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Written by Bhavika G on October 21, 2017 Share on

3 Amazing Ideas For a Fun-filled Weekend Break in Sri Lanka

Another long weekend has gone by without a successful outing? Don’t let this year end without you having headed out anywhere. Carpe diem! Seize today and upcoming long weekends with a trip to Sri Lanka. These itineraries will help you solidify your travel plans.

Make the most of your next and every other long weekend with Pickyourtrail.

Sri Lanka offers you the best of culture, nature & adventure. Check these fun-filled itineraries out.

Day 1:

Madu river safari

Maduganga river safari
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First thing in Sri Lanka, jump aboard a cruise boat and head on your first safari. Watch the world pass by from inside your canopied boat - from the rustle of mangroves around you to fishermen casting their nets wide into the ocean, tune yourself to nature. Try spotting water monitors, wild monkeys, lizards and birds like Kingfisher, Hawk Eagle and Comarans. Onward, you will pitstop at

Kothduwa temple 

This 200-year-old Buddhist temple - the only one not flanked by a village in the front. Blessed with a Bodhi tree, this place radiates with peace and tranquility you so crave. Drop your worries and just tune into the peaceful vibe of this place.

Cinnamon Island

Occupied by one family of cinnamon cultivators, this is the cinnamon heartland of Sri Lanka. Exuding of the warm scent, a wide range of cinnamon products are up for grabs here.

Fish farm

Entrance fee - 200

Meet and greet with fishes, crocodiles and crabs here. At the Fish Spa, Dip your feet in the water here and be stress free and dead skin free in moments. There! A new you, that too on your very first day in Sri Lanka.

Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery 

Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery 
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Located down the madu river is the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery - a place where baby turtles are nurtured and raised. This conservation center not only helps hatch the turtle eggs, but also care for the weak and disabled ones - caught during fishing. Once the turtles are born, you can actually help release them into their natural habitat. Who wouldn’t want be a part of something beautiful like this?

Time: Full day

Note: If you like water sports, this is a great place to try out diving, jetskiing, windsurfing and parasailing.

End your day by driving down to Galle.

Day 2:

Mirissa whale watching

 Time: 5 hours

Mirissa whale watching
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Set off early from Galle on one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic drives. Watch the picturesque Sri Lanka roll by as the world slowly comes to life around you. Reach Mirissa around 6:30 am and prepare to sight these majestic mammals of the ocean. Take in the breeze from atop the deck and settle in for a hearty breakfast. On board, look around and spot Blue whales, Fin whales, Sperm whales and even Dolphins. Watch in awe as they flip and jump about as you try to get a closer look. After a day with the marine, let that awe sink in over some delicious local lunch nearby.

Best time to sight whales: December - March

Drive back to Galle.

Day 3

Yala jeep safari

 Time: 10 - 12 hours (full day); 4 - 5 hours (half-day)

Yala jeep safari
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Also called Ruhuna, Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s second largest national park. Begin early in the morning and wake with the wild. Taking you through 979 sq. km, survey the national park on your jeep. Through thick foliage, shrubs and towering trees, encounter the wild of Sri Lanka. Housing the world’s largest leopard density, try spotting wild elephants, birds, boars, water buffalos, and snakes.

Note: You can even customize your safari package to an only Leopards safari or a Birds only safari.

Day 1, Bentota

Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary, Madhu River & Turtle hatchery

Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary
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Begin your day exploring the grounds of Pinnawala Sanctuary - meeting and greeting with elephants, watching baby elephants being bottle fed and given bath by mahouts. After drowning your senses to much delight and wonder, it’s adventure time.

Time to cruise the Madu river on your boat and watch mangroves and wildlife as you pass by gurgling waters. With pitstops at a Cinnamon farm, a Buddhist temple and a fish spa let the wonder of nature and a particular 200 year old floating temple overtake your sense. Ready to encounter more wonders of nature? At the Turtle Hatchery, meet these cuties and help release them into their natural habitat.

Madu river
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A well deserved rest with dinner and a comfortable bed await you across the Madu river.

Day 2, Nuwara Eliya

Wake up the sound of birds chirping or the morning sounds of shops - depending on where you stay and get ready to head over to Nuwara Eliya. It’s a five-hour drive so if you woke up too early, catch up on that sleep. Don’t want to miss one bit and pull that camera out and get snapping.

Sita Eliya & Hakgala Gardens

Hakgala Gardens
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Explore the village of Sita Eliya first thing in Nuwara Eliya. While here, head over to the Seetha Amman temple - rumoured to be the very site where Sita was held captive by Lanka King Ravana. In the stream nearby, rocks hold impressions of what is believed to be Hanuman’s footprints. While few others claim, they were made by Ravana’s elephants.

As you ponder on this historical mystery, head over to the 1 km away Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Located along the Nuwara Eliya main road, walking in here feels like entering a portal - blessed with a pleasant climate, scented by flowers and decked in vivid variations of green. Among the many photogenic attractions here, check out the Rose garden, the upper & lower flower gardens, fernery, central pond and the Rock garden.

Day 3, Nuwara Eliya

Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains
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Begin your second day of nature connect here. 2,300 meters above sea level, lose yourself among evergreen forests, grasslands and marshes - that too in a weather condition that is just perfect. Take a trek through the Horton plains, passing by expansive grasslands and a densely set cloud forest. Wildlife in abundance, watch the enigma of nature unfold here.

