Sri Lanka Road Trip – Exploring Sri Lanka in One Week

After a relaxing two weeks at the beach we decided to spend our last week in Sri Lanka on a road trip. I am so happy we did this because there was so many interesting things to see and do.  And we really had the best time.

In case you are planning a road trip around Sri Lanka or just want some inspiration of nice places to visit I have shared our itinerary with you below.

Day 1 – Ella

AM – Drive from Arugam Bay to Ella passing through tea plantations and rice paddies.  Stop on the way at the Rawana Falls for a swim in the rock pools.

PM – Go trekking in the hills surrounding Ella.  Choose treks to Ella Rock, Ella Gap or like us, trek through the tea plantations to see Tamil families picking tea at sunset. Sleep at Ella Eco Lodge to have your own wooden cabin in the forest.

Day 2 – Nuwara Eliya

AM – Wake up early and catch the train from Ella to Nuwara Eliya.  The old trains pass though tea plantations and tiny, hill top villages with incredible views of the valleys below.

PM – Go exploring in Nuwara Eliya.  Explore the english colonial village, eat fresh strawberries, go for afternoon tea, relax by the lake and take a walk though the rose gardens in Victoria Park.

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early morning train

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sunrise at horton plains

Day 3 – Horton Plains & Kandy

AM – Wake up at sunrise and go trekking through Horton Plains.  Get to the park early and reach the Worlds End Viewpoint before 9am to see panaramic views of Sri Lanka’s countryside.  Have a picnic of fruits and coconut pancakes for breakfast on the cliff edge.

PM – Drive to Kandy, stopping along the way at a tea plantation to do a tea tasting.  We arrived in Kandy during the Perahera Festival so found seats in the streets and watched the two hour procession of elephants, fire dancers and drummers all wearing beautiful traditions costumes!

Day 4 – Kandy

AM – Visit the ancient Temple of the Scared Tooth Relic to see beautiful buddhist shrines and temples. Visit during the Perahera Festival to see pilgrims worshipping and visit the festival elephants relaxing in the gardens before their performance.

PM – Take a walk around the Botanical Gardens to see exotic plants and wildlife.  We saw snakes, birds and hundreds of bats sleeping in the trees.  In the evening we watched the festival again.  This time following the procession back to the Tooth Temple to walk with the free elephants around the gardens.

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elephants at the perahera festival

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monkies at the temple

Day 5 – Sigiriya

AM – Drive from Kandy to Sigiriya making a stop off at a Batik craft-factory to see local women making beautiful handmade batik clothes – great for some shopping!

PM – Visit the amazing Dambulla Cave Temples and explore the five painted caves filled with ancient buddha statues.   Then arrive at the Sigiriya Rock Fortress in the late afternoon.  Climb the huge rock-face and watch the sunsetting from the incredible view of the surrounding mountains.

Day 6 – Polonnaruwa & Minneriya Park

AM – Rent bikes and cycle around Polonnaruwa Ancient City.  Ruins date back to 2000 years but statues and shrines are incredibly intact and the atmosphere is beautiful.

PM – Take a jeep safari around Minneriya National Park and see huge families of elephants gathering around the lake.  We saw over 50 grazing together and two new born baby elephants!

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sigiriya rock fortress

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polonnaruwa ancient ruins

And there you have it, our road trip itenary around Sri Lanka.  Thinking of visiting Sri Lanka, let me know your plans in the comments below…

For more about our Sri Lanka adventures read my Arugam Bay Beach Town Guide

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4 thoughts on “Sri Lanka Road Trip – Exploring Sri Lanka in One Week

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