Possible Trip to Sri Lanka

Oct 2nd, 2012, 10:06 AM
  #1  
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Possible Trip to Sri Lanka

As some of you who frequent the Asia forums may know, I was in the midst of planning a trip to Burma for early next year - only to discover that hotels are selling out fast and prices are rising quickly among the rooms that remain. I reconsidered our trip and began considering some of the other options that came to mind, including Sri Lanka. I would be travelling with three others and we're looking at the first couple of weeks in March. Tentatively we're looking at:

1 night in Negombo
4 nights in the Cultural Triangle
2 nights in Kandy
3 nights in Tea Country
2 nights in Galle
2 nights in Colombo

What do folks who've visiting Sri Lanka think? Enough time in each place? Too rushed? Other must-sees?

We enjoy culture, heritage, history, nature / wildlife, and love Buddhist temples.

Thanks for your feedback, suggestions, and advice.
tripplanner001 is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Overall, this looks like a good itinerary, I would cut out Colombo all together and redistribute those days to one more in the Cultural Triangle and one more in either Tea Country or Kandy.

With your love of Buddhist temples, you'll love the cultural triangle area. My trip report is getting old at this point, but the cultural triangle area should be unchanged.
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-sri-lanka.cfm

photos at www.marlandc.co,
Kathie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions, Kathie. I actually printed out your trip report and read it on my commute home from work last night (very helpful!). I will take a look at your photos later today, which I'm sure are lovely.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 11:39 AM
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If you enjoy nature/wildlife, I would include a 2 or 3 night safari at Yala National Park, known for its density of leopards and elephants. Unfortunately we visited Sri Lanka during the civil war and the park was closed but others on this forum have enjoyed it. We were not that impressed with Galle but it is worth stopping there for a few hours if you are coming from the east and heading back to the airport. We did not spend any time in Colombo. There is not that much to do in Kandy other than the Temple of the Tooth and the Botanic Garden. We stayed there one night and accomplished both. Your time in the Cultural Triangle and Tea Country sound about right, although we did 3 nights Cultural Triangle and 4 nights Tea Country.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 11:55 AM
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Thanks Craig. I appreciate your suggestion of Yala, and will check it out. Also, would you recommend a different destination other than Galle on the coast to stop for a couple of days before heading back to the airport?
tripplanner001 is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2012, 01:10 PM
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I agree that Colombo is underwhelming, and that trying to fit in Yala is a good idea. I couldn't get decent accommodation there and skipped it, so you should book early if you decide to do that.

Whether Galle is a good base for the coast depends in what you want to do. It's a pleasant enough tourist town, but if you want beach time you need to be somewhere else. If you want peaceful beach time you probably need to be further east.

My TR is also getting dated but is a bit more recent than Kathie's - click on my name.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 02:44 PM
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Thanks Thursdaysd. I'll be sure to check out your report - and Craig's too. As to your question regarding Galle, we're not really beach people, but are interested in some place to unwind for a couple of days, maybe a few hours on the sand, do some nice walks around town, and seeing one or two sights.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Kathie, your photos are awesome!!

There seems to be conflicting information regarding anti-malarials online. According to the CDC, it seems that anti-malarials aren't advised for Colombo, Galle, and Nuwara Eliya, but suggested for other areas. On the malarial map provided by the British NHS, it seems anti-malarials aren't advised anywhere in the most popular toruist areas. And I'm reading different reports elsewhere. Did you take anti-malarials when you visited Sri Lanka. While I'll be sure to consult my doc well before I travel, I also want to get a sense from you who've been there and done it. Thanks.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 05:40 AM
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Remember we were there in 2007, while the war was still going on. There was more malaria (malarial control wasn't as good during the war) then, so we followed the cdc recommendations and took malarone. If I were to go now to the same areas we went to in 2007, I probably wouldn't take anti-malarials, though I would consult with my travel med doc again.

I will say that we got some mosquito bites everywhere we were. I seem to be especially delectable, so even with good controlled-release deet coverage, I still get bitten.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 06:14 AM
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tp- we stayed in a villa on an almost deserted beach near the town of Tangalle. There was not much to do in that area but it was very pleasant. You can read about it in my trip report. It is not far from Yala National Park.

