Sri Lanka itinerary help needed

Old Jun 18th, 2013, 09:46 AM
  #21  
 
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Shelly - given the awful journey you're going to have to get there, i think that i would definitely consider doing the trip the other way round. do the tea country, then Kandy, then the cultural triangle.


01st day Airport - overnight Colombo

02nd day - travel to hill country. spend 2 nights.

4th Day - train to Kandy. overnight there with cultural show and temple of the Tooth.

5th Day - morning at the botanical gardens. afternoon drive to Dambulla/Habanara

Day 6 - visit Polunnawara and Dambulla caves if staying at Dambulla.

day 7 - visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress early am then drive down to coast. overnight at beach resort near to Airport.

Day 8 - go home.

03rd day Visit

04th day, Drive to Kandy, see botanical garden in Peradeniya

Visit Temple of the Tooth and the Cultural show

05th day Transfer to Ella (by train or by vehicle)

06th day Visit a tea plantation/tea factory , go for a walk

07th day Proceed to Colombo, tour. [depending on your departure time, and how long it'll take from the hill Country to Colombo

08th day. Transfer to airport.

if you could extend your trip even by a day, it'd make it a lot easier.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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Ann's idea makes sense, but I'd add in a couple of days to make it more humane.

Overnight at Negombo,
drive to Hill country, spend three nights so you get two full days,

drive (or train) to Kandy - you may want to spend two nights there just so you don't have two days in a row of travel

drive to cultural triangle, spend 3 or 4 nights there. Depending on the time of your flight, you may be able to drive to the airport from the cultural triangle.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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Thank you Ann and Kathie. It definitely seems like it would be more relaxing going to hill country first. Kathie-I don't want to add too many extra days to SL as this is supposed to be an add on to our main trip to southern India. From Columbo we will be flying to Chennai to begin the India portion of our trip, although maybe I will cut out part of that trip to lessen the number of travel days in India. I'd like to keep this SL/India trip to about 3 weeks on the ground. I have not booked airfare yet, so i can add days. I just don't know if I should, as it may be too tiring. I remember reading thursdayd's TR concerning her SL/southern India trip and feeling it would have been too many days on the road for me.

If we extend the SL trip, the part of the India trip I am thinking of cutting is Mysore for 2 nights, and/or Cochin for 2 nights. I think I will start a new thread on the India portion of this trip and see what Fodorites have to say about that.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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shelly, i can't help you with the india part of your trip.

I ca tell you that SL is a fantastic place with loads to see and do, but the roads and traffic can be extraordinarily bad in places. if you've been to India you're probably used to it, but we were amazed for most of the first week at how long it took us to get anywhere [3 hours from Dambulla to Kandy] and how anyone survived without losing life and limb. but survive we did and we came to see the road journeys as part of the SL experience.

with what you have in mind, if you could spare one or two more days, I think that you would get a lot more out of this part of your trip. you could go up to Anuradhapura for example, [i would suggest staying near there overnight] and then go down to the airport from there.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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ann - actually the roads in SL are a breeze compared to India, lol!

shelley - Mysore and Cochin should be the more peaceful parts of your Indian trip, if you're doing the temple towns in Tamil Nadu. The palace in Mysore is over the top, and it's one of the greener Indian towns. Cochin is really interesting - see http://wilhelmswords.com/asia2001/index.html - Cruising Kerala.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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ann - actually the roads in SL are a breeze compared to India, lol!>>

another good reason for prolonging ones time there then thursdays!
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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thursdaysd- Thanks so much for your input. I guess we'll keep Mysore and Cochin in the trip as I don't think we'll be returning to India any time soon. ann and kathie- Thanks so much for your advice. You've given me really useful suggestions and it is certainly appreciated.

I guess we'll just have to remortgage the house and take as long as we need to have an unrushed, quality trip. lol Our 3 week trip may morph into a one month journey. This is why I do not book my airfare until I settle on an itinerary.
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 10:24 AM
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shellyk - i feel your pain, honestly I do. we are trying to squeeze a quart of NZ into a pint pot at the moment and I'm wishing that we had more than 17 nights in NZ. But we don't, and I;m just having to work round it. if you don't have to book flights until you've worked things out, then don't!

Talking about flights, it is possible to take internal flights that can cut out a load of driving. I know this because people we met at Nurawa Eliya had done just that, flying from Colombo into Kandy on what I have learnt is called a "float plane". it had cost them about £50 each.

here's the link:

http://www.flysrilanka.lk/
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Old Jun 20th, 2013, 04:38 PM
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Hi shellyk -

Just jumping in now, random thoughts.

