We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

Taiwan
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Topic
Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

Hi all,

We plan to visit the ancient cities by hiring a van with a driver. Here is our itinerary:

Day 1 : arrive Anuradhapura at night.

Day 2 : Visit Anuradhapura, Mihitale,and Aukana.Then head for Polonnaruwa town at night and stay there.

Day 3 : Visit Polonaruwa and Ritigala. Then head for Sigiriya town at night and stay there.

Day 4 : Sigiriya (in the morning) / We have other plan in the 4th-day afternoon.

Please advice on the itinerary of day2 and day3.

It seems too rush. Is it feasible?

Will it be better to visit Aukana on the 3rd day?

Or if we really have to skip one of the them, which one do you suggest?

Thank you for your reply.

Mentioned in this post
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
North Central Province, Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
1,668 Reviews
Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya
Sigiriya
Central Province, Sri Lanka
St Austell
Level Contributor
3,587 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

Hi

On your first night, I assume you are driving straight up from the airport and it is going to be late. I would shorten the journey somewhat and stay at Habarana or similar instead. It's central for all that you want to see and there really is no need to move from one place to another whilst you are in the area. Something else you should consider .... arriving at places like Sigiriya by night is something to avoid. There is a danger of running into wild elephants after dark and many drivers will not want to arrive at this time.

Unless you have a specific interest in the ancient cities, most people with limited lime to spare only visit one of either Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa is more compact than Anuradhapura and with a car and driver, you could drive between the main places of interest, saving time there. But as most of what you want to see is in the area towards Anuradhapura, this might be the better choice for you. It is debatable whether by visiting both quickly during your stay, that you would see any more than by concentrating on just one of them. You could certainly combine Anuradhapura with a visit to Mihintale on the same day, as it is so close by. I love Mihintale and would not miss out on the chance to see it whilst I was in the area.

The Aukana statue is certainly lovely, but it involves quite a diversion to get to see it ... and depending on your level of interest, you might not feel it is worth it, as there is nothing else there once you have seen the statue, but it could quite tidily be paired with a visit to Ritigala on your second day and even leave you time to visit somewhere like Dambulla rock temple later in the day aswell.

Ritigala is as much for wildlife as for the ruins. I loved it because of this, and being able to wander amidst thick forest full of butterflies. There is precious little to show for the buildings that were there, although the pathways are interesting. If you have an interest in wildlife, then it should feature on your itinerary; otherwise, this might be one to leave out.

I have set out the above to help you to choose what you would most be interested in, giving your limited time.

Sue

Mentioned in this post
Habarana
Habarana
North Central Province, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya
Sigiriya
Central Province, Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
North Central Province, Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
1,668 Reviews
Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Mihintale
Mihintale
1,151 Reviews
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Dambulla
Dambulla
Central Province, Sri Lanka
Colchester
Level Contributor
899 posts
221 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

To be honest, yes your itinerary does seem very rushed. You can easily spend a whole day at Anaradhapura, even doing it on a bike. Maybe you should reduce your tour by one major site. Would not want to cut out Mahintale or Ritigala or Sigiriya myself as they are totally unique but to do both Anaradhapura and Polonnaruwa in such a short time seems rather excessive and you could just do one of these. They are the most similar.

Mentioned in this post
Sigiriya
Sigiriya
Central Province, Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
1,668 Reviews
Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
UK
Level Contributor
2,319 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

Hi Sean,

I'm gonna disagree with the other two and say that the itinery is Ok.

The only reservation I'd put on it is to play it by ear and maybe adjust a little as you go along if you find yourself running out of time.

I agree many people miss out one of the ancient cities, usually Anuradhapura, because it's so spread out as a site but if possible I'd visit them both because they are both completely diiferent and botyh originate in vastly different times in the history of Sri Lanka.

I'd also say that Mihintale and Ritigala are a must as is Sigirya.

Aukana, ?.. I think it's the most beautiful rock carved Budha in Sri Lanka and immensely impressive so it would be a shame to miss it but of all of them, that would be the one I'd have as a standby if I felt I was running late . Not because it's not worth a visit but because it is just one carved Budha.

I don't usually disagree with Sue , actually , I think this is probably a first, but I'm going to on this occasion , regarding not moving on each night.

It depends entirely on how you feel but I really enjoy waking up in a new place every morning ,looking out of the window and everything is different . .

Going directly to Anuradhapura , doesn't necessarily mean arriving late. It depends on your incoming flight time. Going on the coast road, through Putalam and on to Anuradhapura should only take about 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Thats all it took last time I went that way.

Plus, moving each day after the sites , means that you are on the spot in the morning instead of having to drive from Anuradhapura to Polonorua before starting the days exploring.

That either gives you more exploration time or a much more leisurely breakfast time.

Overall, if I knew I was going that way again, I'd probably miss one of the cities out til next trip. If I didn't know for sure that I was coming that way again, then I'd try to visit them both.

Go with the flow and prepare to be flexible.

Sue mentioned Dambulla, for the cave temples.... I assume, after the triangle days, you'll be heading south towards Kandy ?.. If thats the case, Dambulla cave temples are en-route and worth a visit.

Rod.

Mentioned in this post
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
North Central Province, Sri Lanka
Mihintale
Mihintale
1,151 Reviews
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Dambulla
Dambulla
Central Province, Sri Lanka
Kandy
Kandy
Kandy District, Sri Lanka
4. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 05 December 2009, 16:35
5. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 05 December 2009, 16:35
Belgium, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
249 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

hi

this is my suggestion .

Day 1 : arrive Anuradhapura at night.

Day 2 : Visit Anuradhapura, Mihitale,and Aukana.Then head for sigiriya for over night stay.

Day 3 : Visit Polonaruwa and Ritigala also possible to have elephant ride on this day evening . Then head for Sigiriya town at night

Day 4 : Sigiriya (in the morning) also today you get chance to see minneriya nationalpark park .

#I have suggested to stay over night sigiriya in DAY 2 rather driving up to polonnaruwa city ,it save lot of time to spend at sites.

Thanks,

ind

Mentioned in this post
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
North Central Province, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya
Sigiriya
Central Province, Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

Thanks Sue, DM, Rod, and IND. Each of you help us a lot.

There will be 7-8 persons in our group (quite large group for independent travelling!) so we need discussion to make the final decision. However, thank you all very much.

8. Re: Ancient cities itinerary...please help.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 05 June 2010, 06:23