travel blog

Our 3 week Sri Lanka route

Sri Lanka – pearl in the Indian Ocean. Not only did this tropical island impress us with its many white beaches but also with high hills, green tea plantations, delicious (vegetarian) food, kind locals, surfing opportunities and its gentle giants – the elephants.

The following 3 week route might not give you the most perfect travel itinerary, but it worked out just fine for us and gave us the feeling of experiencing as much of Sri Lanka’s beauty as possible without rushing too much.

 

Map of Sri Lanka

Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s climate is rather complicated due to the fact that there are two different monsoons. However, this also means that there is usually good weather somewhere on the island.

From December to March the west and south coasts are best to visit; from April to September you should rather travel the east coast.

December to March: west and south coast

April to September: east coast

We visited Sri Lanka in February and March so our travel route concentrates on the west and south coast and hill country.

How to get around in Sri Lanka

Train rides in Sri Lanka are lots of fun and super cheap. You’ll find the train schedule at every train station. Most of our stops are approachable by train. Some had to be reached by Tuk Tuk or bus. More infos about the ‚how to get to …‘ is stated in each chapter.

Sri Lanka Visa

You need a visa to enter the country which you can get online ( http://www.eta.gov.lk ). Arranging the visa is easy, just make sure your passport is valid for another 6 months. The 30-day visa will cost you around $30 and can only be paid by credit card.

 

Sri Lanka 3 week travel route

This is our travel route. The prices for the accommodations are categorized as shown here:

€      –  less than 40 € per night

€€    –  40 – 100 € per night

€€€  –  more than 100 € per night

We got a 15 € discount at Booking.com for you! Just book via this link 🙂

Day 1-5 HIKKADUWA (4 nights)

We flew into Colombo Airport and took a taxi from the airport to the main train station where we got on a train to Hikkaduwa, our first stop. Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka located in the Southern Province, about 100 km (60 mi) south of Colombo. Hikkaduwa’s beach and night life make it a popular tourist destination and it is a popular surfing spot.

What we did:

  • We stayed in Hikkaduwa for 4 nights because we were visiting our friend who used to live here. All we did was relax by the beautiful pool or beach, eat, sleep, went to see the giant sea turtles and eat again

Where we stayed:

  • Dreamtime Sri Lanka – €€

Our favorite place to stay! Awesome pool, delicious food, breakfast included, amazing staff, highly recommended.

Where we ate:

  • Lunch: Salty Swamis
  • Dinner: Book Worm

Beach - Hikkaduwa

Accommodation - Dreamtime

Lunch - Salty Swamis

Locals at the market

Locals at the market

Accommodation - Dreamtime

Beautiful Ash

Coffee - Salty Swamis

Lunch - Salty Swamis

Accommodation - Dreamtime

Locals at the market

Surfer - Hikkaduwa

 

Day 5-9 UNAWATUNA (4 nights)

We took the train from Hikkaduwa to Unawatuna. Unawatuna is famous for its nice beach and corals. However, we would say that 2 or 3 nights would have been enough because of the many tourists. It’s still a good place to stay to visit Talpe and Koggala Beach.

What we did:

  • Visit Main Beach & jungle Beach in Unawatuna
  • Visit Galle Fort
  • Rent motorbike to get to Talpe & Koggala Beach
  • Talpe / Wijaya area: palm tree swing

Other things to do:

  • Release baby turtles from hatchery in Habaraduwa

Where we stayed:

  • Green Villa Unawatuna – €€

We thought the place was a little too expensive for what it offered.

Where we ate:

  • Mati Gerada: the best locals curries served in a very simple hut for little money, went here every night cause we loved it so much!

Palm tree swing - Wijaya

Wijaya Beach

Galle Fort

Palm tree swing - Wijaya

Wijaya Beach

Wijaya Beach

Galle Fort

Wijaya Beach

Galle Fort

Wijaya Beach

Galle Fort

 

Day 9-12 MADIHA (3 nights)

We took the train from Unawatuna to Madiha. The Madiha area has some nice beaches, less tourists and is good for surfing.