- Remortgage. The great/frustrating thing about SL is that it's so diverse
- I spent 2 nights in Cochin, that was sufficient
- If you like the odd and bizarre, eat at Helga's Folly in Kandy
- What annhig said: it takes forever to get anywhere, and then you can't believe you made it alive
- I had a car and driver: he dropped me off at Hapatule and I took a 3 hour train ride to Hatton (or maybe it was the other way around) and he picked me up at the other end. First class was inexpensive and enjoyable: less harrowing then by car, with better views

Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 01:42 PM
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What annhig said: it takes forever to get anywhere, and then you can't believe you made it alive>>

we were thrilled when we got to the south and saw our first dual-carriageway road in SL, but we soon returned to our usual state half-way between hysteria and terror as we realised that the concept of dual-carriageways was so new to most drivers that they treated it like 2 separate roads and were happily driving along on the wrong side as usual. this was even more dangerous than on normal roads as some people DID know what to do and weren't expecting other vehicles to be driven straight at them.

getting back to the old single-track roads was a bit of a relief after that.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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I just found out that one of the flights I was planning to use has been discontinued, so I'd like some advice on which of 2 new plans would be better.

My 23 hour flight from Boston arrives in Chennai at 11:59PM. (The 3:40am flight from Chennai to Columbo that I was going to take has been discontinued). I can get either a 9:30am, 2:15PM or 8:30 PM flight to Columbo.

Plan 1-Overnight at Chennai close to the airport and continue on to Sri Lanka the next day.

Plan 2-Overnight at Chennai, and do the part of my India trip covering Mahalapurum and Kanchipuram (each about 1.5 hours from Chennai, and then return to Chennai airport and fly to Columbo to begin my Sri Lanka trip.After 9 days in Sri Lanka I would fly back to Chennai airport and continue on to Pondicherry to finish up the India portion of my trip.

Any thoughts on what would be preferable?
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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I would still go on to Sri Lanka the next day. You don't want to visit those sites in a jet lagged haze. (I take it you change planes somewhere - that's not 23 hours on one flight?!)
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 10:46 AM
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I agree. It makes more sense to go to Sri Lanka the next day rather than breaking up your India trip.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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thursdaysd-I'm leaning toward using a Lufthansa/United flight(BOS-MAA) that requires a change of planes in Germany. That's on one ticket. The flight Chennai to Columbo is on a seperate Sri Lankan Airlines ticket.

I was thinking of splitting up the trip because I thought that since I had to exit the Chennai airport to get to the hotel, I'd use the next day to do/see something rather than sit around waiting for an afternoon flight to Columbo. I've discounted the 9:30am flight to Columbo as I feel we won't get to the hotel to get to sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning. Also, I am now thinking that if I do split up the trip I will not fly back to Chennai, but will fly Columbo to Trichy and resume the trip in Tanjore. This would alleviate some of the driving (Chennai to Tanjore) in India, although it will also mean not going to Pondicherry which I would have stopped at, but is not a high priority. I value both your and Kathie's input so I will have to give this more thought before making a decision.

I value
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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I might just buy my way into one of the lounges in the international terminal and take the first flight out. I would think that will avoid any difficulty with re-entering India, as I would expect that you would stay airside. I haven't checked lately on the "stay out for two months" requirement, but you might want to. Although there is the issue of luggage if you're on separate tickets.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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would there be a better schedule flying from jfk or Newark??

i'd be inclined to fly on and do my flt recovery after arriving in SL by adding an extra day or two
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 03:17 PM
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thursdaysd-Spending the night in an airport lounge is an interesting idea. The first flight out in the morning is at 9:30am, so we'd have many hours to spend in the lounge. I don't know whether the lounges in the Chennai airport are open throughout the night. Many in the US close from late evening til early morning. I believe the restriction on reentering India within 2 months has been lifted, but I will recheck this.

Bob-Most of the flights arrive in the evening, too late to connect on the same day. Plus, I really want to fly out of Boston to an overseas destination to avoid having to deal with a possible east coast snow storm at 2 airports rather than just in Boston.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 03:25 PM
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a random search on expedia shows many flights at differing times of the day..

I do appreciate the snowstorm situation..
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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Re: snowstorm. You could plan to take Amtrak, or does snow shut that down too?

Re: lounge. I have no idea what the Indian ones are like, but the seating is usually comfortable enough for at least a nap, plus I think the listing I saw mentioned showers.
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