference under Pidurangala Rock.
  • Take a scorching air balloon journey early morning and think about the rock and surrounding greens of Dambulla from hundreds of ft above.

Where to remain:

  • Inexperienced Home Resort was the most effective guest homes we stayed at throughout our time in Sri Lanka, with reasonably priced costs, great selection of meals, recent and spacious rooms they usually even supply bespoke tours to match your wants for exploring Dambulla.

2. Kandy and Ella

sri lanka train journey
Apart from testing the beautiful botanical gardens of Kandy, the actual purpose we have been here was to catch the famous practice journey between Kandy and Ella.

Learn how to get there:

  • From Sigiriya, take a 20 minute tuktuk journey to the close by town of Dambulla. From right here you possibly can catch a bus pretty simply to the town of Kandy from Dambulla Bus Terminal. The buses depart each 30 minutes and the journey takes round 3 and a half hours. Tickets for the bus value around $1, nevertheless, in the course of the night the buses do get busy so we might advocate arriving in loads of time or taking an early morning bus as an alternative! The city of Kandy could be very small, when you arrive, ask one of many friendly local tuk-tuk drivers to take you to the station in time for the subsequent practice departure to Ella.

Sticking to beautiful Sri Lankan surroundings, it truthfully doesn’t come as thick, fast, and assorted as the practice journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya or Ella. Dubbed largely as “the most scenic train journey in the World” bounce on a practice from Kandy to the rolling tea valleys of Nuwara Eliya and you may be treated to a few of the most scenic valleys and plantations in the World. The trip from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is around four hours, however for those who simply can’t get sufficient of the tea valleys, vistas and vivacious curves of the hills that the practice experience provides, then choose to journey an extra 2 and a half hours to the city of Ella.

What to do:

  • Make certain to snack on Sri Lankan delicacies akin to vegetable samosas or coconut roti which are provided up by locals jumping on at every station. The good aroma to accompany your travels!
  • Sit within the open doorways of the carriages for one of the best seats in the house.
  • Board the much less common practice at 3am from Kandy for dawn views away from the crowds!

Where to remain:

  • To completely assure a ticket and board the 3am practice for dawn views and fewer crowds, stay at Joyspring Hills Guesthouse, who will organize your early morning tuk-tuk switch to the station when you need it!

3. Ella

nine arch bridge
Operational railway bridges don’t get any extra epic than that of Demodara Bridge in Ella, generally known as ‘Nine Arch Bridge’ or “Bridge In The Sky’ as a consequence of its colonial-era, 9 stone structural arches that type its beauty. Located within deeply forested terrain, practice crossings are frequent, a sight to behold, and might be eyed from both the viewpoints at every end of the monitor or from under where you will see native women choosing Ceylon tea from the rolling tea plantations.  It’s like a scene from the films!

Tips on how to get there:

  • From the town of Ella, take a tuk-tuk to the Nine Arch Bridge. The likelihood is, the locals know precisely the place you need to go earlier than the words have even rolled off your tongue. We might advocate hiring a tuk-tuk driver for the day, who may also show you Little Adam’s Peak and a few of the many waterfalls nearby!

What to do:

  • Ask an area for the subsequent practice crossing and wait and watch the magnificence of the practice passing via the valley.
  • Stroll the tracks once the trail is obvious of the practice and peer over at the jungle surroundings.
  • Discover the tea plantations under and strike up a dialog with one of many tea women.

Where to stay:

  • 9 Arch View in Ella is both reasonably priced and has a few of the greatest balcony views of the bridge under. Perched atop on the hillside, awake to the sounds of the practice crossing and think about the bridge by means of the palm timber with nobody else round to spoil the view.

four. Adam’s Peak and Little Adam’s Peak

No listing of lovely places is complete and not using a hike or a trek, however the views ready on the prime of Little Adam’s Peak might make the record all by itself! Situated in Ella, the world is famed for its monumental mountain vary and Ceylon aromas dissipating from the tea fields. Any local will level you in the fitting path to the start of the path from the flower backyard in Ella. Winding by way of the valley with a slight incline the trek doesn’t take lengthy, is relatively straightforward to navigate and provides sensational sunset or dawn spots to view the peaks, ridges and craggy mountainscape with unparalleled 360 degree views.

What to do:

  • Take plenty of pictures! There are so many spots to shoot the panorama you may need to plan to take more time than anticipated to hike the trail!
  • Unforgettable sunrises await those who can stand the early alarm clock.
  • Refill on some native snacks together with egg hoppers or vegetable roti and take a picnic to the height. Eat and drink in the panoramas.

If you wish to hike the actual Adam’s Peak, prepare for a longer sunrise trek, however one which’s well worth the effort. You’ll need to work in a couple of additional days to get there and again from Ella, but as anyone who has carried out it could possibly inform you, it’s value it in case you have the time. You possibly can learn extra about Adam’s Peak here.

