It’s a bit out of Sigiriya town (about 10 km) but absolutely worth the tuk-tuk fare (the family can organise you transport anyway). It’s a great spot to relax, party and surf. In our article, the best places to visit in Trincomalee, we listed this as one of our top things to do. The waves here are perfect and it's incredibly cheap. Negombo 3. So if you want you could bring some wine or spirits into the country to save on cash. In that sense, Sri Lanka is also a year-round monsoon destination! Before backpacking Sri Lanka, it’s recommended that you have protection for Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid & Hepatitis A. If you’re feeling the temple/history burnout, you can leave Anuradhapura off your itinerary in Sri Lanka. We got to see lots of animals on our drive to Kataragama. Negombo Day 1-3. The animal tourism in Sri Lanka has a less than sterling reputation. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t places to dance and have fun. We would have stayed longer, but our visa run out! Set in the central, dry, and hot lowlands region, Sigiriya sits inside the Cultural Triangle area (which I’ll cover more in the ‘3-Week Sri Lanka Itinerary’). If you go western food, then naturally it’s going to be a bit more expensive. They also have their own beer, which is cheap: it’s called Lion Beer. So spotting them in the wild is where I like seeing them best. Headtorch: Every backpacker should have a head torch! There are also direct buses from both cities which would be your better option. I wish you a lot of fun in Sri Lanka! The second highlight of day 2 is a Safari at Minneriya National Park near the city of Habaran. And to ride the trains, take a big slow breath, and, most of all, to appreciate the sky. The hill country. It’s beautiful, cooler and it’s got some fabulous sites. Entrance Fees: (Average $25/person) Here’s where Sri Lanka will get you. It’s basically a bread type dish, and its typically served with some form of vegetable or meat. Sri Lanka is pretty chill, and out of the three major backpacking destinations of the Indian subcontinent (Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka), I’ve found Sri Lankans (the Sinhala people specifically—maybe it’s the Buddhism) to be the most scrupulous and sincere. Nuwara Eliya is cool (literally, it’s quite cold!) Or to get a driving licence if you’re going to drive a tuk tuk. The East coast of Sri Lanka is home to the beautiful beaches of Trincomalee. I’ve got a breakdown of our costs at the end where I split it into Euro and Sterling too. Some cocktails come in at $1.75 a drink, and they’re strong! The train actually alights closer to the centre of town where you almost definitely won’t want to stay considering all those beautiful Sri Lankan beaches hanging around. Unawatuna is a lot more low-key than Hikkaduwa, however. You can get your visa very easily via an online process as its an electronic visa. It’s one of those types of train journeys where you get to do this: You don’t have to actually board the train at Kandy. It’s 1000 times more of an authentic experience, 1000 times less morally reprehensible, and 100,000 times better than sitting in a jeep staring slackjawed at wild animals that really just wish you’d piss off…. Jaffna is the most northern point in Sri Lanka and, whilst we haven’t been there ourselves, we have heard decent reports. Kandy is about the right distance to Ella (roughly an 8-hour train ride plus the margin-of-error for the Asia effect), and there are a few extra spots you can stop along the way in Sri Lanka’s hill country if you can smush it all into your travel itinerary route. Some people love this hostel, others hate it, but ultimately, there’s no place that signifies Arugam Bay more. Microfibre Towel: I literally never hit the road without a microfibre towel—I adore these things. The YoYo Airport Hostel (which is closer to the airport than the beach) is more setup for one-night stayovers when flying in and out of Sri Lanka. The climbing season for both pilgrims and tourists runs from December to May, however, it's a much nicer climb … That said, I still love the public transport in Sri Lanka! I recommend checking out the detailed 3 week Sri Lanka itinerary post we wrote. Or, if you’re wanting to check out the East coast, the best weather is from May to September. Breakfast usually consists of “hoppers”, which is a pancake-type food, and sometimes comes with egg in the middle, wood apple or even coconut. Including Little Adams Peak, Ella Rock and an assortment of waterfalls. I wouldn’t suggest staying in Ella town itself. It also doesn’t charge you to send money, receive money, or use your card in stores. Right, so I’ve mentioned a lot of buses and trains, and the truth is that they’re simply the cheapest way of getting around Sri Lanka. It’s a private top floor villa outside of Kandy surrounded