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SRI LANKA HOLIDAY TIPS

Places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days

If you are looking for a couple of places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days, believe me, it will be a daunting task to make the selection, especially if you are travelling with someone else with a different choice.  Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and it offers a lot to travellers. Wildlife reserves, crumbling historical monuments, temples, parks, bustling cities, mouth-watering dishes, spellbinding scenery, tropical fruits…

Is 5 days enough in Sri Lanka?

Is 5 days enough in Sri Lanka? A popular question, many people asking me that, my answer is NO…NO because there are so many places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days, you will be able to barely scratch either the northern or southern Sri Lanka and you will not see much of teh island in a Sri Lanka 5 day tour.

If you are looking for a couple of places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days, believe me, it will be a daunting task to make the selection, especially if you are travelling with someone else with a different choice. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and it offers a lot to its visitors. Wildlife reserves, crumbling historical monuments, temples, parks, bustling cities, mouth-watering dishes, spellbinding scenery, tropical fruits…the list goes on and on. How on earth you are going to visit all these places in a Sri Lanka 5 day tour? NO WAY! After all you need to have some leisure too; otherwise, it will not be a holiday. So, it will be a dilemma when it comes to choosing places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days, that’s why I thought of writing this blog post.

So you have to make a choice with regards to the places that you visit on your Sri Lanka 5 day tour, that’s difficult. Many travellers contact us at this stage and ask for our help to choose places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days, sometimes they want us to plan a 5 days Sri Lanka itinerary, with best places to be visited on the trip. We do not turn them down and make a good package for them, even you book the tour with us or not.  

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6 – Day Sri Lanka Heritage Private Tour -More Info
Colombo , Dambulla , Kandy , Nuwara Eliya , Polonnaruwa , Sigiriya
From $300 P.P

How can I spend 5 days in Sri Lanka?

According to my experience, 5 days is not enough to explore the island, even with a two weeks tour you can scratch a part of the island (either south or north). I have worked for many leading tour operators in the world such as TUI, Neckerman, Firs choice, ITS, Thomson in the capacity of the interpreter and most of them offer 5 days tour in many forms. For instance ITS offer “5 days culture cocktail tour”, which include primarily historical and cultural sites such as Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa and Tooth relic temple. Three days of the 5 day tour is dedicated to exploring cultural sites. Some tour operators offer “5 day nature cocktail tour” and that type of tour includes many wildlife reserves, rainforest type of attractions while a “5 days Sri Lanka adventure tour” includes many activities such as hiking, trekking, wildlife exploration, water rating, kayaking.  

I have mentioned only few 5 day Sri Lanka tours above and there are so many other 5 day tours that can be booked on the island.  I would like to discuss mainly on those 3 Sri Lanka 5 day tours that I mentioned above.  I feel it is going to serve the mass because it helps you to choose the 5 days Sri Lanka itinerary that suit you best, broadly under 3 categories Nature tour, adventure tour or a cultural tour, make sense, Right!.

99 per cent Sri Lanka tour itineraries are coming under those 3 categories or combination of it.   Hereunder we discuss three 5 days Sri Lanka itinerary and all of them can be twisted to meet your exact requirement. For instance, if it is the cultural tour you can add a little bit of beach stay and adventure to it, if it is a nature tour you can add a bit of adventure to it, likewise you can add a little bit of culture to your 5 days Sri Lanka trip that revolves around nature. 

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water rafting kitulgala
  • Highlights-Water rafting, Boat tour, Rainforest trek, Visit temples, Jeep safari
  • Duration-4 Days
  • Places- Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Kithulgala, Tooth relic temple, Sinharaja forest, Udawalawe national park, Mirissa, Galle Fort, Bentota
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 3-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner
  • Availability-From Nov 2019 to Nov 2021

Special Price US$ 550, save $125, Regular Price US$675

Do I get time to relax on the 5 days tour?

