• The Ultimate Honeymoons

The ultimate itinerary for 2-3 weeks in Sri Lanka

When it comes to your next trip, is surfing, yoga, safaris or adventure on your list? We will let you know why Sri Lanka should be the next place you should visit.

Little Adam's Peek

Sri Lanka is such a diverse country with so much to see. Depending on the time of the year, it is best to visit either the North or South of the country (depending on the wet or dry season). As we were there in January, the weather was best in the South. With a mix of pretty beaches, jungles, animal safaris, temples and cute villages, to name some, there is so much to do and see. We only spent 12 days here unfortunately, but would recommend 2-3 weeks to really get the most out of it. We will give you the ultimate 2 and 3 week itineraries at the bottom of this blog.


How to get around:

The only way to get to Sri Lanka is to fly in and out of Colombo. As far as transport goes, the local buses and trains are very cheap in Sri Lanka but can take a long time with stops and changes. You can also rent a tuk tuk which looks like a really fun way to get around, but a little pricey. We decided to take a taxi directly to Nuwara Eliya from the airport, as it was already a 5 hour drive going directly there. You’ll climb over some insanely beautiful and extremely steep mountains on your way, on occasion you may even pass an elephant or two.


Places we skipped:

Due to our time constraints, we decided to skip Colombo, Negombo (beach near the airport), Sigiriya and Kandy. We heard that Colombo was "just another city", Negombo is "no where near as nice as the beaches in the south", and Kandy was also "just another busy city" where people go just to take the train to Ella. From our experience in Sri Lanka and meeting people that had been to these areas, everyone said they can be skipped. One place that we would have loved to go to though was Sigiriya. The only reason we skipped it was because it was quite far out of the way and would have added another full day of driving. Therefore, assuming you have a couple of extra days than us, we will add this in anyway.


Sigiriya


Famous for the big Sigiriya rock, we have heard that this is a beautiful and adventurous place to visit and should be on everyones list (if you have the time).


What to do:

Hike up Sigiriya rock and Pidurangala rock (for the view of Sigiriya rock). You can also visit the Dambulla Cave Temple which is about an hour away, which is home to more than a hundred Buddha statues.


Tip: If you want to save some money and avoid loads of tourists, climb up Pidurangala rock instead. Our plan was to go there for sunrise. It is MUCH cheaper than climbing Sigiriya rock.


Nuwara Eliya


The beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya is called 'Little England' due to its colonial architecture and its serene setting in the tea plantations. The main bus stop is a bustling place with huge buses coming in and out every few minutes. The town is located up in the mountain range making it very chilly compared to the coast. There are tea fields absolutely everywhere and it is worth doing a tour of one of them. We went to Pedro’s and tied it in with a visit to the nearby Lovers Leap waterfall. The scenery is real easy on the eyes and heaven for any tea lover.


Tip: If you have limited time, stay here just for one night and take the train to Ella early the next morning. An afternoon is enough time to explore. We had 2 days here and ended up spending a lot of time in our room as there was nothing else we wanted to do.


What to do:

There isn’t a whole lot to do in Nuwara Eliya. The waterfall and Pedro's tea factory were our highlights of the tiny town. You can also visit nearby Lake Gregory and Victoria Park. We walked to both of them but couldn't bring ourselves to pay the entrance fees and we felt as we could see them from the outside and they didn't look too exciting.


Taking a well needed stretch from the 3rd class carriage.

Where to eat:

We recommend to eat at Victoria Park restaurant. There are plenty of local places to grab a roti too. We were also recommended to eat at Grand Indian which also looked nice. It was a little more expensive though and as we were on a budget, we gave it a miss.


Where to stay:

Of course there are many places to stay within town. There are some extremely lush looking hotels, which were out of our honeymoon/backpacking budget. We saved money on our accommodation by booking at UYOU Ceylon Guest House (cost us AUD $26 a night). It had the things we need: a comfortable bed, a private ensuite and central location, but was nothing flash.


You may have heard of or seen pictures of a certain train ride in Sri Lanka. Well if that tickles your fancy, why not jump on the local train to head to your next destination... ELLA.


Tip: Book your tickets to Ella as soon as you can. We heard that second class is the first choice if you want to have your own seat and still take that cool photo leaning out the train door. First class tickets also sounds nice as you have a massive viewing window and comfy seats. If these are booked out (like they were for us) you’re going to have get comfy with your new friends in third class. Lucky for us, we got a spot right by the open side door, giving us a beautiful view and fresh air along the way. We 100% recommend trying to get a spot by the door if you end up in third class. The train ride was meant to take two hours but somehow took us 4.5 hours, which feels like forever when you're squished in like sardines.


Ella

Waiting and wishing to witness the blue train to cross the bridge.

Ella is a beautiful little gem tucked away in the valley. It is the perfect spot for adventurous travellers, with plenty of stunning mountains to explore with gorgeous views everywhere you look. The food and bar scene was awesome, with plenty of healthy options around.


