Sri Lanka is a country that I initially didn’t know much about and I never thought I would visit… but after spending two weeks in Sri Lanka, it very quickly made it to the top of my list of most recommended destinations to visit!
2 weeks is a perfect amount of time to explore and discover all the hot spots and hidden gems that this destination has to offer. From the pristine coastlines to the verdant hill country landscapes, there are awesome adventures to be had for everyone.
I have put together this complete 2 week Sri Lanka itinerary to help you plan your trip ahead of time.
SRI LANKA ITINERARY OVERVIEW
Here is an overview of an ideal 2 Week Sri Lanka Itinerary including all the places I personally visited in this order.
- Hikkaduwa (2 days)
- Unawatuna (2 days)
- Weligama (2 days)
- Udawalawe (2 days)
- Ella (3 days)
- Kandy (2 days)
- Colombo (1 day)
DAYS 1 & 2 – HIKKADUWA
Hikkaduwa is a thriving coastal town located 115km south of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. There are plenty of things to see and do in Hikkaduwa including snorkeling trips, ancient Buddhist temples, surfing, juice bars, local cuisine, and more.
The best time to visit Hikkaduwa is in the dry season between November and March.
I arrived at Colombo International Airport in Sri Lanka, which is located on the far west side of the country, and headed south to Hikkaduwa.
Find All → Hostels / Resorts / Hotels in Hikkaduwa
HOW TO GET TO HIKKADUWA
I was traveling with three friends and we took a private taxi from Colombo Airport to Hikkaduwa which cost around 8,000 Rupees ($45) total and we split the cost between the four of us. The drive from Colombo to Hikkaduwa takes around two hours.
There are much cheaper options available to get from Colombo to Hikkaduwa such as the train or the bus, though this journey takes a lot longer.
Bus from Colombo to Hikkaduwa:
Take bus 187 from Colombo Airport to Colombo Fort Central Bus Station for around 100 Rupees. You will have to transfer buses here and take any bus that is clearly labeled Galle, Tangalle, Matara, Hikkaduwa which costs around 300 Rupees. Buses run every fifteen minutes. Just ask the driver to notify you when the bus is about to arrive in Hikkaduwa.
Total journey time: 3-4 hours
Train from Colombo to Hikkaduwa:
Take bus 187 From Colombo Airport to Colombo Fort Railway Station for around 100 Rupees. You can purchase a 2nd or 3rd class ticket to Hikkaduwa when you arrive at the railway station for around 150 Rupees. Don’t expect to get a seat on this train as they are generally always packed.
Total journey time: 4-5 hours
Full blog post: Top 7 Things To Do In Hikkaduwa
Hikkaduwa Beach – Sri Lanka two week itinerary
7 THINGS TO DO IN HIKKADUWA
Explore the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters at one of the best Sri Lanka beaches, Hikkaduwa Beach.
Go for a swim or even find a palm tree to climb! There are numerous swim spots along the stretch of coastline, many of which have huge turtles swimming around close to shore.
Don’t forget your waterproof phone case to take great shots for your IG!
SNORKELING AT HIKKADUWA CORAL REEF
Rent a mask and snorkel and take a short boat ride over to the Hikkaduwa coral reef to get a closer look at the underwater world.
There are many tour operators set up on Hikkaduwa beach that can help you organize a Hikkaduwa snorkeling trip. If snorkeling is not enough, you can also book a scuba diving trip to explore the shipwrecks right off the coast.
RENT A SURFBOARD
Surf’s Up! Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka is becoming quite a famous surf spot because of its clean waves and consistent swell.
If you don’t have your own surfboard you can easily find one to rent from a local surf shack on the beach or from a shop in town. This was one of my favorite things to do in Hikkaduwa.
Book Now → Hikkaduwa Village Tour
Snorkeling with turtles
Adventure down the railway tracks of Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka. Just one block back from the main street is the local railway line where you can dare to get as close as you like to the trains that come hooning past. When the track is clear, it is a great spot to take photos standing on the railway.
Quench your thirst at one of the roadside Juice Bars. It is by far the freshest juice I have tasted. The local fruit market is working around the clock, so you know the fruit is going to be as fresh as it gets.
