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where to go and what to see, please?

Bratislava, Slovakia
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where to go and what to see, please?

Hi, im planning to go to Sri Lanka with my GF in february, staying arround 20days. After reading many posts i have bit mess in my head now, therefore could you recommend me where to go and to see some nice places ?

1)I would like to get to the Sigiriya area after landing in Colombo, to walk up to that famous rock, see some nice parks, orchid gardens if possible,

2)then move to the south to Nuwara Elya, where i've read are nice Tea fields, water falls, etc...

3)From there i would like to get somewhere south, to beach area, most probably start with Mirissa beach for couple of days, since i read it is a nice area, and move slowly with stops on other beaches back to Colombo for a take off. Is it also possible to see some sea turtles somewhere on my way, even on those beaches ?

I have no idea how to get to any of those places. Only know that there is train going from Galle to Colombo :)

After landing in Colombo how to get to some place close to Sigiriya / parks / elephants. Heard about renting driver to get there. Later,from there,maybe get on the train to get to Nuwara Elya - have no idea if there is such a possibility, or to rent driver again. I am little bit confused with the connection between the hills (Nuwara Elya = tea fields, water falls) area with Mirissa.

sorry for such a long message, appreciate any comments

UK
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1. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Hi dusoo,

Firstly, whichever method of travel you use in Sri Lanka, it'll be slow so allways allow plenty of time to get anywhere.

There are several ways to get to the Sigirya area.

Obviously, a car and driver is the easiect but also obviously, thats the most expensive way.

You can go from the airport into Colombo and get either a train or a bus. With the train you may have to change at a place called Galoya Junction, near Polonorua.

If you can afford the car thats great, if not then you could combine trains and buses. Get the train from Colombo to Kandy and the bus from kandy to Polonorua.

The ancient city of Polonorua is well worth spending some time before going on to Sigirya and also Dambulla cave temples .

After these take your car or bus to Kandy. In Kandy, make time for the Temple of the Tooth and also , if you're interested in getting close to lots of elephants, take a day trip out to Pinawella elephant orphanage.

The best place I know to see orchids is in the orchids house in the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya which is a sort of suburb of Ksndy.

From Kandy, take the train south through the hill country. From Kandy the railway climbs higher as it winds around the mountain sides until it passes Newara Eliya, the highest town in Sri Lanka.

After Newara Eliya, the train line is all downhill .

Personally, I wouldn;t stay at Newara Eliya. There's not much to see there and the surrounding mountains are quite often covered in cloud.

I'd stay on the train as far as Haputale or Ella.

There's lots of tea plantations you can stroll around and some amazing scenery.

Just south of these two places the hills gradually fall away to the southern dry district plains.

From there, if you have a car and driver, then no problem getting from there to the coast. Or, you could hire a driver and vehicle for one day/.

If you want to use public transport, then you can get a bus from either Haputale or Ella as far as a town called Wellawaya... Most buses you'll have to change there to get a bus to Matara. Some of the buses from Wellawaya carry omn past Matara so you can actually get off right beside the beach at Mirissa.

From there it's easy to travel between coastal towns either by bus or train and both will lead you back towards Colombo.

Rod.

Bratislava, Slovakia
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2. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Hi Rob, thanks for reply. From what you wrote, i would like to go to the polonnaruwa, dambulla and sigiriya at the beggining. Not sure in which order, and if those trips could be done by staying in one "hotel". Like advised, Habarana could be good for overnight, since it is close to Polonn., but not sure how far is sigiriya from there.

From there would like move to Kandy, see the Tooth temple and peradeniya botanical garden. From there, i would like to go to your's mentioned Ella or Haputale town, both of them looks nice to me. By staying there, visit of horton's landscape should be good idea, where is the World's End i guess, and Adam's Peak somewhere close, but not sure again, if those trips could be done by staying in one of those towns (Ella/Haputale). After those trips i'll head to the coast area. Im thinking about to rent a driver from the airport directly to Habarana or near by, where recommended. Maybe keep the driver for next few days - for Kandy trips as well. From there continue with driver, or get on the train until Ella.Do you have any idea how much would i have to pay for a few day's driver? If you have any better ideas about transportation, please let me know as well...Thanks !

