Sri Lanka 10 Day Itinerary – Hill Country and Down South (October – April)
As a relatively small island, the geographical diversity of Sri Lanka is immense. So a few hours journey from the coastal capital Colombo takes you to the popular hill station Nuwara Eliya. The focus of this itinerary is central highlands and the southern coastal region of Sri Lanka. While you can visit central highlands year around, the south coast is best between November – April. So this is for those who want to enjoy the natural beauty of Sri Lanka. Also, this does not cover major cultural attractions such as Sigiriya or Kandy. So if you are like to include some of those please check Sri Lanka 7 Day Itinerary (6 nights) – The Cultural Triangle then you can combine the two itineraries if you have more time to spend.
|Drive to Colombo from Airport if you plan to take the train to Nuwara Eliya (35km 1h). Stay in Colombo|
|Otherwise drive to Negombo (13 Km, 30 min). Stay in Negombo|
|Take the train from Colombo Fort to Nanuoya (Nuwara Eliya) to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery (Highly recommended, 7h).|
|Otherwise take the route via Hatton to Nuwara Eliya to visit Devon Falls and St. Clairs Falls on the way. (160km, 5h)|
Stay in Nuwara Eliya
|Visit Horton Plains National Park.|
|Visit Hakgala Botanical Garden.|
Stay in Nuwara Eliya
|Drive from Nuwara Eliya to Lipton Seat (60km, 2h 30 min).|
|Visit Dambethenna Tea Estate and Lipton Seat.|
Stay in Ella
|Enjoy the scenery. Climb the Ella Rock.|
|Stay in Ella|
|Drive from Ella to Yala (130km, 4h).|
|Ravana Ella is beside the road on the way from Ella to Wellawaya.|
|Diyaluma Falls is a 15km detour from Wellawaya. It is the 2nd tallest and arguably the most beautiful waterfall in Sri Lanka.|
|Stay in Yala|
|Do a morning safari in Yala National Park.|
|A half day safari will cost about LKR 5000.|
|Drive from Yala to Mirissa. (160km, 4h)|
|Stay in Mirissa|
|Enjoy the beach. Take a Whale Watching Cruise if you visit between November to April.|
|Surfing is possible from November to March.|
Stay in Mirissa
|Drive from Mirissa to Galle (41km, 1h).|
|Visit Galle Fort, a world heritage site.|
|Drive from Galle to Negombo (160km, 3h).|
|Visit Negombo Beach if time permits.|
Stay in Negombo
|Leave for the next destination from Colombo International Airport, Katunayake.|
Colombo to Nuwara Eliya
There are two main highways leading to Nuwara Eliya from Colombo. One runs via the cultural center Kandy and other via Hatton. Even though the highway though Kandy is the fastest and most popular, Colombo – Hatton – Nuwara Eliya road allows you to enjoy spectacular waterfalls and tea plantations. So to visit Devon Falls and St. Clair Falls, insist the driver take the Hatton road instead of Kandy road.
Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Park is a must visit destination in Nuwara Eliya. Try to arrive at the park entrance as early as possible (By about 6 am). This will help you to enjoy the world-famous World’s end before the mist rolls in. The main trail is the circular trail that covers Bakers Falls, Word’s End and Min Word’s end. Additionally, there are two other hiking trails for adventure seekers. Out of those Kirigalpotta trails is a moderate day hike. And you can cover Thotupola Trail in half a day. For the circular train service of a guide is not necessary. For the other two trails, it is optional. More information about these trails can be found in http://lanka-guide.com/hiking/.
On Day 5, take Beragala – Wellawaya road to Yala to enjoy the spectacular Diyaluma Falls on the way. It is the second tallest and arguably the most beautiful waterfall in Sri Lanka.
Yala national park
Yala national park is the most diverse national park in Sri Lanka. It is the best place to have a chance to see Leopards. But there is no guarantee that you can see a leopard in a single visit. You need to be very lucky to see a leopard on the first visit. But almost certainly you can see elephants, deer, wild boar, crocodile and lots of beautiful birds. A lot of jeeps are available to hire at the entrance for about LKR 5000 (half day) and LKR 10000 (full day). Reserving in advance is not mandatory.
Whale Watching in Mirissa is possible from November to April. While there are a lot of private operators, the most reliable and safest operator is the Sri Lanka Navy. More information can be found here. (Unlike most countries armed forces in Sri Lanka are engaged in a lot of for-profit enterprises. After the end of the civil war, the government engaged military personnel in public enterprises to gain the maximum benefit to the local economy. So do not view this as militarisation.)