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Suggestions regarding our proposed Sri Lanka tour schedule

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Jul 30th, 2011, 10:40 PM
  #1
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Suggestions regarding our proposed Sri Lanka tour schedule

Hi
We are looking to have a short tour of Sri Lanka in late February 2012. I would appreciate any comments on our proposed schedule. We will be getting a car and driver for the entire tour. I am not sure if we could tighten up the schedule to get an extra day at Yala or the beach. Then again we dont want to cut the hill country too short. There is never enough time... Anyway the proposed schedule is:
Day 1 Arrive in morning then at Colombo
Day 2 Anuradhapura ,
Day 3 & 4 Sigiriya Lion Rock , Polonnaruwa, Dabulla Rock Cave Temple
Day 5 & 6 at Kandy city
Day 7 to Nuwaraeliya ( by Train ??)
Day 8 Walk to Worlds End
To Ella
Day 9 Ella
Walk to Little Adams Peak
Then to Yala
Day 10 Yala and Yala National Park
Day 11 & 12 Unawatuna Beach stay
Day 13 Return to Colombo
Day 14 Depart
Thanks
gmoz is offline  
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Jul 31st, 2011, 09:31 AM
  #2
 
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I'd recommend staying in Negombo your first night instead of Colombo. I was underwhelmed by Unawatuna - I'd take one night from there to add to Yala. Do book early for Yala or you'll find the best accommodation gone.
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Jul 31st, 2011, 09:34 AM
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Your itinerary looks pretty good to me. You'll have a long drive the first day to Anuradhapura. I'm not sure I'd try to tighten it up... though it would be nice if you had another day in Yala.

As you know, we loved Sri Lanka. Have a wonderful trip!
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Jul 31st, 2011, 11:40 AM
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From the airport to Anuradhapura is only 3 hours driving time and road is very good except the last 10%of the way which is under roadworks, that too should be ready by Feb 2012, suggest you arrive go direct to Anuradhapura. Other than that suggest you skip the night in Ella and add it to the stay in Yala.
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Jul 31st, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Nice itinerary but I tend to agree with the above comments re staying in Negombo rather than heading to Columbo which is in the opposite direction to Anurahadpura (and really not worth the effort IMHO!). Having visited Anuradhapura in Feb this year in the midst of the floods in that area I am perhaps a little biased, but I really didn't feel it was worth the journey and would have spent more time elsewhere. I would go directly to Sirigiya/Polonnaruwa/ Dabulla which we enjoyed much more.

One of the highlights for us was climbing Adams Peak in the middle of the night (click on my screen name for trip report) which is easily incorporated. We were going to do worlds End as well but our legs weren't up for the challenge so soon after!!

Didn't make it to Yala, partly because we had been on a couple of safaris in Africa and partly because ALL accomodation in the vicinity of the park was booked solid, so as thursdaysd suggests - book early..

We stayed a t a few beach locations along the south coast but decided not to stay at Unawatuna as it seemed a bit too much of a party town for us so we carried on to Galle which we liked a lot. Goyambokka, Weligama, Mirrisa are all nice places with great beaches.

It took us around 5-6 hours to get to Negombo from Galle which was much closer to the airport and a great place to end our holiday with some great seafood.
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Jul 31st, 2011, 05:01 PM
  #6
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Thanks to everyone for taking the time to give us the benefit of your knowledge.

We are now thinking of going straight from the airport to Anuradhapura. That way we are always travelling in forward direction as Crellston suggests. We should be there by lunchtime (thanks for the travel time Mohammed). We will try to see a little of Colombo at the end, I know people say its forgettable but we would like to have a look.

We might look for a quieter beach, we are just looking for a quieter beach but one with a few choices of restaurants. The beach time is not vitally important as we live near the beach at home and we are also spending time at the beach in Thailand after Sri Lanka. So we might try and get in another day at Yala or Tissamahara.

We want to get a train at some stage if possible and do a walk to either Worlds End or Adams Peak so we will have to juggle that around a bit. We may be able to cut out Ella. Getting a train ride, a walk and also saving a day may be a bit ambitious.

If we can save a day then we get an extra “wildlife” day at Yala or Tissa. Seems we will have to book soon to avoid missing out as thursdayd suggested.

Kathi I know how much you loved Sri Lanka. We loved the same places in Burma as much as you did and we are hoping the same will hold true in Sri Lanka.
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Jul 31st, 2011, 11:03 PM
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gmoz -I wouldn't say it was too ambitious to get a train ride. We did two, Kandy to Hatton (for Adams Peak) and Hatton to Haputule (for Worlds End and Ella). In both case our drive dropped us at the station and continued by road and in both cases we arrived 15-20 mins before him. Absolutely worth the effort and cost ($2 for the ticket and $10 booking fee!!) A great experience.

If you are only staying a short time in Columbo then the area around Galle Face Green is nice and a visit to The Pettah a must if you are into busy Asian markets - it is huge!
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Aug 1st, 2011, 11:02 AM
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Bookmarking for a future trip. Lots of good info.
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Aug 1st, 2011, 12:50 PM
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Mohammed,
of course I totally respect your local expertise, but.............. 'From the airport to Anuradhapura is only 3 hours driving time'? Surely not.

