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Sri Lanka and where else?

Old Sep 18th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Sri Lanka and where else?

I was thinking about visiting Sri Lanka and southern India for 3-4 weeks in January. For various reasons I have decided against the India part of the trip and would like to replace those 2 weeks with another country that would have an easy connection to/from Sri Lanka. I am not interested in a beach vacation in the Maldives but would be open to an other suggestions, and the flight connections you would advise. Our plane tickets have not been purchased yet, so we. could fly to/through any country that would be convenient . Our trip would start from Boston.
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 01:33 PM
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while we were in SL we met several people who were from Thailand - they said that there was a really good connection to Bangkok.

here's the link to the routes that Air Sri lanka flies:

http://www.srilankan.com/en_uk/plan-.../flight-routes

hope that helps!
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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There are also direct flights from Singapore so you could easily do 2 weeks in Singapore and Malaysia...

My Singapore/Malaysia trip report is here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-singapore.cfm
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 02:17 PM
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I meant to say that if you only have 3 weeks for your whole trip, you could easily spend that just in SRi Lanka. we were there for 2 weeks, and it wasn't nearly long enough to see all of the Cultural triangle, the east coast, the north eastern area, or the south coast properly. in a month, you could really see it properly.
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 02:21 PM
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oops - too many properlies.

but you know what I mean.
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 05:16 PM
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We could also have spent three weeks in Sri Lanka and enjoyed that much time. We flew from Bangkok on Thai Air - a good flight, totally full even before the war ended.
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 03:28 AM
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I agree that it would be easy and wonderful to spend all your time in Sri Lanka, but if that is not attractive to you for some reason, there are options besides India.

Hong Kong and Singapore – you can get non-stops to either from some US cities, and then non-stops from there to Sri Lanka. Lots to do and see. A week in each is probably pushing it, but 3-4 nights in each would be quite nice. You could add night in Macau to Hong Kong for a total of 5 nights. Or add someplace relatively untouristed like Fujian Province (Xiamen) which is easily reached by a short flight from Hong Kong. Although you are not a beach person, you could consider a short trip from Singapore to either a nearby island like Nikoi, see See http://www.nikoi.com/index_home.html. Or rent a car in Singapore (or cheaper to do it just accross the border in Malaysia) and drive up the west Malaysian coast from Singapore to someplace like Malacca, drive back. A pleasant trip for 2 nights or so. East coast Malaysia is rainy at that time, and I would not recommend it. Some of the national parks would be a bit rainy then too, but Taman Negara is a possibility. Or go to Borneo via a short flight from Singapore and see the orang utans, climb Mt Kinablu and visit the bat caves at Miri. If you have 2 weeks and scuba dive (or want to learn to dive), then you could add Sipdan or another dive area.

China – tons to see and do, and 2 weeks would let you move around. It will be cold in most parts, but far fewer tourists than the summer. Winter has its own beauty as well. Parts in the south will be a bit more temperate.

Japan – Will be cold, but certainly interesting. With the time you have, you could do Tokyo, Kyoto and possibly a winter Alp experience someplace like Niseko. Non-stops to Japan from US cities. Sri Lanka Air flies non-stop between Tokyo and Sri Lanka.

Jordan – mostly for the fabulous Petra. Can’t tell if your Egypt and Tunisia trips included that. You probably have to go via Dubai to and from Sri Lanka and the US – boring place, fine for 2 days tops, and there are non-stops from US cities to Dubai.

Also consider going via Europe and stopping there for a week or more. Jan is not the best month, unless you want to go to the Alps in Switzerland, Austria, Germany or Italy any of which would be fantastic in Jan. Spain and Portugal would also be possibilities. Not sure about flights.

I see you have already been to Thailand, but you could certainly go back and see other areas that you have not seen before. If you have not been to Ankor Wat in Cambodia or Luang Prabang in Laos, this may be a good time to to it. There are non-stops between Bangkok and Sri Lanka
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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Thanks you all for your replies. I never considered spending 3 weeks in Sri Lanka because I did not think that there would be enough to do there for that long. We don't like beach vacations, although I wouldn't mind walking on a beach or swimming in the ocean for an hour or so.

When I was thinking of spending 8-10 days in Sri Lanka as part of my original trip I was going to spend 1 night in Negombo, 3 nights in the cultural triangle, 1 night in Kandy and 3 nights in tea country for a total of 8 nights. Where would you put the other 12 nights to make a 3 week vacation. We don't want to go to Yala or spend any time in a beach area just relaxing. We are mostly interested in architecture, culture and scenery.

Cicerone- Thanks very much for your very detailed answer. We've been to Hong Kong, China, Jordan and Angkor Wat, and we are going to Japan for 3 weeks in Nov., so none of those suggestions would be good for us. We have never been to Singapore, so maybe that might work, but frankly I'd rather spend the whole 3 weeks in Sri Lanka if I could fill the time with first class sites and experiences.

