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Dambulla to Galle in one day?

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posts: 9
Dambulla to Galle in one day?

Hi, we will have a car and driver and will have stayed 2 nights in the hills and then heading to beaches around Galle for New Year.

Is it too big a day to travel Dambulla to Galle given the following plan? We've been recommended to take a 3 hours train from Nanu Oya to Ella and have our driver meet us there. We really like this idea. On a map it seems we might be backtracking and being time poor, wondered if we will have similiar scenery just doing train from Kandy to Newara Eliya? What are the train schedules like as in, it do they run frequently or would we really need to get a timetable?

Another constraint for the day's travel to Galle is that we had been recommended also to go to Uda Walawe park. We'd love to do this and have read to be there in the early evening for the elephants. We think we're trying to pack too much into the one day and wonder if this true, should we plan this as a side trip from Unawatuna?

Also are we not considering some other stops on this day trip?

Our itinerary is below:

Night 1(27 Dec) Colombo

Night 2 (28 Dec) Kandy

Night 3 (29 Dec) Dambulla

Night 4 (30 Dec) Unawatuna

Night 5 (31 Dec) Unawatuna

Night 6 (1 Jan) Rathgama (halfway between Galle & Hikkaduwa)

Night 6 (2 Jan) Rathgama & depart Sri Lanka

Thank you in advance for any advice.

posts: 2,323
1. Re: Dambulla to Galle in one day?

Hi, it was me who suggetsed the train ride so perhaps it should be someone else answereing you with their own point of view.

However, Normally, to travel from Dambullal to Galle in a day would be a longish days travelling. That would be by going directly from Dambulla to Colombo and down the coast road to Galle.

Going by way of the hill country makes it a longer driver.

I think I actually suggested visiting Dambulla and then driving into Kandy for the night , where there's loads of choices for accomodation of all types. Being in Kandy makes the journey shorter. As weel as the shorter journey next day, you also get to see the Golden Temple and the Cultural show. This is held every evening in a small theatre just along the lake side behind the temple. Kandian costume/mask dancers , firewalkers, etc.

I appreciate your lack of time but if it was me, knowing what I know of the country, I'd certainly sacrifice a day in Galle or on a beach to spend a night in Ella.

From memory, a train from Colombo arrives kany at 08;40 and leaves , heading south at 08;55.

This train arrives Nanu Oya at 13;30 and Ella is about 1510ish.

It would be possible to get from there to Udawalawe for the evening but would be rushed and still leaves a long drive next morning to Unawatuna or galle.

I'd still suggest staying at Ella , walking to Little Adams Peak in the morning, a leisuarly stroll finishing with you feeling on top of the world as you look from the peak down through Ella gap.

Then , after a good lunch , head for Udawalwe, before continueing to the coast.

Perhaps someone else can come in on my opinion of the railway views. In my opinion. Colombo to Kandy is good. Kandy to Nanu Oya, ( Newara Eliya) is great and Nanu Oya to Ella is amazing.


Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
posts: 33,186
reviews: 133
2. Re: Dambulla to Galle in one day?

Okay, only on the railway views as Colombo Internet cafes make not always easy reading...

For us, the marks are

Rambukkana-Kandy (part of Colombo-Kandy): 2nd

Nuwara Eliya - Ella: 1st

Kandy - Eliya: 3rd. Despite the waterfalls actually much less nice than the car route on this traject, contrary to the other 2 rail stretches.


<Erik> & [Sandya]

posts: 9
3. Re: Dambulla to Galle in one day?

Thank you Rod and Erik!

Your advice, Rod, was just what we needed and great that all the things you suggested are really appealing.

We'll lock in the train journey per you and Erik and the rest of our hill country trip thanks to your good advice.

Thanks again.

Anna & David

posts: 2,323
4. Re: Dambulla to Galle in one day?


I'm sure you're gonna love the rides through the country.

Even after going through there many times, in cars and trains , the scenery still takes my breath away.There are so many views where you could sit all day taking it in . It's a unique area you'll never forget.


5. Re: Dambulla to Galle in one day?

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