Better than Bali

Oct 30th, 2005, 08:49 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Lyndie --
Will you share the name and location of this $20 guest house with magic food?
vedette is offline  
Oct 30th, 2005, 12:15 PM
  #22  
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Hey Kippy-those hard balls are wadis! The wadiman goes through the carriages yelling out wadi, wadi,wadis! I lurv those wadis. Yes, isn't the ob car a hoot! Back to the fifties!

Not sure about Green Cabin. Ate at so many little places on Galle Rd. Our favourite was Chariots, just near Hotel Renuka, which is not bad for US50. They have a pool down the lane from the hotel and most rooms have sea views. Chariot's had the best vege curry for US2.50. And string hoppers. It's a take-out but you can eat in. The queue on Friday afternoon goes out the door and down the street. It's so good!

Have a marvellous trip. Let's chat when you get back.

Hi vedette. I am unwilling to share the guesthouse's name without consultation with the owner. He's a gentle sweet man and I know he's is happy with the occupancy at present. He gets lots of people just from drivers dropping in with their passengers, to have lunch. Once people see how beautiful the place is and taste how good the food is, they want to stay! It's the kind of place that would suit people not expecting anything more than a clean room with a large new comfy bed, cold water shower, toilet (except in the up-market 2 rooms with air cond, they have hot water, cost around 3000 r's or US30). Not for just backpackers or people on a budget, but people who think it's more important to be surrounded by nature's beauty not man's excesses.

Not offence intended to anyone!!! It's just my observation and from talking with other guests over the 10 days we've stayed there.

I will talk with Sunil when we arrive there on Dec 16 and ask him is it OK to put on the net. I was told about it by a guy I much respect and he is careful who he tells about it. It's a gem! The beach is one of the most beautiful we've seen and I'm selfishly keen to have it stay that way! All the best.
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 30th, 2005, 12:44 PM
  #23  
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This website has some good stuff on Sri Lanka's upmarket accom.
http://www.smarttravelasia.com/SriLanka.htm

Sorry CFW-I overlooked your post! How rude of me!

Look, if it was me in your position I'd just go to Sri Lanka when I could. We'd wanted to go for months and when we finally were free it worked out brilliantly. Xmas, Jan & Feb are peak times with Dutch, German & British travellers taking advantage of the hot weather. Or they were, before the tsunami. Bookings are looking good for those months according to people we talk to. I might add that it's very easy to fly from Singapore or Bangkok or even KL to Sri Lanka. Could you tack on a week to your Thailand holiday? It will give you a taste for not a lot of money and I know you'll be back there once you've seen Sri Lanka. Airfare from Bangkok on Cathay is 12,300 baht return, or that's what we're paying mid Dec. U3310 each return. A car/driver/accom for a week would be US420 max for two of you and food is dirt cheap unless you must eat at the big hotels. So for around US1200 you get a week seeing many of the top sights and a couple of days at somewhere like Rocky Point Beach Bungalows near Tangalle. Accom would be in clean, family run small hotels or guesthouses, max US25 per night, most around US20. Ask if they have hot water becuase many places don't! It's really not necessary. Or it's not for us, except in the mountains where it's darn cool. Get cracking!
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 30th, 2005, 01:06 PM
  #24  
 
