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SRI LANKA HOLIDAY TIPS

THE BEST OF SRI LANKA IN TWO WEEKS

Perhaps you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka in the near future and you look for a Sri Lanka itinerary or perhaps just reading some blogs on Sri Lanka. If you are coming under the first category of user that looks for a Sri Lanka itinerary, you on the right track. The tour itinerary coming hereunder contains all the bits and pieces required for a memorable Sri Lanka 2 weeks trip.

Sri Lanka Itinerary

Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination in Asia and attracts a large number of travellers every year. Most travellers, who arrive on the island enchant by its beauty and fall in love with the island.  The beautiful palm-fringed beaches, fascinating wildlife, delicious food, historical monuments and friendly people are some of the ingredients of Sri Lanka’s success as a holiday destination. Sri Lanka is the favourite holiday designation for many travellers around the world and most of them visit the island often.

The below mentioned 2 weeks itinerary is carefully crafted with inclusions of the most important places and activities available on teh island. The 2 weeks tour can easily be customized to suit individual taste and you can easily extend the program for several more days or even you can curtail the trip to 7-10 days without affecting the inclusions of the itinerary. Please note that you have to reduce time spent in each location if you are going to reduce the number of days of the itinerary, therefore you may have to sacrifice your time allocated for leisure in order to find time to do activities and visiting places.

We are not only giving you a description of the places and activities in this Sri Lanka itinerary but also you can read some recommendations on each location that you pass along the way. The recommendations are given for accommodations, transportations, sightseeing, activities and wine & dine. The recommendations are based on our past experiences and the traveller comments that we received in the earlier tours.   

Please be kindly informed that this Sri Lanka itinerary is not planned to serve the backpackers or travellers with a very thin budget. This tour package is most suitable for travellers, who like to enjoy Sri Lanka leisurely with amenities and facilities above the average. However, this is not a luxury Sri Lanka trip either, with accommodation in high-end hotels and villas. If you wish to book this Sri Lanka trip please get in touch with Seerendipity tours, they offer this exact Sri Lanka trip as a ready-made package, you can book the trip right away without any hassle. You can even talk to them and customize the itinerary.

WHAT IS THE BEST SRI LANKA ITINERARY FOR A 2 WEEKS TRIP?

  • Day 1: Airport-Negombo
  • Day 2: Negombo-Colombo
  • day 3: Colombo-Galle
  • Day 4: Galle-Mirissa
  • Day 5: Mirissa-Yala
  • Day 6: Yala
  • Day 7: Yala-Ella
  • Day 8: Ella-Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 9: Nuwara Eliya -Kandy
  • Day 10: Kandy
  • Day 11: Kandy-Dambulla-Sigiriya
  • Day 12: Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa
  • Day 13: Polonnaruwa-Negombo
  • Day 14: Negombo-Airport

Your Ultimate Two Weeks Best Of Sri Lanka Itinerary

Day 1: Negombo, 1 night
NEGOMBO

I assume you touch the island at Bandaranayke international airport, Katunayake Colombo because of 99% of the travellers coming from a foreign soil lands at the Katunayake international airport. Even though there is another international airport in southern Sri Lanka most carriers are not landing in southern Sri Lanka. The airport of Mattala in southern Sri Lanka opened about 5 years back; however, we have not picked-up even a single client for a Sri Lanka trip from that airport until today. 

This Sri Lanka itinerary includes only 1 night in Negombo, and it is the first night of your Sri Lanka tour. Negombo is a fishing village and a beachfront locality, accommodating many thousands of sun worshippers, Negombo is one of the leading beach resorts on the island. Many hundreds of hotels, guest houses, villas and other accommodation facilities are lined up along the beach of Negombo. You also find many dozens of shops, restaurants, spas, travel agencies, money changers, in between. 

Negombo is one of the best places for leisure, so start your tour while exploring the Sri Lanka pristine beaches, same times wind down from the long flight. Giving you some time to relax is the main purpose of including the 1st night in Negombo. It is just a 30 minutes drive to reach Negombo from the Airport.   

Sri Lanka Cultural Tour With Twist Of Adventure

How To Get To Negombo

Your tour already includes entire ground transportation in a modern, luxury, air-conditioned vehicle. It can be a car, van or a commuter depending on the number of a person in your group. There is a dedicated vehicle and a guide for your group because this is a private tour.

If you have not arranged your transport already, airport taxi is the only option available to reach Negombo from the airport, no buses and trains available from the airport to Negombo.

The big international carriers arrive at Colombo airport, therefore, passengers congestion can occur sometimes at the airport, due to the multiple landing of big aeroplanes at the same time, especially in the early hours of the day. Usually, it takes a couple of hours to leave the airport, after all the necessary formalities in this type of situation, so you might have to stand in the queue at the taxi counter to get a vehicle for your destination. 

