Sri Lanka February 15'

Jan 29th, 2015, 07:24 AM
  #1  
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Sri Lanka February 15'

Long time reader...We are looking for a 3-5 night tour in Sri Lanka. This time begins at the airport, where we land late at night after a 21 Hour flight from LA. After the "tour" we need to be dropped off in Wilagama where we will stay at an Ayruveda spa for 8-10 nights. After our spa time we return home. BSL reached us to say that the travel time between the Cultural area Dambulla and Wiligama is 8.5 hours. Of course this is too long for such a short tour time.
1. Where else do you recommend we tour for this short time? We are not interested in a Safari but would love UNESCO sights and cultural exriences. Are there other areas that we can see closer to the South West?
2.Is this a good idea? H E L P
SLifestyle is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 07:55 AM
  #2  
 
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That is a very limited time even for just the cultural triangle, and as BSL points out, it's a long drive from there to where you want to go. But if you want to visit UNESCO sights, the cultural triangle is where you want to be. What is flexible in your plans? Can you add a couple of days to your trip?
Kathie is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 08:16 AM
  #3  
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Hi, thank you for getting back so quickly. We really can't change things. What can we do with such few nights 3-5 before arriving in the South West? We are up for anything. Is there another area we could see that is closer to our destination?
SLifestyle is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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No place in Sri Lanka has the historical and cultural offerings that the Cultural Triangle has. If it were me - and it isn't - I'd go ahead and put up with the long drive in order to visit places like the Dambulla Cave Temples, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. Take a look:
http://www.marlandc.com/Sri-lanka-2007
Kathie is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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If you are interested in historical and cultural thing you would probably enjoy the cultural triangle. Why not take a night to two from your ayervedic program?

You'll need a night near the airport when you arrive and then you could have three or four nights in the cultural triangle and a night or two to break the journey on your way down to the spa. You would still have a week in hand.

We were in Sri Lank in January last year and had a great time. We visited the cultural triangle, Galle and Yala. I have about ten blogposts with lots of pictures and opinion etc. It might help.

http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/search/label/Sri%20Lanka
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 09:29 AM
  #6  
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What about a trip to Ella? Does this make any sense?
Thank you
SLifestyle is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 10:01 AM
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a trip to Ella makes no sense at all -it's nowhere near the cultural triangle.

After your night near the airport, you could fly straight to Kandy, spend a night [or two] there and visit the Temple, see the Botanical gardens in the morning, and then drive to Dambulla, using that as a base for your tour of Sigiriya, Dambulla Cave Temples, and Polonnaruwa [3 nights]

then head to Wilagamma.
annhig is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 11:10 AM
  #8  
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Can I see the cultural triangle and get to my spa resort in three nights?

Thank you
SLifestyle is offline  
Jan 29th, 2015, 11:55 AM
  #9  
 
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I think you need 3 nights in the cultural triangle. Then you can spend the next day driving to your spa.
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Jan 30th, 2015, 11:30 AM
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Let me understand your requirement clearly, you have 5 nights from time of arrival at Colombo airport until you reach your Ayurveda resort in Weligama on the south coast (not Wilagama)?

If you have five nights before going to Weligama it is quite reasonable to spend this time in the cultural triangle given you interest in such sights. At most you can break journey one night enroute to Weligama perhaps at Nuwara Eliya or some where else in the hills/tea country, however travelling via Colombo and using the new expressways will be faster travelling.

What time do you arrive Colombo? It is about two hours drive from the airport to the cultural triangle. Suggest you consider going directly from the airport to your hotel in the cultural triangle. The hotel options near the airport are poor and breaking a night in or around the airport and travelling again the next day will not help get over your jetlag. Sacrificing a two hour drive on arrival and going directly to a good hotel in the cultural triangle where you settle in for 4 straight nights will probably be better option.
Mohammed is offline  
Jan 30th, 2015, 11:39 AM
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I like Mohammed's plan for you.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 5th, 2015, 08:06 PM
  #12  
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Leaving soon, we have just booked our trip to Sri Lanka with BSL and getting very excited. This will be our first trip to Asia, celebrating our 30th. We have spent a lot of our time working on our basic itinerary and now need to focus on what we really want to do in these locations. What specific sights would you add to the below itinerary?
We prefer to travel independently but look forward to having a BSL guide that can really help us get as much from out trip as possible.

Above all we love to learn, shop in markets, see as many museums and art as possible, eat local food, and enjoy non touristy interactions.

# 1 Night, Airport Hotel, please recommend must sees for our first day touring Columbo, we'll be driving to Galle for one night. Should we not bother with seeing Columbo and go directly to Galle?
# 2 Night, Galle,
# 3- 9 Nights, Weligamo, Ayruveda resort (7 nights)
#10 Night, Secret Ella, Train to Kandy
#11 Night, Secret Kandy
#12-14 Nights, Vil Uyana
Fly back to California
SLifestyle is offline  
Feb 7th, 2015, 05:11 AM
  #13  
 
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Since your interested in museums and art a visit to the Colombo National Museum and the Art Gallery is a good idea. Also you can visit a place like Gangaramaya Temple which has lots of paintings and carvings which might interest you.
Nishadha is offline  
Feb 7th, 2015, 07:09 AM
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My opinion: skip Columbo.

I wish there was a way to get one more night in the cultural triangle, but it doesn't look possible. In the cultural triangle, you'll want to visit Dambulla Cave Temples, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. There are so other places to see, but those are the big ones. There is an incredible museum at Polonnaruwa. You can buy a book there published by UNESCO. I highly recommend it.

The one must-see in Kandy is the Temple of the Tooth. I didn't find much else in Kandy of interest.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 7th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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I enjoyed the Kandyan dance show in Kandy ( it's only 1 hour) there is a Tea museum in Kandy but honestly I didn't think it worth the stop.

