Feel the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair as you travel down Sri Lanka’s stunning East Coast. This 14-day Sri Lanka East Coast Exploration itinerary takes you through the sunshine towns of Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Passekudah, Arugam Bay, Haputale, Kandy and Colombo. Enjoy touring ancient ruins one day and relaxing on the pristine shore the next! There’s plenty of sunshine and adventure as you make your way down the coast.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
• Surf's Up: The beginner breaks at Arugam Bay are ideal for those looking to pick up a surfboard for the first time.
• Sri Lanka's Way of Tea: Head to the Highlands to discover the history of Ceylon tea. Pick tea leaves at the picturesque Kelburne Tea Plantation, then learn how to prepare the perfect brew.
• Buddhist Heritage: Pay a visit to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy (said to house a tooth relic of the Buddha), then see how monks live and worship in the present day at Bahirawakanda Monastery.
After arriving in Colombo, you will be transferred by private vehicle to nearby Kotugoda, where you will find your charming colonial-style bungalow at The Wallawwa. Indulge in a much-deserved rejuvenating massage after your long trip into Sri Lanka. This deluxe boutique hotel is the perfect place to relax and explore Sri Lanka’s lush natural landscape.
Rise early and make the scenic 4-hour trip to Dambulla, in the center of the northern region of the island. Here, you will lay eyes on one of famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa's creations - the 1994 Heritance Kandalama. Bawa coined the hotel as “an austere jungle palace.” The hotel is integrated seamlessly into the jungle surroundings and appears to be a part of the cliff face, giving guests breathtaking views of Kandalama Lake. Visit the area’s magnificent ancient Buddhist cave temples. Pay a visit to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Spend the night in luxury at the Heritance Kandalama.
Take the northeast coast road for a scenic 2.5-hour drive to Passekudah. Along the way, we suggest stopping in Polonnaruwa. This ancient kingdom was Sri Lanka’s reigning capital during Medieval times. For a history of the city, stop by the museum. Continue on to tour the actual ruins themselves for a full understanding of the once bustling city. Reach the postcard-perfect coastal town of Paseduka. Rest your head at Uga Bay.
Spend the day enjoying what the area is famous for - the idyllic, pristine beaches met by sparkling, turquoise waters. Explore the quaint local fishing village and observe a quiet way of life. Find the freshest fish you’ve ever tasted as you explore the coastal area.
Once, if ever, you’ve had enough of lounging on Passedudah’s spectacular shores, travel the short distance to the town’s sister beach - Kalkudah. You can decide for yourself which area has the most beautiful beaches. Return to Uga Bay for a final restful night.
Take the southern road for 3 hours, following along the eastern shoreline as you travel to Arugam Bay. The area is considered one of the top ten surf spots in the entire world. Indeed, this place feels like its own separate little world with its isolated beaches and laid-back vibes. We recommend staying at the Stardust Beach Hotel, where you can enjoy coastal lounging. Treat yourself to a delicious meal in the hotel’s restaurant.
If you’re feeling adventurous, give the area’s famous sport a try! Pick up a surfboard and join in the never-ending summer. The beach break in front of the Stardust Hotel is perfect for beginners, and those just looking to body board. Other recommended spots include; the Point, Pottuvil Point and Crocodile Rock.
If you’ve had enough surfing or are simply looking for a change of pace, the area is nearby several ancient ruins. The Lahugala National Park is a spectacular location to see Elephants roaming free in the wilderness. Retire to the Stardust Hotel for your final evening in the area.
Leave the coast behind as you head 3 hours inland to visit the lush southern highlands. Along the way, you will see stunning peaks, picturesque waterfalls and sprawling tea plantations. Reach Haputale and enjoy incredible views of the southern plains from the town’s ridge location. Spend the evening at the Kelburne Mountain View Cottages. The cozy cottages offer unrivalled views of the vistas below.
Meander through the Kelburne Tea plantation, feel free to pick some leaves to weigh at the station located at the front entrance. Tour the tea factory and learn about the different processes. You will be able to discern the different grades of Ceylon tea by the end of the day. Finish the day by paying a visit to the monastery or one of the nearby waterfalls.