Where To Stay In Negombo

Aria lagoon is a 4-star category beachfront hotel with direct access to the Negombo beach. The modern hotels conveniently located near Colombo airport. The spacious garden and wide, sandy beach is a real plus point for this luxury hotel, which is a perfect middle-class hotel to relax on the beach. They have large comfortable rooms with king and queen size beds, free wifi. Good meals and service.

Colombo 1 day tour

  • Highlights- Gangarama temple, Galle face green, BMICH, Wolvendaal church, Viharamahadevi Park, Townhall, and many more
  • Duration-6 Hours
  • Places- Colombo
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle

Special Price US$ 65, save $30, Regular Price US$95

Day 2: Colombo, 1 night

Colombo

With plenty of rest on the first day of the tour, today you are fully prepared to explore Colombo, the vibrant, energetic commercial hub of Sri Lanka. You are going to spend around 6 hours exploring Colombo. 

The population of Colombo estimated to be around 2 million and thereby the most populated city on the island, it is full of contrast and it is a cultural melting pot, inhabited by many ethnic and religious groups. Old and new rubbing their shoulder like nowhere else in the world, here you find colonial mansions, villas and shops dating back to 16s and same times high-rise 21st-century modern structure in between.

There is a lot to see and do in Colombo that’s why this Sri Lanka itinerary includes 1 whole day in Colombo. The first part of the Colombo city tour includes a walking tour to explore Pettah, the bazaar area of Colombo, where you find thousands of shops selling various items to many thousands of shoppers every day. This open market is chaotic, busy and energetic, spreads over dozens of roads and many hundreds of square kilometres.

Your guide accompanies you on the walk and gives an explanation about all the questions you have. This is a private tour and your guide assist you throughout the tour with information, travelling and visiting sights and places.     

The second phase of the Colombo city tour involves some travelling in your luxury air-conditioned vehicle. Colombo is warm, busy, crowded and full of vehicles, means the outside air can be dusty and polluted, and also can harm your skin therefore not recommended to stay outside for long hours. Your guide will take you around the city and show you interesting places such as temples, parks, lakes, colonial mansions, beaches and shopping area.

Finish your day while taking a glimpse into the sinking sun over the horizon from your sea-vies room. Perhaps you can watch the sunset from the roof-top swimming pool, while you sip a glass of arrack cocktail or you can come down from your room and have a stroll along the Colombo Sea. 

How To Get To Colombo

If you plan to do the tour your own, there are 3 possibilities with regards to travelling to Colombo from Negombo- bus, train, taxi and plane. Te drive from Negombo to Colombo takes around 1 hour 30 minutes if you take the high-way, which is bit expensive due to the high-way toll or you can take the normal road, which is cheaper but need around 2 hours 30 minutes to travel from Negombo to Colombo, the time indicated here is based on taxi.  

The cheapest yet slowest alternative fir taxi is the public buses that leave from the Negombo bus station ever 20 minutes to the central bus station in Colombo But passengers with big luggage are not accepted by most buses. 

You can get a Colombo bound train from the Negombo railway station; rail transport is much faster than road transport due to the absence of a traffic jam and which is somewhat cheaper too. Only a few trains operate between Negombo and Colombo and it is highly recommended to check the train schedule before arriving at the station. 

You can check on train schedule on http://www.railway.gov.lk

The next best alternative option is the air-transport, which cost you a couple of thousands more USD’s. Air-taxi can be booked at the arrival lounge of the airport; you can check the availability and rates to a different destination on their official webpage.

Where To Stay In Colombo

Mirage hotel Colombo– A newly opened hotel located in Colombo 3, which is the perfect spot to avoid the hustle and bustle of Colombo city centre. This is a mid-range hotel with all the modern facilities; most importantly mirage hotel has a sea-view. Mirage hotel is just a few minutes away from the most tourist attractions, night clubs, casinos and shopping malls. The hotel provides clean and comfortable rooms with large beds. In-house guests can enjoy free wifi in the rooms as well as lobby area. Rooms are also equipped with a flat-screen TV, tea/coffee machine, complimentary mineral water, air-conditioning and safe.

Day 3: Galle-Mirissa, 1 night
Galle

Today you continue the tour after the breakfast to Galle and Mirissa. Mirissa is the last bastion for today’s itinerary. The distance from Colombo to Mirissa is 150 kilometres, and it involves about 4 hours of adventure on the road. However, it could be late evening when you reach the hotel in Mirissa because there are many places to visit and activities to do on the way.  

