7 Days in Sri Lanka

A perfect mixture of culture, landscapes, and adventure

Although we were able to drive 1,000km across the country in 7 days, I would highly recommend spending 2 weeks to explore the country if you have more time (unfortunately we did not). 

We arrived at the airport late in the evening so we decided to spend the night in Negombo (30 minutes north of the Colombo airport), as we had to pick up our rental jeep there the next morning. 

Day 1 - Colombo/Galle

After picking up our rental in the morning, we started driving south towards the coastal region of Galle. The drive took about 3.5 hours and upon arrival we decided to spend the afternoon checking out the Galle Fort.

Closeby attractions

  • Delawella Beach (the famous tree swing)  
  • Unawatuna Beach - tend to be a bit crowded but beautiful bay nonetheless
  • Galle Fort (pictured above)
  • Sea Turtle sanctuary (next door to our villa) - for a donation you could release baby sea turtles back to the ocean

Accommodation: Skye House booked via Eden Villas (who also helped us plan this trip! - http://evinsl.com/villa/)

Day 2 - Galle 

We spent the day having some down time at our villa and enjoying our private beach.

Accommodation: Skye House booked via Eden Villas

Day 3 - Galle/Tangalle

Drove along the southern coast from Galle to Tangalle. The drive is about 2 hours without traffic. 

Attractions:

  • Koggala (the famous fisherman in the ocean)
  • Mirissa Beach/ Parrot Island - must see! (pictured above)
  • Welligama 
  • Dickwella 

Accommodation: Walatta House booked via Eden Villas

Day 4 - Tangalle

Relaxed at our villa / beach. The host at our villa has a German Shepard named Welly - she followed us everywhere we went (which we loved!) and was extremely well-behaved. We spent the day down at the beach with our neighbour next door (who also had the cutest puppy named Baja) who was incredibly well-spirited and hospitable - he was one of the many locals we loved getting to know. Our villa was surrounded by coconut trees, and the staff at Walatta would climb up the trees and get fresh young coconut for us whenever we wanted which was just amazing!

Accommodation: Walatta House booked via Eden Villas

Only recommendation on our itinerary down south is to spend a couple more days (perhaps 1 more day at each end of the coast) so it's not as rushed (we felt just a tad rushed). 

Day 5 - Tangalle/Ella/Kandy

Early morning start to the day, making our way from Tangalle to Kandy (central Sri Lanka), stopping by Ella (which I recommend spending a couple of days in). On the way we encountered monkeys and an elephant (!) crossing the road. The drive took more than 8 hours including our stops in Ella and the unexpected elephant crossing (!) 

Attractions:

  • Nine Arches Bridge - must see (pictured above)
  • Adam's Peak - we drove by and the lush mountains looked more amazing than any pictures I ever saw - wished we had time to do a hike in the area 
  • Tea Plantations

Accommodation: Theva Residency (http://www.theva.lk) - we had dinner and the following breakfast at Theva, and the food was incredibly unique and amazing! (Trust me - I never write about food) The only other place that was comparable that I've experienced would be the safari lodge we stayed at in South Africa. 

Day 6 - Kandy/Sigiriya/Kandy

Spent the morning appreciating the view of Kandy from our hotel, and then made our way to Sigiriya (3-hour drive) to see the rock fortress (where the king lived, 200 meters above ground on top of this massive rock!)


Day 7 - Kandy/Negombo

Left Kandy for Negombo to return our rental. On the way we stopped at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Although amazing to see, it felt a lot more of a tourist trap than I expected. If you ever visit, you'll know what I mean. Spent the rest of our day on the long beaches of Negombo prior to our departing flight.

Safaris (Sri Lanka has the highest density of leopards than anywhere else in the world):

We didn't have time for safaris, although it was something I was interested in so I did some research and asked other travellers that have experienced safaris in Sri Lanka. Repeatedly I was recommended Uda Walawe. 

General Tips:

  • Order your visa online prior to your trip, it's quick and cheap ($35USD, we had instant approval - although it may take a few days according to the visa website)
  • Exchange money when you arrive - rates are typically better
  • Check the weather for the season you wish to travel in. Although Sri Lanka generally has pleasant tropical weather, it can be unpredictable and there are monsoon seasons (we went during monsoon season and only had a half day of rain)

Any questions - let me know in the comments!

Published: June 1, 2017

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Jenny Feng

Calgary

Globe Trotter / Adrenaline Junkie / Addicted to House Music