March Trip - Where to Go?

Jul 30th, 2015, 03:01 PM
  #21  
 
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Warm Friday morning greetings from Seoul to travelgourmet and early congratulations on (potential) future journey to our fine home of Singapore; well done. To date, have truly appreciated SIN as a place for family, work and residence.

(And concerning this almost-concluded Seoul business trip, pleased to inform that the Four Seasons Seoul is ~ two months away from opening her doors to the general public. Attended a FS Seoul related presentation earlier this week; am confident the property will be a welcome addition to the Seoul lodging scene.

The Westin Singapore should work well for you; she's a well-run property. Over the past few years, have enjoyed some good evenings of libations and dining at her Lobby Lounge and Seasonal Tastes restaurant with business colleagues.

Would be remiss in not mentioning our efficient Changi airport - and even that cherished carrier, Singapore Airlines. Concerning SIA, nothing to lose by staying abreast of ongoing offers via: singaporeair dot com/ On occasion, particularly good deals flying SQ ex-SIN in various classes to various nearby Asian (and other) countries.

Concerning Burma, have found some recent business trips to that country over the past year a fascinating change of pace from some of my other working destinations. Sadly, the working trips have largely been just that: hotels, office buildings and airports. You have received some good Burma suggestions from others.

Regarding beaches, the Maldives and other resorts have been on our short-list for years; we just can't seem to move on from one of our special favorites, the Amanpuri on Phuket. I had the privilege of initially staying at the Amanpuri shortly after she opened her doors in '88; love that retreat. To keep costs (somewhat) under control, we normally pick a long weekend in the off-season, usually after I've finished a few days of meetings in Bangkok. Perhaps for a future Asia journey for you. (And more later on one of her memorable sisters, the Amankora, Bhutan.)

Savor your planning, travelgourmet; happy for you. A Friday fly day for me, so early and warm weekend wishes to you and all from Seoul,

robert


... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
AskOksena is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 09:19 AM
  #22  
 
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My vote for Myanmar, such an amazing country!
Check out my blog if you need inspiration on what to do... http://bonatravels.com/2015/06/13/co...mmary-myanmar/
carmenbona is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:52 AM
  #23  
 
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It doesn't make sense to me to see just one or two of the sights only to head back to Colombo and fly out to the Maldives.

Is there a particular reason other than the idea that "you are there, make the most of it"? We aren't trying to cram everything in and are fine picking one place, but if there are special logistics that make it impossible or undesirable I would certainly be keen to hear about it. >>

fully agree with the others about leaving Sri Lanka to another time if all you have is 4-6 days - the logistics of getting to the bits that are worth travelling all that way to see are such that you will feel very short-changed if you just see one bit of it .

if however you were prepared to spend you 5-6 nights on the beach in SL, then you could see quite a lot - 3 nights in the cultural triangle, 2 nights in Kandy, and 5 on the beach would fit the bill nicely with a night left for colombo before your flight out. limit yourselves to 3 nights on the beach and you could see the tea country too - not the beach but unique and very relaxing if you want it to be.

just a thought!
annhig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:53 AM
  #24  
 
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PS - and the food is fantastic.
annhig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 04:28 PM
  #25  
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if however you were prepared to spend you 5-6 nights on the beach in SL, then you could see quite a lot - 3 nights in the cultural triangle, 2 nights in Kandy, and 5 on the beach would fit the bill nicely with a night left for colombo before your flight out.

I guess I'm just trying to figure out what the downside would be to doing something like the 3-2-1 schedule above, but nixing the beaches in favor of the Maldives?
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2015, 01:04 AM
  #26  
 
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I guess I'm just trying to figure out what the downside would be to doing something like the 3-2-1 schedule above, but nixing the beaches in favor of the Maldives?>>

because you would effectively lose a day by having to get back to Colombo and flying off to the Maldives.

and possibly 4 nights in the cultural triangle would be better, depending on your arrival time in Colombo at the beginning of the trip.
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Aug 3rd, 2015, 03:36 AM
  #27  
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because you would effectively lose a day by having to get back to Colombo and flying off to the Maldives

But I lose that day under your plan too. You have me going to Colombo the night before a flight back to Boston.
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2015, 05:20 AM
  #28  
 
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When I am drawing up an itinerary, I look carefully at the proportion of time spent in transit to the time spent doing/seeing/experiencing what I went there for. For me, the Singapore/Sri Lanka/Maldives would have too much in transit time for the amount of doing/seeing/experiencing time. Not only do you have an extra international flight (Colombo to Maldives) but also getting to where you are staying from Male is another flight. And flights always mean wasted time in airports. But that might not be true for you... you might be just fine with this amount of transit time in this itinerary.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2015, 08:06 AM
  #29  
 
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if you're anything like us, tg, once you are in SL, you really won't want to leave.
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Aug 3rd, 2015, 09:01 AM
  #30  
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Not only do you have an extra international flight (Colombo to Maldives)

Yes it is international, but it is 1.5 hours and the schedule is great. SIN-CMB isn't really bad either - 3.5 hours, but again, great times.

Like I said, Sri Lanka popped up precisely because the travel schedule is convenient. More convenient, in fact, than most of the other options I looked at. In some cases, much more convenient.

if you're anything like us, tg, once you are in SL, you really won't want to leave.

I'm okay with that. It provides an excuse to go back...
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2015, 12:21 PM
  #31  
 
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what are you waiting for then?
annhig is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2015, 03:19 PM
  #32  
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what are you waiting for then?

