As the metropolitan lifestyle crushes and encroaches our mental peace, is it known that most of us are looking for a way out? Away from the chaos, the pollution, and mostly, the anxiety-inducing pace, a getaway sure sounds like a brilliant idea! Now when it comes to a quick trip, the options are limited and somewhat expensive, and it’s perfectly alright for most of us to not be big fans of crushing our wallets for a small trip. However, Sri Lanka, our beautiful and poignant neighbor has always opened its arms to us; time to perhaps embrace the idea of exploring the Lankan land with a road trip?
Best Time to Visit
November to March is an exceptional time to visit Sri Lanka. However, if you do not mind the heat, then summer can be a great option, especially if you’re looking to experience the country’s countless art festivals, religious experiences, and music gigs.
Once you land in Colombo, you’ll be facing a precarious task of choosing a transportation method for your trip. We suggest that you rent a car or a bike from a trusted place (the internet is your best friend for suggestions). Ensure that your vehicle is in the best condition as you’ll be heading into rough terrain. Coupled with unpredictable weather conditions, and you might just be in for a rough ride. So better safe than sorry!
All Aboard! Day 1 of the Road Trip – Colombo
Rein in your excitement; although Sri Lanka is brimming with opportunities to lose yourself and wander, the Lankan capital is its crown jewel and you should not miss out on exploring it!
Introduce yourself to Colombo and let the capital return the favor. The city is always humming with energy and excitement. A combination of urban and traditional cultures, Colombo will have you reeling with shock and excitement. While the metropolitan side of the city won’t surprise you that much, the temples, monuments, the architecture will have you walking back into Sri Lanka’s past. Wine and dine at any of the countless bars, pubs, cafes, and restaurants, and just take a walk through the city’s Galle Face Green, an urban neighborhood overlooking the sea.
Colombo will also be a great start to Sri Lanka’s spiritual side; a serene and presence of Buddhist culture will make you realize that despite the weather or the traffic, the city still feels surprisingly calm. Visit the Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka temples, the World Trade Center, explore the local markets, and try the street food. Head in for the night, so you can get an early head start the next day!
Day 2 – Trincomalee & Habarana
A five-hour drive should take you to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka’s prominent port city. The major highlight of Trincomalee is its seafront, and of course, its marine life. In the right season, you can witness the majestic whales and dolphins making their long journey to the north. For the snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, guided diving tours are worth experiencing. There are also a couple of bird-watching tours you can explore.
Next stop, Koneswaram Temple. A picturesque temple reputed for its architecture, Koneswaram temple is a sight to see. The courtyards, columns, wall engravings, and the sculptures all reflect a part of history that has survived the ravages of time.
Moving on, a quick hour-long ride should take you to Habarana. The entire region is heaven-sent for nature lovers. Minneriya and Kadulla National Parks are the highlight of this region. Guided tours of both the parks are recommended; they’ll give you an insight into Sri Lanka’s natural beauty, including the behaviour and traits of countless animals and birds.
Day 3 – Sigiriya & Dambulla
A half an hour ride should take you to Sigiriya, home to a World Heritage Site. A rock fortress stands tall here, a testimony to humanity’s defensive and war prowess. A miraculous example of nature’s mystery, this fortress has stood the test of time. Just below the fortress, a majestic and finely curated garden houses art and exotic birds alike. The boulder gardens, as they are called, are also popular for the boulder sculptures. A mirror wall from the garden to the fortress enchants every tourist, as they gaze at the reflections of the ever-mystifying Lankan land.
15 kilometers from Sigiriya, the Dambulla Rock Caves await the excited tourists. These majestic caves house countless paintings of Buddha, and life in the first century. Geologists have forever been fascinated by the rock structure and the water flowing from the caves down to the fertile land below. Stop here and pick out any of the affordable hostels/ hotels and call it a day. A long road trip to Colombo awaits you the next day, long, but definitely not boring.
Curated by Yashodhaan Burange