From ancient wonders to vibrant cultures and pristine beaches, Sri Lanka packs in a lot to see and do. In this blog, we share how to spend 10 days in Sri Lanka and make the most of your stay on this enchanting island, while basing yourself at Teardrop Hotels.
Day 1 & 2
Meet your chauffeur guide at the airport and transfer to Fort Bazaar in Galle, which is approximately a two-hour drive. You’ll spend the next two nights in the heart of a 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort being based at a former merchant’s home. There’s plenty to see and do in Galle. We recommend taking a guided walking tour of Galle Fort which is filled with trinket shops, galleries, bars, and cafes. If you’d like to explore the beaches, Talpe Beach is just 20 minutes south, or dive into the art of Sri Lankan cooking by signing up for a cooking lesson and demonstration at Fort Bazaar.
*If time permits, take a day trip to Mirissa for whale and dolphin watching, which is seasonal between December to April
Day 3 & 4
After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Yala National Park. The 3.5-hour drive takes you through stunning coastal scenery, and on-route you’ll stop at Hiriketiya, a hidden gem of a beach on the south coast, and the historic Mulkirigala Rock Temple. You’ll have some time, so we recommend taking a dip and spending time exploring the temple. On arrival at Yala, you have a few leisure hours before an afternoon game drive through the national park. Over two days, you’ll explore Yala National Park on morning and afternoon game drives accompanied by experienced naturalists and game rangers. You’ll be on the lookout for elusive sloth bears, leopards, and Asian elephants. The park is also home to several species of endemic monkeys, crocodiles, birds, and lizards, so there’s never a dull moment on a game drive.
Day 5 & 6
After an early breakfast, drive inland, high into the hills of Ella. The drive should take you around 2.5 hours. On arrival at Nine Skies, a beautifully refurbished 5-bedroom tea bungalow, check in and relax in the gardens overlooking the mountains or in the lounge with a drink in hand. You will have two nights here to trek through the countryside. Some of our favourite activities include hiking up Little Adams Peak and Ella Rock, exploring the Nine Arch Bridge, ziplining, and a visit to Ella town for a meal.
Don’t forget to relax at the end of each day with sundowners by the pool.
Day 7 & 8
Today, you will transfer to Nuwara Eliya by the scenic train, which is a 3-hour journey and regarded as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. You’ll be based at Goatfell in Kandapola, a former tea planter’s bungalow which sits at an elevation of 2,000-metres above sea level. Over the next two days, you’ll have ample time to relax and take in the breathtaking views from the swimming pool after a day of exploring. We recommend visiting Horton Plains National Park, joining a tea factory tour, exploring Nuwara Eliya town, and long walks alongside Gregory Lake.
Day 9 & 10
After breakfast, you’ll transfer to Sigiriya in the island’s cultural triangle. The drive will be 5 hours and very scenic, with plenty of opportunities to stop along the way for pictures, or a king coconut break. On-route to Sigiriya, you can visit Dambulla Cave Temple. Over the next two days, you’ll get to climb the historic Sigiriya Rock fortress with a picnic breakfast and visit the neighboring ancient city of Polonnaruwa, home to medieval ruins. The cultural triangle is home to vast man-made reservoirs built during the time of the island’s ancient kings. A canoe ride is a great way to take in Sigiriya from afar and experience the exotic bird life in the region.
After breakfast today, transfer back to the airport, packed with pleasant memories in time for the flight!
*All images courtesy of Luke Stackpoole