Home > Sri Lanka holidays > Self Guided 10 Days Sri Lanka Tour Package

Self Guided 10 Days Sri Lanka Tour Package

Self Guided 10 Days Sri Lanka Tour Package

Planning a tour in a foreign country is a huge task! There are many ways to book accommodation, transportation, sightseeing tours and activities, It is very tricky to figure out how to get the best deal, where to get it and the easiest way to get it. In this Sri Lanka 10 days tour itinerary, we describe you how to organize the cheapest 10 days Sri Lanka tour package.

This blog post is mainly about a Sri Lanka 10 days tour itinerary and intended providing the comprehensive step by step instructions to plan a Self Guided 10 Days Sri Lanka Tour within 350 USD. This blog post is very useful for the budget-minded travellers, who wish to have a Sri Lanka tour package in the future. Believe it or not this self-guided 10 days Sri Lanka tour cost only 350 USD. There are several conditions to be met if one needs to maintain the budget during this Sri Lanka 10 days tour. This 10 days Sri Lanka tour package is tried and true, and this blog explains how to do it from the beginning to the end. If you exactly follow Sri Lanka 10 days tour as we publish here, it will not be difficult to finish this 10 days Sri Lanka tour within 350 USD. Every single step from day one to day 10 explained with details.

The budget of this Sri Lanka tour package can be further curtailed if the accommodation and several other expenses are shared by 2 persons and thereby rate can be reduced to about 250 USD per person. However, the indicated budget may go up and down in a certain period of the year, for instance, the accommodation cost might marginally increase in the month of December while accommodation rates reduced in the month of September.

If you need more information about how to plan this Sri Lanka tour package please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you need assistance to find affordable accommodation or transportation you are free to get in touch with us. Our email id is info@seerendipitytours.com.

self guided 10 days sri lanka tour
Surfing in Sri Lanka down south. Mirissa, Narigama, Weligama and Arugambe in the east coast are top-notch surfing spots in Sri Lanka.

What are the most costly parts of the tour?

Accommodation, Transportation and entrance fees are the major expense in this 10 days Sri Lanka tour package. Accommodation is the most expensive part of any Sri Lanka road trip, depending on the star category of the hotels the cost varies. But according to my experience, it is not necessary to book star class hotels in order to have an enjoyable and experience rich Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday. There is a large number of options such as dormitories, guest house, rest house, rent rooms etc providing nice, calm and clean accommodation facilities at a fraction of the money travellers pay at a hotel.

Hoe to find accommodations during the Sri Lanka tour package

Finding accommodation during the tour

In popular tourist areas, accommodation facilities are available in many varieties and varying prices. These accommodation facilities can be broadly divided into 3 categories luxury hotel, middle-class hotels and affordable accommodation facilities.  Try to book the accommodation your own as much as possible during the tour, if you can book the accommodation directly with the hotel you might be able to get a good rate. Especially with guest house type of affordable accommodation facilities. Unlike big hotels accommodation providers, guest house type of affordable accommodation providers is ready to negotiate and willing to give a discount to win their customers. So be prepared to bargain! do it directly with the accommodation facilitators. If you make the booking through the third parties the rates might increase between 10% to 30%.

In this Self Guided 10 days Sri Lanka tour package, we plan to book all accommodation on R/O (Room only) basis throughout the tour and all the meals such as Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be bought outside local restaurants, mainly due to the cost factor. Dining in a local restaurant helps you to save a lot of money, meals at tourist restaurants are expensive.

TUL TUK
A TUK TUK park in Negombo.

Transportation

It is the transport that mostly contributes to the Sri Lanka tour package after the hotels. Having a private vehicle is undoubtedly the most convenient and luxurious way to travel around the country but on the other hand, it demands a large sum of money. If you can afford to do it, that is the best way to travel in Sri Lanka during your Sri Lank tour. With a private vehicle and local driver, you can cover more ground at your own pace and save time for relaxations and sightseeing.

This self-guided 10 days Sri Lanka tour is a long journey and we recommend either public bus or trains as the transport. TUK TUK is another cheap form of transport but can be recommended only for short trips.  TUK TUK is very handy when there is no public transport available or when there is unnecessary waiting time before the bus to show up. Public buses are not available on certain routes due to the lack of passengers, In some cases, buses make only a few trips per day, TUK TUK is very handy in this kind of situation.

Don’t be caught in TUK TUK scam. The standard rate for TUK TUK is 40 LKR per Kilometer. But some TUK TUK drivers might charge you more than he ought to. Using metered taxi is the best way to avoid over-paying for TUK TUK rides. Ask the driver to Zero the meter reading before commencing the journey same times don’t forget to ask the rate of the TUK TUK to be on the safe side.

