5-Day Sri Lankan Culinary and Shopping Adventure

Sri Lanka

5 days

Buddha statues outside of Buddhist temple in Colombo
Goyambokka beach
Herd of elephants passing through river
Train passing through the Nine Arches bridge
Sigiriya, also known as the Lion Rock

About Sri Lanka

Discover the enchanting island paradise of Sri Lanka, a gem in the Indian Ocean. Experience its rich history by exploring ancient temples, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the bustling city of Colombo. Sri Lanka's diverse landscapes offer pristine beaches, lush tea plantations, and wildlife-rich national parks. Embark on a thrilling safari to spot elephants, leopards, and exotic bird species. Indulge in the local cuisine, a flavorful blend of spices and coconut. Enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals and immerse yourself in their vibrant culture and traditions. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, Sri Lanka offers an unforgettable journey.

5-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Colombo's Markets and Seaside

Morning

Start your day with a visit to a Local market in Colombo. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors, smells, and tastes of fresh produce and local delicacies.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan lunch, featuring a variety of curries, rice, and local specialties. Don't forget to try the local wine.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the bustling streets of Pettah, a neighborhood known for its vibrant markets and shops selling everything from textiles to electronics.

Dinner

Dine at a local restaurant, where you can sample more Sri Lankan cuisine and try a variety of local wines.

Evening

End your day with a leisurely stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular seaside promenade, and enjoy the sunset.

Morning

Visit the Ancient city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and explore its many historic monuments and ruins.

Lunch

Have lunch at a local restaurant, where you can try traditional Sri Lankan dishes and local wines.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the ancient city, visiting its many temples, stupas, and ancient pools.

Dinner

Enjoy a dinner of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine at a local restaurant.

Evening

Relax and unwind after a day of exploration, perhaps enjoying a glass of local wine.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and marvel at its beautiful murals and statues.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan lunch at a local restaurant, trying out new dishes and local wines.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoy the stunning views from the top.

Dinner

Dine at a local restaurant, sampling more Sri Lankan cuisine and local wines.

Evening

Relax and unwind after a day of exploration, perhaps enjoying a glass of local wine.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.

Lunch

Have lunch at a local restaurant, where you can try traditional Sri Lankan dishes and local wines.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Royal Botanical Gardens, home to a vast collection of orchids, spices, and medicinal plants.

Dinner

Enjoy a dinner of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine at a local restaurant.

Evening

End your day with a traditional Kandyan dance performance, a vibrant display of Sri Lankan culture.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to a Tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya, where you can learn about the tea-making process and sample different types of tea.

Lunch

Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan lunch at a local restaurant, trying out new dishes and local wines.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the town of Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as 'Little England' due to its colonial architecture.

Dinner

Dine at a local restaurant, sampling more Sri Lankan cuisine and local wines.

Evening

Relax and unwind after a day of exploration, perhaps enjoying a glass of local wine.

Attractions in Itinerary (9)

Local market in Colombo

1
Local market in Colombo

A bustling market where you can find a variety of goods from fresh produce to textiles and jewelry. A great place to experience the local culture and haggle for goods.

Shopping
Cultural Experiences
Pettah

2
Pettah

A busy neighborhood known for its open-air bazaar. It's a commercial hub where you can find everything from electronics to spices. The streets are lined with shops and stalls selling a wide variety of goods.

Shopping
Cultural Experiences
Neighborhoods
Galle Face Green

3
Galle Face Green

An ocean-side urban park which stretches for half a kilometer along the coast, in the heart of the financial and business district of Colombo.

Parks
Beaches
Landmarks
Ancient city of Anuradhapura

4
Ancient city of Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata.

Attractions
Monuments
Cultural Experiences
Architecture
Dambulla Cave Temple

5
Dambulla Cave Temple

A World Heritage site, this temple complex dates back to the first century BC and has five caves under a vast overhanging rock.

Attractions
Religious Sites
Cultural Experiences
Architecture
Sigiriya Rock Fortress

6
Sigiriya Rock Fortress

An ancient rock fortress and palace ruin surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Attractions
Landmarks
Cultural Experiences
Architecture
Temple of the Tooth

7
Temple of the Tooth

A Buddhist temple that houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha.

Religious Sites
Landmarks
Royal Botanical Gardens

8
Royal Botanical Gardens

The largest of the botanical gardens of Sri Lanka, renowned for its collection of orchids.

Parks
Gardens
Tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya

9
Tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya

A scenic tea plantation where you can learn about the tea-making process and enjoy a cup of fresh tea. The plantation offers guided tours and has a shop where you can buy tea to take home.

