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taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

sheffield
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taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

My father was stationed in Ceylon for 2 years during WW2, intersecting morse code messages in Colombo. I am taking him and my mother back within the next couple of months as it is something he has always wanted to do. We will obviously stay in Colombo (Mount Lavinia hotel looks good) but could do with any advise, where else to visit etc nothing too strenuous. I would be so grateful.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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1. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Hi there,

Because of his need to see some Colombo vintage buildings indeed Mount Lavinia is a good base for a few days. And Kandy is probably another one (3 hours by car), as this was the place of Lord Mountbatten's second HQ. Might even stay in hotel Helga's Folly there because it _was_ the Kandy HQ building, and if Helga (the owner) is still alive she can recall many stories of 60+ years ago!

From Kandy, also outings like waterfalls, tea plantations and the elephant orphanage are possible.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

PS He might recall a old friend of mine who did the same job as him, an Englishman called Dennis Lingwood. He lives not so far from Sheffield now...

sheffield
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2. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Hi

Thank you so much for your interesting reply, we was thinking about Kandy as he did manage to get there once during his stay, we will look into the hotel. I will also ask him if he can recall your friend, he has just started with short term memory loss but can remember everything from years ago!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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3. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

And in Colombo don't forget to have high tea at the terrace of Galle Face hotel. Next to Mt. Lavinia the other beachside icon of the city, and a place which for sure he'll be able to recognize from the outside...

Regards,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

PS Curious to see whether he'll remember 'signalman Lingwood'

UK
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4. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Hi,

In Erik's reference to Kandy and Lord Mountbatten during the 2nd world war,,

There may well have been two buildings used so I'm not discounting Helga,s Folly but I was told by a Sri Lankan historian that Mountbattens headquarters was situated in the house in the middle of the Botanic garden at Peradeniya.

I've just done a web search and severl sites seem to back this up.

lankanewspapers.com/news/…35110_space.html

( 14th paragraph down ).

Also in the Botanic gardens , that may be of interest to an old soldier , there are lots of trees, with plaques on them saying who planted them and when. They include the British royal family, etc.

Rod.

Scotland
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5. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Hi There

We took my mother and aunt to Sri Lanka 3 years ago; both are in their 70's and they loved it and still talk about it! Like your dad my mum has short term memory problem and it didn't spoil her enjoyment. Neither had links to Sri Lanka but enjoyed the strange mix of familiarity (colonial England) and the unfamiliar tropical countryside and culture. It helps to be very organised before you go. A number of travel companies can offer a private driver, for part of your trip. I would thoroughly recommend this. It’s a great way to see the country at your own pace and with a local guide. Having our own driver for a week (we went with Kuoni) met the individual needs of our small group and didn’t cost a fortune. You decide your own timetable and trips; which in your case could be ideal.

Colombo has a huge number of beautiful colonial buildings and a car journey around Colombo would be better than going by foot. If you don’t use a private car, use a taxi, or local tuk tuks which are great fun but they are a bit hair-raising and not ideal for anything more than short journeys. Colombo has some wonderful shops including Paradise Road, and Barefoot which are gentle places to visit to shop or for tea and cake out of the city’s hustle and bustle. Mount Lavinia Hotel should be good.

I agree with others that Kandy is beautiful, and the Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit. Kandy hotels: Mahaweli Reach is nice as is Earls Regency. I would avoid the Queens Hotel.

Have you thought about going to the Highlands? Nuwara Eliya is steeped in its colonial past, with a bizarre 1920’s feel. Its climate is cooler, far more like a warm British summer and would offer a break from tropical and humid Colombo. It’s worth a visit not least for a tour of the tea plantations which are wonderful. However it’s worth keeping in mind it is a long journey getting to and from Nuwara Eliya. Again best done with our own driver and a/c car. Tea factory Hotel in Nuwara Eliya is good.

Hope you have a great time. We going back in January!

Gill

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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6. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Great work, Rod! Interestingly enough 2 different sources (both travel-related) I found through googling report Hotel Suisse, almost next door, as the HQ from 1943-1945. Helga's Folly site does not mention the building history but another source I read when staying there does mention it...

Anyway there might have been more HQ-complex-related buildings then, your source also sounds reliable...

Anyhow, enough to see in Kandy for a veteran it seems!

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Colchester
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7. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Yes go to Kandy with your parents, it is much more gentle than Colombo, with a better climate too. I think the information about the Suisse is correct and I believe the President's Lodge may have been where Mountbaten stayed - but you won't get in there! Not sure about Helga's Folly but if you do go have a look at what is says about it on here beforehand - very mixed reviews. I have been once and was really glad I did not stay! All right to look in I suppose but don't commit until you've seen it. It is not for everyone!

sheffield
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8. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Thanks everyone for your informative replys, unfortunately dad does not remember Dennis Lingwood but what a coincidence that he is living near Sheffield! The other thing I wanted to ask is what month would be best regarding the weather, we have thought about late October early November but if September is a better month we would go then. Also do you think we would be better organising a driver from the hotel when we arrive or do it through the tour company? Thanks again its all so helpful.

Fredericia, Denmark
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9. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

September will absolutely be better than October/November. The 2nd intermonsoon season with quite unsettled weather starts in October and lasts until December. October is the second wettest month of the year on the west side of Sri Lanka.

Getting a taxi from your hotel will be an expensive option. An inbound tour operator or an independent driver will be cheaper.

Hans

Scotland
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10. Re: taking 86 year old father to sri lanka

Hi

Re organising a driver it depends upon how much travelling you intend to do. We usually go for two weeks and have a driver for the first week. I think it cost abt £180-200. For convenience we found it worth it, when we went in a group of 6 a car was provided to allow us to travel together. You can organise taxis from hotels and probably arrange a driver from hotels also, but not sure what the price would be. I am sure you could find a local driver when their jowever there is no guarantee re car insurance. A benefit of having your own driver is that they will offer the same trips to tourist sights such as Sigiriya or the elephant orphanage much cheaper than hotel deals.

Gill