a VirtualTourist member from Hong Kong
1) Suggested itinerary? 2) Should I go with a guide/car for the whole trip? Any suggestion for which agency? 3) How is the weather this time of the year, for beach or tea plantations or otherwise?
We are avid photographers, love great food and just plain ol' exploring.. any other tips welcome.
1. Had done Colombo (1 night; night of arrival), Sirigiya (1 night), Anuradhapura (2 nights), Kandy (2 nights) and Colombo (2 nights). These were all for the culture and the ruins. You may go in for a beach holiday or a more relaxed holiday. This was in Dec. 2011.
2. Get hold of the book, 'The Essential Guide for Colombo and its Region' by Philippe Farby. I got my copy from Vijitha Yapa Bookshop (P) Ltd., Unity Plaza, 2 Galle Road, Colombo-4 for LKR 950/-
3. At almost all the tourist spots, fees for citizens of SAARC nations are half. Only don't forget to carry your passport to show at the ticket counter.
4. All hotels we stayed in (Colombo=Sovereign Hotel; Sirigiya=Kassapa Lions Rock Hotel; Anuradhapura=Galway Miridiya Hotel; Kandy=Devon Hotel) were 3-star, charging roughly USD 70-80 per night, double occupancy, bed and breakfast).
5. Moment you clear Immigration & Customs, walk towards the exit. Just before the exit gate, look to your left. You will see kiosks of Dialog, Mobitel and Etisalat, next to one another. I chose Mobitel (LKR 200/- deposit + LKR 800/-talk time). LKR 4/- per minute to India. When your limit gets low, you can 'roload' your SIM card. Don't buy a fresh one, just 'reload' it with the requisite amount of LKR.
6. After you buy your SIM card, go to the Tourist counter (within the airport itself) and pick up your FREE copy of Sri Lanka map. Very useful.
7. You may also think of changing your currency while still inside the airport at the Bank of Ceylon counter.
8. Plenty of VT members have excellent advice. Do check them up.
9. Colombo itself has plenty of things to see and do. The entrance fee to most places are far more reasonable. I have listed out almost 23 things to do in the capital. You may like to check out this link: [original VT link]
10. For a trip to Kandy, you may try out this link: [original VT link]
11. For Sri Lanka, try out this: [original VT link]
12. Most hotels did not have wifi. At Colombo (Sovereign Hotel) as well as at Kandy (Devon Hotel), I had to connect to the internet through the hotel's office machine. Rate was LKR 10/- per minute. Yes, LKR 10/- per minute.
13. All hotels we stayed in (Colombo=Sovereign Hotel; Sirigiya=Kassapa Lions Rock Hotel; Anuradhapura=Galway Miridiya Hotel; Kandy=Devon Hotel) were 3-star, charging roughly USD 70-80 per night, double occupancy, bed and breakfast).
14. We found retaining the same vehicle and driver for the entire duration was a better option as he gets to know you, you him. Most importantly, if you have settled on the fare at the beginning of the week, no last minute hassles and bargaining. Finally, he is always there should the need arise. And yes, normally they make their own arrangements regarding stay and food.
15. I simply *LOVED* the devilled chicken (real chilly hot!).
1. What are your interest? 2. Hiring a car/van with driver/guide is the most convenient way to travel around Sri Lanka. Public transport will take approx. 50-60% longer. 3: Generally hot and sunny - but you will likely experience some hefty late afternoon/evening showers.
What about beach resort on the west/south coast, eg near galle? Thinking of doing half on cultural stuff and half on the beach ...
You have Hikkaduwa on one side of Galle and Unawatuna on the other side.
Remember April 13 and 14th is the Sinhala and Hindu New year (similar to the chinese new year) and basically everything is nearly shut down for close to a week. Hotels would definitely be open but the roads would be deserted. there would be a lot of cultural events if you go out of colombo.
Which one is better? Effectively we will be there from mon evening to wed afternoon.. Not a lot of time, so a really nice chill place will be nice. Looking for a great cosy seafront room in a boutique type hotel,...
I suggested Flower Garden Hotel Unawatuna for your Galle tour.
I just finished a two-week trip to Sri Lanka. We stayed Sigiriya Village, Thilanka Hotel, The View, Ella, Grosvenar- Eliya, Aqua- Galle, Lagoon Paradise- Tangalle. Flower Garden- Unawatuna. We engaged diving in Unawatuna.
We wanted to recommend a driver/guide I used there for two weeks. He goes by the name Indika. His e-mail address is [email].
He picked me up in the Airport after warmly welcome and we visited Pinnawala, Dambulla Temple, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura ruins, Minneriya Eco Park, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Ella, Yala safari, Tangalle and Galle before returning to Colombo airport. He was a safe driver as driving in Sri Lanka is an endless impending head-on crash, he always on time, his English is medium but he managed everything well. His charges and arranged accommodation were excellent. Quoted price was reasonable. He was extremely helpful.
I can highly recommend this guy for your tour.