4. Arugam Bay and Trincomalee

Sri Lanka East Coast

Sri Lanka’s East coast tends to get far fewer guests than the south coast, but in case you’re involved in surfing uncrowded waves and hanging in a bit fishing village with extra possibilities for native interplay, then contemplate heading to Arugam Bay. It’d mean slicing out Mirissa in case you’re on a decent schedule, but if it have been me, I’d be just fantastic with that. For logistic’s sake, you’ll in all probability have to select either this stop or cease #5 under, until you will have a bit extra time and are prepared so as to add in a bit more touring, which is all the time an adventure in Sri Lanka!

The best way to get there:

Take the bus from Ella to Monaragala. From there, you’ll be able to take a direct bus to Panama which stops in Arugam Bay.

What to do:

  • Study to surf in the waves.
  • Make a journey to Trincomalee to check out Pigeon island.

Where to stay:

Hideaway Arugam Bay has the right vibe and plenty of backpackers to hang with.

Click on here to learn extra about Sri Lanka’s East Coast.

6. Udawalawe National Park:

koggala lake boat sri lanka
All good issues are wild and free. Undoubtedly the perfect place to eye elephants in the WILD is in one of many National Parks, during which there are 15 of them in Sri Lanka! Sadly, there remains a want to keep elephants captive to satisfy tourist want, but this was one of the worst and saddest experiences in Sri Lanka, notably in Pinnawala. Regardless of how a lot the locals attempt to convince you that each one tasks have been created with the elephants’ wellbeing on the forefront, we found this to be unfaithful. A sad elephant equals a sad experience.

Nevertheless, in Udawalawe wild encounters are frequent and more so poignant. These magnificent mammals will depart you mesmerized with reminiscences to last a lifetime. All of the power and energy in such a mild big, perhaps there’s something we might all study right here. Apart from elephants, the park is a deeply forested area with lakes, jungle-like wildlife and a jeep safari by way of the terrain in quest of mild giants, as well as rare hen species and other mammals akin to water buffalo and golden jackal is a journey of a lifetime.

The best way to get there:

  • The quickest and best option to get from Ella to Udawalawe National Park is by taxi. The journey is round 110km and can value you round $36. We might advocate utilizing Taxi Sri Lanka for any journeys inside Sri Lanka.

What to do:

  • Organize an early morning or night jeep safari for the perfect sitings.
  • Deliver a pair of binoculars to get nearer to the action.
  • AVOID unethical elephant sightings, particularly any points of interest in the Pinnawala space.

Where to stay:

7. Yala National Park

yala national park
Lining the Indian Ocean on the japanese shores of Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a 978.8 km² forested space house to some of Sri Lanka’s most wanted wildlife sightings together with elephants, crocodiles and the king of Yala, the leopard. Though Yala National Park is among the most popular nationwide parks in Sri Lanka, it’s also one of many largest, which means you may safari for hours with out another jeep in sight. Go for an entire day safari and you’ll enter the park because the sun peaks above the horizon for the perfect time of the day to spot the leopards and stop for lunch on the seashore where the salty air will freshen you up before your afternoon jeep safari.

Methods to get there:

  • Again, we might advocate taking a taxi between Udawalawe and Yala National Parks for the quickest and best routes. The journey time is round 2 hours and you may anticipate to pay roughly $32.

What to do:

  • Maintain your eyes peeled for the three major sightings the park has to supply, the sloth bear, an elephant herd and of course the leopard.
  • Opt for a safari that gives lunch on the seashore. The stretch of seashore is secluded and gives sweeping views throughout the east coast all the while nonetheless situated inside the nationwide park.
  • For the most effective sightings of leopards, opt for a morning safari. The orange hues of daylight can also be an entire sighting in itself. Be prepared for a four.30am wake-up call nevertheless!

The place to stay:

  • Accommodation may be found to go well with all budgets, from hostels to tented camping, all of which may organize safari tours to suit your necessities. For those trying to cool off in fashion after the day’s safari, Jetwing Yala supplies the right luxurious retreat.

eight. Mirissa

Mirissa coconut palms
While Mirissa stays the preferred tourist seashore across the south coast of Sri Lanka, no one can deny how lovely Coconut Tree Hill is. It’s a 15 minute bike journey from the primary stretch of seashore. Like all lovely places reminiscent of this, nothing is a secret endlessly, and the spot has gotten increasingly common during the last two years. Still, it’s nicely value a go to for the view. It’s virtually as if the view has been painted as you view the shore by means of the leafy lush palms.

The right way to get there:

  • Take a tuktuk to the nearby city of Tissamaharama, this should take around 20 minutes. From the bus terminal right here, buses depart to Mirissa each 30 minutes and take around 4 hours. These buses are local buses and most don’t have air conditioning, so do because the locals do and attempt to grab yourself a window seat!

What to do:

  • Arrive for a spectacular dawn to avoid the photograph op queue! You’ll have the place to yourself for a minimum of an hour or so to absorb the view of the surfers catching waves by way of the palms.
  • After sunrise, head to the native jaunt at the bottom of the hill to have breakfast in a cabana with the view of the shore and the sloping palms lining the façade. Attempt the native Kiribath (milk rice with banana) or coconut pancake.
  • Upon getting roamed the hilltop for a while, maintain walking around the hill to discover a secluded stretch of seashore to lap up the waves with not one other individual in sight.

