Asia Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report Trip Report for Sri Lanka

Jump to last reply

I visited Sri Lanka for two and a half weeks in September/October, 2008, and for just six days in July, 2009. [For those of you who read my earlier post, I erred on the day Aug. 8.] I used the Lonely Planet guide for the first trip and the brand new Bradt guide for the second. Bradt is better, although an awful lot of it is geared to train travellers. In Colombo, I have stayed multiple nights in three hotels: Galle Face, Mt. Lavinia, and Cinnamon Grand. I prefer Mt. Lavinia (setting on the water, swimming pool, good food served on outside terraces), but Galle Face is nice, too. Cinnamon Grand is a huge, impersonal city hotel but it has good restaurants, a beautiful pool, a lively social scene, and celebrities (SL soccer stars, etc.) walking through the lobby. Bring $$ for all.

For ten days last October, with my driver, I went to Dambulla, Anuradhapura, and Kandy to see the principal Buddhist historical sites. We drove farther into the hill country around Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and on past Uda Walawe National Park to the coastal city of Hambantota, and worked our way west along the coast back to Colombo. My sole purpose for going to SL in July was to attend a wedding (at the Cinnamon Grand), so I made only a two night excursion to Nuwara Eliya to visit the tea estates again.

Sri Lanka is definitely the destination for anyone interested in Buddhism, but, in my opinion, go somewhere else, if you want a good beach. The fort and old area of Galle are fascinating, the hill country with tea estates is beautiful, and Sri Lanka, overall, is like a Garden of Eden, but subtracting from these national assets are run down, moldy buildings, poor insfrastructure, crowds of pedestrians jostling for space, jammed highways and streets, and a festering problem of inequality among classes and ethnic groups.

Just a short mention of other hotels. Two I can recommend are Geoffrey Bawa's Kandalama Hotel at Dambulla and the Tea Factory Hotel at Nuwara Eliya. Each is so unique that you will be amazed.

I am happy to write, in conclusion, that the national mood in Sri Lanka is entirely different now than it was last October. With the defeat of the Tamil Tiger insurgency, citizens feel as though they have a new beginning and they are optimistic. People with whom I talked smiled when they told me that the IMF has so much confidence in Sri Lanka that it has just given them more money than they asked for (they got $2.6 billion). It is a good time to go to Sri Lanka. The north is opening and I'm told that the beautiful beaches are up there. ZZ

5 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • Please Take Our Survey
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jan 20, 15 at 11:06 AM
View all Asia activity »
  1. 1 How to access to Kanazawa New Shinkansen Service March
  2. 2 Trip Report There and back again: a conflicted (and reimagined) India Trip Report
  3. 3 First time visiting Japan. Please help
  4. 4 First Time Visit to Japan in November 2015 - Itinerary Review
  5. 5 Trip Report India: A dream trip meets reality for me
  6. 6 Cost differences between spring and autumn visits to Japan?
  7. 7 Osaka shopping
  8. 8 Luggage Transfer From Hotels
  9. 9 Penang
  10. 10 Trip Report A redhead in Vietnam and Cambodia
  11. 11 Some Final Thoughts on a Trip to SE Asia
  12. 12 A week in April; Kyoto and Tokyo?
  13. 13 Air Asia All You Can Fly
  14. 14 China's Direct Visa - Yet Another Vexation!
  15. 15 Trip Report Madly Dashing to Bali - Hotel Report
  16. 16 Sri Lanka February 15'
  17. 17 Bali Honeymoon. Got 3/4 places decided on, struggling on the last...HELP!
  18. 18 Restaurants and Things to do at night
  19. 19 Planning Japan Trip #2
  20. 20 Takayama ideas in April?
  21. 21 Christmas in Kerala? Birthday in Goa?
  22. 22 Indonesia Itinerary help
  23. 23 Ideas for an off beaten path trip in Burma
  24. 24 Update on recent TR's on Mrauk U
  25. 25 4-1/2 days in Seoul
View next 25 » Back to the top