Guide to Srilanka - 6 days in paradise Island

For our third wedding anniversary, we decided to take a relaxing vacation to Srilanka. We spent 6 days going around in the country in December 2016.

This blog post is about what we did and a recommended itinerary to experience much of the country in under a week. If you have longer, you can do more off beat things.

Itinerary Break Down:

Day 1 - Arrival - Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage - Golden Cave Temple Dambulla - Relax at resort Day 2 - Hike the Sigiriya Fortress - Relax at resort Day 3 - Drive to Kandy - en route Botanical Garden and Spice Garden - Tooth Relic Temple - Kandy Lake - Cultural Show

Day 4 - Drive to Nuwara Eliya - Horton Plains Hike

Day 5 - Drive to Bentota Beach

Day 6 - Colombo City - Gangarama Temple


Best time to visit

The weather cools down from November to March. We enjoyed amazing weather when we visited during the second week of November.

Flights and Visa

We flew with Fly Dubai or Oman Air - short, one-stop flights all through the week.


For the visa - apply online on their website. Pay $20 per person and you will get an email with the visa in less than 24 hours.

Language

Srilankan Tamil - the official language.


People also speak English and you should have no problem communicating when in the major tourist spots.


Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency

As always, best to have medical and travel insurance. Life doesn't stop happening even when you are on vacation. Credit card machines don't work everywhere. I would recommend carrying cash in local currency.

Tour

We did a package tour with Al Rostamani Travel Agency here in Dubai. Since we did not have the time, they coordinated with their local agent in Srilanka. The trip was well organized and driver spoke good English and was flexible to our schedule.


You can also rent a car to drive in Srilanka - roads aren't great but if you are used to a bit of rough driving, you can waltz through Srilanka.


Safety

Had no issues with safety. We felt everyone we met was warm and helpful.

Food

As always we wanted to try the local food - tried to get them to make it vegetarian as often as possible. As you would expect in a tropical island, there was a lot of coconut and fish. There were still good options in every buffet - like the authentic variety of spicy chutneys.


Day 1

We landed in Colombo, quickly did our visas and exited the airport. We were greeted by the driver from the local agency.


Our first visit for the day was the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. Established in 1975, the orphanage commenced with seven orphan elephants. Today some of these orphans enjoy the fortune of seeing their grandchildren born in the same location.

With the help of local and foreign elephant experts, Pinnawela started a scientific captive-breeding program for elephants. It was beautiful watching the elephants being fed.

After lunch at a local joint, we visited the Golden Temple in Dambulla. This place has been a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. It is also the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. You can spend hours walking around exploring the Buddhist mural paintings - there are more than 150 statues of Buddha, each of them depicting a different time in his life.

This temple actually sits on a small hill, so while the climb up can be a little taxing, the views more than make up for it.