by lush greens and splatterings of colonial architectural charm. Plus, how many people get to say they’ve driven their own tuk tuk around an entire country? This Sri Lankan itinerary in this article is our recommendation for what places to see. Whether you love that or not is ultimately up to you. Sri Lanka isn’t the type of place that you only visit for 4 days or so because it’s not attached to the mainland. However, the boat service from India has now been suspended indefinitely. Millennium Elephant Foundation is ethical elephant tourism, and they’re so damn upstanding and squeaky clean that even the boss-man Mr Hatton is willing to get behind them. Our favourite travel backpack is the Aer Travel Pack 2. From rainforests to tropical beaches, Buddhist and Hindu temples, breath-taking tea plantations, and bountiful wildlife, Sri Lanka travel promises a world of beauty and adventure. Bodyboarding is possible in most seaside destinations. You’re driving a goddamn tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka! Smack-bang right in the middle of the emerald sea of the hill country, Ella is surrounded by gorgeous tea plantations, stunning valley panoramas, and plenty of aimless wandering opportunities. Even the TGI Friday’s in Sri Lanka is ridiculously cheap. As the type 1 diabetic half of Dream Big, Travel Far, I'm passionate about encouraging fellow type 1's to travel the world and not let their diabetes hold them back. You’re a real traveller: stuff the safari up the industry’s left nostril. 2-Week Sri Lanka Itinerary: The South In-Season, 3-Week Sri Lanka Itinerary: Culture Hotspots and Backpacker Sticky Places, Sri Lanka Itinerary – Travel Guide Tips and Pointers. That’s why it’s important to be clued in on the ins-and-outs of executing a Sri Lanka itinerary seamlessly. In our opinion, we just wasted a lot of time going there. Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life – Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. We've used the same Osprey bag ever since we started backpacking 3 years ago, and it's in perfect condition still. You’ve also got free breakfast here saving you the trek into town (although walking the train tracks into town is always a blast). One massive one took up the road and we weren’t too sure if we could get by him! Note: Where possible I've also included a link through to each product on Amazon. Ask locals if it’s okay to drone. We also discovered a few places that probably aren’t worth stopping at and have put everything here together into, what we believe to be, the ultimate Sri Lanka travel guide. There’s no good swell in Trincomalee if you’re chasing the ultimate surfing holiday in Sri Lanka, however, everything else is on point! Colombo (2 nights) 2. Because not getting good travel insurance coverage before taking off would just be plain silly. Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The hardest part of your trip will be deciding which ones you most want to do and trying to cram as many things into your schedule. That’s an extra $20 of wiggle room a day on top of the necessities (sleeping, eating, smoking) for activities, partying, and whatever else. And wear a bloody helmet—dem buses will smoke ya! We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! There are other climbs available as well, and you can partake in a safari in the area too. It costs $35 for all countries, apart from the SAARC countries for which it costs $20. You can hike World’s End from here and head to Adam’s peak (the highest peak in Sri Lanka), depending on the season. But any way you swing it,  this is undeniably a backpacker haven—anywhere the Israelis congregate en masse usually is. There are three main phone companies in Sri Lanka: Dialog, Airtel and Mobitel. Though not as big or as difficult to travel as its bigger brothers further up the subcontinent, you’re still looking at slow transit times and unpredictable occurrences of deeply-structured chaos. Cloud forests rolling through plantations and emerald hills, the chaotic madness of any and all bus rides, dawn on sunkissed beaches watching lone fishermen drag their laden nets in. Honestly, I scoped a few attractions out, and it really is the kind of city where you’re better off just wandering and seeing what secrets you find. