I will be visiting Sri Lanka in a few weeks with my partner and we are putting together our itinerary for the two weeks. We are planning on staying 3 nights in the cultural triangle, with possibly Dambulla as a base, but may spend one night near Anuradhapura considering it is further away.
Our must sees were the usual, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and maybe a stop off at Minneriya National Park to see the gathering.
The thing is the more i read about the cultural triangle, the more sites i want to visit. Are there some smaller sites that anyone would definitely recommend visiting? Like Aluvihara, Mihintale, Panduwasnuwara, Yapahuwa or Ridi Vihara, would any of these be considered 'must see's'?
One place that does sound interesting to me is Ritigala Ruins, is this as good as it sounds (to me at least), and worth a visit?
Ive also noticed people seem to choose either Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura if their short on time, i know both are considered must see's, but is would seeing just Polonnarauwa be sufficient, considering Anuradhapura is a bit more out of the way?
Just one more question, i know entrance fees to the sites have gotten more expensive, but once you pay the entrance fee, is that it, there are no more hidden costs inside i.e. paying someone to take pictures of certain statues or sites? I dont want to arrive in an area and get tricked into paying someone for photos or someone telling me i need a guide when i dont, or in fact the other way round that i do genuinely need to pay to take a photo of something. Is the entrance fee all you have to pay at each site? Or will you have to be for certain things inside? And if so, how do you know they are genuine and not trying to scam you?
Thanks in advance for your help.