Sri Lanka Travel Itinerary for backpackers and travelers.
Sri Lanka is very neat and clean. People in Sri Lanka are very friendly. After traveling two times I just fall in love with the country. Check this Sri Lanka Travel Itinerary guide is to make the trip easier for backpackers and travelers.
Bandaranaike International Airport at 5 AM in the morning, that is when I arrived at the airport. Immigration was smooth. I already applied for E-visa. They just take the paper and the passport. They put a sticker on my passport and sealed. Done! Very fast. After that, I exchanged some money from the airport and buy a sim. When you take the exit from the airport and go left, you will see Katunayake Airport Bus Station.
Journey start From- Katunayake Airport Bus Station to Central Bus Stop – Fort.
Getting to and from Colombo Airport:
Bus service from 5:30 am – 6:30 pm and Katunayak to a one-way journey to and from the airport costs Rs150. (Busses run every half an hour). The journey takes around 45 minutes. Take a local bus from CBS that goes from CBS to the Borella bus station and get down at Punchi Borella Junction. It will cost Rs 12. from Punchi Borella Junction.
Backpackers Paradise Colombo is where I stayed in Colombo. It is 5 minutes walk from Punchi Borella Junction. Backpackers Paradise Colombo is clean and you will meet a lot of other backpackers there.
Many hotels are there in Colombo if you do not want to stay in a hostel. But the hostel is a good place to meet other travelers and travel together from there or meet them in different places suddenly on your trip. Backpackers Paradise Colombo (Image collected from the Internet)
One bed in a dorm -Colombo, Srilanka.( breakfast included)
Colombo is a nice city but I did not want to stay in Colombo city for a long time. So I stayed in Colombo one night and traveled to the Kandy the next day. I love to stay more close to nature, rather than in man-made city.
Colombo bus and train Timetable
There are so many options. You can go to Kandy by taxi, bus or train from Colombo. I recommend going by train. I went there by bus. The bus journey takes more time and not much comfortable. If you want to go by bus, Buses between Colombo and Kandy are both common and frequent, running right throughout the day and night with even more buses in operation during Perahera Season. The No. 01 bus leaves from Pettah and stops along the A01, costing Rs. 155 for a normal bus and Rs. 310 for an A/C bus.
Bus Train Car Plane
Time 3-4:30 hours 2:30 – 3:30 hours 3-4 hours 45 minutes
Price Rs. 187 – 400 Rs. 180 – 1,450 Rs. 3000 Rs. 20,000 Rs.
Train Timing: ( For a smooth Sri Lanka Travel Itinerary )
Colombo To Kandy
Leaves (Colombo) Arrives (Kandy) Travel Time Frequency
5:55 AM 8:42 AM 2:47 Daily
7:00 AM (E) 9:31 AM 2:31 Daily
8:30 AM 11:03 AM 2:33 Daily
9:00 AM 11:31 AM 2:31 Sat, Sun, Holidays
10:35 AM 1:52 PM 3:17 Daily
12:40 PM 4:04 PM 3:24 Daily
3:35 PM (R) 6:06 PM 2:31 Daily
4:35 PM 7:36 PM 3:01 Daily
5:20 PM 8:03 PM 2:43 Friday – Sunday
5:45 PM 8:58 PM 3:13 Daily
Kandy To Colombo
Leaves (Kandy) Arrives (Colombo) Travel Time Frequency
2:36 AM 5:17 AM 2:41 Daily
5:10 AM 8:17 AM 3:07 Mon – Sat
6:15 AM (R) 8:52 AM 2:37 Sunday
6:30 AM 9:45 AM 3:15 Daily
10:50 AM 2:03 PM 3:13 Daily
12:50 PM 3:27 PM 2:37 Daily
3:00 PM (E) 5:36 PM 2:36 Daily
4:05 PM 6:57 PM 2:52 Daily
4:55 PM 7:30 PM 2:35 Sat, Sun
5:30 PM 8:05 PM 2:35 Sat, Sun, Holidays
Luckily I saw the Kandy Esala Perahera Festival. It was the last day of the festival. Kandy Esala Perahera Festival happens every year. The Kandy Esala Perahera also known as The Festival of the Tooth is a grand festival celebrated with elegant costumes and is held in July and August in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
This year Perahera Festival Date: Jul 7, 2019 – Jul 17, 2019.