Galle Fort is the most historical part of Galle and it is a UNESCO world heritage site, first built by Portuguese in 1505 then occupied by Dutch and English. Galle Fort is a complete city that can accommodate many thousands of people. The Fort is fortified with high-rise granite wall making it difficult to creep into the Fort. Galle is the best preserved Dutch fort in Asia, It is an architectonic masterpiece. Upon entering the Fort, you will get feeling that you suddenly being to an old colonial European city.

Strolling along the cobbled narrow streets with hundreds of shops that open their doors to the road is in the buck list of every traveller, who jumps into this bygone era colonial city.  There are many places to visit in the fort such as museums, galleries, shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes. 

Make a tour to have a walk along the rampart, and enjoy the view over the Indian Ocean, the rampart is a nice place to look into the sunset. Galle is the capital of southern Sri Lanka ad Galle fort is the iconic tourist attraction in southern Sri Lanka.

Today’s program includes many other things such as exploring Madu river statuary, which is a 2 hours boat trip to explore the mangrove forest of Balapitiya. You will be able to witness many species of birds and animals along the river. Also, visit a cinnamon island. Visiting Sea turtle conservation project, mask museum, exploring Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary is also in the program. Today’s program comes to end as you arrive at your hotel in Mirissa.     

How To Get To Mirissa

The drive from Colombo to Mirissa takes around 3 hours and then the journey from Galle to Mirissa takes about 1 hour. The journey should be essentially by a taxi because there are many stops planned in the tour itinerary for today. Starting from Colombo to Galle and Galle to Mirissa, you make regular stops at sea turtle conservation centre, Hikkaduwa coral reef, Madu estuary for boating and, Galle fort.

whale watching Sri Lanka

Where to Stay in Mirissa

Garton’s cape hotel-This is a beachfront boutique hotel with direct access to the Mirissa beach. The hotel is modern and built with blends of modern luxury and traditional Sri Lankan ambience. The hotel sits near the harbour of Mirissa, which means it takes only 10 minutes to reach the Mirissa harbour in order to get the whale watching boat the next day. Same time the hotel is just 30 minutes away from the Galle fort means you can easily reach the hotel from Galle. The hotel built with the intention of providing leisure and comfort to its visitors, rooms are very spacious and have sea view. There is a lovely pool overlooking the Indian Ocean

Day 4: Mirissa, 1night
Mirissa

Mirissa is primarily a beach holiday destination, sits 150 km south of Colombo. Mirissa is a calm and easy-going locality, beaches of Mirissa are largely unpopulated because much of the tourist crowd that come to Sri Lanka stop their journey in beach resorts such as Bentota, Beruwala, Negombo and Unawatuna. 

Unlike in the beaches of Bentota don’t expect to meet hordes of foreign travellers here. You are largely spare by beach boys and beach vendors, just pure beach bliss. Mirissa is one of the best places to swim and nearby the surfers have their own little beach break.

Unlike most other beach resort, where the hotels own a portion of the beach and not allow outsiders to use the beach, in Mirissa entire beach is open to anyone. Find a place to lie down and read a book or just have a nap, let the sun lands on your body and creep into your skin and make a nice, shining tan.

Mirissa is also a great place to feast your thirst for delicious food, especially seafood; after all Sri Lankan seafood recipes that you get here are finest of its kind on the island.

All beaches starting from Negombo on north-west Sri Lanka to all the way down to Hambantota are transformed to finest beach resorts from November to April, parallel to the peak tourist season in Sri Lanka.

We have planned one night stay in Mirissa on this Sri Lanka itinerary with a purpose. The purpose is going on a whale-watching trip off Mirissa. Mirissa is one of the best places in the world to spot whales and thousands of travellers take part in this whale-watching expedition. The bait trip off Mirissa allows you to spot many Blue whales, sperm whales, and dolphins. Your whale watching trip lasts around 2 hours during the north-west monsoon (from November to April) and the duration of the boat trip can be dragged up to 4 hours from April to November.  

Whale watching tour ends around 10.00 am and according to your Sri Lanka itinerary rest of the day is reserved for leisure. So you can jump into a wooden bed on the beach and relax or jump into the sea and have a swim. There are many other activities available if you need such as snorkelling, boating, kayaking, fishing.

Mirissa is a popular place from which to go on a whale and dolphin watching safari, as it is geographically the closest to where the whales are. There are also various dive operators that can arrange dives along the coast.

If you need to find a similar kind of beach closer to Colombo, there are couples of good alternative such as Kalutara, Bentota, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna. Bentota is considered to have the finest beach on the island and called “Golden mile”, however, Bentota is touristy than Mirissa.