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Wadis -so that's what they were! I can still taste them!
Lyndie, at this rate I'll be cancelling our tickets for BKK and getting new ones for Colombo. We had tried for a stopover but this is such a last minute trip we were lucky to get the tickets we did and Eva don't stop there. That's because I've never been to Thailand and have yet to discover how wonderful that is!
I'll make a note of your hotel. It sounds good and central. In Colombo we stayed at the Tropic Inn which was basic and suited us fine and yes - we had plenty hot water. It is out near Mt Lavinia so the only bit of a downside was a long tuk tuk ride into town. As a result we would try to avoid the rush hours.
Would love to share more when we get back
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Oct 30th, 2005, 06:34 PM
  #25  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Well, wee what you've done Lyndie! We've just spent the week-end getting frequent flyer tickets to BKK at the end of January (same time we went last year!) and planning about 10 days in Sri Lanka. So many wonderful places that it's hard to know where to go. We'll start out in Colombo, then want to spend some time in the hills in an area where we can do day trips to tea plantations, darbulla caves, Sigiriya, and Kandy. Should we stay near Kandy for that? St. Andrews Hotel? or the Tea Factory? From there should we head south to Galle (the Galle Fort Hotel looks amazing!)? We also want to spend some time at the Yala game preserve, and then at the beach in Bentota. There is a small boutique hotel that looks nice & just across the railroad tracks from what looks like a beautiful beach. It's called Club Villa. Are we trying to do too much? What should we cut out?
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Oct 30th, 2005, 06:34 PM
  #26  
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Well, wee what you've done Lyndie! We've just spent the week-end getting frequent flyer tickets to BKK at the end of January (same time we went last year!) and planning about 10 days in Sri Lanka. So many wonderful places that it's hard to know where to go. We'll start out in Colombo, then want to spend some time in the hills in an area where we can do day trips to tea plantations, darbulla caves, Sigiriya, and Kandy. Should we stay near Kandy for that? St. Andrews Hotel? or the Tea Factory? From there should we head south to Galle (the Galle Fort Hotel looks amazing!)? We also want to spend some time at the Yala game preserve, and then at the beach in Bentota. There is a small boutique hotel that looks nice & just across the railroad tracks from what looks like a beautiful beach. It's called Club Villa. Are we trying to do too much? What should we cut out? Thanks for ideas!
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Oct 30th, 2005, 07:11 PM
  #27  
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Hi CFW-very sorry! No, I'm not really! Good for you!

Kandy is the best base for Sigiriya & Dambulla (really just the caves). You can stay up at Sigiriya if you want to climb it or do it as a day trip from Kandy. Leave at 7am & get up there by 8.30 to climb it before it get hot! Then back to Dambulla for the Caves. Both can be done in one day but you'll be tired if you climb Sigiriya.

Careful where you stay in Kandy. We saw a glorious apartment owned by a Lankan doctor who lives in the U.S. It has a pool and it lovely. US50 per night or thereabouts. I can give you his email if you're interested. Otherwise the Queens Hotel is a dump with lots of atmosphere. Helga's Folly gets mixed reviews from travellers.

Nuwara Eliya is not my favourite place. Shopping at the local market is good for Columbia Sportswear & Nike stuff. Be careful, some are 2nd quality. It's very misty & can be cold up there. It was not what we were looking for. Ella was our favourite mountain town. It's tiny and easy to get from Ella to Yala. But if you've got time a night in Nuwara Eliya, arriving midday & leaving midday next day would be enough, I think. You can ask your driver to meet you in Ella and get a train from Nanu Oya, the railway station servicing Nuwara Eliya, & book a seat in Colombo when you arrive for the Observation car to Ella. It gets booked out quickly. The trip between Nanu Oya & Ella is glorious. Or you could travel via Ramboda Falls Hotel 80 kms from Kandy (Sth East) & stay over a night there, if you have a car. What choices!

St Andrews Bungalow is supposedly fabulous. We lunched with a Brit & his US wife at Grand Ella and they raved about it. Tea Factory looks great too. Up to you. I'd cut out Yala. Folks I know say it's over-rated & the animals are few & far between. As for seeing a tiger, well dream on!

On the road from Kandy to Colombo we saw several elephants. There are elephants at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. I'd only stay in Kandy for 3 nights max.

Galle is unmissable & deserves a full day/night. Bentota is not the best beach in Sri Lanka but it's nice. Don't know Club Villa. Tangalle has nicer beaches. Check out Claughton's on google. It's in an amazing spot. Or Eva Lanka, it's great too. I'm so glad you're going! Stay in touch.
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Oct 30th, 2005, 07:32 PM
  #28  
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CFW-my partner has just informed me Yala West is famous for it's leopards NOT tigers. They are so well disguised no-one ever sees them. And Feb to June is best time to spot one. I hate being married to a know-all! And Claughton has no "s". It's my bad writing, you see!
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 03:59 AM
  #29  
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Lyndie, Thanks for the tips. We'll look into Ella. Claughton looks greatin Tengalle, but at $500 per night it's way above what we can afford! Any other recommendations for nice places to stay on the beach in Tengalle? How is the Negombo area? What attracted us to Bentota was the inviting photos & descritptions of Club Villa on the web. Low key, small boutique hotel in lovely gardens with a pool & beach. Alternatively there's the Taj Exotica on what looks to be a lovely isolated beach in Bentota.
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Oct 31st, 2005, 12:11 PM
  #30  
 
