The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
The Sri Lanka Guesthouse Explorer allows you to experience the many attractions of Sri Lanka on a tight budget. We’ve selected some of our favourite small properties - charming guesthouses in scenic locations, with friendly and helpful staff. We might be clamping down on costs in keeping with our conviction that tailor-made holidays can also be designed for travellers on lower budgets, but the tour itself is packed with variety, encompassing the Cultural Triangle, majestic mountain peaks, game parks, tropical beaches and cramming in a brief visit to the genial capital Colombo at the end of the tour.
Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport and take a short transfer to your initial accommodation to rest up after the flight. The beach resort of Negombo is a short distance away and, if you are in the mood for some activity, offers an immediate chance to adjust to the time difference and warmer temperatures in a beach bar or restaurant. Get a taste of Sri Lankan life by visiting the Negombo fish market or the local churches in a town which have a strong Catholic influence.
Today you head north-east to Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle where you have a host of activities to choose from. It is amid the ruins of ancient cities, rock fortresses and cave temples where Sri Lanka’s history comes alive. Choose from our wide range of activities in the Cultural Triangle so we can tailor your itinerary exactly to your liking and you can make the best use of your time. If you are particularly intrigued by the history of this evocative region we strongly recommend you add a third night here.
The journey from the Cultural Triangle to Sri Lanka's hill capital – the small lakeside city of Kandy – will occupy most of the morning. On the way, visit the ancient Aluvihara Rock Temple, located in Matale, or have a guided tour of a spice farm. Explore the city of Kandy, steeped in history and culture. Walk around the tranquil Kandy Lake and visit the Temple of the Tooth which has a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha enshrined here since 4th Century A.D. During August, Kandy dazzles with the sounds and lights of the Kandy Perehara.
Today you journey to the southern highlands, a stirring land of lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. We recommend you jump aboard the train – one of the great rail journeys in the world. Your driver will transport your luggage by car. Several treks are possible, to Little Adam’s Peak, the ancient Dhowa Rock Temple, Ravana caves and several of Sri Lanka’s finest waterfalls. Visit a nearby tea factory. Explore the towns of Bandarawala and Haputale.
Journey on to the south east of Sri Lanka. Visit Buduruwagala to see Sri Lanka's tallest rock-cut Buddha statue before reaching the southern town of Tissamaharama, the capital of the ancient Ruhunu Kingdom in the 2C B.C. Tissa, named after King Kavantissa, is dominated by lakes and gigantic semi-circle shaped Buddhist Dagobas. The sprawling Tissa Wewa was built by King Kavantissa 2,300 years ago. The sacred jungle shrine of Kataragama is located nearby. Explore the jungle of Yala – one of the best National Parks to see a wide variety of Sri Lankan wildlife because of its scrub plains, lagoons and rocky sections. Yala is home to herds of wild elephants, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, spotted deer, wild boar, crocodiles, monkeys and numerous species of birds.
Journey along the south coast towards the historic city of Galle for some well-deserved beach days. Water-sports and whale spotting expeditions depart from Mirissa from December to April when the seas are calm. The south of Sri Lanka beyond Dondra is considered one of the best locations in the world for spotting blue whales, sperm whales and spinner dolphins. We also recommend a visit to Galle’s 17C Dutch Fort, with its sturdy ramparts looking out to sea, a lighthouse and narrow streets lined with colonial-era buildings which now house a collection of art galleries, shops, cafes and boutique hotels and villas.
Still time for a quick visit to the genial capital of Colombo, a convenient stopover en route to the airport the following day. Colombo might not be the most famous capital in this part of the world, but it is definitely one of the most manageable and it is easy to fall in love with its relaxed atmosphere, secret hideaways and collection of bars and restaurants. We also have a selection of tours of the capital for your delectation.
Randoni Villa is a peaceful two-bedroom holiday retreat set by a river in the village of Radoluwa just 20 minutes away from Colombo’s international airport in Katunayake. This simple and laidback setting is perfect for recuperating after a long flight.
Elephas Resort is a small, eco-friendly hotel surrounded by wilderness and paddy fields offering laid-back, chalet-style accommodation close to Sigiriya rock fortress
Hanthana House is a four-bedroom homestay set high in the hills of Hanthana, 30 minutes from Kandy town. A winding uphill roadway leads you to this welcoming private home set amidst a peaceful and scenic setting.
With picturesque views of the hill country, this simple yet inviting property near Bandarawela is a treat for families and couples alike. With two well-designed individual chalets and ample space to relax, Roseland Cottages is a quieter alternative to the bustle of Ella.
Hibiscus Garden is a homely guesthouse with 20 well-appointed rooms housed in four separate chalets. The chalets are located surrounding the swimming pool. A convenient money-saving option for Yala game park, about 40 minutes away, and the other attractions of the deep south.
Café Ceylon consists of two colonial-period houses, and a more recent and popular restaurant, set in peaceful gardens scattered with coconut palms. Five ensuite bedrooms are spread across the two houses. The surfing beach of Kabalana is a stone's throw away.
Dolce Casa is a bright and comfortable guesthouse in a quiet area of Colombo just a short drive from the city centre, ideal for those seeking affordable accommodation in a great location. Its restaurant, Dolce Italia, serves up sumptuous Western cuisine and fantastic coffee.
Red Dot selects only the best accommodation in Sri Lanka, in its particular price range. Please suggest which of the three categories might most appeal to you. (You can tick more than one box).
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