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Written by Savi, 101 Comments

There’s only one way to describe Sri Lanka – a small island country with the largesse of an entire continent! Diverse landscapes, stunning beaches, expansive tea estates, laid-back tropical villages, world heritage sites, scrumptious food, and friendly people – there is nothing a self-drive road trip in Sri Lanka doesn’t offer! You know we love road trips and would highly recommend a visit to this island nation.

We’ve tried to include everything you need to plan an incredible road trip in Sri Lanka below. Choose an itinerary that suits your budget and the number of days you have at hand and get going ๐Ÿ™‚

couple on beach in Sri Lanka Drone shot
Beautiful sights like this await


Getting into Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike International Airport/Colombo International airport is well connected to most countries. On this occasion, we took a convenient direct flight (3 hours) from New Delhi as we were in India before flying to Sri Lanka. Air India, Jet Airways, and Sri Lanka Airlines all provide equallyย  convenient connections from India – it’s best to compare rates before booking a flight.

Sri Lanka offers Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)ย  – you can apply on the ETA websiteย and you’ll receive the visa approval letter via email usually within 24 hours. The fee for SAARC residents is USD 20 and for other residents is USD 35. You get a double entry visa valid for 30 days.


Cab from Airport

You need not book a pre-paid transfer to your hotel unless it is included in the cost of your hotel booking. Upon getting to the airport, you will be hounded by several taxi drivers and taxi companies. The most cost effective option is to book a fixed price cab that costs 3000 LKR ($18) from a stall such as Cassons or Airport Taxi. You will spot these stalls as soon as you exit the Arrivals area at the airport


Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is between November and March as the weather is pleasant. However we visited during the shoulder season in September and despite grumbling about the intense heat on a couple of days, we enjoyed ourselves.

Girl in a fruit stall in Sri Lanka
Plenty of colour guaranteed all around irrespective of when you visit Sri Lanka ๐Ÿ™‚


Renting A Car for your road trip in Sri Lanka

It is easy to get around Sri Lanka using public buses and trains but renting a car is the most comfortable way of getting around Sri Lanka. If you intend to rent a car with a driver in Sri Lanka, then it is easy to arrange one in advance. However if you want to drive yourself, then just keep aside half a day to get your licence validated in Colombo. If you have an International Driving Permit (IDP), the car rental company can get the validation done for you. However if you don’t have an Intrnational Driving License, then you will have to be present at the DMV to obtain a temporary driving license (valid for 30 days). The fee for this temporary license is LKR 1000 ($6). It took us a couple of hours to obtain this license.

But despite this extra effort, we would definitely recommend renting a car to explore Sri Lanka on your own. If you travel frequently or have driven in even slightly chaotic countries, we would HIGHLY recommend planning a road trip in Sri Lanka. Itโ€™s affordable, roads are good, people even better, and youโ€™ll stumble on SO many gems along the way like this ancient rock fortress.

We rented our car from Malkey Rental and it was a seamless process. We reserved a car via their website and one of their representatives accompanied us for the license validation process. If you’re renting a car in Sri Lanka, then we’d definitely recommend going with a Sri Lankan company like Malkey as they understand the nuances of the country better and are more flexible when it comes to the terms and conditions dependent on the terrain. The rental car cost LKR 15000 ($88) per week for an economy class car. This cost included a limit of 80 kilometres per day. Additional kilometres were charged at LKR 30 per kilometre. We rented it for 16 days and ended up driving around 1400 kilometres, thereby paying for 120 odd extra kilometres. We had read plenty of discussions on forums where people had strongly discouraged others from renting a car – we are SO happy we rented one ๐Ÿ™‚

