Itinerary Advice for family travelling on a budget
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Oct 24, 2012 1:55 AM Last Post By: Rod_B
Oct 23, 2012 12:27 PM
Itinerary Advice for family travelling on a budgetWe are family of four. 13 and 16 year old kids. They don't want to go to every site. Choosing only two sites in cultural triangle(Sigiriya and Dambulla), Adams Peak and on to Haputale and Tissa or Kataragama. We would rather stay in towns and explore religious sites and have some beach time at the end.
Here is a tentative plan.
Day 0- Stay in Negombo overnight after late night arrival
Day 1- Train or private car to Sigiriya/Dambulla. Stay in either of those towns. Visit Sigiriya in afternoon?
Day 2- Train to Kandy after seeing Dambulla in morning?
Day 3- Train to Hatton-Dalhousie hike to Adams Peak for sunrise for Day 4
Day 4- Train to Haputale. Stay there for 1-2 days- do local hikes
Day 6- Train to Tissa or Kataragama. Stay in either of those towns- visit Kataragama and Situlpahuwa
Day 7-Bus to Mirissa -stay 1-2 days- visit Mulkirigala
Day 9- Bus, train to Unawatuna- 1-2 days- visit Galle
Day 9- Colombo
Any suggestions on which towns to stay in? Dambulla or Sigeria for one night
Tissa or Kataragama
Should we stay longer in Haputale or in Tissa or Kataragama
We are not going to go on a safari.
Any budget hotel recommendations? 5000 or less
Thank you in advance for any advise
Also- is it recommended to get train tickets in advance at start of trip with an agent or a station- also, which legs of this trip would it be useful to hire a driver verse take train or bus?
Oct 23, 2012 2:55 PM
For the first part of the trip, ie, Negombo,, Dambulla,, Sigirya ,, Kandy, it would be much easier to use a car and driver.Which to stay in is just a personal preference. I'd opt for Sigirya as there's a guest house there that I,ve stayed in a few times and enjoy. Although I havn't been there for about a year so check prices as everything changes.
The Grand Tourist Holiday resort, ,, Sigirya Road,, Galakotuwa Pothana,, Kimbissa,, Sigirya.
After Kandy, use the train going south through the hill country. The mountain railway train comes up from Colombo and doesn't stop at Kandy station.. It stops at Peradeniya about 7 kilometres from Kandy centre.
You can get a train from Kandy station about 08:20 or so.. That train will take you to Peradeniya station where you change and wait about 5 or 10 minutes for the hill country train.
Buy through tickets from Kandy station. The ticket office opens about 15 minutes before the train is due to leave. If you wanted first class tickets for this rail trip, you need to get them in advance. They can be booked up to 10 days before the journey. 2nd class just buy the tickets from each station as you go.
Staying longer in Haputale ? Judge that for yourself as you go.. The hill country is my favourite area of Sri Lanka so I'm happy to stay u there a long time but if you enjoy walking with stunning mountain scenery, then the Haputale / Ella areas are great.
Couple of places I've stayed in Haputale that I like.
The Sri Lak View ,, 48 Sherwood Road,, Haputale,, Tel; +94-(0)-57-2268125.. infosrilakviewholidayinn.com
ABC Guest house, 109 Sherwood Road, Haputale,, Tel;. +94-(0)-57-2268630..email@example.com
I find both of these very good. They are different. Sri Lak is more like a budget hotel.. ABC is almost like a home stay as you share the family home with them.
After Haputale,, there's no train down to the southern area. It's either hire a local car and driver or take the bus. If you decide on a
If you're not going to do a safari I wouldn't worry about staying in Tissa unless it's for somewhere to stay. There's more accommodation choices in Tissa than there is in Kataragama .. I do think it's well worth visiting Kataragama and as it's only about a 20 / 25 minute bus ride down the road you can stay in Either.
One place that I've stayed at 5 or 6 times in Tissa , is:-
Lakeside Tourist Inn, Akurugoda,, Tissamaharama.. Tel;. +94-(0)-47-2237216. .http://tissalakesidehotel.com/
The lakeside has a range of rooms from low budget, " ensuite rooms with Fan " and getting higher as you want more facilities.