Visit the Gangarama Maha Vihara Temple. This interesting Buddhist temple has lots of popular educational paintings that are the work of one man over nearly a decade. The monks will be very happy to show you around.
LOCAL STREET FOOD
If you are a foodie then you must indulge in the local roadside roti in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka. There are many different roti’s to choose from, though a personal favorite of mine is the spicy vegetable and egg.
Railway adventures – Two Weeks Sri Lanka
Juice bar in Hikkaduwa
Exploring Hikkaduwa Beach
WHERE TO STAY IN HIKKADUWA
Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka has hundreds of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my favorite places to stay, from Hikkaduwa hostels to the best hotels in Hikkaduwa. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Aditya Boutique Hotel
A luxurious 5-star hotel offering spacious air-conditioned rooms, private plunge pools, free wifi, a beauty spa and an in-house restaurant. Aditya Boutique Hotel is suitable for families, couples and even solo travelers.
Mid Range: Nico Beach Hotel
This 3-star accommodation is situated right down on Hikkaduwa’s beachfront. Simply furnished, air-conditioned rooms come with a wardrobe, a minibar, mosquito net, seating area, and a private bathroom. Perfect for couples and friends traveling on a budget.
Budget: Yonal Homestay
Centrally located in Hikkaduwa, Yonal Homestay has a shared lounge, shared kitchen, and free wifi. The rooms are equipped with a TV, kitchenette, fridge, private bathroom and air-conditioning. This place is perfect for solo travelers on a budget if you want to get bang for your buck!
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN HIKKADUWA, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
DAYS 3 & 4 – UNAWATUNA
From Hikkaduwa, head south to Unawatuna which is located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka.
The local buses are the best means of transport between these coastal towns in Sri Lanka as they are cheap and very frequent. You can take a local bus from the Hikkaduwa bus stop to Unawatuna and the journey takes around one hour for as little as 50 Rupees.
Unawatuna was one of my favorite spots in Sri Lanka and I recommend spending two days here to see all the hot spots.
Find All → Hostels / Resorts / Hotels in Unawatuna
GETTING AROUND UNAWATUNA
I rented a scooter for two days to get around Unawatuna which cost me 1000 Rupees per day.
There are a number of scooter rental shops in the town and you will need to hand over your passport or some form of ID as a safety deposit. This worked out cheaper than having to take tuk-tuk rides everywhere.
Alternatively, most accommodations offer bicycle rentals which are another great way to explore Unawatuna.
Have you got travel insurance for Sri Lanka? We all know accidents can happen and having World Nomads Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.
9 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN UNAWATUNA
JUNGLE BEACH UNAWATUNA
If getting off the beaten path is your thing, then I know just the spot for you! Make your way over to Jungle Beach Unawatuna on foot, which is on the opposite side of the headland from Unawatuna Beach.
There is a dirt trail that leads you towards Jungle Beach Unawatuna. You will come across a fork in the trail, the trail to the north is an easy walk through the bush and over to the other side of the headland emerging at Jungle Beach Unawatuna.
The second trail will take you down to some small, rocky cliffs on the seaside. This is the off-beaten path I was talking about. From here you can scale around the boulders and over rock pools, eventually emerging at Jungle Beach Unawatuna.
Jungle Beach Unawatuna is a great spot for a swim and one of the best things to do in Unawatuna. There is also a bar and restaurant on the sand under the palms to enjoy some food and drinks!
That said, make sure to bring your GoPro to capture all the adventures!
Jungle Beach Unawatuna
JAPANESE PEACE PAGODA
From Jungle Beach, direct your gaze up to the top of the headland and you will spot a big white sculpture, standing tall above the trees. This is the Japanese Peace Pagoda in Unawatuna.
A Buddhist stupa to inspire peace among all races. There is no entrance fee to visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda, though please be respectful, wear suitable clothing and take off your shoes when wandering around the sacred site.
Travel Tip: If you visit the Japanese Peace Pagoda in the late afternoon, you will be blessed with an amazing view of the sunset.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
Take a half-day trip to Galle located just fifteen minutes north of Unawatuna Beach. In Galle, I recommend you visit the old Dutch Fort which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Galle Fort is a historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage monument and it impressively withstood the 2004 boxing day tsunami!