The place to stay:

  • Hill Home Mirissa is among the most worth for money guest homes we stayed at in Sri Lanka. A welcoming host awaits who provides you with plenty of info for things to do within the space, together with spots off the crushed path.

9. Weligama

Weligama bike ride
Weligama means sandy village, which is pretty apt actually! Weligama has made the listing as probably the greatest examples of a fishing town in Sri Lanka which remains relatively quiet in relation to its southern seashore counterparts, all the whereas nonetheless providing visitors numerous activities to maintain busy. Vacationers come for the surf, with retailers offering surf classes for novices with a sprawling view of the coastline to match. Weligama is rising in popularity while the word of its coves and coast spreads, so make sure you verify it as quickly as you possibly can!

The best way to get there:

  • Only a brief journey down the coast from Mirissa, there are such a lot of ways to get between the 2 cities! Our favorite method of travel alongside the south coast is on a standard fishermans bike, so strap your rucksack to your again and begin peddling! When you don’t stop along the best way at the many scrumptious food stalls, you possibly can anticipate to arrive inside 40 minutes!

What to do:

  • Lease traditional fishing bikes from the Spindrifters Hostel situated in the primary town and discover the town and sprawling stretch of sand the local means!
  • Hit the waves whether or not you’re a novice or a professional! The circumstances on the south coast don’t come a lot better for it.
  • Attempt the local fish curry as you watch the sun go down!

The place to stay:

  • The Spindrift Hostel is simply two years new and presents both bunks and private rooms relying on choice, situated inside strolling distance to the seashore and gives traditional fishing bikes to get round.

10. Ahangama

Ahangama fishing village
The great thing about Ahangama is the laid again way of living away from the vacationer towns! Situated within the Southern Province and about 20 minutes from the popular city of Galle, Ahangama is a much less visited stretch of shoreline within the South offering a extra native solution to expertise the shores. The sleepy town presents secluded beaches, local jaunts and the opportunity to view the individuality of conventional stilt fishing famed all through Sri Lanka.

The way to get there:

  • When you don’t fancy grabbing your pushbike, tuk-tuks are a good way of getting around and you may even be your personal driver and lease a whole tuk-tuk to discover the south coast!

What to do:

  • Walk the shores of the town to view traditional stilt fishing.
  • Make a journey to Koggala Lake.
  • Lease a self-drive tuk-tuk and explore the beaches of the Southern Coast

The place to stay:

  • Freeze On Seashore Hostel is situated instantly on the seashore and though primary, who doesn’t need to get up in a comfortable cabin or tree house to the sights of dawn and sounds of the waves kissing the shore!

11. Koggala Lake, South Coast:

koggala lake boat ride

While many visit the South Coast for its golden stretches of sand (and rightly so), remember to make the brief distance inland from the shore and experience the majesty and magnificence of Koggala Lake. Penetrated by misty jungle, the lagoon outflows to the Indian Ocean and is made up of eight ecologically wealthy islets, some of which may be greatest explored by boat such as the spice gardens of Cinnamon island.

The way to get there:

  • We’re assuming after we’ve simply advised you you can drive your personal tuktuk that thats precisely what you’ve accomplished, but when not, then hire an area to take you on the 20 minute journey.

What to do:

  • Organize a boat experience around the lake and take in the sights and sounds of “fruitbat island” the place a rhythmical clap of arms will whip the fruitbats right into a sightseeing frenzy.
  • Take a journey via Sri Lankan spices on Cinnamon Island and have the chance to take a taste of Sri Lanka house with you from coriander, spice powder or aloe vera produce.
  • Visit Tri Lanka Resort through the day to sip within the views with a drink in hand of their open lounge or take a dip within the infinity pool with sweeping lake views.

Where to remain:

  • Sanford Visitor House is situated nearby in Ahangama and arranges boat tours and transfers to the lake, or for these with a deeper pocket, there’s the opportunity to remain at Tri Lanka situated on the coronary heart of the lake.

Right here’s a map with all the spots mentioned above, plus the advisable accommodations that will help you plan your journey:

Whereas it’s quite a bit to absorb, considering Sri Lanka is greater than meets the eye, you’ll be able to in all probability see that there’s no dangerous place to go and no fallacious strategy to take pleasure in Sri Lanka. This itinerary has all of our favorites unfold over three authors and 3 visits. We hope you take pleasure in Sri Lanka’s greatest locations to visit.

Traveling to Sri Lanka? Here are 11 things you must not miss! this perfect itinerary covers the most loved areas in the country, as well as some off the beaten path spots that see little tourists. Get tips on transportation, accommodation, and the best things to do in each area. Click to read now! #SriLankaPin me!

Concerning the Authors: Charlie and Charlotte are the wanderlusting couple behind The Wanderlovers. Three years ago they ditched their city jobs and have turned their passion for travel into a life-style documenting their adventures over on Instagram, hoping to inspire future travelers that anything is feasible in case you just purchase that a method ticket … Go Stay!

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