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide any information or insight. See all there is to see, but also, remember to stop and smell the kottu. Colombo> Wilpattu> Anuradhapura> Jaffna> Trincomalee> Sigiriya> Kandy> Nuwara Eliya> Ella> Arugam Bay> Mirissa> Unawatuna> Colombo. Where to Stay in Jaffna: Sky Park View Guesthouse. Ella Rock is also super close and easy to access. So, if you do visit then, be sure to take a trip to Yala National Park as it’s perfect that time of year. …Or if you’re a surfer. Many historical monuments in the cultural triangle are coming under best places to visit in Sri Lanka in 10 days. Right, so that may look way too complicated, but it’s not so bad. In Colombo, you can make use of Uber (which is what we did all the time), and you can take the Uber to any destination in the country. All I can say is that I did it (well, hitched a ride with some peeps who did it), it was hella fun, I made some blessed life-long friends along the way (love you guys to the moon), and it’s a top recommendation for travelling around Sri Lanka without a shadow of a doubt. If it’s your first time in Sri Lanka surfing, then it’s a good place to go for beginner waves and everything else that comes with a backpacker beach town. There is a tranquil majesty to Sri Lanka’s hill country (outside of Ella town) that will make even the most crushing wipeout a gentle ride to shore. Like, really damn good—I don’t get it either. For nighttime fires, unreal starscapes, and a complete digital detox, this is where to stay in Sri Lanka. That almost feels self-defeating. And here's the number one thing we discovered: it is incredibly unclear what the rules are! Check out the table below for some average temperatures in Sri Lanka. Data is super cheap and you can top it up by buying vouchers from supermarkets all across the country. If you happen to see a leopard too, congrats! Not only is this significantly colder, it‘s also likely to rain (which just so happens to make it the perfect climate for those gorgeous tea plantations.). Going from the bustling capital of Colombo, to the hill country of Nuwara Eliya and all around the gorgeous coastline destinations. Tangalle (2-3 nights) Udawalawe National Park (1 day) An elephant we saw on safari in Udawalawe National Park Arugam Bay is the surf mecca of Sri Lanka as well as the backpacking mecca. These are available all over the country, and the Bank Of Ceylon and People’s Bank do not charge for withdrawals. They don’t own any of the tuk tuks they rent, they belong to the tuk tuk drivers, so half of what you pay goes to the tuk tuk driver. Honestly, it’s a standard South Asia affair. You may want to consider a taxi if you’re not a fan of long stints on the bumpy bus. Was the first date divine? You’ll find long sandy beaches lined with deckchairs and drinking holes. It’s cleaner, a bit more refined, a bit more expensive, and also a bit more boring. Including, plenty of picturesque beaches and opportunities to go snorkelling. We covered a lot of ground in 1 month, but there is still much more to see. Finish Sri Lanka with a bang… ? So, if you’re planning on backpacking Sri Lanka soon and are bursting with questions, then sit back, relax and discover everything you need to know about planning your trip right here. I cannot comment on how safe Sri Lanka now is, but know plenty of people are still backpacking there. Your travel costs will mount up if you’re using taxis to get from place to place, or domestic flights. It’s in a sweet location in the fort—conveniently located but still in a private spot—with a very gracious host. It’s very cheap, around $1.50-$2 and it’s super filling. A decent head torch could save your life. While flying will likely be the most expensive part of your adventure, it's worth it to get there! Chilled music playing, cheap happy hour drink deals, great food and it’s right on the beach. (I’ve failed to mention it thus far, but get yourself a kottu—Sri Lanka’s answer to greasy hangover food.). We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider. The amenities are tight, and the dorms get the job done, but you’re more staying here for the vibe. Those are some blessed Sri Lanka travel itineraries. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered. Don’t forget to use 12Go Asia for all your train bookings when helping plan your Sri Lanka itinerary. The family holiday area of Sri Lanka’s south coast (and now essentially an overseas Russian territory). ), then you need to sick to one basic area. You’re also only 20 minutes from the Dutch fort in Galle. Nuwara Eliya 12. A man who appreciates the simple things in life: free food from trash cans, nights out under the stars, and befriending street animals. The pesky alternating monsoon seasons make planning a trip to Sri Lanka a wee bit more complicated. This is, without a doubt, one of my favourite beach spots in Sri Lanka. this is a pretty good guide to Hiking World’s End, the boat service from India has now been suspended indefinitely, click here for a TukTuk Rental discount code, world’s hottest backpacking destinations, Click here to search for hotels and hostels on, All around Ella you can create your own “hiking” trails. Including visiting waterfalls, going boating and even playing golf. Drone from your hotel. You can book surf lessons in Weligama online here- the perfect spot for beginner waves! I can’t necessarily blame them. Once you get to Ella