August 27, 2019 Catherine Mendoza 0Comment

Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia. Known as one of the tea countries in the world. From watching and getting up close the gentle giants in the Safari National Parks, the most stunning views of tea plantations to the most gorgeous beaches, this place sure will give you hundreds of reasons to coming back to!

If you’re planning a long trip around Sri Lanka and have no idea where to start,
then I’d like to share with you this detailed guide based on the 25-day trip that my husband and I did. 


We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Negombo via AirAsia and arrived at midnight. We hired a private car at the airport to our hotel for $10 for 2.

Before anything else: 

VISA
*For Europeans like my husband, Chris, getting an e-visa that costs $40 is necessary.

*For Filipinos like me, you can get visa-on-arrival, also for $40.


LOCAL SIM CARD 
*We bought a local sim card at the airport 1,200Rupees/$7 per person

Rupees 175-180 = $1 (as of writing, note that exchange rates may change so always check the updated currency exchange).

Let’s get started!

Day 1-2: NEGOMBO

📍Negombo, 10km away from Bandaranaike International Airport is an accessible destination in Sri Lanka, an adequate yet satisfying beach for anyone who wants to start off their trip with a salty hair and sands on the feet.

One of the reasons who decided to go there is the beach, we wanted to go beach-bumming before we head to the north where the climate is cooler.

 Where we stayed: Hotel J.

💲Price: 26$ per night, no breakfast included. 


What to do: 🤔

📌 Enjoy the beach. 

📌  Do your laundry. If you’re doing a long trip, it’s best to find a laundry place to wash your clothes. Good thing there is a laundry shop in Negombo. 💲$1 per kilo


📌  Eat. Dinner at Tucker’s Restaurant. Try their seafood platter for $15

📌  Get an Ayurveda Massage. We tried a Sri Lankan massage called, Ayurveda. It’s a popular type of massage that is quite relaxing. Price is at $22 for 2 persons. 60-minute session each.



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“ Oh madame, you’re from the Philippines I know “ his first greeting to me. I was walking down to the beach in Negombo, as our first stop in Sri Lanka for our 25 days trip. “ oh, how did you know?” Surprised. “ oh I know because Filipino women are beautiful!” Flattered. Lovely! I said. Then he started introducing his hand made products to me followed by other vendors at the beach. Three of them in total mobbed me with their products. One was selling huge beach towels which were actually classic, the other was selling a speaker while the other one was selling bracelets and anklets, the thing is, it’s kinda pricey. 😅 I didn’t buy from all them, only from the old man who first approached me. First impression : Sri Lankans are happy people, smiling like Filipinos and genuinely nice. As soon as we’ve ventured in some parts of Sri Lanka such as Kandy, Colombo, Ella and some other places, I figured that, Sri lankans are incredibly beautiful people. And that is just so evident wherever you go, everybody’s smiling at you, says hi to you and some, like young people want to take a picture with you! There are so many reasons to love the locals of Sri Lanka, thus, it will give you thousand more reasons to keep coming back. 25 days of exploring and experiencing this incredible country wasn’t enough. I also have many exciting stories about this place, such as how we conquer the 11,000 steps to and from Adam’s peak ( check it out on my blog ), where and how my fiancé ( now husband) proposed to me, how we enjoyed visiting 2 Safaris, how we beach hopping, the healthy delicious tea tasting and tea factory visiting, and many many more. Articles will be posted on my blog, soon. Hopefully. As I’m extremely busy with my Deutsch class these days. Tho you can help me which topic to write first! Got anything to ask about Sri Lanka? Ask me in the comment below, I’d be more than glad to help. Have you been to Sri Lanka? What’s your most favourite? #srilanka

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Day 3-5: SIGIRIYA

According to SigirayaTourism.com, this place is “Referred by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World this ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archaeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is probably the most visited tourist destination of Sri Lanka.”

⌚️ Total travel time: Negombo to Sigiriya – 5 hours by car 🚗

📍We found a good package deal that includes a driver that drove us from Negombo to Sigiriya. 

  • Cost : $80 for 2 persons, all-inclusive. Gas, Car rent, driving service & driver


Our driver offered to drive us around Sri Lanka except for the beach areas. We hired his services for a total of 13 days.