Not much on the tour! If you are in the mood to have a relaxing, leisurely holiday then you should be heading to the beach. Very recently I sent a tour itinerary to a traveller in the UK, which was predominantly a cultural tour; however, I have includes few adventure activities as well as jeep safari in a national as optional activities. It was a 7 days Sri Lanka tour itinerary with 1 overnight stay on the beach.  I feel it was a well-balanced tour program because he was interested in culture. But the client wanted to make further changes to tour itinerary and wanted to add more time for leisure, more beach time. After a few more changes, the tour itinerary converted to a beach holiday package with 3 one day tours.

If you are also a kind of travellers that cherish leisure and need time to relax on your 5 day trip to Sri Lanka you better book a 5 days Sri Lanka beach holiday and organize few day tours to important tourist attractions with your resort guide. If you are in a position to add a few more days to your plan you can make a 5 days Sri Lanka tour and beach stay separately. Usually, most travellers that come to Sri Lanka spend 10 to 14 days on the island, the first half of the trip they make a tour while towards the end of the trip they spend time on the beach while relaxing.

Sri Lanka itinerary 5 days

Now it is the time to jump into my main point, hereafter I discuss on Sri Lanka 5 day trips that I mentioned above. Each tour itinerary covers many places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days. There are many Sri Lanka 5 day trips with beach stay but in this article “places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days”, I’m not going to make a lengthy discussion on the beach holidays. You read about many places that are coming under “places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days”, in this article I’m not going to give a lengthy description of these places. Because, I have already written separate articles (dedicated to each site) on all them, giving a complete picture of each place. So, if you need much clearer picture and a full description of sites please head on to the attached URL.

Sri Lanka 5 day tour, culture cocktail tour

This is Sri Lanka 5 day tour that revolves around cultural attractions of Sri Lanka. It covers many most important tourist attractions such as Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla cave temple, Polonnaruwa ancient city and Kandy tooth relic temple, all these places are located within the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. The tour also includes white water rafting and jeep safari in Minneriya national park as optional activities. This is a Sri Lanka itinerary expand 5 days, which begin in Colombo. Even though the tour starts in Colombo it does not include a Colombo city tour and shopping, however, Kandy sightseeing tour with shopping is covered in the program.

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Culture cocktail tour Sri Lanka 5 day tour

  • Day 1 – Colombo/Sigiriya
  • Day 2 – Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa
  • Day 3 – Sigiriya / Kandy
  • Day 4 – Kandy / Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 5 – Nuwara Eliya / Colombo

Places to see in Sri Lanka in 5 days culture cocktail tour

  • Colombo
  • elephant orphanage Pinnawala
  • Sigiriya rock fortress
  • Dambulla golden cave temple
  • Minneriyan national park
  • Tooth relic temple
  • Royal botanical garden
  • Kandyan cultural show
  • Tea garden
  • Tea factory
  • Seeth Temple
  • Gregory Lake

Day 1 – Colombo/Sigiriya

99 per cent of travellers touch the island in Colombo because the main international airport of Sri Lanka is located in Colombo.  Even you travel to Sri Lanka in a cruise ship you will be landing in Colombo because 99 per cent of cruise ships are docked in the international harbour of Colombo. Since you have only 5 days at your disposal, I don’t recommend a Colombo city tour. Colombo is a not an extravagant tourist attraction I feel it is wasting time to have a Colombo city tour on your Sri Lanka 5 day tour. If you need to see the city badly you can make time for a Colombo city tour on the last day of the tour, and you can have a half-day city tour. Half-day tour in the city is more than enough to explore Colombo. Further reading on Sigiriya

Supposedly you drive to Sigiriya right after your flight, it will take about 4 hours to reach the hotel in Sigiriya, of course, a small break is also included in today’s program. The distance to cover around 175 km, however, it takes around 4 hours on the journey, Perhaps you can drive 200 km in 2 hours in your country but in Sri Lankan case it takes bit more time than in your country.  Duration of the drive is also highly unpredictable due to the heavy traffic in cities. But according to my experience, you can reach Sigiriya from Colombo in 4 hours time (without stops). If you land early morning (around 4.00 am) in Sri Lanka you will be able to reach Sigiriya in 3 hours time. However, there will be a processing time required for formalities at the arrival lounge and it can be 30 minutes to more than an hour.