On the outer walls of Galle Fort is the Galle Lighthouse. Discover the old lighthouse down by the water which is surrounded by palm trees and beautiful beaches. The Galle Lighthouse is another great viewpoint for sunset.
Galle Fort – Sri Lanka In Two Weeks
DALAWELLA BEACH TREE SWING
2km south of Unawatuna Beach is Dalawella Beach. This spot is up there with one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. A palm tree oasis, golden sands, and electric blue water await.
This is also where you can find the Instafamous Palm Tree Rope Swing on Dalawella Beach. This palm tree rope swing went viral on Instagram and it is now the reason why many travelers are coming to Sri Lanka just to give it a go!
EAT SOME LOCAL STREET FOOD
Cafes and seaside restaurants fill up the seaside town of Unawatuna. During the high season, December – March, the prices for food and drinks are around 1000 Rupees for a meal and 500 Rupees for a beer.
If you are a budget traveler like myself and want to spend 250 Rupees on a meal, try one of the local street food vendors and order a plate of Kottu Roti. A traditional Sri Lankan dish with roti, vegetables, egg, and spices. It is considered the equivalent of a hamburger, in terms of popularity and a personal favorite of mine.
Full Blog Post: Dalawella Beach Swing
Dalawella Palm Tree Swing
Restaurant in Unawatuna
JOIN A YOGA CLASS
Unawatuna has a number of Yoga studios for those yogis out there and also for people who have never tried yoga and are willing to give it a go. Daily yoga classes are available at Thambapanni Retreat, Yoga With Asiri, Sri Yoga Shala, and The Secret Garden Dome.
I attended a yoga class at The Secret Garden Dome and it was the best way to relax and unwind after a few days of adventuring in Unawatuna.
Yatagala Rajamaha Viharaya is around 4kms east of Unawatuna. A 2300-year-old Buddhist place of worship. The temple is made up of four huge granite boulders that create a natural cave and it is used as a meditation hall. Newer developments include a peace pagoda stupa and a giant Buddha statue.
I spent one hour exploring the Yatagala Temple and it is not to be missed.
HABARADUWA SEA TURTLE HATCHERY
A ten-minute drive south of Unawatuna is the Habaraduwa Sea Turtle Hatchery.
This is a non-profit organization, which is maintained for the survival of sea turtles for the next generation. This particular hatchery has released more the 500,000 turtles into the ocean!
Early morning yoga class
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN UNAWATUNA
There are hundreds of homestays, private villas, and beach resorts to choose from in Unawatuna, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favorite places to stay to suit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
The best 5-star resort in Unawatuna! Thaproban Pavilion Waves offers beachfront accommodation, an outdoor swimming pool, sun terrace, a bar, billiards table, and dartboard. The rooms are modern and fitted with air-conditioning, flat-screen tv, equipped kitchen, seating area, and private bathroom. American or Asian breakfast is included.
Mid Range: La Villa
I personally stayed at La Villa and highly recommend this accommodation to anyone visiting Unawatuna. The staff are very friendly and great cooks. The rooms are spacious, comfortable, air-conditioned, private ensuite and free wifi is available. The staff can help you organize snorkeling trips and other activities in Unawatuna. Perfect for couples and friends traveling on a budget.
Budget: Green Gecko Hostel
The best and cheapest hostel in Unawatuna! The Green Gecko Hostel has dorm rooms available with a shared bathroom. The property has free wifi and a buffet breakfast is included for guests. Perfect place to stay for solo travelers and friends.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN UNAWATUNA, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
DAYS 5 & 6 – WELIGAMA
My journey continued south to Weligama Bay, which is on the south coast of Sri Lanka, and a short 45-minute bus ride from Unawatuna. This cruisy beach town is a must-see.
Weligama boasts some of the best surf in Sri Lanka and it’s also a good place to base yourself for a couple of days to explore other nearby beaches located to the east and west of Weligama.
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GETTING AROUND WELIGAMA
I recommend renting a scooter again to explore the bay and surrounding beaches. Again, there are several scooter rental shops in the town and scooter rental costs around 1000 Rupees per day.
Alternatively, most accommodations offer bicycle rentals which are another great way to explore Weligama.
3 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN WELIGAMA
SECRET BEACH MIRISSA
One beach in particular that I highly recommend checking out is the beautiful Secret Beach Mirissa which is tucked away on the other side of the headland located on the eastern side of Weligama Bay.
