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Travel Guide to Sri Lanka - 2 Week Itinerary

Guide to Sri Lanka: Travelling around Sri Lanka with a driver for 2 weeks.

Sri Lanka is one of my favourite places in the world. I have never visited a country where you can have such a diverse trip, in such a short period of time. From the beautiful beaches of the south, to the bustling cities and breathtaking safaris, to the cool highlands. The people are so welcoming and the food is fantastic, with such great choice. Sri Lanka really does have something for everyone.

The best way to get around is to hire a driver for the duration of your trip, this cost us about £400/$520 (for 2 weeks). You can send your rough itinerary before you arrive. Drivers will organise their own accommodation (no extra cost to you) and not only take you between each place but can be available for day trips etc. Please contact me for the driver we used, who I would highly recommend.

Here is a guide to Sri Lanka and everything we did in two weeks.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka



Colombo Mirissa Unawatuna Galle Tangalle Yala National Park

Ella Nuwara Eilya Kandy Negombo


Before You Go

  • VISA - you need a visa for Sri Lanka and can apply for it here: Make sure you print off your Visa before you arrive in Sri Lanka or you get charged

  • Driver - book as far in advance as possible

  • Accommodation - we booked a lot of accommodation on as you can cancel up until the day before with no cancellation fees - great if your plans may change

  • Currency - the currency of Sri Lanka is Rupees, however this is a 'closed currency' meaning you can only get it whilst you are there and you aren't meant to take it out the country. I would advise getting cash out at an ATM in Columbo when you arrive - make sure you let your bank know you will be abroad so your card works when you get there​


Pack List​

  • Visa - printed

  • Plug adaptor - if you can't get one beforehand, you can pick them up in Columbo for about 50p/$1

  • Mosquito repellent - Jungle Fever (Maximum Strength) is great

  • Mosquito net - not a necessity but good to have

  • Hand Sanitiser - there often isn't soaps in washrooms

  • Imodium - just in case!

  • Clothing to cover up - especially if you want to go into temples, your legs and shoulders must be covered

  • Hotel details incl. address and phone numbers (the driver often likes to ring ahead or get directions)



The main airport in Sri Lanka is Colombo (the capital), so most travellers will find themselves arriving here from abroad. We only spent one night in Colombo as we were keen to get to the beaches.

Colombo is typical to many other cities in Asia, loud and busy, with a lot going on. If you want to experience the hussle and bustle, get a tuk tuk to drop you off at Pettah Market.

We stayed at the Galle Face Hotel, on the seafront. The hotel was originally built in 1864 and is beautiful. Visit here for a cocktail overlooking the sea.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Lanka


About 3 hours drive from Colombo is Mirissa. It is a popular place for travellers who go here for the beautiful beaches and whale watching tours. We stayed here 2 nights.

The beaches are clean, so a great place to relax in the day and there are lots of great restaurants and restaurants, where the fun goes into the evening. Wait for all the boats to come in before you go for dinner as they bring in lots of fresh fish and seafood.

The Whale Watching Tour is an absolute must whilst in Mirissa and I don't know anyone that has been on a tour and not seen whales and/or dolphins. You can book your tour in town or see if your hotel can organise it for you. The tour starts at 7am and lasts for about 5 hours. Breakfast is included in the package but there isn't a great choice, so I would eat before. At the beginning of the tour they offer everyone sea sickness tablets - I didn't take them and to this day regret it! I was sick for a couple of hours, along with a lot of other people.. the sea is choppy! It still didn't stop me enjoying it though and would high recommend.

Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Mirissa, Sri Lanka


Less than an hour drive from Mirissa, is the beach town of Unawatuna. We stayed here for 2 nights.

Unawatuna was hit really bad by the 2004 Tsunami and is still rebuilding, however it has lots of fun bars and beach restaurants. If you are looking for somewhere a bit more lively to go, The Kingfisher is a beach club that often has a DJ.

When we visited here, the sea was really choppy and quite hard to swim in.

From Unawatuna, we did a day trip to Galle Fort. You don't need more than a few hours here to visit the fort and Galle Lighthouse. If you are into art there are some small art galleries as well as restaurants.

Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Unawatuna, Sri Lanka


About 1.5 hours drive from Unawatuna is Tangalle. This beach town is a lot quieter than other places along the coast. We stayed here for 2 nights.

The beaches of Tangalle are beautiful and unspoilt. Our favourite was Goyambokka Beach, which is a small cove with lots of sun-loungers - perfect for relaxing! The sea is again, really choppy here but it is a great spot for body boarding (you can rent boards).

In Tangalle we did a Turtle Watching Trip - at night you wait for the turtles to lay eggs. It is quite cool to see this happening, but be prepared for hours of waiting around in the pitch black as you cannot know when they will arrive. Our trip started at 9pm and we didn't see anything until about 1am - it isn't guaranteed either.