Camarin Residence is the place where I stayed in Kandy, which is in a top of a hill surrounded by jungle. Very peaceful place.
Camarin Residence (image collected from internet)
One room for two person
Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Later I found out that the backyard of this hotel is the border of Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. You have to walk about 10 minutes uphill from the main street and there is no light on the street.
A Night to remember at Kandy
Anyhow, after a hectic bus journey, I took a little nap and went to the roof. Eclipse started around 1 am and I was a little scared, as there was a lot of nocturnal animal outside making noise and shouting. I thought I am the only one in this whole hotel.
As I Took my camera and mobile with me, walking slowly towards the door. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back and go to sleep. After opening the roof door hear mild music coming from a corner of the roof. Saw a couple watching the eclipse. Introduced our self. It is Giorgio and his girlfriend sitting and watching the eclipse, they are from the other side of the world, Germany.
We keep talking while listening to his composed music and taking pictures of the lunar eclipse. They are just like me traveler with no plans. Also, we planned to roam around Kandy tomorrow, also look for a cheaper hotel and train timing from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya.
All of us went to the train station in the morning, come back and changed the hotel to a cheaper hostel which is Impala City Hotel and Hostel Kandy 50. I loved this hostel, It is in the city center. The roof is a perfect place to have breakfast there. Cheaper and good location. Just a bit noisy in the morning.
Impala City Hotel and Hostel Kandy 50
One bed for one person
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Once we are done with shifting and train station, we were looking for a place to visit in Kandy and decided to go to Udawatta Kele Sanctuary.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, Kandy
The lush forest cover of Udawatta Kele Sanctuary behind Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is a historical place. Once Kandy uses to be the capital of Sri Lanka and this forest was forbidden by Sinhala kings. As it was declared royal forest reserve and normal people were allowed to enter. There is a pond inside the center of the jungle where queens in the past bathed and used this place as their pleasure garden. So this place is a must visit in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Udawattekele is the only forest in the world found bordering a city. Once upon a time elephant, elk, and leopard roamed freely among tall giant trees in this jungle. Kings used this forest as a defense against enemy attacks and a lot of time escaped to a safer place.
We took the train from the Kandy to Nuwara Eliya in the morning.
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
One of the best train journeys in my life. View from the window is just too much to take in one day. It was breathtaking. Often called one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Sri Lanka travel is incomplete without taking the train journey. However, we found no train station in Nuwara Eliya actually, the closest one is in Nanuoya, 6 km of Nuwara Eliya. There are plenty of tuk-tuks and local buses waiting at the train station in Nanuoaya that go to the center of Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya was amazing and the weather is chilling cold. The rain was so unpredictable there in my Sri Lanka travel, but it is more unpredictable in Nuwara Eliya. You can buy new and 2nd hand clothes from the market, don’t forget to bargain when purchasing new clothes. It is cheap though.
Lovers Leap Falls
The first thing we did in the morning is heading to the Lover’s leap waterfall as planned yesterday. To reach there you need to rent a tuk-tuk for up down and tell them to wait till you come back. otherwise, you have to walk down all the way from Lovers leap falls.
Buy a Moon plains safari package from any travel agent in Nuwara Eliya. As you can not go there on your own or alone. Most importantly, It has to be a group of 6 or 8 people.
Soon, I was done with Nuwara Eliya, time to say goodbye to my Germany friends. They will go down to Ella, I will go up to the north of Srilanka to Trincomalee. However, I will go to Ella when I come down again in another way. That is another story to tell.
Next, I Head to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. However, I skip Sigiriya and Adam’s peak. As I am not going to hike. But you can always add this in your list.
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Koneswaram kovil Temple is a must visit place in Trincomalee. Also, the beach is so beautiful. You will just love to see the blue crystal water and greenery all around you.