Traveling around Sri Lanka in two weeks

Summing up our travel route in Sri Lanka, trying to give an idea of the diversities you can experience. The following text is a short summery including where we stayed, how to get from A to B, and links to the blog posts from the different experiences.

Day 1, 29 December: Male, Colombo
Stopping over in Male, The Maldives for 9 hours.
Arriving in Sri Lankas capital Colombo in the evening. We had pre-booked a taxi to pick us up at the airport, arranged by the guesthouse we stayed in. Price 30$.
Overnight stay at: Colombo Haven B&B
Small family run B&B. We felt very welcome, and they were very helpful. Very tasty breakfast as well! The room was large including a huge terrace.
Colombo Haven B&B, Colombo Colombo Haven B&B

Day 2, 30 December: Colombo
Visited Salvation Army The Haven children’s home, giving them clothes and toys we brought from home.
Eating our way through Galle Road on a Food tour with a local.
Overnight stay at: Colombo Haven B&B

Day 3, 31 December: Colombo to Galle
Express bus on the Colombo-Galle highway, leaving from Maharagama bus station approximately every hour. The journey takes 90 minutes, but depending on where you are coming from in Colombo, you also have to count in the time to get there. It took us about 45 min from Colombo Haven B&B in Colombo 3 to Maharagama by taxi, price 700LKR. Comfortable bus with AC. Price 420LKR per person.
Arriving in Galle, the bus station is right next to the railway station, about 10 min walk from Galle Fort.
New Year’s celebration at the beach in Unawatuna.
Overnight stay at: Leynbaan Villa & Fish Spa
Small hotel in the old town of Galle. The room could have been bigger and cleaner, but if you are not planning to hang out in the room all day, it covers your basic needs.
Leynbaan Villa & Fish Spa, Galle

Day 4 & 5, 1-2 January: Galle
Lazy days in Galle with a day trip to Unawatuna.
Overnight stay at: Leynbaan Villa & Fish Spa

Day 6, 3 January: Galle to Colombo
As we did not get to see much of the capital when we first arrived, we decided to return one day earlier, even though we were booked in Galle for four nights.
Taking an afternoon train on 1st class from Galle to Colombo, 990 LKR per person. The coach had AC and therefore closed windows, which were almost impossible to look through. Too bad, as the train journey is supposed to be quite nice. I would absolutely choose 2nd or 3rd class instead, as they have fans, and therefor possibility to open the windows.
Dinner, and visiting local bars.
Overnight stay at : Ivy Lane.
A brand new (not finished) hotel. There were ongoing construction works and the elevator was not installed, but the room was really nice. Great value for money!

Ivy Lane, Colombo

Day 7, 4 January: Colombo
Poya day, or full moon day, in Sri Lanka. Wandered around town, soaking in the atmosphere.
Overnight stay at : Ivy Lane

Day 8, 5 January: Train from Colombo to Polonnaruwa
Took the early morning train at 06.05 from Colombo to Polonnaruwa. Had reservations in 2nd class, comfortable seats, and fantastic views of the scenery passing by the open window.
Rented bikes from Thisara Guest House and had a beautiful bike ride along the lake.
Overnight stay at: Thisara Guest House
Situated a short bike ride away from the lake and the ancient ruins. Our room was good sized, the bathroom could absolutely be cleaner, and there are A LOT of mosquitos, so be sure to tuck the mosquito net right, and off course use insect repellant spray. Plus for providing mosquito coil when sitting out on the terrace.
Tasty food for both breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One thing worth noticing; they lock the front gate in the evening, so don’t expect to get out to go somewhere else. However, there is not much happening elsewhere either.

Day 9, 6 January: Polonnaruwa
Explored the ruins of ancient Polonnaruwa
Overnight stay at: Thisara Guest House

Day 10, 7 January: Driving from Polonnaruwa via Sigiriya and the Rock Temple in Dambulla to Kandy, and other stops along the way.
We decided the best way to get the most out of the day and see as much as possible, we had to rent a driver. The price was 9000 LKR. Pickup at 09.30, arriving in Kandy around 18.00.
Overnight stay at: Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy
Situated on one of the hills surrounding the city. A bit far away from the city center, about 30 min walk. A tuk-tuk charge 200LKR, but it is probably negotiable. Our room was clean and just the right size, with a nice balcony overlooking a quiet valley.
Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy

Day 11, 8 January: Kandy
It was Election Day, so we were told to stay at our guesthouse in case of demonstrations. However, we went out for a walk downtown, we had to see some of the city!
Overnight stay at: Blinkbonnie Inn Kandy

Day 12, 9 January: Train from Kandy to Hatton, then bus to Delhousie
Scenic train ride from Kandy to Hatton, among tea plantations. 3rd class at the train, but just as good as 2nd class. Train ride is 2 hour 20 min. Price 400 LKR per person + 75 LKR per person for the local bus from Hatton to Delhousie.
Overnight stay at: Wathsala Inn
Situated along the road in a cluster of small hotels, about 700 meter from the last stop for the bus. You can get off along the way, but as the bus was crowded and our luggage was clamped underneath a pile of other backpacks, we came along to the end. The room was large, but the bathroom smelled like diesel. Quite cold during the night, so we were glad we had brought a blanket. Beware of mosquito’s! The restaurant has a great view to Adam’s Peak and serve buffet dinner, but we ended up eating at one of the other places nearby.
Wathsala Inn, Delhousie

Day 13, 10 January: Hiking to Adam’s Peak at night, driving to Negombo
Hiking to Adam’s Peak
We figured it would take too much time and hassle to get from Delhousi to Negombo, so we shopped around for prices for a driver. Starting at 14000 LKR, we asked a few more, and ended up with 11000 LKR.
Overnight stay at: Thisara Holiday New Villa
Situated within a guarded housing complex, about 30 min walk to the beach. The room was quite small, with a private bathroom next-door. The villa has two other rooms, so kitchen and living room is shared. There is also a pool, shared with all the other houses within the complex.
Thisara Holiday New Villa, Negombo

Day 14, 11 January: Negombo
Doing basically nothing, just relaxing, hanging out at the beach and watching the locals enjoying their day off.

Day 15, 12 January: Negombo – flying out to Dubai
Found a tuk-tuk driver that drove us to the airport for 800 LKR. Note that the tuk-tuks are not allowed to drive all the way, and have their own stand 2-300 m from the entrance.
Overnight stay in Dubai: Marina Palm View Room
We stayed in the London room, and found it very nice and clean. The room is large with beds for four persons, so an easy pick for a larger group. The bathroom however, is shared with the two other rooms. The bathroom is tiny, so make sure not to bring anything unnecessary when showering, as it will most probably be wet.
Marina Palm View London Room, Dubai Marina Palm View London Room

Day 16, 13 January: Dubai
Speed sightseeing, as we only had one full day.
Overnight stay in Dubai: Marina Palm View Room

I also noticed they have snooze cubes at the airport in Dubai. As we were staying for a longer time, we did not get to try, but it is absolutely on my bucket list!

Day 17, 14 January: Flying home to the winter.

We booked most of our accommodation through Airbnb. If you are new to Airbnb you can sign up using this link, and get $25 off on your first booking.

Just a few more things to bear in mind when planning a trip to Sri Lanka.

See the official Sri Lanka Tourism website for more information about Sri Lanka. 

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