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Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Singapore, Singapore
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Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Hi everyone, I have a rough itinerary planned out for a family trip at the end of the year.

7 adults & 2 children

13 days in Sri Lanka

We are currently thinking of visiting these places:

- Kandy

- Sigiriya/Anuradhapura/Dambulla (which is part of the cultural triangle if im not wrong)

- Galle

- National Park (Yala or Uda Walawe, which would you recommend)

- Nuwara Eliya or Ella (are these the tea places? which would you recommend?)

- Polonnarawa if we have time

- 2-3 days Colombo at the end of trip

Some of the things we wish to do:

- scenic train rides (that was included in your itinerary)

- whale watching (has anyone been able to snorkel or dive with the whales)

- tea plantation/factory

- waterfalls we can visit

It will be our first trip to Sri Lanka. We will not have time to do the north and east coast.

Also I could not really find transport times between each area. Any clue please?

Thanks!

Edited: 28 August 2013, 10:50
Fredericia, Denmark
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1. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

The time you have selected is not the best to visit Sri Lanka as it's intermonsoon with quite unsettled weather.

You may experience 3 types of days:

- Fully clouded with the odd shower, light or heavy

- 3-4 hours sunshine after 8 am and clouds building up in the afternoon with hefty thundershowers late afternoon, evening and night

- sun-clouds-rain-sun again and so on with the sunny spells lasting at least an hour and minimum 4 hours per day.

Hans

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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2. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Hi there,

Swim/dive with whales in Lanka isn't possible as far as I know, and esp. not this season due to the rough seas. Weather will be mixed, see

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293961-c176578/Sri-L…

but probably still tolerable. No snorkel and dive anywhere in this season.

Assuming minivan-driver (and of course one train ride but he'll await you with the luggage at the end), a good program could be; with transfer times included.

1] Negombo first night.

- 5 hours transfer to

2] Sigiriya/Dambulla/Habarana/Giritale as base for the Triangle. Stay 2 nights, visit P'ruwa and Sigiriya Rock. (A'Pura would cost you an extra night).

- 3 hours transfer (stopover in Dambulla Golden Temple for 90 mins optional) to

3] Kandy 2 nights. Visit highlights there, optionally Pinawela elephant zoo also.

- special transfer to

4] Ella 2 nights. See tea factory and waterfalls from there, a lovely tour e.g. would be Ella-Haputale and see Diyaluma Falls both top and bottom end.

This transfer Kandy-Ella would be

3a] Car to Eliya, 2.5 hours; see the town for an hour or so

3b] Train Nanu Oya to Ella, 2.5 hours. Very scenic!

- 4 hours transfer to

5] Tissa 1 night to see Yala

- 4 hours transfer to

6] Mirissa for a few nights. Do the whale tour from there.

Probably best to leave van-driver behind now as they have a daily minimum mileage, and have a one-way transfer (or train to Colombo and cab from there) at last day to airport.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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3. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Hi,

Nothing much to do in Colombo other than Shopping, night life, good restaurants etc. Hence, if these are not the objectives, dont spend too much time in Colombo, just one day would do just to get a feel of the place if you wish.

Train journey to the highlands will give you spectacular views.

Rgds,

Treshi.

Singapore, Singapore
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4. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Thanks for all the replies!

Unfortunately I am unable to change our traveling times due to leave/sch holidays and so forth.

Have decided to stay only 1 night in Colombo after more reading.

Would like to ask the following:

1) For train rides, which is more recommended: Peradeniya Train Station to Nannoya OR Nanu Oya (is this the same as Nannoya, I got the name from a tour agent) to Ella

2) Is it ok to transfer to Cultural Triangle upon landing? That would require transport in the night, how are traffic conditions?

3) I am thinking of skipping Anuradhapura as well since its much further north. I know that would mean missing the Sri Maha Bodhi tree.

4) What is there to see/do in Galle?

5) If I were to stay in Hikkaduwa instead of Mirissa, will it be convenient to still do whale watching and see the Weligama stilt fishermen? Or can I stay in Galle and still go see whales and the fishermen?

Thank you so much for all your assistance.

Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Oh yes! We have avid photographers among us.

Which waterfall would be more recommended for photo taking:

- Devon Falls

- Ravana Falls (will it be flowing then)

- Diyaluma Falls

Or any other waterfalls to recommend pls?

Thanks!

Corfu Town, Greece
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6. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

We made this trip 2 years ago with our 2 years old child and we loved it.in my opinion it is cheaper and better to have a private car or mini van for the whole of your trip.we understood that this is the way that most of the tourists move around the country.Usually the driver sleeps and eats in the same hotel as you and all the hotels provide free rooms and food for the drivers.The streets are not good all around and when we talk about 5 hours drive , for example kandy to nuwara eliya be prepared for really hard time esp.with kids.

Fredericia, Denmark
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7. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Not all hotels provide free accommodation and food for drivers.

Kandy - Nuwara Eliya is approx. 2.5 hours.

Hans

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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8. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

And for the other questions of #4 and #5:

1] Nanu Oya to Ella

2] Depends on when you would drive in Triangle. The area just west of Sigiriya-Dambulla, upto about 1.5 hours from those towns, is more or less offlimits for at least part of the drivers between 8 PM and 5 AM dur to the risk of an unexpected wild elephant around the corner trying to cross the road.

3] A'Pura is nice but so is P'ruwa and they overlap to some extent.

4] Nice old town for a few hours walk, not more

5] Well the whale boats leave 7 AM, from Hikka it's 1.5 hours, so it simply means a much earlier rise.

6] All will be filled - we like both Ravana Ella and Diyaluma much. Devon is a shadow of what it used to be due to the ugly large reservoir dam nearby; the flow is still there as far as I heard and saw (unlike nextdoor St. Clairs Falls most of the time) but still the landscape is not what it was.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Singapore, Singapore
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9. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Once again thanks for the prompt replies.

Could I please get a

- tea factory recommendation?

- gem factory/mine recommendation?

Also what time of the day would be best to visit and view the stilt fishermen?

Thanks!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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10. Re: Itinerary assistance please. End Nov - Early Dec

Hi again,

Tea Factory: e.g. Bluefield or Labookellies on the road Kandy-Eliya.

Gem mines are uninteresting as they're muddy pits, except Meetiyagoda moonstone mine but even that has no access to the shaft. Gem factories: Ratnapura area has a few, but even there NOT for buying unless you're an expert in the industry. Far above 50% of what is on offer are overpriced fakes, only buy if you can visit the gem board in Ratnapura or Colombo before committing and paying; the board gives free valuation.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]