Five tips to save money while booking activities in Sri Lanka

Below tips helps you to save money not only when you book activities but also when you book accommodation, transportation, and sightseeing tours as well.

  • In order to make sure you get the best deal from tour operators and individual service providers, book your activity once you arrived in Sri Lanka.
  • Don’t have haste while making the reservations for accommodation or activities, compare the prices between tour operators and activity organizers and find the best price.
  • If you feel that you are going over-budget with optional activities, try to approach small-scale tour operators or activity providers and ask for a discount.
  • There are different cancellation policies with different tour operators, but if you go for a cancellation 2 weeks before the activity date rarely you can escape without cancellation charges. Therefore book your activity if you are certain that you make it or make the booking on the spot.
  • If planning is not your thing let a local tour operator do the planning and ask them to make the full package with transport, Guiding, Accommodation, sightseeing etc.

Book Direct

In Sri Lanka, it is possible to book accommodation, activities and all other bits and peace of the tour your own. Travellers can book their own with accommodation and activity providers by visiting their office, through the internet or over the phone. Booking directly allows the travellers to cut the middleman and save money. Usually, the Middleman (online booking portal) increase total bill between 10% to 30%, which is the commission OTA.

Entrance tickets

The cost of entrance fees in Sri Lanka is high compared to most countries in the region. Cultural sites, historical temples, national parks, botanical gardens all are charging more than 10 USD per person. Therefore if you can omit those expensive sites one can save a lot of money. But on the other hand, the tour of Sri Lanka will not be complete without visiting those sites. Most of these expensive sites are maintained by the government and no discounts offered. Therefore whether you like or not you have to visit if you still wish to experience the rich, history, culture and, nature of Sri Lanka. Entrance tickets can be bought at the entrance of the site.

In this blog post, we are not going to discuss much the historical places of the island neither the cultural or natural attraction of the island. We have already published many blog posts covering tourist attraction in our previous blog posts. In this blog post, we are concentrating mainly how to curtail your budget in this 10 days Sri Lanka tour to 350 USD.

Almost all Sri Lanka tour packages follow more or less the same route. Starting from Katunayake airport just north of Colombo and then the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka in the north-central province, afterwards the travellers explore the mountains in the central province. And towards the end of the tour usually, guests explore the southern Sri Lanka and beaches in the west or east coast.

Buddha statues at Gangarama
Buddha statues at Gangarama temple Colombo

Backpack

There is a great amount of travelling in this 10 days self-guided Sri Lanka tour. Therefore, It is recommended to put all your stuff in a rucksack. With backpacking, it will be easy to move around and you can pack your self easily in buses and trains. Try to keep your rucksack as small as possible, so it is easy to carry and you can move here and there without much trouble. Try to pack only the necessary items into the rucksack such as cloth, medicine. All other stuff can be bought here and prices are also cheap.

Currency

Sri Lankan rupees is the local currency and most foreign currency types can be exchanged in all banks on the island. If you wish to change money in the bank, you need to fill a form and produce the passport. The entire process might take about 30 minutes. Please be kindly informed that certain foreign currencies are not accepted by Sri Lankan Banks.

Change money at the airport on arrival is the most convenient way to do it. It is quick and no paperwork, in fact, you get the best exchange rate. Having Sri Lanka currency is essential during this 10 days self-guided Sri Lanka tour. You have to make payment in Sri Lanka Rupees at eateries, buses, trains etc. Make sure you have the local currency all the time with you.

There is a large number of local and foreign banks in Sri Lanka and most of them have a well-developed network with branches everywhere. All banks provide the facility to withdraw money from the teller machine using Master and Visa card. If you do not wish to change money at the bank because it takes a lot of time, you can use the Visa or Master cards to withdraw money from the teller machine.

Kottu
Sri Lankan restaurant with an open kitchen in the city, here you can buy local food items such as kottu, rice & curry, hoppers…

Internet connection

We recommend using google maps and navigation in order to find the right directions, places, and cities during this self-guided Sri Lanka tour. Google navigation will be very useful since you travel your own. In order to surf the internet one can use the wifi connection that freely available at most hotels, guesthouses and rest houses. Usually, the internet facility is included in the room rates. If you have to collect some data using internet for the next day’s program, you are recommended to do it on the previous night, because normally wired line wifi connection is faster (most accommodation providers using it) than the wireless connection, in fact using the internet at the guest house cost nothing.

If you wish to surf the internet on the move best and cheapest option is to surf the internet through a Sri Lankan mobile connection. There is a large number of mobile service providers in the country and all of them provide the 4G  connection. One can purchase a mobile a sim card with data, calling time upon arrival at the airport arrival lounge.  At the airport, it is sold as a bundle (data, voice calling time, SIM), which cost around 1500 LKR. Do not book any service or facility through the internet, it could increase your budget.

