Why I Absolutely Have to Return to Sri Lanka

Do you ever feel like you’ve missed out on something after you have travelled to a place? I do because I always have so many things on my list that I want to do or see. So it’s inevitable that some things just don’t or can’t happen.

Even when I was planning my Sri Lanka trip, the original itinerary was too ambitious and I knew that there would be things that I wouldn’t get to do.

As I visited different parts of the country and the itinerary still continued to evolve, there were things that had to get left out or missed for one reason or another.

where am i sri lanka

If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka, you can use this list together with my actual itinerary to see what is realistically doable and what isn’t.

But I’m also writing this list for myself so that when I do eventually get to visit Sri Lanka again I already have my itinerary set out! Clever, eh?

Things I didn’t get to do in Sri Lanka

So here are the things I didn’t get to do in Sri Lanka and therefore the reasons that I HAVE to return. In no particular order:

Train from Galle to Colombo

While I did go on some amazing train journeys in Sri Lanka in the Hill Country, one famous journey is the one from Galle to Colombo (or vice versa). All the guidebooks and blogs I read about Sri Lanka recommended this train journey.


Truly amazing train journeys in Sri Lanka

And guess the reason I didn’t do it: because I was too lazy! I know, right.

You see, our last stop was at Unawatuna. Our flight out of Colombo was at 3am. The idea was to check out of our accommodation in Unawatuna at around midday and take the bus to Galle. Then we would make the spectacular train journey up the coast to Colombo Fort Station before taking a taxi to the airport.

So why didn’t we do that then?

Like I said: laziness! We had been travelling for three weeks. We had got into relax mode in Unawatuna. And one Galle experience in the crazy heat was as many as we wanted. Plus, we also thought that if we took the train in the evening and it got dark we would miss all the spectacular landscape anyway…

So we took a taxi from Unawatuna right to the airport. Our one major splurge.

unawatuna beach is nice

Unawatuna Beach


This is more an “if I were to do it differently” thing than something that I really missed out on because I wasn’t that bothered about seeing Negombo anyway.

But if I were to do it differently I would certainly look at the possibility of missing out Colombo and staying at Negombo instead if I needed a night or two at the beginning or end of the trip to be close to the airport.

Find out here why I was not impressed with Colombo.

Ella Rock

I was looking forward to the hike to Ella Rock. I had heard that the walk was challenging and that the views were rewarding. Unfortunately we only got one full day in Ella and so we decided to do more little things instead of just one big thing.

You can read about my day in Ella here.

The reason we ended up with just one full day in Ella was because we had decided to stay an extra day in Haputale so that we could do this amazing walk. And also because on the day that we went from Haputale to Ella the train was about two and a half hours late and so while we were counting on nearly a full day in Ella we only got a couple of hours of daylight.

Little Adam's Peak and Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

Ella Rock: so close yet so far

Arugam Bay

Actually there were loads of places on the east coast that I wanted to visit but we didn’t have time and so bit by bit places got axed.

I did still have Arugam Bay on my final plan but in the end we decided it would be too tight and we realised that we would just spend days getting on and off buses without really seeing anything.

What we did instead was to stay that extra day in Haputale, then after Ella we went straight down to Tangalle and had a little more beach time there. It was so much easier to get from Ella to Tangalle than it would have been to go via Arugam Bay.

How to get from Ella to Tangalle by Bus

Who can complain about a little more time in tangalle?

Even though we missed out on Arugam Bay we absolutely made the right decision to axe it. I think for my next visit to Sri Lanka I would allow an entire week to work my way up or down the east coast and visit the places that I really fancied originally. Better get on it quick while it’s still practically untouched. What do you think?


How amazing would it be to see a leopard in the wild? Or any big cat for that matter? Well at Udawalawe National Park and at Yala National Park there is a real possibility of spotting them. Unfortunately at these national parks (as in most in Sri Lanka) you have to take a jeep tour and can’t go off exploring on your own. The prices for these tours are seriously high and it just wasn’t in our budget this time.

We were able to include one national park jeep safari in the Sri Lanka trip. We decided to try to see the wild elephants at Hurulu Eco Park when we were staying at Habarana.

Read here how the wild elephant spotting at Hurulu Eco Park went.

Wild Elephants at Hurulu Eco Park, Sri Lanka

Wild elephants at Hurulu Eco Park, Sri Lanka

Horton Plains

I tried my best to keep Horton Plains in the itinerary because it is one national park in Sri Lanka where you can walk around yourself instead of having to go on an organised tour. And I have heard that the views from the World’s End viewpoint are magnificent.

Alas, time and cost were not on my side and I had to choose between Horton Plains and Adam’s Peak. For me that was a no-brainer.

Have you been to Adam’s Peak? Read about my experience here. In fact Adam’s Peak was one of the highlights of Sri Lanka for me so I guess I made the right choice. I’d still like to visit Horton Plains one day though. It would be nice to combine that with Nuwara Eliya and one or two other places we couldn’t visit in the Hill Country.

Adam's Peak

Adam’s Peak – the high(literally)light of Sri Lanka

Next Sri Lanka Itinerary

Wow, I think I’d better stop there or I’ll go on forever! If I put all these places in the right order I’ve got myself a complete Sri Lanka itinerary. Better get my flight booked! How about you? Want to step into my shoes and join me? Have you got a list of places you want to visit in Sri Lanka?

After this huge list I bet you’re thinking that I must have done nothing in Sri Lanka aren’t you? Wrong! Click here to see all my Sri Lanka experiences in chronological order.

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on InMyShoesTravel.com are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

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About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. Thanks for all your blogs Lisa, they’ve been invaluable in planning for my own trip, which is now only three weeks away. This follow-up is a great add as I know there’s going to be so much left undone with my own itinerary but you can only do so much and it’s already full-on, probably too much really. Thanks again, Geordie

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks so Much Geordie! That’s such a great thing to read. I’m very happy to know that my blog has helped. Have a brilliant time in Sri Lanka – I’m sure you will. And don’t worry too much about making it up as you go along a bit; in Sri Lanka it’s really easy to do, and the people are so wonderful.
      Happy travels,
      Lisa xx

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