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Driving past THE icon of Sri Lanka – the Lion Rock ??? When we first started reading about self-drive rentals in Sri Lanka all we saw were lots of discussion boards warning people against renting cars or driving in the country. We researched some more, weighed our pros and cons and decided to GO for it anyway! ? On getting to Colombo, we got our rental car in Sri Lanka after waging a mini bureaucratic war ?? โœจ โœจ To cut a long story short, you just need 1 extra day in Colombo to get your license validated. Youโ€™ll have to queue up (will pop all details in our article so the process is seamless for you โ˜บ๏ธ?!). But once that is done, you are all set to explore every little corner of Sri Lanka on your own. If you travel frequently or have driven in even slightly chaotic countries, we would HIGHLY recommend renting a car to explore Sri Lanka. Itโ€™s affordable, roads are amazing, people even better, and youโ€™ll stumble on SO many gems along the way like this ancient rock fortress ??? โœจ โœจ MORAL of the story? Travelling to new places is a bit like LIFE itself! You need to exercise common sense, measure your options but ALSO be confident and take risks. Donโ€™t follow the herd and most importantly donโ€™t be scared of the unknown and youโ€™ll reap the highest rewards in travel and in LIFE โ˜บ๏ธ? #bruisedpassports #lifelessons #traveltips

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Sample Itineraries for your road trip in Sri Lanka

We will provide a day-by-day breakdown of our entire road trip below. But here are a few suggested itineraries depending on the number of days that you have in the country



  • Day 1 – Stay in Colombo
  • Days 2-5 – Stay in Galle and explore Southern Province including Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle



  • Day 1 – Stay in Colombo
  • Days 2-5 – Stay in Galle and explore Southern Province including Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle
  • Days 5-7 – Stay in Yala National Park and go on safari



  • Day 1 – Stay in Colombo
  • Days 2-5 – Stay in Galle and explore Southern Province including Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle
  • Days 5-7 – Stay in Yala National Park and go on safari (2 days)
  • Days 7-10 – Stay in Arugam Bay/Trincomalle and explore offbeat beaches of Eastern Sri Lanka
  • Days 10-11 – Stay in Sigiriya and go hiking
  • Days 11-13 – Stay in Kandy/Ella and explore Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and Kandy
  • Day 14 – Fly out of Colombo



  • Days 1-3 – Stay in Colombo
  • Days 3-8 – Stay in Unawatuna and explore Southern Province including Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Galle
  • Days 8-10 – Stay in Yala National Park and go on safari (2 days)
  • Days 7-12 – Stay in Arugam Bay
  • Days 12-18 – Stay in Trincomalle and explore offbeat beaches of Eastern Sri Lanka
  • Days 18-20 -Stay in Anuradhapura and explore surrounding temples and monasteries
  • Days 21-24 –ย Stay in Sigiriya/Dambulla and go hiking
  • Days 24-27 – Stay in Kandy and explore Sri Lanka’s most visited town
  • Days 27-29 – Stay in Ella and explore Nuwara Eliya and Ella
  • Day 30 – Return to Colombo and fly out of Colombo


Day by Day breakdown of our road trip in Sri Lanka


Days 1-2 : Arrive in Colombo and pick up your rental car

Irrespective of where you are flying from, we’d suggest spending at least a night in Colombo before you pick up your car. The next morning, you can get your license validated and pick up your rental car for your road trip in Sri Lanka. You can also spend a day exploring the major highlights of Colombo such as visiting the Beira Lake, National Museum, exploring the historical streets of Pettah (don’t miss the gorgeous Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosuqe) or eating at the Ministry Of Crab!


Accommodation in Colombo

We chose to stay at an AirBnB apartment in the bustling centre of Colombo since we booked at the last minute and couldn’t find a good hotel in the area we wanted. Apartments are a great option in Sri Lanka but make sure you check for essentials such as wifi, parking, air conditioner etc before you book. If you are new to renting apartments and want some help, check out our guide here:


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

This is when your road trip starts in real earnest. Drive from Colombo to Galle took around 3 hours. We’d suggest taking the fast expressway instead of the coastal road as you will have access to plenty of coastal roads and panoramas later in this road trip. Galle will be home for three nights and here is a list of things to do in the area with some tips

