There is currently no direct route from Vietnam to Sri Lanka so visitors must transit in a third country.
Vietnamese tourists can apply for an online visa before going to Sri Lanka for a fee of only 35 USD on the website eta.gov.lk (ETA for short). Before leaving, I prepared bank statements to confirm savings books, 2-way air tickets; The hotel in Sri Lanka, the application for leave, payroll, confirmation of ETA, and cash carry, so the customs did not ask much to enter.
I was in Colombo for 2 days. To experience the life of Sri Lankans, I book a room in a house with indigenous people. You can book Skyroom via airbnb application for about $43 / night. Some places will charge more if you want to use air conditioning, but with Skyroom, the price includes all costs.
In Sri Lanka, the main means of transportation are bus or tuk tuk (Electric Cars). Most buses are not air-conditioned, it will be a little uncomfortable when you visit in the summer. In addition, you can also choose Uber for convenience and fast.
In Colombo, you can visit Mount Lavinia Beach, the city center, Colombo ancient market and Colombo independent square. If you love food and especially seafood, you cannot ignore LuanTao at Mount Lavinia.
Don’t forget to try hamburger at Dinemore. Compared to other hamburgers that I have tried, hamburgers in Dinemore is the best one. The restaurant is always very crowded with the criteria “delicious, good and cheap”.
If you want to relax with live music bars, visit In on the Green, and try grilled ribs with an incredible sauce and enjoy the music.
To “Da Lat of Sri Lanka”
On the third day, we went to Nuwara Aliya, 6 hours by bus from Colombo, bought tickets right at the bus stop. Nuwara Aliya is like Dalat in Vietnam, the air is cold, the tea hills stretch. Referring to Sri Lanka is the mention of numerous famous teas. I enjoy tea cooked with fresh milk daily and almost anytime and anywhere.
At Nuwara Aliya, we chose to stay in the room with JP’s family, on a high hill, we could see the city. Uncle JP has been in the homestay business for a long time. The spacious room, the hostess is very hospitable and the breakfast is completely free, prepared by the landlord.
Coming to Nuwara Aliya, you can visit waterfalls, town centers, churches and especially the Pedro tea factory. At the tea factory, you will be able to visit the steps to make a tea package possible.
Stayed for two days here, we are determined to be loyal to Pub & Restaurant because there are so many options for food and the price is quite reasonable. Don’t forget to try curry-related dishes because Sri Lanka is very famous for curry!
Leaving Nuwara Aliya, we went to Kandy by bus. Travel time is about 2 hours and tickets are bought at the station.
We book a room at Kandy Hill Bungalow for about $43 / night. This hotel is located on a mountain top, has to travel a long way from the bottom up, slightly secluded, isolated from the outside but in return the scene in the hotel and looking down the whole city is extremely beautiful, worthy worth compensating for its minus points.
We decided to rent a tuk tuk for a full day price, which would be cheaper than each stage. Some places you can visit in Kandy are the botanical garden, Lake Kandy and the tea plant.
Sri Lanka is inherently Buddhist, so those who love spiritual and historical culture can visit Ancient Senkadagala Kingdom, the Kandyan cultural center, Dalada Maligawa Temple (Buddha Tooth Temple).
Our next destination is Bentota – the famous coastal city. You will have to take a train to Colombo and continue on the train from Colombo to Bentota. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Sri Lanka is not too comfortable, to have a safe trip and comfortable seats, please buy first class tickets for your comfort.
From my experience, when I traveled from Colombo to Bentota, because the subject did not book tickets in advance, so when I bought a ticket at the pier that ran out of first class tickets, we were forced to buy second class tickets.
Bentota coastal cityAt first I thought that second-class quality tickets were no less than first-class tickets, but in fact there were no seats, which meant having to stand for half an hour and face encroachment and pinching. Means standing under hot weather without any air conditioning.
We stay at Village Headman’s Bungalow near Bentota. This is an old villa with charming scenery and the staff are also very friendly. This hotel is also quite convenient because the bus runs continuously.
You can visit Bentota Beach, Hikkaduwa Beach and Beruwala Lighthouse. We choose to rent a motorbike to be proactive in moving, because these locations are quite far apart (about 70km apart). Go to Bentota, do not miss the wonderful seafood dishes, including crab and lobster at Crab restaurant in Hikkaduwa or Cinemore (buffet).
To begin the journey to Sri Lanka, you must have a very strong psychology and good health, because you have to move quite a lot. There are things in Sri Lanka that will disappoint you, such as having to stand crowded on the second class train that i have told you, but there are things that will bring you joy beyond your imagination too. The trip to Sri Lanka gave me all the emotions, and left a lot of unforgettable impressions.
10 days in Sri Lanka are very interesting experiences. Unfortunately, in this journey, I have not had the opportunity to visit Sigiriya “mountain”. One day, I would return to Sri Lanka again and visit Sirigiya.