We hired a driver and car from Malkey Car rental. Overall we were very pleased with the driver and the company. http://www.malkey.lk/
Bandaranaike International Airport is some distance from Colombo. The nearby costal town of Negombo is more convenient and much more pleasant if you are looking for a place to stay the night before or evening of a flight.
Our main stops were Kandy and Damulla. We also stayed in Colombo (on arrival) and Negomo (on departure). Overall we went for a week.
Colombo – paradise road tintagel hotel
We really enjoyed this hotel. The food and service was excellent and the place has charm.
The roads to Kandy – spice garden and tea factories
The hills around Kandy
We stayed at the Theva Residence, which is situated on a hill overlooking the city – these pictures were taken from the hotel.
The image below is a stitch. Click the image to see the full size version in high res.
Kandy city & the temple of the tooth
I had quite low expectations for the temple of the tooth – we went at night and it was absolutely stunning. I wish we’d had more time.
My wife enjoyed shopping for Saris.
We also saw some traditional dance (and fire displays) at the kandyan art association cultural centre, which was entertaining (and a good activity to combine with checking out the temple of the tooth – it’s right next door).
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya
The gardens are a 10 minute drive from the center of Kandy. We went in the middle of the day – it was boiling. We paid for a golf buggy – definitely do this, the gardens are massive and there is so much to see.
Roads from Kandy to Damulla – The Ashburnham Tea Estate
We stopped by at the Ashburnham Tea Estate on the way to Dambulla – right direction but certainly not the fastest route. We came uninvited – i hadn’t realised it was a very boutique hotel, but they offered us lunch and tea, and gave us a tour of the tea plantations. The estate was beautiful and i would definitely stay there is we return to Sri Lanka in the future. Really nice and cool, up in the hills, with great views.
Heritance Kandamala and Dambulla golden cave temple
The monkeys at the heritance kandamala and temple were really bloody naughty – they even broke into our room (we closed but didn’t lock the door) and trashed it.
We went half board at the Heritance and the food was fantastic – much better than the options we tried in Dambulla.
We went in the middle of the day and it was super hot. Ideally one should time it around sunset/sunrise. You’ll need a reasonable degree of fitness to climb the stairs to the top.
All images taken on Olympus OM-D E-M5 and downsized for web viewing.