  • Cost: $40 per day for 2 persons, all-inclusive. Gas, Car rent, driving service & driver


Where we stayed: Sat Nam Village
💲Price per night: $44 night, no breakfast included 

What to do: 🤔

📌Sigiri Safari National Park Adventure: Our driver recommended a travel agency to us where we booked our Safari National Park Adventure. We were picked up by the driver from our lodge at 5 am.
Registration is needed upon entering, but our driver was the one who did it for us. There was a long queue of safari jeeps when we got there but if you booked a trip just like us, then there is no need to worry. 


  • 💲Cost: $100 for 2 persons

  • Safari Tour: 4 hours 

  • Tip to the driver: $6 (tipping cost depends on you)

📌Golden Temple: We didn’t know that there was the entrance fee to the golden temple was expensive, but we went in anyway. This was recommended by our local driver. 

  • Ticket price: 3,000 Rupees/ $ 17 for 2

Was it worth it? Well, if you’re a fan of temples, then yes.

📌 Sigiriya Rock: Sigiriya is that one place in Sri Lanka that my husband was really looking forward to visiting. You can check my blog post to know more about it. 

  • 💲Ticket price: $60 for 2 persons.


📌 Citadel of Sigiriya Lion Rock

📍In Sri Lanka, meal buffets are very common. Most of the local cuisines served are vegetable and chicken curry. If you love curries, then Sri Lanka is your heaven! Be warned that they can be very spicy. 

💲Lunch buffet cost: 2,000 Rupees/$11 for 2 persons.





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Watching the lovable giant creature makes me happy and seeing them especially up close is more than happiness. Leaves me enchanted. Even if our Sri Lanka‘s trip has been months ended, I still can’t get over it. Who’s with me who’s heart was stolen by the majestic elephants in Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 🙌 . . . . . . . . . . . #travel #travelstyle #traveladdict #travelstories #travelblogger #adventure #wanderer #wanderlust #sunkissed #summerdestination #globetrotter #summer #traveler #vacation #lifewelltraveled #tropical #tropicalcountry #travelingbikini #adventure #gltlove #glt #escapesanddiaries #travelingbikini #srilankadaily #sigirinationalpark #safari #sigiri #teaplantation #srilankatourism #srilankatrip #srilanka #elephantphotos

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Day 6 – KANDY 

Kandy is the second largest city of Sri Lanka next to Colombo. Although we only chose to stay one night in the city, there are, however, other famous attractions to do.
Kandy can also be your main base as taking the scenic and majestic train ride all through the mountains just like what we did. 


⌚️ Total travel time: Sigiriya to Kandy – 1.5 hours by car 🚗

Where we stayed: The Peppermint Homestay. The owner is an incredibly lovely woman. Although we only stayed for a night, she was so accommodating of all of our needs. We wished we stayed longer.
💲Price per night: $17 for 2 persons, no breakfast included. 



What to do: 🤔

📌 Have dinner at KCC, it’s a very famous food court where you can find International cuisines.

📌 Stroll around Kandy Lake.

📌 Drink wine at the Pubs bar. It’s 3,820Rupees/$20 for a bottle of wine.

📌 Pick me up App: Download this app when you’re in Sri Lanka. It will help you book their local mode of transport, Tuktuk. We used it when we went back to our homestay, our fare was at  200Rupees. You can also hail regular Tuktuks on the streets, but you must negotiate the fare price with the driver.


You can skip Kandy if it doesn’t fit your travel schedule.





Day 7-8: NUWARA ELIYA 

Nuwaraeliya is the center of tea plantation and has been certified as the capital of the tea industry in Sri Lanka. Here you can find tea factories, where you get to tour around to some of them,
taste the most refreshing varieties of tea while enjoying a scenic virescent view of some tea plantations.


⌚️ Total travel time: 1 to 1.5 hours by car 🚗

Where we stayed: Woodside Chalet Homestay
Price per night: $20 per for 2 persons, breakfast included.

What to do: 🤔

📌Take pictures at Tea Plantation

📌 Visit a Tea Factory. Damro Tea. Free of charge. Just buy some of the tea packages as a souvenir or bring with you along your journey in the tea country. 

📌Dinner at Grand India: 🍴Should you crave for Indian cuisines, check out Grand India for a sumptuous Indian dinner.

📌Horton Plains National Park: Located in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, Horton Plains National Park is where you can find and witness the famous World’s End through a 4-5 hour back and forth trekking.
In the early morning, you can watch some protected wild animals, such as leopards and endemic birds, as well as enjoy the green lands. Unfortunately, we arrived late so we were not able to see them. 

💲 Ticket price: 5,800 Rupees/$33 for 2 persons.

