Sri Lanka Travel


I had my very first trip overseas, with my family to Sri Lanka in March 2010. It was a 6 day trip. We traveled from India to Sri Lanka via air. We reached the Bandaranaike International Airport and started our journey to one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura. While we were seated in our cab, our cab driver told us some interesting facts about Sri Lanka.

Just located southeast of India, Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon and is now considered one of the crowning jewels in the Indian Ocean. Poetically referred to as the ‘teardrop of India‘. The language spoken over here is Sinhala alongside you will hear people speak in Tamil and English also. The currency used here is the Sri Lankan rupee. 1 Indian rupee = 2.55 Sri Lankan rupee. The Sri Lankan national flag is one of the oldest in the world. Volleyball is the national sport of Sri Lanka. It is home to the world’s oldest human-planted tree and cinnamon is originated from here. It’s packed with a large variety of animals. The national flower is a blue water lily.

Blue Water Lily



Embracing the Enchanting Beauty of Sri Lanka – Arrival and Habarana Retreat

After a long drive of 5 hours from the airport we reached our hotel. The place where we stayed was called Habarana. Habarana is a small city in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka, situated nearby to the ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin of Sigiriya. Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Habarana jungle. Elephant back riding is also an attraction in this small city.

We stayed in a beautiful village themed hotel called Chaaya Village. Set amidst lush forest off the A6 highway, this relaxed, rural resort on Habarana Lake is 18 km from Sigiriya Lion Rock.
The rooms were good with wood accents, the food was tasty and plentiful with a casual buffet restaurant which serves international cuisine and the staff were very helpful. It was really a relaxing place to stay. This hotel is set next to a glorious lake which has many species of birds, monkeys, bats, squirrels including the giant squirrel. Some of the amenities here include a spa, a triangle-shaped outdoor pool, and a cricket pitch, as well as tennis, badminton and volleyball courts.

Chaaya village – Habarana

Appam also known as Sri Lankan Hoppers

Sri Lanka is an easy country to visit and is a very budget-friendly country. Sri Lanka may look small but is a place with lots to explore. 


Journey through History – Anuradhapura’s Sacred Sites and Treasures

The Brazen Palace


After having enjoyed our first day in Chaaya Village relaxing and enjoying delicious food, we set out our journey for a new day to Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum. The museum is located near Heritage Site Entry Ticket counter and can be visited before visiting the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. All the places are nearby and visiting them by car or tuk tuk are ideal as you will be able to see the ruins much faster and much more comfortably.

The museum was established in 1947, this is situated in the old kachcheri building, between the Brazen palace and Ruwanwelisaya. The Brazen Palace also called as Lovamahapaya is a 2000-year-old palace constructed by King Dutugemunu in 2nd century B.C which has 1600 stone columns that supported nine stories reaching 150 feet and sides of 400 feet length with 1000 rooms. It is also known as the Brazen Place because of the bronze tiles that were used on its roof. The Ruwanweliseya stupa is one of the largest stupas or dagobas, which is in the heart of the beautiful heritage city of Anuradhapura.

Thuparamaya Vatadage

Mahamewna park

Kantaka Chetiya Dagoba

The museum exhibits antiquities found from various regions of Sri Lanka, such as Buddha statues, inscriptions, drawings, puppets, coins, jewelries, beads and other miscellaneous things. Among these antiquities, there is a model of the Thuparamaya Vatadage, the first Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, located in the sacred area of Mahamewna park. The Thuparamaya Stupa is the earliest Dagoba to be constructed in the island, dating back to the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (247-207 BC). There is a relic chamber called Kantaka Chetiya Dagoba, a stupa located at ancient Buddhist monastery of Mihintale.




We discovered many interesting facts about this place. The symbol of Sri Lanka is a pot, also called as Punyakasa. After viewing a few paintings, we went on to see the precious gems in the museum. Something very interesting caught our eye, a small piece of gold had 14 flowers carved on it, it was such a shocker to view that. This museum was filled with various pots of different sizes and had great history behind each one of them. 

The museum also has many bronze statues of Hindu gods like Ganesha, Parvathi and Shiva along with miniature figures made of ivory. Apart from that, you will find jewellery and medieval coins belonging to the reigns of Parakrama-Bahu, Nissanka-Malla and Lilavati. The museum, in short, gives you an overview, knowledge and experience which will make your visit to the archaeological sites more enjoyable as you will then be able to connect with the past when you see the ruins and other sites on your own.

We had a guide who explained us everything about this place. From the museum we progressed ahead to the next destination. We got to know about the three main institutions namely Abhayagiri, Jetavana and Mahavihara situated there. A new university was to be added to the list called Bhiksu university. 

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi


Elephant Pond

Then we went to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, one of the most ancient trees which are living even today standing tall in the Mahamewna Gardens in Anuradhapura. This tree is believed to have sprouted from a cutting brought from Bodh Gaya in India, where Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment. The tree is an authentic and living link to Gautama Buddha and is often respected as the oldest tree in history which has a recorded date of the plantation.

Later we saw a carving called moonstone. It is a unique feature of the Sinhalese architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances.

