Sri Lanka 10 Day Itinerary – Top Places to Visit in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean, the small country offers an exciting mix of culture, wildlife, and sweeping beaches with a relaxed vibe. Your Sri Lanka 10 day itinerary will include endless beaches, welcoming people, fun trails, amazing archeological sites, famous tea, the fusion of foods, and safaris.
Having a vast sea coast and numerous places to visit, Sri Lanka, an island country, is heaven for adventurers and solo travellers.
Here is our Sri Lanka 10 day itinerary and guide for first time visitors.
Related: “Ultimate Travel Guide to Vietnam”
Things to know before visiting Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Visa
You can apply for Sri Lankan visa from their official website. You can get the tourist visa for $30 for a stay up to 30 days.
What is the value of Sri Lankan currency?
$1 is equal to 175 Sri Lankan rupees
Sri Lankan official language
Majority of people in Sri Lanka follow Buddhism, and the remaining people follow Hinduism. The official languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhalese and Tamil, with English widely spoken and understood.
How to get to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka being an island country, the best and easiest way to reach here is by flight. Colombo International Airport is the main entry point to all the international travelers and is well connected to all the major cities of the world.
Travel around in Sri Lanka
The best way to explore the country is to hire a taxi and driver from local locations. Besides, you can avail buses that majorly includes routes like Negambo, Galle and there also a direct route to Colombo to Kandy. You can also take tuk-tuk or train to travel within. Railway system and train cars are regularly upgraded to avail complete and easy access to sites.
For budget travelers, I suggest you use local transport where ever possible. And every traveller should experience the amazing Kandy to Ella train ride through Sri Lanka’s countryside. Make sure to check train timings before at least one day before so that you don’t have to wait for the train.
Do note, the trains are more crowded in Sri Lanka. I suggest you take a second class ticket while traveling on the train.
While traveling on a local bus, get a ticket for an additional seat if you have luggage with you, as the buses are more crowded.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a year-round destination, i.e., can be visited at any time of the year as the weather here is very complicated. Though you can plan a visit according to the places, you are visiting. The best time to visit the west and south coast and the hill country is from December to March while if you are planning to visit the east coast, you can plan it in around May to September.
The weather here though will rarely be dramatic that it will stand in the way of a lovely holiday with plenty of yellow sunshine!
It is always advisable to take some precautions and measures to avoid any health issue while you are visiting another country. Go through the advisories issued by the govt and do follow them. Research about the current disease prevailing there if any.
The CDC and WHO recommends some necessary vaccines for Sri Lanka mainly, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid. Besides, it is advisable to enroll or register yourself under the respective embassy to receive updates about any emergency that may interfere with your travel plan.
What to Pack
Cotton clothing is very essential while visiting any tropical country like this one and warm layers of travel too for the colder highlands. The foremost thing to carry is a mosquito repellant to avoid any strange sting to welcome you. Keep sunscreen handy in case you want to see yourself tanned.
Sri Lanka 10 Day Itinerary – Top Places to Visit in Sri Lanka
Day 1-2 Sigiriya
Depending on when your plane arrives you could spend the night in Colombo or Negombo, they are the closest places from the airport.
Once you are feeling refreshed take the 4-hour journey inland to Sigiriya. Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop- known as Lion Rock is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilisation, thought to be once the epicentre of the short-lived kingdom of Kassapa.
Climb up the enormous 200m square-shaped rock. Lion Rock is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sights in Sri Lanka and a must-visit. Alternatively, hike to Pidurangala Rock so you can see views of Lion Rock at sunrise- note this hike is a little more adventurous then Lion Rock hike.
Very close to Sigiriya city are two famous national parks where you can see wild elephants. These are Kaudulla National Park or Minneriya National Park. I would highly recommend visiting one of these opposed to seeing elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage as they are not very ethical.
Day 3 Kandy
Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second largest city, is one of the most popular spots to visit when backpacking through Sri Lanka.
You can reach Kandy in around 2-2.5 hours (traffic dependent) from Sirigaya by private car or bus. You will notice skies seem permently bruised, with stubborn mist bonding to the the hills whilst the city belong is host to ancient sacred temples.
Spend your afternoon visiting the Temple of the Tooth Relic – one of the most important Buddhist temples in the world. If time allows visit in the vening when its lit up and there are candles around the temples grounds.