Any suggestions for a 3 week itinerary would be welcomed.
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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Shelly, I'd spend an other night or so in the cultural triangle, add another night to Kandy and another to tea country. I'd add in a few nights in Galle, not for the beach so much as for the old fort and the history and architecture there. I's also add a couple of nights or more in the area of Anuradhapura (another of the ancient cities) and I'd consider a few nights in/near Wilpattu National Park (which is only a couple of hours from Anuradhapura). It's not as crowded as Yala, and Leopard Safaris operates there. Look them up - Robbie Green used them at Yala, and I had some very nice correspondence with them when we were thinking about going back to Sri Lanka this year rather than Japan.

You could do a couple of days in Singapore on your way in or out of Sri Lanka.
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Old Sep 19th, 2013, 03:36 PM
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You could do 4 days in Singapore easily. We had 3 and were longing for more...
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Old Sep 20th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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When I was thinking of spending 8-10 days in Sri Lanka as part of my original trip I was going to spend 1 night in Negombo, 3 nights in the cultural triangle, 1 night in Kandy and 3 nights in tea country for a total of 8 nights. Where would you put the other 12 nights to make a 3 week vacation. We don't want to go to Yala or spend any time in a beach area just relaxing. We are mostly interested in architecture, culture and scenery.>>

what Kathie said. If you click on my screen name you'll find my trip report - probably you don't need to get any further than the title - 14 days in Sri Lanka - not long enough.

if you started from Colombo, depending on your arrival time, you might not need to stay at Negombo - it's about a 4 hour drive up to the cultural triangle, where you would probably need two bases - one in the north near Anuradhapura, and another further south near Sigirya. on Kathie's recommendation we stayed at the Kandalama near Dambulla and that's a destination in itself. 3 nights in the north of the cultural triangle and 3- 4 in the south would not be too much, especially if you wanted to see the Wilpattu national park.

Then at least a night in Kandy [the Botanical Gardens are a must, IMO, as well as the Temple of the Tooth] followed by the long drive up into the Hill Country where you would need at least 3 nights, more if you want to see both Nureya Ellia and Ella, and take a railway journey, do some walking, etc. Finally, at least 3 nights in Galle would give you a very pleasant end to the trip, with perhaps one night in Colombo before you fly out.

altogether that's about 14-15 nights, and misses out the east coast entirely - our driver was VERY keen on taking us there another time as he loves it there. you could easily add a day here and there to give you a more relaxing time.
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Old Sep 21st, 2013, 05:58 AM
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Next year I am traveling to Bangkok and using it as a base for 2 week excursions out to both Sri Lanka and Burma. Works out pretty well with air connections since Bangkok is relatively cheap for me to get to.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2013, 09:11 AM
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for sure Singapore and maybe penang or elsewhere in Malaysia or even bali...
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 08:26 PM
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Hi Shelleyk considering your interests in architecture, culture and scenery I would suggest spending a few days in Colombo to explore the 'old city with its colonial architecture'.

A visit to Lunuganga (the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa's home and garden) in Bentota (you could even spend a few days there).

A few days exploring the ramparts of the Dutch Fort in Galle. Skip Yala by all means if crowded safaris are not your thing! Note that you're arriving at the peak of the birding migration and a visit to the last remaining virgin rainforest Sinharaja would be great for a few days - lots of treks through the rainforest.

Unfortunately, the east coast will be off season with rains and very rough seas, so dont go there. Do spend more than a day in Kandy and visit not only the temple of the tooth relic but also the 14th century shrine of Embekke, Lankathilaka and Gadaladeniya - some of the finest examples of wooden architecture of the era. In the hills of the Central Highlands try to visit Horton Plains for some stunning scenery and the countries second highest Peak. The cloud forests of the Knuckles Mountain region of the Peak Wilderness area is breathtaking too.

In the Northern/North Western province - the highlights would be Wilpattu NP, Thanthirimale Temple (a must) and you could try to visit Mannar which is known as the land of the palmyrah trees. Kalpitiya Peninsular is another option for its Whales and Dolphins and close enough to head out to the airport on your way out.

Certainly more than enough to fill 3 weeks!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 08:49 PM
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Sorry, but I completely disagree about the architecture in Colombo. I ignored the advice to skip Colombo, since I wanted to see where my father had been based during WWII. I tried very hard to like Colombo, and I am interested in architecture, but unfortunately I discovered that the advice to skip the city had been exactly right. The old part of the city was in poor shape, and the "museum" buildings not worth the admission.

I actually think a couple of weeks is plenty for SL.
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Old Oct 8th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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Just wanted to say thanks to all for your input I've been away for a couple of weeks, and put this trip on the back burner, but I will now research some of your suggestions.
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