Goyambokka Beach, Sri Lanka
Goyambokka Beach, Sri Lanka

Yala National Park

Next stop on our trip was Yala National Park, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from Tangalle.

The original plan was to do 'luxury camping' for 2 nights so we could get a real feel for nature and the outdoors. This was a massive mistake. Yala National Park is full of creatures not only on a safari.. we were kept awake by all the noises and then ended up with a giant rat in our tent.

We heard the best places to stay are in nearby towns Kataragama or Tissamaharama.

Safari at Yala National Park is incredible. The earlier in the morning you do safari, the more likely you are to see animals. Our safari started at 6.30am and lasted about 5 hours. We spotted lots of animals including elephants, monkeys and crocodiles. It is common to also see leopards but unfortunately not on the day we went.

Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka


As we only ended up staying only one night in Yala National Park, we decided to head straight to Ella and have an extra night there and ended up staying 3 nights there. I'm more of a beach girl, so was apprehensive about staying for 3 nights, as I heard it was cool and wet up in Ella. I fell completely in love with Ella though, and wished we had longer there!

Ella was about a 3 hour drive from Yala National Park and the views are spectacular along the way. The town of Ella is about 1000m above sea level, it is cool, misty and the perfect place to escape the scorching sun, hike and experience the lush and rich biodiversity of flora and fauna.

One the top activities is to climb 'Adam's Peak' whilst in Ella. This takes about 5 hours and you need to be up at 1.30am to be able to do it before sunrise - or else it's too hot. We didn't quite fancy getting up this early, so opted to do 'Little Adam's Peak' which is in the centre of Ella and takes only 30 mins to climb - the views were in insane, so I highly recommend doing this.

Little Adam's Peak, Ella, Sri Lanka
Little Adam's Peak, Ella, Sri Lanka

We stayed at the Morning Dew Hotel for one night and then stayed two nights at The Floating 2 Ella Hotel, both of which I would recommend. When booking a hotel, I would make sure they are fairly near the town and as walking around Ella is hard as a lot if uphill and often Tuk Tuks can't get up the hills, so you will find yourself walking in the dark if you are going back after sunset.

Morning Dew Hotel, Ella, Sri Lanka
Morning Dew Hotel, Ella, Sri Lanka

There are lots of great restaurants in Ella, our favourites being 'Bar Chill' which has a mix of Western and Sri Lankan food (try the Lumprais – 10 curries wrapped in a banana leaf) and 'Fish and Chips' restaurant - try Rotti (a Sri Lankan wrap) or Kottu (they chop the bits of wrap up in the dish), you can watch them make it there.

Visit the 9 Arch Bridge and take in the views of the tea plantations surrounding it. Dhowa Rock Temple is worth a visit - it is temple built in to the cliff and is beautiful.

The weather can get quite cool in Ella, especially in the evening so bring layers. Also make sure you don't leave anything on the balcony over night as you will find it is soaking wet the next day!

A big tourist attraction is to get the train from Ella to Kandy, which we didn't do, but I heard it is the best and scenic way to do it.

Ella, Sri Lanka
Ella, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eilya

After leaving Ella, we drove for 2 hours and stopped at Nuwara Eilya for the day. Famous for it's tea plantations, it is even higher up than Ella and has British village feel to it. A day is all you need here as the town is very small and we struggled to find a restaurant to eat at.

The best part about Nuwara Eilya was visiting Mackwoods Tea Plantation. Here you get to see how black tea is made and then visit their cafe and drink the tea, looking over the luscious tea plantations - their terrace has amazing views!

Nuwara Eilya, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eilya, Sri Lanka


A further 3 hour drive, took us to the city of Kandy. Just like other cities in Sri Lanka, it is busy and the weather is hot, now you're down from the highlands.

We stayed at OZO Kandy for 2 nights, which was one of our favourite places we stayed whilst in Sri Lanka, mainly because of the rooftop pool and bar - it is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Kandy.

Whilst we were in Kandy we visited one of the biggest temples in Sri Lanka - Temple of the Tooth, which is spectacular. We took a walk around Kandy Lake (a large man-made lake) and visited the shops - it is a great place to buy souvenirs and pick up any Sri Lankan spices to take home.

OZO Kandy, Sri Lanka
OZO Kandy, Sri Lanka


After Kandy it was time to head back towards Colombo for our flight back to the UK. We weren't massive fans of Columbo and it was recommended that we stay in Negombo, which has some lovely beaches and is close to Columbo airport.

About a 3.5 hour drive from Kandy, the city of Negombo is just north of Colombo.

King Coconut Restaurant was a great find, with some fantastic food and fabulous service (good restaurant service is hard to come by in Sri Lanka).

Negombo, Sri Lanka
Negombo, Sri Lanka

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