Attractions
Tours
Cultural Experiences

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Hoppers

Hoppers

A popular Sri Lankan breakfast dish, hoppers are a type of pancake made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. They are often served with a variety of toppings such as egg, honey, or savory sambol.

Kottu

Kottu

Kottu is a popular street food in Sri Lanka, made from godhamba roti (a type of Sri Lankan roti) and vegetables, egg and/or meat, and spices. It is a must-try for its unique preparation method and delicious taste.

Pol Sambol

Pol Sambol

Pol Sambol is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from grated coconut, red onions, dried whole chilies, lime juice, salt and Maldive fish. It's a staple condiment in Sri Lankan cuisine and is often served with rice and curries.

String Hoppers

String Hoppers

String Hoppers are a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from rice flour pressed into noodle form and then steamed. They are typically served for breakfast with dhal curry and coconut sambol.

Fish Ambul Thiyal

Fish Ambul Thiyal

Fish Ambul Thiyal is a sour fish curry dish native to Sri Lanka, where chunks of fish are sautéed in a blend of spices including black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, pandan leaves and curry leaves.

Kiribath

Kiribath

Kiribath is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from rice and coconut milk. This dish is often served during special occasions and is considered a symbol of auspicious moments in Sri Lankan culture.

Watalappan

Watalappan

Watalappan is a famous traditional dessert in Sri Lanka, made from coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs, various spices and sometimes kithul treacle.

Lamprais

Lamprais

Lamprais is a Dutch Burgher-influenced dish, that is very popular in Sri Lanka. It consists of a special curry baked in a banana leaf with rice, meat, frikkadels (Dutch-style meatballs), and sambol.

Pittu

Pittu

Pittu is a popular Sri Lankan dish made from a mixture of freshly ground rice flour and shredded coconut, then steamed in a bamboo mould. It is often served with fish curry or coconut milk.

Arrack

Arrack

Arrack is a traditional alcoholic beverage in Sri Lanka, made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers or sugarcane. It is often enjoyed neat or as a cocktail.

Wood Apple Juice

Wood Apple Juice

Wood Apple Juice is a popular non-alcoholic beverage in Sri Lanka, made from the pulp of the wood apple fruit, sugar, and water or milk. It has a sweet and sour taste and is often served chilled.

Thambili

Thambili

Thambili, also known as King Coconut, is a native variety of coconut in Sri Lanka. Its sweet water is a popular thirst quencher and is often sold by roadside vendors.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Sri Lanka largely depends on which part of the country you're planning to explore, as the island experiences two monsoon seasons. If you're heading to the west and south coasts as well as the hill country, the best time is between December and March. However, if you're planning to visit the east and north regions, the ideal time is from April or May to September. Overall, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination with consistently warm temperatures and abundant sunshine.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 15

Mon

Tamil Thai Pongal Day

January 25

Thu

Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day

February 4

Sun

National Day

February 23

Fri

Navam Full Moon Poya Day

March 8

Fri

Mahasivarathri Day

March 24

Sun

Madin Full Moon Poya Day

March 29

Fri

Good Friday

April 11

Thu

Eid al-Fitr

April 12

Fri

Sinhala and Tamil New Year's Eve

April 13

Sat

Sinhala and Tamil New Year's Day

April 23

Tue

Bak Full Moon Poya Day

May 1

Wed

May Day

May 23

Thu

Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

May 24

Fri

Day after Vesak Full Moon Poya Day

June 17

Mon

Eid al-Adha

June 21

Fri

Poson Full Moon Poya Day

July 20

Sat

Esala Full Moon Poya Day

August 19

Mon

Nikini Full Moon Poya Day

September 16

Mon

Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet's Birthday)

September 17

Tue

Binara Full Moon Poya Day

October 17

Thu

Vap Full Moon Poya Day

October 31

Thu

Deepavali

November 15

Fri

Ill Full Moon Poya Day

December 14

Sat

Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Train travel in Sri Lanka is both a beautiful and affordable way to see the country, and no trip is more scenic than the journey from Colombo to Ella. The train goes through stunning landscapes of green and lush tea plantations and mountain views.

Buses are a common mode of transportation in Sri Lanka. They are a cheap way to get around, but can be crowded and less comfortable than other options. There are both government-run and private buses, with the private ones generally being faster and more expensive.

Tuk-tuks, also known as three-wheelers, are a popular mode of transportation in Sri Lanka. They are ideal for short distances within cities and towns. Always negotiate the price before the journey.

