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Building Your Own Excurtions.

Stafford
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Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi,

I will be visiting Sri Lanka early 2007.Which is the best way to arrange a secure,insured itinery of my own.

eg. I want to visit all of the main central attractions but would like to include one night at least in the Kandalama Hotel and i would also like to arrange birdwatching days to Sinharaja with a local bird guide and a two day trip to Yala.

I guess the holiday reps offer very rigid itineries at higher prices but i also have a young family and want to go with an official,well organised company that is insured and will be responsible for our welfare.

Many thanks in advance Richard.

ps We will be staying at Kalutara.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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1. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi Richard,

The best solution seems to use car-with-driver, but then through the same local agants that the UK holiday reps also use. They are usually quite good in custom-made tours. A few names: Hemtours, Walkers Tours, Aitken Spence Tours (the latter having a slight prefefence for the hotels from their own company). All should be reachable on Web and E-mail...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Stafford
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2. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi Erik,

Thanks for the reply and info.

Do i have to arrange the trips in advance of my visit or can i arrange all of these things locally through the hotel staff.?

Would my holiday rep know how to build trips using other agencies and if so,would they be prepared to help.?

Cheers Rich

Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
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for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
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3. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi Rich

Just adding to the already ecellent reply from Erik, what i suggest you do is this...

Before leaving home, have in your mind what you want to do, and what hotels you want to stay in, then come up with an itinerary of your own, ANY tour rep that is worth their salt would then arrange this for you, no problem.

Of course, please do use this forum to get an idea of places, and hotels to visit.

Kandalama?, well any decent tour of Sri Lanka would surely NOT be complete without using this hotel for at least one night, oh, by the way, birdwatching?, Kandalama has a really good in house tour specifically for this!, and is really good too, just ask at reception.

Regards

Dave

Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
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for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
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4. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Erik

A little addition to what you replied, Walkers Tours, and Aitkenspence, are actually one and the same company, as are Ace Travels, best of the 3? i think Ace Travels.

Regards

Dave

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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for Sri Lanka
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5. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Okay Richard,

On to the next round:

"Do i have to arrange the trips in advance of my visit or can i arrange all of these things locally through the hotel staff.?"

Hmmm... hotel staff usually has links to one of the main agents. So if you don't want to spend too much time comparing prices etc. that is indeed a good way of arranging. But if you want the very best mix of tour elements at the lowest price, it might pay back to do much e-mail homework in advance.

" Would my holiday rep know how to build trips using other agencies and if so,would they be prepared to help.?"

Well, almost all agencies have this flexibility. So probably also the one being used by the tour operator that your holiday rep works with. Whether the rep/operator would be willing to bypass their normal products, and contact the agent on your behalf, I really wouldn't know. Probably would add to the price at least...

All the best again,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

PS Tnx for the addition on company ownership, Dave. We ourselves always use Hemtours and are happy with them...

Stafford
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6. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi again,

I contacted Ace Travel and they have suggested a three day/two night tour visiting all of the best attractions,staying at Hunas Falls and the Kandalama hotels using a driver etc.

They quoted $330 US per person.Can you tell me if this is anywhere near the 'going rate'.

Sorry to be a pest.

Thank you Richard.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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7. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi again,

Looks quite much, sorry for Dave...

Let's sum up:

* 2 nights luxury hotel (Kandalama is 4 star Hunas Falls 2-3 star, but also excellent) is about USD 100 per person

* trip is about Rs 35 (35 dollarcent) /km and

- Kalutara -Colombo 2 x sums 100 km

- Colombo - Kandy 2 x sums 230 km

- Kandy - Hunas - Kandalama - Kandy plus all the triangle sights, let's put it at 250 km

Total 580 km = USD 203

That makes USD 200 and 203 is 403, and not 660 as they charge you...

But ít's up to you.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
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8. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi Richard

Don't worry about asking too ,any questions, after all that is what this forum is all about.

On paper this seems a fair deal, but does it include your meals?, best to confirm that.

Also, it would be a good idea to check out Erik's suggestion of Hemtours too, then you will know if you have a good deal or not.

Regards

Dave

Solihull, UK
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9. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

I have used Ace Travels on 6 occasions and they have been ultra-reliable. As Erik says, they do tend to favour their own hotels, but as these include Kandalama, Heritance and Tea Factory that certainly isnt a criticism. Also they will quite happily arrange other hotels if you know where you want to stay, and get great rates too.

Hampshire, England
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10. Re: Building Your Own Excurtions.

Hi Richard,

I have just returned from Sri Lanka and organized a car and driver with WalkersTours and could recommend them enough. We had booked our flights and hotels through Kuoni and also the car and driver. We had him with us for 8 days and I think it would have been impossible to see more of the country than we did. Our driver listened to where we wanted to go, suggested routes but always checked that we were happy and never assumed that his ideas were the only options. We travelled with our children aged 9 and 12 and our driver took this into consideration, making sure there were plenty of stops.

If you like birdwatching I can't recommend highly enough a trip into one of the National Parks. We were staying in Habarana and went on a jeep safari in the Minneriya National Park and the number of birds we saw was amazing.

Another tip, we stayed at the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle and they have their own natualists who organize lots of nature based excursions. We needed a few days to rest so only did a short one hour one onto the beach but it was fantastic. It was just our family - organized at a time that was suitable to us and we all loved it as we clamboured over rocks and through rock pools - a real high (and it was free!)

Have a wonderful trip - it is a beautiful country.

Tracey

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