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Need advice for honeymoon in Sri Lanka

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Oct 22nd, 2015, 12:47 PM
  #1
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Need advice for honeymoon in Sri Lanka

My husband and I were married July 4th but are taking our honeymoon in December due to schedules. I just booked tickets Dec. 4 - 20 for two weeks in Sri Lanka. I would love recommendations for not to miss sites, funky mid-priced hotels and the best beaches to visit in December. We like to squeeze a bit of everything into our vacations: culture, beach and nature. I love spicy food and we are adventurous eaters. I'm scouring all the old posts for ideas but welcome your recommendations. We are in our 40's active and pretty well traveled.
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 02:01 PM
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Hi BryklynT,

great idea to visit SL for a honeymoon - and congratulations!

when you say that you just booked tickets, do you mean flights? or something more?

anyway, in 16 days, you should have time to see quite a lot of the country. a classic route which gives you a good feel for the different aspects of the country would be to go from the airport to the Cultural triangle [temples, palaces and sculptures] and spend a few days there, then go south via Kandy, [the Temple of the Tooth and gardens] to the Hill Country [walks and tea plantations] and then south again to the south coast/Galle, [old fort and culture] finishing with a few days on the beaches south of Colombo.

you could also make for the east coast near Trincomalee but you would probably need to lose some other parts of such a trip.

I would suggest getting hold of a guide book or two and seeing what aspects of SL interest you most and plan around those.
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 03:15 PM
  #3
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After reading a number of trip reports and searching online your recommendation sounds like the right mix. I love to do a few days of cultural sight seeing a few communing with nature and then some total relaxation. What is a good base for the cultural triangle? I've found a number of amazing hotels but most are already fully booked and quite expensive, especially Tea Trails. Any recommendation for places with great atmosphere but less lux and costly?

Thanks!
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 02:47 AM
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East Coast - Trinco, Passekuddah etc are completely off season and sea will be very rough in December.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 02:50 AM
  #5
 
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For cultural triangle...

Would you like something rustic near the cultural triangle - sort of lost in the woods place? Check out Galkadawala Forest Lodge.

Several bigger "Hotels" - Cinnamon Lodge, Kandalama, and if you have a big budget then look at Ullagala or Vil Uyana.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 05:00 AM
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Mohammed - glad you chimed in - I wasn't sure about which coast was best in December.

BklynT - if you have read Kathies' TR, I think that you will have read about the Kandala at Dambulla - well placed for Polonnawura and Sigirya [excuse spelling] but too far south for Anurduadapura. There are then several very nice hotels in and around Kandy [good for a couple of nights] and Nurwara Eliya. we stayed at the Jetwings St Andrews which is an old Tea planters' mansion - absolutely lovely but a bit remote from the town if you like to stroll round in the evenings or be more in the thick of things.

After that, some people like to go to Yala, but we felt that the wildlife there was being put unnecessarily under stress there by the tourist industry, so Mohammed may have a better idea for some animal/bird spotting. an alternative is the Tea Trails, but if that's full there appear to be some similar alternatives

We also loved Galle and there are some lovely hotels there too - there is a Jetwing outside the town, [the lighthouse] or the Fort in the old citadel.

from there it is only 2 hours or so to Colombo on the new road.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 08:15 AM
  #7
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Thanks for all of the input, I'm now clear that the beaches in the East are out and will plan on beaches in the South.

Another question: It seems the be best way to get around is to hire a driver, can you do so in each place to get from place to place (even for long hauls) or do you need to hire a driver for the whole trip and if so do you need to do that via an agency and have them book the hotels? I prefer to travel very independently and also want to keep costs down but I'm not sure if it will be a hassle to keep finding a new driver. Our goal is to do at least two nights in each place, preferably 3 as we want this to be relaxing and don't need to see everything.

Thank you all.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 09:38 AM
  #8
 
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You do need a car and driver. Given that you plan to spend just two to three nights in each place, I'd recommend hiring one driver for the whole trip. It will likely work out to less money than hiring a driver at each new location. When you are in the Cultural Triangle area, you will need your driver every day to get to the various places you will want to visit. If you were, say, spending a week in one place, you might not want the driver for that whole time.

I always recommend that people use an agency to hire a driver. That way, if something goes wrong with the vehicle or if the driver just isn't a good fit for you, the agency can trade out the car or driver or both.

If you haven't used a driver before, remember that the driver is your employee. He will want you to enjoy your trip and will be very willing to accommodate whatever stops you want/don't want.

"we want this to be relaxing and don't need to see everything." Believe me, you will not come close to seeing everything in a mere two weeks! Sri Lanka has so much to offer.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Thanks Kathie, do you recommend using a tour operator for hotels and driver? I never do as I like to do my own planning but I'm thinking it might be easier to relax if someone else is planning/securing. I just emailed BSL, are there others you'd recommend? I also emailed a driver that someone here recommended. In Fodorites' world I'm planning this last minute but for me this is real advance planning. These forums and trip reports are incredibly helpful.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 02:15 PM
  #10
 
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Suggest you to make booking soon as I hear reports that the coming season Dec/Jan is very heavily booked out.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 02:17 PM
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In Sri Lanka, I found it helped to have a local agent secure hotels and a car and driver. You still need to do all of your own planning, of course. When I went, it was hard to get reservations at high-end places without going through a local agency, like BSL.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #12
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Thanks, let's hope they get back to me promptly. I heard some say they were hard to contact.
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