Where to stay:

There are plenty of places to stay in this little hippie town. The main street is noisy so keep this in mind when it comes to booking accommodation. We chose to book a place up in the hills in a little homestay. It was really quiet up there, with gorgeous views over the valley. You could easily walk down the steep roads into town, but the walk back home from there could be considered a “hike” for some. It was only $3 AUD to get a taxi back up the hill though after dinner. We stayed at Broad View which was $30 AUD a night and don't forget to book in your exquisite home cooked daily breakfast.


What to do:

There is plenty to do in Ella. Firstly you hopefully got to experience the train ride into Ella, but if not, jump on a short return train ride from here.


9 Arch Bride: The bridge can be easily reached by two ways. But we found the easiest way to head to the train station and follow the tracks until you reach the tunnel (about a 30 minute walk). Keep walking - the bridge is only 100 m further. We walked it during the day. It's really hot but there are locals selling coconuts and cold drink along the train tracks. Be really careful as the train tracks are still operating. Please don’t walk on the tracks but there is a 'path' along side it. You can find your own perfect location for some pictures and if you’re lucky, you might score a picture with the old blue train.

Tip: Head here for sunset to get the last train and skip the heat of the day.


Early morning views from Little Adams Peek

Little Adams Peak: If you are like us and enjoy mini hikes, Little Adams Peak is just for you. We caught a tuk tuk from our home stay at 5.00am and were dropped at the bottom of the hill. From there the track is signposted really well so you can't go wrong, if you just start walking up. The views from the top are worth the sweat. Get up there and in position, oh and make sure you pack the camera for those glorious sunrise snaps.


Ella Rock: We skipped this hike as we thought that Little Adams Peak was enough for us. It is suppose to be a 2 hour round trip with more glorious views over Ella.


Tea Plantation: If you skip the tea fields in Nuwara Eliya, now is your chance to see one in Ella.


Waterfalls: There are waterfalls you can either walk or hike to Kitalella or Rawana. We didn’t go to either (for time reasons) but if it tickles your fancy, why not go and check them out.


Where to eat in Ella:

Chill café had super tasty food and is a great place to hang out. We actually ended up eating here twice as it was soo good! Also try the curry at Matey Hut.


Safari

Wild buffalo enjoying their time at the local spa.

The million dollar question is: "Which safari should I take when in the south of Sri Lanka?"

We had done our research and know already that there are two safaris to choose whilst heading from Ella to the south coast. Which safari: Yala or Udawalawe?

We heard a few things about Yala: That it has more wild animals but on the downside, it can be really busy. We heard/read that tour guides can call in the location of the animals and all other tour guides drive there too and surround the animals (losing that natural feel). We also heard that Udawalawe was really quiet but it was more of just an elephant park.


Udawalawe National Park


After weighing it all up, we decided to go to Udawalawe as we would practically drive straight past it. So why not give it a go? We were dropped off by our driver, signed into the National Park and jumped onto the back of a Hilux. The first animals we saw were in fact elephants but, we were blown away soon after by the rest of the safari.

"Our driver had eyes like a hawk and pointed out things we wouldn’t have normally seen"

We were lucky enough to see the wildlife in full swing. Buffalos, alligators, eagles, hawks, jackals and a huge number of bird life that we haven’t seen before, including the big horn bird (see picture below).


Tip: If you have a distance lens for your camera, make sure you bring it. You will have ample opportunities to take some great pics. The two hour trip was also enough time, and was very cheap for what we got.


Tangalle

Beach near Unawatuna

We continued our trip to the little costal town called Tangalle. Back on the coast, we ran and jumped in the ocean the first chance we had. The town is pretty small as most of the home stays are right along the beach. There is a whole strip along the beach where you can literally, taste the ocean. Fisherman drop off their catch each day to the local restaurants and cafes. So make the most of it and order some fresh tasty seafood.


What to do:

Beach time of course. If yoga is the way you like to start your day, head to the Coppenrath Hostel (which also puts on some delicious healthy food).


Where to stay:

We chose to save money on accommodation again (as we knew we would be at the beach most of the time). We stayed here in Tangelle for only 1 night at a cute little homestay called Sadika Guest House. It's not the flashiest place but it's really close to the beach. The owner cooks an amazing local breakfast for a decent price so make sure you taste her hoppers!


Where to eat:

Anywhere along the beach front you will find fresh seafood. Take your pick. It's a real mellow strip but you can enjoy your meal, candlelit on the beach.


Hiriketiya.


Waves to suit all surfing experience at Hirketiya

Next was a short drive to Hiriketiya. This bay should be on your list to go and see. The bay is small but extremely picturesque. The surf rolls around the corner and is great for anyone, either learning to surf or for those intermediate surfers. Advanced surfers can paddle out to the point for some long left hand runners. The bay is jam packed with great places to eat, drink and even dance the night away.


Where to stay:

There are a number of places to rest your head at night. For us we chose to save coin again and got a private room in The Lazy Money Surf Hostel for three nights (it wasn’t bad, but no air con in the rooms was a downer). From the hostel you can rent scooters for cheap and explore the other surrounding beaches. Silent beach is worth a mention to explore for some hours.