You can also buy a 4G SIM (with a high-speed connection) in outside communication centres in the city at 150 LKR and you have to add goods as consume data. A sim card can be bought at any telecommunication shop around the country. The applicant of the sim card should produce a valid passport in order to prove the identity of the user. SIM card will be deactivated if it is not used for several weeks. Make sure the SIM card is destroyed at the time you leave the country and never give your sim card to anyone else.

If you can manage English, still you can make it without internet. You can speak to native people and ask for help, they will help you to find out where about the places you look for. The English literacy rate is fairly good among the Sri Lankans. Name of the places, name of the roads, and all the wayside hoarding, signboards and placards are written in 3 languages Sinhalese, Tamil and English.

Medication

In case you need to visit a doctor during the Sri Lanka tour ask a TUK TUK driver to take you to the hospital. The hospitals can be found in all cities. Apart from hospitals, dispensaries are also available in remote areas. Dispensaries are the places where doctors do private practising. Sri Lanka has well-developed health system and it is free of charge at the government hospitals.

Laundry

You might need the laundry facilities during the tour. The guests have 2 options. The first option is washing cloth your own in the room. This method cannot be recommended because you will not be able to get it done properly without the necessary equipment. 2nd option is getting it done by the hotel, which cost around 100 LKR average for a 1 kg of cloth. All accommodation facilitators provide the laundry facility.

Day 1

Today is the first day of your Sri Lank tour. Most foreign travellers lands in the Katunayake international airport near the beach resort of Negombo. Or maybe you enter the country through the Colombo harbour. Whatever it is, most travellers do not wish to take major sightseeing tours on the day 1 just after the flight, instead of like to have a rest. Therefore we start the tour with the first overnight stay in a guest house near the airport allowing you have some rest and leisure after a short drive from the airport.

One can take public buses or a TUK TUK to go to the rest house near the airport and it would cost only 500 LKR for the drive. One can use the public bus but it might take a long time. The reason for us to choosing Negombo for the first night is the availability of ample accommodation facilities here. Hotels, guest houses, rest house, dormitories are flooding here. You can find a nice, clean spot here without any trouble. For a single person, it would cost around 1500 LKR without any meals.

Negombo is well-organised tourist resort with plenty of options for accommodation, dining, recreation, sightseeing tours etc. Most tourists ended up near the Lewis road, which runs parallel to the beach, most accommodation providers have their institution along the Lewis road.

It is recommended to drink only mineral water during this self-guided 10 days Sri Lank tour. And you might have to buy mineral water for drinking because some guest houses do not include mineral water in the room charges. There are plenty of shops in the area selling mineral water and other grocery items. A 2-litre mineral water bottle cost around 100 LKR (price varies depending on the brand), and which is more than enough for a day. Check for the SLS mark (government standardization) when you purchase mineral water, thereby you can make sure it is well purified and safe to drink.

One can easily found a local restaurant here and can have breakfast, lunch, dinner or any other meal, there is a large number of eateries along the hotel road, providing all type of meals at an affordable rate. But we suppose to stick to local menus in order to keep the cost down not only in Negombo but also during the entire tour. In local restaurants, one can buy kottu, roti, hoppers, rice & curry, short eats, string hoppers, bread items, noodles, fish, meat, eggs, tea, coffee etc. All of them are prepared to the local taste buds and you may find the curries a little bit spicy (only the curries). Try to have as little curry as possible if you’re not familiar with spicy meals.

One portion of chicken Kotto cost 250 LKR and it is more than enough for an average person. A chicken kottu is made of flour, chicken, the vegetable, pinch of salt and some curry. The kottu is done spontaneously adding separate components if you do not wish to eat spicy, in Sri Lankan way, tell the waiter as you order it. If you do not wish to have a heavy meal such as Kottu you can go for crispy and tasty hoppers and egg hoppers, noodles, or rice and curry. Whatever you order it should be within our budget 250 LKR per person. Usually one can have a decent Breakfast, lunch or dinner by just paying 250 LKR.

Expenses at the end of Day 1

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                     1500 LKR

Transport charges for the TUK TUK to Negombo om airport                                                                     500 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                         100 LKR

Negombo beach
Fishing and tourism industry is the leading income generating sectors for the people in Negombo

Day 2

By day 2 you are a little bit familiar with Sri Lankan weather and full of energy after having a sound sleep. The breakfast cost again 250 LKR per person in an outside local restaurant. In order to complete our 10 days self-guided Sri Lanka tour within the budget, we suggest you have breakfast at a local restaurant. It helps you to save money and it will be a nice experience to eat and drink with the local community. In fact, eating local food in a foreign country is another way to learning the local life.