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It's been on my list for years. I even planned a trip there some years ago and the same day I called the tourist board, the person who answered the phone informed me that some government buildings in Colombo had been bombed and that he thought I should hold off for a while in planning my trip. So, I did and contacted the Hilton and cancelled my reservation for $50. for a standard room! But, I never took the country off of my high interest list. I have English friends who've been vacationing there for over a decade and have always loved it. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Oct 31st, 2005, 01:43 PM
  #31  
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Hi CFW & Guenmai. CFW, I'll come back to you in a minute.
Guennmai, let me say the difference between bombings in Bali & bombings in Sri Lanka, appears to me to be simply that Sri Lankan bombers don't specifically target tourist areas and tourists. They, of course, target govt. buildings because they want independence from Sri Lanka and to have their own Tamil state in the north, as you would be aware. So yes, there was violence (a police station was bombed in Pottuvil or Ampara)in the east when we were there. We asked other travellers and our hotel's management for updates all the time and we just did not bother going anywhere risky. All the drivers know where is not safe.

OK, CFW, Bentota's beach is NOT brilliant! Take it from me. It's lovely to look at but dangerous for swimming because of rips & currents. Nice to walk along though. The locals tell you not to swim in the surf. We had 2 nts at the Taj Exotica and it was a great break from our usual budget places. But I could not say it was the best hotel we've stayed at. For US100 a night it was good. How about Bentota Beach Hotel? Or Palm Paradise Cabanas at Goyambokka, close to Tangalle. Also at Bentota is www.hotel-wunderbar.com. Right on the beach and lovely. Be aware that outside and on the beach, at the Taj and Bentota Beach, are heaps of touts waiting to pounce. They give me the horrors and consequently I would choose a quieter beach like Goyambokka and Rocky Point Beach Bungalows. Nice place & cheap too! Right on a hill overlooking the beach. If Club Villa suits your needs, then do it. I just did not see it as it's out of the town, a couple of k's. Bentota town, btw, is not as interesting as Tangalle, but over the bridge is Aluthgama whcih has a good market.

I spend a lot of my holiday time visiting hotels & guesthouses. It stems from my years as Admin Manager of a Japanese hospitality division and my responsibility for quality control, there. I'm just a busy-body when it comes to checking out hotels, guesthouses & restaurants, that look appealing.

Another alternative is you could contact Aitken & Spence, a well-respected travel agent and perhaps they could compile a package for you, based on your interests. Me, I'm happy to organise everything myself but I had 3 months leadtime and I don't work more than a few hours a day, so I had time to do the necessary research. You can hire a car & driver easily. I have 2-3 names of reliable guys or you can use a travel agent or your hotel to find a good driver. You've got limited time so that's probably the first thing you should finalise. Let me know if I can help further. I'm off in 13 days for my 7 week trip, but I'll be checking in here a couple of times a week after Nov. 14. All the very best to all Sri Lankan lovers & those yet to fall in love with Sri Lanka.
Lyndie is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 02:46 AM
  #32  
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Lyndie, Thanks so much. You're a gold mine of info & I always love your cheery chatty posts and Aussie sense of humor. Must be all the free time & travel that keeps you in good spirits! Anxious to hear your plans for a seven week trip!

Anway, beach in Sri Lanka - yes, we definitely want a place where we can swim. No good looking if you can't touch. So, I'm assuming the places you mentioned near Tangalle have beaches where we can swim. What about Negombo?
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Nov 1st, 2005, 12:12 PM
  #33  
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HI CFW-I'm up early today as we're off for a swim. Have you visited Port Stephens, in Oz? The beaches are,imho, the most beautiful, anywhere in the world, except perhaps Natadola in Fiji and the one fronting Oarsman's Bay Lodge, Nacula island, Fiji. Come on over after Thailand & Sri Lanka. Feb & Early March is perfect here.

