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The Ultimate Itinerary for your road trip in Sri Lanka, the Teardrop Island

couple on beach in Sri Lanka Drone shot

There’s just one solution to describe Sri Lanka – a small island nation with the largesse of a whole continent! Numerous landscapes, beautiful seashores, expansive tea estates, laid-back tropical villages, world heritage websites, delicious meals, and pleasant individuals – there’s nothing a self-drive street journey in Sri Lanka doesn’t supply! You understand we love street journeys and would extremely advocate a go to to this island nation.

We’ve tried to incorporate every little thing you must plan an unimaginable street journey in Sri Lanka under. Select an itinerary that fits your finances and the variety of days you’ve gotten at hand and get going 🙂

Lovely sights like this await


Moving into Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike Worldwide Airport/Colombo Worldwide airport is properly related to most nations. On this event, we took a handy direct flight (Three hours) from New Delhi as we have been in India earlier than flying to Sri Lanka. Air India, Jet Airways, and Sri Lanka Airways all present equally  handy connections from India – it’s greatest to match charges earlier than reserving a flight.

Sri Lanka presents Digital Journey Authorisation (ETA)  – you’ll be able to apply on the ETA web site and also you’ll obtain the visa approval letter by way of e-mail often inside 24 hours. The payment for SAARC residents is USD 20 and for different residents is USD 35. You get a double entry visa legitimate for 30 days.


Cab from Airport

You needn’t guide a pre-paid switch to your lodge until it’s included in the price of your lodge reserving. Upon attending to the airport, you may be hounded by a number of taxi drivers and taxi corporations. Probably the most value efficient choice is to guide a hard and fast worth cab that prices 3000 LKR ($18) from a stall comparable to Cassons or Airport Taxi. You’ll spot these stalls as quickly as you exit the Arrivals space on the airport


Greatest Time To Go to

The perfect time to go to Sri Lanka is between November and March because the climate is nice. Nevertheless we visited in the course of the shoulder season in September and regardless of grumbling concerning the intense warmth on a few days, we loved ourselves.

Girl in a fruit stall in Sri LankaLoads of color assured throughout regardless of once you go to Sri Lanka 🙂


Renting A Automotive on your street journey in Sri Lanka

It’s straightforward to get round Sri Lanka utilizing public buses and trains however renting a automotive is probably the most snug means of getting round Sri Lanka. When you intend to lease a automotive with a driver in Sri Lanka, then it’s straightforward to rearrange one prematurely. Nevertheless if you wish to drive your self, then simply maintain apart half a day to get your licence validated in Colombo. If in case you have an Worldwide Driving Allow (IDP), the automotive rental firm can get the validation finished for you. Nevertheless for those who don’t have an Intrnational Driving License, then you’ll have to be current on the DMV to acquire a short lived driving license (legitimate for 30 days). The charge for this short-term license is LKR 1000 ($6). It took us a few hours to acquire this license.

However regardless of this additional effort, we might undoubtedly advocate renting a automotive to discover Sri Lanka by yourself. When you journey incessantly or have pushed in even barely chaotic nations, we might HIGHLY advocate planning a street journey in Sri Lanka. It’s reasonably priced, roads are good, individuals even higher, and also you’ll discover SO many gems alongside the best way like this historic rock fortress.

We rented our automotive from Malkey Rental and it was a seamless course of. We reserved a automotive by way of their web site and considered one of their representatives accompanied us for the license validation course of. Should you’re renting a automotive in Sri Lanka, then we’d undoubtedly advocate going with a Sri Lankan firm like Malkey as they perceive the nuances of the nation higher and are extra versatile in relation to the phrases and circumstances depending on the terrain. The rental automotive value LKR 15000 ($88) per week for an financial system class automotive. This value included a restrict of 80 kilometres per day. Further kilometres have been charged at LKR 30 per kilometre. We rented it for 16 days and ended up driving round 1400 kilometres, thereby paying for 120 odd additional kilometres. We had learn loads of discussions on boards the place individuals had strongly discouraged others from renting a automotive – we’re SO joyful we rented one 🙂