Taxis are available in major cities and towns. They are more expensive than tuk-tuks but are more comfortable and safer. It's advisable to use metered taxis or agree on the fare before starting the journey.

Renting a car and driving yourself is not recommended due to the chaotic traffic conditions in Sri Lanka. However, you can hire a car with a driver for a more relaxed and comfortable way of traveling around the country.

Ridesharing services like Uber and PickMe are available in major cities like Colombo and Kandy. They offer a convenient and affordable way to get around, and fares can be estimated in advance through the app.

Bicycles are a great way to explore the local area, especially in places like Galle and the countryside. Many hotels offer bicycle rental services.

For long distance travel, domestic flights are available. Sri Lanka has an extensive network of domestic airports. This is the quickest but also the most expensive way to travel around the country.

Walking is a great way to explore Sri Lanka's cities and towns at your own pace. Many areas have pedestrian-friendly streets and there are plenty of walking tours available.

Ferries are used to travel between islands and to cross lakes and lagoons. They are a slow but scenic way to travel.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currencyරු LKR

Time zoneUTC+5.5

Driving sideLeft

Emergency phone1 691095, 699935

Drinking waterOpt for bottled water

Power sockets

Power socket type DPower socket type G

Voltage230 V

Things to know about Sri Lanka as a first time visitor

1

Sri Lanka's official languages are Sinhala and Tamil, but English is widely spoken in major cities and tourist areas.

2

The country's currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). Credit cards are accepted in most places, but it's good to have some cash on hand for smaller vendors.

3

Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist, with significant Hindu, Muslim, and Christian populations. Respect for all religious customs and places of worship is important.

4

The country has a tropical climate, with average temperatures ranging from 81°F (27°C) in coastal areas to 61°F (16°C) in the highlands.

5

Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons: the Yala monsoon (May to August) affects the west and south coasts, and the Maha monsoon (October to January) affects the east coast and northern region.

6

Public transportation is widely available and includes buses, trains, and three-wheelers (tuk-tuks). However, they can be crowded and may not adhere to strict schedules.

7

Sri Lanka is generally safe for tourists, but it's advisable to take standard precautions such as not displaying valuable items openly and avoiding isolated areas at night.

8

The country's cuisine is rich and diverse, with rice and curry being a staple. It can be quite spicy, so let your server know your spice preference.

9

Tap water is not safe to drink. Always opt for bottled water, and avoid ice in your drinks unless you're sure it's made from purified water.

10

Sri Lanka operates on Sri Lanka Standard Time (SLST), which is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+5:30).

11

The country has a strict policy against the mistreatment of Buddhist images and artifacts, which includes tattoos or clothing with Buddha images.

12

Sri Lanka has a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs, and penalties can be severe.

13

It's customary to remove your shoes and hats when entering temples and other religious sites.

14

Sri Lanka uses Type D and Type G plugs. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

15

The country has a diverse wildlife population, but it's important to maintain a safe distance from wild animals and not to feed them.

16

Sri Lanka has a strong tradition of Ayurveda, a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. Trying an Ayurvedic treatment can be a unique experience.

17

The country's dress code is generally conservative, especially in religious sites. It's advisable to cover your shoulders and knees.

18

Sri Lanka has a rich tradition of arts and crafts. When buying souvenirs, look for Fair Trade labels to ensure artisans are paid fairly.

19

The country has a comprehensive healthcare system, but it's advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical evacuation, as some areas lack advanced medical facilities.

20

Sri Lanka is in the process of banning single-use plastics, so bring a reusable water bottle and shopping bag.

Basic Sinhala, Tamil, English to know as a first time visitor

English phrase

Native phrase

Pronunciation

When to use it

Hello

Ayubowan

A-yu-bo-wan

Greeting someone

Goodbye

Gihin Ennam

Gee-hin En-nam

Saying goodbye

Thank you

Istuti

Is-too-tee

Expressing gratitude

Yes

Ow

Ov

Agreeing or affirming

No

Nay

Disagreeing or denying

Please

Karunakara

Ka-ru-na-ka-ra

Making a polite request

Excuse me

Samawenna

Sa-ma-wen-na

Getting attention or apologizing

I don't understand

Mama araḍa nǣ

Mama a-rad-a nay

When you don't understand something

Do you speak English?

Oba ingreesi katha karanaḍa?

Oba in-gree-si ka-tha ka-ra-na-da?

Asking if someone speaks English

I'm sorry

Samawenna

Sa-ma-wen-na

Apologizing

I need help

Mama udāv karanna oni

Mama u-dav ka-ran-na oni

When you need assistance

Where is the bathroom?