Secret Beach Mirissa is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka and there are three beach areas to explore.
Blue Lagoon: Directly in front of the Secret Beach Bar, there are hammocks and day beds overlooking blue lagoon beach. A tidal rock pool, perfect for a lazy swim without the disturbance of crashing waves.
Palm Cove: Around the corner from the blue lagoon is where the jungle meets the sea and here you’ll find a picturesque cove with golden sand and coconut palms. Palm Cove is the perfect spot to go snorkeling and exploring along the rocks. This is one of the best beaches in Mirissa!
Shelly Beach: This tucked-away paradise is a sight for sore eyes! If you are in the blue lagoon looking out at the horizon, head to the right along the rocks and keep following it around until you come across Shelly Beach. Swim in the crystal clear rock pools and get sprayed by the blowhole!
Full blog post: Secret Beach Mirissa
Secret Beach Mirissa
Midigama is Weligama’s baby brother, a short five to ten minutes drive west from Weligama Bay. This small surf town on the southern tip of Sri Lanka can be easily missed but definitely NOT to be missed.
I spent half a day in Midigama sipping on coconuts, surfing the bay, and relaxing on the beach!
Midigama attracts decent waves in the months of November to March. You can rent a surfboard from the local surf shop for 30,000 Rupees per hour. Midigama also has a skate park with boards available to rent also.
Full Blog Post: Midigama Beach
Midigama Beach – Two weeks in Sri Lanka
Midigama Surf Shop
SK Town Sri Lanka, a short forty-minute drive east of Weligama, is a popular surf spot offering good times and good waves for everyone! SK Town was one of my favorite beachside destinations that I visited.
If you are a first-time surfer, you can get a lesson from one of the local surf coaches that hang out in the beach shacks located down on the shoreline at SK Town Beach. They also have boards available to rent for 300 Rupees per hour.
If surfing is not your thing, you can go for a wander around the headland to the east of the main beach. Here you can find small rock pools and a cluster of coconut palms, some bending right out over the ocean!
After you have had your daily dose of Vitamin Sea, perch yourself up at Tiki Bar for a fresh cold coconut! This epic little beach shack resides on the sand and is just a stone’s throw from the ocean.
There are also daily yoga classes available at Surf Lanka for anyone wanting to stretch out their bodies and their minds.
Full blog post: SK Town Sri Lanka
SK Town Beach
Sk Town Beach
WHERE TO STAY IN WELIGAMA
Weligama has countless accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favorite places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
The best 5-star resort on the south coast of Sri Lanka! The Marriott is a stone’s throw from the beach offering beachfront rooms, an outdoor pool, sports facilities, and more! The rooms are modern and spacious featuring a bathtub, balcony, flat-screen tv, private bathroom, air-conditioning, and free wifi. Perfect for couples and families.
Mid Range: GG Lodge Mirissa
This 3-star lodge offers double rooms and family-sized rooms less than 1km from Mirissa Beach. Featuring a shared lounge, garden terrace, room service, including breakfast and free wifi. The rooms are air-conditioned with a flat-screen tv, private bathroom, seating area, and awesome views. Perfect place to stay with friends and families.
Budget: Unique Surf Farmhouse
The best budget accommodation in Mirissa. Unique Surf Farmhouse is centrally located and features spacious rooms, flat-screen tv, dining area and private bathroom. Perfect for solo backpackers and friends.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN WELIGAMA, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
DAYS 7 & 8 – UDAWALAWE
After spending the first week exploring some awesome locations and beaches down the west coast of Sri Lanka, continue your Sri Lanka route to Udawalawe National Park.
The Udawalawe Safari is an unforgettable safari tour through one of Sri Lanka’s biggest national parks. You can come face to face with many different species of birds, water buffalo, crocodiles, and wild elephants.
HOW TO GET TO UDAWALAWE
From Weligama to Udawalawe you can catch a local bus that takes around three to four hours. The drive through the lush landscapes as you leave the coast and head inland is absolutely amazing.
I recommend spending one night in Udawalawe when you arrive and organizing a sunrise safari for the following day.