Did you know, till 3rd century there were no statues, instead there were only symbols and this place has over 437 types of birds. 

Finally, we came to a meditation tomb. It was a place designed for the people to do spiritual exercises. Then we went to see a place where 33 man made water tanks were built. We even saw an elephant pond there. This place was spread across 500 acres of land and in that there were 65 ponds. Interesting right! 

Important Information to note :

Timings : The museum is open from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM and is closed on Tuesday and every public Holidays.​

Transportation : Tuk Tuks, buses and walking are the favored means of commuting

Best time to visit : July-September and December-January is the best time to visit Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.

Entry Fee :

  • $25 for Foreigners 
  • $12 for SAARC Nationals 

This fee includes entry to all the historical sites except Maha Bodhi & Isurumuniya)

After a long day we went back to our hotel and had a nice meal. We were done for the day and our tour of Anuradhapura ended here! If you are a culture and history lover, you won’t regret adding Anuradhapura to your itinerary in Sri Lanka.


Exploring the Rich Heritage of Anuradhapura

Our third day in Sri Lanka was nothing short of pure bliss as we embarked on an adventure filled with majestic creatures, cultural wonders, and breathtaking landscapes.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage: 

Our day began with a heartwarming visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Located in the picturesque village of Pinnawala, this sanctuary is a haven for orphaned and injured elephants. Witnessing these gentle giants up close was an absolute delight. We were amazed by the caring and nurturing environment provided to these elephants, which allowed them to roam freely and bond with their caretakers. As we watched the baby elephants playfully splash in the river, our hearts were filled with joy and awe. It was a must-visit for animal lovers and an unforgettable experience.

Pinnawala Open Zoo: 

Our next stop was the Pinnawala Open Zoo, a unique and innovative approach to wildlife conservation. Unlike traditional zoos, this one offered a more immersive and natural setting for the animals, allowing them to live in habitats that closely resemble their natural environments. We were deeply impressed by the zoo’s commitment to wildlife preservation and their efforts to provide a safe and nurturing space for a variety of animal species. The opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in such a setting was both educational and inspiring.

Iperanigama Theme Park: 

In the afternoon, we delved into Sri Lanka’s rich heritage at the Iperanigama Theme Park. This cultural extravaganza provided us with a fascinating insight into the country’s traditions, arts, and lifestyle. The park was a vibrant celebration of Sri Lanka’s diverse culture, featuring traditional dances, music, and performances that showcased the island’s unique identity. We also had the pleasure of indulging in local delicacies, savoring the flavors of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. It was a day of celebration and immersion in the country’s cultural tapestry.

Dambulla Cave Temple: 

Our journey then took us to the renowned Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most well-preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka. The temple is a complex of five cave temples adorned with ancient cave paintings and intricate statues of Buddha and other deities. As we entered the caves, we were awestruck by the stunning religious artistry that adorned the walls and ceilings. The serene ambiance and spiritual significance of the temple left us in awe of the island’s historical and artistic treasures.

Pidurangala Rock Hike: 

To end the day on a high note, we embarked on a challenging yet rewarding hike up Pidurangala Rock to witness the breathtaking sunset view over the iconic Sigiriya Lion Rock. The hike tested our endurance, but the panoramic view from the top made it all worthwhile. As the golden hues of the setting sun painted the landscape, we couldn’t help but marvel at the natural beauty that surrounded us. The view of the majestic Sigiriya Lion Rock and the vast expanse of the surrounding landscape created a magical and unforgettable moment.

Important Information to note :

  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage:

    • Timings: 8.30 AM to 5.00 PM
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: Anytime, but mornings are ideal to witness elephant bathing.
    • Entry Fee: $25 for Foreigners, $12 for SAARC Nationals
  • Pinnawala Open Zoo:

    • Timings: 8.30 AM to 5.00 PM (Closed on public holidays)
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
  • Iperanigama Theme Park:

    • Timings: 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM (Closed on public holidays)
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
  • Dambulla Cave Temple:

    • Timings: 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds.
    • Entry Fee: $25 for Foreigners, $12 for SAARC Nationals
  • Pidurangala Rock:

    • Timings: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon for pleasant weather and sunrise/sunset views.
    • Entry Fee: Approximately $3 per person


Journey through History and Wildlife

Our fourth day in Sri Lanka was marked by an incredible journey through history and nature, exploring ancient ruins and witnessing the majestic wildlife.


We began our day with a visit to Polonnaruwa, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The well-preserved ruins of this once-glorious city took us back in time to the medieval period of Sri Lanka. We explored the ancient palaces, temples, and stupas, marveling at the architectural brilliance and historical significance of this site. The Gal Vihara, with its magnificent rock-cut Buddha statues, left us in awe of the ancient craftsmanship and devotion to Buddhism.

Minneriya National Park: 

Next, we immersed ourselves in the natural wonders of Minneriya National Park. The park is renowned for its annual gathering of wild elephants, known as “The Gathering.” We were privileged to witness a vast congregation of elephants, grazing and frolicking near the Minneriya Tank. The sight of these gentle giants in their natural habitat was awe-inspiring and humbling. The park’s diverse wildlife and lush landscapes offered us a memorable safari experience, as we encountered various other animal and bird species along the way.