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Driving previous THE icon of Sri Lanka – the Lion Rock 🚗💜💜 Once we first began studying about self-drive leases in Sri Lanka all we noticed have been numerous dialogue boards warning individuals towards renting automobiles or driving within the nation. We researched some extra, weighed our execs and cons and determined to GO for it anyway! 😊 On attending to Colombo, we acquired our rental automotive in Sri Lanka after waging a mini bureaucratic warfare 🙈😂 ✨ ✨ To chop an extended story brief, you simply want 1 additional day in Colombo to get your license validated. You’ll need to queue up (will pop all particulars in our article so the method is seamless for you ☺️😊!). However as soon as that’s accomplished, you’re all set to discover each little nook of Sri Lanka by yourself. For those who journey often or have pushed in even barely chaotic nations, we might HIGHLY advocate renting a automotive to discover Sri Lanka. It’s reasonably priced, roads are superb, individuals even higher, and also you’ll hit upon SO many gems alongside the best way like this historic rock fortress 👆💜💜 ✨ ✨ MORAL of the story? Travelling to new locations is a bit like LIFE itself! You might want to train widespread sense, measure your choices however ALSO be assured and take dangers. Don’t comply with the herd and most significantly don’t be terrified of the unknown and also you’ll reap the very best rewards in journey and in LIFE ☺️🤗 #bruisedpassports #lifelessons #traveltips

A submit shared by Savi and Vid (@bruisedpassports) on Sep 22, 2018 at 9:31pm PDT

Pattern Itineraries in your street journey in Sri Lanka

We’ll present a day-by-day breakdown of our whole street journey under. However listed here are a number of instructed itineraries relying on the variety of days that you’ve within the nation



  • Day 1 – Keep in Colombo
  • Days 2-5 – Keep in Galle and discover Southern Province together with Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle



  • Day 1 – Keep in Colombo
  • Days 2-5 – Keep in Galle and discover Southern Province together with Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle
  • Days 5-7 – Keep in Yala Nationwide Park and go on safari



  • Day 1 – Keep in Colombo
  • Days 2-5 – Keep in Galle and discover Southern Province together with Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle
  • Days 5-7 – Keep in Yala Nationwide Park and go on safari (2 days)
  • Days 7-10 – Keep in Arugam Bay/Trincomalle and discover offbeat seashores of Japanese Sri Lanka
  • Days 10-11 – Keep in Sigiriya and go mountaineering
  • Days 11-13 – Keep in Kandy/Ella and discover Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and Kandy
  • Day 14 – Fly out of Colombo



  • Days 1-Three – Keep in Colombo
  • Days Three-Eight – Keep in Unawatuna and discover Southern Province together with Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle
  • Days Eight-10 – Keep in Yala Nationwide Park and go on safari (2 days)
  • Days 7-12 – Keep in Arugam Bay
  • Days 12-18 – Keep in Trincomalle and discover offbeat seashores of Japanese Sri Lanka
  • Days 18-20 -Keep in Anuradhapura and discover surrounding temples and monasteries
  • Days 21-24 – Keep in Sigiriya/Dambulla and go mountaineering
  • Days 24-27 – Keep in Kandy and discover Sri Lanka’s most visited city
  • Days 27-29 – Keep in Ella and discover Nuwara Eliya and Ella
  • Day 30 – Return to Colombo and fly out of Colombo


Day by Day breakdown of our street journey in Sri Lanka


Days 1-2 : Arrive in Colombo and decide up your rental automotive

Regardless of the place you’re flying from, we’d recommend spending at the very least an evening in Colombo earlier than you decide up your automotive. The subsequent morning, you will get your license validated and decide up your rental automotive on your street journey in Sri Lanka. You can too spend a day exploring the key highlights of Colombo reminiscent of visiting the Beira Lake, Nationwide Museum, exploring the historic streets of Pettah (don’t miss the beautiful Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosuqe) or consuming on the Ministry Of Crab!


Lodging in Colombo

We selected to remain at an AirBnB condominium within the bustling centre of Colombo since we booked on the final minute and couldn’t discover a good lodge within the space we needed. Flats are an excellent choice in Sri Lanka however be sure to examine for necessities corresponding to wifi, parking, air conditioner and so on earlier than you ebook. In case you are new to renting flats and need some assist, take a look at our information right here:


Days 2-5 Drive to Galle and Discover the Southern Province

That is when your street journey begins in actual earnest. Drive from Colombo to Galle took round Three hours. We’d recommend taking the quick expressway as an alternative of the coastal street as you’ll have entry to loads of coastal roads and panoramas later on this street journey. Galle shall be residence for 3 nights and here’s a record of issues to do within the space with some ideas