Search Now → Udawalawe Safari Tours
WHERE TO BOOK AN UDAWALAWE SAFARI
Most Udawalawe Safari Tours can be booked through your accommodation when you arrive. The cheapest option is to share a Jeep with some other people staying at the same accommodation as you.
The approximate cost of a Jeep that seats six to eight people is 6,000 Rupees ($40). The entrance fee to Udawalawe National Park is 3,500 Rupees ($25).
I booked my Udawalawe Safari through the staff at Makulu Safari Camping which was really convenient.
Full blog post: Udawalawe Safari
WHERE TO STAY AT UDAWALAWE
The best place to stay is in Udawalawa, a small town that is located 10km away from the entrance to the Udawalawe National Park.
The best time of day to do the Udawalawe Safari is when the park opens at 6 am, so it is ideal to stay one night in the nearby town of Udawalawa and be ready for an early start the following day.
There are also glamping options available in the area which is a great experience that I highly recommend. My friends and I stayed one night at a campground called Makulu Safari Camping.
Our accommodation for the night was a safari tent on the edge of a river bed, nestled in the jungle. The tents are raised off the ground on a wooden deck with two large double beds and a private bathroom inside.
This place has some serious magic about it – surrounded by coconut palms, beautiful gardens and the staff are overly kind.
We paid $40 split between the four of us for one night’s accommodation and breakfast was an additional $7 each. Definitely go and check this place out, I promise you will not regret it!
Book Now →Makulu Safari Camping
Elephant’s at Udawalawe
Udawalawe National Park
A herd of wild elephants
Makulu Safari Camp
DAYS 9, 10 & 11 – ELLA
Ella has quickly become a popular spot for travelers for its profuse scenery and numerous fun adventures to be had in the region. You could easily spend a week here if you had the time, you will see why when you arrive. This place has a really positive and laid-back vibe about it!
HOW TO GET TO ELLA
Continue your journey north from Udawalawe to Ella by taking a tuk-tuk, a private taxi, or the public bus. The journey time is approximately two hours, give or take, because the roads are quite steep.
From Udawalawe to Ella a tuk-tuk will cost 3,500 Rupees, private taxi 7,000 Rupees, and a public bus 300-400 Rupees.
Find All → Hostels / Resorts / Hotels in Ella
4 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ELLA
NINE ARCH BRIDGE
The Nine Arch Bridge, also known as The Bridge In The Sky, is a man-made masterpiece, ideally located in the ‘hill country’ of Ella, Sri Lanka. This structure is a man-made masterpiece with construction dating as far back as World War I.
HOW TO GET TO THE NINE ARCH BRIDGE
The Nine Arch Bridge is very close to the town of Ella. To walk there from the main street it will take you about thirty minutes or you can take a ten-minute tuk-tuk ride directly to the bridge.
I recommend hiking to the Nine Arch Bridge as you will pass through beautiful tea plantations and it is more of an adventure rather than sitting in the back of a tuk-tuk.
BEST TIME TO VISIT NINE ARCH BRIDGE ELLA
If you want to get some great shots of the Nine Arch Bridge and jungle surroundings, be sure to get up nice and early for a sunrise exploration. Chances are, you will be the only person around at this time… and walking along the tracks across the bridge is an unforgettable experience in itself.
If you have the time to visit the Ella Nine Arch Bridge more than once, definitely get back down there for when a train is scheduled to pass over the bridge. I was there around 10:30 am and the train came through at 11 am. It is a lot busier at this time but you can still manage to get some great photos.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE NINE ARCH BRIDGE
Once you have had your fun exploring on top of the Nine Arch Bridge, hike down the dirt track that leads underneath the bridge and into the tea plantation below. The dirt track is located on the opposite side to where the tunnel is.
I promise that you will get an amazing perspective of how tall and magnificent the Nine Arch Bridge bridge actually is when you are standing under one of the nine arches. If you carefully walk through the tea plantation you can also get some great angles of the bridge from here.
Full blog post: Nine Arch Bridge Ella
Hiking to the 9 Arch Bridge
Nine Arch Bridge Ella
Ravana Falls is a three-tier cascading waterfall that gushes down a rock face, creating rock pools along its path and it’s one of the best waterfalls to visit.