In local restaurants, there is a large variety of local food items for breakfast like bread, roti, string hoppers, hopers, chickpeas, milk rice, rice and curry, thosai, wade etc, most of these food items you may not have known if you are coming from a foreign country. A good breakfast with tea /coffee cost about 250 LKR in a local eatery. Price can marginally up or down depending on the city and what you order. But there cannot be a huge difference.

Independence hall Colombo
Independence hall Colombo

The journey from Negombo to Pettah and Anuradhapura

On day two we have to travel to Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka, from Negombo. The transit point of the journey is Pettah railway station where you take the express train heading to Anuradhapura. The train from Negombo to Colombo fort lasts about 1 hour. A large number of Colombo bound trains start the journey from Negombo railway station daily.

The journey from Colombo to Anuradhapura might take about 5 hours by train and it takes around 6 hours by bus. The train is the best way to travel a long journey like this because it will be uncomfortable to be seated such a long period of time in a bus, but in the train you can move and relax your muscles by having a walk, you can buy food when you are hungry or you can even have a nap more comfortably than in the bus. Usually, these long journey trains are crowded, therefore getting the train from the central railway station is recommended in order to make sure you have a seat. The train report to the station well in advance of the commencing time and therefore arriving the railway station well advance before starting the journey gives you a better chance of getting a seat.

Usually, these express trains have 2nd class and 3rd class compartments. The 2nd class compartment is less crowded than the 3rd class compartment. 2nd class compartments are more comfortable than the 3rd class compartment with luxurious and spacious seats. The reclining seats are more spacious than the seats of the 3rd class compartments. As far as rates are concerned 2nd class tickets are 2 times of the rate of the 3rd class tickets. Some of the trains even have the 1st class compartment with air-conditioning. Prior reservation of seats required for the 1st and 2nd class tickets.

The timetable for Anuradhapura bound trains from Colombo

05:45:00 A.C. – INTERCITY – Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 09:10:00 – daily (seats category 1,2,3 class) 06:35:00 YAL DEVI – LONG DISTANCE-Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 10:40:00-daily (seats category 2,3 class) 08:50:00 5452 – LONG DISTANCE-Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 14:14:00 daily (seats category 2,3 class) 11:50:00 UTTARA DEVI – A.C. – INTERCITY Arrival to Anuradhapura 15:29:00 daily (seats category 2,3 class) 13:45:00 RAJARATA RAJINI – EXPRESS TRAIN Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 18:46:00 daily (seats category 2,3 class) 15:55:00 INTERCITY EXPRESS – A.C. – INTERCITY Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 19:48:00 daily (seats category 1,2,3 class) 19:15:00 5067 – EXPRESS TRAIN Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 00:01:00 daily (seats category 1,2,3 class) 20:30:00 NIGHT MAIL TRAIN – NIGHT MAIL TRAIN Arrival to ANURADHAPURA 00:01:00 daily (seats category 2,3 class)

Price of the ticket from Colom bo to Anuradhapura

1st Class LKR 520.00 2nd Class LKR 290.00 3rd Class LKR 160.00

Travelling by bus

The journey from Pettah to Anuradhapura lasts about 6 hours. The buses leave the fort main bus station in a regular basis and a large number of busses are scheduled every day. The journey comes in 3 flavours regular buses, semi-luxury buses and luxury buses with air-conditioning. There is no point of travelling by so-called semi-luxury buses, they are similar to regular buses and on the rates side, they are higher.

Jetawanarama dagoba
Jetawanarama dagoba, one of the biggest Buddhist monuments of ancient Sri Lanka.

Price of the ticket from Colombo to Anuradhapura

Normal bus 252 Semi luxury bus 378 Luxury (with air-conditioning) 505

Finding accommodation in Anuradhapura

You can easily find affordable accommodation in Anuradhapura, guest house and rest house type of accommodation available in the city. There are only few star class tourist hotels in Anuradhapura, due to the fact that most tourist base in Habana, Sigiriya, or Dambulla when they visit sites in cultural triangle.

Anuradhapura is a popular pilgrimage site and it will not be difficult to find accommodation here, especially affordable accommodation. Even free accommodation can obtain in so-called “Vishrama shala”. But we allocated 1500 LKR from our budget for the overnight stay at Anuradhapura.

As usual, we spare 250 LKR for the lunch and 250 LKR for the dinner as well. For mineral water (2-litre bottle ) we allocate 1oo LKR. The railway station of Anuradhapura is located near the modern city. Take a walk from Anuradhapura railway station to Newtown, most accommodation providers are concentrated around Nuwara Wewa.

There will be not much time left to explore the city today and we plan the sightseeing tour for tomorrow.