Gregory Lake

Lake Gregory
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Located in central Nuwara Eliya, head over to this picturesque lake to boat, picnic and try your hand at some water sports. Settle down for a picnic by the banks of the lake with the background of hills decked in shades of green. For the adventurers, jetskiing and windsurfing. Taking it slow and dreamy? Hook up to a swan paddle boat or a normal boat and sail across Lake Gregory.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park
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Here’s another place to greet the irresistible nature of Nuwara. Commemorated by Queen Victoria, and thus the name, the Nanu oya river runs through this park - creating several small lakes. Come here to relish a bit of nature, bird watch and take a walk. Check out the miniature rail located by the children’s playground at the far end of the park.

Day 4

Kandy day trip

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Set off to discover the hill capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy. Just looking at the scenic town imbued with lakes, nature, temples and quaint houses will have you looking forward to explore more. On your day tour, sight these:

Temple of tooth: Also called Sri Dalada Maligawa, this Buddhist temple is located at what used to be the royal palace complex of the Kingdom of Kandy. The sacred tooth relic is preserved in seven gemstone engraved golden caskets.

Gem Museum: For those of you who like the finer things in life, head over to the Gem Museum and splurge. Crafted with the finest gemstones, buy that special memento or gift to take back home.

Kandy cultural show
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Traditional cultural dance show:  Watch the culture of Sri Lanka explode in bursts of well-decked dancers performing traditional and folk dances. The highlight is the fire walking show where the performers walk on red-hot charcoal and emerge unhurt!

Seems like one of the many unanswered mysteries you will bring back home, doesn’t it?

Day 1

Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary

 Time: 3 - 5 hours

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
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At Pinnawala village, head over to the Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary to meet and greet the Asiatic elephants residing here. Founded with the intent of protecting orphaned elephants wandering the forests of Sri Lanka, today it hosts the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Here, watch the elephants being given a bath, and the infants being bottle fed milk by the mahouts.

Dambulla cave temple

 Time: 4 hours

Dambulla cave temple
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Dambulla is like an archive of Sri Lanka’s past - from statues of Buddhas and other deities to burial grounds dating back to a prehistoric era co-exist here. If history fascinates you, this cave temple dedicated to Buddha will feel like you have struck gold. Housing 153 Buddha statues along with statues of gods, goddesses, and royals of Sri Lanka, this cave temple is covered in murals - one even depicting Buddha’s first sermon.

Day 2

Rock Fortress of Sigiriya

Sigiriya Rock Fortress
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Also called Lion’s Rock, this fortress is a 20 km drive from Dambulla. An archaeological pot of gold, this site houses the remnants/ruins of the palace, and its fortifications, surrounded by extensive gardens, ponds, canals, and fountains. The Sigiriya owes its name to the huge stone lion guarding the entrance to the complex. What makes it such a find is that this architecture is one of the finest examples of urban planning - the gardens are in fact one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world!

Ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa & ruins of Anuradhapura

Sacred city of Anuradhapura
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The historic trail continues down to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Along with ruins, here you can sight restored irrigation reservoirs, wildlife and a colourful diversity of bird life. Not just the ruins, the entire region is welcoming with shady trees that flank this area. Here’s what you can try to spot among the rest of the ruins: the Shiva Devale temple, Royal Palace Group, and a few other captivating Buddhist temples.

Also a UNESCO Heritage Site, Anuradhapura is a living relic of the Sri Lankan kingdom. A city in ruins it is home to some well-preserved monuments, monasteries, and ruins of historical sites. Among the many stupas, the Jetavana Dagoba stands grabs eyeballs as it stands imposingly against a barren foreground. A sore for the culture vulture’s sight, this place is teeming with monasteries, edifices and structures that give it its famed monicker - The Sacred City.

Day 3

Return to Colombo

Once in this exciting city, don’t stay in. Kick off the day early and explore these places:

Galle Green Face
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Galle Face Green: An urban park by the ocean, Galle Face Green stretches for up to 500 m along the beach. It’s popular among picnickers, vendors and kite flyers. It’s a great place to catch the sunrise and sunset. Maybe stop by here for a sunset before you leave the country.  

Viharamahadevi Park: Plonked next to the National Museum, this public park houses, among other, a mini zoo! Also called Victoria Park this is great place for walks and just take it slow and easy on a lazy day.

Twin World Trade Center towers: Another sight to catch on your Colombo expedition, this one is an international business complex housing MNC, local and international business. With two twin buildings of 39 levels each, it stands like a crowning jewel on Sri Lanka’s skyline.  

Independence Hall at Independence Square: Dedicated to the struggle Sinhalese put up for independence from the British, this commemorates the place where Sri Lanka’s self-rule began back in 1948.

Gangaramaya Buddhist temple
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Gangaramaya Buddhist temple: This Buddhist temple standing against the tranquil Lake Beira, is known for beyond its sacredness. Once you enter its black slate grounds, awe at the conflux of architectural styles here - Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai, Burmese with hints of Indian.

Take a look these offbeat things you can add to your Sri Lanka itinerary. Ready to set off on your Sri Lankan long weekend escapade? Reach out to us to plan a Sri Lanka travel.

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