Trip Itinerary Guidance

May 6th, 2014, 05:49 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2014
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Trip Itinerary Guidance

Hello all,
My husband and I are planning a trip to Sri Lanka for 12 days in August. We would like to see as much as possible. We’ve sketched out a rough itinerary, but I’d love feedback on how realistic it is, anything we can skip or should add. We’re in our early-40’s and are very active and fit.
Re transportation and lodging, I am thinking we’ll hire a car and driver for the duration, and book our own hotels.
Thank you in advance for any guidance!
18 Aug: Land in Colombo, travel to Kandy, stay at Villa Rosa
19 Aug: Kandy, stay at Villa Rosa, see town
20 Aug: Minneriya, stay at Cinnamon Lodge, see elephants
21 Aug: Nuwara Eliya, stay at Heritance Tea, hike Horton Plains, Land’s End
22 Aug: drive to Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, see Ella, tea plantations en route
23 Aug: Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, surf, scuba
24 Aug: Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, surf, scuba
25 Aug: Tissa, Magampura Ecolodge, visit Yala, Bundala
26 Aug: Udawalawe, stay at Grand Udawale, visit park
27 Aug: Kudawa, Sinharaja Seyana Eco Lodge, visit Sinharaja
28 Aug: Dalhousie, stay at Slightly Chilled
29 Aug: Dalhousie, stay at Slightly Chilled
30 Aug: Colombo, stay at Cinnamon Grand
31 Aug: airport
DawnExpat is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 06:20 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,251
I think you may be underestimating the time it takes to get from place to place in Sri Lanka. Google maps is totally useless in estimating times etc. It always seems to take a lot longer than you would expect to get anywhere.

I would be inclined to contact a couple of tour operators to see what they have to offer in terms of inclusive tours with a car and drIver. We found there was little difference in cost and, although we had a few problems with our operator and guide, they did manage to sort out a few issues that are an inevitable part of travel in SL. The operators should also be able to confirm whether your planned itinerary is feasible.

The only place on the your list we stayed was Slightly Chilled in Dalhousie were were before and after ascending Adams Peak ( a great experience !) Basic , but nice and the closest place to the peak. Also had the best food of just about any guesthouse or hotel we stayed in in SL . The breakfasts were amazing.
crellston is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 08:24 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
As crellston said, it takes a long time to get anywhere in SL. Suggest you read some of the trip reports here to get a feel for times.

I wouldn't bother with Colombo, spend your last night in Negombo.

If you want to hike World's (not Land's) End you should spend two nights in Nuwara Eliya so you can start out early.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 09:40 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 699
Hi Comments as follows...

18 Aug: Land in Colombo, travel to Kandy, stay at Villa Rosa - ok
19 Aug: Kandy, stay at Villa Rosa, see town -ok

20 Aug: Minneriya, stay at Cinnamon Lodge, see elephants - you need to start early to get to Minneriya by 3pm for an afternoon safari.

21 Aug: Nuwara Eliya, stay at Heritance Tea, hike Horton Plains, Land’s End - it is "Worlds End" not enough time you will need two nights in NE


22 Aug: drive to Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, see Ella, tea plantations en route - nice full day drive

23 Aug: Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, surf, scuba
24 Aug: Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, surf, scuba great surfing but no scuba or snorkelling in Arugambay


25 Aug: Tissa, Magampura Ecolodge, visit Yala, Bundala - Stick to yala only and try to put in at least 3 game drives. Try to stay closer to yala. Check out Cadjan villa, a simple rustic place located on the Kataragama side with Katagamuwa gate access, a good position when coming from Arugambay. For other better hotel's with closer proximity to the park gate look at Jetwing Yala or Chaya Wild or Elephant Reach


26 Aug: Udawalawe, stay at Grand Udawale, visit park - suggest you drop this give an extra day in Yala.

27 Aug: Kudawa, Sinharaja Seyana Eco Lodge, visit Sinharaja - ok need to do the morning walk starting at 6.30am and definitely use leech socks available from the nearby village.