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How To Get To Mirissa

The drive from your hotel to Mirissa only takes about 10 minutes, the vehicle allocated to your trip will be used for this purpose. If you do not have a vehicle dedicated to your Sri Lanka tour, you can easily get hold of a tuk-tuk, small three-wheeler. 

You have to start the journey a little bit early from your hotel today; you need to leave the hotel at least by 6.00 am, because the whale watching boats leave the harbour by 6.30 am. Ask your hotel to arrange the wake-up call for you, they do it free of charge so that you can make sure that you make it on time.

Where To Stay In Mirissa

We suggest you stay in the same hotel as for the previous day; it makes your life easy and saves time for leisure. I presume that you like to stay 2 nights in a hotel because then you do not need to pack and unpack on a daily basis and spare time for leisure.

Sri Lanka southern tour

  • Highlights- Yala national park, Galle fort, pinnawala elephant orphanage, Spice garden, Tooth relic temple, Tea factory and plantation, Bentota beach, Galle, Madu River Estuary, Sea Turtle Conservation Center
  • Duration-8 Days
    Places- Yala, Galle, Kandy, Mirissa, Bentota, Colombo, Nuwara Eliya
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 4-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner

Special Price US$ 690, save $100, Regular Price US$790

Day 5-6: Yala, 2nights
Yala National Park

Yala is the star in southern Sri Lanka and the leopard community at Yala national park has transformed it into a tourist hotspot. Ninety per cent of travellers are going to Yala national park because it is the best national park in the world to spot leopards. You will encounter many leopards within a day along with many other animals such as sloth bear, wild buffalo, crocodile, jackal, deer, sambar, wild boar, Mongoose, and monkey.

Yala is the most popular national park on the island and harbours 44 different species of mammals and 215 bird species and has the world’s biggest concentration of leopards. The population of wild elephants in Yala estimated to be between 300 to 350, therefore chances of encountering wild elephant are very high here.

However, in this Sri Lanka itinerary, you will have a full-day jeep safari at Yala national park tomorrow, with picnic-style lunch on the beach. So be prepared for a big game show. We have already planned your safari with a 4wheel drive jeep, ranger and the driver. The possibility of encountering leopard is very on a full day safari that’s why we have planned a full day safari in this Sri Lanka itinerary.

I have seen leopards many times because I was lucky to get there many times with some of our customers. Unlike leopards in other parts of the world, this is a huge creature. The male leopards are huge animals and Sri Lankan leopards are the biggest leopards in the world. It is sub-species of leopard and called (Panthera pardus kotiya), in the Sinhalese language the leopards are called Kotiya.

It is warm in the national park and you drive on a dusty road and humidity is also very high, so have a light cotton dress, like a cotton shirt and a t-shirt. Sunglass is handy equipment, mosquito repellent and sunscreen also very useful.

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How To Get To Yala National Park

Road transport is the most viable option on this track of 120 km, trains not available as the railway track ends in Matara. Hire a vehicle is the best way of getting to Yala from Mirissa, which is comfortable and hassle-free and lasts around 2 hours. You can also take a bus to Yala from Mirissa and the journey will last about 4 hours.    

Day 7: Ella, 1nights
Ella

Ella is an eco-holiday destination, where there is ample access to patches of forest, tea gardens, mountains, waterfalls and lush green vegetation. There is a small town in Ella; however, it is more like a laid-back village. Here you encounter more tourist than local people, Ella is most popular among nature lovers, it is incredibly peaceful and relaxing here.

This mountain resort sits about 1000 meters above sea-level far far away from the busy towns. The biggest town near Ella is Bandarawela, which is well over 25 km away from Ella.

Today in the afternoon you are going to make a few hikes at mini-Adams peak and later visit nine arch bridges. All along the way, you can enjoy much great scenery across the green-capped mountains and valleys.        

How To Get To Ella

The journey from Yala to Ella takes around 2 hours in your luxury private car. Road transport is the only viable option for your transport today because on this mountainous track (Yala to Ella) you do not get trains. Public buses available from Yala to Ella, however, availability is much lower compared to on other bus routes. This journey from Yala to Ella takes place on a steep track and takes around 4 hours. You can use all Bandarawela, Nuwara Eliya bo8und buses from Yala. 

Where To Stay In Ella

Ella flower garden-Ella is usually a place, where the travellers stay much longer than many other places. In some cases, the guests stay about one week in this mountain resort. However, in this Sri Lanka itinerary, we have planned only one night stay in Ella. Most hotels in Ella arrange trekking trips, guides and day tours to various places from Ella.

Te hotel in new and have a very gorgeous view on the Ella gap, which is the highlight in this mountain resort. The rooms are very modern, spacious and exposed to the Ella gap. The rooms are very cosy with a large conformable bed, attached bathrooms, AC, free wifi and a flat-screen TV with satellite connection.    