If you don't want a big journey after you arrive you could stay in Negombo at the Wallawa hotel which is about 30 minutes from the airport and an absolutely lovely place and fabulous food and it's on the way to the CT.
Smeagol is offline  
Feb 7th, 2015, 03:31 PM
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There is a great trap market in Columbo and the Galle Face hotel is worth a look. Otherwise I wasn't terribly impressed so would give it a miss.

The evening ceremony at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy was wonderful - don't miss it. Also worth seeing are the cemeteries (mostly British Colonials) a lot of stories to tell on some of tombs.

The train to Kandy is an excellent choice! On of the more memorable parts of our trip. We did a few train trips and found that third class with the locals was much more fun than first.

just wandering around the old city of Galle is agreat way to while away few hours. Research the restaurant scene beforehand as that is where we found some very nice places.

A word of warning re Welligama. The town sewer empties directly onto the beach so I would not swim from there. We found some great beaches at Goyambokka and Mirrisa which are not too far.
crellston is offline  
Feb 9th, 2015, 05:50 AM
  #17  
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Thank you for so many of your fantastic ideas. I really need to look at the Cultural Triangle. BSL has been great with email. On past trips I'm the planner and we travel independently with walking tours and docent talks added in for more information. This is very new for us, a lot of letting go.

1. Pick up (late) from the Airport and transfer to The Wallawwa

2 Enjoy and relax hotel in the AM, transfer to Columbo where we will do a Columbo City Walks tour at 3:30, this is something we are really looking forward to. We love architectural history. After the walk/ tour our guide will bring us back to Casa Colombo. Can you suggest a dinner/evening plan? A walk in the town? I know that no one recommends Colombo, but we find cities very interesting and coming from such a young city as Los Angeles we look forward to it.

3. Transfer to Baberyn Hotel, Weligama. Not sure if we should see the Columbo market place Pattah (sp?) in the early morning before we drive to Welligama? Bummed about the beach : ( We can take cabs to other spots.

3-9. Ayurveda spa, the hotel offers small excursions to surrounding towns like Galle. Can you suggest other things to see and do from Wilagama for daily cab rides?

10. Pick up from Baberyn Hotel and transfer to Secret Ella, Ella. ( 5 hrs) I wish I was looking forward to this part, not sure what we will do on this day other than drive? Can we squeeze something in?

11. Wake up in Ella, is there something to see before we get on the train? Train journey from Ella to Peradeniya. Our driver will pick us up from the station and transfer us to Secret Kandy, Kandy. Evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and witness a cultural show.

12. Transfer to Vil Uyana where we will stay for three nights (Approx. 2 hrs 30 mins) Enroute visit a spice garden? and a batik factory? Are there other things to see on this route, Evening visit the Dambulla Cave Temple.

13. Visit the Ancient City of Anuradhapura and Aukana Buddha statue, I asked for Aukana, was this a good request. It seem what ever I mention to BSL it's added.

14. Morning visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Afternoon visit the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa.

Day 15. Transfer to the Airport for departure. (Approx. 3 hrs) * Flight is at 11:30 PM,
*We are generally morning people and happy to get a sight in early, please make suggestions for other things we can or should squeeze in. I promise a trip report after our return. Also, originally it was suggested that we go on an elephant safari, we decided against this, hope we made the right decision.
SLifestyle is offline  
Feb 9th, 2015, 05:59 AM
  #18  
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A note to above, we were "locked" into the 7 nights at the Barberyn as well as air.
SLifestyle is offline  
Feb 9th, 2015, 07:44 AM
  #19  
 
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Somewhere on day 10 perhaps, you may be able to squeeze in a visit to a tea factory. I'm not sure you'll have time for the whole tour... ask BSL. Mostly you'll be driving narrow, twisting roads - enjoy the scenery.

I highly recommend you NOT visit a spice garden. They are mostly interested in selling you their various creams and treatments (quite expensive), while I wanted to buy whole spices. Our driver bought vanilla beans for me in Kandy.

You won't want to visit the Dambulla cave temples in the evening after it is dark, but a late afternoon visit will be lovely... or an early morning visit your last day.

We didn't visit Anuradhapura, as we were there during the war and it wasn't safe to visit. So I can't comment on that. Of the ancient cities, Polonnaruwa was the most fascinating for us.

Your time in the cultural triangle is quite short and you are cramming a lot in, so you and your driver may want to talk about how best to manage this part. Remember, the driver is your employee and he will be glad to be flexible and do what you are interested in. There is a lot of driving involved to get from place to place - Anuradhapura is a long drive.

We loved our time in Sri Lanka and talk of returning. Have a wonderful trip.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 9th, 2015, 09:53 AM
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I actually liked the spice garden and the sell wasn't that hard and it was a nice way to break up the journey, we were probably there 30 minutes if that and had a nice chai and learnt some stuff about spices... When I went to Dambulla caves in November we went at about 4 pm, perfect time to visit, not too busy and the light was fabulous for taking photos. Totally agree with Kathie an evening visit wouldn't be as good.
Go EARLY to Sigiryia and I mean early, go before 8 and you will beat a lot of the crowds, but it really is worth it. I too loved Polonnaruwa and we went after Sigiryia too.
The batik factory didn't do it for me but then I have been to the ones in Malaysia/ Bali and I kind of felt like once I've seen one I've seen them all!

Have the Sri Lanka curry at the Wallawa it's FABULOUS, as are their cocktails .....
Do a bit of homework ref restaurants (for lunch) as the ones our lovely driver took us too were a bit bland.

I am the same ref a planner and using BSL to book everything was a new thing for me, I enjoyed it a loy though...

Personally I would cut one night from Dambulla and add one to the tea country!
Smeagol is offline  

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