Sri Lanka Travel Guide 2019 πŸ‡±πŸ‡° | 3 WEEK TUK TUK ADVENTURE

Sri Lanka Travel Guide 2019 πŸ‡±πŸ‡° |  3 WEEK TUK TUK ADVENTURE


Where should I go? How do I get around? What’s the food like? Do I eat it with my hands? To tip… or not to tip? These are probably the questions
that are going through your head in trying to plan
a trip to Sri Lanka. I got you. (music) Hi and welcome
to my channel. My name is Megan
and, in today’s video, I’m going to be sharing a three-week trip
around Sri Lanka, in March of 2019. Now, Sri Lanka has something
for every kind of traveler, from the mountains
to the beaches, to crazy wildlife,
to some of the best food in Asia. You’re probably wondering
how you can enjoy it all and where you should be
spending your time. Let me know in the comments
what you’re most excited for and, without further ado,
let’s get into planning. We spent three weeks traveling
a pretty typical tourist route that took us
along the southern coast before heading up north
into the mountains with some of the famous hiking spots,
like Ella Rock, Adam’s Peak and, of course,
Lion Rock in Dambulla. I’ll take you through, in detail,
all the highlights and include some of the lesser-known
tourist attractions that you have to put
on your itinerary. I was asked to show both my ETA, as well as proof
of departure from Sri Lanka, before I was allowed
to board my plane to the country. Rick and I both applied
for our online ETA a few days prior
to traveling to Sri Lanka. The process took five minutes. It gives us 30 days on arrival
and costs USD 35. We received a confirmation
within 24 hours. The government is offering
six months visa-free on arrival for many passport holders
around the world. So, it wasn’t an option for us
back in March, but it may be an option for you. Your trip is probably going to start
and end in the Negombo, the main airport, even though your ticket
probably says “Colombo.” It’s actually about 45 minutes
outside of the city. We took an Uber
and it cost us only $10. You’re going to want
to pick up a local SIM card and a data plan from the airport. I recommend using one
of the two largest providers, which would be Mobitel
and Dialog, for the best coverage. We went with Mobitel
and, for $10, I had 4G coverage around the entire country
for the three weeks, with the exception
of when we were in transit – essentially in the middle of nowhere. It was fast, it was reliable…
It was also great for hotspotting, considering that even though
many of the guest houses and hotels are going to offer Wi-Fi…
It’s not very good. Don’t dismiss Colombo
too quickly. It’s worth spending a few days
at the beginning or end of your trip to walk the clean beachfront,
explore the city, and enjoy some epic seafood
in the trendy Fort neighborhood. From Colombo, we made
our way south to Hikkaduwa, which took about two hours by tuk-tuk. (music) If you watched my last video, you’ll know that I traveled
with my friend Rick, and we decided to rent a tuk-tuk
and drive ourselves. This is a thing in Sri Lanka. So, this is how
our whole trip came together, was finding out that we could
actually book a tuk-tuk… Hi, I’m Rick.
I was the driver behind the Sri Lanka adventure. TukTuk Rental does provide training
when you pick up a tuk-tuk. It’s about two hours. We have an instructor one-on-one
and you go around, and you learn how to use
all the functions of the tuk-tuk, how to change the oil,
how to check that everything’s working… I would suggest, if you’re looking
at seriously doing this, you at least know how
to drive a manual car – drive stick. That does help. Rick had an international
driver’s license, was used to driving standard, and grew up driving on the wrong
– the left – side of the road. There are many other options
if you’re not comfortable with renting your own vehicle. There’s an extensive train
and bus system. As I mentioned before,
Uber is very cheap. There’s also metered taxis available. While there is a bus schedule, the buses generally just leave
when they’re full, and you buy your ticket
once you get on. As for the trains, you can get
your tickets on the same day, and if they tell you
they’re sold out, that usually just means
the seats are sold out and you can still get a second
or third-class ticket. Just know that you will be standing. If you are relying on local buses, keep in mind that there are
two different types. The first is the CBT,
which is government owned, and the second are privatized. Okay… If you have the option,
take the red bus, which is CBT, as the other buses – which are
generally going to be white or blue, or any other color but red –
their driving was absolutely insane. So you might get there faster
but, by going with the CBT red, government bus, I feel like your life
has a better chance at not ending. That’s my biggest tip, is to always be
constantly on the alert for the busses and get out of the way
if you see them coming. They’re big, you’re small, they’ll win. (music) Hikkaduwa is a small,
touristy, beach town, but it’s definitely worth a stop
because right off the beach you can swim with wild turtles. Stay near Turtle Beach and aim