Sri Lanka 4 Days Train Trip

  • Highlights- Kandy, Temple of the tooth relic, Royal botanical garden, Nuwara Eliya, Ceylon tea trails, Elle, Hiking
  • Duration-4 Days
    Places- Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Elle
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle and train
  • Accommodation 3-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner
Special Price US$ 490, save $60, Regular Price US$650

Day 8 – Train Trip- Horton plains-Nuwara Eliya, 1 night
Ella – Nuwara Eliya

The rail journey from Ella to Nuwara Eliya is considered being one of the most scenic rail journeys in eth world. Many travellers make an extra journey from Colombo to Ella to take part in this train journey. So, today you are going to enjoy this picturesque train journey.  

It is a real must when visiting Sri Lanka. The train ride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya lasts about 2 hours and you will be picked up from the Nuwara Eliya station from your personal driver, and takes you to the Horton plains national thereafter.

Some travellers make the train journey all the from Ella to Kandy, which takes about 7 hours and the rail journey from Kandy to Ella is not that much attractive and it consumes a lot of time too. Some even travel all the way up to Colombo and spend well over 10 hours for the trip. It is mainly in vies of reducing the cost of transport because travelling by train id very cheap.

The train can be very crowded on this track, especially from Ella to Nuwara Eliya and vice-a-versa, and it is highly recommended to pre-book the seats, in order to have a comfortable journey. The train ticket and all entrance fees will be arranged by our staff for your trip.       

Check train schedules here (search Start Station: Elle, End Station: Nuwara Eliya). There are two express trains a day, departing from Ella at 06:40 and 09:24.

After the train journey, you will be heading to Horton plain national park, which is one of the last remaining patches of mountain forests on the island and a biodiversity hotspot. This will be a half-day tour and you will trek through the forest while enjoying the great scenery and spotting birds and animals. 

Day 9-10: Kandy, 2 nights
Kandy

In this Sri Lanka itinerary, we have planned 2 nights in Kandy because there are many places to visit in Kandy. Kandy is the cultural hub of Sri Lanka and last capital of pre-colonial Sri Lanka. Kandy is a UNESCO world heritage site and full of temples, gardens, parks and shopping experiences. Tooth relic temple located near the lake is the most visited temple on the island, where the left eye tooth of Buddha resides. Most travellers do not omit this highlight on their visit to Kandy. It is a place to see the dedication and respect of Sinhalese people to their religion.

On this Sri Lanka itinerary, you will visit the temple during the evening ceremony, which is the best time to visit the temple, because most devotees flock into the upper terrace during the ceremony, where the left eyetooth of Buddha’s resides, in order to make offerings and worship. 

Just before visiting the tooth relic temple you will witness the Kandyan cultural show, which showcases the traditional dance forms and music performance.

It is only 5 kilometres to the Peradeniya royal botanical garden from Kandy and it takes about 20 minutes to get there. The botanical garden of Kandy is the most popular on the island harbour more than 8000 trees and plants within its border.

During the 2 days in Kandy, you will also be visiting a tea plantation, tea factory, Kandy Lake, souvenir shops and handicraft centre.    

Where To Stay In Kandy

Oak ray regency – newly built Oak ray hotel is very modern and luxurious. You will have easy access to all places in the city and it has very spacious luxurious rooms with all modern amenities. Meals and service of rooms are highly valued by the guests. The hotel is a little outside of Colombo, means you have the peace of mind; however, the accessibility to tourist places is quite easy.  

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

Day 11: Sigiriya-Dambulla, 2 nights
Sigiriya-Dambulla cave temple

Today you are going explore 2 other important tourist hot spots in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. One is Sigiriya rock fortress, which is the iconic tourist attraction in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and one of the most visited tourist attractions on the island.

Sigiriya rock is a granite monolith sits in the middle of the jungle; the renegade King Kashyapa transformed it into a palace complex with gardens, fountains, swimming pools, caves, paintings and palace. The palace complex is a UNESCO world heritage site dating back 5th century AD is one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.

This 5th-century palace complex is a classic example of the 5th-century urban planning, what is most striking about this palace is the king had used all the trigonometry, hydraulic principles while it was built, some of the fountains that are built after hydraulic principle are still functioning today. 

You will visit Dambulla golden cave temple before arriving at Sigiriya rock cave temple, which is another UNESCO world heritage site and a tourist hot spot on the island. Dambulla cave temple dates back to 1st century AD and it is a Buddhist temple with hundreds of Buddha statues and thousands of square meters of wall and ceiling paintings. Make hike at Dambulla cave temple, which will be a rehearsal before heading to the hike at Sigiriya rock.      

