Sri Lanka Report, May
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Jun 11, 2012 9:43 AM Last Post By: livelongdieyoung
May 6, 2012 6:13 AM
Sri Lanka Report, MayOverview: Inspired by other traveler's post of Sri Lanka I am posting my own. I am a solo male budget traveler that spent 2.5 weeks (during the beginning of the off-season) in Sri Lanka (yes; I traveled quickly through the country) and spent about $600US while I was there.
Highlights: short hikes in the Hill country, bus transportation, affordable good meals and beaches.
Lowlights: Having to say “no thanks” 4.5 times on average to every tuk-tuk I passed on the street.
Negombo: Not the nicest beach in Sri Lanka but is only 15 mins from the Colombo International Airport (1,000 rupees for a tuk-tuk). I stayed at the clean, comfortable, wi-fi connected Mazz Homestay (1,000 rupees) which is run by the friendly owner, Rome. It's 1 block from the bus station (and 10 mins by tuk-tuk to the beaches) so again, its a good choice if your just traveling through Negombo (by bus or plane).
Adams Peak: Go for the sunrise but take an umbrella, poncho and dress in layers. You’ll be accompanied by hundreds of others make the pilgrimage to the top so give yourself 3 hours to the top and enjoy the spectacular view from the highest point in Sri Lanka. The White House offers rooms starting at 800 pesos and also has a greet meal deals. Note: The trial to Adam's peak is no longer lit up since its now off-season.
Nuwara Eliya: The two highlights are visiting one of the local tea plantations and the waterfall. You can hop on a bus and for 12 rupees take it the Pedro tea plantation (where tours only cost 100 rupees) and afterwards hike up to the waterfall (25 mins) all in 1 morning. If you are feeling ambitious you can also hike to the radio antenna tower that has a view of the city.
Local bazaars (as elsewhere in Sri Lanka) sell discounted clothes. Many are originals (you can get a real Burton jacket for 2,500 rupees or polo shirt for 800 rupees) although you can also be sold a knock-off relatively easily. For example, I bought a Colombia jacket which you can tell is not real from the zipper and stitching of the logo.
Catch a morning bus to the train station to take a beautiful ride to Ella for only a couple hundred rupees (for 2nd class). First class which is close to 800 rupees has the same view and only minimal more leg room so don’t bother upgrading.
Ella: There is an easy 1.5 hour hike to Little Adams Peak (1-way) or hike to Ella peak which is the highest in the area (although be aware this latter hike is not well marked so you’ll need to ask locals for directions if you don’t take a map). Lodging on the main road (the whole town is basically 1 strip of hotels and restaurants) can be a little expensive but if you pay a tuk-tuk 150 rupees (max) have them take the first right after going under the road bridge (right before the town) and you can get a clean, quite room for 1,000 rupees.
Aragum Bay: Tsuanami hotel which is right on the beach, comprises of half a dozen newly built cabanas which run for about 2,500 for 2 people. Spend a morning surfing and rent a scooter for the afternoon (1,000 rupees total) to explore the national park nearby (where you should be able to spot wild elephants on your own) and drive down past Panama city to try and find your own remote beaches to play on.
Sigiriya and Dambulla: Be the last one to leave the top of Sigiriya for the sunset (single entrance fee $30) and the first one in the morning to visit the Cave Temples (single entrance fee $30) and you might be the only person there! A bus from Sigiriya to Dambulla is only 40 minutes and you can catch a bus right outside the main entrance to the cave temple to Kandy if you are heading south. I stayed at The Lodge in Sigiriya for 1,300 rupees which is right in the middle of town and is clean, comfortable and well run by the owner. The restaurant diagonally across from the hotel also has great food at affordable prices.
Kandy: I didn’t visit the “Tooth Temple” but enjoyed spending half a day rooming around the streets to feel the vibe of the city. The Pub is a good place to watch the sunset over a beer at the end of the ay.
Hikkaduwa: Another beautiful (but touristy) developed beach city with plenty of accommodations. Rita’s offers rooms for 1,500 (including wi fi) and is right on the beach. You can grab a drink at any of the several small beach hut bars (Top Secret or Funky Bar) at night over a fire which is nice.
Unawatuna: Much smaller beachfront than Hikkaduwa but otherwise very similar. Stayed at Surf City which is right on the beach for 1,500 rupees (including wi fi).
Galle: Definetely worth visiting the fort. Sunset is the best time. You can get to Galle from Unawatuna by bus (15 mins). Air conditioned buses run between Colombo and Galle (1.5 hours / 470 rupees) on the new Express Highway or you can cram into the train (which leaves from Colombo Fort) and goes along the coastline most of the way.
May 6, 2012 7:11 AM
1An illustrative example for those who thinks Sri Lanka is not for them!
Congratulations may I say economically written ? :))
May 6, 2012 10:55 AM
May 7, 2012 12:11 AM
Q: Are the renovations on the rail track finished so the train goes all the way?
A: Not sure; I took it to Hikkaduwa only.
Q: How often do the buses run on the new expressway and did you have to book in advance?
A: I believe the A/C Express buses run pretty often. I just showed up and within minutes found the bus. I paid once we left the station (on the bus).
May 30, 2012 3:10 AM
Jun 11, 2012 9:43 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$290.35 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$153.00 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$248.59 per night