See All → Tours in Sri Lanka with Klook
HOW TO GET TO RAVANA FALLS
A short ten-minute drive down the mountainside from the main street in Ella is where you will find Ravana 50 Rupees.option is to jump on a local bus from the Ella bus stop, which costs around
The other option is to jump in the back of a tuk-tuk to get from Ella to Ravana falls and the price will be anywhere between 300-500 Rupees.
Hold on to your hats as you wind your way down through the verdant valley between Ella Rock & Little Adam’s Peak… the hairpin turns will make your belly churn! Don’t be afraid to look out the window though, because the spectacular views down the valley are absolutely phenomenal!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT RAVANA FALLS SRI LANKA
The first set of falls you will come to is a short one-minute walk from the main road. This is the more popular swimming hole beneath Ravana Falls where I noticed the majority of people were hanging out.
At first sight, this set of falls didn’t look very striking in comparison to the waterfalls in Bali and Lombok that I have previously explored. However, I noticed two more sets of falls… much higher up on the cliff face above, and of course, I had to go check them out!
As I trekked up through the bush to see the second and third-tier waterfalls, the views overlooking the valley were nothing short of amazing!
I explored this epic mountainside setting, swimming in rock pools and taking photos as the sun began to set over the clifftop above. I got lucky with the timing and was able to get some good shots while the last bit of sunshine was beaming down through the cracks of the valley.
Please take care when you visit Ravana Falls and don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. If you can make it to the top, you won’t regret it!
Full blog post: Ravana Falls
Views down the valley
LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK
Little Adam’s Peak sits 1, 141m above sea level and aptly got its name after its big brother, Adam’s Peak. This is a much larger mountain located in the west of Sri Lanka in Nuwara Eliya and both peaks are said to have similarities in shape.
This is one of Ella’s most popular hikes because it is an easy to moderate self-guided hike to the summit, boasting extensive panoramic views of the region!
HOW TO GET TO LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK
The way up to Little Adam’s Peak is very easy to find and the trail is clearly marked with signs showing the way.
The entrance is next to 98 Acres Resort where you can also see a statue of a white Buddha.
I hiked to Little Adam’s Peak for sunset and it only took me 45-minutes to reach the top. Allocate yourself a bit more time to take photos on the way up… it is absolutely stunning!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK SRI LANKA
Where the dirt trail comes to an end you will come to a set of stairs that lead you up to the top of Little Adam’s Peak. Here you will find a perfect lookout point to watch the sunset and enjoy the panoramic views of the valley.
But don’t end your hike here, follow the trail along the ridge because the view gets much better!
There are many different rocky outcrops on the side of the ridge trail that are an ideal spot to get some epic photos facing out towards Ella Rock.
Full blog post: Little Adam’s Peak
Hiking Little Adam’s Peak – Two Week Sri Lanka itinerary
A sunrise hike to the summit of Ella Rock is a must on everyone’s Sri Lanka in 2 weeks itinerary.
Unfortunately, I was not able to do the Ella Rock hike as I fell sick with a nasty stomach bug, however, I heard nothing but good things from other travelers having done the hike themselves.
You can hike Ella Rock with or without a guide and the journey to the top takes around three to four hours.
The best thing is to obtain an area map for these hikes from the Tourist Centre in the main street of Ella or alternatively, download the ‘Maps Me’ app on your smartphone. Once you’re inside the app, download the map for Ella and all of the hiking trails, including Ella Rock, are clearly marked.
WHERE TO STAY IN ELLA
Ella has hundreds of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Ella to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: 98 Acres Resort & Spa
Live like a celebrity in the best 5-star resort in Ella! Surrounded by stunning landscapes, 98 Acres Resort is within walking distance to the Nine Arch Bridge and Little Adam’s Peak. The rooms are luxurious and spacious featuring free wifi, seating area, flat-screen tv, kitchenette, dining area, private bathroom, and spectacular mountain views. There is also an outdoor pool for guests to use on the property. Breakfast is included.
Mid Range: Ella’s Edge Resort
This 3-star hotel is surrounded by tropical greenery and it’s one of the most relaxing places to stay in Ella. The resort features a restaurant, gardens, and mountain views from all the rooms. There are double rooms, triple rooms, and family-sized rooms available featuring modern interior, private bathroom, spacious living, and free wifi. Perfect for family and friends visiting Ella.