28 Aug: Dalhousie, stay at Slightly Chilled - you got good advice already from crellston
29 Aug: Dalhousie, stay at Slightly Chilled

30 Aug: Colombo, stay at Cinnamon Grand - why do you want a night in colombo?
31 Aug: airport
Mohammed is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 02:57 PM
  #5  
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Thank you very much for your input. I have revised the itinerary as follows, per your feedback, and think it makes more sense:

18 Aug: Land in Colombo at 4 a.m., travel to Minneriya, stay at Cinnamon Lodge, afternoon safari
19 Aug: morning safari, afternoon travel to Kandy, stay at Villa Rosa, see town
20 Aug: Kandy, stay at Villa Rosa, visit Knuckles, tea plantation
21 Aug: drive to Nuwara Eliya, stay at Heritance Tea
22 Aug: morning hike Horton Plains, see World’s End
23 Aug: drive to Arugam Bay, stop in Ella, visit tea plantation, stay at Hideaway
24 Aug: Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, surf, relax
25 Aug: Arugam Bay, stay at Hideaway, surf, relax
26 Aug: morning drive to Yala, stay at Jetwing Yala, afternoon safari
27 Aug: morning safari, afternoon safari
28 Aug: morning drive to Kudawa, stay at Sinharaja Eco Lodge
29 Aug: morning walk in Sinharaja Rainforest, drive to Galle in late afternoon
30 Aug: Galle, stay at Tamarind Hill, see town
31 Aug: airport

If you see anything glaringly wrong, I welcome comments! Thanks again for great feedback.
DawnExpat is offline  
May 6th, 2014, 10:55 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 699
Driving to Minneriya directly after 4.00am arrival makes a lot of sense because traffic will be low and you will be able to rest well after reaching Minneriya and manage an afternoon safari. However the next day a morning safari in Minneriya is absolutely useless. The elephants only come out in the evening. This is a very well established clear pattern. Better to see Sigiriya and then drive to kandy by afternoon.

Knuckles is a rather remote area and cannot be seen based in Kandy. It is extremely beautiful. Ideally you need to put a night in Riverston. Suggest you look at Sir Johns Bungalow, the location and views are stupendous and excellent hiking too. The resident manager is a very experienced naturalist and will even take you on a short night drive to try and see a Loris. Suggest you drive from Sigiriya and stay a night in Knuckles.

From Knuckles you can drive to Nuwaraeliya via just stopping in Kandy.

I take it you like surfing and Arugambay is great and Hideaway is a good choice, owned by a friend and is highly recommended.

Rest of your itinerary Yala, Sinharajah and ad Galle sounds good.

With the new expressways you can get from Galle to the airport in less than 2 hours.
Mohammed is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 08:27 AM
  #7  
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Mohammed,
Many thanks for your invaluable input. I will take your advice and avoid the morning safari and consider a night in Knuckles.

I am reconsidering driving straight from the airport to Minneriya upon arrival at 4 a.m. I read some comments in other forums about dangerous road conditions, namely lack of visibility, increased number of trucks at night and drivers who have been awake all night. But, you don't seem to be concerned about such conditions. Is it generally safe to drive at such early hours, or are my concerns valid?

Otherwise, maybe a night in Negombo might suit us better, then get up the next day and drive to Minneriya.

Thanks for vetting the rest.
DawnExpat is offline  
May 8th, 2014, 11:38 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 699
Hi Travelling at 4 am from the airport to Minneriya is no problem at all, imho it is as safe as any other time of day. I travel frequently around Sri Lanka and most times I leave home in the wee hours like 4.00 am to beat the later rush hour traffic.
Mohammed is offline  
May 10th, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #9  
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Thanks, Mohammed. In that case, I will travel to Minneriya right from airport.
DawnExpat is offline  

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