Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Sri Lanka (my favorite destination yet) Report & Recommendations

Sri Lanka (my favorite destination yet) Report & Recommendations

May 27th, 2013, 04:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 202
Sri Lanka (my favorite destination yet) Report & Recommendations

Hi --

Just finished posting my (lengthy) blog series on my December trip to Sri Lanka, including Colombo, Galle Fort, Yala National Park and Kandy. I had my doubts at times (rough start) but it kept getting better and better!

http://www.esmetravels.com/category/...log/sri-lanka/

Thank you fellow Fodorites for your advice.

- esme
Esme_Travels is offline  
May 27th, 2013, 07:17 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,631
I just read your whole trip report at one go. Sri Lanka was one of my favorite trips, and I dream of returning. Our trips were very different - little overlap in the places we went, but your account is familiar.

We hired a car and driver through an agency - something I recommend to everyone, because then if your driver or your car doesn't work out, you can call and the agent will trade out your car or driver or both. Reading your account reminded me I need to keep advising that.

Nonetheless (and perhaps in part because of your driver) you had a real adventure!

Thanks for posting.
Kathie is offline  
May 28th, 2013, 01:42 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
Hi Esme [or should i say Max?]

enjoying your report very much - it brings back so many memories of our trip last autumn, especially the driving, though I have to say that I don't think that our driver actually hit anything! [though that must have been by divine providence rather than judgment].

so far, I've followed you to Galle, so that's probably quite a long way to go.
annhig is offline  
May 28th, 2013, 07:06 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
I loved it
Femi is offline  
May 28th, 2013, 07:43 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Nice report (blog)!
Hanuman is offline  
May 29th, 2013, 10:52 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
Great report! We also visited the Wewurukannala Vihara Temple. I don't recall anyone else on this forum doing that. I also remember that tiny Anglican church - we did not stop and walk around it though...
Craig is offline  
May 29th, 2013, 05:58 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 202
Hi --

Thanks for the feedback! I'm never quite sure if the reports are helpful/interesting or just indulgent.

Kathie: Yes. That is the big lesson I learned on this trip: use an agency for your car/driver. Although it all worked-out fine with my Sri Lanka husbands

annhig: crazy driving like no other country, right?

Craig: Did you love the craziness of the Wewurukannala Vihara Temple? I frequently felt (like with the Christ Church Waleigh) that we were buzzing past extremely interesting/unique locations that my driver(s) didn't think twice about because they were every-day to them. They thought I would want to see the "touristy" places...
Esme_Travels is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 12:28 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
Kathie: Yes. That is the big lesson I learned on this trip: use an agency for your car/driver. Although it all worked-out fine with my Sri Lanka husbands>>

Esme, half way through the first day, BSL phoned to ask of we were happy with the driver. of course i said yes, but the impression I got was that had we been vey unhappy, they would have tried to fix it.

BSL only supply drivers if you use some of their other services, though.
annhig is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 01:01 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
Esme, what I loved about the Temple were the photos (similar to yours) that I could share with friends and family - always received a good response.

We didn't see the opportunity you did at the church. We took lots of wonderful photos passing through tea country as our guide and driver were willing to stop at any time...
Craig is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,631
ann, I know someone who had both the car and driver switched after a couple of days. BSL was very responsive to them.
Kathie is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 02:30 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
yes Kathie, it was reassuring to know that if we needed to change, they would do their best to make it happen.

Esme - just read the last instalment of your blog and really you have captured the essence of so much travel in Sri Lanka - one minute delightful, then shambolic, then terrifiying.

We loved it.
annhig is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 06:53 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 202
These replies remind me of part of the story I totally forgot!

There was a half-drunk bottle of scotch or something nasty like that left-over from the drinking late into Christmas night, so George and his brother gave it to their driver.

The next morning they learned that their driver had acquired a broken leg sometime in the night. George and his brother were going to drive the car, with their injured driver and mother in the back, the remainder of the trip.

I have been in touch with George since, and they did survive it.
Esme_Travels is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 06:58 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,631
Wow! Quite a story! Our driver told us of drivers drinking all night and driving in the morning. Made me think it might pay to ask your driver to do a sobriety test if in doubt...
Kathie is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 07:49 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,645
Loving this! Great blog! Sri Lanka is definitely on my to-go list!
progol is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 02:46 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
There's no way that we'd have tried to drive if our driver had been injured or taken ill. i thought that it would be better in the south where there is some dual-carriageway, but most of the road users hadn't quite got the hang of it and were driving the wrong way along the lanes quite happily, as well as doing all the other things that Sri Lankan drivers do, which so scare non-local onlookers.

the scariest time [apart from the journey from the airport to our first hotel, which was a real nailbiter] was when we drove back to Kandy at night after watching a cricket match. we were all right in our car but there were people crammed into vans, hanging out the back of trucks, and piled on top of motor scooters and cycles.

seeing babies being carried on scooters with nothing securing them except their mothers' arms was scary too - I had visions of babies bouncing down the road and being crushed by the on-rushing throngs. amazingly we saw no traffic accidents in 2 weeks; they must have happened just in front or behind us!
annhig is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 02:31 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 202
That reminds me of Vietnam. Saw a family of five on a single moped.
Esme_Travels is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2013, 05:09 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,134
Thanks for a great read!
Marija is online now  
Jun 4th, 2013, 11:53 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,937
Family of five....nothing!.
We saw family of five plus a large pig (in cage tied to the back).
Elainee is offline  
Jun 4th, 2013, 02:27 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
We saw family of five plus a large pig (in cage tied to the back).>>

ok, family of 5 plus pig [large] trumps family of 5.

family of 6 [with or without pig] anyone?
annhig is offline  
Jun 4th, 2013, 06:30 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,937
Loved, loved, loved your report. Read the whole report this evening, and now want to reread it. Great style and interesting details. Never wanted to go to Sri Lanka before, but now it is high on my list.
A few comments....being one of the one percent, yes, but it does give us the opportunity to pay others for service. I always felt guilty, but then read "The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency" in which they said it was the obligation of people who could afford it to employ household (and other) help.
What would your driver and his boss do if you did not employ them? Of course, your guy was a bit of a scammer.

I just loved the way you guided the guide. I do think guides should read the guidebooks of the people they are going to guide. Then they will know what the people expect to see. And they should have suggestions for special things not in the guidebooks. I am still annoyed that I did not see the famous step well in India. I knew about it but did not have my guidebook handy in the car that day. Plus you did tell him about your hotel reservations in advance so he could have found out the routes. I was sorry I did not have road maps in India so I knew where I was. Of course, I was so busy taking photos I may not have had time to look at the map.
Loved your photos!!
You are a great traveler and an excellent writer. I will read your other trip reports on your website. Thanks!!
Elainee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:09 PM.