What we did:

  • day trip to Mirissa: Beach, maybe dolphin & whale watching, Parrot Rock, coconut tree hill

Where we stayed:

  • Malee Villa – €€

Clean rooms, tiny private beach

Where we ate:

  • The Doctor’s House

Other things to do:

  • learn how to surf at Infinity Surfcamp

Leo is a friend of us and the place is lit! (www.infinity-surfcamps.com)

Beach - Madiha

Train Ride

Drinks - The Doctor's House

The Doctor's House

Puppy - The Doctor's House

Parrot Rock - Mirissa

The Doctor's House

 

Day 12-13 TANGALLE / RANNA (1 night)

We took a Tuk Tuk from Madiha to Ranna, close to Tangalle. Our accommodations was located on an awesome, wide and empty beach ‚at the end of the world’ which made it great! Big waves.

What we did:

  • Enjoy the beach
  • watch the sunset

Where we stayed:

  • Blue Ocean Resort – €

Simple room but stunning location

Where we ate:

  • Blue Ocean Resort (as there are no restaurants around)

Ranna Beach

Fishermen - Ranna Beach

Ranna Beach

Ranna Beach

Ranna Beach

Ranna Beach

Ranna Beach

 

Day 13-14 UDAWALAWE (1 night)

We visited Udawalawe to go to Udawalawe National Park with its many elephants. A Tuk Tuk took us from our accommodation to Ranna bus station. We then got on a bus to Udawalawe (you have to change busses in between but the bus driver can tell you where and when 🙂 )

What we did:

  • Go on the early Safari at Udawalawe National Park. If you stay at Serene Home Stay ask the host to organize it for you 🙂

Where we stayed:

  • Serene Home Stay – €

The most friendly hosts ever! Clean, small room with hot water, fan and comfy bed

Where we ate:

  • Ask for dinner at Serene Home Stay (when you check in), it’s great and the owners are lovely!

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

 

Day 14-16 ELLA (2 nights)

We took a bus from Udawalawe to Ella. Ella is a small town situated at an elevation of 1041 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations.

What we did:

  • Nine Arch bridge
  • Little Adams Peak
  • Ravana Waterfall
  • Ride the train

Other things to do:

  • Adams Peak
  • Ella Rock
  • Lipton’s Seat
  • Cooking class at Matey Hut

Where we stayed:

  • Hotel Casa Ella

Very, very simple but the best view

Where we ate:

  • Matey Hut – Loved the food so much that we went there every night. Try to get there pretty early as the don’t have much space and you might have to wait in line otherwise.

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Sunrise - Ella

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Accommodation - Ella

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Train Ride

Sunrise - Little Adam's Peak

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Monkey Family

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Little Adam's Peak

Sunrise - Little Adam's Peak

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

Accommodation - Ella

Ravana Waterfall - Ella

Nine Arch Bridge - Ella

 

Day 16-18 NUWARA ELIYA (2 nights)

The train ride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya is known as the most scenic train ride on the island. Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by tea plantations and is very different from the rest of Sri Lanka as its climate is rather cold and wet . We didn’t like it too much so we would skip it next time. Tuk Tuks are somehow more expensive here so taking the bus to visit the tea plantations is a great alternative.

What we did:

  • Tea plantations (Bluefield factory & tea gardens)
  • Devon Waterfall

Other things to do:

  • Hike up to World‘s End in Horton Plains National Park
  • Ramboda Falls
  • St. Claire’s Waterfall
  • Lover’s Leap Waterfall

Where we stayed:

  • we would not recommend our accommodation so we don’t mention it here 🙂

Where we ate:

  • We just got some street food (Kottu) as we couldn’t find a restaurant

Devon Waterfall - Nuwara Eliya

Tea Plantation

Sunset - Nuwara Eliya

Train Ride

Tea Plantation

Tea Plantation

Devon Waterfall - Nuwara Eliya

 

Day 18-21 HIKKADUWA (3 nights)

We took the train from Nuwara Eliya back to Hikkaduwa to spent some more time with our friend by the beach before flying back home out of Colombo.

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