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Sri Lanka, Itinerary Help & Must-see Spots

Sri Lanka, Itinerary Help & Must-see Spots

Old Apr 5th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Sri Lanka, Itinerary Help & Must-see Spots

Hi,

Right now we have a 6 day trip planned and our current itinerary is leaving Colombo immediately, heading to Kandy (1 night), Cultural Triangle (2 nights), tea country (possibly 2 nights) and then Kitulgala for rafting--that would be a day trip. We definitely want to do the Sigiriya climb as well. In looking at our agenda, does it make sense to head to Nuwara Eliya for tea country or should we be considering tea country north of Kandy & the Knuckles. Is that closer and how scenic is the area? I don't want to spend my full trip driving but we also want to see beautiful country and possibly bike (which is shown on the Ceylon Tea Trails site). We are active travelers so beyond seeing the working tea plantation....what else does the area offer that can't be missed. Thank you for any insights and please feel free to provide alternate itinerary suggestions for our short trip.
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Old Apr 5th, 2011, 07:01 PM
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Do you only have 5 nights or do you have 6?

We stayed overnight near the airport as our flight got in at something like 2 am. Our first stop was the cultural triangle (4 nights), then on to Kandy (2nights) then to Tea Trails (4 nights) and back to the airport. That was the most efficient way for us to cover the places we wanted to see.

You are trying to fit a lot into just a few days. We had 11 nights and covered the same ground as you are. So you will have to choose carefully what you want to do/see/experience.

From our own experience, and from reading other's trip reports, I'd say it is important to have a guide (not just your driver) at places like Polonnarnuwa and Sigiriya. I also think the Dambulla cave temples are well worth seeing. I thought the cultural triangle was more interesting than Kandy. So if it was me (and it isn't) I'd probably cut Kandy and add a day in the cultural triangle.

We loved walking in the tea country. It was so beautiful. And the altitude meant it was cooler in the mornings and evenings.

We drove by Kitugala as we went from Tea Trails to the airport. It might be possible for you to do the raft trip on your way to the airport so you don't cut your time in tea country too short. (our flight left after midnight.)
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Old Apr 5th, 2011, 08:41 PM
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Another consideration for a tea country experience would be Elkaduwa (staying at Mahatenne/Ashburnham Estate). Would that save us any time and how do you think that would fit into our itinerary. Although our trip sounds limited by time....we travel quickly and do not spend much time relaxing. We've seen a large part of the world this way and veg when we get home. I guess we might be typical type A's from the US. Thanks again Fodor's members!
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Old Apr 5th, 2011, 11:23 PM
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Highlights for me in the cultural triangle were climbing Sigiriya Rock, Dambulla cave temples both of which we dei in in a single day together with Namal Uyana Conservation Forest (very nice but not a "must see". Polonnarnuwa is definitely worth the effort but it is a long drive from Sigiriya so is realisticly a whole day. I concur with kathie re getting a gide forSigiriya and Polonnarnuwa. We didn't and I am sure we missed out on a lot.

I quite liked Kandy as a town but with only 6 days I am not sure it is the best use of your time. I really loved the hill country and tea plantations around Hatton & Haputule and the train ride between the two has some of the most beautiful scnery I have seen anywhere (surprisingly, the train ride takes no longer than the car.

If you are feeling energetic then climbing Adams Peak near Dalhousie was THE highlight of our trip and again, it is in the midst of the tea country. Norwood Tea Estate, one of the tea trails bungalows is close by. we didn't stay there but had a look around and it was fantastic.
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 07:40 AM
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ka, I do remember your travel style from previous posts. Believe me, there is no time for relaxing in your itinerary (unless you spend part of your day in the tea country relaxing)! What you can do in Sri Lanka is limited by your very limited time there.

If you have time while in the cultural triangle, you can do an evening "game drive." We did one in Kandulla National Park and saw their resident herd of wild elephants.
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 08:20 AM
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Hi Kathie....we have done safaris at various places in the world. So separate wildlife stop is not high on our list right now -- we just hope to see wildlife on its own.
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 08:37 AM
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Kandulla National Park would not be a separate stop (as in overnight), but a few hour stop between probably Polonnarnuwa and your hotel in the cultural triangle. It's worthwhile for the opportunity to see a herd of elephants in the wild. If you've seen herds of elephants before, it's probably not worth your time.
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