Perfect 9 Days Itinerary in Sri Lanka + backpacker advice

Last month I visit Sri Lanka for 9 days and it was absolutely amazing, I fell in love with the places, the people and the food and I totally recommend it to everyone who is looking for adventure but at the same time a place with a lot of cultural history. This is my itinerary: I did a circular route and decided to see the most important cities, even though a didn’t say everything I think I did a good job in seen the most important stuff. This was an exciting trip because we planned almost one different city every day and the idea was to see as much as we could in less time. We travel always by train and the views were just amazing. Here is a brief summary and then I will go deep into each one: In Sri Lanka the transportation in an essential part of the trip so when you move from one city to the other, the time you spent on the train or bus is well invested, the landscape is freaking beautiful.

Arrival + Dinner at Colombo

Day 1. The first day we arrive into Colombo in the late afternoon, so we didn’t have a lot of time to see around. We just went out to eat at a local restaurant where we try for the first time ‘Kotu’. We booked a taxi from the airport to our hostel.

Train to Kandy + Sightseen Kandy

Day 2. In the morning we travel on a train to Kandy, the trip is approximately three hours with stops. In Kandy we visited three important sights. We walked through the lake, we visited the big Buddha (the picture above is the sight from the Buddha), and we visited the Kandy viewpoint where we saw a monkey! The city is really small and you can walk through it or you can take a Tuk Tuk which is a really fun experience.

Ride on the most beautiful train in the world

Day 3. The next day we went on the most beautiful train in the world. I recommend you to take it early because it is a trip of 6 to 7 hours, but really it’s worth it. The landscape you see is absolutely stunning and breathtaking. We made sure that we got seats for this train because it was going to be a long ride. In Ella you can walk around town, it is pretty small.

Hiking Ella’s Peak + Visting Ravana’s Waterfall

 Day 4. I think that my favorite day of the whole trip. Hiking Ella’s peak, the top has an absolutely beautiful sight. I really recommend going with a guide, DON’T GO ALONE. We took like 4 hours round but it depends on you. In the afternoon we visited the Ravana’s Waterfalls which on the internet I read you could swim but really is not actually, though the view is really beautiful. For lunch, we ate the “best curry in Sri Lanka” in a restaurant where they also give cooking classes for you to learn how to do it.

Enjoy the day at a beach in Mirissa

Day 5. We rent a minivan that took like 5 hours to get to Mirissa. We arrive early in Mirissa and we spent the day at the beach. There are a lot of bars near the beach which is really nice, in the night we went out to one bar on the beach, of course, happy hours everywhere, we choose the one that had the best music and dance the whole night. We didn’t have any issues with our drinks but in bars like this, it’s important to be careful and watch your drink at all times.

Surfing at Mirissa, visiting the center of Galle & watching the sunset at the fort.

Day 6. In the early morning a couple of my friends took surfing classes in Mirissa, which they were really satisfied with, and after that, we took a public bus from Mirissa to Galle, it is really close, approximately 40 minutes. We took lunch and after that, we went out to visit the center of the town and the forte. This was also one of my favorite parts of the whole trip, the center is beautiful, buildings from the colony including of course the fort, and we watch a beautiful sunset by the sea.

Beach in Galle + Train back to Colombo

Day 7. The next morning we went to the beach in Galle. We found a not touristy one that was really nice. It was here where a lot of locals were staring at us for wearing a bikini and even approach us, which for me was uncomfortable. But besides that, the beach is really nice and I recommend it. After that, we pack our things and took a train back to Colombo, it was like two hours. We arrive in Colombo at night so we went to a bar there, but because it was a Monday we couldn’t find a lot to do in the night, just walked the city and bought souvenirs.

Sightseen Colombo

Day 8. If you are going to Sri Lanka I don’t recommend you staying more than two days at Colombo because there is not a lot to do. We stay one full day and for me, it was the perfect amount of time. There are several temples that you can visit, markets. We visited Chinatown there and simply walked around the city it was really nice. We ate dinner in a local place, by then we were experts, so everyone already knew what the like and not like.

Departure, going back home

The week passed super quickly but we had a lot of fun, we enjoy so much traveling by train, bus, tuk-tuk and more. We walked a lot and we were always traveling on a budget. We had a lot of memories of an unforgettable trip. We missed of course so much, but I do believe we use the time we had wisely.

So that’s everything for this post, I hope it’s helpful and comment below your experiences in Sri Lanka.

Valeria Obregon

18 years old Mexican, who is currently studying in Singapore and traveling through South East Asia. Environmental activist, visual art student and with a particular love for literature, cats, and coffee.