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Suggestions for a First-Timer?

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I am considering a trip to Sri Lanka and started doing some initial research. I thought it would be worthwhile to simultaneously try to get input / advice from folks here to try and put together a possible plan of action.

In my trip, I am interested in getting a good taste of what the country has to offer and would really like a sampling of several experiences. I enjoy history, culture, and nature.

Right now, I am thinking about flying in and spending a couple of days in Colombo, heading down to Galle, and then going north to Kandy followed up by the cultural / historical sights in the Sigiriya area. I would love a few days walking, hiking, etc, somewhere. I understand that there are some good tea plantations sprinkled throughout the country and would enjoy a couple of days visiting one. And last but not least, I would very much like to visit a few Buddhist temples / sights as I am Buddhist too.

I am looking at approximately two weeks, either in November or December, if one is better than the other.

Also, what is the best way to get around Sri Lanka? Costs? And is a malaria regime recommended for travel in the areas mentioned?

Thank you. I look forward to hearing what you have to say and cannot wait to read about others' experiences visiting the country.

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