Our Sri Lanka Adventure was simply awesome!
Our thanks go to PRADEESH at SENSES HOLIDAY who organised our whole trip from the UK.
Pradeesh tendered the holiday tour to GOLDEN ISLE TRAVELS (goldenislesrilanka.com) who treated us to the exact holiday we had planned from the start.
We were treated to an air conditioned chauffeur driven car, driven by our favourite tour guide - MR SUMATHIPALA PERERA, a well spoken local man, who went out of his way to make our holiday a memorable one.
He showed us local culture, and taught us ways not to get ripped off as tourists, we saw parts of Sri Lanka which were off the tourist beaten track - making the adventure very exciting.
I recommend the tour to Sigiriya Rock, we stayed at the Sigiriya Village Hotel.
Grab an early breakfast and get started early, the travel guide says its a thigh burning climb, but its a good climb through the water gardens and up the steps to the top of the rock - the view from the top is simple amazing and worth the effort, take a guide as the history is also interesting.
Perera took us to meet his friend Deepthi the owner of the 'Sadilka Restaurant’ on the Anuradhapura Road, the buffet was great, the club sandwiches were great - and it wasnt at all over priced.
He recommended we take a safari from Habarana to the Hurulu Echo Park - we had planned to go to the Minneriya National Park but Deepthi told us that a large proportion of the elephants had moved over the last few weeks.... and he was right, we saw so many elephants! It was simply amazing - our safari driver Chaminda, a local man took us within 10 meters of the elephants, he knew all the paths - and driving through the thick undergrowth didnt scare him! We felt safe - and it was a brilliant adventure.
Of course my wife wouldn't let me take her on holiday without visiting the beach... so part of the deal was to go to the BENTOTA BEACH HOTEL in the south of the island.
The hotel was sensational, the rooms were clean, and were well decorated. Our room opened up into the gardens that surround the grounds.
Most of the sun loungers are in the gardens, where you can wheel it in and out of the shade from the palm trees - there was never a fight to get your space. The pool was excellent - and the heat of the day meant it wasn't crowded.
The beach is at the edge of the garden - and it is deserted! the water was clean and great to swim in!
The facilities are excellent - sports and water sports were great - and we had a couples massage treatment - expensive - but very relaxing!
The buffet was mostly good - i rate a buffet on the omelette they serve in the morning - and I must say it scored high!
Although - at this hotel - we discovered they have an A La Carte menu in another restaurant downstairs.
If you are All Inclusive they give you a discount, the food and service is far superior to that in the buffet. It was quiet, and it made for a romantic meal out of the touristic chaos upstairs!
A note to add is - the Maitre D, was very happy to serve, so we asked him at lunchtime for fresh fish that was not on the evening menu - he would come to my sun lounger 30 minutes later with a freshly caught Red Snapper on a silver platter to ask if this is what we wanted for dinner.
OVERALL, i'd say Sri Lanka was a brilliant place to go, it isn't a wealthy country - but it is filled with people with kind hearts.... the streets are lined with shacks selling local produce, and is refreshing to see local people working hard instead of the London streets lined with franchised outlets. The culture is very social, yet they are so willing to serve - and it didn't seem like they were doing it for financial gain - although they are well aware of the tipping culture - so it is worth carrying lots of 100 Rupees (<£1) for tips.
The scenery is simply amazing - everything is green!.... although being a tropical country - the tropical rain is something you will never experience in England!... but after 30 Degrees heat all day - the evening rain brings a refreshing coolness to the evening!
I would recommend this holiday to anyone - we are in our 20's but the whole adventure was accessible to all ages....
and i recommend MR SUMATHIPALA PERERA our chauffeur, ask for him via goldenislesrilanka.com