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First visit, what area to choose

Cardiff, United...
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First visit, what area to choose

Hi, this will be our first trip to Sri Lanka, we are going to stay last week Sept, first week Oct, what resort would you pick, we would like to see sights, also be near a beach as we enjoy moonlight strolls along the beach of an evening. Plus we hope to have enough sun, not to come home still looking like an ice cream. Assistance required to help us decide would be really grateful

Thanks Helen

St Austell
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1. Re: First visit, what area to choose

Hi Helen

None of the beach resorts are close to the main attractions of Sri Lanka, which are all inland and involve at least a night or more staying there too. With two weeks, I would suggest a few days or more on tour (I'd do more, but I guess you are looking primarily for a beach holiday....) and then finish on the beach.

To give you a good idea of what Sri Lanka has, consider seeing something of the main cultural attractions which are in an area north east of the airport ... approx. 3.5 hours or so in travelling time. About 2 hours south of this is the city of Kandy which is a good base for quite a few places and also has good shopping, the Temple of the Tooth and vast Botanical Gardens. If you then travel south again for a few hours, you can tour the beautiful hill country with its tea plantations and waterfalls. From an overnight stay here, you could finally hit the south coast which has the most beautiful beaches of all, but being that bit further to travel, is best done in stages such as those I've mentioned above. Alternatively, you face a journey of 6 hours or so from the airport direct to the south coast.

The south coast has the prettiest beaches, and generally has more beachfront restaurants and bars to walk to in the evenings, especially at places like Unawatuna, Mirissa and Tangalle, but accommodation is generally limited to small hotels, guesthouses and villas. If you are looking for a bigger choice of luxury hotels, the west coast resorts might suit you better, aswell as being closer to the airport. There are several vast beaches here and you might like to look at resorts such as Bentota. Hikkaduwa is another option and one I particularly like, because it has lots of beach restaurants, a choice of beaches, including one sheltered by a reef which means safe, calm swimming year round, unlike the other west coast resorts in September/October time. The south coast places I've mentioned also have sheltered areas for swimming too.

So ... to sum up: if swimming in the sea is a priority for you, choose Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, or possibly Tangalle or Mirissa. If you want big full facility hotels, the main west coast resorts like Bentota and Beruwela are best. For seeing the sights, then possibly Negombo is the best option (close to the airport on the west coast and with lots of restaurant choice) but even here, most worthwhile places will require an overnight stay and Negombo's beach isn't great so wouldn't be my choice for the main beach part of your holiday.

The weather at the end of September/beginning of October might be starting to get unsettled with some rain, but even then, you should still experience hot weather and should have more than enough sunshine, especially in the mornings, to ensure you come home well baked!

All the best


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2. Re: First visit, what area to choose

Absolutely agree - to go to SL and not to see the wonderful places inland would be a great shame. As Sue says, to do this you need to have a bit of a tour and if you are interested in this many of the DEs could recommend drivers/tour guides who will organise all of this for you. Another way to do it is a package from one of the big UK based tour companies, which often comprise a tour and a beach stay or, for a more tailored package, you could go to a Sri Lanka based travel company such as Red Dot Tours which gives you more flexibility than the larger companies.


Washington DC...
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3. Re: First visit, what area to choose

you should check out the two main web sites of "John Keells Hotels and Aitken spence hotels" to get a idea. Southern beach has a lot of hotels, but if you want peace ad quite best you leave out bentota and hikka and go down to mirrrissa like mentioned.

4. Re: First visit, what area to choose

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