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Trip Report Post from our first part of trip - Chicago- BKK- Sri Lanka

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I am a frequent lurker on FF- and plan lots based on this site. Special Thank you in advance to Kathie, dogster etc etc for Informative and helpful info.

Will post as trip unfolds.

We took Cathay Pacific First Class (amen AA miles) from Chicago to HK to BK. Airline is everything it is hyped to be. Had a pod that included two seats - so my husband could come and chat etc. CP issued gray pajamas and slippers. Very comfy. On long flights I like to change out of my street clothes to sleep - tricks me into thinking I had a real nights sleep. Food service was excellent - and food and wine very good. They are highlighting French Bordeaux as their "special wine". My only complaint is that the sound system/AV/movie did not work at my chair. I did not care that much - read and slept instead. If I had paid for the seat instead of miles - I would have been pretty mad. But I was ok with my book.

Flight on time - Sukothai driver met us at BKK and whisked us to hotel. I have been to BKK many times - have stayed at several spots but the Peninsula is my go to. Since we were going to be there less than 24 hours- opted to try Sukothai. We got corp rate of $175. Penn would have been more than twice that. I LOVED our room- the pool is the best (sun deck and size wise) that I have been to. Will return. Bed extra comfortable.

We had late flight to Columbo. CP delayed out of HK. Arrived late in Columbo- very late.OK
AMEN - for the Boutique Sri Lanka recommendation from everyone. Our driver was there - waiting- at 3 in the morning. Had phoned our hotel that we wold be late. He tool us to the hotel - Lagoon- not terribly far from the airport. BSL had recommended a diff hotel - but it was sold out except for upper class of room ($375/nite). Since we were leaving at 9 AM- they suggested Lagoon Hotel it was nice, spacious etc. the bathroom was outdoors - which I do NOT care for- but it worked out just fine. They have an enormous swimming pool - 100 meters ( not a typo I am a swimmer). I would have loved to take a big swim in it. Anyway- we overnighted- breakfast very nice tasty buffet ( included in the $175 price)- and were picked up for drive to the cultural triangle.

Ok - a word on the driver. I give him a 15 on a scale of 1-10. His name is Daya. He worked for the US embassy for 25 years. Now retired. ( Not old though)Perfect driver. The roads here - more importantly- the crazy driving conditions - scooters,buses, trucks, stray dogs wandering,, school children not paying attention- all add up to a hair raising experience. Daya is perfect. Doesn't dawdle behind slow moving vehicles- passes when it is proper- he is a gem. Perfect. I hope I am not jinxing anything.

Checked into Heritance Kandalama. We had a regular standard room - I did not see purpose of upgrading for freestanding jacuzzi etc. we had room 724. Ok - it was fab. Top floor- great view. Darling little monkeys played on our balcony in he morning. Pulling each others tails, a mama and her baby. DARLING. I would recommend the hotel and this room.
They have giant dining room for buffet breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was acceptable. Dinner was not so good. Tons of selection - but nothing was very good. I don't care that much about food - so if I say it is bad you should listen. If I say it is good double check me. The second night we ate at the fine dining restaurant and had Sri Lankan curry. Ok THAT was good. It was also $11 per person. The buffet was $31 per person and it was not good.

Dambulla Cave. I loved it. Nice walk (good exercise) up to caves. 5 caves side by side - entirely painted top to bottom- and filled with Buddas. I wasn't expecting much - and really enjoyed myself. Walk and look around maybe 1.5 hours. Totally enjoyed.

Ok- to echo others- the sites in Sri Lanka are quite pricey versus world class museums - globally. Everything is $25-30 per person. I can't think of a museum in Chicago that cost more than $18- and they can be full day entertainment.

Another fun fact. I did NOT focus on how much rain is possible in January high season! It has rained every day. Have purchased umbrellas. Do NOT come to this area at this time and not be prepared for rain. Last tme I saw rain like this was in Costa Rica in March, 1995.

Ok- it is time to change for dinner. Will post as time permits.

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