Scenic Drive to Bandarawela from Panadura

Scenic drive to Bandarawela from Panadura

Sri Lanka road trip from Panadura to Bandarawela is quite unpopular among the travellers. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that you encounter a horde of tourist traffic on this travel route.

The journey from Panadura to Bandarawela takes around 6 hours. And the journey can be further extended to visit important hill country tourist places in Sri Lanka such as Badulla, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains.

This Sri Lanka trip from Panadura to Bandarawela is largely neglected despite the well maintained less stress travel route. No direct buses of trains ply from Panadura to Bandarawela, this can be the reason for the unpopularity of this travel route.

How to travel on this route?

This is one of the most scenic Sri Lanka road tours if you have your own private vehicle. It is very enjoyable cut through the small villages, town and cool clime. The road goes up, down, Right, left, next to the jagged rock surfaces, through the tunnels formed by trees, pass the beautiful villages and scenic surrounding dominated by thick natural vegetation.

Why is this trip important?

This awe-inspiring journey allows you to enjoy the healing climate of the central mountain range. The trip along this track will not be diminished from your memory for many centuries. This is one of the most scenic routes of the island and a road with any form of a traffic jam.

You start the journey from the low country, where the temperature is around 35C˚.  But when it comes to the latter part of the journey, the temperature dips to an average of 15C˚.

You will notice the changing climate, vegetation, crops, and landscapes as gradually climb the central mountains range. The steep ascent starts in Ratnapura, a beautiful city on the western slopes of Sri Lanka.

From Panadura to Ratnapura the route is very picturesque but no considerable difference of the elevation and climate. But the environment gets greener as you get closer to Ratnapura.

Unlike on most roads in Sri Lanka, there is very low traffic on this route, but the road conditions can be described as superb. Traffic enforcement is also not as tough as most of the other roads on the island. But one should be extremely careful while driving on this route due to the sharp bends.

Important places to stop: Pattini Devala

There are many places to stop along the way and some of them should not be passed without a visit. Just passing Kiriella is the Pattini Devala, one of the places not to be missed. The temple is dating back to many centuries and sacred place.

All travellers on this route stop at the Pattinit Deval or Pattinit temple and make a donation, in order to invoke the blessing of the goddess. This is customary to all travellers on this route, which secure the safe journey.

Important places to stop: Saman Devala

Ratnapura Saman Devala is another attraction with highly recommended on this route. The antiquity, as well as religious importance, makes it one of the most important places to visit in Ratnapura.

Don’t forget to take a look into one of the gem pits, after all, Ratnapura is the home for most of the precious stones found in Sri Lanka. There are a large number of gem museum in Ratnapura and most of them have a large collection of precious stones. If you intend to buy a gemstone in Sri Lanka there is no better place like Ratnapura to do it.

Bopath Ella waterfall

Bopath Ella is a waterfall near the city but you need to take an additional drive to the interior of the country from the main road. This beautiful waterfall has the shape of the leaf of Botree. The waterfall is very attractive during the south-west monsoon.

Even though it is lack in height compared most other waterfalls in Sri Lanka, it more than make up for that in terms of width. Indeed, the fall spreads across the stream that feeds the waterfall, nearly about 50 feet, and during the south-west monsoon, given all the water in areas upstream from the fall, the visitors find an impressive amount of water pouring down over the fall.

Nature of the route

After Ratnapura, the route gets more difficult and time-consuming due to the sharp bends and steep climbing of the mountains. The scenic views are largely depending on the climate and time of the day. Early in the morning and evening, the view is unclear and not suitable for photos due to the large concentration of mist.  

Mountains, valleys, patches of forests, rocks and well-maintained tea plantation are shrouded in mist. You may feel like being in Scottish highland rather than on the mountains of Sri Lanka.

But in the noon, as the sun hit the ground with warmer sun rays, the clouds disappear leaving a beautiful view over the fascinating landscape. Even though most of the clouds are lifted by this time, mountain peaks may still not visible to you. The view on the clear days expands up to hundreds of kilometres in the low lying areas.


Haputale is one of the most popular health resort is an important viewpoint on the route. Tangamale nature reserve and Adisham bungalow are two important places, worth visiting in Haputale.

Bandarawela, the destination of the trip is less than 10 kilometres from Haputale. Bandarawela is the most popular health resort after Nuwara Eliya. It is visited by hundreds of thousands of travellers every year and is popular as one of the best alternatives for the expensive hill country resort Nuwara Eliya.