  • Spend a day exploring Galle’s historical centre – especially Galle Fort, Dutch Reformed Church, and its iconic lighthouse.
  • Drive to Mirissa for its iconic palm forest. It’s hard to find it on Google Maps but it’s right next to Maison D’hotes and Sea Star Lodge. This is a popular spot for sunset, so it tends to get incredibly crowded around sunset. We actually think it looks prettier during the day, so try going around 10 am. Spend the afternoon at the beaches in Mirissa. You could even witness turtle hatching by visiting a farm in Mirissa.
  • Drive to the quaint Weligama Fishing Village, where you will spot colorful fishing boats. On the way, you will also spot Sri Lanka’s famous stilt fishermen. Unfortunately they aren’t actual fishermen, just actors who ask for money for every photograph you take.
  • Drive to the incredibly serene Japanese Peace Pagoda
  • Spend a day at the beaches of Unawatanu – they are gorgeous to say the least.
  • Shoot a memorable photograph at the insta-famous Unawatuna swing. It is located at Dallawella Beach near Unawatuna. It gets very crowded at sunset – we’d suggest going during the day or right after sunset for great light and least crowds. It costs 500LKR ($3)
  • If you have some more time at hand, you could also visit The legendary hill of Rumassala or the Ariyapala Masks Museum in the vicinity.
Couple at Galle Fort
Loved exploring the Dutch quarters in Galle
Japanese peace pagoda Galle sunset
Peace ๐Ÿ™‚
Swing at Dallawella beach in Unawatanu near Mirissa
Oh you must try this swing at Dalawella Beach

Accommodation in Galle

We chose our hotel in Galle based on our readers’ recommendations and we enjoyed it so much that we ended up staying in a number of Jetwing Hotels throughout this trip. So many of our readers recommended Jetwing Lighthouse and we can see why. The hotel has one of the most gorgeous views we’ve seen in a while. You will be greeted with an expansive beach complimented by dramatic waves crashing against giant rocks. Rooms are spacious and comfortable and equipped with all the amenities you would expect from a luxury hotel. The breakfast buffet is expansive and we really enjoyed it. Make sure you try local delicacies such as egg hoppers, dosas, and Sri Lankan curries. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, we’d recommend booking a sunset dinner on the rocks. This is available at a surcharge and dependent on the weather, but it makes for a memorable dining experience.

Dinner on the rocks at Jetwing Lighthouse Galle
An unforgettable dinner setting at Jetwing Lighthouse
pool by the beach at Jetwing Lighthouse
The pool by the ocean ๐Ÿ™‚
Breakfast with a view


Days 5-7 Go on safari at Yala National Park

A road trip to Sri Lanka would be incomplete without going on a safari! This 4 hour drive will take you from the coast to the heart of wild Sri Lanka. Yala National Park is gorgeous and safaris here range from $35-$180 depending on where you get them. We booked our Safari through our hotel itself and reserved a private jeep for the two of us. Safaris are enthralling and you can expect to spot everything from leopards and elephants to wild boars and spotted deer. A variety of birds can also be spotted along the way. A word of caution – a large (and apparently the best) part of the park – Block I and II – is closed for a couple of months during September and October (may change every year – check here) so we had to go to Block 5 – let’s just say it wasn’t the best safari viewing afternoon ๐Ÿ™‚

Couple in safari jeep at Yala National Park
At one of the two places in Yala where you’re allowed to exit the Jeep ๐Ÿ˜‰


Accommodation in Yala National Park

What comes to mind when you think of staying in the wilderness? Camping! If you’re anything like us and love your creature comforts then glamping is the answer! We stayed at Jetwing Yala and what an experience it was! The hotel is located mere minutes away from the Block 1 entrance to Yala National Park where most safaris start (when this block is open). As a result you’ll see plenty of elephants, wild boars, monkeys, and other wildlife roaming around in the hotel. You can choose to stay in hotel rooms or glamping tents. Rooms are spacious and equipped with luxurious beds, hot showers, indulgent toiletries et al. The glamping tents are full of character and comfortably furnished with portable air conditioners, comfortable beds, and equipped bathrooms. You might spot an elephant or wild boar as you sip on tea on your patio. However do be warned – if you choose to stay in the tents, you cannot leave your tent after dark on your own.

Whatever accommodation you choose, breakfast is served at a scenic restaurant close to the reception.ย If you’re celebrating an anniversary or birthday, we’d recommend booking a special sunset dinner on the dunes overlooking the beach on one side and Yala National Park on the other. This is available at a surcharge, but it makes for a trulyย  special dining experience.

