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3 week itinerary for Sri Lanka. We'd love your help refining it, please.

3 week itinerary for Sri Lanka. We'd love your help refining it, please.

Dec 4th, 2012, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,619
Glad to be of assistance to you. Sri Lanka is one of those places I plan to return to.

I think I would cut Anuradhapura. I'd add one night to Dambulla and one to Galle. With just one night in Galle, you won't see any of it. I'd say to spend two nights in Galle ot cut it.

We very much enjoyed staying in the hills around Kandy. I have to admit that the city itself was a disappointment to me. I had expected to love it.

Keep at it - in my expereince, it is this fine tuning that will make all the difference.

(Sorry, I can't help with the beach questions)
Kathie is offline  
Dec 4th, 2012, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,328
Kathie - i agree with you about Kandy but i do just wonder if by staying outside Kandy we actually missed out on the best bit of staying there. people who stayed at the Queen's seem to have enjoyed the city more than those of us who stayed outside.

but I certainly felt that we made up for that in Galle, and was really glad that we opted to stay in the town rather than in the beach resort that we were booked into, though our driver clearly thought that we were bats!
annhig is online now  
Dec 4th, 2012, 04:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 10
So, here goes. Simpler still.

Essentially, it's now:

4 nights in Dambulla (added more time as you suggested)

2 in Kandy (in the nearby hills)

2 in Haputale (with this stripped back route, does Koslanda in Haputale make sense as our Hill Country stop?)

3 nights in Tangalla (never mind whales or 6am alarms, peace and isolation will be more relaxing)

2 nights in Galle (have added more time as you suggested)

4 nights in Hikkaduwa (lost a day here in favour of spending it in or near Tangalla as that seemed to float Crellston's boat more)

Here's the latest full plan - it's been through more tweaking tonight than a teenager getting to second base...

Wed 30th Jan – flying
Depart Amsterdam at 14:40
Connection in Dubai

Thu 31st Jan – Negombo to Dambulla
Arrive Colombo Airport at 08:30
Drive from Negombo to Dambulla

Fri 1st Feb - Dambulla
Dambulla cave temple

Sat 2nd Feb – Sigirya and Minnerriya-Giritale
Sigiriya fortress
Minneriya-Giritale Sanctuary

Sun 3rd Feb – Polonnaruwa
Drive to Polonnaruwa
Explore Polonnaruwa

Mon 4th Feb – Dambulla to Kandy
Drive to Kandy
Botanical gardens

Tue 5th Feb – Kandy
Temple of the Tooth
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Wed 6th – Kandy to Haputale
Drive to Nuwara Eliya
Then catch scenic train to Haputale via Diyaluma Falls

Thu 7th Feb – Haputale
Tea Estates
Nature walks
Optional: go hiking in Horton’s Plain
Optional: catch train to Ella or Badulla

Fri 8th Feb – Haputale to Yala
Drive to Chaaya Wild
Optional: time/energy permitting, do afternoon safari (3pm)

Sat 9th Feb – Yala
Morning and afternoon safari

Sun 10th Feb – Yala to Tangalla (or nearby coast)
Drive to Tangalla
Relax on the beach

Mon 11th – Tangalla
Relax on the beach

Tue 12th Feb – Tangalla
Relax on the beach

Wed 13th Feb – Tangalla to Galle
Drive to Galle,
(Optional: stop at Frangipani Tree or Mirissa for lunch)
Dinner and cocktails in Galle fort!

Thu 14th Feb – Galle
Explore Galle Fort

Fri 15th – Galle to Hikkaduwa
Drive to Hikkaduwa
Start PADI Open Water course

Sat 16th Feb – Hikkaduwa
Beach / snorkelling / diving
Day 2 PADI Open Water course – confined dives

Sun 17th Feb – Hikkaduwa
Beach / snorkelling / diving
Day 3 PADI Open Water course – 2OW dives

Mon 18th Feb – Hikkaduwa
Beach / snorkeling / diving
Day 4 PADI Open Water course – 2 OW dives

Tue 19th Feb – Hikkaduwa to Bentota to Colombo
Breakfast on beach
Then drive to Lunuganga House in Bentota for lunch
And on to the Galle Face in Colombo or Negombo for dinner
Leave for the airport in Negombo around 10/11pm
Check-in around midnight

Wed 20th Feb – flying
Depart Colombo at 02:55
Connect in Dubai and flight on to Amsterdam
Arrive Amsterdam 12:40

Thanks again,
BenVoyage is offline  
Dec 4th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,619
This looks better, more manageable. It looks like you'll have some time to enjoy these places!
Kathie is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,328
i agree - much more manageable.

one small potential flaw- you probably won't want to do two afternoon safaris at Yala - you might like to look at the nearby Bundalla national park as well where the main attraction is birds for a bit of variety. alternatively we did an early morning walk which we found very enjoyable, then had a late breakfast and lounged around by and in the pool until the afternoon safari.

that was fun too. [good cocktails at Chaaya Wild, BTW!]
annhig is online now  
Dec 5th, 2012, 03:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 10
Cockatoos and cocktails, it is. I'm sure we can while away an afternoon with those!

Thank you both for the tips and help. Much appreciated.
BenVoyage is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 11:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,201
Ben re Annurahadpura. It is a long way, although, we were travelling through some pretty horrendous floods for most of the time. It took us the whole day to get there from Columbo. How much quicker it would have been in good weather I am not sure, maybe a couple of hours.. Personally, I didn't think it was worth it and much preferred Polonuurawa and the other places in the CT. I agree with Kathie ( as I so often do!) add the days to Dambulla or Galle, which we loved.

Hikkaduwa was recommended to us by someone we met on our travels. We are both keen divers and were hoping to get in a few dives there. The beaches looked good but it was just too built up and commercialised for our tastes so we moved on. Having dived all over the world, it would not be high on my list to take my PADI OW, partly because I believe most of the diving is done quite a way offshore from boats, rather than close to the beach.Not sure about the quality of the dive schools there but when learning it is essential to get a good instructor so do check out their experience, credentials and, if possible speak to them before leaving to gain a personal impression. Just because they are PADI doesn't make them good!

Tangalla and Goyambokka are close together. Both are nice beaches and there are several other in the close vicinity. Goyambokka is very small and quite quiet with just a few local fish restarants and bars. I used to take a walk at dawn each day and only had the cows for company! We moved on from there to Weligama which is a more traditioan SL town. We enjoyed our time there although a downside was that the towns sewer emptied directly on to the beach - clearly no swimming there! We used to walk the few miles to Mirrisa which has a real picture postcard beach and would have stayed there if we could have got a room.

Here is link to my TR with more detail

Shame you chopped Adams Peak as this was a reall highlight for us but SL does take a lot of planning to get everything in as there is so much to see. Do try and fit in a train ride if you can. You won't regret it!
crellston is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1

I am going for 3 weeks to Sri Lanka in September and I wanted to know if you did all your trip with a driver or if you also took trains?

Thank you,
cesargzurita is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 699
At first glance I say bad season Feb is off season on the East Coast and lousy rough seas and not good for snorkelling, better to find a beach place on south west coast which will be in season.

I will try to revert on you full itinerary in more detail later when I have the time.
Mohammed is online now  

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