Pinnawala elephant orphanage

Colombo is a coastal city near the beach and you will drive to the interior of Sri Lanka from here. The drive on the countryside road is very picturesque and you will encounter patches of forests, coconut plantations, rubber plantations and isolated villages frequent intervals. Pinnawala elephant orphanage is the first stop of the day; however, you make a stop any time before that if you need a small break. Usually, most travellers opt to take a break in Kajugama (before Pinnawala elephant orphanage) and drink a Tea/Coffee. Read more on pinnawala elephant orphanage

Dambulla cave temple

The next stop on the 5 days Sri Lanka itinerary is Dambulla cave temple, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and a main tourist attraction in the island. The distance between the 2 places id 98 km and it takes around 2 hours to reach Dambulla from Pinnawala. Further reading on Dambulla cave temple

After Dambulla golden cave temple it takes aroudn30 minutes to reach the hotels in Sigiriya and Habarana.

Day 2 – Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa

On day 2 you are going further deep into the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and visit the most popular iconic cultural and historical monument of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya rock fortress. Later in the day, you visit end most ancient capital of Sri Lanka known as Polonnaruwa.  You will not be travelling as much as you did on the previous day; however, there will be around 2 hours drive. Further reading on Polonnaruwa

You will be able to find time for a jeep safari in Minneriya on day 2, usually, it takes around 2 hours for the Sigiriya hike and the visit to the Polonnaruwa historical city lasts around 3 hours.  Village tour with cooking, bird watching in Sigiriya is also optional activities that can be booked in Sigiriya; however, you have to arrange the time required for optional activities by adjusting the main ingredients of the itinerary. 

Day 3 – Sigiriya / Kandy

Today you will drive to Kandy, which is the heart of Sri Lankan culture and home to a large number of temple, gardens, museums, nature reserves and museums. However, you do not have much time in Kandy on this Sri Lanka 5 day tour. So, plan your trip with tooth relic temple, royal botanical gardens and Kandyan cultural show. You may also be able to time for some shopping if you need, as you visit those attractions.  Further reading on Kandy

Day 4 – Kandy / Nuwara Eliya

You are travelling to Sri Lanka’s tea country in the day of Sri Lanka 5 day tour. Nuwara Eliya sits 1800 meters above sea-level and home to many dozens of cascading waterfalls, rivers, lakes, patches of forests and many other natural attractions. You will be enjoying the overwhelming natural beauty for the entire day and make the overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya. Unlike other places you visited so far it can be really cool here, sometimes the temperature dips down to minus degrees after the sunset. Further reading on Nuwara Eliya

Day 5 – Nuwara Eliya / Colombo

You will be travelling to Colombo from Nuwara Eliya today and the journey will last around 5 hours. You will be visiting 2 picturesque waterfalls today. Most importantly you have the opportunity to do water rafting as you come across Kitulgala today. As I told you if you need to visit important places in Colombo you can find time for it by leaving the hotel in Nuwara Eliya a little bit early.

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Nature cocktail Sri Lanka 5 day tour

  • Day 1 – Colombo/Sinharaja / Galle / Mirissa
  • Day 2 – Mirissa/Yala
  • Day 3 – Yala / Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 4 – Nuwara Eliya / Kitulgala
  • Day 5 – Kitulgala / Colombo

Places included in Sri Lanka 5 days nature cocktail tour

  • Colombo
  • Sinharaja rainforest
  • Madu river estuary
  • Moonstone mines
  • Sea turtle conservation project
  • Galle fortress
  • Whale watching Mirissa
  • Yala wildlife reserve
  • Seetha temple
  • Tea factory
  • Kitulgala

As most Sri Lank tour packages this 5 days Sri Lanka itinerary starts in Colombo and ends in Colombo. As the name suggests the tour mainly revolve around ecological tourist attractions. The tour includes whale watching in Mirissa, Full day Safari at Yala national park, trekking in Sinharaja rain forest, boat tour at Madu river estuary, Horton plains national park. The tour also includes Galle Fort as well as Ceylon tea trail.