How To Get To Sigiriya

The journey takes around 2 hours with a visit to a spice garden and Mutuumari Amman temple, with your private vehicle.

No trains are available to Sigiriya from Kandy and only available transport mode is road transport. Plenty of public buses available if don’t have a private car or a van. The journey from Kandy to Sigiriya rock takes around 4 hours on the A9 highway. You will miss some other minor tourist attraction such as spice gardens, Muttumari Amman temple, and batik factory if you stick to public transport. 

4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Tour More info
Dambulla , Kandy , Polonnaruwa , Sigiriya
Special Price US$ 475, save $50, Regular Price US$525

Day 12: Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa, 1NIGHT
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is another UNESCO world heritage site; however, it is not as popular as tooth relic temple or Sigiriya rock fortress. However, it is highly advisable to visit this medieval capital of Sri Lanka. The visitors can see a large number of palaces, temples, statues, lakes ponds and many other structures within its border. This is a very good opportunity to witness the rich historical past of Sri Lanka. Some of the monuments are the structures and could not have accomplished without a large sum of money and thorough knowledge of engineering principles.   

Riding a bike is the best way of exploring the city the bikes required for your group. It will be a great bike ride!

If you wish to see some more historical monuments after Polonnaruwa then head to Anuradhapura, which is another archaeological zoo with thousands of historical monuments, span over 40 square kilometres. Anuradhapura is the first capital of Sri Lanka and dates back to 3rd century BC. So much of historical monuments, you need at least 1 entire day to explore the entire city. However, the monuments at Anuradhapura are much older than the monuments of Polonnaruwa and therefore not in good shape like in Polonnaruwa.  

How To Get To Polonnaruwa

The drive with your private vehicle takes around 1 hour from Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa, and then again you will need around 2 hours to explore the monuments in the city. If you wish to visit Polonnaruwa archaeological museum (highly recommended) you have to add another 1 hours to the program. Visiting the archaeological museum does not cost you anything extra when you buy the entrance ticket to the Polonnaruwa historical city.

Where To Stay In Polonnaruwa

Oak ray fresco villa– I a newly built 4-star standard hotel and conveniently located near Sigiriya rock fortress. The hotel has a very spacious garden, which is beautifully landscaped and full of trees and plants. All tourist hot spots of the cultural triangle are easily accessible from the hotel and it offers the best value for money. The service and food are highly valued by travellers. The spacious room has a comfy bed, AC, tea/coffee machine, complimentary mineral water, free wifi, and many more.   

Day 13: NEGOMBO, 1 night
Negombo

Today you will head to Negombo from your hotel in Sigiriya, the journey will take around 4 hours to reach the hotel in Negombo. We recommend you to move to Negombo instead of going to Colombo because it reduces your transport cost as well as time on the road considerably.

On the other hand, it will be very convenient to reach the airport from Negombo on the day of your departure, especially when you the early flight. In fact, there is no purpose of going to Colombo again, since you have done the Colombo city tour already.  

If you have a flight early in the morning, most hotels provide a discounted rate only for night stay, which cost only half of the regular room rate. It also includes dinner. Thereby, you can spend some time on the beach to have a nice dinner, and refresh yourself before heading to the airport.   

How To Get To Negombo

There is no direct bus connecting Sigiriya and Negombo and you have to travel to Colombo first and then drive to Negombo again, which is a long detour and add well over 3 hours extra to the journey. Therefore having a private vehicle is the best way of travelling to Negombo from Sigiriya and journey will take around 3 hours 30 minutes.

Taking air transport is even luxurious and better compared to road transport, but would considerably increase your budget.

However, the travellers who book the 2 week Sri Lanka itinerary with us have no hassle travelling around the country because every group has their own private guide/driver and a modern luxury vehicle for the entire trip. The vehicle and the driver stay with the groups from the start to the end of the trip.

Where To Stay In Negombo

Aria lagoon-The hotel is only a couple of years old and conveniently located facing the beach. It is calm and quiet here the beach is wide and quite empty. Ask for a sea view room because they have a sea view as well as garden view rooms, however, the facilities and amenities are similar in both versions of rooms. 

You must have noted that we have done the tour anti-clockwise, first going in a southward direction from Colombo, and going northward afterwards. But the same tour itinerary can be planned on the clockwise move and you will then explore cultural triangle in the beginning and head to the south via mountains towards the end of the trip.       

But we have noted that most traveller loves this way because they got time to hit the pristine beaches, have some leisure and enjoyable time on the beach right from the start of the trip. However, if you are a beach lover and like to have more relaxing time on the beach, it is recommended customize the itinerary to visit cultural sites and do some hiking in the mountains at the start of the trip. And spare some time to relax on the beach towards the tail end of the itinerary.  

