Two-Week Budget Backpacking Itinerary for Sri Lanka
A landscape as beautiful as and beyond flattery, terrains with dreamy roads and mesmerising cliffs, tea trails spread across acres of rolling hills, waterfalls at every corner and nature at its celestial beauty. Under the moonlight, listening to the gushing sound of waves on the beach, I lay opening my soul to the soothing breeze. Such is the magic of Sri Lanka – A paradise everyone must travel to once in their life.
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I have always been fascinated by the idea of travelling solo to faraway lands where I can make memories worth lifetime, something that no one can ever take away. Travelling around Sri Lanka or rather backing for 15 days was one of the most phenomenal experiences, words aren’t even close to express my rejoice. There is sorcery in the air of the country and it takes a pure wanderlust soul to understand that. I am an extensive planner and planned my own itinerary before I left. I hope this two weeks itinerary for Sri Lanka can help you visit the best places around the Island country.
How to Travel Two Weeks in Sri Lanka 🙂 🙂
Flight boarded from India, precisely from Bengaluru to Colombo at 1.30am. The flight time was approximately 1.30 hours. After completion of the immigration, currency exchange etc. and other things, my Sri Lanka solo travel journey started.
Day 1 & 2 (Colombo to Dambulla)
Arrived at Bandarnaike International Airport, Colombo and started off to Dambulla. There are regular buses that ply from airport to Colombo Bus Station or city and it usually starts from 5.00am. It takes approximately an hour to complete the distance and the bus takes you directly to Colombo bus station. If you are leaving for Dambulla or Sigiriya, hop on to a bus that goes to Trincomalee (It would be mentioned on the bus). It takes around 6 hours to reach the city of Dambulla by bus. It is better to make Dambulla your base if you are planning to visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka – Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.
Recommended Accommodation– There are many budget accommodations in Dambulla. It is wise to reserve a place via www.airbnb.co.in or www.booking.com. I stayed at Oasis Guesthouse, run an amazing German Lady and her Sri Lankan Husband. It is opposite to Dambulla Rock Temple making it an excellent accommodation choice.
Places of Interest – Dambulla Cave Temple, Lions Rock & Pidurangala Rock (Sigiriya), Dambulla Lake, Ancient city of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park.
Day 3 & 4 (Dambulla to Kandy)
There are regular buses that ply from Dambulla to Kandy every day with the first bus leaving as early as 6.30am. It is recommended to take the bus from the main bus station in Dambulla to get a seat for the journey. It takes around 3 hours to reach Kandy. The buses are also available in front of Dambulla Cave Temple but it is less likely for you to get a seat. I made Kandy my base for two days to explore in and around the city.
Places of Interest – Temple of Tooth Relic, Kandy Cultural Centres for cultural dance(5.00pm), stroll around Kandy Lake, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Ceylon Tea Museum, Elephant Poo Factory, Susantha Spice & Herbal Garden, Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple, Peradeniya Botanical Garden, Kandy View Point, New Temple (I don’t know the name)
Contact Lesley for Tuk Tuk for tours – +94777859573. He is a gem of a person and an amazing tour guide.
Day 5 (Adam’s Peak)
Take a morning train from Kandy to Hatton. You can get tickets for second and third class on the spot from the counter. Mostly during the season (November to February), you will get a bus going to Delhousie right outside the Hatton Railway Station or else take a bus from Hatton. Delhousie or Nallathanniya is the base for Adam’s Peak.
Recommended Accommodation – There are a number of guest houses and hotels near the base of Adam’s Peak. It is recommended to stay close to the base to start early. I recommend Blue Sky Guest House, for its location and convenience.
Start your climb at 2 am so that you are at Adam’s Peak for the sunrise. It is one of the most phenomenal things to witness as the sun peeps through the clouds and paints the sky as one beautiful canvas.
Day 6 & 7 (Delhousie to Nuwara Eliya)
There are regular buses from Delhousie to Hatton railway station or bus stop. Take a train from Hatton to Nanu Oya for Nuwara Eliya. From Nanu Oya railway station, it is around 6kms to Nuwara Eliya and regular buses throughout the day are available till 6.00 pm. Hiring a Tuk Tuk from Delhousie to Nuwara Eliya would cost you around 4000LKR.
