Sri Lanka Itinerary and BSL questions

Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:22 PM
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Sri Lanka Itinerary and BSL questions

Hello,

We are traveling to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon this December and I am trying to nail down the itinerary. Below is where I am at, if I were to shave a night off the beaches at the end where should I add it? Also which beaches would you cut back? Or should I move a beach night to Galle?

I am emailing with BSL and have found some of their hotel rates significantly higher than what I can find online. Should I book myself? Is there any reason theirs might be higher? I do see some of theirs have half board while online it is breakfast only but the price differential was large in a few cases. Our hotels are mostly in the $150 - $250 range.

If there are any recommendations for snorkeling locations in December aside from Unawantuna please advise. Any recommendations for places to camp in Yala? I look forward to your input.

Itinerary
Dec. 6th - Arrive airport 2:40am meet driver depart Airport to Dambulla
- 2 nights Dambulla (Dec. 6th and 7th)
o Dec. 6th relax and then visit cave temples in the afternoon
o Dec. 7th up early and do Sigiriya
o Dec. 8th visit Polonnaruwa
Dec. 8th – After Polonnaruwa drive to Kandy
- 2 nights
- Dec. 8th arrive in evening
- Dec. 9th visit TOT then return to Kandy hotel
Dec. 10th - Take the train (2-3 hours) to Nuwara Eliya
- 2 nights Dec. 10th and 11th doing tea plantations, hiking, etc
Dec. 12th - Yala
- 2 nights in park camping Dec. 12th and 13th
Dec. 14th - South beaches - Unawatuna?
- 3 nights Dec. 14th, 15th and 16th snorkeling and day trip(s) to Galle
Dec. 18th – head SW to beach closer to airport, Bentota?
- 3 nights 17th, 18th & 19th
Dec. 20th - Airport for flight in the evening
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:23 PM
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Sorry flight is actually in the early morning on 20th but itinerary is not impacted.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:25 PM
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Ugh Looks like last night will need to be near hotel based on time of flight and distance.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:29 PM
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New Itinerary would be:
Dec. 6 - Arrive airport 2:40am meet driver depart Airport to Dambulla
- 2 nights Dambulla (Dec. 6th and 7th)
o Dec. 6th relax and then visit cave temples in the afternoon
o Dec. 7th up early and do Sigiriya
o Dec. 8th visit Polonnaruwa
Dec. 8th – After Polonnaruwa drive to Kandy
- 2 nights
- Dec. 8th arrive in evening
- Dec. 9th visit TOT then return to Kandy hotel
Dec. 10th - Take the train (2-3 hours) to Nuwara Eliya
- 2 nights Dec. 10th and 11th doing tea plantations, hiking, etc
Dec. 12th - Yala
- 2 nights in park camping Dec. 12th and 13th
Dec. 14th - South beaches - Unawatuna?
- 3 nights Dec. 14th, 15th and 16th snorkeling and day trip(s) to Galle
Dec. 18th – head SW to beach closer to airport, Bentota?
- 2 nights 17th& 18th
Dec. 19th – hotel near airport, flight is at 4am on Dec. 20th
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Your itinerary is heavily tilted toward beaches - is that what you want?

I'd add a night in the cultural triangle and/or tea country - you need to slow down a bit. You are going halfway around the world and you will have some jet lag. Do your research on Yala and decide if it is a priority. After hearing about how crowded it is, we opted to omit Yala from our itinerary. I think you are trying to cover too much. Drives in Sri Lanka are long - if you look at google's drive-time estimates, multiply it by two or three to get a more accurate estimate.

In general, I'd suggest fewer stops so you have some real time in each place. Remember that two night somewhere is just one full day. Each time you can the locations, that eats up time. This is supposed to be a honeymoon - slow down and enjoy it!

I'm surprised to hear that some of the hotel rates you found with BSL were higher than what you find online. Ask BSL why they are higher. I expect you may be running into seasonal rates, and the rates on the web may not show you that difference. I also think it's a good idea to get half board - there aren't many free-standing restaurants available to you.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Hi BrklynTraveler, did you start out by letting BSL what price range you're comfortable with? My experience with them had been that they can work with whatever budget you have. On the itinerary, I would recommend adding a couple of nights to Dambulla to reduce the rush. If you need to shave time from somewhere, perhaps take out Yala since it does require a bit of travelling to get to and from.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 02:16 PM
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Thanks for reviewing, I agree there are too many moves. I've cut out the second beach stop to add another night in Dambulla allowing us to rest on arrival. We both have a lot of energy but it is supposed to be a relaxing honeymoon. I tend to run myself ragged on vacations. Both Yala and the beaches are important to us I am excited for the safari and we both love beaches. My husband has been on safari in Africa so less exciting for him but I'm doing the planning!


Itinerary
Dec. 6 - Arrive airport 2:40am meet driver depart Airport to Dambulla
- 3 nights Dambulla (Dec. 6th, 7th and 8th)
o Dec. 6th drive 5 hours, check in hotel and rest
o Dec. 7th up early and do Sigiriya
o Dec. 8th visit Polonnaruwa
o Dec. 9th cave temples in morning then drive to Kandy
Dec. 9th –Arrive Kandy
- 2 nights Kandy
o Dec. 9th arrive in Kandy late afternoon
o Dec. 10th Kandy visit TOT
Dec. 11th - Take the train (2-3 hours) to Nuwara Eliya
- 2 nights
o Dec. 11th and 12th doing tea plantations, hiking, etc
Dec. 13th - Yala
- 2 nights
o Dec. 13th and 14th Safari in Yala
Dec. 15th – morning drive to South beaches - Unawatuna?
- 4 nights
o Dec. 15th, 16th, 17 and 18th snorkeling and day trip(s) to Galle
Dec. 19th – hotel near airport, flight is at 4am on Dec. 20th

Better?

I did not give BSL good guidance regarding price at first but have clarified that we are hoping to average no more than $200 per night. Prices are quite high. I'm surprised to pay so much for lodging. I've recently traveled in Europe, Morocco and Turkey and never pay so much but I've come to terms with it and it is our honeymoon.
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Old Oct 26th, 2015, 05:59 PM
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Looks like Kathie already replied to you as I was typing, so sorry if some of it feels redundant. Compared to Turkey outside of Istanbul, Sri Lanka accommodation prices are a bit higher although you get better service. Also make sure that you are comparing apples to apples with what you are finding online (e.g. tax inclusive, meals).

Regarding your itinerary, yes, it is doable, but will involve quite a bit of travel. Personally, I would add a night in tea country, especially if you are interested in hiking.

I was there earlier this year. Click on my screen name for my trip report if it's helpful to you in your thinking.
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