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Sri Lanka & Maldives Thoughts - First week of October

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May 10th, 2012, 12:12 AM
  #1
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Sri Lanka & Maldives Thoughts - First week of October

I was pretty set on going to Sri Lanka but some research on the lonely planet forums brings me here...there was a lto of grumbling that Sri Lanka is expensive and rips off tourists. Any thoughts on Sri Lanka becoming overly touristy? We are certainly not backpackers so I was probably looking at the wrong forum. I would like to go somewhere from Hong Kong during the first week of October - Golden Week in China. We are interested in hiking, scenery, animals, a little culture. A nice beach is ok but the ones in Sri Lanka don't thrill me. We would have 7 full days on the ground, and I'm not interested in Columbo.

Horton Plains looks great, so we would need to stay near by correct? It seems in a week we could arrive in Columbo, then spend the rest of the time in Kandy / Nuwara Elia, but I think this could get a bit...boring. Could we do 3-4 nights in Sri Lanka - Colombo then train to Kandy, see Horton Plains, hike in tea fields, and then go to the Maldives?

Is there enough to do in Sri Lanka for 7-8 days without going to the beach?

As for the Maldives - to stay in the type of resort I like, it's USD $600 + a night (for what you get for $250 in Thailand). Is the Maldives really that special? We DO NOT scuba dive - husband is asthmatic. I like a nice beach, but after years of tanning and then seeing my skin wrinkle, it's not as appealing.

Any other ideas for this amount of time in the first week of October from Hong Kong? We also considered: Istanbul (will save for a longer european trip), New Zealand (wrong season + pricey), Northern India (Sri Lanka looks nicer), Bhutan (looks redundant, treking every day + expensive).
We are not interested in China, Japan, Korea or SEA Asia.

Thanks in advance!
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May 10th, 2012, 01:51 AM
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October is the wettest month for Sri Lanka so maybe not the best time to travel. That said we were there in Feb 2011 and were literally knee deep in flood water in what was supposedly the driest month. The locals told us that the seasons had changed radically in recent years. The east and west coast also have different monsoons.

here is a link to my trip report;
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-and-curry.cfm

thursdaysd, femi and leightravelclub also have posted comprehensive report.

Is there enough to do in 7-8 days absolutely! however, although it is a small country travelling times can be deceptively long. A car with driver guide would be essential IMO.

You are right to miss out Columbo but some of the beaches are very nice. The tea country is fantastic as is the cultural triangle around Dambulla Sirigiya etc.

Hopefully mohammed, who lives in SL will see this post as he is a mine of good info.
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May 10th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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There is enough to keep you busy and interested in Sri Lanka for weeks. I expect the grumbling on LP is related to the increase in tourism since the war is over. We were there while the war was still going on. My trip report is older than the ones crellston cites, but may still be useful in choosing upper-range accommodations and in cultural sites. Photos are here:
www.marlandc.com/SriLanka/index.htm and there is a link on the first page to my trip report.
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May 10th, 2012, 07:07 AM
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Don't underestimate the number of sights Sri Lanka has to offer just because it is a small country. You'll find plenty to do in 7 or 8 days. I have been since after the war was over and never encountered any of the typical tourist rip offs that so many travellers loath. I liked the Cultural Triangle and the Hill country. I wouldn't hesitate going back to Sri Lanka.

The Maldives are hands down the BEST beaches I have seen. One of my favourite travel experiences in this part of the world is taking a float plane over the atolls. The Maldives are an expensive destination. Male is only an hour by air from Colombo.
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May 10th, 2012, 08:07 PM
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Yes, the Maldives are pricey. I have seen pretty amazing beaches in the caribbean (Anguilla), but the Maldives looks gorgeous. I just get bored....

Would you recommend 4-5 days Sri Lanka then 3 maldives or just spend the whole time in Sri Lanka?
As for 7-8 days in Sri Lanka, how would you divide the time between Hill Country & Kandy? Where else to go?
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May 11th, 2012, 06:52 AM
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With a mere 7-8 days in Sri Lanka, I'd divide my time between the cultural triangle and the hill country, with perhaps a stop in Kandy. You could do this:

Arrival in Columbo and go immediately to Dambulla (Cultural Triangle), spend 3 nights there which will allow you to see the three closest highlights of the cultural triangle: the Dambulla Cave Temples, Pollonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. Then on to Kandy for one or two nights, followed by three nights in the hill country.

Where to go and what to do depend a lot on your interests. Read some of the trip reports. For instance, we were especially interested in Buddhist Heritage sites, Femi was interested in wildlife and we had very different trips. You'll have to choose your focus, as there is much to see and do there.

Since you mentioned northern India and Bhutan, let me offer another option: Sikkim. Once an independent kingdom, it is now part of India. We had a fabulous time there in a remarkably untouristed spot where we could explore Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and see the Himalayas. photos at www.marlandc.com/Sikkim/index.htm again, there is a link to my trip report on the photo page.
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May 20th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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tansmets,

we are going to Sri Lanka for 14 days, and had difficulty fitting everything we want to do into our itinerary.

we are doing more or less what Kathie says for the first part of the trip - 3 nights in Dambulla, Kandy for one or two nights, followed by three nights in the hill country. After that we go to the south for 4 nights before going to Colombo at the end of our trip, hopefully to see England retain the T20 [cricket] championship!

I don't think that you will find it difficult to fill your time.
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