Sri Lanka literally has everything! As well as the fine food, national parks, temples, beaches and bustling cities, it is also one of the best value countries in the world to visit.
After recovering from a devastating civil war and the damaging effects of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, the country is now firmly back on its feet and I expect tourism here to boom in the next five years.
We followed the classic ‘backpacker route’ across Sri Lanka, although as we only had eighteen days, we had to miss out some places and cut down the time we spent in others. In hindsight, three to four weeks would have been the optimum time to spend here instead.
Most International flights land half way up the West Coast in Colombo, the country’s largest city. Despite it’s name, Colombo airport is actually located closer to quiet fishing town of Negombo, so this is where we spent the first few nights of our trip.
After getting over our jet lag, we headed inland to Dambulla for a dose of history in the ‘Cultural Triangle’. In our time here we were able to fit in both the Dambulla Caves, and a trip to nearby Sigiriya to climb and view the famous Lion Rock.
We then headed down for a couple of days in the beautiful Kandy, before continuing our journey south into ‘tea country’, in the greener and cooler climate of Nuwara Eliya and Ella.
From there, we continued to head south through Udawalawe National Park, where we spotted wild Elephants, Buffalo and Birds, onto the South Coast, landing in the relaxing beach town of Mirissa.
We continued our trip on the South Coast through to the Colonial Dutch City of Galle for a couple of nights of culture, before completing the loop back to Colombo airport to end our trip.
1. Udawalawe National Park
There are only a few places in the world where you can witness Elephants, Buffalo and other cool animals in their natural habitat in a huge National Park.
2. Lion Rock (Sigiriya)
A tough climb in late afternoon heat but the views from the top are well worth the effort!
3. Mirissa Beach
A great place to relax and unwind towards the end of the trip.
4. Little Adam’s Peak, Ella
Not the most challenging of hikes, but the views from the top are still spectacular.
5. Kandy Lake
The heart of this beautiful city is it’s iconic lake; a stroll around it takes less than an hour, even with a few stops for popcorn and samosas on the way!
Cost of Travel
Certainly doable on AUD$65 per couple for slow travellers on a budget. However, for three weeks travelling in comfort, you may want to budget closer to AUD$90.
Full cost breakdown
All in all we had a great eighteen days here. With an extra week we could have extended our beach stay to incorporate the coastal towns of Tangalle & Unawatuna, as well as spending a night or two in Colombo at the end of our trip, but we still feel like we covered a lot of ground and had a great trip.