Z-An alternative itinerary.
Leave the driver at home, to watch someone tinker with his vehicle.
You will need a place to relax, because life in Sri lanka is hectic. So I suggest that you find a nice guest house where you can sit in peace. I think the more times a person visits Sri Lanka the more of such places they would find. Everywhere is different and so, for each and everyone's taste there is one or more such places.
Many attractions can be reached by train, which is an ideal way to travel. Some of the trains are slow but information is available, just Google Sri Lanka info or such like. The other cheap way is to catch buses. The bus service in Sri Lanka is excellent (if, not for the faint of heart) regular and normally crowded and speedy. Don’t expect a bus like at home. Often they are like army surplus vehicles commissioned straight from the Japanese front line. The bell may be attached to a rope and may not make the sound you would expect and the driver may think he is a racing driver and may be completely insane.
My alternative itinerary is ; Have a basic knowledge of the attractions of Sri Lanka. The last thing you want is to get home and for someone to say , ‘oh , you didn’t visit that tribe of Vedha’, or ‘you didn’t see the biggest temple’. Don’t worry it will happen anyway, people are like that, just reply , ‘no, I didn’t do the "touristy thing" ‘.
Anyway, Have an idea of where you want to go and just go there, in a relaxed (guide free ) way. Be ‘in control’ of yourself, ie; if a guide comes and tries to take you somewhere – just ignore him. (remember he only wants your money)
All of the advertised ‘attractions’ are worth a visit. So I am sure you will have to come back many times. Nothing is as well organized as in the ‘West’ (thank goodness) and so the locals have yet to learn how to spoil things and government regulations/ corruption/ insanity is such as to dissuade foreigners from living here. Sri Lankan people are unable to relax and so can only have a fleeting interest in relics or art so , once you find what you are looking for , you will be left alone.
Maybe you will be told stories and other related ‘facts’ (no ‘maybe’ about it!). Everyone here will be unable to resist and it might not be the total truth , or no truth at all, so be warned; they won’t admit if they don’t know and in an emergency will ‘make it up’.
As always, it’s the detail that matters. Like the beggar selling canes to whip children, just outside the school gate. With a face like a sour lemon, as if he wishes to instigate the punishment, much to the disdain of the pupils as they leave. Or ; (small bit of bloggit ‘sorry boss’);-
I was passing the Maligawa checkpoint on my way to town when someone shouted, ‘nice shirt is it a Camel’. I was in full walk mode so all that registered was ‘Camel’ which I repeated.
On the way back he wanted to know how much my shirt cost. I said the first thing which came into my mind and he was shocked. Now don’t you think that’s worth mentioning? Even more strange, just a little way on , while I was swinging my plastic bag of three loaves by my side. Someone else shouted ‘Your bread!’ to which I quickly looked to see what was wrong with it. It seemed OK , so I looked at him and perhaps realizing something (what) he said, ‘nice bread!’. Yes I thought, yummy.