38 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

38 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

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Route & dates

38 days in Sri Lanka Itinerary

Start: New York City
+2
bus + Fly + taxi:  23​h
1
Nuwara Eliya
— 4 nights
taxi + Fly:  1​h 45​min
2
Colombo
— 5 nights
Fly:  1​h
3
Kandy
— 4 nights
taxi + Fly:  1​h 15​min
4
Unawatuna
— 4 nights
Fly + taxi:  2​h 15​min
5
Ella
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h
6
Arugam Bay
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
7
Polonnaruwa
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
8
Anuradhapura
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
9
Sigiriya
— 5 nights
Fly:  23​h
End: New York City

4
nights
Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya ©
Sitting high up in the hills, the green and pleasant Nuwara Eliya offers both a rich history and proximity to pristine natural areas.
Change things up with these side-trips from Nuwara Eliya: Ramboda Waterfall (in Pussellawa) and Udawalawe National Park (in Uda Walawe National Park). There's much more to do: explore the striking landscape of Horton Plains National Park, stop by Franciscan Sister's Jam Room, take in the spiritual surroundings of Sita Temple, and take in the dramatic scenery at Mohini falls.

For more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Nuwara Eliya day trip planner .

New York City, USA to Nuwara Eliya is an approximately 23-hour combination of bus, flight, and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and taxi; or do a combination of train, flight, and taxi. You'll lose 10 hours traveling from New York City to Nuwara Eliya due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Fri) so you can travel to Colombo.

Things to do in Nuwara Eliya

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Ramboda Waterfall, Udawalawe National Park
Find places to stay Sep 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Udawalawe National Park ©
Udawalawe National Park
Horton Plains National Park ©
Horton Plains National Park
Hakgala Botanic Gardens ©
Hakgala Botanic Gardens

5
nights
Colombo

The commercial capital of the country, Colombo has added modern touches to its colonial-era core, creating an exciting and eclectic coastal city.
Get out of town with these interesting Colombo side-trips: Kalutara (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Ranjiths Carving and Batik Museum) and Thewaththa Church (Basilica Ragama) (in Ragama). There's much more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple, view the masterpieces at Ganeshism Studio Gallery, kick back and relax at Negombo Beach, and make a trip to Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Colombo online tour itinerary planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Nuwara Eliya to Colombo in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a train. In September, plan for daily highs up to 88°F, and evening lows to 78°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Kandy.

Things to do in Colombo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Kalutara, Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, Sri Jayawardanapura City, Negombo Beach
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Safaris
Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple ©
Galle Face Green ©
Galle Face Green

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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Kandy: Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (in Pinnawala), Dawson Tower (in Kadugannawa) and Bambaragala Viharaya (in Teldeniya). There's still lots to do: contemplate the long history of Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, look for all kinds of wild species at Knuckles Forest Reserve, soar above the sights with a balloon tour, and contemplate the waterfront views at Kandy Lake.

To find maps, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Kandy day trip planning website .

Traveling by flight from Colombo to Kandy takes an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) to allow time to travel to Unawatuna.

Things to do in Kandy

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trips

Elephant Freedom Project, Knuckles Forest Reserve, Bambaragala Viharaya, Dawson Tower, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Find places to stay Sep 18 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ©
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Royal Botanical Gardens ©
Royal Botanical Gardens
Kandy Lake ©
Kandy Lake

4
nights
Unawatuna

Unawatuna ©
Explore Unawatuna's surroundings by going to Bentota Beach (in Bentota), Mirissa (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Mirissa Beach) and Kowilawatta Temple (in Balapitiya).

Planning Unawatuna trip won't be overwheling when you use's Insprock itinerary maker.

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Kandy to Unawatuna takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 88°F, and evening lows to 78°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Thu) early enough to travel to Ella.

Things to do in Unawatuna

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Mirissa, Galle Fort, Kowilawatta Temple, Bentota Beach, Nandana Tea Factory
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Nandana Tea Factory ©
Nandana Tea Factory
Galle Fort ©
Galle Fort
Bentota Beach ©
Bentota Beach

4
nights
Ella

Ella ©
The relaxing hilltop village of Ella benefits from a more temperate climate than much of the rest of country thanks to its high elevation.
Venture out of the city with trips to Buduruwagala (in Yala National Park), Amba Estate (in Bandarawela) and Haputale (Prabhawa Mountain Day View Point Haputale & Lipton’s Seat). There's much more to do: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Little Adam's Peak, take in the dramatic natural features at Ella Rock, hike along Nature Trail Ella, and stop by Ella Gem & Jewelry.

