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kiratr Nov 19th, 2012 11:12 PM

Sri Lanka - can you please provide ur comments for 9 days itinerary

We guys are planning trip with family in December 2012. Yes, i agree we guys are running bit late on finalization of itinerary - but will request if you guys can have a look and comment. This is what we are thinking

1) Arrive in Colombo and drive to Kandy
2) Stay in Kandy for three days
Day 1 : visit elephant orphanage, temple of tooth, and ending with dance performance (lot of people have commented that the dance performance isnt great - nt sure if there are any other recommendations)
Day 2: Visit Sigriya and Dambulla Caves
Day 3: Visit Polonnaruwara and Minneriya Lake (?)
3) Leave for Nurewa Eliya and en-route visit tea factory. Spend 2 days here
Day 1: Relax and go for walking trails around the area
Day 2: Visit Ella, waterfall and temple
4) Leave for Bentota and spend remaining days at beach

i am not sure if we have overlooked some important points or we can actually combine things for eg ella falls in drive to bentota and hence we dont need to waste a day etc

please do help


crellston Nov 20th, 2012 01:25 AM

My initial reaction is that you have a huge amount packed in to 9 days. I am not saying that it is impossible but you do need to take into account the time it takes to drive anywhere in SL. What seems like a short distance can, and usually does, take a lot longer than expected. Btw , a good move to get out of Columbo ASAP!

Are you hiring a car and driver or booking a tour. I usually travel independently, but SL was the one exception. It was way easier to let someone else look after the logistics. We were ther for a month and used Reddot for the touring for 2 weeks and DIY for the rest along the coast. I would not use Reddot again but their website is good for planning itineraries of varying lengths.

Highlights for me were Sirigiya, & Dambulla, pollonurawa, Adams Peak
/ the Tea Country and Kandy. A search for some trip reports here will provide some more ideas & opinions. My own is, annhig's is very good and the most recent I can think of.

Ella was a little disappointing after the rest of SL but it is a good stop en route to the coast if that is where you are heading

kiratr Nov 20th, 2012 01:57 AM

Thank you so much for your reply and sending the link to your report.

I agree with your suggestion on hiring car and driver given the long distances. Anyways given that we are large group of people - it will be more convenient. Point noted on Reddot

Mohammed Nov 20th, 2012 02:29 AM

Driving to Sigiriya/Polonaruwa as day trips from Kandy is not suitable it is too long a drive.

Suggest you route as follows

Arrive and drive directly to Sigiriya 2 nights
Drive to Kandy 1 night
Drive to Nuwaraeliya - 1 night
Drive Yala (wildlife) - 2 nights
Drive to Bentota - Beach 3 nights


kiratr Nov 20th, 2012 02:53 AM

thanks. how long is travel distance from Kandy to Sigiriya/ Polonaruwa?

annhig Nov 20th, 2012 10:27 AM

how long is travel distance from Kandy to Sigiriya/ Polonaruwa?>>

I'll defer to Mohammed here, but my recollection is that we left Dambulla [further south than Sigiriya or Polonaruwa] at about 9am, and got to Kandy around 1.30, but we had had an hour or so at a spice garden en route.

you really can't use Kandy as a base for touring the northern sites of the cultural triangle - they are too far away, and the roads can be tortuous.

with only 9 nights, i think that something has got to give. if you are doing one night stays you will spend a lot of time in the car and comparatively little time seeing and doing things. Your timetable would work, if you are prepared not to see the northern sites, but otherwise you will need to rethink.

I would amend Mohammed's itinerary and suggest this:

Arrive and drive directly to Sigiriya 2 nights
Drive to Kandy 2 nights
Drive to Nuwaraeliya - 2 night
Drive to Bentota - Beach 3 nights

you'll see that i've omitted Yala - i think that for one night it is just too far to drive [a good 5-6 hours from NE] and you would have very little time there before you had to leave for Bentota, with another 5-6 hour drive to get there.

if you were prepared to sacrifice a day from the beach, then Yala is a definite possibility, but there will still be a lot of driving involved.

Crellston has mentioned his one very good trip report which I found very helpful when i was planning; you could also click on my name to find my own [sadly unfinished] report. Whatever you decide, i'm sure you'll have a wonderful time - we certainly did.

teadrinker51 Nov 20th, 2012 08:12 PM

You need to decide which sights are the most important to you. I found the highligths to be Dambulla, Sigriya, Anuradhapura, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

I had used Red Dot for a customized itinerary and I would not use them again either. However, I would suggest setting up a private customized tour as your time in the county is limited.

Mohammed Nov 21st, 2012 01:43 AM

Reason I suggested only 1 night each in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya is because in Kandy you see the temple and botanic gardens and perhaps a drop in at the cultural/handicrafts center, and in Nuware Eliya yes it is very pretty with lots of tea estates everywhere and a morning tour of a tea factory. This can be easily done with one night each place. If you are a hiker Horton Plains is interesting then make NE 2 nights.

Your probably better off saving the extra nights and moving on faster to relax on the beach later.

If you are a golfer Nuwara Eliya has a pretty course.

Mohammed Nov 21st, 2012 01:46 AM

I guess I am a wildlife buff myself and that is partly why I put in Yala but it is also on the logical route coming from Nuwara Eliya and a scenic drive which will take you past Ella where you could stop for lunch.

annhig Nov 21st, 2012 02:01 AM

Mohammed - the reason that I would not add Yala into this trip is simply the time it takes to get to and from there. Perhaps our experiences were atypical but it took 5-6 hours from NE to Yala [with a stop for coffee in Ella - i agree about it's being a good place and the scenic route which is even better we understood now that they have done the road] and another 5 hours from Yala to Galle, which is of course BEFORE you get to Bentota.

on a 9 night itinerary, that is a lot of travelling.

kiratr Nov 21st, 2012 02:13 AM

First of all - thanks guys for taking time out and helping me with the itinerary. your feedback is very helpful.

Mohammad and Annhig - thanks for pointing about distance between kandy and sigiriya/ polonnaruwa. i agree it is too long a distance to travel especially when one has parents on trip. it will be too tiring for them.

Mohammed - i agree with you that Yala will be a great place to visit; but i guess with 9 day outing with family - it will be difficult to cover it unless we rush through everything.

thanks again all for your inputs. i now know one agency which shouldnt be consulted for helping with logistics! ;-)

annhig Nov 21st, 2012 02:54 AM

kiratr - we booked our accommodation and driver through boutique Sri Lanka after they were recommended here.

Their website is very informative, they were very easy to deal with, and I would definitely use them again.

they will ask for a small deposit for any hotels they book for you, and for the driver, and you then pay by c/c or cash in the normal way when you leave your hotel, apart from the driver, who they like to have paid up front in U$ when you arrive.

it all worked very well for us, and with your short time-scales, may be a good option to consider.

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