Tim and I just came back from Sri Lanka. We have spend some fabulous days there and are totally in love.
In love with the nature, the greenery and especially with the people we met. 4 days were not long enough but we had an unforgettable trip and really wanna share with you our experience.
We went straight to Sigiriya from the airport, spent 2 nights there and then drove to Kandy for another night. So if you are interested in how to plan a great short trip for a few days we would like to share ours with you.
Day 1 -ArrivalDay 2 – Lions Rock, Safari, Golden Temple
Our second day was packed with fun activities!
We woke up at 7 AM and enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel before we left on our way to the first sight of the day:
The Lions Rock in Sigiriya.
Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure — Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.
The entrance fee is quite high with 30 US Dollars per person but the view is just breathtaking. You should definitely wear proper shoes for the hike and take some water with you as it takes a round 1.5 hours until you are at the top of the rock.
We took a guide with us so he could explain a little bit about the historical details of the rock and the kings history. The guides are everywhere there and you can easily choose one so he can accompany you. If you don’t want somebody to go with you just tell them that you are not interested and they will go away. We gave him a tip after the tour and had a good time with him so we can really recommend this to you as ours really knew a lot about Lions Rock and he took his time to explain everything to us.
The Golden Temple
Tim and I were glad we put in the effort and made it up the uneven, hop-scotch stairs to get to see this incredible Temple.
The entrance fee was 1500 Sri Lankan Rupees and it took us around 15 minutes to get to the top of the hill. That included a few stops to admire the stunning view and take a few snaps of the greenery and funny monkeys.
At the top, you remove your shoes which were taken by a “Shoe Carer” and cost us 25 Rupees to get them back and wander through the caves. 25 Rupees is nothing but if you wanna save the money just get your backpack with you and put your shoes inside.
Another thing you should take care when visiting a temple is to wear proper clothes. You should always cover your knees and shoulders – this applies to males and females.
There are 5 caves in total, whilst someone who is particular claustrophobic may disagree however you aren’t having to crawl or bend – they’re huge. The innate work and detail across the statues was incredible across a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses. The murals were amazing.
Watch out for the “guides” who will start walking with you, talking and next you know you’re on a paid tour only you never agreed to that!
The walk back down was a little quicker however the uneven steps made it an almost equally challenging trip down.
Definitely worth a visit, thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone with a history or cultural interest.
Another amazing trip on our 2nd day was definitely the Sigiri Safari we made. This was my personal highlight of the trip to be honest!
The safari was also organised by our driver Sampath and took part at the Ecopark opposite the Minneria National Park.
We were surprised how many elephants we were able to see.
This safari is different: you are going to see a nice jungle, lots of birds and elephants. We loved the 4 hours, never seen so many elephants that close to us and also spotted Buffalos, a crocodile, a pelican and many other beautiful wild animals.
We had the jeep for ourselves, our guide and a good driver.
To conclude: this is a nice way to see the nature and wildlife of Sri Lanka. We highly enjoyed it and would always book it again!
The cost were 50 US Dollar per person.
Day 3 – Herbal garden, Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
On our third day we drove to Kandy. We started as well at 8 AM and arrived in Kandy around 2 hours later. On our way there we stopped at a herbal garden and got introduced by a guide to Sri Lankas wonderful floral and herbal world.
The guide explained us everything about the different plants and trees and ayurverda medicine in Sri Lanka. We could also try some cremes and oils and got offered a nice spice tea after. Another cool thing was that we received a free massage for back, shoulders, hand and feet. As everything is free of charge you definitely tip the guys there for their effort.
Temple of the Tooth
It was a great experience to be in the middle of many believers and prayers at this magic place. You really could feel a lot of energy by the people surrounded and the Temple itself.
Also the architecture is pretty amazing. Meaningful stepping stones also something to pay attention.
It took about 1 hour to look around and the entrance fee was 1500 Rupees per person.
At this day we stayed at Earl’s Regency hotel in Kandy.
We really loved this place as we had another stunning view over the city and the green hills of Sri Lanka. The hotel room was super spacious and clean and we had a great balcony. The Spa was great and we took the chance to have an ayurveda massage there and it was super good!
Also the restaurants are great and we can really recommend the Indian restaurant as such as the buffet restaurant.
Especially the breakfast buffet was very good with a super wide range of different food and dishes as such as fresh regional fruits and fresh made juices!
Day 4 – Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya
were another highlight of our short trip to Sri Lanka. We enjoyed it so much and easily spent 3 hours there walking around and enjoying the floral beauty of this place. From giant palm trees to stunning orchids you can really find everything there.
Entrance fee as always in Sri Lanka 1500 Rupees for foreigners vs. 60 Rupees for locals. But its really worth it and you should definitely visit it!
After this our driver Sampath invited us for lunch and we went back to the airport.
To sum up this short trip to Sri Lanka was so worth it! We met amazing people, had great food and got inspired by the beauty of this country.
We will definitely come back again to check out Unawatuna and Galle and all the other wonderful places our friends suggested to us!
Details, Facts and Suggestions
Sampath: +94 77 201 3528
Dinesh: +94 71 219 7939
They are brothers and with whoever you will book, both will organise everything for you and take very good care of you!
Hotels we tried and our friends suggested to us:
Hotel in Siringiya:
The Paradise Resort & Spa
Address: Kubukkadanwala, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 66 2 286300
Hotel in Kandy:
Address: 40/1 Deveni Rajasinghe Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 81 2 221144
Hotels our friend Sarah suggested to us at the Beach in Galle and Unawatuna. You should definitely check out her blog for her amazing travel diaries!
Owl and the Pussycat Hotel & Restaurant:
Address: N.788, Matara Road, Thalpe, Galle, Sri Lanka, Talpe, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 91 2 283844
Elysium Hotel in Unawatuna:
Address: 776/2 Galle-Matara Coastal Road, Galle,, Talpe 80300, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 91 2 282946