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1st Time to Sri Lanka...

UK
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1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi there,

I wondered whether someone could suggest an intinery for my boyfriend and I? We are planning to visit SL for 9 nights in Feb 2010 and then going over to the Maldives for another 5.

We are leaving the beach and relaxation to the Maldives, so whilst in SL we would like to explore the hill cities and get the most out of the culture, history and wildlife....

Could someone please suggest an intinery of how we fit in all the must see's?? We would like to do things such as the Adam's Peak overnight climb, visit the Elephant Orphanage and visit some of the tea plantations and maybe the turtle hatchery

Also is it better to go with an organised tour or could we do it independently? We do prefer to be independent so we can take things at our pace!!

Rustic / boutique hotels are also more our cup of tea rather than big corporate hotels, so if we could have a few suggestions for these please...?!

Any help / suggestions would be fantastic

Thanks

P

Belgium, Wisconsin
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249 posts
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1. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi

Having 9 days in sri lanka will enough to visit main attractions In sri lanka . it best to stay your first night at negombo beach just 30 minute away from the air port for initial orientation. Then you can drive inland following manner explore cultural / historical and nature of the sri lanka .

1 Day –air port- negombo (night negombo)

2 Day – pinnawala elephant orphanage – sigiriya (night sigiriya)

3 Day – dambulla cave – kandy (night kandy)

4 Day – adm’s peak (night adm’s peak )

5 Day – nuwaraeliya tea growing area

6 Day –ella - ideal location do hiking (night ella)

7 Day – udawala national park – mirissa bach (night mirissa)

8 Day – visit galle –bentota beach (night bentota)

9 Day – departure .

Hope that will help

Thanks you,

ind

UK
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2. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi Ind,

Thank you for your reply.

Would you be able to recommend a base where we could stay and still see some of the major attractions? Even though we would like an active holiday I think we may want a couple of rest days in SL...

Also in regards to Adam's Peak, would we need to book in advance or can we just turn up and do the climb ourselves?

Thanks again for your suggestions...

Colombo
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1,062 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi,

Sounds good but specially if you are into some wildlife and birds Yala national park cannot be omitted to see the leopards. also sinharaja rain forest for amazing bio diversity and most of endemic birds in Sri Lanka and also if possible hortan plains too.

Nishantha

UK
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4. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi Nithantha,

This may sound like a silly question but could we stay in the Yala National Park? Do we a guide, how long should we stay here for?

Thanks,

P

St Austell
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3,497 posts
32 reviews
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5. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi

No need to book Adam's Peak. It is a public path up the side of the mountainside. However, you would be advised to pre-book your accommodation there as it is quite limited. Slightly Chilled Guesthouse is the best of the bunch.

If you want to do the travel more or less independently and to take in as many of the cultural and wildlife must sees as possible, I suggest the following route:

Depending on your flight arrival time, spend the first night in Negombo unless you arrive early in the morning. Even then a night to recover from the flight from the UK is recommended.

If your budget allows, and to make the most of your time, hire a car and driver to take you to the Cultural Triangle for at least 2 nights. With a driver, you could also easily visit the elephant orphanage en route from Negombo. Otherwise, arrange it from Kandy. See the main sights, such as Sigiriya (do this one early on when you have a full day), Dambulla Rock Temple, one of the ancient cities (Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura) and possibly a safari to Minneriya if you are not intending to do Yala.

Next, get your driver to drop you off in Kandy for 1 or 2 nights; two if you still want to do the elephant orphanage, but you could manage with one if you just want to do the Botanical Gardens and Temple of the Tooth.

From Kandy, get the train to Hatton and then bus or tuk-tuk to Dalhousie, where you will do your Adam's Peak climb by night. I recommend 2 nights here. It is a particularly glorious area of the hillcountry and gives you the opportunity to see tea plantations and fabulous scenery aswell as doing the climb.

After this, bus back to Hatton and further bus to Kitulgala to do some whitewater rafting. Stay overnight. It's a very beautiful area with good walks in the rainforest, so if you are keen on wildlife and particularly birds, it is well worth a visit. From Kitulgala you can then resume the bus journey towards Colombo and either back towards the airport for your onward flight allowing for a night somewhere local again. If you still have any spare time, you could head south west towards Kosgoda or similar area on the west coast to see the tuttle hatchery first.

I think you will find that 9 nights goes very quickly in Sri Lanka. It is not possible to see all of the main attractions in this time, and even less likelihood of a lot of leisure time, but with your limited time and bearing in mind your interests, this is what I would probably do.

All the best

Sue

Belgium, Wisconsin
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6. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

hi

no need to do any advance booking to climb adm’s peak better not to climbing during week ends to avoid jam. Kandy is most suitable based to visit more attraction what I mentioned in pervious itinerary .

thanks,

ind

St Austell
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3,497 posts
32 reviews
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7. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi walkingb00ts

Reading your initial posting again, it seems you like the idea of being independent for the freedom it gives you, rather than for the cost saving. If you are prepared to hire a car and driver for the majority of your tour, you will save a bit more time and also have complete freedom as to where and when you go whilst on tour. It is most people's preferred option and as long as you get a good driver/guide, probably the best way for you to see the country. A good driver can also book suitable accommodation for you if required.

I hestitated to mention Yala and the other attractions of the far south east because of the extra driving time involved, but with a driver, you could certainly incorporate these into your tour. Send me or any of the DE's a PM if you would like driver recommendations.

Sue

UK
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8. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi Guys,

Thanks so very much for all the information that you have provided - this is why I love trip advisor :)

Sue you are right in regards to the independence, its not about the cost saving but more to do with having our own freedom!! Sue driver recommendations would be brilliant, I will send you a PM. Out of interest, how much does it typically cost for a driver?

In regards to Adam's Peak I have read that it is more beautiful approaching the summit from the south side rather than from Dalhousie...?! If so are there any guest house recommendations on this side of the mountain?

Thanks again

P

St Austell
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9. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

You mean from the Ratnapura side? That is a much longer and tougher climb .. the usual one from Dalhousie is long enough for me and it is a better path too. And it is extremely beautiful. If you do approach the Adam's Peak area from the south, I can recommend a very lovely and well priced guesthouse at Belihul Oya called Landa House which is on the road between Haputale and Ratnapura. If you stay during the week, it only costs Rs2500 for a double room, and that goes up to Rs3500 at the weekends. Here are some photos that I took of it when I stayed there in August:

flickr.com/photos/…

It would also be a good base if you were to take up Nishantha's suggestion of Horton's Plains .. and to then go on to Sinharaja rainforest and the coast from there.

I'll send you a PM with my favourite driver details too! All the best

Sue

Colombo
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10. Re: 1st Time to Sri Lanka...

Hi again,

As far as i know camping inside Yala national park in block 1 can be done now from 1st of November onwards. Also Yala village hotel is also situated inside the boundry line of the Yala national park.

Nishantha