In exactly three weeks today I will be heading to Sri Lanka for Christmas and New Year and I CANNOT WAIT. I’ve read quite a few blogs and spoken to friends about devising a logical route around the island, taking into consideration the complicated weather seasons in Sri Lanka as well as only having two weeks to explore the country. Here’s our current two week itinerary (I stress current as it may change), if you have any suggestions of a better way around do let me know.
Unfortunately we are missing a quite a few things out, however we just don’t have the time! We’re also sticking to the West side of the island due to the weather.
Day 1 – 1 Day + Night
Despite me having to arrive a night early due to Air Asia changing my flights, we will be starting our 2-week Sri Lankan adventure in the capital, Colombo. We decided this would be the best idea as we can spend a full day recuperating and explore a bit of the city, possibly do a bit of shopping and relax in the infinity pool at Cinnamon Red. The next morning we will head off early to Kandy.
Day 2 – 1 Day + Night
We plan to catch the Expo Rail to Kandy early the next day so that we have a full day to explore our first taste of the Hill Country. I think we’ll find a cheap hostel or guesthouse for the night here, and go explore some cultural sights such as the Temple of The Tooth.
Day 3 & 4 – 2 Nights
We’ve had a bit of trouble organising this leg of the journey so far. As we can’t prebook government trains (you can only do this 30 days prior and they tend to sell out) and we also don’t want to take a private train again as I’ve heard we’ll miss the views, we’ve found ourselves stuck on transport choices. After reading many Tripadvisor threads (seriously) we’ve found we may have to board the train unreserved at a train station before Kandy. Pray we get on and get a seat!
We will be spending Xmas eve and Xmas day in Ella where we plan to climb Ella Rock on Christmas day – this is about a 4 hour trek which should be a nice way to spend Christmas! We thought it would be best to pre-book accommodation as it’s such a busy period, so we will be staying at Hotel OnRock for two nights.
Day 5 – 2 Days, 1 Night
From Ella, we will make our way to the Udawalawe Safari Park. I think we may arrive here in the afternoon so will take it easy in a Guesthouse and get up early for the morning safari the next day. I decided on Udawalawe as it’s more en-route and less busy than the more popular Yala National Park – depends which route you take I guess! After the safari we’ll make our way to Mirissa.
Day 6 & 7 – 2 days + 2 nights
I’ve heard great things about Mirissa, and I’m so excited to hit the south coast (I’m such a beach person) so after spending the first 5 days in the Hill country this will be a welcomed change. Again we’re going to wing accommodation here and stay in a cheap guesthouse. We plan to do a whale watching tour, I’ve heard Raja and The Whales is good value for money and you’re 95% guaranteed to see whales and dolphins! If you know of any other tour companies do let me know in the comments below.
Day 8, 9 & 10 – 3 nights
After Mirissa we’ll travel up the coast to Hikkaduwa to welcome in the New Years. I wanted to be here for NYE as I’d heard this is probably the liveliest place to be in Sri Lanka, with parties on different nights of the week at different bars. I really wasn’t up for a full-moon party vibe that you get in Thailand, however Hikkaduwa sounds like a good alternative – I’ll be happy if I can drown myself in Lion beer and Arrack for a few nights. Accommodation booked up fast here, and we wanted to be near the parties so booked into Sunbeach hotel for 3 nights.
Day 11 & 12 – 2 nights
As the towns on the south coast are quite close together, we will go back on ourselves down the coast (about 20 mins I hear) to spend a couple of nights in Unawatuna. Accommodation booked up fast here too and we wanted to try and mingle with some like minded travellers so booked into the Pink Elephant guesthouse not far from the beach. The reviews says this has a backpacker vibe which is ideal as we want to mix it up a bit.
We may have an extra day here if we don’t decide to stay in Galle.
Day 13 – 1 day, maybe 1 night
We’re still unsure about this, we may take a day trip to the coastal town of Galle or we may stay the night as well. This town looks beautiful with lots of dutch influence however I’ve heard mixed reviews about spending the night.
Day 14 – 1 day, 1 night
We had originally planned to end our Sri Lankan adventure in Negombo due to it’s proximity to the airport and having spent a day in Colombo already, but we were struggling to find a nice place to stay for a reasonable price. There also didn’t seem to be much going on in Negombo and we wanted to end our trip on a high. We’ve booked a night in at the Kingsbury Hotel on the coast which is quite central I think. They also have a sweet rooftop bar where we can sip on a few pina coladas and watch the sun go down.
We’ll spend our last day around the pool/shopping for souvenirs before heading to stay goodbye for another 7 weeks apart!
So that’s our loose itinerary for 2 weeks in Sri Lanka, please let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below!