21 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

21 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly + taxi:  15​h 30​min
1
Dambulla
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Nilaveli
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Arugam Bay
— 2 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  3​h 30​min
4
Pinnawala
— 1 night
taxi + Fly:  2​h 45​min
5
Unawatuna
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
6
Bentota
— 3 nights
taxi + train:  1​h 45​min
7
Kandy
— 4 nights
taxi + Fly:  18​h
End: Sydney

3
nights
Dambulla

Dambulla ©
On a trip to Dambulla, visit the largest and best-preserved cave temple complexes in the country, declared a World Heritage Site.
Golden Temple of Dambulla and Sigiriya are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Visiting Minneriya National Park and Dhilip De Alwis will get you outdoors. Explore Dambulla's surroundings by going to Polonnaruwa (Polonnaruwa Vatadage & Polonnaruwa) and Pidurangala Rock (in Sigiriya).

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, read our Dambulla trip builder app .

Sydney, Australia to Dambulla is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of flight and taxi. You'll gain 4 hours traveling from Sydney to Dambulla due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Fri) so you can drive to Nilaveli.

Things to do in Dambulla

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park, Dhilip De Alwis
Find places to stay Jul 30 — Aug 2:
Highlights from your plan
Golden Temple of Dambulla ©
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Sigiriya ©
Sigiriya
Minneriya National Park ©
Minneriya National Park

3
nights
Nilaveli

Nilaveli ©
The coastal resort town of Nilaveli draws visitors with its beaches, dive spots, and seaside hotels.
Get in touch with nature at Nilaveli Beach and Pigeon Island National Park. There's more to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour and make a trip to Girihadu Seya.

For maps, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Nilaveli trip builder site .

You can drive from Dambulla to Nilaveli in 2.5 hours. Another option is to take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 5th (Mon) to allow time for the car ride to Arugam Bay.

Things to do in Nilaveli

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Girihadu Seya
Find places to stay Aug 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Nilaveli Beach ©
Nilaveli Beach
Pigeon Island National Park ©
Pigeon Island National Park
Scuba & Snorkeling

2
nights
Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay ©
On the 6th (Tue), get outside with Whisky Point, Sri Lanka, contemplate the waterfront views at Pottuvil Lagoon, then visit a coastal fixture at Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse, and finally contemplate the waterfront views at Arugam Bay. Keep things going the next day: look for gifts at Rice & Carry Bags Shop, make a trip to Muhudu Maha Vihara, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Sangamankandy Pilliyar Kovil, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Kudumbigala Monastery.

To find more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Arugam Bay road trip planner .

You can drive from Nilaveli to Arugam Bay in 5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of taxi and flight. In August in Arugam Bay, expect temperatures between 39°C during the day and 29°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Wed) early enough to travel to Pinnawala.

Things to do in Arugam Bay

Outdoors Historic Sites Parks
Find places to stay Aug 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Arugam Bay ©
Arugam Bay
Pottuvil Lagoon ©
Pottuvil Lagoon
Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse ©
Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse

1
night
Pinnawala

Pinnawala ©
The main attraction in Pinnawala is undoubtedly its elephant orphanage.
On the 8th (Thu), take in the exciting artwork at Pinnawala Handicrafts Emporium, look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Freedom Project, and then identify plant and animal life at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

For ratings, photos, and other tourist information, use the Pinnawala journey planner.

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Arugam Bay to Pinnawala in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and flight; or drive. When traveling from Arugam Bay in August, plan for a bit cooler days in Pinnawala, with highs around 35°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 30°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Thu) so you can go by car to Unawatuna.

Things to do in Pinnawala

Parks Wildlife Museums

Side Trip

Elephant Freedom Project
Find places to stay Aug 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage ©
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Elephant Freedom Project ©
Elephant Freedom Project
Pinnawala Handicrafts Emporium ©
Pinnawala Handicrafts Emporium

4
nights
Unawatuna

Unawatuna ©
We've included these beaches for you: Jungle Beach and Mihiripenna Beach. Visiting Mirissa Beach and Dolphin & Whale Watching will get you outdoors. Explore Unawatuna's surroundings by going to Hikkaduwa (Turtle Hatchery Hikkaduwa, Hikkaduwa Beach, & more), Medawatta Beach (in Matara) and LAZY.RIDE (in Mirissa).

For photos, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Unawatuna tour itinerary planner .

Getting from Pinnawala to Unawatuna by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of train and flight; or take a train. In August, daytime highs in Unawatuna are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 30°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Bentota.

Things to do in Unawatuna

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Galle Fort, Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery, Medawatta Beach
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Galle Fort ©
Galle Fort
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Jungle Beach ©
Jungle Beach

3
nights
Bentota

Bentota ©
The coastal town of Bentota boasts a number of seaside attractions to draw in guests.
Visiting Bentota Beach and Sinharaja Forest Reserve will get you outdoors. You'll get in some beach time at Akurala Beach and Katukurunda Beach. Take a break from Bentota with a short trip to Nature & Wildlife Tours in Kalutara, about 56 minutes away. The adventure continues: see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, enjoy the sand and surf at Ahungalla Beach, and look for all kinds of wild species at Ahungalla Sea Turtles Conservation And Research Center.

For photos, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Bentota trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Unawatuna to Bentota in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a train. In August, daily temperatures in Bentota can reach 36°C, while at night they dip to 30°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Kandy.

Things to do in Bentota

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Ahungalla, Akurala Beach, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Katukurunda Beach
Find places to stay Aug 12 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Bentota Beach ©
Bentota Beach
Sinharaja Forest Reserve ©
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Dolphin & Whale Watching

4
nights
Kandy

Kandy ©
Nestled between mountains in inland Sri Lanka, Kandy proudly bears its World Heritage Site designation while remaining culturally independent and colorfully picturesque.
Step out of the city life by going to Royal Botanical Gardens and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Get some cultural insight at Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and Kandy Garrison Cemetery. Change things up with a short trip to Bambaragala Viharaya in Teldeniya (about 1h 10 min away). And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Kandy Lake, identify plant and animal life at Knuckles Forest Reserve, and steep yourself in history at Temple of the Tooth.

To find more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Kandy trip planning tool .

Traveling by combination of taxi and train from Bentota to Kandy takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and flight; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Kandy

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trips

Knuckles Forest Reserve, Royal Botanical Gardens, Bambaragala Viharaya
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Royal Botanical Gardens ©
Royal Botanical Gardens
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ©
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Kandy Lake ©
Kandy Lake

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