for early morning to avoid the crowds. Also – pro tip – grab some kelp,
’cause the turtles will come right up and eat it from your hand. (music) Just outside Hikkaduwa, you’ll want to stop
at the Tsunami Photo Museum and the Galle Fort. It’s free to enter, it’s small, and it basically talks
about the devastation from the 2004 tsunami
that hit Sri Lanka. But the whole story is told
through photos and quotes from the people that were affected.
Definitely worth a stop. I’ll put the link
for the information to that below. We made a pit stop in Galle to visit one of Sri Lanka’s
many Unesco Heritage Sites, the Galle Fort. It’s an 18th century Dutch walled town
that is totally worth a visit. Aim to go earlier
in the morning; it was so hot! Yes, that little blue speck down there.
This is actual footage of me going into the ocean
fully clothed. It’s hot. We made our way to Weligama,
where we spent three nights. The whole town has
this laid-back, yoga vibe, but the main attraction
was the surfing. $15 got Rick and I each 90 minutes
with an instructor on the waves. It was the best surfing
either of us had ever done, because the waves are so gentle
and the break is so long. In Weligama, you can get both
international and Sri Lankan cuisine at inexpensive prices. Skip the international,
Sri Lankan cuisine is where it’s at. There isn’t much
of a street-food scene apart from Kothu,
and then this chickpea mixture that has vegetables
and coconut shreddings in it. It’s very good. Expect to be eating
in restaurants most of the time and budget about $1 for breakfast
and $3 to $5 for lunch and dinner. So, you will be getting
your food fresh and made to order. The service can sometimes be
a little bit slow, and many restaurants close early,
even for dinner service, which usually ends
between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. The food in Sri Lanka was really good.
I definitely recommend you try Kothu, flatbread, with like different spices
and chicken and meat and that kind of thing.
It’s a really popular dish. You can get it anywhere. I recommend you try
the rice and curry seeds. You see those on every menu and, honestly, it’s normally one
of the cheapest things on the menu, but it’s normally amazing. You normally have six
or eight different dishes with rice up…
with a huge amount of rice and different side things and… Yeah, really good,
really fulling, really cheap. Often, 10% is going to be added
to the bottom of your restaurant bill, but if you’re going somewhere smaller
they won’t automatically add the charge. However, it’s still expected
that you will be tipping. It is also expected that you will be
tipping your private drivers, hotel staff and tour operators. Expect to be paying cash
for your food, your transport, even your accommodations,
most of the time. Take any opportunity you have
to break those big bills, as small change is hard to come by. Sri Lanka has a closed currency, which means that you won’t be
able to get any Sri Lankan Rupees until you arrive in the country. There are ATMs as well
as currency converters and banks located all over the country,
so don’t stress it too much. The exchange rates at the airport
were very good, so I would recommend changing
lots of money over there using US notes. You can change other currencies as well,
but the best rate is given for US dollars. As we were leaving Weligama,
we made a stop at a snake farm, which I’m pretty sure
was Rick’s favorite thing from the entire experience. You must, must,
must go to the snake farm. The person who runs it
is more of a snake doctor. If someone’s bitten by a snake,
he has the antivenom to save those people. So sir what among
the communities local doctor, …And he tells us just
to stand there. This is in the middle of…
almost his backyard, really. We’re like, “okay,
where’s the show?” Next one that he brings out
this white Cobra, extremely dangerous snake,
and puts it a few meters from us. So, the whole show…
lasts for about an hour, He’s just bringing
different snakes out. If he went that way,
it was to get a venomous snake, if he went that way, he went
inside of his house to pick up a non-venomous snake. Honestly, even if you don’t
particularly like snakes, it just makes great
photo opportunities. There’s about maybe
a 25 minute drive north of Weligama,
in the South. After the snake farm,
we made a pit stop in Dikwella to check out the co-working space
Verse Collective. While the layout was cool, the only problem was that there was
pretty much no one there. I feel like it’d be a very lonely
work experience. (music) An absolute must-do
in Sri Lanka is safari. We headed north
to Yala National Park. For $60, including your national
pike entrance fee, you can expect two
to three hours of safari where you’ll spot deer
and peacock and birds, probably some crocodile,
and most likely, a few elephants. …And then, out walks the leopard. We chose to do a safari
in Yala National Park because it has the highest density
of leopards of anywhere in the world. Okay, it was at that level. I have never seen
a leopard and they’re…. In Yala National Park you have
