On my recent trip to South India I with friends decided to make side trip to Sri Lanka. It is relatively small country. Especially while you compare it with India. So we decided dedicate only 5 days for this trip to Sri Lanka. We made it and saw everything was planned, but it was strained trip.
I was preparing itinerary by using Google Maps as usually. I saved all points of interest, got distances between these points and split everything into five days. The plan looked perfect – 1000km(~620 miles) in five days, i.e. 200km (~124 miles) per day. It should be enough time for sightseeing and free time. But.. It was one big shortcoming of this plan and I understood it only when we landed in Colombo international airport.
The issue was with timing Google Maps was giving. In countries like US or Australia the mapping application gives very accurate numbers how much time you need to go from point A to point B. Of course it depends on traffic and time of the day you are driving, but usually you can trust those numbers. The different story in Sri Lanka. You must multiply at least by 2 all numbers Google Maps gives you. For example from Colombo airport to Dambulla it shows you need 2+ hours to drive 140km (~90 miles) and it looks very reasonable. But in reality it took more then 4 hours to get there. That meant all my plan was in jeopardy. Luckily we had good driver and we saw even more then it was in the plan, but to make it we needed to get up very early and go to bed very late. It was worth it.
In this map I marked all places we visited. Actually I included couple places we didn’t make, as we were short of time, but it can be interested for others.
View Sri Lanka in a larger map