  • Spend a day exploring Galle’s historic centre – particularly Galle Fort, Dutch Reformed Church, and its iconic lighthouse.
  • Drive to Mirissa for its iconic palm forest. It’s arduous to seek out it on Google Maps nevertheless it’s proper subsequent to Maison D’hotes and Sea Star Lodge. This can be a fashionable spot for sundown, so it tends to get extremely crowded round sundown. We truly assume it seems to be prettier through the day, so attempt going round 10 am. Spend the afternoon on the seashores in Mirissa. You would even witness turtle hatching by visiting a farm in Mirissa.
  • Drive to the quaint Weligama Fishing Village, the place you’ll spot colourful fishing boats. On the best way, additionally, you will spot Sri Lanka’s well-known stilt fishermen. Sadly they aren’t precise fishermen, simply actors who ask for cash for each photograph you’re taking.
  • Drive to the extremely serene Japanese Peace Pagoda
  • Spend a day on the seashores of Unawatanu – they’re beautiful to say the least.
  • Shoot a memorable photograph on the insta-famous Unawatuna swing. It’s situated at Dallawella Seashore close to Unawatuna. It will get very crowded at sundown – we’d recommend going in the course of the day or proper after sundown for nice mild and least crowds. It prices 500LKR ($Three)
  • When you’ve got some extra time at hand, you can additionally go to The legendary hill of Rumassala or the Ariyapala Masks Museum within the neighborhood.

Couple at Galle FortLiked exploring the Dutch quarters in GalleJapanese peace pagoda Galle sunsetPeace 🙂Swing at Dallawella beach in Unawatanu near MirissaOh you need to do this swing at Dalawella Seashore

Lodging in Galle

We selected our lodge in Galle based mostly on our readers’ suggestions and we loved it a lot that we ended up staying in quite a few Jetwing Resorts all through this journey. So lots of our readers beneficial Jetwing Lighthouse and we will see why. The lodge has probably the most beautiful views we’ve seen shortly. You’ll be greeted with an expansive seashore complimented by dramatic waves crashing towards big rocks. Rooms are spacious and cozy and outfitted with all of the facilities you’d anticipate from a luxurious lodge. The breakfast buffet is expansive and we actually loved it. Ensure you attempt native delicacies reminiscent of egg hoppers, dosas, and Sri Lankan curries. When you’re celebrating an important day, we’d advocate reserving a sundown dinner on the rocks. That is obtainable at a surcharge and depending on the climate, however it makes for a memorable eating expertise.

Dinner on the rocks at Jetwing Lighthouse GalleAn unforgettable dinner setting at Jetwing Lighthousepool by the beach at Jetwing LighthouseThe pool by the ocean 🙂Breakfast with a view


Days 5-7 Go on safari at Yala Nationwide Park

A street journey to Sri Lanka can be incomplete with out happening a safari! This four hour drive will take you from the coast to the guts of untamed Sri Lanka. Yala Nationwide Park is beautiful and safaris right here vary from $35-$180 relying on the place you get them. We booked our Safari via our lodge itself and reserved a personal jeep for the 2 of us. Safaris are enthralling and you may anticipate to identify the whole lot from leopards and elephants to wild boars and noticed deer. Quite a lot of birds can be noticed alongside the best way. A phrase of warning – a big (and apparently the most effective) a part of the park – Block I and II – is closed for a few months throughout September and October (might change yearly – verify right here) so we needed to go to Block 5 – let’s simply say it wasn’t the most effective safari viewing afternoon 🙂

Couple in safari jeep at Yala National ParkAt one of many two locations in Yala the place you’re allowed to exit the Jeep 😉


Lodging in Yala Nationwide Park

What involves thoughts whenever you consider staying within the wilderness? Tenting! Should you’re something like us and love your creature comforts then glamping is the reply! We stayed at Jetwing Yala and what an expertise it was! The lodge is situated mere minutes away from the Block 1 entrance to Yala Nationwide Park the place most safaris begin (when this block is open). In consequence you’ll see loads of elephants, wild boars, monkeys, and different wildlife roaming round within the lodge. You possibly can select to remain in lodge rooms or glamping tents. Rooms are spacious and outfitted with luxurious beds, scorching showers, indulgent toiletries et al. The glamping tents are filled with character and comfortably furnished with moveable air conditioners, snug beds, and outfitted loos. You may spot an elephant or wild boar as you sip on tea in your patio. Nevertheless do be warned – in case you select to remain within the tents, you can’t depart your tent after darkish by yourself.

