Sri Lanka - Does this seem right?

Apr 20th, 2015, 07:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 76
Sri Lanka - Does this seem right?

I'm attempting to plan our next "big" trip. We thought Sri Lanka would make a good destination because we have almost 3 weeks - and feel like we could get a good sense of the country - and we have to travel late December/early January so the weather will be nice.

From reading the Forums on Fodors.. I see Boutique Sri Lanka comes up quite a bit. I inquired about an itinerary.. and what I got back seems like a good route - except I'm not sure about going to the wildlife sanctuary or see the elephants if they're not being treated well?

My questions are as follows...

1) Does anyone have input on the itinerary??

Arrival transfer to West Country -- 1 night

3 nights - Cultural Triangle (approx.. 3 ½ hour drive)

2 nights Kandy

2 Nights Hill country - Nuwara Eliya

2 nights - Ella

1 night - Yala
4 nights - South coast, Turtle bay

2 nights Galle

Question #2
We were quoted anywhere from $150-$300 USD a night for accommodations. They were very nice... but I wasn't expecting to spend that much? Is that normal? Or can you find perfectly fine accommodations for far less? We're also that adds 20% to the price automatically

Question #3
They also didn't tell us how much it would be for a car & driver.. it seemed like they wanted us to book the itinerary first.. but I need to know an approximate cost on that before we can book. Does anyone know an average of how much that would be?

I think that's all for now.
Thanks in advance for any recommendations. I've always found those on Fodors of great assistance when planning more extensive trips.
8 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2015, 11:30 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,283
1. The itinerary seems pretty standard, but it really depend on where your interests lie. The cultural triangle is a must and I would spend a little more time there. maybe add Polonuwara. The hill country is wonderful and I would ask them to include a train journey in your programme. Yala hardly seems worth it for 1 night but if you want the chance of seeing animals then fine. If you have ever been to Africa I fear you will be sorely dissapointed. If you are into active hiking etc. then an ascent of Adams Peak is challenging but well worth it.
2. There are some every nice hotels in SL bit you can get perfectly acceptable accommodation for far, far less. Just check out a few places on and you will get a better idea of what is available. (Not entirely sure why being Canadian adds 20% to the cost , unless of course you are referring to the difference in fx rates?
3. Definitely ask them to provide a breakdown of hotel and car/ driver. If they are reluctant, that would raise suspicions in my mind. We used Reddot a few years ago and whilst we had a few problems with them,,they were very open about costs. As I recall the daily rate came to somewhere around $150 per day for accommodation and car/driver. The car driver usually includes 200km per day which should be plenty. Sorry but I can't recall the exact breakdown.
crellston is offline  
Apr 21st, 2015, 01:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,552
Here's a link to my blog pages on Sri Lanka, lots of posts and it will give you an idea of hotels in a cheaper range, we spent less than $100 most nights. Crellston has given you lots of good advice, I'd also check out Agoda. I think we paid $50 a day for the car and driver.

WE did one drive at Yala and having been on safaris in various places it was fun but enough for me. It worked well as a stop between Ella and Galle. Anyway lots on the blog including a lovely heritage hotel near Kandy which we loved.

Sorry I don't have more time for details right now but I've put most of the recommendations on the blog anyway, don't worry it's non-commercial.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Apr 21st, 2015, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,220
I just returned from a similar trip to Sri Lanka last month, and also used Boutique Sri Lanka; click on my name for my trip report. I paid about $150-$200 a night and stayed at luxury boutique properties in most places. Car and driver ran us about $800-900 for a similar length of time. Regarding your itinerary, I too think another night in the Cultural Triangle will be worthwhile, depending on your interests. If you want to see elephants, you can do that at Minneriya in the Cultural Triangle and don't have to get all the way to Yala, which seems like too much travel for one night (Yala is about 3 hours from Ella and 2 hours from the South Coast).
tripplanner001 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2015, 06:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,668
I agree with the input others have given. Add a day to the Cultural Triangle. Personally, I'd cut Yala - one night there isn't enough if you are really keen on seeing animals.

For me, that itinerary would be too much moving around. Remember that if you are spending two nights in a place, that is only one full day. I don't like to have stops of less than three nights.

You need to tell the agency what you want. If you have given them no instructions about the price range for hotels, they will make a choice for you. Ask them how much a car and driver will cost. If you are not getting satisfactory answers to your questions, you need a new agent.

Many people have never used a local agent, so don't know how to go about negotiating what the want. You need to give the agency very explicit information about what you are looking for.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 21st, 2015, 07:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 76
Thank you everyone for your quick responses! Much appreciated!!

I will take a look at your input and do some more research. (I love planning trips!) And then get back to the company about itinerary. I gave them a framework of where we wanted to go and cost.. but it's clearly best if I'm more concrete.

Crellston thanks for the idea about the train ride. I will look into that. 20% more because we're Canadian is because their quote was in USD and our dollar is about .80 compared to the greenback right now

Tripplanner001 I can't wait to read your trip report.

Kathie.. I will consider adding more time to less areas. I think my husband would agree with you...and I'm sure he'd like an extra day when we get to beach time ;-)

Glad to hear there are hotel options in the $50-100 dollar range. We'd love to do the luxury boutique hotels (and maybe we will for a treat in one area) but when you add it all up and then add in flights.. it gets pretty crazy cost wise.

I'll post a finalized itinerary when we decide.
8 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2015, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,440
Boutique SL have [or had] a planning tool on their website - you can use it to customise your trip and then send them what you want.

you do need to be clear about your wishes, but we were very pleased with the accommodations and service we received, and the driver was very good.

I agree that one night at Yala hardly makes it worth going - it's a very long drive there from the Hill country. we were very dubious about the main part of the park, but someone here went to the bird sanctuary and loved it. If you wanted to do that, you would really need 2 nights to make the most of it. if that's not a particular interest of yours, I would spend my time elsewhere.
annhig is offline  

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