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

Days 7-10 Unwind at Arugmam Bay

Arugam Bay exudes a laid-back beach town vibe and it was the definite highlight of ourย  road trip in Sri Lanka. It would be easy to spend a week or two here, but if you don’t have that long we’d suggest spending at least 3 days here. Here are some of the things you can do in the area:

  • Go surf or take surfing lessons.This is the surfing capital of Sri Lanka and there’s no dearth of training schools here.
  • Lounge on the beautiful beaches
  • In case you need a break from driving your car, you could rent a bike or colourful tuk tuk to explore the area
  • Attend a yoga class
  • Visit Pottuvil Point or Elephant Rock for amazing views
  • Take a boat tour at Pottuvil Lagoon
  • Visit an ancient monastery – you could drive to Muhudu Maha Vihaqraya, Magul Maha Viharaya, or Sastrawela monastery. If you’d like to work up an appetite, we’d suggest hiking to Kudumbigala monastery
  • In case you didn’t stop at Yala National Park, you can go on safari from Arugam Bay – Gal Oya National Park and Kumana National Park are in the vicinity.
couple on a rented tuk tuk in Arugam Bay
Who’s up for a Tuk Tuk ride? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Muhudu Maha Vihara in Arugam Bay
Drone shot of couple on the beach in Sri Lanka
Beautiful beaches of Arugam Bay


Accommodation in Arugam Bay

Jetwing Surf is a comparatively new hotel with just 20 cabanas and screams beach chic. The hotel complex is dotted with palm trees and boasts of a long stretch of beach. Each cabana has four poster beds, bamboo furnishings, and the most gorgeous open-air bathrooms with outdoor showers. The only downside is that the cabanas are not air conditioned, which is not a problem most of the year. We’d suggest opting for a beach facing cabana to take your vacation up a notch. Jetwing Surf also has a supremely scenic pool (watch the most stunning sunrise here) and breakfast area, so make sure you set aside plenty of time to spend in the hotel complex.

Cabanas at Jetwing Surf in Arugam Bay Sri Lanka
Cabana life at Jetwing Surf
sunrise at Arugam Bay from the pool at Jetwing Surf
Stunning sunrise
Breakfast ๐Ÿ™‚

Arugam Bay is the ideal place for a prolonged stay if you chose the 1 month itinerary listed above. It has a bohemian and laid-back vibe perfect for long-term travellers. In case you intend to spend more than 5 days in Arugam Bay, we’d suggest renting an apartment on AirBnB


Days 10-13 Explore heritage sites and go hiking at Sigriya

The drive from Arugam Bay to Sigiriya is a long one. Make sure you start early as it can take anywhere between 7-8 hours. Sigiriya is a destination bathed in history. Here are some things to do in the area:

  • Hike to the top of the iconic Lion Rock. The entry fee is $30 for adults and $15 if you’re from a SAARC nation. Make sure you take your passport along and go early as it gets really hot and crowded later in the day
  • For a much cheaper and less crowded experience, hike the rock opposite the Lion Rock. The entry to Pidurangala Rock is merely $2.50 and it’s every bit worth it. If you have to choose between the two rocks, then we’d suggest saving some money and hiking the Pidurangala Rock. We suggest reaching the top just before sunset. The view from the top is spectacular and you get to see the Lion Rock from a vantage point
  • Visit the Dambulla Cave Temples and marvel at the gorgeous carvings. The World Heritage Site is bound to leave you awestruck
  • Go on safari to Minneriya National Park or Kaudulla National Park to witness the largest gathering of Asian elephants in the wild. The chances of spotting elephants in one park or the other keep changing according to the seasons, so make sure you ask your safari provider which National Park is the best for spotting elephants at the time you visit. We booked our safari with Minneriya Safari Tours and they provided transfers from the hotel and we ended up seeing loads of elephants too. The price for a private vehicle for the evening Safari was USD 120 for 2 people. The jeeps here provided a much better viewing experience as they were open-top.
sunset at Pidurangala rock with view of Sigiriya rock
Beautiful views atop Pidurangala rock

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Out with the wild ones, where we belong ????