No matter lodging you select, breakfast is served at a scenic restaurant near the reception. When you’re celebrating an anniversary or birthday, we’d advocate reserving a particular sundown dinner on the dunes overlooking the seashore on one aspect and Yala Nationwide Park on the opposite. That is obtainable at a surcharge, nevertheless it makes for a very  particular eating expertise.

Glamping tents at Jetwing YalaThe glamping “tent” at Jetwing Yala

Days 7-10 Unwind at Arugmam Bay

Arugam Bay exudes a laid-back seashore city vibe and it was the particular spotlight of our  street journey in Sri Lanka. It will be straightforward to spend every week or two right here, however should you don’t have that lengthy we’d recommend spending a minimum of Three days right here. Listed here are a few of the issues you are able to do within the space:

  • Go surf or take browsing classes.That is the browsing capital of Sri Lanka and there’s no dearth of coaching faculties right here.
  • Lounge on the gorgeous seashores
  • In case you want a break from driving your automotive, you would lease a motorcycle or vibrant tuk tuk to discover the world
  • Attend a yoga class
  • Go to Pottuvil Level or Elephant Rock for superb views
  • Take a ship tour at Pottuvil Lagoon
  • Go to an historic monastery – you would drive to Muhudu Maha Vihaqraya, Magul Maha Viharaya, or Sastrawela monastery. When you’d wish to work up an urge for food, we’d recommend mountaineering to Kudumbigala monastery
  • In case you didn’t cease at Yala Nationwide Park, you possibly can go on safari from Arugam Bay – Gal Oya Nationwide Park and Kumana Nationwide Park are within the neighborhood.

couple on a rented tuk tuk in Arugam BayWho’s up for a Tuk Tuk journey? 😉Muhudu Maha Vihara in Arugam BayDrone shot of couple on the beach in Sri LankaLovely seashores of Arugam Bay


Lodging in Arugam Bay

Jetwing Surf is a relatively new lodge with simply 20 cabanas and screams seashore stylish. The lodge complicated is dotted with palm timber and boasts of an extended stretch of seashore. Every cabana has 4 poster beds, bamboo furnishings, and probably the most beautiful open-air loos with outside showers. The one draw back is that the cabanas usually are not air conditioned, which isn’t an issue a lot of the yr. We’d recommend choosing a seashore dealing with cabana to take your trip up a notch. Jetwing Surf additionally has a supremely scenic pool (watch probably the most beautiful dawn right here) and breakfast space, so be sure to put aside loads of time to spend within the lodge complicated.

Cabanas at Jetwing Surf in Arugam Bay Sri LankaCabana life at Jetwing Surfsunrise at Arugam Bay from the pool at Jetwing SurfBeautiful dawnBreakfast 🙂

Arugam Bay is the perfect place for a protracted keep when you selected the 1 month itinerary listed above. It has a bohemian and laid-back vibe good for long-term travellers. In case you plan to spend greater than 5 days in Arugam Bay, we’d recommend renting an house on AirBnB


Days 10-13 Discover heritage websites and go mountaineering at Sigriya

The drive from Arugam Bay to Sigiriya is an extended one. Ensure you begin early as it will possibly take anyplace between 7-Eight hours. Sigiriya is a vacation spot bathed in historical past. Listed here are some issues to do within the space:

  • Hike to the highest of the long-lasting Lion Rock. The entry payment is $30 for adults and $15 when you’re from a SAARC nation. Ensure you take your passport alongside and go early because it will get actually scorching and crowded later within the day
  • For a less expensive and fewer crowded expertise, hike the rock reverse the Lion Rock. The entry to Pidurangala Rock is merely $2.50 and it’s each bit value it. If you need to select between the 2 rocks, then we’d recommend saving some cash and climbing the Pidurangala Rock. We advise reaching the highest simply earlier than sundown. The view from the highest is spectacular and also you get to see the Lion Rock from a vantage level
  • Go to the Dambulla Cave Temples and marvel on the beautiful carvings. The World Heritage Website is sure to go away you awestruck
  • Go on safari to Minneriya Nationwide Park or Kaudulla Nationwide Park to witness the most important gathering of Asian elephants within the wild. The probabilities of recognizing elephants in a single park or the opposite maintain altering in accordance with the seasons, so be sure to ask your safari supplier which Nationwide Park is the perfect for recognizing elephants on the time you go to. We booked our safari with Minneriya Safari Excursions they usually offered transfers from the lodge and we ended up seeing a great deal of elephants too. The worth for a personal car for the night Safari was USD 120 for two individuals. The jeeps right here offered a a lot better viewing expertise as they have been open-top.