The initial part of the trip takes place along the southern and the western coast of the island you will visit many tourist attractions in the region. After visiting Yala national in southern Sri Lanka you drive to the mountains of Sri Lanka, where you encounter Horton plains national park.

Day 1 – Colombo/ Sinharaja / Galle

You will be travelling to Sinharaja via Kalutara from Colombo. The journey will take place along the western border of the island along beaches, and the sea view is dominating throughout the trip. The first stop on the trip is at Madu river estuary. The journey from Colombo to Madu river estuary lasts about 2 hours and then you explore the Madu river estuary in a motorboat. Further reading on Sinharaja

Madu river estuary

Madu river estuary is an important ecological habitat and it is a Ramsar wetland. The Madu riverboat tour enables you to see one of the last remaining mangrove forests in the island. Here you have the opportunity to see a large number of avian fauna species and many animal species such as water monitor, monkey, and dome times crocodile. You will be also visiting the cinnamon island, a small island with cinnamon plantations; here you learn the secrets of cinnamon pealing, economical usage of it. Further reading on Madu river

Sea turtle conservation project

Sri Lank is home to 5 species of endangered sea turtles and the beach along the west and southern Sri Lanka is frequented by sea turtles. Few sea turtle conservation projects are to be found along the western and southern Sri Lanka. These sea turtle conservation projects believe to be helping to increase the sea turtle population in these off Sri Lanka, same times these conservation projects educate the people about sea turtles. Here you can witness 5 different species of endangered sea turtles.

Later on the day, you will be heading to Sinharaja rainforest and in the afternoon start the rainforest trek that lasts about 3 hours.

Sinharaja Forest

The Sinharaja rainforest is one of the most valuable rainforests in the world and which is a coming under the category of primaeval rain forests. Here you can witness many species trees plants, bids and insect species.

Galle Fort

Galle is the capital of southern Sri Lanka and one of the tourist hotspots in the island.  Galle is most popular for its Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO world heritage site Galle city and the Indian Ocean. Galle Fort is the best preserved Dutch built colonial city in Asia and dates back to 16s. Earlier it was occupied by wealthy Dutch businessmen, Dutch colonial rulers and their soldiers. Today the Fort is occupied by travellers that are heading to Galle from all around the world. The luxury mansions are converted to hotels, cafes, museums, restaurants and shops. Take your time make a stroll on narrow cobbled streets and enjoy the fascinating old Dutch styled mansions with big verandahs, doors and windows, they also do have very steep roofs, which are totally different from the native architecture.

ou will pass many beautiful palm-fringed beaches in the way and ask your guide to make a stop to make a few beautiful pictures of the beaches. Perhaps you can stop in Hikkaduwa to see the beautiful sandy beaches and also Hikkaduwa is a place to sample fresh delicious Sri Lankan seafood. Today you continue to Mirissa all the way along the beaches. Beaches of Mirissa are very popular places for saltwater activities such as swimming, snorkelling, diving, surfing etc. Further reading on Galle

Day 2 – Mirissa / Yala

Early morning leave for a whale watching tour off Mirissa harbour and later continue the journey to Yala wildlife reserve. The whale watching trip is a real highlight for many travellers and a large number of travellers take part in this whale watching trip.

On day two of this Sri Lanka 5 day tour, you will still be travelling along the southern coast of Sri Lanka and you will reach your hotel in Tissamaharama late evening. Further reading on Mirissa

Day 3 – Mirissa / Yala

You will start the day three of Sri Lanka 5 day tour (nature cocktail tour) with a jeep safari at Yala national park. The chances of spotting animals are high in the early morning, especially leopards. After the safari, you will be heading to Nuwara Eliya and en-route visit waterfalls and tea plantations and tea factory.  Few temple visits are also in the program; however, you can omit them if you wish. Further reading on Yala