We took four hours from airport to Cinnamon Lodge.
Is it a different/better road to Anuradhapura ?
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 12:33 AM
  #10
 
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Yes different road.....

Airport to Cinnamon Lodge is a different route, via Kurunegala/Dambulla and to Habarana.....longer slower road with heavier traffic.

From the airport to get to directly to Anuradhapura, you will go north along the coast Negombo/Chilaw/Puttalam, turn right at Puttalam to Anuradhapura..... This road is really quite good all the way except the last 10 km or so into Anuradhapura.
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 01:39 PM
  #11
 
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Thank-you Mohammed,

Yet another example of why a local guide/driver is essential in Sri Lanka...................particularly in the planning stages, when looking at a map, the realities of travel in this wonderful country are simply not apparent to a novice to the country.

My No.1 tip for anyone planning an independent trip to Sri Lanka......get local advice, and liaise with your chosen guide/driver..
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:39 PM
  #12
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Thanks Mohammed,
I looked on google maps and it indicates 211 klm from airport to Anuradhapura. Not sure how accurate google maps is but it is an indication. The road looks like it might be scenic as it appears to follow the coast.
I appreciate all the advice given. Thanks everyone.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 01:45 AM
  #13
 
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Yes it runs along the coast up to Puttalam but you never really see the coast except at a couple of lagoons.
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Nov 3rd, 2011, 01:42 AM
  #14
 
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Hi gomoz,
I think u have plenty of time to ur trip so i would like to given a little change for ur trip.
first i saw lot of them calling about the distance Airport to Anuradhapura.In my experience and also i have travel there lot of times there is a train in around 5.50 a.m at colombo it will reach to Anuradhapura around 9.30 it is very cheap.

The other thing is Day 3 u can go to polonnaruwa directly from Anuradhapura and then same day u can reach to Sigiriya and stay at there it is east to if u come kandy at the next day.

Cheers
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Nov 6th, 2011, 12:54 PM
  #15
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Wasthu
Thank you for your information.
We have arranged a driver who will take us to Anurahpura on the first day,

We are now considering if to spend and extra day at either Yala or Unawatuna

For people in Australia who are interested in Sri Lanka there is a new TV show called "My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita". The show is broadcast on Thursdays at 7.30pm on SBS and while it is mainly a cooking show it does feature many travel locations too.
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Nov 26th, 2011, 10:53 AM
  #16
 
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I toured Sri Lanka for one month in Dec 2010. I hired an excelent driver through Red Dot. Here are my suggestions:

Day 1. Transfer from airport to Anuradhapura by back roads to include visits en-route to Padeniya Vihara, Yapahuwa, and Hattikucchi Vihara. This will take 6-7 hours. These were all interesting sites.

Day 2. Visit Anuradhapura and Mihintale, overnight in Sigiriya or Habanara (where I stayed at Cinnamon Lodge).
I thought A'pura was wonderful-not to be missed- and the views from Mihintale stunning. Weather was picture perfect on my visit.

Day 3. Visit Sigiriya Rock and Polonnaruwa

Day 4. Drive to Kandy with visit to Dambulla Caves enroute.

Day 5. Kandy

Day 6. Train or drive to Haputale. Forget Nuwara Eliya.

Day 7. From Hapatule visit World's End ( go as early as possible in the morning to avoid mist). Stunning...but I had perfect weather. I would suggest overnighting again in Hapatule.

Day 8. Early morning visit (before the mist sets in) to Lipton's Seat near Hapatule and arrive in Ella around noon. Vist Little Adam's Peak and overnight Ella.

Day 9 and beyond: To Yala and South Coast.

I did not visit Yala because I found it overpriced and I had recently done a two week safari in Botswana.

I stayed for a week in the Tangalle area to enjoy the southern coast. I was happy with my choice. Quiet. Laid back.

Hope these suggestions help gmoz. I appreciated your help on the Burma forum and I will be there for 4 weeks starting Jan 5h.

Happy travels!
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Nov 27th, 2011, 12:18 AM
  #17
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smacdvanbc thanks for that advice. We have arranged a driver, Rammuni, and our tour is very close to your sugestions. We will adopt some of your side trips to the interesting sites. After combining yours and all the other helpful posts i am sure we will be having a great trip, we cant wait.
You will love Burma, such a nice place.I think you are going at just the right time as it appears there will be a bit of a tourist boom there soon and perhaps it will loose a little of its charm. I hope not though.
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Nov 27th, 2011, 12:21 AM
  #18
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oops, smacdvanbc there is more
Have a good trip and i look forward to reading your comments when you return.
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Nov 27th, 2011, 01:58 AM
  #19
 
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Hi gmoz,
We did our trip in February this year with Rammuni......he and Mano, his driver were fantastic. Please pass on our best wishes to him.
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Nov 27th, 2011, 07:38 PM
  #20
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Hi Leigh
I will pass on your regards to him. It was your travel report (among others ) that I used as a starting point, so thanks a lot for your posts. Most helpful.
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