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Cultural triangle itinerary

Melbourne, Australia
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21 reviews
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Cultural triangle itinerary

Hi everyone,

My husband and I will be travelling to Sri Lanka in early January. I am a bit confused about how to best spend our time in the cultural triangle. At the moment, our itinerary looks like:

Day 1: Arrive in Habarana at 11.16am on train from Colombo, tuk tuk to our hotel, find some lunch.

Option 1: Sigiyira Rock and Dambulla Cave Temples with a tuk tuk (to save on time as opposed to buses). I’m starting to think though it might be too much for one afternoon given we won’t be setting off until 12.30 – 1pm.

Option 2: visit one of the sites, possible Sigiyira as it’s a bit further away/will take a bit longer to visit. We could also take our time once we arrive to try to avoid the midday sun.

Day 2: Daytrip to Polonnaruwa.

Option 1: Bus to Polonnaruwa, explore by ourselves.

Option 2: Supposing we went to Sigiyira the day prior, we could visit Dambulla Cave Temples in the morning and then go onto Polonnaruwa. We would again be open to doing some of this trip/all of this trip on buses however, I’m not sure if this would be feasible or whether it would take too long?

Day 3: Bus to Kandy.

Option 1: Leave straight from Habarana to Kandy.

Option 2: Bus or tuk tuk to Dambulla in the morning. Then, the frustrating part as far as I can tell, is that we would have to backtrack to Habarana to collect out luggage. We’d be aiming then to leave Habarana around lunch to be in Kandy late afternoon/early evening.

We aren’t on a strict budget however based on previous experience in other countries, frequent longer distance trips on tuk tuks can add up so I would be happy to have a mix of buses/tuk tuks. We’re also open to staying elsewhere or splitting our stay over two towns however, the preference would be to have one base.

If anyone can give me any advice or point out an alternative that I am missing, it would be much appreciated.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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61,946 posts
221 reviews
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1. Re: Cultural triangle itinerary

Hi there,

Indeed Habarana or Dambulla are good centres for the Triangle if by public transport.

On D1 cave temples take 1.30 hours and Sigiriya 2.30 hours, hence technically both could fit in the afternoon but indeed after such an early rise it might be a bit too much. Frequent buses P'ruwa-Habarana-Dambulla and 2 x per hour service Dambulla-Sigiriya, if that helps in the maths.

Hence no need for tuktuks except between Habarana station (a bit isolated) and Habarana bus stand, or in some versions of the plan between Sigiriya and Habarana; by road this is 20 minutes or so but by bus more than 1 hour due to transfer in Dambulla.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

2. Re: Cultural triangle itinerary

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