To see photos, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Ella trip planning site .

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Unawatuna to Ella takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Arugam Bay.

Things to do in Ella

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Haputale, Amba Estate, Buduruwagala
Find places to stay Sep 26 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Little Adam's Peak ©
Little Adam's Peak
Demodara Nine Arch Bridge ©
Demodara Nine Arch Bridge
Ella Rock ©
Ella Rock

2
nights
Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay ©
On the 1st (Tue), get outside with Whisky Point, Sri Lanka, visit a coastal fixture at Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse, then delve into the distant past at Sangamankandy Pilliyar Kovil, and finally make a trip to Muhudu Maha Vihara. On the 2nd (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the spiritual surroundings of Kudumbigala Monastery, then stop by Rice & Carry Bags Shop, then enjoy the sand and surf at Arugam Bay, and finally relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Arugam Bay vacation builder app .

Drive from Ella to Arugam Bay in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) to allow time to drive to Polonnaruwa.

Things to do in Arugam Bay

Outdoors Historic Sites Shopping
Find places to stay Sep 30 — Oct 2:
Highlights from your plan
Arugam Bay ©
Arugam Bay
Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse ©
Sangaman Kanda Lighthouse
Muhudu Maha Vihara ©
Muhudu Maha Vihara

4
nights
Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa ©
Lying 216 km (134 mi) from Colombo, Polonnaruwa offers a rich history second in Sri Lanka only to Arunadhapura.
When in Polonnaruwa, make a side trip to see Kaudulla National Park in Habarana, approximately 52 minutes away. The adventure continues: appreciate the extensive heritage of Polonnaruwa, delve into the distant past at Medirigiriya Vatadage, pause for some photo ops at Polonnaruwa Vatadage, and don't miss a visit to Gal Vihara.

To see reviews, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Polonnaruwa online driving holiday planner .

Traveling by car from Arugam Bay to Polonnaruwa takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can go by car to Anuradhapura.

Things to do in Polonnaruwa

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Kaudulla National Park
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Polonnaruwa ©
Polonnaruwa
Gal Vihara ©
Gal Vihara
Kaudulla National Park ©
Kaudulla National Park

4
nights
Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura ©
Explore the well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization and its former capital at Anuradhapura, a World Heritage Site and erstwhile center of Theravada Buddhism set amidst peaceful green parks.
Anuradhapura is known for historic sites, nature, wildlife, museums, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: make a trip to Mihintale, take in the spiritual surroundings of Isurumuniya Temple, identify plant and animal life at Wilpattu National Park, and contemplate the waterfront views at Kalu Diya Pokuna Natural Black Water Pond.

For traveler tips, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Anuradhapura day trip site .

Traveling by car from Polonnaruwa to Anuradhapura takes 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Thu) so you can go by car to Sigiriya.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Oct 6 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Mihintale ©
Mihintale
Ruwanwelisaya ©
Ruwanwelisaya
Wilpattu National Park ©
Wilpattu National Park

5
nights
Sigiriya

Sigiriya ©
The historic rock of the same name dominates the landscape of World Heritage-listed Sigiriya, where the steep and striking lava plug contains the ruins of an ancient empire.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Sigiriya: Avukana Buddha Statue (in Kekirawa), Golden Temple of Dambulla (in Dambulla) and Matale (Euphoria Spice and Herbal, Aakarsha Gem House, & more). The adventure continues: don't miss a visit to Sigiriya, take an exotic tour of a safari tour, steep yourself in history at kaludiya Pokuna, and identify plant and animal life at Dhilip De Alwis.

For where to stay, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Sigiriya itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya takes 1.5 hours. You'll set off for home on the 15th (Tue).

Things to do in Sigiriya

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Matale, Habarana, Minneriya National Park, Golden Temple of Dambulla, Avukana Buddha Statue
Find places to stay Oct 10 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Sigiriya ©
Sigiriya
Golden Temple of Dambulla ©
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Minneriya National Park ©
Minneriya National Park

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