Expenses at the end of Day 2

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                     1500 LKR

Transport charges for Negombo to Colombo and to Anuradhapura                                                         490 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                          100 LKR

Sri Lanka Rail Journey

Day 3

Today going to be an expensive day, mainly because of the entrance fees. As usual, we are heading to a local restaurant and have the breakfast. The meal cost is much cheaper in Anuradhapura than in Negombo. Anyway, we are allocating 250 LKR for each meal.  The local restaurants are also less crowded than in Negombo. So have leisurely local breakfast before heading to the historical city.

If you ready to walk about 4 hours you can explore the city by foot. In fact, that’s the best way to experience this archaeological zoo. It gives you the freedom to explore the monuments at your own pace, visit every piece of ancient monument in the city, interact with local people, have a look into wayside trees and plants, check on the birds occurring in the dry-zone.

You can hire a TUK TUK in order to explore the historical monuments if you find it is difficult to have about 4 hours of walk through the city. It will cost 700 LKR to 1500 LKR for the TUK TUK. The TUK TUK ride through the historical site and takes around 3 hours.

After exploring the ruins it is time to heading to the next base (Habarana) of our self-guided 10 days Sri Lank tour, which is 80 KM away from Anuradhapura. We stick to the cheapest option of transportation (public bus) in order to minimize our budget of the tour. Take the Trincomalee bound buses from Anuradhapura, route number 835 and get off at the Habarana intersection. All Trincomalee bound buses are stopping at Habaran and anyone can easily find the location. Have the google navigation ready it makes the life easier. You can also get the assistance from local commuters or driver and conductor in order to find the place.

Habarana is a laid -Back city in the north-central province of Sri Lanka. located in the centre of the Sri Lanka cultural triangle, therefore we are using Habarana as out next base of this self-guided 10 days Sri Lanka tour, as it makes easier to explore Sigiriya, Dambulla and Polonnaruwa from Habarana. Even Dambulla or Sigiriya can be used as the base of exploration for the next 2 days. It will cost 60 LKR to for the drive from Anuradhapura to Habarana on normal non-Ac buses, in fact only non-Ac buses available on this route.

Finding cheap accommodation in Habarana

One can find cheap accommodation without any trouble here. Just keep walking towards Kandy direction on the main road from Habarana junction. On either side of the road small guest houses, rest houses and home-stay based accommodation providers have set up small boards with phone numbers and email ids. The visitors are allowed to knock on the doors or can make a call and inquire about the availability of rooms and the rates. Rates can be negotiated with most of these accommodation facilitators, but to be on the safe side we allocate 1500 LKR for a guest house type accommodation at Habarana. There are plenty of eateries around Habarana town where visitors can have a local meal at an affordable rate.

Expenses at the end of Day 3

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                     1500 LKR

Transport charges for Anuradhapura to Habarana                                                                                          60 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                          100 LKR

Entrance fees for Anuradhapura                                                                                                                      3800 LKR

Day 4

Usually, the room charges of Rest house or Guest house includes the morning tea but usually, it does not include any meals. For Meals, separate payment should be made but the meal rates are higher than the rates of local restaurants. We plan the breakfast in an outside local restaurant in order to maintain our minimum budget (250 LKR), as usual.

After the breakfast will take a TUK TUK ride to the Sigiriya rock fortress, one of the most important and most visited historical sites in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. The drive from Habarana to Sigiriya fortress lasts about 30 minutes and it is 15 kilometres. Cost for the TUK TUK is 600 LKR. We recommend using TUK TUK from Habarana to Sigiriya rock fortress and back due to the scarcity of public buses on this route. In fact, one can reach Sigiriya rock fortress within 30 minutes using the short-cut instead of the regular main road. Ask the TUK TUK driver to use the short-cut so that you can curtail the distance and time spent on travelling. Once you reach the destination release the TUK TUK, don’t keep him waiting, it cost you a lot.

Entrance fees for Sigiriya is 30 USD per person. You might need to get a site guide in order to learn the Sigiriya rock fortress and its vibrant history in detail. These guides are speaking almost all languages in the world and very educated about the site. The guide fee is about 1000 LKR, it is advisable to fix the price with the guide before the upward march. But if you have guidebook there will be no requirement for a local guide.

It is strongly advised to climb the rock early in the morning or afternoon due to high temperature in the region. Don’t forget to take a bottle of water with you, you might be thirsty as you go up. After exploring the rock fortress, it is time to have a rest and lunch at a local restaurant and heading to the rest house in Habarana by TUK TUK.

Today we allocate another 250 LKR for the lunch and again another 250 LKR for the dinner. If you have spare time in the afternoon you can have a walk around Habarana lake and the village and enjoy the beautiful surrounding in the area. One can see a lot of green in the immediate surrounding of the city, there are big plots of unoccupied lands. Habaran lake and surrounding area are very suitable for Bird watching tour and here you can many species of birds.