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Accommodation in Sigiriya

If I had to pick my favourite hotel from our trip to Sri Lanka, it would have to be Jetwing Vil Uyana. If you book one hotel from our recommendations, then make it this! The hotel has been awarded several awards for being the best eco-luxury resort in Asia and it sure lives up to that! This is eco-luxury at its finest – each chalet at Jetwing Vil Uyana is surrounded by paddy fields, reeds, or a man-made lake. Chalets are ultra-spacious and luxurious – think four poster beds, mosquito nets, expansive balconies, bath tubs, and large shower cubicles with hot and cold water. And despite having all those luxuries at hand, you can step out and feel like you’re in the lap of mother nature. A stay here is the perfect antidote to the hustle bustle of Sigiriya’s historical sites – highly recommended!

over-water villa at Jetwing Vil Uyana Sigiriya
Villa over water
Beautiful interiors
The common pool overlooking the lagoon


Days 13-16 Drive to Ella/Nuwara Eliya and explore the tea country

You could take a pitstop in Kandy on your drive from Sigiriya to Nuwara Eliya. In fact if you have a couple of extra days here, we’d highly recommend spending two nights in Kandy.

Driving to Nuwara Eliya feels like stepping back in time. As you near the tea country, you will be surrounded by low lying clouds and miles upon miles of tea plantations. Driving on this route reminded us A LOT of our epic road trip in Kerala. Make sure you pack a light woollen for your time in Nuwara Eliya because you’ll need it! Spend your time in Nuwara Eliya doing the following things

  • Visit a tea estate. A number of tea estates allow visitors to explore them for free. You could take a paid tour to the tea factory or just wander around the estate yourself for free.There are a number of tea estates that work on this model but our favourite was Pedro Tea Estate – gorgeous views and scenic trails. Make sure you carry some loose change to tip tea-pickers if you want photos of/with them as they expect it.
  • Hike to Lovers Leap Waterfall. If you have a car, you needn’t pay tuk tuk drivers atrocious fares (LKR 2000 for a five minute drive) at the main entrance to the waterfall. Take the alternative route suggested by Google Maps and park your car and hike up!
  • Picnic by Gregory Lake, a favourite with locals.
  • Drop in for a cuppa at the restaurant at Mackintosh Estate – it overlooks an expansive tea estate
  • Drop by Jetwing St. Andrews for English Afternoon Tea
  • Drive to Ella to witness its many waterfalls or the iconic Nine Arches Bridge. If you haven’t rented a car, you could also take the extremely scenic train ride from Ella to Kandy.
Some amazing pit-stops along the way
Pedro tea estate in Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka
Can’t get enough of the tea estates in Nuwara
Happy faces all around ๐Ÿ™‚

Accommodation in Nuwara Eliya/Ella

This was the only place we felt we went wrong with the duration of stay! We booked a hotel for 3 nights in Nuwara Eliya, but to be honest you don’t need more than a night in the area. In fact we would recommend booking an Airbnb or a hotel in Ella and covering Nuwara Eliya on a day trip if you are driving yourself.


Day 17 Return your rental car and fly out of Colombo International Airport

If you’re driving from Ella or Nuwara Eliya back to the airport, start early as it takes time. Also, there are some stunning vistas on the way, especially when you’re still driving in the hills.

St. Claire's waterfall Sri Lanka
St. Claire’s waterfall – we could see it from the side of the road when driving to the airport

And, here is a video with all our experiences on this road trip:


That’s it. The ultimate itinerary for a road trip in Sri Lanka with loads of suggestions, tips, our favourites, (unfavourites), and everything in between. If you need any other answers, just leave us a comment and we’ll get back super soon.

101 thoughts on “The Ultimate Itinerary for your road trip in Sri Lanka, the Teardrop Island

  1. You have described it really well.
    I just wanted to know how similar or different was Sri Lanka similar to Kerala..
    And where did you enjoy more in SriLanka or Kerala?