We took anti-malarials back in 2008. Do consult your travel doc for a recommendation.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 07:20 AM
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Thanks to you both, Kathie and Craig. I will definitely consult my travel doc a couple of months before I go.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Based on some of your trip reports, Boutique Sri Lanka seems to be one of the more highly recommended travel agencies in the country and I've chosen to work with them for my trip. I've been working closely with Tharani, who's been very pleasant and responsive.

Now we're getting down to the hard part - nailing down the hotels. When my family and I travel, we usually prefer to stay at 4-star properties, but also enjoy boutique hotels and historic and heritage establishments. Through guidebooks and some of your trip reports here, I've been able to acquire a decent idea of what are some places worth staying at, although not all of them may fit our budget.

In the Cultural Triangle, we're looking closely at the Chaaya Village and the Thilanka. Has anyone stay at either of these hotels and can provide any advice on them? Also, several of the properties seem to be clustered around Dambulla and Habarana? Is one location better than the other?

In Kandy, offered hotels are Earl's Regency or Chaaya Citadel? Any suggestions there?

In Tea Country, I've been given the options of Tea Factory and St. Andrew's. Again, does anyone have any experience with either and can provide guidance?

Thanks much.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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I didn't stay at the Tea Factory but I ate lunch there. I ate lunch and dinner at St. Andrews. The Tea Factory looked to me to be much more upmarket than St.Andrews, but it is well out of town. Not that there is much IN town....
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Oct 4th, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Thank you Thursdaysd.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 09:21 PM
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We stayed at the Tea Factory, and can highly recommend it. You can find more about our trip at this link.

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-sri-lanka.cfm
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Oct 5th, 2012, 03:17 AM
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Thanks Leigh. Tea Factory it is! I'll also be sure to check out your trip report later today.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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What can I say, after a couple of weeks of back and forth with Boutique Sri Lanka, I'm finally booked!!!!! *does happy dance* A special thanks goes out to Kathie, Craig, Leigh, and Thursdaysd, for the advice and guidance you've provided me as I planned my trip - and thanks for the wealth of information you provide in your travel reports!

Here are some observations I've made as I planned my trip. I post them in hopes that it'll prove helpful to others who are interested in planning a similar trip.

Boutique Sri Lanka is a joy to work with. I had the pleasure of working with Tharani, who is extremely responsive, patient, and knowledgeable.

In some respects, the planning resembled my earlier attempt at Burma as there are limited availability among the most sought-after hotels, even though I'm not travelling for another five months, and rooms go quickly. For example, between last week and this, in the time it took to confirm dates, etc., the Tea Factory sold out. However, unlike in Burma, there is a wider range of options. And it's easy to book with a credit card on your own if you need to, which was the case for me in a couple of instances.

My itinerary will be as follows:

4 nights in Singapore
3 nights in Penang
1 night in Colombo - Galle Face Regency
4 nights in the Cultural Triangle - Cinnamon Lodge
2 nights in Kandy - Cinnamon Citadel
3 nights in Nuwara Eliya - St. Andrew's
2 nights in Galle - Jetwing Heritage Villa
2 nights in Shanghai

While this is by no means a comprehensive itinerary for Sri Lanka, we felt it will give us a good introduction to the country and sample some of the top sights. And no matter how much time we spend somewhere, we find that there's always reason to return to the places we enjoy most. I did attempt to include Yala, but the accommodations were limited in availability and what was available was beyond our budget for this trip (something to include on a return visit). And in the end, we decided to include one night in Colombo, to at least get a glimpse of the city. And Shanghai, that was thrown in at the last minute as the best flights I could find have us routing through it, and we figured "why not?" as we've never been.

If someone else who's planning a trip to Sri Lanka is reading this and has questions, please feel free to ask away. I'm happy to answer them as long as I'm able.

Thanks again to everyone here.
tripplanner001 is online now  
Oct 11th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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Have a wonderful time!

Are you able to do the layover in Shanghai that doesn't require a visa?
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Oct 11th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Thanks Kathie. Yes, the Shanghai layover will be for 47 hours, so we'll be doing the Transit Without Visa. It was too hard to pass up given that that we would be connecting through there anyway and wouldn't have to shell out the costs for a visa.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Great!
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