a VirtualTourist member from Manchester
Firstly thank you for taking the time to read our question. We are both early 50 who want to go to Sri Lanka in March 2008 for approx 25 days.
We plan to stay in Coumbia for 2 nights and then travel. We would like to see all the cultural sights, then visit the hill country before going to the beach and then back to columbia overnight.
We think we would prefer a base and then see what there is to see before moving to the next place. Please can anybody help us with an itinery and also reasonable small friendly accomodation. We think we would like to do most of it ourselves if possible as we have done a lot of escorted holidays which have been fabulous but very rushed, Also where should we go for our last 5 days on the beach. Thank you for helping us.
Well, THAT sounds better than what is asked often. 18 days for the roundtrip is a lot better than the 4-6 days that (too) many people want to cram it in! And you're right, within each area it suffices to have one base and not shifting to another room every day. So some suggestions on division of time and transport; train is better than bus but does not cover all routes. (Bus takes only small luggage, no big suitcases...) Can't help much with guesthouses, sorry - Lonely Planet and other travellers can jump to help.
* Day 3 Travel train to Dambulla-Sigiriya region.
* Day 4-6 stay there; outings (bus or car) to Sigiriya Rock, Dambulla caves, Pollonaruwa, Mihintale, Anuradhapura town.
* Day 7 car or bus to Kandy. Could also take car/bus to Matale and from there (slow) train, a reasonably nice journey.
* Day 8-10 Kandy. Including outings to Pinawela, botanical gardens, Temple of Tooth, Udawakele forest reserve, hill Buddha etc. If you can do also try train one-way to nearby Pinawela, this is the no.2 most beautiful stretch in the country IMHO!
* Day 11 train to Nuvara Eliya (no.3 most beautiful stretch)
* Day 12 stay there, explore the sights like Victoria Park, Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Lake Gregory.
* Day 13 Horton Plains/World's End would cost another full day; can also be done from Haputale if that is next stop
* Day 14 train to Haputale or Ella (no.1 MOST beautiful stretch).
* Day 15-16 stay there
* Day 17 car or bus to Tissaharama/Hambantota
* Day 18 wildlife safari in Yala park, afternoon maybe visit Katagarama temples
* Day 19 car or bus to near Matara. Maybe Mirissa, maybe Ahangama?
* Day 20 day trip to Galle Fort, quite a nice sight!
* Day 21-25 beach stay
As for that: the beaches near Matara are the most pristine, but then not many restaurants outside hotel/guesthouse. Hikkaduwa or Bentota, north of Galle, are more touristy areas.
Hope this helps as a starter,
My family (me, my wife and 2 kids) spent 8 days at Sri Lanka in December and we enjoyed the trip very much. We hired a driver and we worked out the itinerary with the driver. The driver (cum guide) made all the road planning and hotel reservation. He picked us up from the airport, was with us the whole trip and sent us back to airport for us to catch a flight back to Singapore. You can contact him thru email (although his written English is not that great, but his spoken english is quite good). His rate is very reasonable and the hotel he arranged are very good. His email address is : [email]