Next up its time to catch the famous train ride from Kandy to the land of tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya, your Sri Lanka 10 day itinerary won’t be complete without it!
The train ride is perhaps the most beautiful train ride you will ever take but despite what the instagramy shots, it isnt all ‘dreamy out the door shots’.
Firstly you will need to book, this isn’t a tourist only train, its a regular (slow) train servicing locals and can get extremely overcrowded.
I reccommend paying the extra $$ and get a ‘first class’ ticket although don’t be fooled by the title you will still be pushing your way in and out of the carriages.
Where to stay in Kandy
Day 4-5 Nuwara Eliya
Tea lovers will feel like heaven here in the iconic tea estates that are all over like a green carpet. Tea grown here can be categorized as high-grown tea, mid-grown tea, and low-grown tea based on their location. On the train from Kandy station to Nuwara Eliya, you are treated with lovely views of lush green tiered tea plantation.
On reaching the destination, you have many options of tea estate who offers a tea tour, including the process and tasting. The best thing is many of the tea factories here still use methods and pieces of machinery from the Victorian time. A true tea lover will enjoy staying at Ceylon tea trails, an estate bungalow built in the 1800s.
Day 5-6 Ella
You will now be jumping back on the scenic train to continue the picturesque ride to Ella.
It is one of the most chilled out places in Sri Lanka and my personal favourite. There’s some great things to do in Ella, including climbing to climb Adams Peak or Ella Rock, exploring the tea plantation and visit the nine arch bridge.
Day 6-7 Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is best visited between April and September. It is known as surfers’ paradise. This moon-shaped curl of soft sand is nature at its best. It’s home to Mangrove ecotours, spectacular lagoon, a fancy market, and flavorful food.
Here you will find a variety of vegetables prepared in individual curries served with rice. Sri Lanka has a large number of vegetarians and hence serves a spread of delicious veg meals. Here, do explore Panama Tank road. It’s a short drive from Arugam Bay and is known for its beautiful landscapes to stop and click with. Sounds exotic!!!
Day 7 Yala National Park
Your Sri Lanka 10 day itinerary should definetely include a day trip or overnight safari.
Yala National Park is a huge area of forest, grassland and lagoons area on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It’s home to wildlife such as leopards, elephants and crocodiles, as well as hundreds of bird species. Inland, Sithulpawwa is an ancient Buddhist monastery. Nearby caves contain centuries-old rock paintings. Southwest, Magul Maha Viharaya also has ancient Buddhist ruins. Both are pilgrimage sites.
Stay at the Wild Coast Tented Lodge for a truely unique experience. The cocoons offer glamping type accomdation in center of all the action.
Day 8-9 Sri Lanka Coast
Being an island country, there are many scenic beaches that should be on everyone’s Sri Lanka 10 day itinerary . Some less explored but must-visit beaches to name Tangalle, Marakolliya, Rekawa possess a breathtaking untouched beauty. There are about 20 scintillating beaches in Sri Lanka.
Unawatuna is one such with tranquil blue water, Bentota with mangroves, Mirrisa for whale watching, surfing and Dickwella for romantic staycations. Hikkaduwa beach is famous for beginners to take surfing lessons from one of many schools on the beach.
Weligama beach is a breathtaking beach which has a tiny rock island with a villa built there. These less crowded beaches offer a peaceful yet enjoyable vacation with your loved ones.
Day 9-10 Galle & Colombo
Its time to head back to Colombo to catch your flight, but make sure you stop at Galle.
This small beach town encompasses car-free streets, old Portuguese architecture, Stone sea walls and many more such historical places. Galle lighthouse is an inconic spot with a swimming beach and picturesque palms. This UNESCO world heritage site is best explored on foot.
If you have extra time here there is a national museum to visit as well as turtle hatchery.
Editors Tip: Colombo has some great night life, so if you have any extra time be sure to check it out.
There are innumerable places in Sri Lanka one can explore at ease. It’s one of the places which all travel enthusiastic has on their checklist and want it to be ticked soon. Have a happy vacay.
Use your bargain skills everywhere possible, especially on getting local taxis. They don’t have a fixed meter. For foreigners, they tend to ask double the money than locals. Also, if you are buying something from the local market, use your haggling skills!
So that was our Sri Lanka itinerary for 10 days! Have you been to Sri Lanka before? What was your favourite thing to do? Let us know in the comments below!
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