SriLanka may be a small island in the Indian Ocean but that’s the only thing small about it. The country, formerly known as Ceylon, boasts an ancient civilization, golden sandy beaches with their swaying coconut palms, mountains, and rubber and tea plantations. While visiting the island, you’ll see colonial architecture from the days when the Portuguese, Dutch and English ruled. You’ll see lots of elephants, some of which participate in local festivals and, if you’re lucky, perhaps a leopard or two at a wildlife sanctuary.
We got chance to visit this beautiful country last year in February and here we share our ultimate 7 days itenary for you to plan your next trip to this
We landed in Colombo from Mumbai after 2 and ½ hour flight and we were all set to explore the capital of Srilanka next day by road. You can also plan to explore SriLanka by train from one city to another.
Day 1: Colombo (City tour) :
Colombo like many capital cities in developing countries it is fast changing its face. Almost overnight, skyscrapers arise from where old buildings once stood. Yet in some parts, the Old-World charm is retained. There is a 100-year-old clock tower and several British built colonial buildings. We drew around the city to see the places of interest like the old Parliament in Fort, a Hindu and a Buddhist temple (Gangaramaya temple), residential areas where you find the stately homes of the affluent and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall – BMICH, an outright gift to SriLanka from the People’s Republic of China.
Galle face road is the place you can’t miss to visit in the city. We took a stopover here and it’s such an amazing feeling looking at the vast sea and hear sound of waves.
Visit “Pettah floating market” to satisfy your shopping needs. You usually get cloths like tee/pants n all those of stuffs in this market.
Day 2: Drive from Colombo to Kandy:
Next day, we started our drive from Colombo to Kandy. Kandy, SriLanka is about a 3-hour drive from Colombo. We dropped in to see “Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage” which is on the way to Kandy.
The department of wildlife conservation established Pinnawala Elephant orphanage to afford care and protection to orphaned Elephant & Elephant babies in SriLanka forests and around. You can see bunch of elephants walking together & our toddler enjoyed giving elephant bath & milk/fruits feed for elephant babies in Pinnawala. If you have kids travelling with you, then this place is must add in your itinerary.
Day 3: Cultural City Kandy (City tour):
Peradeniya botanical garden, SriLanka :Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5.5 km to the west from the city of Kandy in the Central Province of SriLanka and attracts 2 million visitors annually. It is renowned for its collection of a variety of orchids. It includes more than 4000 species of plants, including of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. The gardens showcase all of SriLanka’s flora and representative species from around the tropical world.
We spent a very pleasant 2-3 hour or so just wandering around admiring the flowers and the buildings and water features Beautiful palm lined avenues, ancient mystical trees and rolling lawns. The flying foxes were also an unexpected treat. Highlights include the suspension bridge; palm tree walk and bamboo areas. It is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.
Temple of Tooth: After the relaxing morning in Botanical garden, we headed towards the famous Temple of tooth. Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, SriLanka.
It is in the royal palace complex of the former kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the SriLanka king’s and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple.
In the evening, we loved to take walk around the Kandy lake which is next to the temple to tooth. It’s an eye-catching view to see sunset by the lake and birds chirping. There are spots near the lake where you can just sit and stare the river and admire the beauty of this city.
There are lot of Art & Craft center, Gem museum, Batik & silk center to shop around. We also got chance to see the evening cultural dancing show. It was such a worthy show to see the local people performing the dances and fire acts. These shows are most tourist attractions in Kandy.
Day 4: Drive from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya:
After wonderful day at Kandy, Next day we were geared up to go to next Srilankan city i.e Nuwara Eliya. The drive from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is quite scenic. We visited Ramboda waterfall & Hanuman temple en route.
Nuwara Eliya,The city “Little England” gives different feel from other part of the country.
We visited Tea Factory and Plantation to learn how the world tastiest tea is made. Quality and the tastiest tea packets can buy from the factory outlets.
Evening we went for few hours for sightseeing in Nuwara Eliya, Visiting Golfing, Race course, Seetha temple, & Gregory Lake.
Gregory Lake: Gregory Lake was built under the period of British governor sir William Gregory in 1873. This is the most prominent attraction in Nuwara Eliya. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Nuwara Eliya. Stunning view, lots of greenery and very peaceful. You can do a very relaxing boat ride by this lake and it is also surrounded by nice cafes and restaurants. It is a good place to stroll and unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life. Love it to the core
There are many options for you to choose from to get out onto the water- from swans you need to pedal yourself to speed boats to jet skis. We picked a covered motor boat for about Rs 1500 which promised us a relaxing ride around the entire lake. The views are gorgeous but you’ll occasionally have people on jet skis whizzing by, so be prepared for that.If you want to observe the nature at i best, this is must visit for you.
Day 5: Drive from Nuwara Eliya to Yale via Ella:Done with the Little England, we started for next stop I,e Yala.
Beautiful ELLA which is in the hill country of SriLanka, Covering the attractions namely, Nine Arch, Three Arch, Ravana Falls, Ella Gap, Little Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock, Restaurants in Ella Town & Pubs. Sun Rise and Sunset in Ella is magnificent.
We reached Yala by night & we were all geared up for super wildlife safari ride in the country next morning.