Væssægama kohedha?

Ves-sa-ga-ma ko-he-dha?

Asking for directions to the bathroom

How much is this?

Meka kiyæda?

Me-ka ki-ya-da?

Asking for the price of something

I am lost

Mama allǣ vunǣ

Mama al-le vu-ne

When you are lost

Can I get a taxi?

Mama taksi ekak gænnǣ puluvanda?

Mama tak-si e-kak gen-na pu-lu-van-da?

When you need a taxi

Where is the hospital?

Rohalaya kohedha?

Ro-ha-la-ya ko-he-dha?

When you need medical assistance

Can I have the menu, please?

Menuvæ denna puluvanda, karunakara?

Me-nu-va den-na pu-lu-van-da, ka-ru-na-ka-ra?

When you want to see the menu at a restaurant

Water

Vatura

Va-tu-ra

When you want to order water

Food

Ahara

A-ha-ra

When you want to order food

Help!

Udāv karanna!

U-dav ka-ran-na!

When you are in danger and need help

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Lightweight clothing

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Swimwear

  • Beach cover-up

  • Lightweight jacket

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Sandals

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Rain jacket

  • Toiletries

  • Travel-size shampoo

  • Travel-size conditioner

  • Travel-size body wash

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Razor

  • Shaving cream

  • Sunscreen

  • After-sun lotion

  • Insect repellent

  • First-aid kit

  • Prescription medications

  • Contact lens solution

  • Travel-size laundry detergent

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Driver's license

  • Credit cards

  • Cash

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel reservation confirmations

  • Airline tickets

  • Emergency contact information

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • International plug adapter

  • Portable power bank

  • Camera

  • Memory cards for camera

  • Headphones

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs

  • Eye mask

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Books or e-reader

  • Travel guide for Sri Lanka

  • Travel-size umbrella

  • Reusable shopping bag

  • Zip-lock bags

Weather Conditions

Sri Lanka, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, experiences warm weather throughout the year with temperatures averaging between 81°F (27°C) and 86°F (30°C). However, the country has two monsoon seasons which can significantly impact your travel plans. From May to August, the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island's southwestern half. If you're planning to visit during this period, consider exploring the north and east coast or the ancient cities in the central part of the country which remain relatively dry. The Maha monsoon season affects the northern and eastern parts of the country from October to January. During this time, the southwestern coast and hill country are ideal for travel as they experience less rainfall. Despite the monsoons, Sri Lanka's weather can be somewhat unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to carry an umbrella or raincoat. Also, remember to stay hydrated and use sunscreen, as the tropical sun can be quite strong, even on cloudy days. The central highlands of Sri Lanka are cooler, with temperatures averaging around 59°F (15°C). If you're visiting places like Nuwara Eliya or Ella, pack some warm clothing for the cooler evenings. Lastly, the coastal areas can be quite humid, so lightweight, breathable clothing is recommended. Also, if you plan to visit religious sites, remember to dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees. In conclusion, Sri Lanka's weather varies across the island and throughout the year, so plan your itinerary accordingly and pack a variety of clothing to suit different weather conditions.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

31° / 22°

January is a great time to visit Sri Lanka, with warm temperatures and lower rainfall. The average temperature ranges from 22°C to 31°C.

February

32° / 22°

February is one of the driest months in Sri Lanka, making it an excellent time for outdoor activities. The temperature ranges from 22°C to 32°C.

March

33° / 23°

March is a hot month in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 23°C to 33°C. It's a great time to visit the beaches.

April

34° / 24°

April is the hottest month in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 34°C. It's a perfect time to enjoy the country's beautiful beaches.

May

33° / 25°

May sees the start of the monsoon season in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 33°C. Despite the rain, the scenery is lush and beautiful.

June

32° / 24°

June is a wet month in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C. It's a good time to visit the cultural triangle and the east coast.

July

32° / 24°

July is a relatively dry month in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C. It's a good time to visit the cultural sites and wildlife parks.

August

32° / 24°

August is a good month to visit Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C. The weather is generally dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

September

32° / 24°

September is a transitional month in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C. The weather can be unpredictable, but it's a good time to visit the wildlife parks.

October

31° / 24°

October is the start of the second monsoon season in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 31°C. Despite the rain, it's a good time to visit the east coast.

November

31° / 23°

November is a wet month in Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 23°C to 31°C. It's a good time to visit the cultural triangle and the east coast.

December

31° / 22°

December is a popular month to visit Sri Lanka, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 31°C. The weather is generally dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

Did you know?

Did you know that Sri Lanka is known as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean' due to its shape and location?

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