    1. So glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚ We always love hearing from you – You’ll really enjoy Sri Lanka. It has so much for offer ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi .. thank you for the very informative post ! Of the two places Nuwara and Ella , which one would you recommend for a stay? Also any particular hotel if you could suggest in the above two places , Yala and Galle if a little tighter on budget ?

    1. Hey Prachi – as mentioned above, we would recommend Ella to stay. If you’re a tea connoisseur, you can stay in Nuwara Eliya. You can look up Air BnB for such great affordable B&Bs in these areas. You can use this link for a $30 discount on your booking to cut costs further

  3. Hey,
    I enjoy reading your posts but can I make a small request? Can you mention how much your trips cost? It would be very useful for people like me to plan the trips. Ihave been planning to visit Sri Lanka (maybe next year). Thank you.

    1. Hey Christina – we do include budgets for a lot of our trips but here we’ve mentioned how much safaris and car rentals etc cost but the overall cost depends heavily on the kind of hotels you choose and where you fly from ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey so happy you enjoyed our itinerary for a road trip in Sri Lanka. To answer your question, the Pidurangla Hike takes about 30 minutes one way ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This is amazing!I could almost feel I’m already there just by reading it. My friend is heading to Sri Lanka for her honeymoon and I’m definitely recommending this to her. I’m sure she’ll love it too! Thank you for the elaborate itinerary! Loads of love to u guys!โค๏ธ

    1. I’m so happy to hear you found this happy Manasi ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope your friend finds our itinerary for Sri Lanka helpful too

      1. Hi Guys
        Loved the super detailed post! Captured the essence of Sri Lanka so well
        Weโ€™re going to be in Sri Lanka only for a day as a Layover from Maldives.
        Would you recommend that we travel to Galle/ someplace nearby or should we just stay back in Colombo and explore here. Also which area would you recommend for us to stay in Colombo

        Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. If you’re there only for a day, we’d suggest sticking around in Colombo itself. Just rent a hotel close to the airport and go explore the city for a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi! Thanks for sharing all the information. Your blog is just amazing.
    I am planning a 6 days trip covering Srilanka and Maldives in November. What would say is a must visit if I plan to cover srilanka over 3 days. I am keen on visiting any one of the national park and turtle hatchery. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hey guys, i am planning to visit Sri Lanka for 5N this month. If i have to divide my stay in two parts (don’t wanna travel much between places) what places should i consider so that i don’t miss out on the good stuff? I’ll be visiting Sri Lanka after 4N stay in Maldives.

      Thank You ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Finally got time to catch up on this. Boy, glad I took my time to peruse every tiny bit and absorb the beauty captured by you guys.
    Can’t wait to explore Sri Lanka!

  7. Hey! Me and my friend (both girls) have a 5 day trip to Sri Lanka in December end. We love outdoor activities, adventure sports, staying with localities, workshops and similar stuff. Could you suggest places specifically for these?
    Also, I have heard a lot about Bentota, do you recommend it?

    1. Yes Bentota is nice, you should visit ๐Ÿ™‚ As for suggestions, well everything we have to suggest for Sri Lanka is already in this article ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi! Thanks so much for the detailed information. Just one query – would you know if it is easy to purchase a local sim card for use in Sri Lanka? In India it takes 3 days to process an application for a local sim card so I was wondering if it is any easier here. Many thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hey,

    Do you guys have any recommendations for restaurants in Colombo, Galle, Unawantuna, Mirissa and Yala?

    Please do share.
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Tanvi – our recommendations are above. We really enjoyed Jetwing Yala and we chose to visit Unawantuna/Mirissa on a day trip, so we didn’t stay there! However there are loads of hotels in the area

  10. Hey Savi! I am heading to Sri Lanka for a week. Lot of people have asked me to avoid Kandy and Nuwara Eliya – as the south seems to have a lot more to offer. Getting very contrasting opinions on entirely giving these two a miss right to making them a key part of the itinerary. Your view?

    1. Our view is above. It’s a pretty part of the country but you might want to skip it if you’ve explored some other tea plantations before

  11. Hi maam..really wonderful pics and amazing information. we were planning a trip to the can u suggest whether visiting just shrilanka for a week will be better than Andamans?

