Sri Lanka being popular for its greenery has a lot more to offer than just tea tree hills and wildlife. You will be surprised to see the endless list of beautiful places to visit squeezed in this small wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka.
On our Srilankan ladies holiday in February 2018, we were surprised to see that it is 100% safe for solo and female travelers. It is one of the top picked destinations by amateur travelers because of its easy visa processing and budget-friendliness. An average expected budget should be around $600/person on twin sharing basis which includes good food, shopping, massages and all the exciting adventurous activities you can ever think of.
Here’s our suggested 1-week Srilankan vacation itinerary for couples or friends with a roadmap that you can follow on your own easily. Because of the huge number of tourists Sri Lanka hosts all year round, the hotel prices in every district are quite reasonable, and finding Halal food is not much of an issue.
7 Day Itinerary for Visiting Srilanka in a Budget
Day 1 – Colombo
Reach Colombo (try getting a flight that reaches in the morning or maximum in the afternoon)
Afternoon: Take the Big Bus Tour from Colombo City Tours, either at 9 am or 3;30 pm. This way you can pick the locations you want to see in detail after the trip, or hop off at your favorite spot.
- If you wish to plan your entire trip via rail, then rush to Colombo Fort train station the moment you land in Colombo and buy all tickets in advance
- Although railway track has the most amazing views, renting a car is advisable because the train is usually overloaded with tourists and locals throughout day and night times
- You can rent a chauffeur-driven car at $50/day directly from the airport
Evening: Spend the evening at the beachfront
- P.S Colombo doesn’t have a seashore, you have to travel 1 hr North to Negombo for sandy beaches
- We stayed our first night at Anarva Mount Lavinia which was about 1.5 hrs from the airport. Average night rent in Colombo for a 4-star hotel is $70/night, which is really good.
Day 2 – Sigiriya
Morning: Leave for Sigiriya early (about 5hrs drive from Colombo)
Afternoon: Climb Sigiriya Rock fortress or just enjoy the peaceful surroundings and wildlife
- Luxury themed resorts cost about an average of $150/night. We stayed at Hotel Sigiriya which was very impressive and was located right in front of Sigiriya Rock
Day 3 – Kandy
Morning: Leave for Kandy at 7 am (It’s a 3-hour drive, so try to reach there before noon)
- Get a hotel near Temple of the Tooth Relic or Botanical Garden.
- We stayed at Queen’s Hotel for about a $100/night. It was the best reasonable hotel we could find and was right in front of the Temple and Kandy Lake
Afternoon: Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya/Elephant orphanage
Evening: Kandyan dance and cultural show
Day 4 – Ella
Morning: Leave for Ella via Nuwara Eliya road
Noon: Stop over at Lake Gregory for lunch
Afternoon: Reach Ella and relax in the peaceful environment
- We stayed at Arana Eco Lodge & Yoga Centre which was a great value for money ($60/night)
Day 5 – Ella
Morning: Little Adam’s peak and Ravana Falls
Afternoon: Nine arches bridge and lunch at Umbrella Art Cafe
Evening: Relax and enjoy a bonfire on a chilly night
Day 6: Hatton (Dickoya/Nallanthaniya)
Morning: Leave for Hatton early (about 5hrs drive)
Afternoon: Reach Dickoya/Nallanthaniya and recharge for an early morning 4km trek which can take up to 4 hours
- We stayed at The Farm Resort Dickoya, which was 1 hr from Adam’s Peak mountain base. Its rent was about $90/night for their King room which was really nice, and $45 for the budget room-which was not good at all
- Staying in Nallanthaniya is a better option since its close to the mountain base, but due to non-availability of good hotels, we chose to stay in Dickoya
Midnight: Aim for reaching Adam’s peak by sunrise for the best views
- For that, you must start your treck by 2 am; which means you leave the hotel at 1 am. Wear warm clothes and carry just the essentials i.e. camera and phone (p.s. I came back from halfway because of tiredness and bad stamina)
Day 7 – Colombo Via Kitulgala
Morning: After Adam’s peak expedition which will end by 7 am, have a good breakfast and sleep till midday
- Although you will not recover completely by midday, you will at least regain some energy for an exciting water play day ahead
Afternoon: Leave for Kitulgala by 2 pm for White water rafting, zip-lining, abseiling and lots more
- We prebooked our activities with Rafting Team 39 who gave us a handsome discount too
Evening: Leave for Colombo after the refreshing water sports.
- Even if you reach Colombo by 9 pm, you will have lots of time to recharge for the next day
- This time we stayed at Pearl Grand Colombo which was in the city center. Because of its convenient location and helpful concierge, we were able to find great restaurants and shopping spots within walking distance.
Day 8 – Colombo
Midday: Check out from your hotel and shop till you drop before leaving for the airport
- Odel, House of Fashion, Stone & Strings, Outlet Store and Noritake were some of my favorites
- If you still have time left, get a signature Srilankan massage done before heading back home
Here’s a sneak peek into our 1-week vacation in Sri Lanka with a complete itinerary. Enjoy 🙂