Formerly known as Ceylon, this resplendent island country situated in the laps of the Indian Ocean boasts of stunning sun-kissed beaches, ancient temples, dense beautiful jungles and alluring tea plantations. For traveling across Sri Lanka, three weeks is quite an ideal length of time provided the traffic conditions don’t pose an extra hindrance. There are plenty of modes of transport ranging from Uber, bus, train, tuk-tuk, taxi, and even motorbike.
SRI LANKA ROUTE GUIDE-
Here’s a 3 week day by day travel route guide prepared especially for travelers who wish to relax as well as fit in most of the destinations in the time frame.
DAY 1-2: Unwinding in Negombo or Colombo-
While talking about proximity to the airport, put your feet down and relax for a few days in Negombo, a more laid-back destination to stay in than Colombo, the country’s capital.
DAY 3- Exploring Kandy-
From Negombo or Colombo, the nearest stop would be Kandy, the second largest city of Sri Lanka rising around the scenic lake and nestled cozily among the cloudy forest and tall plantations. To reach there, you have the option to hail a taxi or board the bus or train. A city decked with some of the finest architects and sacred temples, do visit a few of them and on the way, make it a point to stop and visit the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens.
DAY 4- Sigiriya
A place of historical and architectural significance, it is dominated by the massive column of rock, the Lion Rock, which is listed as one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka. Reaching a height of 200 m, this square-shaped rock is accessible. Climb it to get the best view of the city and the surrounding garden.
DAY 5- Return to Kandy –
Set out for Kandy, and make time to board one of the most beautiful train rides which take you from Kandy to Ella in 5-7 hours. Travel during the daytime, to have one of the best views of the countryside lined with tea plantations and scenic mountain views.
DAY 6-7 – Nuwara Eliya-
Located in between Kandy and Ella, make a stop in this beautiful mist-shrouded hill station which has been dubbed as “Little England” because of its typical cool climate and colonial-style bungalows. A visit to the terraced tea plantation and the factories, which brews some of the best world-class tea, is a must.
DAY 8-10- Ella –
With a relatively cool climate, Ella is a must-visit destination for an idyllic time well spent among tea plantations and mountain forests. Do visit the nine-arch bridge or make the challenging hike to Ella Rock or Mini Adams Peak to get the best panoramic view of Ella.
DAY 11-13- Arugam Bay-
Home to many seasoned surfers from April to October, Arugam Bay boasts of the best surfing points in Sri Lanka. Even if you don’t surf, visit this laidback tropical destination which offers you the best beach vibes.
DAY 14- Tour one of the National Parks in Sri Lanka-
For wildlife enthusiasts who want to have a great safari experience, or to get up close and personal with wild elephants and other inhabitants of the forest, visit Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park, or any other beautiful national parks of the country.
DAY 15-16- Escape to Mirissa-
Located at the southernmost tip of the country, this small beach town offers one of the best spectacular sunset views. Enjoy the nightlife, good food or scout the best locations for whale and dolphin watching.
DAY 17-19- Beach town Unawatuna-
If you want the real feel of salt in your hair, a visit to the palm-lined beaches of small-town Unawatuna is a must. It will give you the best of beach experiences with its share of corals amidst turquoise waters. You can have some wonderful shopping experiences, dine in swanky restaurants or go for nearby sightseeing like the Galle Fort, Koggala Lake and other towns that are easily accessible.
DAY 20+21 – Colombo calling and adieu –
As you head back to Colombo, make it a point to stay close to the airport, and if you have a bit of extra time, sign off your vacation vibes by dropping at the Barefoot handicraft and its awesome restaurant.
There are few other optional places to visit in the northern part of Sri Lanka, provided you have more than 3 weeks time –
BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA-
The island country is an all year round holiday destination as each coastline has its own perfect weather at different times of the year. In a nutshell, the hill region, the west and south coasts offers the best of weather from December- March while the east coast is best when visited during May- September.
SRI LANKA VISA-
- If you have a passport with a minimum of 6 months validity, then acquiring a visa is smooth as butter.
- If you apply online, do so a few days before your tour. It will cost you around 30$ (credit card only) with a 30-day validity and you will receive the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) within a few hours.
- Even if you are not a credit cardholder, you can get your visa through the Visa Bureau for a little extra amount.
- There is an option for a visa on arrival too at a counter in the Sri Lankan airport but you will have to shell out an extra sum of 5$ and need to have extra waiting time in hand.
COST OF TRAVELLING-
The currency of Sri Lanka is Rupee, though it differs from the INR.
Sri Lanka might not be quite expensive and if you pay 15-20$ per night you can get a beautiful double room in affordable guesthouses. Dorms are rare and quite expensive.
Price of transportation-
The cheapest option is to travel by bus which will cost a few dollars for a full day of traveling, though it’s non-AC and mostly remains a bit crowded. You can hire a cab with a driver that will give a pocket pinch of about 50$ per day.
Traveling by train to few destinations must be in your itinerary as Sri Lanka boasts of some of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The price for a second-class cabin varies from 1.50 – 4$ and sometimes it’s totally full; so be prepared to stand or sit on the floor and have a quirky yet unique travel experience.
Food and drink cost-
Sri Lanka is a foodie’s paradise and you can get a sumptuous filling bowl of local rice and curry at a decent cost of 1-3$ only. Though due to religious grounds, alcohol is prohibited in several areas.
VACCINATION BEFORE TRAVELLING-
The DTP and Hepatitis A are the two most important vaccines that are recommended while visiting the country. It is wise to take a vaccine against Hepatitis B and Rabies too if you plan to stay for months. The north of Sri Lanka being a malaria-prone area, it is advisable to carry DEET if you plan to visit that part.