It's only about 100 metres walk to the bus stop for Kataragama. And for the lake if you fancy joining the locals bathing in the lake.
Kataragama is worth visiting for the big mixed , religeous complex.. Evening pooja is 6 PM,when an elephant comes down from the main Budhist temple, kneels down, and carefully places a lotus flower at each shrine. Clever Elephant. I enjoy watching the locals and the pilgrims paying homage especially those queueing up to smash coconuts while they converse or whatever it is they do with Budha.
Also at Kataragama,, if you want to, there's a temple at the top of Kataragama mountain but a place I always try to visit in that area is Situlpahuwa.
Situlpahuwa is an ancient Budhist site way inside the Yala jungles.. Get either a local car or a couple of tuk tuks to take you from near the Kataragama religeous area , in through a small , not much used gateway into Yala. You don't pay going in this way. It's just the price of a tuk tuk and whatever you choose to put into a small offerings box.
The ancient complex is built on huge granite outcrops in the jungle. A unique place.
After kataragama,, a choice again between bus or car.. There's no train here. If you're using a car and driver for this stretch, you could easily make the small detour inland from Tangalle to visit Mulkirigala.. It would be easier than coming back to it from Mirissa.
Regarding staying extra time anywhere,, if it was me , after Adams peak, I'd get a bus to Kitulgala , and spend a day and night there..
The river running through Kitulgala is the Kelaniya Ganga and is the river where the film," Bridge on the River Kwai "
was filmed.. the place I stay at is,
The Adventure base Camp,, Kalukohutenna,, Kitulgala.. It's about a mile outside of Kitulgala on the Hatton Road.
The accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable. There's different ranges of accommodation there but I go for one of the two ensuite , double rooms almost hanging out over a big set of rapids in the river.
If you havn't thought of trying white water rafting, thats your chance. It's terrific.
Oct 23, 2012 4:34 PM
2Thank you Rod for your extensive reply. I will consider the car to Sigiriya for our first leg of trip. Sigiriya to Kandy looks like a not so long bus ride. We like hanging out in towns and wandering about and people watching so I thought Kandy would be a good intermediate spot. Thanks for explaining how to catch the train out of Kandy to Hatton. You suggested the town of Kitugla, but it looks like that would be backtracking on the map after we climb Adams Peak? It does look like a really pretty place though. I am most interested in Kataragama. It seems like it makes most sense to stay in Kataragama for the evening pooja and also for visiting Situlpahuwa. What do you think?
Also, I will take into account getting a driver for the leg to coast and stopping at Mulkririgala on the way.I know Sri Lanka is made difficult for independent travelers but that is still how we prefer to travel.
Thank you for your suggestions.
Oct 23, 2012 6:15 PM
3I enjoy watching the locals and the pilgrims paying homage especially those queueing up to smash coconuts while they converse or whatever it is they do with Budha.
This is not for the Buddha.
All those they do in front of the Kovil of God Kataragama.
When you past this Kovil you can see big white Dagaba that’s Buddhist temple.
Oct 24, 2012 1:55 AM
4Hi Sandra, you are right of course, the coconuts are for the God Kataragama .
The big Dagoba is past the Kovil, then through an archway, then about 200 to 300 metres along a sandy walkway with hordes of flower sellers both sides..
I do agree with visiting Kataragama,, The reason that I suggested staying in Tissa and getting a bus from there to visit kataragama is because Tissa has more choice of accommodation. But, if you're happy with wandering around and checking out a few places then it would be easier to stay in Kataragama.
I described hot to get the train from Kandy. I also meant to describe catching the bus from Haputale.There are some buses going from the bus stand at the top of Haputale main street, down to the plains.
This is actually a very scenic ride with a few white knuckle places but going that way does mean that you have to change at Wellawaya and that is a pain.
If you're staying in Haputale ,reasonably early in the morning, get a tuk tuk, , van , or local bus to Bandarawella, quite a big town between Haputale and Ella.
There's a bus that leaves Bandarawella sometime soon after 8AM. ( check that time locally ). This is where this bus starts from so you can be sure of getting seats by catching it at source .
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