Travel to Sri Lanka: useful information and recommended itineraries

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Ceylon, Pearl of the East, Tear of India ... There are so many names with which this island of the Indian subcontinent has been defined over the centuries. In fact, Sri Lanka has always attracted merchants, adventurers and travelers in a broad sense.
On the other hand, this island, despite its small size, has a perfect mix of history and nature, to which must be added the spirituality of wonderful temples and the exotic charm of spices.

In Sri Lanka there are indeed well 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, inserted in a luxuriant vegetation, a surprising fauna and surrounded by a splendid sea.
In short, the complete and perfect destination from all points of view. Here is a guide for a trip to Sri Lanka!



Index

  1. Travel informed: useful information, safety and necessary documents
  2. Where it is
  3. 11-day itinerary: Classic Sri Lanka
  4. 6-day itinerary: Sri Lankan cultural triangle
  5. 10-day itinerary: Wonders of Sri Lanka
  6. Sri Lanka do it yourself: flights, costs, best time and advice
  7. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information, safety and necessary documents

  • Inhabitants: 22.500.000
  • Capital: Colombo
  • Languages: Sinhala, English, Tamil
  • Local currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) / Exchange rate: € 1,00 = 202,71 LKR
  • Weather: tropical, hot and humid all year round (average 30 ° C). Presence of 2 monsoons: the southwestern, from April to September, which affects the southwestern side of the island and the highlands and the northeastern, from November to March, which hits the opposite side
  • Time zone: +4,5 h compared to Italy
  • vaccinations: no vaccination required
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least six months, return air ticket, entry visa (ETA) free and obtainable before leaving via the internet
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    The island of Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean, east of the southern tip of India from which it is separated by the Gulf of Mannar and the Strait of Palk.
    The island has a teardrop shape and is mainly flat, the only mountains are in the central-southern part; the highest peak is Adam's Peak which boasts 2.534 meters in height. The rest of the territory is covered by a thick and luxuriant equatorial forest.



    11-day itinerary: Classic Sri Lanka

    1. First day: arrival in Colombo and hotel accommodation. Relaxing afternoon on the beach. In the late afternoon visit the lively fishing village of Negombo and its colorful local market
    2. Second day: transfer to Habarana and Village Safari Tour, experience to get in touch with the rural life of the local population. The excursion will be carried out using the usual local means: tuk-tuk, cart pulled by oxen and boat
    3. Third day: ascent to the Rock of Sigyria and visit of Polonnaruwa, one of the ancient capitals. We will visit: the Gal Vihara, a grandiose triptych of statues modeled in a large monolithic granite rock and the remains of the Royal Palace
    4. Fourth day: visit of the rock temples of Dambulla. Departure for Kandy and stop at the Matale Spice Garden. Arrival in Kandy and hotel accommodation. Visit of the city, the bazaar and the Temple of the tooth where there is the relic of the tooth of Buddha
    5. Fifth day: excursion to the botanical park of Peradeniya. Continue to Pinnawela where you can visit the elephant orphanage. After lunch, return to Kandy and rest of the time at your disposal to stroll around the lake and the city
    6. Sixth day: departure for Nuwara Eliya, "little England". Along the way we visit a tea plantation: visit a factory and walk among the plantations and the harvesters at work. On the way, stop at the Ramboda waterfalls
    7. Seventh day: transfer to Nanu Oya station and departure by train to Ella, a train that allows you to make one of the most suggestive journeys in the country. Lunch on the train with box lunch. Upon arrival, visit of Ella and departure for Yala
    8. Eighth day: Jeep safari in Yala park which is home to numerous animal species including leopards, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes and birds. Continue to the south coast and accommodation in a location of your choice between Tangalle, Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Bentota
    9. Ninth day: sea and relaxation or optional excursions, such as whale watching, dolphin watching and water sports in the ocean, snorkeling and sea turtles
    10. Tenth day: sea and relaxation or any excursions such as Weligama to see the fishermen at work, Ambalangoda to see the wooden mask factory, Kosgoda to visit the turtle restocking center
    11. Eleventh day: departure for Colombo. On the way, stop at the old Dutch fortress of Galle. Arrival in Colombo and panoramic tour of the main tourist attractions. Transfer to the airport and departure for Italy

    How much? Price details

    • Price per person starting from: € 1.190,00
    • The price includes: overnight stays in double and half board rooms, transfer by car or minibus with air conditioning and Italian-speaking driver, entrance fees, 4x4 Jeeps for safaris, 24/24 assistance, government taxes, telephone SIM card
    • The fee does not include: international return flights, lunches, drinks, tips and personal expenses

