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Written by Sathya J on May 20, 2021 Share on

The ideal 8 Day itinerary to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a vast country and the number of days required to cover the country depends on what you want to do and how much you want to see. An eight day escape to Ceylon can help you see most of the wonders that the country has to offer. Wherever you are starting from, make sure you land in Colombo – the capital city – before noon. This ensures that you get a day to explore the capital city.

Day-wise itinerary:

  • Day 1 in Colombo City
  • Day 2 in Sigiriya
  • Day 3 in Kandy
  • Day 4 in Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 5 in Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 6 in Galle
  • Day 7 in Bentota
  • Day 8 back in Colombo to depart

Day 1: Colombo Calls

Once you are done with the check-in and refreshing at your hotel room, head out to explore the city. Have the most famous indigenous lunch dish of rice and curry, nice and hot.

Head to the Colombo National Museum to check out the galleries that have been preserved since the 19th century. This is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and needless to say, the most important artefacts through Sri Lanka’s history can be found here and it is astonishing to get a glimpse of such a long history in one place. The museum closes only at 5 pm so you have ample time to explore all the guns, swords and armours from colonial times. Don’t spend too much time here unless you like art and history and are intrigued by it.

Head to the Beira lake next. You can take a tuk-tuk or a cab to the lake. This would be the perfect evening spot for tourists. The surroundings in this picnic spot call for conversations about life, love and a lot more. You can indulge in boating to make the experience even better. People are allowed on all days from 7am to 6pm, so make sure you plan things and pace out your plans accordingly. Visit the majestic Gangaramaya temple and soak in all the spirituality of the Buddhists.


When the sun sets, the mood for shopping rises ! Colombo is a shopping heaven with so many shops ranging from the smallest flea markets to the largest malls. While shopping-monsters will love the city, for some, it might get overwhelming.

Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

Day 2: The Rock Fortress

The next stop is the ancient city of Sigiriya – located almost 200 kilometres away from Colombo. The distance gives enough reason to travel to Sigiriya the previous night, just to ensure that you do not get tired due to day travel. The rock fortress is situated in the town of Dambulla. Since you have the entire day at Dambulla, you start by climbing the Sigiriya rock and this will take around 2.5 hours if you keep up a steady pace.

The rocks near the steps which take you to the summit of the rock are filled with murals and paintings from different centuries, trust me you will not get bored by the hike. The view from atop the rock is indescribable and you will find every step climbed worth the sweat.

Places not to miss:

  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Ibbankatuwa Megalithic tombs
  • Hurulu Forest Reserve
  • Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium

Day 3: Kandy is Sweet indeed

Leave early morning for Kandy from Dambulla and this would cost the same amount of time you took to climb the Sigiriya rock. First stop at Kandy can be the famous Tooth-Relic temple and going there before 7am will be better as that is time when priests bring out the holy casket holding the tooth relic for all devotees to see. Certainly nobody wants to miss another UNESCO World Heritage site.

There is the Royal Botanical Garden in Kandy for tourists to visit, however, the costly entrance fee of around 4,000 LKR might sound a bit too much for some. In that case, you can explore the city of Kandy and its beauty on your feet or occasional tuk-tuks.

Tourists will find a major difference between shopping in Colombo and shopping in Kandy. Colombo is more of a big-city shopping experience whereas Kandy offers a lot more traditional souvenirs with a deeper connect to the country.

 

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Day 4 & Day 5: Enormous beauty of Nuwara Eliya

Another early morning departure. This trip will take you to the fascinating Nuwara Eliya. The train ride from Kandy to Ella is arguably one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. The mountains and picturesque tea plantations filled with so much natural beauty gives you time to relax and a different perspective about life.

Mid-way through, get down at the Nanu Oya stop to reach Nuwara Eliya from there. Only when you get down from the train will you realise that hunger has struck. Like in most other cities in Sri Lanka, it is easy to find authentic Sri Lankan restaurants that will surprise you with every meal in Nuwara Eliya too.

Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

Early evening, visit one of the best maintained parks in the whole of South Asia – the Victoria Park. Find solitude and get some steam off here after a packed 3 days exploring the country. Take the rest of the day off and recuperate for the last leg of the trip. Next morning, a visit to the Pedro Tea Estate and trying out their out-of-the-world tea will give you the energy needed to go through the day.

Explore the estate and purchase some of their high-quality tea products for all the gossip-mongering relatives back home. There are a few more special places in the city like the St.Clair waterfalls, Gregory lake, Ramboda Falls, Kudahagala, and a bunch of other waterfalls.

You can mix and match between these tourist places and choose the options which work out efficient for you in terms of cost and time. Leave for Galle overnight from Nuwara Eliya so that you can start the next day by seeing the world’s largest animal in the world. Again, taking a train will be better than cabs/bus, as it will cost a lot more.

Day 6: Golden Galle

In the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka luscious seafood is the talk of the town. There are a wide range of options to choose from due to the abundance in raw fish in these parts.

The famous Galle Dutch Fort, the Galle Fort Clock Tower and the Sea Turtle Hatchery can take up the first half of the day and you can move on to whale watching which will take up the second half of the day. The entire day is filled with Instagrammable surroundings. So keep a close look on that follower count as it increases with each photo you post !

Whale watching will take around 4 to 6 hours as the operators will have to take a shared boat to a specific place and wait for the whales to come out and bless the eagerly awaiting tourists. Depending on how tired you are, decide on staying in Galle for the night or leaving for Bentota – a one hour trip from Galle.

Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

Day 7: Bentota

Make sure to reach Bentota the previous night or the next day early morning. Missing the sunrise at Bentota Beach would be a sin. Soak in the country’s tradition a little bit more by visiting Galapata Vihara, the Brief Garden and the Cinnamon Island.

Galapata Vihara is an ancient temple structure which still has tunnels which lead to other temples nearby. It is a mysterious and artsy place that provokes thoughts about how civilised humanity has been over the years. Brief Garden and Cinnamon Island will give you a taste of the old colonial times and a mixed sense of calm and rush goes through the veins as we move along these two places.

Also read: Ten most Instagrammable places in Sri Lanka

Day 8: Leave with a heavy heart

Pack your bags as all the memories from the past week run through your mind. The memories will take time to fade or most probably they will not fade away at all. However, you might forget to pack the souvenirs whilst thinking of the variety of places you visited in Sri Lanka. For one last time, board the tuk-tuk to the airport to leave for home.

This ride will look like slow-motion shots in movies where the actors will be cherishing all the good times from the past. The Teardrop of India makes you teary as you bid adieu to Sri Lanka.

Customise your own Sri Lankan itinerary at Pickyourtrail where we give you autonomy to create and customise your itinerary the way you like ! If that is not your cup of tea, you can always reach out to us for our Sri Lankan Tour Packages. Either which way, we would love to craft your next vacation and ensure that it is memorable !

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