sunset at Pidurangala rock with view of Sigiriya rockLovely views atop Pidurangala rock


Lodging in Sigiriya

If I needed to decide my favorite lodge from our journey to Sri Lanka, it must be Jetwing Vil Uyana. Should you guide one lodge from our suggestions, then make it this! The lodge has been awarded a number of awards for being the perfect eco-luxury resort in Asia and it positive lives as much as that! That is eco-luxury at its best – every chalet at Jetwing Vil Uyana is surrounded by paddy fields, reeds, or a man-made lake. Chalets are ultra-spacious and opulent – assume 4 poster beds, mosquito nets, expansive balconies, tub tubs, and enormous bathe cubicles with cold and hot water. And regardless of having all these luxuries at hand, you’ll be able to step out and really feel such as you’re within the lap of mom nature. A keep right here is the right antidote to the hustle bustle of Sigiriya’s historic websites – extremely really helpful!

over-water villa at Jetwing Vil Uyana SigiriyaVilla over waterLovely interiorsThe widespread pool overlooking the lagoon


Days 13-16 Drive to Ella/Nuwara Eliya and discover the tea nation

You may take a pitstop in Kandy in your drive from Sigiriya to Nuwara Eliya. In reality in case you have a few additional days right here, we’d extremely advocate spending two nights in Kandy.

Driving to Nuwara Eliya seems like stepping again in time. As you close to the tea nation, you may be surrounded by low mendacity clouds and miles upon miles of tea plantations. Driving on this route reminded us A LOT of our epic street journey in Kerala. Ensure you pack a light-weight woollen on your time in Nuwara Eliya since you’ll want it! Spend your time in Nuwara Eliya doing the next issues

  • Go to a tea property. Numerous tea estates permit guests to discover them free of charge. You possibly can take a paid tour to the tea manufacturing unit or simply wander across the property your self free of charge.There are a selection of tea estates that work on this mannequin however our favorite was Pedro Tea Property – beautiful views and scenic trails. Be sure to carry some unfastened change to tip tea-pickers if you would like photographs of/with them as they anticipate it.
  • Hike to Lovers Leap Waterfall. When you’ve got a automotive, you needn’t pay tuk tuk drivers atrocious fares (LKR 2000 for a 5 minute drive) on the fundamental entrance to the waterfall. Take the choice route instructed by Google Maps and park your automotive and hike up!
  • Picnic by Gregory Lake, a favorite with locals.
  • Drop in for a cuppa on the restaurant at Waterproof coat Property – it overlooks an expansive tea property
  • Drop by Jetwing St. Andrews for English Afternoon Tea
  • Drive to Ella to witness its many waterfalls or the long-lasting 9 Arches Bridge. Should you haven’t rented a automotive, you can additionally take the extraordinarily scenic practice journey from Ella to Kandy.

Some superb pit-stops alongside the best wayPedro tea estate in Nuwara Eliya Sri LankaCan’t get sufficient of the tea estates in NuwaraCompletely happy faces throughout 🙂

Lodging in Nuwara Eliya/Ella

This was the one place we felt we went incorrect with the period of keep! We booked a lodge for Three nights in Nuwara Eliya, however to be trustworthy you don’t want greater than an evening within the space. In truth we might advocate reserving an Airbnb or a lodge in Ella and masking Nuwara Eliya on a day journey in case you are driving your self.


Day 17 Return your rental automotive and fly out of Colombo Worldwide Airport

When you’re driving from Ella or Nuwara Eliya again to the airport, begin early because it takes time. Additionally, there are some beautiful vistas on the best way, particularly whenever you’re nonetheless driving within the hills.

St. Claire's waterfall Sri LankaSt. Claire’s waterfall – we might see it from the aspect of the street when driving to the airport


That’s it. The last word itinerary for a street journey in Sri Lanka with a great deal of strategies, ideas, our favourites, (unfavourites), and every little thing in between. In case you want another solutions, simply depart us a remark and we’ll get again tremendous quickly.