The Retreater

The Retreater’s guide to Sri Lanka 🇱🇰🌴

  • Natalie, The Retreater Founder

    Natalie, The Retreater Founder

  • 14 August 2023

  • Reviews

The Retreater’s guide to Sri Lanka 🇱🇰🥥🌴

It’s hard to summarise our recent travels to Sri Lanka. Arguably the most varied country we’ve visited so far. We surfed, we hiked, we safari’d and we chilled - all in 1 holiday 😍 We’ve summarised our itinerary in the hopes that it might be helpful to any of you. Our trip was 16 days (i.e 2 weeks of annual leave plus weekends either side) and was based on going in August.

sri lanka mirissa beach

Stop 1: Kandy🛕

Our first stop was Kandy - a 3 hour drive from the airport. It’s an ideal place to start if you’re planning to go down via Nuwara Eliya & Ella.

✅ Must do activities: Royal Botanical Gardens, Gem Factory visit, Temple of Tooth ceremony (there are set ceremony times, so check before hand) and hiking Sigirya Rock 🪨

🏨 Hotel recommendations: Windy Ridge Hotel owned by 2 friendly brothers. Very reasonable and a great place to get a first night sleep in

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Sharon Inn

breakfast in sri lanka

Stop 2: Nuwara Eliya ☕️

Also known as Little England. A chillier part of the country but arguably one of our favourite stops of the trip. We got the train down from Kandy - make sure to book your tickets a few weeks in advance

✅ Must do activities: Horton Plains hike, Ramboda Falls, Tea Plantation visit to Blue Fields Tea Factory

🏨 Hotel recommendations: Serendipity Lake Lodge

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Ambal’s the best Sri Lankan local food! And Indian Summer

sri lanka pool

Stop 3: Ella 🚃

Ella has a very fun and social vibe to it. It’s very different to the first 2 spots. Expect lots of cocktail bars, western restaurants and fun activities

✅ Must do activities: Little Adam’s peak hike, Ravana Zipline, Nine arches bridge

🏨 Hotel recommendations: Arawe Retreat

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Chill bar and Isle of Gelato for after dinner ice cream

nine arches bridge

Stop 4: Arugam Bay 🏄🏽‍♀️

Surfers PARADISE. Our favourite spot of the trip and especially great if you’re considering a trip in August as the weather is warmest on the east coast.

✅ Must do activities: Surf lessons and smoothie bowls!

🏨 Hotel recommendations: N/A we wouldn’t recommend where we stayed so don’t want to add in somewhere we can’t vouch for but we would say, make sure you book somewhere walkable from the main restaurant/ bar area.

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Absolute favourite Salty Swamis for breakfast, Leaf & Vine for dinner on the beach

sri lanka beach

Stop 5: Yala National Park 🐘

The national park famous for seeing elephants and leopards (depending on the day)

✅ Must do activities: Safari - you can choose either a half day or full day

🏨 Hotel recommendations: Rice Rice Villas

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: your hotel will arrange dinner for you in post places as this is really just a spot for the safari

yala national park elephants

Stop 6: Tangalle 🐢

Our first taste of the south coast beaches! Tangalle is also known for turtle watching ✅ Must do activities: Turtle watching (but be aware it’s a late night and can be a lot of waiting) and a visit to Hiritekiya beach

🏨 Hotel recommendations: Halcyon Mawella (just outside Tangalle but a mini haven in itself)

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Cactus Lounge - amazing fish on the beach

sri lanka surf boards

Stop 7: Mirissa 🌊

Chilled vibes and good food. Similar feel to Arugam bay but on a much smaller scale

✅ Must do activities: Walk up to Coconut Tree Hill, visit Parrot Island and try boogy boarding/ surfing on the beach

🏨 Hotel recommendations: D Canal House - friendly helpful staff, breakfast included and free tuktuk shuttle into town

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Salt on the beach was amazing. Petti Petti was great for dinner

sri lanka villa

Stop 8: Galle 🏰

A beautiful place to shop with the backdrop of the fort and grab good coffee!

✅ Must do activities: Walk up to the fort and check out the cricket ground

🏨 Hotel recommendations: Makahiya Fitness just outside of Galle

👩🏽‍🍳 Restaurant recommendations: Dumplings Cafe was delicious and Fort Printers for great coffee

sri lanka makahiya

We hope you found this blog post on our 2 week travels in Sri Lanka helpful. If you are looking for Sri Lanka based retreats to weave into your trip you can find all of the best ones live via the link here.

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