OK, Negombo's beaches are crappy, read dirty. It's a cheap & brilliant place to crash after a intl. flight and Negombo has some great budget hotels like Oasis & Silver Sands, & some up-market places, however do not go there for the beaches. It's an interesting place to visit for cheap local produce & books and it has some cave paintings rivalling Dambulla and a fab fish market & lots of Dutch-built canals but it's not a special atmospheric place. The big expensive hotels there cater for package UK & European tourists, who want to swaet by apool for a week or two & eat hotel food.

We think Tangalle has it all. The small beach fronting Rocky Point is perfect. You walk down a 30m track from the resort which is about 20m above the beach on a small hillside. I think you would be happy at Rocky Point but they only have cold showers. Believe me, the bungalows are well set up & self-contained with good beds & bed linen, timber shutters & overhead fans & nice furniture but it's a budget place, without a pool. The bungalows are either attached to 2-3 others or separate and the front row is where we stayed, for a overnight stay on our way back to Colombo, from Ella. Think Amanwela without the Aman!

If you get a good, reputable driver they will take you to special out of the way beaches. Some beaches only have basic huts & small guesthouses so if you want to stay up-market it's not that easy. Many of the beachfront hotels were damaged beyond repair. Some of the little cheapies weathered the waves far better than the concrete three storey jobs!

We are staying at Easy Beach for a few days in December. Check out www.easybeach.info-it's run by a Norwegian couple and they have a reputation for great food. We saw the beach out front and it's darn nice. It would be a good choice for you, except it's cheap!

Thanks for the compliments too! Nice to assist those you do the same for me & others!

May as well bore the pants off you, seeing as though you're a captive audience.

Our 7 weeks is as followsbr />
Syd/Sing/JB(tks Cicerone)/Penang 4 days
Penang/Langkawi by ferry 4 days
Langkawi/Koh Lipe (Thailand) via 2 ferries 7 days
Fly Hat Yai to BKK for 5 days
Fly BKK to Phnom Penh for 4 days (missed PP in Dec 2003)
Bus to Pattaya for Jomtien 4 days (partner like sleazy places)
Fly PP to BKK then fly to Sri Lanka for 12 days (Yippeeee)
Fly SL to BKK for 6 nights over Xmas then fly BKK/ Sing for New Year
Fly Sing/Syd

I like to one trip ahead so busy with our 4-6 months in India/Sri Lanka Mar 2006 now! Ain't this trip planning fun.

Stay up until 5 am! It's fun watching the sun rise! All the very best, have a great day!
Lyndie is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 01:36 PM
  #34  
 
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Lyndie -- Easy Beach looks great. Do they have hot showers by any chance?
vedette is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 06:49 PM
  #35  
CFW
 
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Lyndie, Looks like you'll have a wonderful holiday. Looks like you will be spending quite a bit of time in BKK. Any special plans for things that you will be doing seeing? I'm always looking for what's new & ideas for BKK - loved it! We're beginning to shape things up for Sri Lanka. Looks like if we want to stay in Tangalle most beautiful places on the beach do not have A/C or hot water -- my husband will never go for it. So, we may end up at a more upscale place in Bentota. Now looking at Taru Villas. Ah, planning is half the fun...
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Nov 1st, 2005, 09:11 PM
  #36  
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hi vedette-email them and they will respond quickly. I'm not sure as we have not stayed there and it is not a major problem for us as the weather is pretty humid & warm, all year round. All the best.

CFW-hi-others here have great ideas of what to do in Bangkok. We just get up, have a shower & bfast then hit the skytrain, usually. Wander aimlessly through the shopping centres, go back to the hotel & swim, eat lots of Thai food & drink lots of beer. We're slummers in BKK. Can't handle running around seeing the 20th wat I've seen and visiting another flower market. Often the best fun is wandering around early evening when it's cool and windowshopping or dropping into a bar for a beer and a chat with whoever's there.

I'm sure you'll find something good at the beach. Did you check out Eva Lanka on the net? Have fun!
Lyndie is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 02:24 AM
  #37  
DAX
 
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Srilanka sounds wonderful but I have one basic question: What kind of food do they have? My kids and myself have a hard time eating curry and Indian herbs, I can't even eat inside a restaurant that serves curry because of the strong aroma. Do they have a lot of outdoor barbeque restaurants maybe?
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