Budget: Little Heaven Homestay
One of the best budget accommodations in Ella. Little Heaven Homestay is centrally located and within close proximity to the hot spot attractions in Ella. There are double, triple, and quadruple rooms to choose from featuring large beds, private bathrooms, balconies, and terraces. They also have a restaurant at the property and wifi is free for guests. Perfect for solo backpackers and friends.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN ELLA, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
DAYS 12 & 13 – KANDY
Kandy is a large city located in central Sri Lanka that is most famous for its plateau setting surrounded by mountains and many sacred Buddhist sites.
HOW TO GET TO KANDY
The famous train journey from Ella to Kandy is often described as the world’s most scenic and one of the best things to do during your 2 weeks in Sri Lanka! The train ride is a seven-hour-long journey from Ella to Kandy for only $1.50, so remember to bring your Kindle and read a book to help pass the time.
There are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class tickets available, though you definitely want to book a 2nd or a 3rd class ticket so you have the option to hang out the doors and windows of the train while it weaves around the stunning countryside throughout central Sri Lanka.
The first train to leave Ella Train Station is at 6:40 am and the second one leaves at 9:20 am. Personally, I recommend getting the earliest possible train to try and avoid the crowds.
I was sitting on the floor for half the journey before any seats become available, but it was fun to hang my legs out of the train door!
Ella To Kandy Train
4 BEST THINGS TO DO IN KANDY
By the time the train arrives in Kandy, it will be late afternoon but you can squeeze in a few of the sites before night falls.
Find All → Kandy City Tours with Klook
TEMPLE OF THE SACRED TOOTH
The Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, is a Buddhist temple located in the royal palace complex and it houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha.
The Temple Of Tooth is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s not to be missed on your Sri Lanka two week itinerary.
Sri Dalada Maligawa is open 7 days a week from 5:30 am to 8:00 pm and the entrance fee is $10
Close by to the Temple Of The Sacred Tooth is the Kandy Lake, also known as Kiri Muhuda. This man-made lake is one of Kandy’s most popular attractions which dominates the town.
A leisurely stroll around Kandy Lake is a very pleasant way to spend an hour, especially around sunset.
UDAWATTA KELE SANCTUARY
Udawatta Kele is a forest reserve located on the hill-ridge in the heart of Kandy. It is 104 hectares in size and the meaning of Udawatta Kele is ‘garden above the royal palace’.
There are a number of walking trails inside the forest reserve and a huge variety of animals and plants reside in the Udawattakele Sanctuary. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys swinging in the treetops and you may even spot a snake slithering through the bushes.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is open 7 days a week from 7 am to 6 pm and the entrance fee is around $4.
Find All → Hostels / Resorts / Hotels in Kandy
Temple of the Sacred Tooth
Kandy Lake – Photo: Amaya Resorts
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
On your second day in Kandy, I recommend doing a day trip to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage which is located 40kms west of Kandy.
Pinnawala is an orphanage, nursery, and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants. The orphanage was founded to care for and protect the many orphaned, unweaned wild elephants found wandering in the forests of Sri Lanka.
HOW TO GET TO PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
You can jump on a local bus from the main bus station in Kandy to Karandapuna Junction, where you’ll have to disembark here and transfer to another bus that goes directly to the orphanage.
The bus journey from Kandy to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage takes around 1.5 hours each way.
Alternatively, you can take a private taxi or a tuk-tuk from Kandy to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
Some of the elephants are chained and poked with metal tip sticks by the local staff if they get aggressive, purely for the safety of tourists. I did not agree with this whatsoever as it seemed that there was more love for the money from the tourists than there was for the care of the elephants.
There are good and bad reviews of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and everyone’s opinion is different.
I did, however, enjoy seeing the elephants free to roam while bathing in the river, which was an unforgettable experience!
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KANDY
There are hundreds of accommodation options to choose from in Kandy, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my favorite places to stay in Kandy to suit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Kings Pavillion Luxury Hotel
This is one of the best 5-star hotels in Kandy! The Kings Pavillion features an outdoor pool, barbeque, sun terrace, restaurant, and bar. The rooms are modern and equipped with a flat-screen tv, seating area, private bathrooms, free wifi, and boast incredible mountain views. You can also hire a bike or car from the hotel. Perfect for couples wanting to splurge a little on a nice accommodation!