Day 4 – Nuwara Eliya / Kitulgala

Day 4 of Sri Lanka 5 day tour (nature cocktail tour) you will be heading to Horton plains national park with packed breakfast and make a 2 hours trek through the breathtaking cloud forest. This is a natural jewel of Sri Lanka one of the last remaining cloud forests in the island. The forest has unique in many ways. Here you see a different kind of trees and plans that you cannot see elsewhere in Sri Lanka; the vegetation is adapted to withstand the cool climate and unceasing wind. Further reading on kitulgala

Day 5-Kitulgala / Colombo

Kitulgala very popular among the adventure enthusiast and it offers many adrenaline-pumping activities such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, mountain climbing, waterfall abseiling, mountain biking. Kitulgala is also a laid-back village with an extensive green cover, here you will be doing a rainforest trek in the morning. Afternoon heading to Colombo and the drive take around 2 hours.  Further reading on Colombo

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water rafting kitulgala
  • Highlights-Water rafting, Boat tour, Rainforest trek, Visit temples, Jeep safari
  • Duration-4 Days
  • Places- Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Kithulgala, Tooth relic temple, Sinharaja forest, Udawalawe national park, Mirissa, Galle Fort, Bentota
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 3-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner
  • Availability-From Nov 2019 to Nov 2021

Special Price US$ 550, save $125, Regular Price US$675

5 days Sri Lanka adventure tour

  • Day 1 – Colombo/Kitulgala
  • Day 2 – Kitulgala / Adam’s peak
  • Day 3 – Adam’s peak / Udawalawe
  • Day 4 – Udawalawe / Mirissa
  • Day 5 – Mirissa / Colombo

Places to visit on this 5 days Sri Lanka nature cocktail tour

  • Colombo
  • Kitulgala
  • Adam’s peak
  • Udawalawe national park
  • Mirissa
  • Galle Fort
  • Madu river estuary
  • sea turtle conservation project

Sri Lanka is a leading beach holiday destination in the world, maybe because Sri Lanka is an island. Still, a large number of travellers plan beach holidays without knowing the existence of other interesting places such as wildlife reserves and adventure sites. Therefore only a few travellers ask for adventure tours in Sri Lanka.

Day 1 – Colombo/Kitulgala

On the first day of this Sri Lanka 5 day tour, you will be heading to Kitulgala, in view of giving your tour a flying start. The distance from Colombo to Kitulgala is 100 km and it takes around two hours to reach the Kitulgala water sports centre. You will be escorted to the adventure sports centre by your driver. There will be three activities planned for today white water rafting, Kayaking and rain forest trekking. 

Day 2 –Kitulgala / Adam’s peak

After the breakfast leave for Adam’s peak and take a rest in your hotel. You will take the most magnitude hike in the island that lasts 5 hours (only the upward journey), many people undertake this venture due to the religious reasons but for tourist, this is the wonderful place to experience rich natural wealth with a twist of adventure.

Adams’ peak is the 3rd highest mountain in the island (2300 meter above sea-level). The hike starts with the fall of the night and you will be at the summit before the sun-rise, means you are here to witness the sunrise. Adam’s peak considered being one of the best places to see the sunrise. You will finish the hike in the morning and make a small rest and the breakfast at your hotel in Adam’s peak. Further reading on Adam’s peak

Day 3 –Adam’s peak / Udawalawe national park

After the hike head to Udawalawe national park and take a rest in the hotels that sits near the national park. In the afternoon make a jeep safari at Udawalawe national park to see wild animals such as elephants, crocodile, jackal, monkey, buffalo etc. 

Day 4 – Udawalawe national park / Mirissa

On the 4th day of the 5 days Sri Lanka adventure tour, you will be heading to Mirissa, in the afternoon leisure in the beach resort. Further reading on Udawalawe safari

Day 5 – Mirissa / Colombo

Early morning leave for a whale watching trip off the southern coast and later leave for Galle, en-route visit Galle fortress and sea turtle conservation centre and make a boat tour at Madu river estuary.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. 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 admin@seerendipitytours.com... read more

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