Before I embark on my trip report proper, I ought, as it were, to set the scene. DH and I first came up with the idea of going to Sri Lanka about 25 years ago, when adventurous neighbours came back with their photos of its fabulous beaches, birds and other wonderful attractions, but the civil war started, we went to the Gambia instead, and 9 months later our daughter arrived, so trips to far-flung places were put on hold.
Fast forward 25 years, in March 2012 we were listening to the cricket commentary from Sri Lanka, realised that the world T20 tournament was due to take place there in the autumn, and decided that we wanted to go, combining a holiday with a bit of the cricket. I set about planning via some guide books and this board, and after much vacillation, came up with the following itinerary:
3 nights in Dambulla at the Heritage Hotel Kandalama [www.heritancehotels.com]- thank you so much Kathie for steering us there.
2 nights in Kandy at the Theva Residence [www.theva.lk]
3 nights just outside Nurewa Eliya at the Warwick Gardens [www.jetwinghotels.com/jetwingwarwickgardens]
2 nights at Yala at Chaaya Wild [www.chaayahotels.com]
2 nights near Galle at the Thambapanni Residence at Unawatuna [in fact we stayed in Galle at the Fort Printer, for which story read on]
2 nights in Colombo at the Galle Face [www.gallefacehotel.com]
In retrospect I’d have liked to have had an extra day at Dambulla just to unwind and see a bit more of the area [never did get to the caves, which gives us an excuse to go back] and an extra day in Galle, because we loved it so much. And the 4 hour drive up from the airport to Dambulla was quite an ordeal, particularly after the 11 hour flight and the 6 hour drive from Cornwall to Heathrow which had preceded it. Otherwise the itinerary [booked through Boutique Sri Lanka aka BSL] worked pretty well, and the arrangements certainly ran like clockwork, with all the hotels expecting us as per the reservations [always a slight worry!].
And before I start on the trip report proper I need to say a big thank you to Kathie, Crellston, Thursdays, and Mohammed for their help in planning this, and a big apology to anyone I’ve missed out. Your trip reports and general advice proved invaluable and where things went wrong, or could have been better, it’s because I should have taken more notice of what you said, particularly about the roads and driving conditions. You tried to tell me what it was like before we went, but I just didn’t believe you. Sorry, that’s being unfair to me - I couldn’t believe you. It was not within my comprehension that it could take 3 hours to do 82 kms on proper roads. Well - it is now.
After which introduction, dear reader, please come with me to the tropical island of Serendip, also known as Sri Lanka!
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2 weeks in Sri Lanka - not nearly long enough!