Mid Range: Sevana City Hotel
This 3-star hotel is centrally located in Kandy and a great mid-budget place to stay with friends and family. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, featuring large beds, private bathrooms, and free wifi. Sevana City Hotel has a terrace, shared lounge, snack bar, and tour desk. Breakfast is included at the hotel restaurant and room service is also available.
Budget: Hipsters Hideout Lounge
The name says it all! The Hipsters Hideout Lounge is the best budget accommodation in Kandy. Featuring a bar and restaurant, billiards table, free wifi, and mountain views. There are dorms and private rooms available to choose from at this property. Perfect place to stay for solo travelers, friends, and couples on a budget.
DAY 14 – COLOMBO
A four-hour bus journey from Kandy to Colombo is the best way to reach the capital city of Sri Lanka. Buses leave as early as 4 am from the main bus station in Kandy.
Unfortunately, I was only in Colombo for a half-day before continuing on to my next destination, Bali.
However, I was able to visit one location during my short visit to Colombo which was the Jami Ul-Afar Mosque.
The Jami Ul-Afar Mosque, also known as Red Masjid or the Red Mosque, was built in 1909 and it’s one of the oldest and most interesting mosques in Sri Lanka.
Find All → Colombo City Tours with Klook
Jami Ul-Afar Mosque
BEST TOURS IN COLOMBO
If you have more time to spend in Colombo than I did, you may want to consider booking one of these Colombo City Tours listed below:
HOW TO GET TO SRI LANKA
Arriving in Sri Lanka by plane is the most common way to reach this beautiful country.
If you plan on following this exact itinerary, then your best bet is to fly into Colombo International Airport and begin your adventures in Sri Lanka from here.
Search All → Flights to Sri Lanka on Skyscanner
SRI LANKA MAP
BEST TIME TO VISIT SRI LANKA
The best time to visit the west coast, south coast, and hill country of Sri Lanka is December through to March, which is the dry season. Definitely try to avoid these areas of Sri Lanka during the monsoon season which is between May and September.
If you plan on heading over to the east coast of Sri Lanka to Arugam Bay the best time to visit is between April and September.
SRI LANKA VISA ONLINE
Before arriving in Sri Lanka it is recommended to apply for a Sri Lanka Visa online.
Obtaining an online Sri Lanka Visa is very simple, all you need to do is fill out an application form online at www.eta.org.lk.
The application is usually approved within 24 hours, however, I recommend applying for an online Sri Lanka Visa a few days in advance before arriving.
Once your visa is approved, you will receive an email document ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) with your Sri Lanka Visa that you will need to print out and present at the airport.
The cost of a 30-day Sri Lanka Visa is $30 USD.
SRI LANKA VISA ON ARRIVAL
If you arrive in Sri Lanka without having obtained the Sri Lanka Visa online it is possible to get one on arrival at the airport counter. This process can usually take quite a long time and cost you more than it would when applying online in advance for a Sri Lanka Visa.
WHAT TO PACK FOR SRI LANKA
When visiting Sri Lanka, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you;
- Sunscreen – the Sri Lanka sun is very strong, so make sure to pack some high-quality sunscreen.
- Quick-dry travel towel – a must for drying off after a dip at the beach.
- Reusable water bottle – stay hydrated by bringing along a reusable water bottle.
- Dry bag – protect your gadgets from any water damage while you’re at the beach.
If you’re interested in taking awesome photos and videos on your travels, this is the camera gear that I use and recommend;
- GoPro HERO10 – the most popular camera on the planet for action-packed adventures.
- Canon EOS R – perfect for traveling, this is the most affordable, compact camera on the market.
- DJI Mini 3 Pro – take your photos and videos to new heights with this user-friendly drone camera.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
- BOOKING.COM – search and book accommodation worldwide
- SKYSCANNER – compare and book cheap flights to anywhere
- VIATOR – find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world
- BOOKAWAY – book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance
- RENTAL CARS – search all rental cars in your next destination
- GROUP TRIPS – join one of my epic small group trips
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – purchase World Nomads travel insurance
- TRAVEL MONEY CARD – get a Wise card today for free
Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
I hope this article finds you well when it comes to planning your Sri Lanka Itinerary. If you have any questions, please leave me any comments or questions below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
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