    6-day itinerary: Sri Lankan cultural triangle



    1. First day: arrival in Colombo and accommodation in the hotel
    2. Second day: departure for Anuradhapura, where you will visit the ruins of Isurumuniya, Ruwanweli Maha Saya and several Pagodas of the old capital. You can also admire the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, a ficus under which Buddha achieved enlightenment
    3. Third day: visit of Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of the country, where to visit temples and ruins, including the famous Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya
    4. Fourth day: visit of the Temple of the Dambulla Cave, 5 caves containing statues and frescoes of Buddha and other deities. Ascent of the Rock of Sigiriya. Arrival in Kandì and show of traditional dances
    5. Fifth day: visit of Kandy and its temples, including the famous Buddha Tooth Temple, the imposing temple of Bahirawakandha, Gadaladeniya and Ambekke. Finally, the Botanical Garden of Peredenyia
    6. Sixth day: transfer to Colombo international airport to return to Italy

    How much? Price details

    • Price per person starting from: € 650,00
    • The price includes: overnight stays in double rooms and half board, transfer by car or minibus with air conditioning and Italian-speaking driver, assistance 24/24, government taxes
    • The fee does not include: international return flights, lunches, drinks, all entrances, tips and personal expenses

    10-day itinerary: Wonders of Sri Lanka


    1. First day: arrival in Colombo and hotel accommodation. In the afternoon, panoramic tour of the main attractions of the capital
    2. Second day: departure for Anuradhapura, where you will visit the ruins of Isurumuniya, Ruwanweli Maha Saya and several Pagodas of the old capital. You can also admire the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, a ficus under which Buddha achieved enlightenment
    3. Third day: ascent to the Rock of Sigyria and visit of Polonnaruwa, one of the ancient capitals. We will visit: the Gal Vihara, a grandiose triptych of statues modeled in a large monolithic granite rock and the remains of the Royal Palace
    4. Fourth day: visit of the rock temples of Dambulla. Departure for Kandy and stop at the Matale Spice Garden. Arrival in Kandy and hotel accommodation. Visit of the city, the bazaar and the Temple of the tooth where there is the relic of the tooth of Buddha
    5. Fifth day: short trip to Pinnawela to visit the Elephant Orphanage. We will visit the Peradenyia Botanical Garden and return to Kandy with a stop at the View Point and visit a local market
    6. Sixth day: departure for Nuwara Eliya, "little England". Along the way we visit a tea plantation: visit a factory and walk among the plantations and the harvesters at work. On the way, stop at the Ramboda waterfalls
    7. Seventh dayTrekking on Horton Plain is scheduled early in the morning (05:00). Then we continue towards Tissamaharama stopping at the Rawana waterfalls and the holy city of Kataragama, where you will be able to attend a puja
    8. Eighth day: 4x4 jeep safari in Yala National Park. On the way back, after breakfast and after check-out, continue to Unawatuna, a town on the southern coast
    9. Ninth day: sea and relaxation or optional excursions, such as whale watching, dolphin watching and water sports in the ocean, snorkeling and sea turtles
    10. Tenth day: departure for Colombo. On the way stop at the old Dutch fortress of Galle. Arrival at the airport in time for the return flight to Italy

    How much? Price details

    • Price per person starting from: € 1.200,00
    • The price includes: overnight stays in double rooms and half board, transfer by car or minibus with air conditioning and Italian-speaking driver, entrance fees, 4x4 Jeep for safaris, 24/24 assistance, government taxes
    • The fee does not include: international return flights, lunches, drinks, all entrances, tips and personal expenses

    Sri Lanka do it yourself: flights, costs, best time and advice

    Considering the climatic conditions of the island and the location of the most interesting attractions, the best period is from mid-December to the end of February to visit the southwestern area and the highlands region.
    Obviously the flight prices, being the high season, are quite high (difficult to find anything under € 800,00).

    To get around the island quickly and cheaply, the best way is to rely on a local driver (about € 50,00 per day per car). As for the accommodations, they are quite cheap, starting from € 50,00 per room per night.
    The cost of living is truly negligible; you can eat at a buffet with € 5,00 excluding drinks, in seaside resorts the prices are higher, very similar to the Italian and European ones.

    The entrances to the various attractions are rather expensive; always consider at least € 20,00 per person, safaris are even more expensive as, in addition to individual entry, you must pay for the jeep (we therefore suggest you find companions with whom to share the experience and divide the cost of the vehicle).


    • Minimum period for a tour in Sri Lanka: 10 days
    • Recommended cities for base: Sigiryia, Ella, Ramboda, Colombo
    • Getting around: the roads are rather battered; you travel very slowly through chaotic villages and in the midst of congested traffic which is joined by monkeys and elephants. The best choice is to rely on a local driver
    • Flights: in low season there are flights for € 470,00, in high season they exceed € 1.000,00. The main airlines serving the route are Qatar, Srilankan, Emirates and Austrian - Compare flights starting from € 468,00 -
    • Accommodations and accommodations: hotels, resorts and guest houses are cheap if you make an average between those in inland areas and those on the sea. In any case, never go below 4 stars. Hotel and b & b starting from € 35,00 per room -


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