Heading to Sri Lanka after a week in india. we are pretty well travelled. Leaving England in approx. 4 weeks time. No official plans ..... as yet. Is the island easy to get around ? What is the best way to travel ? What are the sights "not to be missed" Where is good to relax (3 days beach) heading to the T20 cricket in Colombo. Any help and assistance would be good especially for locating tickets for the cricket. Thank you.
The best way is to have a private driver and go around the island. Visited royal botanic garden, Sigiriya rock, historical triangle (Polonaruva, Anuradhapura, Dambulla), golden tooth temple... There are many others interesting places here. The best place to have a beach relax now (in August) is north-east part of the island, especially Trincomalee.
Yes, i visited Trincomalee last year, i think you will like it too if you are a beach lover
We spent 2 weeks in Sri Lanka in December last year. We hired a driver for 3 days and for the rest of the trip used a mixture of trains, buses and taxis to get around. Our driver was excellent and helped us sort out onward accommodation after we had finished with him. I can give you his details if you like.
Our route was Negombo - Polonnaruwa - Sigiriya - Dambulla - Kandy - Ella - Unawatuna - Galle - Negombo. Our driver picked us up from our guesthouse in Negombo and we travelled with him until Kandy. From Kandy to Ella we got the train which is well worth it for the views, even if you can't get a seat for some of it! Try and reserve well in advance for the observation carriage if you can; we were too late so ended up in 3rd class but had a great time talking to a Sri Lankan family on there. From Ella we got a taxi down to the coast at Unawatuna (which was a bit of a disappointment, especially if you've been to beaches elsewhere in Asia) and from there we got a tuk-tuk to Galle, which is a lovely city. We took the bus from there to Colombo which was a hair-raising experience, and from there on to Negombo by bus.
I wished we had seen Anuradhapura as I read afterwards that it's supposed to be better than Polonnaruwa. I absolutely loved Ella - it was stunning and my favourite place in Sri Lanka. We stayed at a guesthouse called Mountain Heavens which was lovely and has stunning views over Ella gap.
Well wonderful destination you have chosen to visit especially in sri lanka I love the visit Yala National Park & Kandy both are awesome places.
I'd echo what everyone else has said so far, and add that my favourite places are the hill country generally and the southern beaches, particularly Tangalle and Mirissa, though these are getting more more and crowded/touristy.
I wouldn't say Trinco is a must - it's a bit run down, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (and of course, completely expected after the war), but the beaches, while nice, don't quite make up for the distance you have to drive to get there, particularly if you've only got a few days. The south coast is nearly as good - Tangalle is absolutely beautiful, but not great for swimming, while Mirissa isn't quite as pristine, but still very nice, and the sea is calm and very pleasant.
Re the cricket tickets, this site (http://www.icc-cricket.com/events_and_awards/twenty20/tickets_hospitality.php) has helpful information. It sounds like they're selling out quickly, if they haven't sold out already, but you'll almost certainly be able to get tickets in Colombo. Hope England loses every match!
Oh, and re travel: if you're just going down to the south coast, you can catch the train from Colombo (or even from the airport - the station is about a kilometre from arrivals) and save some money. To get to the south coast you'd have to go to Colombo Fort railway station and then catch the Matara train - the whole trip would take maybe five hours one way and cost you perhaps two pounds - it's very slow but a nice experience with beautiful scenery. Make sure you stop off at Galle - it's a character-filled old city.
Alternatively, as people have said, a private driver is a much more convenient way to get around the island, particularly given that the island generally is fairly poorly serviced by rail (trains might only run three times a day), and the buses aren't too comfortable for long trips. You'll also be contributing to the local economy and, most importantly, have an interpreter and a guide with you.
Hope you have a great time!