📌 Strawberry Farm: Don’t miss the strawberry farm on the way back from Horton Plains National Park for an absolutely mouth-watering strawberry treats! 




Day 9-11: ELLA 


Home of one of the best guesthouses and lodges in Sri Lanka, Ella is probably one of the best-loved destinations by travelers. It is a small town located in the Badulla District of Uva Province
and it is very laid back while it offers a wide variety of engaging ventures.



⌚️Total travel time: Nuwara to Ella – 4-5 hours by public train 🛤.
💲 Train Ticket Price: 110 Sri Lankan Ruppees/$6

📍If you’ve heard or seen the legendary train ride in Sri Lanka, well, you will find it going to Ella. We didn’t want to pass the chance to try it for ourselves!
However, it is not going to be an easy ride. From Nanuoya station where we got on to Ella, the train was jam-packed with travelers and luggage. In fact, some unlucky passengers like us didn’t get a proper seat.
Imagine, we were standing the whole time just to see that epic Instragrammable spot in which this train is famous for.
Needless to say, we weren’t able to replicate those amazing photos that we see on Instagram. 


Yep, no kidding! Don’t fret, I’ll tell you later a technique on how to successfully take one!

Where we stayed: Emerald Mirror Guest Ella 

Price per night: $25 for 2 persons with breakfast 


What to do: 🤔

📌 Have dinner at any restaurants or drinks at any bar at Ella town. Ella town has loads of bars and restaurants to check out.

📌 Visit Ramawa Falls. This is quite near to Ella town, just a few minutes drive. You may either hire a tuk-tuk to go there or go on a leisure walk, it’s up to you. 

📌 Drive your way up to Lipton Seat. Sir Thomas Lipton’s sitting statue is a British tea baron who used to survey his prospering empire from here. Lipton seat is overlooking a magnificent view of Sri Lanka at its tea plantation. It is best to catch the sunset on the way down. We drove up here around 2 pm and arrived after 2 hours drive and 30min before Lipton seat closing hour. We only took a few pictures and left. The roads were steep, we were advised to get off our car and take a Tuktuk but our driver was skillful enough to get us through. Tuktuks are available if you don’t have your own vehicle. 

📌 Visit Dilayuma Falls. We traveled to the base of Dilayuma Falls via our rented car but upon going up, we had to hire a tuk-tuk driver who also served as our guide. Trekking took around 30minutes. 


📌Take pictures of Nine Arch Bridge. Probably one of the most famous spots, too! 

  • Local Guide and Tuktuk Fees: Rupees 2,000/$10 for 2 persons.



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Nine arch bridge. I’m sure you’ll not miss this when you’re in Sri Lanka. Will you? No way. Every single tourists like me or locals would fancy to take a photo taken care, no matter what angle, time or day, for as long as there is the background of it, you got it. Was it worth it? Well, of course. Regardless if your photo is edited to remove other photo takers or tourists in the background, or not. It doesn’t matter. Just take one for yourself. It’s a great spot after all. No doubt. 💪 🌹 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #travel #travelstyle #travelstories #travelblogger #adventure #wanderlust #sunkissed #summerdestination #globetrotter #adulting #traveler #vacation #lifewelltraveled #isaidyes #tropicalcountry #travelingbikini #adventure #gltlove #glt #escapesanddiaries #travelingbikini #srilankadaily #ninearchbridgesrilanka #srilankatourism #srilankatrip #srilanka #ella #ninearchbridge #ninearchbridgeella #ella #ellaphotos

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Do you know that around Sri Lanka has numerous waterfalls that’s most loved by both locals and foreign tourists. Well, we couldn’t just miss one of them! Even tho we’re as busy as a bee going around from places to places in this tea country, of course we took the chance in spotting some of the waterfalls and had my fav boiled corn 🌽 just nearby! This is #ravanafalls. 💦 . . . . . . . . . . . . #travel #travelstyle #travelstories #travelblogger #adventure #wanderlust #sunkissed #summerdestination #globetrotter #adulting #traveler #vacation #lifewelltraveled #tropicalcountry #travelingbikini #adventure #gltlove #glt #escapesanddiaries #travelingbikini #srilankadaily #srilankatourism #srilankatrip #srilanka #waterfalls #waterfallssrilanka

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Day 12: HATTON

One of the multiple places you could visit in Sri Lanka in which you can see and watch the luscious and refreshing tea plantations.

