Articles Comments

Riding the buses » Travel Sri Lanka

Travel Sri Lanka

Travel Sri Lanka (Riding the buses)

Travel Sri Lanka (Riding the buses)

Travel Sri Lanka map

Sri Lanka

Planning your trip

Two ways to travel around Sri Lanka
May I introduce: My drivers in Sri Lanka
Being in Sri Lanka during the tsunami

Places to go

1. Cultural Triangle (Sigirlya/Dambulla): Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka from India in the 3rd century BC and some of the most advanced societies of the pre-modern world developed. The two ancient capitals, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Other highlights are Mihintale, Sigiriya, Dambulla Rock Temple, and the landscape itself.

On Riding the buses
Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle
Night watchers in the Sri Lankan jungle

2. Kandy: The gateway to the Central Highlands was once a remote city that resisted hundreds of years of colonialism until the British took over the whole island in 1815. Kandy is imbued with old world charm and is another UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also home to the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. Nearby attractions are the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, and trekking in the Knuckles Mountain Range.

On Riding the buses
Sri Lanka’s spectacular hill country
Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

3. The Hill Country (Nuwara Eliya/Ella): The heart of Sri Lanka is said to be the hill country and it is astonishingly beautiful, particularly the ‘high country’ where the terrain rises to over 2400 meters (8000 feet) and the hills are dotted with Ceylon Tea bushes. Nuwara Eliya is called “Little England” because it was a favourite British hill station.  Close by is Horton Plains National Park where a sheer precipice called World’s End drops 1050 meters. Ella is also a popular place for visitors because its the base for trekking expeditions to Ella’s Rock and beyond.

On Riding the buses
Sri Lanka’s spectacular hill country

4. Tissamaharama: Tissa is where most travellers stay when they go on a safari to Yala and Bundala National Parks. Yala is famous for its elephant population and where everyone hopes to spot a leopard. Bundala is known for its birds.

On Riding the buses
A safari in Yala and Bundala National Parks, Sri Lanka

5. Arugam Bay: Said to be the best surfing spot in the country.

6. Southern coast (Tangalla): The stretch of beaches along the southern coast is almost endless and the Indian Ocean is warm and peacock blue in colour. You can visit Kataragama, one of the most important religious sites in Sri Lanka, or watch stilt fishermen perched on a pole anchored in the ocean floor.

On Riding the buses
Galle and the south coast of Sri Lanka

7. Galle: The Portuguese, Dutch and British all had their day in Galle and what was originally the Dutch quarter—known as the Fort—is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today there is a strong Muslim influence.

On Riding the buses
Galle and the south coast of Sri Lanka

8. Negombo: Many travellers spend at least one night here because it’s only 10kms from the international airport. It’s a fishing town and low-key resort and a good place to hire a tuk-tuk and driver to take you around to see local life—particularly the fishermen as they bring their catch to the market.

On Riding the buses
Galle and the south coast of Sri Lanka

Trip ideas


  • Adam’s Peak, which has been a trail for pilgrims for over 1000 years; you walk up 5200 steps and reach the top as the sun rises
  • Horton Plains National Park where you hike 4km to World’s End, a stunning escarpment that plunges 880m
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve near Deniyaya, which is the last major undisturbed area of rainforest in Sri Lanka
  • Arugam Bay, the “best surf spot in Sri Lanka”
  • Knuckles Mountain Range, the mist-laden mountain


  • Anuradhapura, particularly Ruvanwalisaya dagoba, Abhayagiri stupa, Jetavanarama stupa, Sri Maha Bodhi
, Samadhi Buddha
, Kuttam Pokuna
  • Polonnaruwa, particularly Temple of Siva, Vatadage, Rankoth Viharaya, Lankathilaka Image House, Gal Viharaya
  • Sigiriya, an impenetrable fortress built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century AD
  • Mihintale
, where the king received his first Buddhist teaching and is considered as the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
  • Dambulla Rock Temple, with 5 temples, cut out of an enormous granite ridge and crammed with remarkable Buddhist statutes and murals
  • Kataragama, a religious site revered by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims
  • Old town of Galle and its fortifications

Great Gardens


© Riding the buses 2014