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Sri Lanka

BEFORE YOU GO TO SRI LANKA

 

When to go to Sri Lanka

Weather in Sri Lanka changes in a strange fashion due to high mountains – when it's nice and sunny in one part of the island, it is rainy in the other one. East and north of the island get their monsoon season from October to January and south and west get theirs from May till August.

Main tourist season lasts from December to March: weather in that time is beautiful and sunny in central Highlands full of tea plantations and on south beaches. Off season lasts during summer when the weather is nice in east and north of the country. I went to Sri Lanka in March and was lucky to witness clear blue sky the whole time – in northeast and in south.

  

 

Where to go and what to see in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Uda Walawe

Sri Lanka is very interesting, especially because there is lot of beautiful sights from the whole southeast Asia, cramped on this small island. There are historic sights, magnificent long beaches, beautiful nature with exceptional safari, tea farms and rice terraces.

Main tourist attraction would definitely be ancient cities Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, where you can see enormous dagobas and stupas, magical places Lion rock Sigiryia and cave temple Dambula. Cultural center of the island is Kandy which is also a gate to central Highlands full of tea plantations. Something you need to see is exceptional safari in Sri Lanka, where you can witness lives of wild elephants, peacocks, water buffalos and crocodiles. The most famous safaris are the one located near Polonnaruwa such as Minneriya, Kaudulla and ecopark Hurulu. Halfway from Highlands to south beaches is a national park Uda Walawe and in south-east are parks Yala and Bundala. Beaches in Sri Lanka offer endless kilometers of beaches and the main resorts would be Mirissa and Tangalle in south, surfing spot Arugam bay and Batticaloa in east and Trincomalee in northeast.

 

 

Travelling in Sri Lanka on your own

Sri Lanka Ella train

Sri Lanka is very easy for travelling: it is possible to travel around on a bus, or train and most people even hire their own driver. It is also safe and cheap.

To make my journey even easier I didn't forget to bring the latest update of electronic version Lonely Planet which I installed in my phone. After experience from my previous travels I packed all my belongings into small cycling backpack – see 'What to bring on a trip' - which in the end weighed only tiny bit over 6 kg. All of my toiletries were in containers under 100ml so I was able to take my backpack with me on the plane. With a backpack packed like this I could take it anywhere with me, on hikes, for tours around cities and easily travel on buses and trains.

To be allowed to travel around Sri Lanka you need electronic visa ETA, which you can easily get on website ww.eta.gov.lk. There is a fee 35 USD that needs to be paid by debit or credit card so you can print out the receipt and take it with you as a proof on your journey.

When I was in Sri Lanka I usually travelled on local buses, trains and tuk tuks. I had a bicycle for rides around all the city sights and once I even rented a scooter. Buses run quite frequently and tickets are cheap (approximately 1Rs/1km), and it's pretty much same for trains. Reservation ticket can be booked for first class and on long haul trains even second class. You can find more details about train tickets on my favorite website seat61.com/SriLanka. Average cost of a tuk tuk ride is 50 Rs/km. Car rental with a driver costs approximately 55 USD per day – this cost should cover car rental, gas, food, accommodation and salary for the driver. One big advantage of this type of traveling is the comfort it provides, more info including reviews can be found on Lonely Planet's forum. Sri Lanka has left-hand traffic.

I decided to find my accommodation on the spot, apart from few exceptions. When I had a bit of time I searched through reviews on Tripadvisor and made my reservations online via booking.com and agoda.com. It's fair to say that apart from beach resorts you can get good and clean accommodation with WiFi and AC for around 20 USD. Most of the local people that rent their rooms are dependent on today's booking sites so they try to go the extra mile for their guests just to get good reviews.

Sri Lanka's cuisine is mostly based on rice, vegetables and curry. Cost of a meal in a restaurant is usually from 150 Rs up and eating on the streets will cost you no more than that. I often took the offer from owners of homestay and ate food that they provided (meal of more than two courses for around 400 Rs). Cigarettes (700 Rs) and alcohol (beer – 350 Rs) are more expensive, bottle of water costs 60 Rs.

Even though Sri Lanka is a very cheap destination, tickets for sightseeing are quite expensive around 25-30 USD. The same goes for a trip to safari which can cost you 40-50 USD.

Cash is always available in ATM's and can be changed in exchanged bureaus. These are mainly located in banks and offer exchange for euros and dollars. ATMs were all around the town, however I didn't get to pay anything by card.

Sri Lanka has a different kind of plugs than we do, but adapter is not necessary. Who wants to stay in touch with the rest of the world can get a local SIM card and WIFI connection was available practically everywhere.

 

 

VISITED COUNTRIES

zeme 100

37

KM ON THE ROADS

km 100

48 560

DAYS ON THE ROADS

dny 100

397