⌚️ Total travel time: Ella to Hatton – 6 hours by train 🛤

📍We arrived late in Hatton via train from Ella. The next day at 2 am, we began our journey to Adam’s Peak. A total of 10,000 steps.
We basically just stayed one day in Hatton for the purpose of climbing Adam’s Peak.


Where we stayed: The Olive Homestay 
Price per night: $15 for 2 persons, no breakfast included.

What to do: 🤔

📌 Climb Adam’s Peak. Taking Adam’s Peak is no joke. You have to take a total of 11,000 steps and you must start at dawn if you want to witness the sunset.
If you are interested in everything about Adam’s Peak, you may read my blog post here.


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I almost hated Chris for making me hike it, to be honest, I’m not really a big fan of hikes or mountain climb or anything related to walking pretty much because I easily get tired. 5,500 steps was a no joke! Plus waking up at 2am is not my thing! But in the end, upon finishing and hiking back down, I realised that it was an achievement. True, it was more than exhausting, plus my legs throbbing but the thought that I actually made it was rewarding. I thank Chris for not giving up on me at this relatively one of the toughest challenges ( for me) in our travels. It always feels good to have some who never gives up on you. 💞 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ah, don’t mind my face, I didn’t have sleep yet that time 🤣😅 . . . . . . . . @resiak_c @escapesanddiaries #travelgram #couplegoals #travel #travelers #couple #instagood #instadaily #photooftheday #globetrotters #asiandestination #relationshipgoals #buddhapark #worldtravels #escape #worldtravel #worldtravelers #escapesanddiaries #rx0 #adamspeak #adamspeakphotos #love #worldcouple

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Day 12-13: UDAWALAWA

Basically, Udawalawa is where the Udawalawe National Park located. It is a place to see one of the world’s best places and top destinations and
highly recommendable to see wild elephants that’s also one of the main reasons why Chris and I decided to have a part 2 of our Safari Adventure. 


📍We arrived late afternoon in our lodge located in Udawalawa so we just had dinner there.
The owner personally cooked for us since he’s managing his lodge by his own along with his pregnant wife and a 2-year old son.


Where we stayed: Peacock Riverside Lodge
Price per night: $18 for 2 persons with breakfast.


What to do: 🤔

📌Udawalawe National Park (part 2) – We tried another Safari Adventure since we’re not quite satisfied with the first Safari we went to.
The Safari began at 530am. Safari price cost: 15,000 Rupees for 2 persons.


📌 Baby Elephants Watching/Feeding. It was quite remorseful and pity after watching and going to this place. I personally believe that it’s some sort of animal abuse, even when they stated otherwise.

  • Ticket Price: 1000 Rupees/$6 for 2 persons.


Should you go? I honestly regret going there. The decision is up to you.

📌 Find the Bat forest. (Free of charge) Chris was very fascinated by bats. Our driver mentioned that nearby our lodge, there’s a bat forest so we went to see them with our own eyes.
And yes, we did see several of them. We were also offered by hot tea and sweet cookies by the locals. 






Day 14-19 – MATARA and MIRISSA BEACH: 


⌚️ Total travel time: Udawalawe to Matara1 – 2 hours by car 🚗 
Matara beach based on experience is one of the less crowded yet popular beaches in Sri Lanka. It is also home to some surfers as early morning or early afternoon, surfers gather and enjoy the great waves. 
While Mirissa is full to bursting, especially during the day time. Here you can find souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and travel agencies that offer different types of tours such as whale and dolphin watching.
If you’re up for more adventures,  hence, it is one of the must-visit in Sri Lanka.  


📍Matara beach was something we were really looking forward to, especially me since from the beginning of this trip, we’ve been in up north that was cooler than any other parts of Sri Lanka.
Also, this was the last day of our car and driver rental. Beginning from Matara beach, we just took our journey and sightseeing in this tropical area by motorbike rent. 


Where we stayed: Top Secret Beach Hotel (beachfront)

Price per night: $53 per night for 2 persons with breakfast.

What to do: 🤔


📌 Rent a motorbike to stroll around the area. Rental fee: 1,000Rupees/ $6per day

📌 Surf at Matara Beach. Yep. You can surf and rent a surfboard.

📌 Dinner at The Dutchman’s Street







Day 20- 23 – MIRISSA and GALLE:  

Having the influence of the Europeans, your trip to Sri Lanka might be incomplete without having a glimpse of Galle.
It is the capital city of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, home to 300-year-old Dutch Fort, and other historical constructions that you want to take pictures of. Souvenir shops and restaurants are situated in the area.