a decent chance of seeing them. However, it’s still very rare,
so don’t get your expectations too high, but definitely be on the lookout. From Yala National Park,
we continued our way up north to Arugam Bay. Drive the B35 Road.Drive the B35 Road.That was from Yala National Park,
sort of north up to Arugam Bay, was through the National Park
and there is very safari life. You can see lost wildlife, And, all of a sudden,
we casually came across an elephant just standing
in the middle of the road, and you kind of have
to drive past them, which in itself made
some great videos. A really cool experience;
there’s no traffic on that road. If you’re looking for a more
sort of relaxed kind of area, Arugam Bay was really great. It was on the eastern coast
of Sri Lanka. Something like a much more
turned down area compared to their west coast
where we have Hikkaduwa, lots of …, tourists,
that kind of thing. Accommodation was
really well priced and the beach was still really great,
it wasn’t surfing kind of conditions but just a really cool place
just to relax and spend a few days after driving their southern coast. There isn’t much
of a nightlife scene in sri lanka. While there is beer
locally produced in the country, many restaurants actually don’t
even serve any alcohol. You can usually find it
at convenience stores. However, Arugam Bay was
exceptionally challenging, There was one place
in the whole town, maybe because it was
low season, that sold alcohol.
It looked like this… We packed up the tuk-tuk
and headed west to the laid-back
mountain town Ella. Ella is the perfect base
to do two of the major hikes, which would be Ella Rock
and Little Adam’s Peak. If you’re not much of a hiker,
I recommend you do Little Adam’s Peak as it’s a lot less strenuous and, well, Rick and I both think
the view was better. The route to Ella Rock can be
a little bit confusing and we actually had some locals
trying to throw us off track by giving us wrong directions. If you look it up,
this is a common scam because they want
to confuse the tourists and then, in return, the tourists
will buy their tour guide services. This was the only time
that Rick and I felt even the slightest bit scammed. Well, look out for this
if you’re hiking Ella Rock. But the Sri Lankan people
are absolutely beautiful. So, if you ever have
any questions or need directions, don’t hesitate to ask. It’ll lead to some great conversations
and most of them speak English, which is very helpful too. So, we’re spoiled
in Sri Lanka, as tourists. Before leaving Ella, make sure you also take a stop
at the Nine Arches Bridge. You can find train times online,
as the bridge is still in use, and it’s pretty cool
to see the train go by. We headed west
to hike the real Adam’s Peak, also known as Sri Pada. Yep, you heard that right. Little Adam’s Peak
and Adam’s Peak are two completely different climbs
located in two completely different towns. Climbing Adam’s Peak is a pilgrimage and it’s popular for both
Sri Lankans and tourists. The typical climb is started
in the middle of the night so that you reach
the peak for sunrise. You must climb overnight,
you must climb overnight. You must get up at 2 a.m.
and hike through the night to see the sunrise at Adam’s Peak. And the climb sure it’s amazing but, what I pretty much saw
nowhere online was that you are absolutely fine
to hike in daytime as well. We did not hike it at 2 a.m. because, well,
Rick and I are lazy bums. If you’re not going
to hike overnight – and that is definitely an option,
and it is still really good – definitely make sure
that you leave early in the morning, 9:00 a.m. at the latest. And the reason for that
is because, as the day goes on, cloud kind of rolls in
and then it will obscure your views. After you climb those 5,500 steps, you need to have your shoulders
and your knees covered if you want to actually get
to the viewpoint. I got to the top,
I was told I couldn’t enter, and I was sure that was that. They brought me a sheet
to cover my shoulders and my knees with. I was the only one in a sheet. (music) (music)
(bell tolls) Oh, it’s pretty hot and humid
around most of the country. Sri Lankans dress
relatively conservatively, while I would personally be
more comfortable in my Sunday best walking around town
than I would in athletic gear. Sri Lankans take pride
in their appearance and they dress well. So, yes ladies, it’s fine
to be in a bikini if you’re on the beach. However, make sure that you’re
at least carrying a wrap with you, so you can cover
your shoulders and your knees as you do get up onto the roads or, of course,
in any sacred areas or temples. Oh, another tip for you, ladies, is that tampons can be
a little bit more challenging to find outside of pharmacies,
so plan ahead. And if you are traveling as a couple,
keep PDA to a minimum. Really. For ₹4,000, we stayed
at the White Castle, and it was so nice to come back to
after hiking Adam’s Peak, and have hot water
and electricity available to us. You can expect to pay
between ₹3,000 and ₹5,000 for a standard double,
budget room with AC, regardless of where you are
in the country. If you’re a solo traveler
and you’re looking for a hostel bed, there aren’t as many options available
as most of Southeast Asia, but you can still find a bed
for between $8 and $12. So if you go as a couple, and you’re able
to share the costs on a budget room, you are definitely getting
much better value. We never had any trouble
finding accommodation, and would often research
with Booking.com or Agoda for the next night. The problem is that when we made
our reservations online, we would go to pay at their hotel,
and we had about 30% added on to our fee. So, we got around this
by instead using Airbnb or just showing up without a reservation
and dealing with the hotel and paying them directly. Notice that our route
takes us right past where that train route is
from Kandy to Ella. That is considered to be
the most famous, beautiful train route in the world. We ended up driving
part of this route by tuk-tuk, as opposed to taking the train. However, this is a highlight
for most tourists that visit the country, and I highly recommend
that you look into it and consider if it’s something
that you want to do for yourself. Tickets are about $25
and you will only book it in advance as it fills up fast. We continued up north
for our last stop at Sri Lanka’s most famous
tourist attraction, Sigiriya. I went there with sort of quite
low expectations and I was actually quite surprised; it was a really cool experience. There’s these big signs,
as you’re walking up, that says “mind the bees.” The sky is just filled
with thousands of wasps. So, when you see signs saying
“be careful swarming wasps in the area,” I would recommend
you do pay attention. But, honestly, it was really safe,
it was really … You get an amazing view out
over the landscape, as well as seeing … are like very much
archaeological kind of sites. on top of this massive rock
and you don’t know it. You can climb both Lion Rock
and Pidurangala Rock in one day. There really isn’t much to do in the town
apart from these two main attractions. Rick was a total trooper
exploring Sigiriya because it happened to be
the one morning where he was not feeling so good. We ate out for all of our meals, and I’m talking raw food,
cooked food, little stands, fancy restaurants, everything. We did not follow the rules
of “peel it, boil it, cook it or leave it.” That’s supposed to rhyme. Anyway, throughout all of that
we did not get sick. I’m not saying
that you will not get sick. Definitely, don’t drink the tap water. You can get bottled water
at the convenience stores that are located around the country,
it’s called Food City, as well as just little local shops
that you’ll come across. And then, otherwise, make sure
that you follow the advice of your travel clinic
and that your vaccines are up to date. Listen to them, not me. Neither Rick or I ever felt
that we were in any danger or had anything stolen
from other tourist or from locals. I’d say road safety…
When you’re walking, that some of the traffic is crazy, and even though the roads
are well-developed it’s still pretty dangerous
and there are quite a few accidents. It does increase your risk dramatically
if you drive at night. It’s not that safe because your headlights
aren’t that strong. You find it hard to see things
like bumps in the road that you would otherwise avoid,
and, honestly, it’s just not fun. Electrical sockets look like this… or like this… And yes, it is completely acceptable
to be eating with your hands. What’s not acceptable is taking
a photo with your back to Buddha. Buddha selfies are considered
incredibly disrespectful. Don’t do it. Before we knew it,
we were back in Negombo, the three weeks had gone by,
and we were dropping off the tuk-tuk, and getting ready for the airport. You want to eat
before you get to the airport as they are famous
for the notorious $20 Burger King. Do not buy food in the Colombo Airport. USD 20 for a Burger King burger. There’s an … that’s more expensive
than Switzerland’s, okay? that is the most expensive burger
I’ve ever seen… The best part of this trip,
and what made it so amazing, was the people. It’s those unplanned conversations
and spontaneous moments and, well, the food – the food that people
cook for you, too – that make this country
and the travel experience in Sri Lanka so unlike anywhere else in Asia. So, do we regret that we may have missed
a few of the main attractions? No. If anything,
it’s just an excuse to go back. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Okay, … you know what else
you can put in the video? Look at this, look at this!
What’s this? It’s a kitty! (laughs) Hello! So, let me know in the comments below
if you have any questions, or feel free to share
your own experiences in Sri Lanka. I’d love to hear about it. Don’t forget to give this video
a thumbs up and subscribe; It really supports my channel and will help me to keep making
these videos for you. Also, I just moved into a new apartment
in Da Nang, Vietnam, where I’ll be for the next few months. So, stay tuned for more videos
on what it’s like being a Canadian living in Vietnam. Hope to catch you next time. Happy travels and thank you again
so much for watching. Bye. (music)

