Kathie plans her return to Sri Lanka

Jan 25th, 2013, 08:16 AM
  #1  
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Kathie plans her return to Sri Lanka

We are considering a return trip to Sri Lanka this year. We want to go with Leopard Safaris in Wilpattu Park and want to spend some time exploring Anuradhapura. We didn't get to Galle last trip, so would like to this time.

Last trip we visited Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigirya, Habarana (elephants in the wild), Kandy, and tea country (Tea Trails). As tempting as it is to return to Tea Trails, we'd like to explore new places.

I'm interested in suggestions of interesting places to visit that we haven't seen, and recommendations for very nice hotels. I am struck by how much prices have increased since we were there in 2007, so we likely will choose just one "best" splurge.

I've been thinking that since the north is now open, are there places there we should consider?

Questions about accommodations:
We are looking at Fort Printers in Galle - anyone have feedback?
Ulagalla Resort looks fabulous, but the price is quite high. Mohammed also mentioned the Palm Garden - any feedback on this one?

Thanks for your thoughts.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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No suggestions, I didn't stay anywhere too special, but I'm looking forward to your TR.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Does this mean no India?
crosscheck is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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While you'll be disappointed that the one response so far has been from me, we did miss out on a "real" leopard safari at Yala, which I regret. I do not regret visiting Anuradhapura as it is mostly ruins. Galle is no big deal and you really didn't miss that much, in spite of what some other posters have said. The area inside the fort itself is fairly compact and there is not really that much to see. There must be other places in Asia that offer better "new" adventures for you and Cheryl. Perhaps a return to India?
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Jan 25th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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We were thinking of South India for this year. But as we did our research and I had lunch with a friend who had been there this past year, we found we weren't excited about South India right now. I think it has to do with having just had an all-temples trip to Java in November. Another all-temples (or even mostly temples) trip just didn't sound exciting. Can you believe it? The Fodors temple-junkie yawning at the thought of more Hindu temples? ( Just to reassure all of your that I haven't lost my mind, I'm not yet yawning at the thought of more Buddhist temples.)

We loved our first trip to Sri Lanka - it was definitely a "wow" trip for us. So we are wading into the research on this. I went out and bought the new Insight Guide to Sri Lanka, and so far I've seen some great suggestions for places we missed the first time around.

I'm interested in more input - even opinions that say we should go elsewhere.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Hmmm. The temples in south India are fantastic, and should not be missed, but there is more to the area than that. French influence in Pondi. Great hill country. Mysore. Multiple influences in Kerala plus the backwaters. Even Goa if you need a break - and there are gold-encrusted Christan churches and spice plantations there. I would go back to south India before I went back to Sri Lanka, but really all I still want to visit there is Yala and perhaps some of the north, since I saw more than you did the first time. I agree with Craig that Galle is underwhelming.

If we're talking about other parts of Asia, what about Bhutan? Taiwan? Have you been to Japan?
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Jan 25th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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I know a country with lots and lots of Buddhist Temples.....UNESCO types. The lovely fall colors of this country are spectacular and the floral gardens are National Treasures that would have Cheryl burning camera batteries hourly. The cuisine of this country is off the charts and world renown and the local B&B stays would be steeped in centuries old culture and gastronomy. If that isn't enough there would be other fodorites friends there too who would love to see you again for a gtg. Let it all go and finally take that short visit to.........Japan.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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We haven't been to Japan yet - that is for our first post-retirement trip (and HT will be planning it). I know that everyone who is anyone on Fodors will be there in November, which makes it tempting... Yes, South India is still on our radar, there is lots to see there in addition to temples. Bhutan... we have thought about it seriously a couple of times, but I bristle at the thought of having a "minder" all the time. I've been to Taiwan (though Cheryl hasn't).

I'm still doing research.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 03:00 PM
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Cheryl says maybe we should go to Japan to see all of our Fodors friends.... oh, yes, and Japan.