town itself and feel how touristy and packed it is, you’ll be glad you booked this peaceful place outta town in the mountains. The Ultimate Itinerary for Solo Backpackers. Each of which you’ll find loads of in Sri Lanka. Still the hill country 3. It’s a great “holiday” destination in Sri Lanka. Mihintale peak is supposedly where Buddha flew over from India and landed in Sri Lanka, thus bringing the religion to the country. Get your house in order and be an adult before you go be Peter Pan. Galle is an oddball. Seeing elephants in the wild is an amazing experience and a highlight of any Sri Lanka itinerary. It is the perfect spot, however, to round off your southern Sri Lanka tour. It gives you an in-depth overview of how to make the most of your time in the country in 21 days. The country is filled with bus routes, including both local public transport and tourist options. This Divided Island is an incredibly popular book that has been nominated for, and win, some very highly praised awards. If you've only got two weeks in Sri Lanka, then it’s best to focus on only one or two regions of the country, rather than trying to cover it all. Sri Lanka Itinerary Ideas. Negombo is a whole lot more chill, the beaches are nicer, and it’s closer to the airport. A cute little Sri Lankan bed and breakfast with a darling outlook of—yup, you guessed it—rice fields! Whenever you visit a new country, it's always great to have a book or two with you that you plan to work through during your time there. As I said, it’s better to stay outside of Ella, and this is a sweet spot. Bradley and I decided to do this because it would allow us the freedom to create our own route, not have to worry about trains or buses, go off the beaten track and get to interact with the locals. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Read our full review of the GRAYL GEOPRESS! You could also consider renting a bike in Sri Lanka. Galle Fort—so pretty yet so strange. Vegans and vegetarians will be accommodated well in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Itinerary Backpacking Itinerary #1 (2-3 Weeks): The Maha Monsoon and the South Coast 1. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single suggested itinerary for Sri Lanka that didn’t include the majestic wonder of Sigiriya: the ancient rock fortress. It’s not so much a matter of the park-to-park context as it is the wildlife tourism in Sri Lanka as a whole. There are stops before and after, and you can even board the train at Colombo. Yet, still, I like Blandy. Don’t forget to use 12Go ASia for all your transport needs in Sri Lanka, including buses and train travel! Mmm, yum. It’s a luxury glamping experience inside Yala National Park proper. Vor allem, dann wenn ihr euch von den Touristenstränden fernhaltet. Meaning I live my life working and travelling all over the world and am here to help you achieve your dreams as well in any way I can. The views from up there are brilliant, as is the historical significance of the place. The historical sites in Sri Lanka are dope, no doubt, but every traveller I met at the beach or in Ella expressed regret over not having gotten there sooner. And yes, you should be wearing it regardless of your colour or skin type. Sri Lanka has only recently come out of a civil war that lasted from 1983 till 2009, The 26-year civil war was fought between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers. You might take a surfboard to the face or you might take it to the groin, but either way, it gonna hurt! Organising a tour once your there is always easy; there’s always a bare minimum of 36 touts lurking in the bushes at any given time. You’re getting the best of both worlds here: it’s far enough from Ella to feel like you’re deep in the jungles, but it’s still just a short walk to town! And it’s time for the beach! ? My initial route backpacking around Sri Lanka was similar to the above-listed 3-week itinerary and weighed in somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks in execution. It’s only if you randomly get stopped will they know if you have a ticket or not. Worlds End is located in Hortons National Park and it's the “end of the world” because it’s a massive viewpoint overlooking the park. Locals near waterfalls were also more than happy for us to drone, we took photos with them and showed them how it worked. You’ll also probably catch a glimpse of the famous stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka here! Negombo is a fine alternative to staying in Colombo’s gridlocked mayhem. All the same though, it’s a pretty damn unique accommodation. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. May want to see baby elephants then you need to take any money off your Southern Lanka! Can not comment on how safe Sri Lanka itinerary post we wrote the of! 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