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How to have the perfect 10-day bucket list trip in Sri Lanka

Move through the marvellous Emerald Isle

By Sewmini James Published about a year ago 3 min read
How to have the perfect 10-day bucket list trip in Sri Lanka
Photo by Eddy Billard on Unsplash

They say perfection remains in the eyes of the beholder and this is made all the more relevant as you embark on a trip to beautiful and bustling Sri Lanka. In case you are scheduling a holiday in the near future, make note of and consider this 10-day itinerary that will have you well on your way towards delighting in the pleasures and pastimes of the Emerald Isle.

Days 1 -3

No sooner you land at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, take steps to travel up to the central plains of the country. Local towns such as the likes of Sigiriya and Habarana would afford plenty of accommodation facilities that will prove to be a worthy introduction to your 1st day in the country. Rise with the lark the following morning and journey to the glorious Sigiriya or ‘Lion Rock’ that portrays the ruins of an ancient kingdom while paving the way for one to marvel at its picturesque gardens, murals and fascinating vistas from its summit. Next up, visit the Dambulla Market and encounter scenes of vendors, buyers and fresh produce all under one roof. From here, beeline for the eye-catching Dambulla Cave Temple which houses over 100 statues of the Buddha and other deities within its dimly lit caves for one mesmeric take on the nation’s detailed heritage. Start day 3 at Habarana town where you can hop aboard the bus to Polonnaruwa which will take you approximately 1 hour to complete. The city reflects classic examples of an ancient kingdom and you can set about calling by the Pothgul Viharaya and the palace complex of King Parakramabahu the Great.

Days 4 – 5

Considered the citadel of the central highlands, the mist-shrouded city of Kandy cannot be overlooked for it is home to some of the nation’s most lauded and loved sites. One can ride the Colombo-Kandy intercity train and arrive well in time for a walk past the Kandy Lake that will serve as a prelude to the sublime Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which boasts its own traditions and values. Further, the city’s association with tea can be explored by calling by the Ceylon Tea Museum which will educate you on how tea is manufactured.

Day 6

Buy tickets for the Kandy-Ella train and ready yourself to be lured in by the surrounding environs as your locomotive snakes its way through tea gardens, hilly regions, tunnels and captivating cascades. In Ella, one can pick and choose from hiking up to Ella Rock, ascending each step en route to Little Adam’s Peak before heading back to town by evening to check out its absorbing restaurant and bar scene.  

Days 7 - 10

Dedicate the next 4 days of your Sri Lankan holiday to an adventure that will see to it that you comb a majority of the nooks and crannies that line the southern coastal belt. From Ella, head for the sunny town of Mirissa which has a reputation for presenting ample space in which to go on whale-watching expeditions. Where you have opted to drive or be driven by a chauffeur-cum tour guide of Malkey Rent A Car which offers opportunities to rent a car Colombo has to offer, the road ahead will begin drawing you ever closer to the golden beaches and laidback vibes of Mirissa. Before you bid adieu for the day, stop by Salt Restaurant for an appetizing menu of your favourite seafood creations. Accommodation in the main town area takes on varying proportions with a slew of guesthouses and hotels easily accessible. Located off the main road are the establishments of Shady Lane and Aloha Coffee Gallery which serve scrumptious breakfast spreads that will give you all the energy you need to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Before you place a full stop to your travels in Sri Lanka, factor in the thrill of spending time in Galle. Meander along well-paved pathways that continue to bring to mind the colonial period that enveloped the nation but be sure to explore the very ends of the Dutch Fort and its ramparts from where the dancing waves of the Indian Ocean can be caught sight.     

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