Day 6: Safari at Yala National Park:
Most celebrated wildlife park in SriLanka over a century, 02 Blocks of the park is now open for public visit also with adjoining parks, specially Yala is ideal place to spot the big four (Elephants, Sloth Bear, Leopard & Wild Buffalo) of SriLanka, Yala National park is very rich in bird life around 130 species are recorded, one of the highest density of Leopards in the world, from Colombo to Yala entry point Palauan 305Km. We were lucky enough to spot the leopard at the park along with painted stork, Mugger crocodile ,Ruddy Mongoose etc.
Between this wide national park, Walk down to beach with the famous rock formations. Usually, Safari riders will halt here for the breakfast. This beach is soothing & the landscape here so picturesque.
Suggest visiting Lord Kadiragamar temple in Kataragama in evening.
Day 6 : Yala to Bentota via Galle: As we started from Yala towards Bentota, We visited Galle en route. Galle is a city on the southwest coast of SriLanka. It’s known for Galle Fort. We started our journey with visiting UNESCO Heritage Galle City & Dutch Fort.
The Galle Fort built by Portuguese in 1588, the Historical, Archaeological and architectural heritage monuments are maintained well for today. Galle fort is one of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle centralized city of the southern living & cultural still remain for 1000 of years.
Sitting on a promenade looking through the Indian ocean, The fort is known for its architectural style. We also visited Galle Light house which is oldest light house in Srilanka dating back to 1848.
You can view one of the best sunset at Galle through clock tower.
Inside the fort city, you will see lot many gem & Jewellery stores, small boutiques, All saints church, national museum.
Day 7: Bentota Tour: We reached Bentota after the wonderful day at Galle on Day 6. Next morning, we were set to explore our last city in Srilanka.
With coconut palms swaying in the breeze, Bentota is the multitasking tourist town in the southern coast of Srilanka. One of the most popular beaches, the beach here is a beautiful stretch of sand and sea.
We enjoyed long stretches of walk by the side, collecting loads of seashells and playing with waves. There are lot of water sport activities such as surfing, sailing and snorkeling available at the beach. Too relaxing, had a great time.
When there’s a time to change the pace, you can visit the sea turtle hatchery & conservation center which monitors 5 of the 7 species of the sea turtles of the world. We went to see this hatchery and was amazed to see how wonderfully they are being taken care. For kids, it’s a different experience to see the turtles and feel them by touch.
We also did Madhu river boat safari which takes you to number of mangroves . While on the river safari, you will move along the river with a boat and you will also see the wildlife of SriLanka with natural surroundings. When you land on the shores or islands, you will observe the breathtaking creatures like – monkeys, crocodiles, etc.
With that being said, many species of exotic birds and fishes will catch your attention. Not to mention that the safari trip would take a pause in different local stopovers. So, you will definitely have the chance to experience the local culture as well. And between the island, you can enjoy Fish massage which is unique experience by itself.
We missed visiting Visit Masking factory in Bentota, but you can certainly visit to see how the famous Srilanka masks are made.
Day 8: Return to Colombo Airport from Bentota.
Srilanka has lured us with its with its rich heritage, enticing beaches, diverse wildlife, and exquisite landscapes. This country is miraculous owing to the fact that it presents an abundance of physical diversity in a compact bundle.
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Also read: https://mapcameratravel.com/2017/08/18/20-exotic-photos-to-give-you-serious-wanderlust-to-visit-maldives-photo-log/
13 comments on “SriLanka – The ultimate one week Itinerary”
Great post.. planning a trip to Srilanka and this is very timely information..
Thank you Vignesh. Glad that this info will help you.
Have a safe travels 🙂
Quick question.. I was planning for a longer stay at Bentota.. would you recommend spending 2-3 nights at Bentota?
Not sure about 2-3 days, you can plan to stay a day extra in bentota and visit Hikkaduwa (that makes 2 days in total). This place has an amazing beach.
Distance between Bentota to Hikkaduwa is close to 50kms.. so you can go in day and return by evening. No need to book stay at Hikkaduwa.
Hope this helps.
Sri Lanka is one of my favorite places in the world! You’re so lucky to have spotted a leopard at Yala. I love the wildlife that Sri Lanka offers – Udawalawe is another place to visit if you get a chance to go back!
Amazing photos and loved reading this blog. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka yet but I can not wait to visit. I am looking forward to trying all the beautiful food Sri Lanka has to offer.
Reminds me of our trip to 11 night road-trip in Sri Lanka three years ago. Amazing place to go as a gang, and good for couples as well!
Sri Lanka has got some really amazing places to see. I particularly love reading about your nature exploration. Those waterfalls, the botanical garden, the tea plantation, the beaches.. Just wow. The Mangrove River Safari sound awesome. Did you ride a motorized boat or just the manual ‘paddled’ ones? Your photos are just awesome, btw! 🙂
This is exactly what I was looking for. A perfect one week itinerary to Sri Lanka. Instead of driving, is it possible to go to Kandy and other destinations via train? I have heard the train route there is really good.
What a perfect week itinerary! It seems like each day was a totally different landscape! The elephant orphanage would be high on my list, with the botanical gardens a close second!
How much would it cost in INR? And if you could update this post with information on places to stay , that would be a great help.
Great article helful travelers
Visit to srilanka most popular safari destination in yala national park get more information http://www.imperialyalasafari.com