Not sure. Maybe some advice as to what the best itinerary would be for Sri Lanka (which you did offer and which I've socked away)?
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 4th, 2015, 06:21 PM
  #33  
 
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Tg

My family toured around Sri Lanka for 25 days last December/January and whilst the beaches in the South were nice and we enjoyed Galle for a couple of days, the highlights for us were the Cultural Triangle and the Tea Country. A feasible itinerary to see some highlights of these 2 areas would be:

Day 1.Arrive from Singapore on Sri Lankan at 11:05 and drive directly to Dambulla (3.5 hrs),visit Dambulla Caves (1.5hrs) and then drive to Sigiriya (30 min)for the night - look at Vil Uyana as a possible hotel.

Day 2.Visit Sigiriya Rock (2.5 hrs) and then drive to Polonnaruwa (1.5 each way) with 3-4 hrs at Polonnaruwa.

Day 3.Drive from Sigiriya to Kandy (2.5 hrs)to visit the Temple of the Tooth Complex (1.5 - 2 hrs)and then drive to Ceylon Tea Trails near Hatton (3.5 hrs).

Day 4 and 5. Spend time on walks,cycling,tea factory tour etc at Ceylon Tea Trails (we stayed at Castlereagh and loved it).

Day 6.Drive to Negombo to overnight before the flight to the Maldives - look at Wallawwa as a possible hotel.

This involves a fair bit of driving, but we always found time on the road quite fun with all the roadside colour Sri Lanka provides. It would also probably leave only 4 nights in the Maldives if I am reading you travel dates correctly and you want to have 2 days in Singapore at the start.
Greenhorn is online now  
Aug 4th, 2015, 06:59 PM
  #34  
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Greenhorn, thanks for the excellent detail, especially the hotel options. Ceylon Tea Trails looks amazing. I assume you would recommend a private driver? Anyone you recommend?

As for the time in the Maldives, as I see it, we would still have 5 nights. By my count, we'd have the following:

13-15 (2 nights) in Singapore
15-21 (6 nights) in Sri Lanka
21-26 (5 nights) in Maldives. Given arrival at the resort around 1pm and departure around the same or later, that would mean 4 full days on the ground, plus two half days on the ends.

FWIW, we are also traveling in business class for the long flights (and maybe the short flights if I need the BA tier points to maintain elite status), so we will be hitting the ground running if our experience on our trip to Vietnam is any indication. And we are still looking at ways to skip Singapore and go straight to Sri Lanka, but the frequent flyer gods are so far not amenable.
travelgourmet is offline  
Aug 4th, 2015, 07:42 PM
  #35  
 
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Tg

Yes, definitely a private driver. We arranged our driver with Boutique Sri Lanka - he was great and we had him for 19 days. I will try to find his name and let you know.

If you do go to Ceylon Tea Trails I recommend Castlereagh Bungalow. We visited Norwood and Summerville (not Tientsin) whilst we were staying at Castlereagh and if I was to return would choose Castlereagh again.

Forgot to add in my first post that the drive time from Ceylon Tea Trails to Negombo is about 4 hours.

I see how you could do 5 nights in the Maldives. I was assuming 2 full days in Singapore rather than 2 nights including the night of your arrival.
Greenhorn is online now  
Aug 4th, 2015, 07:51 PM
  #36  
 
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Tg

Should also add that it would be best to keep the same driver for the whole time. Most hotels in Sri Lanka provide driver accommodation/meals at no additional cost and although you would not need a driver at Ceylon Tea Trails(it has its own vehicles and drivers)given the daily cost of a car/driver, having the driver idle for a couple of days is insignificant in the scheme of things.
Greenhorn is online now  
Aug 4th, 2015, 08:04 PM
  #37  
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Thanks again. We may have figured out a way to add another day to Sri Lanka. We can route through Dubai and save some time because of flight schedules, while still keeping the mileage costs the same and staying in business class.
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Aug 4th, 2015, 08:13 PM
  #38  
 
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With an extra day you might consider staying overnight in Kandy - look at The Kandy House as a possible hotel. You could then visit the Peradeniya Gardens the next morning on the way south.
Greenhorn is online now  
Aug 5th, 2015, 07:22 AM
  #39  
 
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I think Greenhorn has given you some good advice. The itinerary she proposes is really packed, especially day 2 and day 3. But if you are up for it, you could see a lot.

We also used BSL, which I highly recommend, and they arranged the driver. I always recommend that people use an agency to arrange a driver as the agency will change out the car or the driver is there are problems. If you hire a private driver, you have no recourse if there are problems. We spent 4 nights at Tea Trails and kept our driver for that time, but did not use him.

Tea Trails is really fabulous. We had 4 nights there - three full days and just loved it. We stayed at Castlereigh as well and have recommended it to friends who also loved it.

We stayed at the Kandalama near Dambulla and had a great experience there, but some people don't like it. Likewise Vil Uyana gets great reviews from some people, panned by others. Look carefully at these to see what you might prefer.

We loved the Kandy House, which is located out of town.

If you choose to do this itinerary, do NOT choose the smallest car class, choose a slightly larger car as you will be spending a LOT of time in the car and you want to be comfortable.

I have a long trip report here from 2007, so it's old, but the historic sights haven't changed. Photos are at http://www.marlandc.com/Sri-lanka-2007 and include photos of the places we stayed as well as photos of the historic sights.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:24 AM
  #40  
 
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I would endorse the use of BSL to book accommodation and a car/driver, and also the Kandalama Hotel at Dambulla. if you followed the "slower" itinerary, you could see the Dambulla caves on the day you travel to Kandy, before you leave and see Sigiriya as a separate day trip.

I would also recommend strongly seeing the botanical gardens at Kandy - they were one of the [many] highlights of our trip.

We didn't go to Tea Trails - perhaps next time!
annhig is offline  

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