Recommended Accommodation – Nuwara Eliya is a comparatively expensive place and hence I preferred staying at Nanu Oya. I highly recommend The Train View Hotel, convenient location and amazing view.
Place of Interest – Horton National Park, Pedro’s Tea Estate, Gregory Lake, St. Claire’s Waterfalls, Devon’s Waterfalls, Lovers Leap Waterfall, Stroll around the Tea Estates
Day 8 & 9 (Nuwara Eliya or Nanu Oya to Ella)
Take a train from Nanu Oya to Ella and enjoy the scenic and famous train journey amidst rolling hills of tea plantations. It takes around 3 hours to reach Ella. Travelling around Sri Lanka is very convenient and thanks to the amazing transportation connectivity.
Recommended Accommodation – If you are looking for a place to be at home away from home, I recommend My Hostels. It is around 2.5 km from the city centre but extremely calm and homely. The owner provides free transport mostly to and from the hostel. You are free to use the kitchen and complimentary English breakfast is provided.
Place of Interest – Little’s Adam Peak, Demodara Nine Arches Bridge, Ella Rock, Rawana Waterfall, Ella Spice Garden
Day 10 & 11 (Ella to Tangalle)
Tangalle is a place to be and so far my favourite in Sri Lanka with serene white sand stretched beaches. The beaches in Tangalle are less crowded as compared to other places in South. To reach Tangalle, hop on to a bus to Matara from Ella and get down at Tangalle. Choose an accommodation close to the beach to make the most of your stay.
Places of Interest – Tangalle Beach, Medikettiya & Medilla Beach, Goyambakke Beach, Kayaking through Tangalle Lagoon & Mangroves, Rekawa Beach for Turtle Hatching
Day 12 & 13 (Tangalle to Mirissa)
There are many buses available throughout the day from Tangalle bus station to Mirissa. Hop on to any bus that goes to Colombo or Galle to get down at Mirissa. There are plenty of buses, just ask for Mirissa and get inside. It takes around 1.30 hour to reach Mirissa.
Recommended Accommodation– Mirissa is an amazing place to be and there are many options for accommodation. I recommend MY-Hostels, Mirissa if you are looking for a comfortable and safe hostel. There is both female only and mixed dorms. It is close to Mirissa Beach with lockers, comfortable beds and nice complimentary English breakfast served.
Places of Interest – Mirissa Surfing Beach, Secret Beach, Whale Watching, Day trip to Weligama Beach
Day 14 (Mirissa to Galle)
There are regular buses that ply from Mirissa to Galle and the distance can be covered in around 1 hour. You can choose to stay at Mirissa and take a day trip to Galle if you have time. Start early morning to cover maximum places in Galle. I did not take accommodation as I had an early morning flight back to Bengaluru at 4.00 am on day 15th. After half day tour by booking a Tuk Tuk, I left for Colombo at around 5.00pm from Galle bus station.
Places of Interest – Galle Fort, Unawatuna, Stilt Fishing near Galle, Yatagala Purana Viharaya Temple
Day 15 – Fly back to India from Colombo
I had a flight back to India early morning at 4 AM. There are a number of buses that ply from Colombo to airport road, the bus charge is not more than 150LKR, so be careful not to be duped. The buses drop you around 500m away from the airport.
I hope this Sri Lanka suggested two-week itinerary works for you. There are many other options that you can exclude or include depending on the time you have.
Things wish I did Differently
- There is nothing much to do in Nuwara Eliya until you are planning to do Horton Plain National Park. I did not do Horton and hence one night was enough.
- Spending one more day in and around Ella and take a trip to Udawalawe National Park for a wildlife safari.
- Spend one day on the beaches of Negombo and enjoy the Dutch canal connecting Negombo to Colombo.
- If you are from India, it is highly recommended to get the currency exchange done in US Dollars for a good rate. On exchanging from Indian Rupees, you might end up bearing loss.
- Keep an extra budget for water as mostly water is not free. One bottle of 2LTRS water cost around 80LKR. It is recommended to purchase 4 litres galloons.
- Always carry a scarf along with your because it might be needed in most of the religious places to cover your legs.
- Carry a strong sunscreen because the sun rays are very strong and I got really tanned after my trip.
- If you are wondering how to travel around Sri Lanka, public transportation is quite sorted and clean. You can get train tickets instantly for second and third class, trains are very clean and convenient.