    1. Hey that depends on personal choice. Sri Lanka offers a more diverse mix of things to do (safaris, beaches, historical cities etc) while Andamans is more about the beaches!

  12. Hi Guys,

    Could you recommend some other boutique hotels to stay at in Galle ! Would be really helpful !

    Thanks !

  13. We have planned a road trip basis this itenary and suggestions. We contacted Malkey as suggested but the car rental rates during Jan isn’t 15000 LKR but 25000 for a week probably due to the season & off-season rates and I contacted them 2 months in advance. This is not much of a problem anyways but just an update so others could note, also to get the license validated it’s important to keep in mind we arrive in colombo on a Sunday or any other working day as the authorities office only opens from Monday to Friday. We didn’t know this and booked our flights for a Saturday so will have to either wait till Monday in colombo or get a IDL first from Delhi and pay 4000 LKR to get that validated without being present. Just writing so others could benefit but thank you for all the tips, pictures and advices. I can’t wait to get to Srilanka soon.

    1. Hey Kamakshi,

      Thanks for taking out the time to update everyone – very sweet of you ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope your Sri Lanka road trip was amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ Do share photos with us!

    2. Hi Kamakshi, thank you for providing this information. Also, can you help me how I can get my IDL validated without being present as I am arriving Colombo on Saturday and don’t want to waste my day at their office.

    1. Hey Agness so lovely to hear from you – sorry couldn’t get back to you sooner. Honestly we didn’t really spend much time in Colombo – just picked our rental car and off we went (we spent half a day just to get the temporary driving license in Colombo) – so that was our highlight in Colombo ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Hey, your post is very informative and ever if anyone don’t want to visit would say yes after your post, just as I did.
    I am planning my moons and we are thinking of Sri Lanka & Maldives along. Could you help us suggest best place to not miss during our visit. It’s a 5-6 days in Srilanka & 3 in Maldives.

  15. Hi
    I loved reading your itinerary as Sri Lanka is up on my list now. I wanted to know if you visited Bentota , should we go there ? If yes then why , Coz I dnt see it in your plan .
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sakshi,

      We couldn’t go to Bentota but would have loved to – we’d recommend you go there ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Hi Guys,

    Great article . Wanted to check, if we rent a car for week, do we have to give security deposit. Read somewhere its some 300$ to be paid in cash . Just wanted to confirm.


    1. Hey Snehal,

      Yes you have to deposit cash. It was around 200$ for us. Returned as is without any question.


  17. Hi Savi and Vid,

    Can you guys suggest any other hotel in Galle other than Jetwing?
    Also is it possible to stay in Weligama and travel to Galle other than staying in Galle and traveling to Weligama?


    1. Hi Surabhi,

      Not sure about any other hotel in Galle. I am sure you’ll find plenty ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for your other question – yes, why not? You can stay in Weligama and travel to Galle for sure.

      Enjoy your trip to Sri Lanka!

        1. Hey Surabhi – Air BnB’s don’t really have names so can’t recommend exact apartments. But AirBnB is a great option in Colomobo- would suggest booking with a superhost in Colombo as AirBnB reviews are a great way to assess where you’ll be staying ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Ridhi. The budget depends purely on where you are flying from and the kind of hotels you choose. But you will need to budget a minimum for USD100/INR 8000 per day for everything (including accommodation, meals, excursions, public transport) and upwards of USD 200/INR 15000 per day if you’re renting a car, staying in nice hotels, and exploring independently. Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Hi Guys,
    I am planning a trip to Sri Lanka during upcoming Diwali holidays with my parents. Your entire post has been really informative and helpful. Keep up the good work!
    We would like to book a taxi for 3 of us. The internet has multiple options. Could you recommend us any specific taxi driver services? This will be a week long trip. Your recommendation will really help ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Riddhi,

      Glad our tips on Sri Lanka came in handy. As we have mentioned we rented a car so not sure about Taxi services – perhaps you could get in touch with Malkey (the car rental company) and ask them if they also arrange cars with drivers?