Expenses at the end of Day 4

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                     1500 LKR

Transport charges from Habarana to Sigiriya and back                                                                              1200 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                          100 LKR

Entrance fees for Sigiriya                                                                                                                                   4560 LKR

Dambulla golden cave temple
One of the oldest cave temples in the world

Day 5

It is time to leave for Polonnaruwa. The distance from Habarana to Polonnaruwa is 45 KM and the journey takes around 1 hours. One can get a Polonnaruwa bound bus at the Habarana junction and it will cost 95 LKR. One can even travel by train from Habaran to Polonnaruwa and 2nd class ticket cost 90 LKR.

The central bus station of Polonnaruwa has located around 4 KM away from the historical site and therefore ask to be dropped off at the historical site. The entrance fee for the Polonnaruwa historical site and the museum is 25 USD per person. Entrance ticket can be bought only at the archaeological museum.

The historical city of Polonnaruwa is not as big as Anuradhapura and there is no difficulty of exploring the city by foot. The bicycle is another popular option to travel between monuments in the city. Afternoon return journey to Habana after exploring Polonnaruwa.

Expenses at the end of Day 5

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                     1500 LKR

Transport charges from Habarana to Anuradhapura and back                                                                   190 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                          100 LKR

Entrance fees for Polonnaruwa                                                                                                                         3800 LKR

Day 6

Today we are leaving Habaran and drive to Kandy in the central mountains of Sri Lanka. The distance from Habarana to Kandy is 100 km. We can get a Kandy bound bus at Habarana junction. The drive takes around 2 hours. For next 2 days, the base of our 10 days self-guided Sri Lanka tour is Kandy.

There are several interesting places to visit on the way to Kandy form Habarana but due to the time factor, we are not going to visit them this time. We have not included them in our previous self-guided Sri Lanka tours due to cost factor and time required for them.

Assuming that we arrive Kandy before noon, first, we need to find a place to stay. Later leave for a sightseeing tour of Kandy. The city tour includes places such as Royal botanical garden, Kandyan cultural show, Temple of the tooth relic. Most travellers wish to have some time to explore the busy shopping area too. All these places are located close to each other and do not take much time to travel in between those places. In fact, you can have a walk from one place to other except to Royal botanical garden.

Travelling within Kandy

It is better to hire a TUK TUK to go to the royal botanical garden because it is 5 km away from Kandy. Buses available to travel to the Botanical garden from Kandy but required about 30 minutes plus waiting time. By TUK TUK it does not take more than 10 minutes to get there. Don’t forget to hire the TUK TUK only for the drive from one place to the other. Once you reach the place you have to let it go and hire another TUK TUK for the return journey. Don’t keep the TUK TUK waiting it cost you a lot.

Accommodation in Kandy

It is easy to find any type of accommodation facility here. Luxurious accommodation, mid-range accommodation or cheap accommodation type such as the guest houses, you get all of them here. There is a large number of economical accommodation providers near the temple of the tooth relic, behind the lake near Mallwatte Vihara. Having accommodation near the tooth relic temple and lake makes the life easy and allows you to explore the city without travelling because the city and all major attractions are only walking distance away from you, it saves money and it saves time.

Tooth relic temple is the most important tourist attraction in the city. The best time to explore the temple of the tooth relic is at 05.30, 09.30 or 18.30 every day, due to the service ritual, each time the ritual lasts 1 hour. Learn more about thevava ritual.

Just before the ritual at tooth relic temple, one can witness the Kandyan cultural show and it is performed near the tooth relic temple.

Expenses at the end of Day 6

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                     1500 LKR

Transport charges from Habarana to Kandy                                                                                                   150 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                         100 LKR

Entrance fees Tooth relic temple                                                                                                                      1500 LKR

Entrance fees Botanical garden                                                                                                                         1500 LKR

Entrance fees Kandyan cultural show                                                                                                              1000 LKR

TUK TUK drive from Kandy to Peradeniya botanical garden and back                                                     700 LKR

Tea plantations in the mountains
Tea plantations in the mountains

Day 7

After having travelled in Sri Lanka during the past 6 days now you are familiar with Sri Lanka and its people. You have some experience how to deal with common people. Now you know what Sri Lankans eat and drinks. Today we are going to Nuwara Eliya which is the well known holiday destination in the mountains. After the breakfast, we are planning a train journey from Kandy to Nanu Oya, the nearest railway station to Nuwara Eliya. The journey by train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya considered being one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. There are several Nuwara Eliya bound trains daily from Kandy. Find the most convenient train for you by drop-in to the railway station in Kandy.

We advise you to travel in less crowded 2nd class compartments. It may demand you to pay some extra money but still well worth by considering the comfort you get. This journey takes around 4 hours and you are passing the breathtaking scenic mountains, waterfalls, tea plantations, many tunnels along the way.

