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Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Teralfene, Belgium
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Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Hello everyone,

I am travelling with my niece to Sri Lanka next february and most of our trip is organised by a travel agency. However, we have a 'day off' in Habanara and I saw in previous topics that it would be possible to combine Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya in a day trip. We are extremely interested in both sites and would hate to choose between them.

I was actually wondering how best to tackle this? We're 2 girls in our 20ies so we're on a budget.

a) I was thinking about hiring a tuktuk for the whole day to drive us to the sites, is that a good idea?

b) Maybe we could even ask to drive us around Polonnaruwa since I've heared that the highlights are rather wide-spread and we could save some time by using the tuktuk to move around?

c) What price should we expect for this all-in tuktuk drive?

d) In which order should be visit the sites if you know that we are staying in Habanara?

Many thanks!

17 replies to this topic
Colombo, Sri Lanka
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11. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

#9: see top question on public transport

"Back to another topic on trains: night trains. They exist (see seat61) and run on time. But generally we don't recommend for tourists, because of

The Badulla-Colombo line being simply too scenic not to travel by daytime. At night one misses the scenery which is an attraction in itself.

For the other lines (Jaffna, Trinco and Batti) it's quite a choice for the travellers. 2nd class seats are fine, they're the same as daytime, but really are not suitable for falling asleep for most people.

The '1st class' sleeping berths allow sleep, yes. As Seat61 says 'these cars are old, fairly basic and grubby' which is true, for those familiar with Indian trains despite the berths they are more on '3rd class SL' level than on 2nd or 1st class. One traveller even reported 'make sure to have socks on and put your trousers in your socks, to avoid the cockroaches creeping upwards along your legs'. But the major problem next to hygien is safety. Many of the berths locks are damaged or even fully broken, and enough stories of fellow passengers or even train staff trying to take advantage of this and attempting to rob (or even worse) of sleeping passengers exist. The train doors of the sleeping compartments are locked from the outside now but that has not lowered the number of problem reports enough."

#10: Are you sure you're not mixing up A'Pura and Pruwa? The latter to our knowledge has mainly the museum annex Gal Vihara. It has quite some walking yes but all on the footpaths inside the compound, no tuktuks or any other wheeled traffic allowed?

Tnx,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Manila, Philippines
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12. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Oops. I missed that part about the sleeper trains. The thing is, we want to do a sunrise climb in Pidurangala (hoping the weather permits). And we don't want to "waste" a lot of hours in transit if we do it by day. We're doing the scenic view via the Kandy - Ella train route anyway :)

Do I have a point or am I a stubborn traveler? :))

Anyway, we'll be thinking about this real hard. Weighing between "no sunrise climb" and "cockroaches". Thanks for the inputs, and I'll make sure to update this thread if we still choose to do the sleeper train and how the experience is like.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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13. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Hi again,

It's always subjective. The security risk in the berth is labeled bigger than the beasties in the text above. But everyone has their own appetite for risks, optimal time usage vs. relaxing, etc. etc..

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Slovenia
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14. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

No, ErikdR, I am not mixing the two; as I have not visited A'pura it would not be right to comment on it. As for Polonnaruwa, indeed the museum and the adjoining compound is easily walkable, but when one would like to explore the monuments between Bathing Pool and Gal Vihara, and since OP will be there after climbing the Sigiriya, using a tuktuk is recommended, IMO. I was about to walk them, but even before I reach the entry gate I have returned for my car, and boy I was happy to have a transport with a shade when moving between the monuments in the midday/early afternoon heat.

I didn't ride any train in Sri Lanka but from my night train experience in Malaysia, not much sleep that you should have. We were three persons and were doing rounds ... for a very good reason!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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15. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Okay tnx for clarifying P'ruwa. We found these all easily walkable but then we went earlier in the morning, not middle of the day ;-)

Tnx,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Penang Island...
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16. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Hi Joanne,

Did you managed travel as your mention plan?

I have the same plan too. Can share the experience ?

Thanks, peggy

Manila, Philippines
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17. Re: Day trip Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya from Habanara

Hi Peggy, we didn't push through with the sleeper train. Instead, we went straight from Colombo via bus and slept at a homestay in Sigiriya. Then, we did the sunrise climb at Pidurangala the next day :)

We finished early, but decided against going to Polonnaruwa as we actually enjoyed just relaxing in our homestay. We then rode the bus to Kandy a little after lunch.

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