The next leg of your trip will take you to the lush green city of Kandy (3 hours away), the island nation’s cultural capital. This was the last kingdom of Sri Lanka. That night, rest your head at the Kandy House or Earl's Regency Hotel.
Take a tour of the Bahirawakanda Monastery, and see how Sri Lankan monks live and worship. See the Temple of the Tooth lit up at night by thousands of tiny white lights: a magical sight to behold. The temple contains the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Spend your final evening of pampering at your hotel.
Travel 3 hours from Kandy to the country’s capital - Colombo to connect onward. Time permitting before the flight, explore the town, reveling in the gorgeous colonial architecture. Tour the National Museum and pay a visit to the Fort.
Situated just 15 minutes from Bandaranaike International Airport, The Wallawwa is an old colonial home that has been restored and converted into 17 guestrooms and suites-- The Mountbatten Suite, two Family Suites, two Wallawwa Bedrooms, and twelve Garden Suites. The property offers well-manicured, lush gardens, a library, a study with computer and complimentary internet access, a swimming pool, and a spa. The Verandah offers Asian Fusion cuisine and is set overlooking the property's beautiful gardens.
Designed by famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the unique Heritance Kandalama hotel is set into a cliff face among dense tropical forests, flanked by the Dambulla rock temple and Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The hotel’s buildings were planned to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment and are covered with hanging vines and flowering plants. Each of the 152 rooms faces either Kandalama Lake or the forest – even the bathrooms were planned to showcase the view – and is decorated in an elegantly simple contemporary style. The Kandalama is the first Green Globe 21-certified hotel in Asia, and the first hotel in the world to be awarded the prestigious LEED Green Building certification. There are three restaurants to choose from, including the Kanchana Café, which has won multiple awards. Among The Kandalama’s amenities are a pool, business center and fitness center, while the world-renowned Six Senses Spa has a location here that offers Asian, Swedish, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic massage.
Passekudah Bay is home to some of the longest stretches of soft, golden sand that Sri Lanka has to offer, and it is best enjoyed from the Uga Bay Passekudah. This elegant resort is situated close enough to the pristine beach line that guests can hear the waves rolling from the comfort of their luxurious accommodations. Housing a gourmet restaurant and world-class spa, Uga Bay guarantees a lap of luxury experience devoid of worry. A tireless staff works to ensure vacations go smoothly, whether that means jet skiing under the tropical sun or lazing around the resort's stunning infinity pool.
Waking up to the natural melody of tweeting birds and breathtaking views, Kelburne Mountain View Cottages are located at approximate 3000 feet at the top of the historic Haputale Pass. Looking over infinite valleys running in every direction, all five Sri Lankan provinces can be seen from the comfort of your own balcony, including Eastern, Southern, Western, Sabaragamuwa and Uva province. On a clear day, it’s possible to see the waves breaking along the Southern beaches, amidst the impeccable gardens and nearby Hindu temples that are located within the 50-acre tea estate. Liven up your taste buds with traditional Sri Lankan meals served in the comfort of your own cottage. If you’re feeling energetic, enjoy a game of badminton, basketball or the local favorite cricket with some other guests or local people. Alternatively, take a relaxing stroll around the estate where you are likely to encounter one of many chipmunks scurrying around. The three cottages at Kelburne - Aerie, Rose and Wallflower, will take you back to British colonial times, as you sip on tea, observe roving barefoot tea-pluckers dressed in flamboyant colored saris, along the steep tea estate against a backdrop of rolling hills, verdant valleys, swirling clouds and mist.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
With seaside, ancient stupas, rustic rural hamlets, and abundant wildlife, Sri Lanka’s east coast is a holistic island experience.
Travelogues speaks with Malik Fernando of Resplendent Ceylon, proprietor of some of the finest accommodations on Sri Lanka, including Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Ceylon Tea Trails, and Cape Weligama.
The tiny island of Sri Lanka has endured a lot, both in the past and in recent memory. Torn apart by civil war and a devastating tsunami, this strong and determined little country has fought its way through the hard times and come out on the other side not only with its beauty and culture intact, but also with its eyes on bigger rewards.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.