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Sri Lanka & Maldives Thoughts - First week of October

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I was pretty set on going to Sri Lanka but some research on the lonely planet forums brings me here...there was a lto of grumbling that Sri Lanka is expensive and rips off tourists. Any thoughts on Sri Lanka becoming overly touristy? We are certainly not backpackers so I was probably looking at the wrong forum. I would like to go somewhere from Hong Kong during the first week of October - Golden Week in China. We are interested in hiking, scenery, animals, a little culture. A nice beach is ok but the ones in Sri Lanka don't thrill me. We would have 7 full days on the ground, and I'm not interested in Columbo.

Horton Plains looks great, so we would need to stay near by correct? It seems in a week we could arrive in Columbo, then spend the rest of the time in Kandy / Nuwara Elia, but I think this could get a bit...boring. Could we do 3-4 nights in Sri Lanka - Colombo then train to Kandy, see Horton Plains, hike in tea fields, and then go to the Maldives?

Is there enough to do in Sri Lanka for 7-8 days without going to the beach?

As for the Maldives - to stay in the type of resort I like, it's USD $600 + a night (for what you get for $250 in Thailand). Is the Maldives really that special? We DO NOT scuba dive - husband is asthmatic. I like a nice beach, but after years of tanning and then seeing my skin wrinkle, it's not as appealing.

Any other ideas for this amount of time in the first week of October from Hong Kong? We also considered: Istanbul (will save for a longer european trip), New Zealand (wrong season + pricey), Northern India (Sri Lanka looks nicer), Bhutan (looks redundant, treking every day + expensive).
We are not interested in China, Japan, Korea or SEA Asia.

Thanks in advance!

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