  19. Hi Guys, love your blog. We were thinking of staying in Nuwara Eliya for a couple of day apart from a day in Kandy and 2 in Ella. Is Nuwara Eliya not worth it?

    1. Hey Nuwara Eliya is beautiful but very similar to tea plantations in Munnar (if you’ve been to Kerala, then we’d suggest skipping Nuwara Eliya).

  20. Hey guys. Great blog. I’ll take this as a reference. I’ve planned a trip with friends this new year. I just wanted to know the process of getting temporary driving licence. Do you have any blog for that?
    Do we need to take international driving licence(IDL) in India and then go to the DMV office or directly we can go without IDL.

    1. Hi Anirudh,

      What I was told was that if one has an IDL, then he/she can just scan and send across to the rental company in Sri Lanka who will use these scanned copies to obtain the local license for you and have it ready by the time you get there. However, if you don’t have IDL, you have to personally go to DMV for this half-day process. It’s relatively straightforward.

      Hope that helps. Have a great road trip in Sri Lanka

      1. Hi Savi,

        Thanks for the detailed blog. I want to explore the palm swing near Galle as part of my visit. I heard the palm swing at Dalawella beach is tough to master. Any recommendations if there are any alternative palm swings at Unawatuna?

  21. Hi,
    We are planning a road trip around Sri Lanka for 10 days in Dec. From personal experiences can we get suggestions/ references of drivers for hiring a car with a driver.


    1. Hi Sunil,

      We did a self-drive tour. However, you can reach out to the agency (Malkey) we rented our car from as they do provide the service you are after ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Hi Savi and Vid,

    Thanks for your blog. I loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m going to Srilanka next week and planning to cover Ella and Nuwara Eliya in two days. We’d be traveling to Ella from Mirissa early morning and planning to leave for Nuwara the next morning. Is it feasible? Please share your suggestions.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Surbhi,

      It is doable but will be very rushed. And don’t treat driving time shown in Google as the actual time it’ll take. Add around 30% to that ๐Ÿ™‚

      We’d suggest skipping Ella and just going to Nuwara Eliya and spending a couple of nights there.

    1. Hi Nivedita,

      I’m sure there is. Your best bet would be to do a google search depending on the part of Sri Lanka where you’re looking for a drone photographer ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Hi Savi,

    Interesting one on Sri Lanka. My hubby n I are planning a trip to the southern province and are contemplating between a self-drive vehicle or a chauffeur driven one. Which one would you recommend keeping in view the traffic/road conditions, tourist safety and car-breakdown assistance.

    1. Hi Shikha,

      We always prefer renting a car and driving ourselves. We did not face any problems in terms of traffic or safety. If you’ve driven in India, you’ll be absolutely fine, no worries ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Article didn’t mention any list of things to do in Kandy but it did recommend a stay for about 2 nights in Kandy instead of Nuwara Eliya. Any suggestions on places to visit while in Kandy?? Or could we skip that and go straight from Sigiriya to Nuwara Eliya and cover Ella instead ??

  25. Wow! Just love. Lots of love for your Sri Lanka Trip. The places are amazing and you both too. I just fall in love with this awesome country. I added it in my travel list. When the pandemic gets over, I wl definitely travel there and will follow your tour plan for sure. Believe me , the pictures are awesome.

  26. Hey!
    Just wanna say that this is a great blog, I got to know really some useful tips here! Thank you for taking the time to share! I have planned this year to visit a friend there and heโ€™s going to show me around, so I have the perks of a native tour guide.

  27. Very nice blog thanks for sharing such a nice information. We have good news for foreign travelers who have been wanting to visit India for a long time. Citizens of 156 countries can plan their travel as per the new visa guideline standards.

  28. Dear Blogger, Great post Thanks for sharing this inspiring post Now you can book your favorite tour package for making your Days happy and spiritual to you Offers

  29. Nice blog. thanks. Planning a one month Sri lanka trip by own car. Taking a ferry from Nagapattinam to Kankesanthurai which will take our car. Then starting from north we will criss cross Sri Lanka. Time is Nov 2024. Your notes will be very handy in planning itineraries.

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