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jenny21 Apr 29th, 2013 11:19 AM

Sri Lanka - 15 night itinerary
Hi Everyone - I am new to this forum but I was hoping I could get your feedback on this itinerary for 15 nights in Sri Lanka Sept/Oct 2013.

Below is our rough itinerary and some key things we would like to see while we are there. Are we doing too much? Any recommendations on accommodations, etc would be appreciated!

Thanks so much!

Cultural Triangle - 3 nights Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla

Kandy - 3 nights Pinwalla Orphanage

Ella/Horton Plains/Nuwara Eliya - 2 nights Little Adam's peak, tea fields

Yala - 2 nights - Safari in the NP

Galle - 3 nights

Colombo - 1 night

Kathie Apr 29th, 2013 12:22 PM

I'd recommend you take a night from Kandy and add it to the Cultural Triangle. We found Kandy a bit of a disappointment. And Everyone I know who visited the Pinwella Elephant Orphanage felt it was a big disappointment. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

In the Cultural Triangle, we stayed at the Kandalama and loved it. We also loved the Kandy House.

Our photos might be of interest:

Have a wonderful trip. We loved Sri Lanka.

Craig Apr 29th, 2013 12:37 PM

Not sure why you would want to spend 3 nights in Galle. There's just not that much to do there. Near Kandy is the botanic gardens but you can do that on the way to Tea Country. One night in Kandy is plenty. We did not bother with the orphanage. You might want to spend more time in Tea Country. If money for lodging is not a concern, Tea Trails is worth every penny. I also recommend Kandalama in the Cultural Triangle and Kandy House. You have not scheduled any beach time. The area around Tangalle would be good for this.

jenny21 Apr 29th, 2013 06:03 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

Kathie - We will take a night from Kandy and add it to the Cultural Triangle. I have read your trip report so I have already looked into the Kandalama - it looks beautiful. Do you recommend any good place to see elephants if not the orphanage?

Craig - We pretty much had an extra night so we put it in Galle - I wasnt sure if beaches along our route would have good weather in late Sept/early October. What do you think?
I did look at Tea Trails and it is gorgeous but out of our price range.

Kathie Apr 29th, 2013 06:16 PM

We saw herds of wild elephants at a park in the cultural triangle - maybe Habanara? Seeing wild elephants was great, much better than the poor captives at Pinwella.

annhig Apr 30th, 2013 12:01 PM

jenny - welcome. your itinerary is strikingly similar to the one we did last September/October. if you click on my screen name you can see how it worked out.

BTW I would agree with taking a night from Kandy and giving it to Kandalama, but not changing your plan to spend 3 nights in Galle - we loved it there and found that 2 nights was not long enough.

jenny21 May 1st, 2013 05:38 PM

annhig - thanks so much I am about halfway through your trip report and it is very entertaining reading!
One thing I am really struggling to figure out is where do the drivers stay along the way and how is it paid for, etc?

Kathie May 1st, 2013 06:18 PM

If you hire a driver through an agency (which I recommend), the driver's accommodations are provided by the hotels you stay in. Their accommodations are a part of the fee you pay for your car and driver.

jenny21 May 2nd, 2013 03:52 AM

Thanks Kathie. Yes I think we are going to book a driver through BSL as you recommended.
What about tipping? I have seen a lot of varying opinions on what to tip guides. I also wondered what was an appropriate amount to tip the driver after 2 weeks? I do not want to insult anyone but I also have a tendency to overtip.

annhig May 2nd, 2013 12:53 PM


in some places eg the Kandalama there is accommodation provided for the drivers at or near the hotel. effectively you pay for it within the hotel bill.

in other places where there is no accommodation for drivers at the hotel, they stay in what are effectively hostels and the cost is included in the fee you are paying for the driver and vehicle.

at the end of our 2 week trip we didn't know how much to tip our driver either; in the end we gave him the sri lankan equivalent of £50 [about 10% of his fee for the whole trip] and our old binoculars as he is interested in bird-life and it might help him with his guests.

we got the feeling that he didn't expect anything as he'd actually arranged for someone else to take us to the airport and we had to get him to come to the hotel specially to give him anything at all.

crellston May 2nd, 2013 10:59 PM

I tend to agree with much of what has been posted above except that I found the Elephant orphanage to be a good experience ( although I am not sure how much of an orphanage it is anymore?) . It was possible to get very close to the elephants down by the river which was an impressive sight. I am always cautious about any places where animals are supposedly cared for and are tourist attractions but, as far as I could tell, these seemed well looked after.

Kandy has a lot going for it but 2 nights is enough.

Little Adams peak was a bit of a disappointment but we had just come form climbing big Adams peak.

We loved our time in Galle and spent about 3 nights their before heading of to Negombo and the airport ( a very long drive but I believe there is now a new road which shortens the journey considerably.) lot to do in Galle and some great restaurants. We ended up there after spending some time on the beach in Weligama and Goyabokka which we enjoyed but were very disappointed busty the resorts closer to Galle so we just kept on going.

Columbo is entirely missable in my opinion.

If you do end up going with BSL then do ask them to arrange a train ride for part of the way in the tea country. It is cheap, easily arranged and one of our most memorable experiences in SL. Click on my screen name for more info on this.

Have a great time

annhig May 3rd, 2013 09:15 AM

I agree with most of what Crellston has posted, but IME BSL won't arrange trains - you'll have to do that yourselves, probably once you have arrived in SL.

jenny21 May 4th, 2013 04:12 AM

Thanks everyone for all the helpful information! I am making some changes and additions to our itinerary and it is coming along. I can't wait for the trip! Did I mention it will be our honeymoon? :)

annhig May 4th, 2013 05:17 AM

congrats jenny. you'll have a wonderful time in Sri Lanka - what a great way to start your married life.

Kathie May 4th, 2013 06:46 AM

Best wishes, Jenny. Have a wonderful time in Sri Lanka.

rose3008 May 4th, 2013 09:17 AM

hi, lovely reading everyone's opinions! I hope you are a great fan of coconut!! no one has mentioned the exciting taste thrills that are in store for you!! coconut chutney on everything! all those flavourful curries & gorgeous vegetables....I found all the food incredible! the people are very sweet & the buddhist temples are gorgeous! I went to all the UNESCO sites which I think you will also be visiting. enjoy your trip! remember to wear modest light clothing!

annhig May 4th, 2013 11:47 AM

yes, jenny, the food is terrific - some of the best we've had anywhere, though i never did get used to curry for breakfast!

light loose clothing is indeed the thing to take, though it can be cool in the hills, and do take an umbrella.

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