Sri Lanka Travel
Although visa on arrival is possible, you are expected to take ETA (electronic travel approval) before you arrive in Sri Lanka for the people who need visa. It costs $20 and usually very fast. Takes about 3-4 hours to get it online. No documents are required. There are some web sites who claim to provide visa and will do it for you at a pretty steep cost $200 (or something like that). It is best to apply on your own.
Renting a chauffeur driven car is a good idea. It is not very expensive. It is also a good idea to arrange for the transportation for your entire trip before you land in Sri Lanka. Most of the tour operators will give you a quotation in USD and it is not unusual to expect 50% of the entire cost of the trip upfront (first day – before starting the trip).
It is possible to rent a self driving car as well but that will be more expensive than renting a chauffeur driven car (with the services of Chauffeur). One thing to remember that the Google map doesn’t provide accurate travel time. The travel time usually varied 60%-70% (actual vs. what Google map indicated).
Dambula – Sigiria area
Many people stay in Dambula – Sigiria area because it is centre to the North province and many tourist attractions are day trips from these places. Dambula had good hotels but many people suggest that one should stay in the Sigiria area which also has good places to stay.
This is the second inhibited city in Sri Lanka and has a lot of ruins from the olden times. This city is more of less similar to Anuradhapura and if you have been to one of these 2 cities, you can decide whether to visit the other or not.
Kandy is a lake city and main attraction includes Buddha tooth temple. There are nice hotels in the city and it is advisable to stay in a modern hotel rather than a heritage hotel. Many so called heritage hotels can get away with shabby arrangements and facilities at a pretty high cost.
Numara Eliya (City of Lights) is a famous hill station in the central province of Sri Lanka. There are many old British era buildings and hotels. The lake is at the centre of the city and usually pretty clean. If someone is planning to stay overnight in Nuwara Eliya then they may need warm cloths because the night temperature can drop to reasonably cold compared to other parts of Sri Lanka.
About 90 kms. south of Colombo, this is a beach destinations with many good resorts and hotels. It takes about 2 hrs. from Bentota to the airport therefore many people stay at Bentota during the last leg of their stay because of proximity from the hotel.
Galle – Hikkadua
Galle has an old Dutch fort. The outer walls and the structure is fine but there are mostly shops and eateries inside. It is possible to drive around the fort in a small car but the better idea is to hire a Tuk-tuk and have the driver take you around. Shopping here can be very expensive.
Hikkadua is in between Galle and Bentota and has very nice beaches. The water at the beach and the beach itself is very clear and one can notice the aqua blue water in the sea. There are many beaches next to the highway and could be a good idea to stop at a couple of places.