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Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Nottingham, United...
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Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Have read so many good answers to questions and great advice on here so thought would try too!

We are leaving next Weds and will have our own car and driver for a week. Here is an outline plan but would appreciate any tips and places to visit just in case our guide is not that forthcoming!

1. Depart Mt Lavinia for Habarana for 2 nights. En route visit Elephant Orphanage

2. Next day visit Sigiriya and climb to top

3. Head to Kandy for 2 nights

Visit Dumbulla Rock caves.

Any tips on which spice garden to visit?

Batique workshop

Temple of the Tooth

Culture Show

4. Kandy sightseeing and visit market,botanical gardens

5. Nuwara Eliya and stay in Heritance Tea Factory for 1 night

6. travel to Bentota Beach for 1 night.

Understand this is a long drive.Debating wether or not to visit Bridge over River kwai sight or not.Does this add a lot onto the journey? Is it worth it?

7. Flight to Male

Look forward to any input

Any suggestions or variations appreciated

Newcastle, UK
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1. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

For what it's worth, as a regular visitor to SL on business who's done a few of the 'sights':

Elephant Orphanage - yes, a must, it's great, but you only need a couple of hours and make sure you go at washing time and follow them down to the river - a marvellous sight!

Nothing much in Kandy apart from the Tooth, which is a must and well worth it - do the Culture Show if you want, but it reminded me of Disneyland.

I suppose you have to visit a spice garden once - it'll be the one that your driver gets a kick-back from, that's how everything works in SL, and you'll get a 15 minute tour followed by half an hour of hard sell on over-priced so-called 'ayurvedic' remedies.

The Peredeniya Botanic Gardens, outside of Kandy, are FANTASTIC in my eyes, and worth devoting half a day to if you're even slightly interested in the natural world!

Kandy market is a trial by heat, noise, crowds and tat!

All the journeys seem long, wherever you go in SL, so make sure you build in regular stops for tea - the old Government Rest Houses are nice, if a little run down, and very cheap - avoid 'gem factories', 'wholesale clothing suppliers', 'tea plantations' and the like suggested by your driver, as they'll just be ways of separating you from your hard-earned, which he'll get a cut of!

Like it or not, that's the way it works - do I sound cynical? Too many trips to the third world I guess!

You'll have a great time anyway!

Nottingham, United...
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2. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Thanks for the reply...a little cynical yes but this is the way things function in Sri Lanka i understand?

Thought the market would be better priced for spices so not intending to look round at tat just get a flavour of the local way of life and the differences between the cultures.

Botanic gardens on the list and thanks for the other tips.

Cant seem to reply to earlier message for some reason but in answer...not sure as part of Kuoni package.

Newcastle, UK
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3. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Ah, OK thanks, I thought you might have booked it independently - that's why all the drivers are playing hard to get these days is it, b****y Kuoni paying top whack??!! Grrrrr!

Colchester
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4. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Whilst in Kandy you could visit some lovely quiet temples en route to the Elephant Orphanage. These lie off the Kandy Colombo road and are called Embeke, Gadaladeniya and Lankatilake. All within a few miles of each other. Within Kandy there is the udawattakele nature reserve, once used for a Tarzan film. Lots of monkeys and feels very much like a jungle even though it is in the heart of the city, up behind the Temple of the Tooth.

If you like south Indian food do not miss Rams Restaurant in Colombo Street. Inexpensive and wonderful, freshly cooked food but be prepared to wait as they cook to order. I would suggest going for dinner - beware everything in Kandy closes by 9pm.

Spice Gardens are a well know rip off but if you want to see the spices growing then you have to go but buy the minimum or nothing at all and then go to Laxapana Tea Stores in Kandy where you can get top quality spices at a fraction of the price and tea too. They will pack it in heat sealed foil bags. I am just finishing what I bought last February. You will find this shop in a small side street, directly opposite Kandy Clock Tower.

David.

Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Hope this article will be helpful to others , though its too late for you now .

serendivus.com/uncommon-holiday-hideouts-in-…

Pontypridd, United...
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6. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

Aukana ... much under reported to/visited (by tourists) site.

Edited: 20 October 2011, 22:14
Brisbane
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7. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

The Bridge over the River Kwai site is at Kitulgala which would be a bit of a detour for you. You can do white water rafting there if you are inclined. I like the place for sentimental reasons but maybe not a good idea to visit, given the brief time you have available.

Archi

Brisbane
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8. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

just saw the date of the post!

9. Re: Any hidden gem suggestions and itinerary advice?

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