5-Day Itinerary to Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sri Lanka is one of the most popular destinations from the GCC countries for a myriad of reasons but of course, Sri Lanka being a cheap destination for a short holiday is the number one among all the reasons the travelers have. During Eid Holiday breaks, Sri Lanka flights get fully booked in no time and those who don’t plan ahead of their holidays will suffer the consequence of having to pay a much more expensive amount of flight and hotel packages or worst yet – no confirmation at all. So with Ramadan almost upon us, I thought I’d show you one of the most popular itineraries I’ve been selling when I was still working as a travel agent.

Most of my clients would like to have a cultural activity plus a beach holiday when they go to Sri Lanka with very little time to spare so this itinerary suits most of them the best.

5-Day Itinerary to Sri Lanka

Day 1: Colombo Airport to Dambulla

Upon arrival, transfer from Colombo airport to Dambulla. The drive will take about 3 hours (depending of course on traffic) and will include a few stops for lunch (and sometimes breakfast as well) which is normally what the itinerary includes. I always suggest my clients to go to Dambulla since this is a gateway for you to visit the Lion Rock Fortress in Sigiriya. In Dambulla you can either stay in Amaya Lake or Heritance Kandalama. The rest of the day is free at your own leisure.

Amaya Lake

Amaya Lake Outdoor pool

Heritance Kandalama

Vew from Heritance Kandalama

Day 2: The Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress Tour.

Start the day early and drive up to the famous Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress. Climbing this rock mountain was the most adventurous feat I’ve ever done considering that I’m not a very fit person let alone a climber. Plus, I’m actually afraid of heights (slightly) but the view from the top of this mountain is totally worth it.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

At the top of Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Drive back to your hotel and enjoy the amenities of the property for the rest of the day OR if you don’t feel like spending half a day by the pool or having a spa, you can actually immediately go to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and then towards the beachside area down the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka immediately. Some of my clients have done this rather hectic Day 2 schedule as they don’t want to pay one more night in a hotel in Dambulla area and would like to have a longer beach time for their holiday. You can do that too but I suggest for you to take it slow since the 5-day itinerary is already hectic as it is.

Day 3: Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – Southwest Coast of Sri Lanka

On the third day, after breakfast – drive down to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. The drive will take about 2 hours to get to the elephant orphanage and normally, you have to be there no later than 12nn so you can witness the elephants as they bathe in the river. Have lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the river before proceeding towards the southwest coast of Sri Lanka famous for its beaches where you will stay for 2 nights.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Now the area where you will have your beach time for your holiday entirely depends on your choice of resort. The Southwest coast of Sri Lanka is famous for its pristine beaches however, when I went there – I actually noticed that the sea is quite rough. It was April when we went there, so rough that I don’t think a not-so-good swimmer like I am wouldn’t be able to enjoy its waters. So I suggest for you to choose a resort which has a beautiful pool just in case such as the following:

Vivanta by Taj Bentota

Vivanta by Taj Bentota

Vivanta by Taj Bentota

One of the most famous resorts in the Southwest Coast of Sri Lanka is about 2 hours and 45 minutes away from Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. Vivanta by Taj Bentota, of course carrying the name of one of the most famous hotel brands in this region definitely delivers quality and great service. Bentota area is also a very well-known coast town popular for tourists and locals alike. I’ve stayed in this property while there and you can see my blog about it here.

The Fortress Resort and Spa in Koggala

The Fortress Resort and Spa

The Fortress Resort and Spa

The luxury resort is about 3 hours away from Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and this is one of my favorite resorts in Sri Lanka as I love the very airy and colonial design of the entire resort. The pool was also magnificent!

The Blue Water Wadduwa

The Blue Water Wadduwa

The Blue Water Wadduwa

Out of all the properties I’ve sold room nights for, the Blue Water Wadduwa is definitely my go-to hotel to sell to my clients as it never ever fails to deliver. Clients will always have very good reviews about it specially because it’s always one of the cheapest properties in the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka. If I will go back to Sri Lanka for a personal trip, I definitely would stay here.

You’ll be staying in the Southwest Coastal towns of Sri Lanka for half the day of Day 3 and a full day of Day 4.

Day 5: Colombo Airport

Check-out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your return flight. Some of my clients would like to see the Colombo city too during their tour and the last day is a great day to do it. Colombo City tour normally lasts only for about 2-3 hours so you can check-out of your hotel early in the morning, do the city tour and a little bit of shopping and then you can drive back to the airport right after.

There you have it, your 5-day Itinerary to Sri Lanka which can easily be extended to 7, 10 or even 14 days. I will create the other itineraries which includes Kandy and the Northeastern part of Sri Lanka which is my absolute favorite place in this country. The beaches are much much better there, according to myself but getting there is such a hassle though.

To do a tour in Sri Lanka, it’s always good to have your own driver and van – trust me, you wouldn’t want to drive in Sri Lanka on your own. I know for sure that Emirates Holidays provides a package which includes all these including your own private van and English-speaking driver also, they do have very competitive hotel prices in Sri Lanka which is cheaper than what you’ll get online.

Disclaimer: I am not promoting Emirates Holidays per se, I’m just sharing all these valued information which I have a first-hand knowledge of as I used to work for them.

All photos are taken by yours truly during one of my famtrips as a travel agent sponsored by Emirates Holidays so yes, I’ve seen all these places and all these hotels.


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  • Ryan October 15, 2019 at 11:27

    Its Absolutely Nice to see.

  • iraonherdreams January 7, 2019 at 10:22

    What about the total expenses for this 5-day itinerary? Approximately how much is the total trip?

  • Evan June 29, 2018 at 22:08

    I was lucky to be there once. I had planned everything expect the places to stay around the country.

  • Pankaj Manik July 5, 2015 at 18:50

    Brilliant penmanship! Love the way you have written your experiences, quite detailed and easy to imagine.

    I plan to be in Sri Lanka in mid-August. Does that make sense from a climate perspective? I read somewhere that it rains too much in August, making outdoors nearly not possible.


    • Pinay Flying High July 6, 2015 at 11:12

      Hi Pankaj,
      Thanks for visiting.
      Sri Lanka is an all-year round destination and with the current trend of weather these days – you never really know what it’s in store for you for summer and rainy days (it can be raining hard during the summer and be extremely hot during the rainy days). Temperature remains high, around 29 degrees. The northern and eastern part is supposed to have a better weather during this month and although going to the Northern part of Sri Lanka is quite tricky, they do have some of the best beaches in that area which are not as famous for tourists as that of the South Western beaches. I recommend a visit to Passikuda. It’s amazing! 🙂

  • yashy March 21, 2015 at 02:38

    Ah. What a great itinerary for my motherland. There’s some great resorts I need to checkout clearly!!

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    Welcome to my blog! My name is Noemi, a Filipina who caught the travel bug at an early age and has never been cured. I blog about travel, food and my extraordinary mundane life in London with the Greek Mister.

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