Several trains ply from Kandy to Nanu Oya, the nearest railway station to Nuwara Eliya on daily basis and the ticket will cost 150 LKR per person on 2nd class. The distance from Nanuoya to Nuwara Eliya is 10 KM and for the TUK TUK it will cost around 500 LKR.

Train Timetable: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

KANDY 03:30:00  NANUOYA 09:02:00 DAILY MIXED TRAINS Available Classes: 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class  Train No: 1126

KANDY 08:42:00  NANUOYA 12:40:00 DAILY podi Menike EXPRESS TRAIN Available Classes: 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class  Train No: 1005

KANDY 11:03:00  NANUOYA 14:45:00 DAILY Udarata Menike EXPRESS TRAIN Available Classes: 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class Train No: 1015

scenic nuwara eliya
Well maintained beautiful flower gardens in Nuwara Eliya

Accommodation in Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya comes with many flavours with regards to accommodation, here you can find luxury accommodation to cheap guesthouses type of accommodation to stay. But generally, accommodation in Nuwara Eliya is expensive. Due to the high-demand, during the local school holidays (April, August and December) rates are doubled. Most accommodation facilitators are concentrated near the race course along the Badulla-Nuwara Eliya main road. Several other hotels and guest houses are located towards the northern end of the city near the Golf course.

You can just drop into the hotel or guest house and ask for the possibility of getting a room. You need to finalize the price before settling there. Sightseeing in Nuwara Eliya includes a visit to the Victoria garden, walk around Gregory lake and a walk in the city. If you wish to visit a tea plantation and a tea factory one can visit tea factory which is 10 minutes away from Nuwara Eliya, known as Pedro tea factory.

Expenses at the end of Day 7

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                    2500 LKR

Transport charges from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya                                                                                            150 LKR

Entrance fees at Victoria park                                                                                                                            600 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                         100 LKR

TUK TUK drive from Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya city                                                                                   500 LKR

Safari in Sri Lanka
Observing wild elephnats during the safari

Day 8

After the breakfast, drive to Tissamaharama in southern Sri Lanka from Nuwara Eliya. One can get Kataragama bound buses from Nuwara Eliya at the main Bus station of Nuwara Eliya. These buses are staring their journey from Kandy and go to Kataragama via Nuwara Eliya and Tissamaharama. Today, in this self-guided Sri Lank 10 days tour we plan the overnight stay at Tissamaharama.

Travellers need to get off at the Tissa lake, near the safari hotel, make sure the conductor and driver know the place you need to get down. And have the google navigation ready so that you also can monitor the movement.

Yala safari

One strange fact about Yala is the lack of accommodation near the wildlife reserve. Even though the Yala national park is the main tourist attraction in southern Sri Lanka accommodation facilities are not concentrated near Yala. Most of the hotels and other accommodation facilities to be found in Tissamaharama.  The distance from Tissamaharama to Yala national park is  36km and takes around 1 hours by a private vehicle. Usually, most Yala safari starts in Tissamaharama and ends at Tissamaharama, therefore no additional cost involved for travellers for the transfer between Tissamaharama and Yala national park.

The drive from Nuwara Eliya to Tissamharama takes around 4 hours and we plan the Yala safari in the afternoon. The best time to leave for Yala safari from Tissamaharama is 1400 hrs to 1500 hrs. Late afternoon is the best time to observe the wild animals here when the sun reduces its heat.

The travellers can get jeeps for the afternoon safari at Tissamaharama. The safari starts at Tissamaharama and the jeep driver drop the travellers again at the starting point after the safari. The cost for the jeep is 4000 LKR and entrance fee per person is 3500 LKR based on 2 persons entering park together (the rate differs due to the exchange rate and the number of pax. )

Sri Lankan leopard
Yala ranked among the best places to observe leopards in the world.

Finding accommodation in Yala

A large number of accommodation providers are concentrated in Tissamaharama. One can easily find accommodation suitable for one’s budget without any trouble. Here one can find luxurious accommodations, mid-range accommodation as well as cheap guest house type accommodations. The demand for accommodation rises in the month of December due to the large influx of foreign tourists.

Kataragama Temple/ Murugan Temple

Kataragama Temple or Murugan Temple is the most popular religious and historical site in southern Sri Lanka. The temple attracts thousands of devotees every day. Hop into a Katargama bound bus from Tissamharama, if you wish to explore this much happening temple. The temple is only a few kilometres away from Tissamaharama. No entrance fees at Kataragama temple.