To sum up, the highlights of Sri Lanka itinerary for 2 weeks for are the beaches (Negombo, Bentota and Mirissa are the favourite beaches in Sri Lanka for most travellers, who take this itinerary), full safari in Yala National Park, trekking and hiking in Ella, train journey, trek to the Horton plains national park, visiting Nuwara Eliya, visiting Polonnaruwa, visiting Dambulla cave temple and climbing Lion Rock in Sigiriya. 

If You Have Less Than Two Weeks In Sri Lanka

If you don’t have 2 weeks in Sri Lanka or just want to have more relaxed Sri Lanka itinerary, you can reduce the number of places to visit on this trip, however, it is highly recommended to visit cultural triangle.

It is recommended to skip below points If you have less than two weeks in Sri Lanka.

  • Colombo– this is a big city like most other cities and not a highlight for most travellers, therefore you can avoid it easily. Drive directly from Negombo to Mirissa on the second day of the tour.  
  • Skip hiking in Ella– You can easily avoid the hiking at Ella and save a lot of time while omitting the overnight stay in Ella. This Sri Lanka itinerary already includes a trek at Horton plains national park which more magnitude in term natural beauty and ecological importance. 
  • Kandy- you can reduce the time spent in Kandy and make it only 1 overnight stay in Kandy. Perhaps you have reduced some visits to Kandy.
  • Yala– reduce time spend in Yala and make it 1 overnight stay in Yala. In this case, you have to resort to a half-day evening jeep safari at Yala national park on the day that you drive to Yala. 
  • Beach– reduces the time planned in Mirissa and reduces it to 1 overnight stay in Mirissa. If you can omit Whale watching trip there are plenty of beach holiday opportunities closer to Colombo, such as Bentota.    
  • Yala safari– Cut down the trip to Yala and do the jeep safari at Minneriya national park instead. Thereby, it will not cost you any extra time for the safari tour after the visit to Polonnaruwa as you have plenty of extra time.
  • Unless you like to have a historical buff it is recommended to skip Polonnaruwa, and drive to Negombo instead of travelling to Polonnaruwa.  

If You Have More Than Two Weeks In Sri Lanka

The two week Sri Lanka itinerary that we discussed above is a perfect trip of Sri Lanka, which has balanced experience on all angles. You have plenty of time to explore the country while relaxing on the beach. When it comes to sites you visit historical monuments, wildlife parks, botanical gardens, and natural attractions such as Ella and Horton plains as well as do some adrenaline-pumping activities in the mountains. If you have a bit more time you can even touch the east and northern Sri Lanka or make the things slower along the way. Therefore, you will have more time to enjoy each place and relax on the beach.

  • Nuwara Eliya– Sits 1800 meters above sea level, Nuwara Eliya is the most popular holiday destination with healing climate on the island. Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by green-capped mountain and tea gardens. Nuwara Eliya is the capital of tea country, where the finest tea in the world “Ceylon tea” is produced. Take an opportunity to drop into a tea factory and witness the production process of the tea. It was first occupied by wealthy British planters and even today you a large number of Theodor styles mansions built by British planters. Most of those mansions are converted to holiday bungalows and hotels.      
  • Bentota– Most popular resting point for beach holiday lovers in Sri Lanka. This busy beach resort is to be found about 60 km south of Colombo on the Colombo-Galle main highway. 1-hour drive from Colombo on the expressway.
  • Adam´s Peak– is the 3rd highest mountain in Sri Lanka and one of the most popular pilgrimage sites on the island. This is a seasonal tourist attraction and Buddhist pilgrims and tourist starts to explore the Adams peak from November to April, parallel to the north-east monsoon. This is the longest hike in the island that lasts 5 to 6 hours. 3 hours drive from Colombo via Ratnapura or Hatton.
  • Anuradhapura – This is the most ancient capital of Sri Lanka dating back to 3rd century BC. The ruins of Anuradhapura spread over a 40 sq km. Anuradhapura can be very useful if you are interested in history and culture. Here you encounter hundreds of temples, Stupas, lakes, Buddha statues, paintings, sculptures and many more, all are originated between the 3rd century BC to 10th century AD, 4 hours drive from Colombo via Dambulla.   
  • Kalpitiya – a newly emerging tourist beach holiday destination. It opened its door to the visitors after ending the civil war in 2009. This is another beach resort that is highly underexplored compared to other beaches resorts such as Negombo and Bentota. If you have an enthusiast of kitesurfing then Kalpitiya is the best beach for you, here you get a huge freshwater lagoon, which is perfect for kitesurfing. 3 hours drive from Colombo.
  • Jaffna – is the northernmost cities on the island and had gone through a very rough period until 2009 from 1983, due to the civil war. Today it breathes more freely than earlier and free of the grip of the terrorist.  6 hours drive from Colombo via Anuradhapura on A9 Road.
  • Trincomalee – The capital of east coast of Sri Lanka and has a strong presence of the Tamil community. A large number of beautiful Hindu temples are scattered over Trincomalee district. Some of the highlights in the city are the fort, Hindu temple, hot wells, and Nilaveli beach. 5 hours drive from Colombo.  
  • Arugam Bay 
    thee heaven of kite surfers in Sri Lanka, Arugam bay is the most popular surfing spot on the island and attracts a large number of servers every year. It also has some of the stunning beaches with torque water, which is suitable for most saltwater activities such as snorkelling, diving, swimming and fishing.  Arugam bay is located near Yala national park, So Yala and Arugambey can be easily included in a Sri Lanka itinerary. The drive from Colombo to Arugam bay lasts around 7 hours