Sigiriya Lion Rock: 

As the day continued, we headed to the iconic Sigiriya Lion Rock, an ancient rock fortress that stood majestically against the horizon. The ascent to the top was both thrilling and challenging, with the rock’s colossal lion paws acting as the gateway to the summit. The remnants of the once-grand palace complex atop the rock showcased the architectural brilliance of ancient Sri Lanka. The panoramic view from the top was simply breathtaking, and we marveled at the ingenuity of the ancient civilization that built this remarkable fortress.

Day 4 was an immersive journey through time and nature, offering us a profound understanding of 
Sri Lanka’s rich history and its abundant wildlife.

Important Information to note :

  • Polonnaruwa:

    • Timings: 7.00 AM to 5.30 PM
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: July-September and December-January are ideal.
    • Entry Fee: $25 for Foreigners, $12 for SAARC Nationals
  • Minneriya National Park:

    • Timings: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM
    • Transportation: Safari jeeps are the preferred means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: July-September for the famous elephant gathering.
    • Entry Fee: $15 for Foreigners, $8 for SAARC Nationals
  • Sigiriya Lion Rock:

    • Timings: 7.00 AM to 5.30 PM
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid heat and crowds.
    • Entry Fee: $30 for Foreigners, $15 for SAARC Nationals


A Day of Relaxation and Thrills in Bentota

Our fifth day in Sri Lanka was a perfect beachside escape, filled with water sports, relaxation, and natural beauty.

Bentota Beach: 

We started the day by heading to the stunning Bentota Beach, a paradise of golden sands and turquoise waters. The calm and serene atmosphere made it an ideal spot for sunbathing, beachcombing, and unwinding. We soaked up the sun, listened to the gentle waves, and let go of all our worries.

La Luna Water Sports Centre: 

For adventure seekers, the La Luna Water Sports Centre was an absolute delight. We indulged in various water activities, including jet skiing, banana boat rides, and parasailing. The adrenaline rush and the thrill of speeding across the water were invigorating experiences we will cherish forever.

Bentota River: 

In the afternoon, we explored the enchanting Bentota River on a boat safari. The river safari took us through mangrove forests, exotic landscapes, and vibrant birdlife. We spotted monitor lizards, water monitors, and several species of colorful birds. The tranquility of the river and the surrounding scenery left us feeling completely rejuvenated.

Day 5 was a delightful blend of adventure and relaxation, offering us the perfect beach getaway and a memorable rendezvous with nature’s splendor.

Important Information to note :

  • Bentota Beach:

    • Timings: Open all day
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
    • Best Time to Visit: November-April for the best weather.
    • Entry Fee: No entry fee for the beach.
  • La Luna Water Sports Centre:

    • Timings: 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM
    • Transportation: Tuk Tuks, buses, and walking are the favored means of commuting.
  • Bentota River:

    • Timings: Open all day
    • Transportation: Boat tours are available for river exploration.
    • Best Time to Visit: Anytime during daylight hours.
    • Entry Fee: Varies based on the chosen boat tour.


Embracing the Vibrant Colombo City Centre

On our final day, we set out to explore the bustling Colombo City Centre, where the seamless blend of modernity and tradition is evident in every aspect. The city’s architecture and lifestyle offered a captivating glimpse into Sri Lanka’s vibrant spirit.

We embarked on a delightful retail therapy session at the local markets, discovering unique handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs that beautifully captured the essence of Sri Lankan culture. The lively bazaars were a treasure trove for both tourists and locals alike.

To immerse ourselves fully in the local culture, we savored authentic Sri Lankan cuisine at charming eateries. The tantalizing array of dishes, bursting with flavors and spices, left our taste buds thoroughly satisfied. From traditional hoppers to fiery curries, every bite was a culinary adventure.

With content hearts and wonderful memories, we bid adieu to Colombo and headed back to the airport. Our incredible journey through the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka had come to an end, leaving us with a profound appreciation for its rich heritage, natural wonders, and warm hospitality.

Though the trip had come to a close, the experiences we gathered will forever remain etched in our hearts. Until we meet again, Sri Lanka!

I hope my journey has inspired you to explore the enchanting land of Sri Lanka. Until next time, happy travels!


  • Day 1:  Arrive at Habarana,
    Relax and Explore Chaya Village Habarana
  • Day 2:  Arrive to Anuradhapura,
    Visit Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum
  • Day 3 : Visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala Open Zoo, Iperanigama Theme Park, Dambulla Cave Temple and Pidurangala Rock
  • Day 4 : Visit Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park and Sigiriya Lion Rock
  • Day 5 : Arrive at Bentota,
    Visit Bentota Beach, La Luna Water Sports Centre and Bentota River
  • Day 6 : Arrive at Colombo,
    Explore Colombo City Centre and Departure

If this itinerary appeals to you, feel free to contact Flip To Trip (Our Travel Company) to create a personalised travel experience just for you.

Link to the website :

Akhila Maram


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *