Why:  Sri Lanka is off people’s radar.  It has highland towns, beautiful beaches, and has about a billion less people than India.  This island nation is very cheap and distances are manageable.

Flights: Air Asia flies into Colombo, which is great news for any budget traveler.  Air Asia is Southeast Asia’s go to budget airlines.  There are also tons of flights from major Indian cities down to Sri Lanka.

A classic Sri Lankan train ride

Day 1: Fly into Colombo and stay in Hostel First Colombo so that you can head out early the next morning for Kandy.

Day 2: The local bus will take a few hours to get to Kandy.  Make sure you go to Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage on the way.  This will be on of the highlights of your time.  Visit the elephants and make sure to watch them bathe in the river across the street.  Ask the guys at the gate to watch your bag if you need to.  When you get to Kandy   Stay at Kandy City Monkey Hostel.

Buddha in Kandy

Day 3: In Kandy check out the beautiful lake, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, local buddha statues, and the local tea museums.  Enjoy this peaceful town and trying some of the local cuisine.

Day 4: Head over to Nuwara Eliya by train.  A Sri Lankan train ride is a must.  Tickets are ridiculously cheap for general seating as the train chugs its way through bright green tea plantations in the countryside.  Walk around the village of Nuwara Eliya and try some local food before staying in Nuwara Eliya Hostel.

Riding an elephant next to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Day 5: Head over to Ella and stay at at Tomorrow Land Hostel.  Ella is home to Ella Rock and a couple of local waterfalls, like Ravana Falls.  Go check out the picture-worthy Nine Arch Bridge and  Get ready to hike Little Adam’s Peak the following morning.

Day 6: Hike up Little Adam’s Peak in the morning before getting the train to get back to Colombo.  Spend the evening checking out some of Colombo’s temples and central area.

Day 7:  Take a bus up to Negombo and fly out to India or wherever Air Asia can take you next!