Where to eat:

Dot’s has a great party scene on weekends with local bands playing.

Malu Poke makes delicious poke bowls and brekkie bowls (an extremely tasty way, to start your day).



Mirissa.


Mirissa is a popular town on the Sri Lanka hit list. It has a long beach, plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as boat tours out to see the whales.


What to do:

We spent most of our time chilling out the front on our private hostel beach, and exploring the nearby beaches by scooter. Many people come here to see the blue whales, but we weren't sure how ethical these tours were so decided to give them a miss.


Where to stay:

The Satori Beach Hostel was a red hot bargain. They have excellent private rooms that are separate to the hostel but are beach front property with un spoilt views. We recommend booking a private room, for $50 AUD a night! It even has that sought after luxury (air con), yoga in the mornings/evenings and a delicious vegan healthy café. The sunsets from here are world class and the town isn’t too far down the road. We hired a scooter a few doors up from the hostel, for a decent price and used that to explore further beaches and Mirissa town.


Where to eat:

No.1 Dewmini Roti Shop: Is a restaurant with extremely tasty and cheap Sri Lankan food.

Satori Beach Hostel: Great healthy GF, Vegan food for a decent price.

The Doctors House: Has a cool vibe but it's pricey compared to everything else (you can grab beers/food and enjoy the beach across the road for half the price). Head there on a Wednesday if you want to party.


Unawatuna.


It was not the greatest place to stay to be honest. The beaches had that dirty/tacky euro look and feel. Massages on the beach, people coming up to you asking what drinks you would like etc…it’s not our cup of tea. BUT…don’t write it off yet, there is plenty of things to do and see from here.


Where to stay:

We stayed at a little home stay named Sleepy Head – Pre book the breakfast! Hands down our best local home cooked breakfast in Sri Lanka. You can also do cooking classes there where you go to the local fish markets, buy your fish and veggies, go home and cook a massive feed (we missed out with our lack of time but would have done it for sure).

Tip: You don't have to stay here, we would recommend staying somewhere closer to Jungle Beach.


What to do:

There are nice beaches all within a short scooter ride away. So if you can, once again grab a scooter and punch these locations into your GPS. Galle Fort & Jungle beach.


Galle Fort

Galle Fort Lighthouse


Galle Fort or 'Dutch Fort' as it is known has a very European feel. We don't think you need to stay there, but would recommend going for the sunset and into the evening. The walk around the fort walls are nice and you’ll have plenty of time to get some nice sunset pictures.


Lonely times at Jungle Beach

Where to eat:

There are numerous restaurants to eat at. We ate at a cheap and local restaurant which had incredible curries and dishes for a real nice price. We can't find the name but it's a local curry house on Pedlar street, near Leyn Baan Street.



Jungle beach

Jungle beach is a small beach that is a little tricky to get to. Grab a scooter and ride up the small windy roads to the top of the hill. You will be asked to pay for parking there (for a couple of dollars) then walk down the steps to the beach. Head there in the early mornings to have the place (hopefully) to yourself.



Hikkaduwa.


A fantastic way to end your coastal trip in Sri Lanka. You will find great surf for all levels that stretch across the beach. Plenty of places to have that sunset cocktail and chow down some delicious Sri Lankan food. If you want to do some shopping, there are lots of market stalls along the main road. The surf is tip top and the mood is mellow.


Where to stay:

Neela's Guest House is situated smack bang on the beach. For AUD $35.00 per night, it's really cheap and it has everything you need. The restaurant does a great breakfast deal, so be sure to pre book the Sri Lankan feast.


The Bookworm Library knows how to satisfy.

Where to eat:

The Bookworm Library. Amazing Vegetarian food (we actually don't do this often but we ate here two nights in a row). Get there before they sell out of food. They normally work until all the food is sold so get there just after you watch the sunset.


Sample itineraries


2 weeks


Sigiriya - 1 night

Nuwara Eliya - 1 night

Ella - 2 nights

Tangalle - 1 night (go to Udawalawe on the way here)

Hiriketiya - 3 nights

Mirissa - 2 nights

Unawatuna (close to Jungle Beach) - 2 nights (see Galle Fort whilst here)

Hikkaduwa - 2 nights


3 weeks


Sigiriya - 2 nights

Nuwara Eliya - 1 night

Ella - 2 nights

Arugam Bay - 4 nights

Tangalle - 1 night (go to Yala or Udawalawe on the way here for a safari)

Hiriketiya - 4 nights

Mirissa - 2 nights

Unawatuna (or somewhere along the coast) - 2 nights (see Galle Fort whilst here)

Hikkaduwa - 3 nights

37 views

OUR STORY

We found each other on the other side of the world in a little party town called Lagos in Portugal. After travelling together for years, then marrying in Bali in June 2018, we thought why settle now. So here we are, on our ultimate honeymoons around the world. We hope our blogs can inspire you to travel with some useful tips and tricks so you to can have some amazing adventures.

 
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If you have any questions about anywhere we have visited or any must do’s, get in touch with us!

Manly, NSW, Australia

 
 
 

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