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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3. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Okay, to jump in a bit - that's what we are here for in TA to form a common knowledge base!

>Not sure in which order, and if those trips could >be done by staying in one "hotel".

The best basis for Cultural Triangle is either Sigiriya or Giritale (near P'ruwa). Both places have all classes of guesthouses and hotels, and other locations like Dambulla or Mihintale are less than an hour by car from it.

>Adam's Peak somewhere close, but not sure again,

Up til here okay, Ella/Haputale is a good basis for Eliya and World's End. Not really for Adam's Peak as that is near Dalhousie (Hatton), 2 hours from Ella - and is best climbed starting around midnight. So better have one night guesthouse near Dalhousie for this.

>Do you have any idea how much would i have to pay >for a few day's driver

The fare basis for car-with-driver is based on around Rs 35/40 per km. As the usual day is upto 150 km (speed is 30/40 km/h!), the usual cost per day is around Rs 6,000. With some drivers/agencies it's possible to have a fully fixed day price and with others it's fixed for a maximum mileage per day.

At your service,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Bratislava, Slovakia
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4. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Could you recommend me any drivers to drive me few days ?

Belgium, Wisconsin
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5. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

hi.

i have sent you PM with some info of few guide + driver in sri lanka.

ind

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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6. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Hi there,

If you send a PM to Rod, Dave, Hans, Nishanta, Treshi or me you'll get some names of drivers from us. We're careful not to do too much advertising in the public TA space.

Mind you, however: both the km-rates and the daily rates are based on ROUNDtrips. So if e.g. your 'final' point for using the driver is South Coast, like Mirissa, you still have to pay the empty ride of the driver-and-car back to Colombo. This is still cheaper than paying one-way rates for each of the individual days that you use him...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Bratislava, Slovakia
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7. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Could you guys recommend me also how many days should i reserve and in how many places should i overnight to see polonnaruwa, sigiriya, dambulla and tooth temple with peradeniya gardens in Kandy? Not sure which of them could be done in one day. So just if anyone of you been to such a places, ill appreciate your comment. I was thinking to stay somewhere close to Sigiriya to do those three trips in couple of days, move to Kandy - do those two trips in a day and then hop on a train heading Ella on next day. If you have any guesthouses/hotels that you recommend, would be great too. Thaaanks !

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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8. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Okay, next round!

>and in how many places should i overnight to see >polonnaruwa, sigiriya, dambulla

For these take 2 full days (so 3 nights). One of them for P'ruwa and other one for The Rock and Dambulla Temple.

>and tooth temple with peradeniya gardens in Kandy?

Can indeed be combined in one full day, that's 2 nights Kandy then. But trip Sigiriya/Giritale (your base for the 2 Cultural days) to Kandy is about 3 hours, so if you're willing to leave early then maybe one night Kandy would suffice.

As for acco, our recommendations start at 2-3 star (because we already have a not-very-luxury house in Lanka) while Rod is much more an expert for guesthouses. So better first indicate what level you're looking at then one of us can come back with recommendations.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Bratislava, Slovakia
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9. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

About acco. Ill be in that area for about 4 nights, and after long flight better place would be great. Sigiriya Village was recommended for others, and i found it attractive for first nights in SL. But dont know if it's not too far for polonnaruwa and dambulla, and even if they have free rooms. In Kandy, i dont need to be in the center, just would like to see tooth temple and spend some time in peradeniya. So if there's something simillar to Sigiriya Village, or smaller guesthouse, wont be bad for me. But still, it depends on the location of that accom. As i read, those both kandy attractions are on different sites...Thanks!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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10. Re: where to go and what to see, please?

Hi again,

S. Village is perfectly located for P'ruwa and Dambulla, just like other hotels in Sigiriya and Giritale. And almost any hotel in Lanka has rooms available now except for some weekends.

Similar hotels (2-3 star) in Kandy are Hilltop, Thilanka, Swiss Residence and Topaz. The first two are walking distance from city centre (and hence also from Temple of the Tooth), the latter two are more in suburbs but a bit closer to Peradeniya Gardens too.

At your service,

<Erik> & [Sandya]