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Need help with Sri Lanka itinerary and hotels

Need help with Sri Lanka itinerary and hotels

Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 06:15 PM
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kdd
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Need help with Sri Lanka itinerary and hotels

Dear Fodorites,

I am really struggling with parts of my Sri Lanka itinerary and hotel choices.

Current plan in to arrive in Colombo very early morning flight and post breakfast etc drive to Ponnoruwala, Minneriya. Stay night near Sigiriya.

Day 2 visit Sigiriya, stay night

Day 3 - drive to Kandy visiting Dambulla on the way, see Kandian dance in the evening, stay the night in Kandy

Hotel choices based in availability are -

Monbatten Bungalow - though we will have a car with driver, the location up a steep hill is a concern, might hamper other activities in Kandy?

Second choice is Earls Regency - there are severql terrible reviews about bug infested rooms, including bed bug my worst nightmare, so not sure about this one

Ozo Kandy - also has its share of bad reviews, so rallynot sure which one to pick. please help!

Day 4 - Drive to Nuwara Eliya, take train to Ella which I understand is a very scenic leg of the journey. Originally had planned to stay a night in Nuwara Eliya but Ella sounds more quaint and less touristy, so chose to stay in Ella instead.

Day 5 - visit Kataragama and drive to Galle to stay the night

I have decided to dtop Yala due to reviews that say the park is rather overrated, overrun with jeeps and not exactly a pleasant experience - should I add Yala back into the itinerary

Day 6 - early evening drive from Galle to Colombo and stay the night

Day 7 - spend a day in Colombo and take late night flight out.-from whatever I have read about Colombo there seems to be nothing much of interest there though it is the capital city, is this correct? Should we skip spending any time in Colombo?

So many questions, please help!

Thanks!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 07:24 PM
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Are you not visiting Polonnaruwa or the Dambula Cave Temples? No doubt you can see the cave temples after your drive from the airport. But Polonnaruwa is a minimum of half a day.

I'd say no reason to spend time in Colombo. The nearest town to the airport is Negombo - plan to stay there before your drive to the cultural triangle, not in Colombo..

If it was me - and it isn't - I'd subtract the Colombo day and put it in the cultural triangle.

We opted not to go to Yala. The park is overcrowded and from reviews by friends, not work any effort.

It has been a decade sine we were there, but it's a place we still talk about returning to. Our photos:
http://www.marlandc.com/Sri-lanka-2007/Polonnaruwa/
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 10:02 PM
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I pretty much agree with Kathie comments but in addition:

1. If the hotels you are looking at have terrible reviews, why would you consider them?

2. Are you organising all this yourself? If so consider ask for quotes and suggestions from tour agents. Sri Lanka is one of the few places in the world where agents can actually add value and, arguably, save money. They have a vested interested in ensuring that you do not end up in a bed bug infested cesspit! With such a short time there, an agent will enable you to maximise your time and will have access to accommodation you probably won't be able to source.

3. Re staying at the top of a hill in Kandy. You have a driver who will be there for you to take you wherever you want to go whenever, so it shouldn't really make any difference where you stay. May be cooler up there with nice views.

4. If it fits in with your route then Colombo has a few places of interest- Galle Face Green (and the adjacent hotel) and the absolutely manic, Pettah market. Apart from those we struggled to find much of interest.

5. I highly recommend a train ride wherever it fits in with your schedule. First class is aircon and slightly more comfortable but second is vastly more interesting
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 04:45 PM
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If I am reading this correctly, you are staying in a different hotel every night. I would never do that, even with a driver, but of course, it's up to you.

I am in the final stages of planning my September trip to Sri Lanka, and my almost final itinerary is as follows:

1 night Negambo (late night flight arrival)

4 nights Dambulla (as a base for visiting ancient sites)

2 nights Ella

2 nights somewhere near Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Galle did not look interesting to me, and I decided to skip Kandy, since I'm more of a nature person. To each his own, I suppose, but your itinerary makes me tired just looking at it, and I'm a tireless traveler.
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Old Feb 24th, 2017, 01:56 AM
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kdd
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Hi All,

Thanks for your input. One thing that is clear from what you have said is that Yala can be eliminated from the itinerary.

We have 2 nights stay in Sigiriya to cover Ponnoruwala, Sigiriya and Dambulla.

I too absolutely dislike staying every night in a different hotel but I also dont want long hours of driving on hill roads and then back tracking to go back to the same hotel and our trip,is only to total 6 days.

Perhaps instead of staying one night in Galle, we can stay one more night in Ella and just drive back straight to Colombo, that way we cut down the check-in/outs?
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Old Feb 24th, 2017, 10:10 AM
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I think that would be wise. You are trying to cover a lot of ground in your short trip. We took two weeks to over that much and would have enjoyed even more time in Sri Lanka.
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Old Feb 24th, 2017, 04:50 PM
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Yes, Kathie is correct as usual. That would be a wise decision to stay two nights in Ella, and drop Galle entirely. If you look at a map, Galle is way far south, and it's silly to go that far for one night. Also, Ella has a bunch of walks and waterfalls to keep you busy. I advise you to ask your driver NOW about the driving distance for your proposed itinerary, and make sure it's what you want.

I would also advise cutting that last night in Colombo, and maybe adding it in Kandy, or in Sigiriya. You can leave super-early that last day in Ella, and spend a little time in Colombo before you leave. That's what I am planning to do on my last day--some lunch, and a little walk in Colombo, and it's nice knowing the airport is close by.
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Old Feb 24th, 2017, 05:48 PM
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Oops, I meant ask your driver now about driving times, not driving distances.
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Old Feb 25th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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I agree about dropping Yala and in any event you don't have long enough to get there.

I also agree about dropping Galle; though we loved it and could have stayed longer, it's too far off your route to make it worthwhile.

In Kandy we stayed at the Theva Residence - it was high in the hills but as you'll have a driver that shouldn't be a problem. The views were lovely and the food utterly delicious so I can thoroughly recommend it. don't miss the Botanical gardens or tea in the Queen's hotel as well as the usual sights there.

I can't help you with where to stay in Ella - we stayed in a Tea planter's mansion in NE and that was isolated, so though it was a beautiful place, I wouldn't choose it again.

And do check the journeys that you're planning on doing - it is amazing how long it takes to travel what look like very short distances on the map.
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Old Feb 25th, 2017, 09:34 AM
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Yes, Ann is quite right. And if you look to Google for drive times you need to multiply their times by two or three to get an approximation. Clearly, the folks at Google have never been to Sri Lanka.
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Old Feb 26th, 2017, 01:52 AM
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While in SL last February, in Kandy we stayed at Thilanka Hotel. It was arranged by our agent and has driver accomodations. It was up on a hill and had nice views. I think it was around d $80 a night but you may be able to book it for less online. I was happy with the hotel overall.
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