I'll have to switch research directions.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 03:34 PM
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i'll buy cheryl her first japanese beer on night 1...

seemaskt's husband's pics are so fab of japan... make cheryl dreul (sp) by looking at them, and thus insist on an immediate trip to japan...

i did gasp as i read your statement of tiring of temples, some temples.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 04:18 PM
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Japan? I'm jealous....
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Jan 25th, 2013, 04:43 PM
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Given that this is the third place we've decided to go in November, don't be jealous yet. lol
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Jan 25th, 2013, 05:46 PM
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You, Kathie? Tired of temples??? Never thought that would happen, LOL. One good thing about travel, is that no matter your desires, there are always new locations to be discovered (and new places to spend your money ).

I can relate to your wonderful dilemma. A return to Sri Lanka is definitely on my list as well as first time visits to Bhutan and Japan. I can see why Japan might win this time however, because the gang will be there.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 09:52 PM
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Kathie, since you mentioned leopards, I wanted to put in a plug for (gulp) a non-Asian destination - East Africa. Japan is fantastic w/exceptional food and fascinating culture, but a Kenyan safari is truly a life changing experience.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 05:25 AM
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Sometimes when you go back to a place, the magic you felt the first time is not there on the second go. The exception being India. I can't believe you are tempted out. Come join the Fodor tour of Japan in late Oct and Nov. Maybe we can get a group rate going for Fodorites in Japan.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 06:30 AM
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We are looking at Fort Printers in Galle - anyone have feedback?>>

Kathie - we stayed there in October [having decamped from our original pick as neither DH or I could face another night stuck out in the middle of nowhere] and we liked it a lot. nice big rooms, good showers, very quiet despite the fact it's in the very middle of town, very friendly staff and a reasonable price. a very few niggles - we couldn't work out the room safe [which in any event was not screwed to anything so could be walked off with] and the room fridge didn't work. you also have the advantage of being able to use the facilities at their beach-side sister hotel which cost Rs600 to get to by tuk-tuk.

We thought Galle charming - lots of nice little shops and cafes, plenty of local life, a great museum, and lovely walks around the walls. outside the old Fort is the modern town which we also explored. AND if you like cricket, there's the international cricket ground just outside the fort walls.

what else would you want?
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Jan 26th, 2013, 07:21 AM
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If you need some inspiration for India you might watch Michael Wood's "The Story of India" (it's on Netflix), after all you do have those 10 year visas.

Or for something completely different you could go south. I was very impressed with the scenery in Patagonia, and am currently planning for a "markets and mountains" trip to northwest South America.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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There are endless numbers of places to go and my wish list is very long. The problem is narrowing it down to where for this year.

We had planned to go to Japan for a week-long introductory trip a several years ago, but then my brother in law was diagnosed with stage 4 nasal-pharangel cancer. We cancelled our trip. He died six month later, and it just didn't seem like the time to schedule that trip. We put away Japan until we had enough time for a longer trip. I figured it would be where we went once we were both retired.

Once we decided to look seriously at Japan for this year (last night). Things really fell into place. So this morning we are still thinking Japan.

There is no question that we will return to Sri Lanka. I've been in correspondence with Leopard Safaris, and we will use them when we go (probably next year). And I think we will stay at Fort Printers in Galle (thanks, annhig). But I will leave the rest of the planning for next year.

Crosscheck, as you can imagine, an African Safari trip is also on our list, but not for this year. Thursdays, we have a whole bunch of South American destinations on our list - I really enjoyed your report on Patagonia.

So I've ordered some more books, and I'll haul out the Japan books I ordered when we were planning a few years ago, and you will start to see questions from me about Japan here before too long.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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who are you kidding, cheryl just wants a free japanese beer from me..
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Jan 26th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Hey, Bob, she will hold you to the Japanese beer! I'm hoping we will have some overlap in Japan. Our dates aren't clear yet.
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