⌚️ Total travel time: Matara to Mirissa – 40min by Tutktuk. Price cost: 1,200 Rupees for 2

📍Mirissa Beach is probably the most popular and favorite beaches in Sri Lanka. We spent our New Year here by partying at the beach area,
along with thousands of travelers who waited for the countdown, drinking liquors, dance in the music and watch fireworks.


I dearly love Mirissa beach as my ex-fiance, now husband Chris proposed to me.

Where we stayed: Milanka Guest 
Price per night: $19 for 2 persons with breakfast.


What to do: 🤔

📌Sunbathing, dining at restaurants at Mirissa area

📌 Stroll a little further and find some tranquil beaches like the one we did find. See my photos below.

📌Dolphin Watching. I’m really not sure if this trip was worth it or not. The boat was bumpy due to high waves, but it was generally safe. But in the end, we failed to see the dolphins.

📌Drive to Galle. The famous Tuna and the crab restaurant is located in Galle. Their crab pasta is a must-try. The travel time takes 2-3 hours by motorcycle.

📌Celebrated New Year and joined the countdown at Mirissa Beach

 

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And then it’s 2019. Coming back from a long trip with my amazing and loving partner now fiancé Chris @resiak_c (haha!) I have learned so many lessons, realised new things, discovered and explored the good and ugly side of traveling. Uhuh, who says everything about traveling is good? Nah, not really. For instance, the tiredness that I feel from working my ass off on my desk is a totally different feeling I have when I just came back from a long road trip or a bus ride, or even a simple sun bathing. That’s another reason why I love traveling even more especially with someone I am very comfortable with. Although my goal this 2019 is not to travel a lot but to be more prepared in the next chapters of my life. This is, indeed, how we can call ourselves, a new level of adulting. I hope I make the relevance. Above all, keep grinding. 💪 📍 Coconut garden, Mirissa, Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 . . . . . . . . . . #travel #travelstyle #engaged #travelstories #travelblogger #adventure #newyear #wanderlust #sunkissed #summerdestination #globetrotter #adulting #traveler #vacation #lifewelltraveled #isaidyes #tropicalcountry #travelingbikini #adventure #gltlove #glt #escapesanddiaries #travelingbikini #srilankadaily #beach #srilankatourism #srilankatrip #srilanka #coconutgarden

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Day 23-25 – COLOMBO


The capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo compared to the other places we’ve been around Sri Lanka, it is modern, hustling and bustling and dynamic.

⌚️ Total travel time: Mirissa to Colombo – 2 hours by train 🛤. Ticket price: $3-$6

📍Two days left for us before Chris’s flight back to Germany, and I to the Philippines. We decided to spend it in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka.

Where we stayed: Movenpick Hotel, Colombo 
Price per night: $47 for 2 persons with breakfast.


What to do: 🤔

📌 Find your comfort foods at Sir James Pieris Mawatha, Colombo, Level 3

📌 Watch the sunset and have a happy hour at Movenpick’s rooftop bar

📌 Go City tour ( that if you still have plenty of time )

📌 Have a haircut, as my husband did before flying back to Germany

📌Eat at Mcdonalds! We’ve been so long staying in the countryside of Sri Lanka so we sure did miss the taste of junk foods.



Our flight back is from Negombo airport.  Travel time from Colombo proper to Negombo airport, 2 hours by Grab.



Must know‼️ Sri Lanka is a Buddhism country and women are highly conservative. Wear appropriate clothes especially for women. Furthermore, if you plan to go swimming,
bring your swimwear. I personally had a difficult time searching a swimwear and when I finally did it was so expensive. 




My advice? try taking public transportation as much as you can as it is the most enjoyable way of journeying through the country. Try to get in touch with the locals.
Sri Lankans are among the warmest and kindest people I’ve ever met. In fact, when I was there, I felt like I was a celebrity as every single Sri Lankan waved hi and smiled at me.
Take your time, don’t rush, one certain place in Sri Lanka could be very magical and you need to soak yourself in its deepest culture. 



Sri Lanka is such a beautiful place, our 25 days for me wasn’t enough. I wish we could have stayed longer.



In the end, it’s all up to you on how you want to do your travel in Sri Lanka. Indeed, there are so many nice places to see and interesting things to do. The most important thing is, you have a great time and enjoy. 



I hope I didn’t miss anything. If you have any questions that I might be able to answer, feel free to ask me. 






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