Sri Lanka 9 days in February

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Dec 29th, 2012, 05:24 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Sri Lanka 9 days in February

Hi!

We are 2 newbies for SL. We have booked our hotels (many of our first choices were fully booked so we got nervous...). We are now looking for a driver/guide+car. We also wonder if our plan below is feasible, especially from Haputale to Galle - Google Maps says 3h40 min, I know it's much longer in reality but by how much?

FEB 07 arrival midnight, hotel 5th Lane House, Colombo
FEB 08 Colombo
FEB 09 Colombo-Dambulla (Wild Grass Resort)
FEB 10 Sigiriya
FEB 11 Dambulla caves
FEB 12 Anuradhapura (tour the site by bike?)
FEB 13 Dambulla- Haputal (Melheim Resort)
FEB 14 Haputal-Galle (Tamarind Hill Hotel)
FEB 15 Galle
FEB 16 Galle-Colombo by train (morning)
Colombo-Airport (evening, flight at 23.00)

Thanks much in advance!
chinlin is offline  
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Dec 31st, 2012, 03:45 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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hi, chinlin,

looks like a great trip, though a lot of driving - Dambulla to Anuradhapura and back in a day, is a loong way, especially when you are planning another long trip the next day - Dambulla to Haputale will take you all day. if you swapped Anuradhapura for Polunnawura [which is a lot closer] you would still have a bit of a drive, but nothing too dreadful.

can I suggest that you change your trip round a bit, to enable you to cut down on the driving?

if you spent only one night in colombo when you arrive, and set off late the next day, you could put the other night in colombo at the end of your trip, which would be a much more efficient use of your time.

that would give you this:

FEB 07 arrival midnight, hotel 5th Lane House, Colombo
FEB 08 Colombo-Dambulla (Wild Grass Resort)
FEB 09 Polunawura
FEB 10 Sigiriya and caves [one in the morning, another in the evening]
FEB 11 Dambulla - Haputale (Melheim Resort
FEB 12 Haputale
FEB 13 Haputal-Galle (Tamarind Hill Hotel)
FEB 14 Galle
FEB 15 Galle - Colombo [train]
FEB 16 Colombo (evening flight at 23.00)

this also gives you a hotel base for your touring of Colombo on the last day until it's time to leave for the airport.

if you can't do this due to the hotels being booked up, I would still suggest substituting Polunawura for Anuradapura.

have a great trip!
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Dec 31st, 2012, 05:49 AM
  #3
 
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I think Ann's suggestion makes sense. Place may look close on a map but take many hours of driving to get there. Polunawura is a more impressive site than Anuradapura.
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Dec 31st, 2012, 08:37 AM
  #4
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great advise! it makes great sense, thank you both!

i first planed Polunawura but read in a forum that Anuradapura was better. haven't never been to either sites and both being similar on the paper it's difficult to choose. but anyhow too much driving is not a good idea at all so we'll go for Polunawura.

i booked my hotels on Agoda.com (good user interface and often cheaper than other similar websites). the only one reservation i can cancel or modify is Hatapule. i'll maybe try to call the hotels directly.

driver: Namunu offers a daily rate of 4500+1750 (driver's food & lodging) which i find reasonable, but it's limited to 100km/day which means I will pay lot's of extra milage charge (45/km) for Colombo-Dambulla and Hatapule-Galle whereas some other days are way below the limit. do you think i could ask him to make a package of X km for the entire trip of 6 days?

thank you both again and happy new year's eve! champagne from Provence!

chinlin
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Dec 31st, 2012, 11:33 AM
  #5
 
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shame about the hotel bookings, but i'm sure it'll work out. the advantage of having a driver is that it is nothing like as tiring as driving yourself, and you can look out of the window, ask the driver to stop, spend some time en route at places that interest you - it's up to you.

re the driver, so far as I'm aware, the 100 kms/day is an average over the whole trip, but you should check. the main thing is the time journeys take - there is a speed limit of 60 kms/hour which our driver certainly observed very carefully, due to the speed traps and cops who seemingly lurk on every decent stretch of road to catch out those who out of frustration so much as anything else take the opportunity finally to put their foot down.

if you are interested in our experiences on our recent trip, click on my screen name to read my as yet unfinished trip report.

have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
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Dec 31st, 2012, 11:07 PM
  #6
 
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Our driver was also named Namunu ( MAYBE it is the same guy?) if so, although there was technically a limit on mileage he completely ignored it saying that as long as his clients did not abuse it by asking to go on ridiculously long trips, his main concern was that they did not miss out on any sights. BTW you definitely made the correct decision to switch Anurahadpura for Polonuurawa . We visited both and much preferred the latter. More details on my TR http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-and-curry.cfm
crellston is offline  
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Jan 5th, 2013, 05:53 AM
  #7
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I believe it's the same driver since I got his details from this forum (was it Thursday?). I'm waiting for Namunu's email confirmation, I'll check the milage thing with him again and make sure to also agree on the car type. BTW do you think a 4x4 would make a bit difference than a regular car given the poor condition of the roads?

Hotels: luckily I managed to change or cancel the reservations even for those marked non-modifiable. I think we have a really good plan now thanks to your advises and reports. i'm really grateful! We will now spend our first night at Negombo close to the airport to save time both ways (from airport and to Dambulla) since we arrive late and leave relatively early the next day.

I'm posting the modified schedule again with hotels in case it could be of help to someone, and I'll return in due time with a report!

FEB 07 arrival 23.00, Morning Star Guesthouse, Negombo
FEB 08 Negombo-Dambulla (Wild Grass Resort)
FEB 09 Polunawura
FEB 10 Sigiriya and Dambulla caves
FEB 11 Dambulla - Haputale (Melheim Resort)
FEB 12 Haputale
FEB 13 Haputal-Galle (Tamarind Hill Hotel)
FEB 14 Galle
FEB 15 Galle - Colombo by train (Galle Face Hotel)
FEB 16 Colombo walking tour (flight at 1 am)
chinlin is offline  
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Jan 5th, 2013, 07:26 AM
  #8
 
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Hi Chinlin - IMO much, much better.

hope you have a wonderful trip, and come back loving Sri Lanka as much as we did.
annhig is offline  
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Jan 13th, 2013, 12:55 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Sounds like an action packed holiday, Sri Lanka is full of things to do and amazing places to see, ive been to all 8 of the world heritage sites in sri lanka and all of them are spectacular, seems like you will be visiting a few too! Galle is a wonderful place! sigiriya is great too.


have a look at my travel blog - http://blog.kancando.com where i have written a lot about sri lanka, i hope it will help any of you planning to visit sri lanka get some ideas! and i would love to hear from people who have visited!
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