How To Get Around Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a small country and it will not be a daunting task to travel around the island. The distance between the sites is comparatively low and therefore it is easy to travel between cities and tourist attractions. The road network is considerably improved over the last few years and new high ways were added to the network making it easy to drive to most places from the airport and Colombo.  

However life as a driver is not easy due to chaotic traffic condition and it can be a time-consuming in some cases, especially in the cities. Driving in Sri Lanka is not easy especially for foreign travellers and therefore the best option is to stick to rent a car with a local driver for the trip.   

The trains and buses can be used to reach most places on the island, they are cheap but they are time-consuming, crowded, slow and often behind the schedule.

Hiring a car and a driver is the best option of travelling around the island, and it is the most popular way of getting around the island for most visitors. You can rent a car and a driver for a particular trip or a day. However it is highly advisable to book a car and a driver for the entire Sri Lanka trip, thereby you save a lot of money and do the entire circuit in a private vehicle without any hassle. Travelling by taxi can be a bit expensive than public transport but is the most convenient way of getting around the country while waving time on the road.

For more in-depth information on how to get around Sri Lanka, check out our Ultimate Guide To Getting Around Sri Lanka.

When is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka? November to April best time to travel to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka dry weather from November to April

When To Visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a year-round holiday destination; however, the main tourist season on the island starts in November and lasts until April. The dry weather dominated most parts of the country during this period and occasional raining can occur mainly on the east coast.

  • South-west monsoon – May to Nov
    Southwest monsoon is the main rainy season on the island and most parts of the coming under influence of monsoon. Heavy rainfall is frequent over the most parts of the island, especially the over southwestern Sri Lanka, including the hills. If you choose to visit Sri Lanka during this period you can easily escape from the rain by heading to the east coast. There will be no rain on the east coast from April to November.    
  • North-east Monsoon – Nov to January
    Brings rain to the east coast, north area, and part of the cultural triangle also coming under the influence of north-east monsoon, especially Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Heavy rain can occur during this period over the east and northern Sri Lanka making the sudden influx of rainwater, resulting in unexpected flooding over some areas.
  • However, there is a shift of weather pattern unexpected rain or drought over the island. The weather pattern has its own formula, obscure to the human; it is difficult to predict the exact beginning and end of these monsoons. For instance, the south and west coast of Sri Lanka was under heavy rain in the month of November 2019, but according to the correct formula it is the beginning of the dry season in the south and west coast and dry weather should dominate in the region from the beginning of November. Usually, the rain occurs in the evening and late afternoon during the monsoon and mooring is suitable for outdoor activities.  

When To Do This Itinerary

September to April is the best time to do this itinerary, with dry and sunny weather over most parts of the island including beaches in the west and southern Sri Lanka as well as mountains.

If you follow this Sri Lanka itinerary and make visit most popular beaches in Sri Lanka (western and southern coast beaches) and the Hill station, September to April is the best time to travel, because you get the sunniest and driest weather. December to March is the peak season in Sri Lanka (west and southern coast is dry and sunny) and shoot the prices of accommodation to the top. 

If you, however, planning to visit Sri Lanka between May and August, and need to avoid the torrential rain, then you should switch to the east coast from the western and southern sea areas and travel to beaches like Arugam Bay, Kalkudah and Pasikudah.

If you are planning to add north and east coast to your Sri Lanka itinerary, you get the best weather over that region from February to September.

April and September are shoulder seasons in Sri Lanka and gives the best odds for good weather in the entire country. Mid-April is, however, New Year in Sri Lanka and the celebrations lead to packed trains and sold out train tickets.

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