Expenses at the end of Day 8

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                    1500 LKR

Transport charges from Nuwara Eliya to Tissamaharama                                                                          300 LKR

Entrance fees at Yala national park                                                                                                                 3500 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                         100 LKR

Cost for the Jeep (safari Yala)                                                                                                                           4000 LKR

self guided 10 days Sri Lanka Tour
Unawatuna beach, one of the best beaches for year-round beach holidays in Sri Lanka

Day 9

According to our 10 days Sri Lanka tour package, we are heading to Unawatuna beach today. Unawatuna is one of the most beautiful secluded beaches in Sri Lanka. The most tourist traffic heading to southern Sri Lanka reduces as it passes the west coast beach resorts along the way. Most numbers of beach holiday lovers (about 50%) heading to the south stops their journey at Kalutara and Bentota beach resort, about another 25% of tourist traffic heading to south stay in Hikkaduwa and Galle, the rest of the crowd choose hotels in Matara, Mirissa, Hambantota, Tangalle and other beaches in deep south.

west coast beaches of Sri Lanka
Palm-fringed beautiful beaches along the west coast of Sri Lanka

Unawatuna is a beach resort and good for sea bathing, surfing, diving, snorkelling and many many more activities to do here. We have planned only 1 night here because we have to restrict our tour to 10 days, but one can extend the stay if they wish to. One can reach Unawatuna in 4 hours from Tissamaharama by using public buses and it cost 230 LKR.

You need to take Galle or Colombo bound bus from Tissamaharama and get off at Unawatuna beach, ask the driver to stop at Unawatuna. One needs to take walk from the Galle-Kataragama main road, along a narrow road (welladevala road) to reach the resort area. There is a large number of mid-range and small accommodation providers here with different room rates, all are concentrated around Unawatuna bay area.  Speak to the receptionist of several places and find the best place for you, the customers are allowed to peep into the room before they book it. Not only in Unawatuna in all places the customers are allowed to check the room before deciding on it.

Colonial History of Sri Lanka
This magnificent fort is dating back to 15th century and one of the best-preserved forts in the region

Visiting Galle fortress

Galle Fort is one of the main tourist attraction in southern Sri Lanka, which is the only UNESCO world heritage site in Southern Sri Lanka. The fort is dating back to many centuries and majestically stands near the Galle harbour. A tour to southern Sri Lanka is not completed unless the Galle fortress is not included in the tour itinerary.

Expenses at the end of Day 9

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Room chargers                                                                                                                                                    1500 LKR

Transport charges from Tissamaharama to Unawatuna                                                                             230 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                         100 LKR

Transport charges from Unawatuna to Galle and back                                                                               100 LKR

Town hall colombo
Townhall, a landmark building located in the city of Colombo.

Day 10

Now we have come to the end of our 10 days self-guided Sri Lanka tour package, so far we spent 9 days in Sri Lanka exploring major tourist attractions in the island. Today is the last day of the tour and drive to Colombo from Galle. If the time permits, one can have a Colombo city tour by TUK TUK. We recommend getting the train from Galle to Colombo, which is more comfortable than the bus and faster too. One can get the train at Unawatuna railway station, which is near the resort area. The train journey takes around 3 hours and costs 100 LKR.

The journey from Colombo central bus station to Katunayake airport is just 30 minutes on a highway bus. High-way buses to the airport can be found at the central bus stand of Pettah. The distance from Colombo to the international airport is 30 km and the journey lasts around 20 minutes.

Expenses at the end of Day 10

Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)                                                                                                        750 LKR

Transport charges from Unawatuna Colombo                                                                                               100 LKR

Mineral water                                                                                                                                                         100 LKR

Transport charges from Colombo to Airport                                                                                                   110 LKR

The sum of all the payments registered in this self-guided 10 days Sri Lanka tour package it is amounting to 53200 LKR which is equivalent to 350 USD. 350 USD covers all the necessary expenses such as accommodation, entrance fee, Transportation, meals the tour.

The self-guided Sri Lanka tour package can be more interesting than the Sri Lanka package tour because you are not caged in a package, you have the freedom to do things on your way. This type of Sri Lanka tour package not only saves money for you but also gives you the freedom, opportunity to mingle with folks and live in the real Sri Lankan life. If a someone book similar type of 10 days Sri Lanka tour package for a single person with middle-class hotels it would cost around 2500 USD for sure, 2000 USD more than the cost of this self-guided 10 days Sri Lanka tour.

Anyway, there are pros and cons on both package Sri Lanka Tour and self-guided Sri Lanka tour. Even though you pay more for the package tour there are many benefits including peace of mind, because you do not need to be worried about tour arrangements since everything is done by the local tour operator. Organizing the tour is the most difficult and time-consuming part of the tour. If the tour is properly arranged you can have a memorable tour. If it is not properly organized it could be a mess and ended up with a bad experience.

Posted by

S.P

This blog is all about holidaying in Sri Lanka, we are trying to illuminate our readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on info@seerendipitytours.com

You may alo like...