51 thoughts on “Sri Lanka Travel Guide 2019 πŸ‡±πŸ‡° | 3 WEEK TUK TUK ADVENTURE

  1. Wow. You all saw a lot of Sri Lanka on this trip. Wonderful trip report. Such a very nice country and nice people.

  2. We spent 3 weeks uncovering the very best of Sri Lanka: The people. Thank you for welcoming us to your home with smiles, warmth, and kindness. The recent news is heartbreaking, sending prayers and love to the victims and their families.

  3. Haha love the way you present.. always had a smile while talking and I have a presentation on Monday in my Uni and hoping to copy your style πŸ˜‰

    btw in Adam's Peak you rang the bell thrice but you should've rung it only one time since it was your first time visiting Adam's Peak.

  4. Thanks for Visiting Sri Lanka πŸ‡±πŸ‡°
    Happy traveling y'all 😊
    Love from SL ❀

    I have some tips as a local guy.

    If you need rides, use these apps PickMe, Uber. (easy and cheap)

    If tuk tuk drivers force you to ride, don't ride. (cause some of them are saying expensive prices)

    Ask the prices before you buying something or ordering if you feel expensive try another store.

    If you need advices, ask from villagers. (if they don't know english, use Google translation)

    Always use google maps and street view for before you lost.

    If you can buy rented tuk tuks it's way cheaper than tuk tuk with driver.

    If you need any help dm me from fb. (BTW i'm not a guider πŸ˜… but i can help)

    www.fb.com/officialravindulakshan

  5. amazing videos. please feel free to share with the awesome travel community.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1830567417247809/

  6. Hey it's actually CTB (Central Transport Board) not CBT. Anyways thumbs up for the video.. 😊

  7. 4:58 That is CTB (Central Transport Board)
    .

    12:55 No local would dare to do this. Wild elephants are cool to look at. But definitely it is not safe to go closer. Every year hundreds of locals get killed by elephants. I mean think about the size of them.

    20:31 Bottled water is LKR50 per liter!

  8. Great video! Very informative. Thank u for sharing your experiences and useful tips. Sri Lanka looks and sounds amazing!

  9. Hey. We did the Yala Park tour and it was THE worst experience. Jeeps, jeeps and more jeeps!The drivers often kept the jeep running, even when we asked to shut it off. So much for listening to nature! We were so frustrated, we asked to return to the park gate early. And don't forget the red soil? You return completely covered in red sand πŸ™‚ Sorry , We wouldn't recommend it. ( we were ripped off on price too which contributed to a bad experience)

  10. Nice little video guys
    Thanks
    Why don't you make little bit longer ones
    Come back to Sri Lanka again

  11. Thank you very much for visiting my country. I hope both of you would visit again. Great video too. Very well made. Rick and you have done a fine job. Megan, I like your style of speech and presentation. Wish both of you more great adventures around the world. Take care.

  12. Do you trust leaving your gear and stuff in the apartments you guys renting, did you guys ever feel like someone enter your apartment and or did you ever got rob by locals and or staff while you were eating out, which citys or place in Asia feel safer to sort of trust locals and staff people and which ones are less secure? Ty so much, almost watch all your videos, you are very interesting and impressive!

  13. People who don't know actually Adams peak .. Why is name Adam. It's not for fun sake .. No it's not . THAT IS Where the first HUMAN BEING touch foot on . Phrophet ADAM . For god sake . It's a most historical place in planet . So get ur history in check . And please respect that place . For foreigner who did not know and u did climb there .. Ha ha . That's where Adam fall after eating forbidden fruit and fcuk eve for 100 days .

  14. Little Adams is his Son .. I think the good one .. There twin .. One is satans Son .. One is his .. The one who flys is not his is satans . The ones stays on the ground is his Son .. So the twin fly .. Goes where's .. That's a forbidden secret no one knows . Checked that in Engels testomon old pure true bible

  15. Hi, can i ask where you rent the tuktuk and if you have any defekts or repairs? I hope you understand my english is not that good

  16. https://youtu.be/wgQeHE4dGdw?t=295
    Thank you all for exploring the tourism in sri lanka please come again you all are very nice and welcome any time. please let me correct you something about the bus it's not CBT it is CTB (Ceylon Transport Board) and its a reliable transport system.

  17. Anyone please confirm; google maps help to drive in Srilanka? All the roads? Live traffic jamb ?
    I’m gonna do the same as you guys in January. But not familiar with all the route maps.

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