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5 nights in Sri Lanka -- suggestions

5 nights in Sri Lanka -- suggestions

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Old Feb 8, 16, 8:48 am
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5 nights in Sri Lanka -- suggestions

We are heading to the Maldives this year, and would like to add Sri Lanka onto that trip. We will have 5 nights post-Maldives, so I don't think we will be needing any Sri Lankan beaches. We will be there in early September, which looks like the end of one of the monsoons, so hopefully the weather will cooperate.

We are interested in wildlife, culture, not-too-strenuous hikes and going to beautiful places with great hotels that are not too expensive.

Any thoughts or suggestions on possible itineraries or must-visit places?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 8, 16, 10:13 am
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I'll be there around the same time. I'm in the process of arranging 2.5 weeks touring around the island. I'm in contact with a local travel agent service that does private tours with your own driver and car. It appears that this is the best way to get around and it's not too expensive. For my 17 day trip the car and driver/guide cost is just a little over $1K. Hotels are on top of that.

With just 5 days I'd guess you would want to select something like the cultural triangle and Kandy. The incomparable DanielW's recent trip report might be of interest to you http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...sri-lanka.html
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:33 am
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Glennaa11 -- yes, it does look like a car and driver makes sense. My H wants to take one train ride, but after that I think the car and driver for the rest of the trip. Though, Cinnamon Air is looking tempting for us, since we are on such a short trip and of course want to see everything!

I've been thinking something like this:

Day 1: Arrive Colombo airport, afternoon train to Kandy, night in Kandy

Day 2: Kandy, car/driver to Dambulla, night in Sigiriya

Day 3: Sigiriya in the morning, car/driver to Ella, night in Ella

Day 4: Ella, car/driver to Udawalawe National Park, night in Udawalawe

Day 5: Safari, travel back to Colombo, night in Colomobo

Day 6: Explore Colombo and leave in the afternoon

Probably too much and will have to take something out. Lucky you are there for 17 days!
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by zoomgirl View Post
Day 1: Arrive Colombo airport, afternoon train to Kandy, night in Kandy

Day 2: Kandy, car/driver to Dambulla, night in Sigiriya

Day 3: Sigiriya in the morning, car/driver to Ella, night in Ella

Day 4: Ella, car/driver to Udawalawe National Park, night in Udawalawe
Take a look at a map of Sri Lanka. Kandy > Dambulla/Sigiriya > Ella doesn't make sense.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 11:20 am
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I was going to essentially say the same thing. Makes more sense to travel in a single path without backtracking.

FWIW, my plan includes a train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. Supposed to be a beautiful train ride through the hills
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Old Feb 9, 16, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
FWIW, my plan includes a train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. Supposed to be a beautiful train ride through the hills
I only travelled from Colombo to Galle by train but know Colombo to Kandy is a popular train ride as it is relatively easy. A train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella must be something quite different! I was supposed to travel from Nuwara Eliya to Bandarawela during my trip to Sri Lanka in December 2014 but heavy rains had unfortunately washed away the tracks. From what I could see of the area it would have been a spectacular train ride.

Last edited by NewbieRunner; Feb 9, 16 at 1:00 pm Reason: typo
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Old Feb 10, 16, 1:59 pm
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5 nights in Sri Lanka -- suggestions

Now I'm actually thinking of not heading south at all and doing some national parks closer to Kandy. Ah, I love the planning phase!

Anyone have any thoughts on that?
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Old Feb 10, 16, 5:53 pm
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I would say, take a look at what some travel agents offer as tours for the amount of time you plan to be there to see what is typically done.

For example, this is the agent I am working with
http://kulansatours.com/tourlist.html

But of course there are many, many others. This place was highly recommended to me as well
http://www.qwestdestinations.com/inb...i-lankan-tours
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Old Feb 12, 16, 4:45 am
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If taking the train, I would suggest starting at the beginning of the route or book one of the "first class" or tourist carriages due to potential overcrowding unless there is reserved seating.

We took 3 rides late last year. One was Kandy to the usual stop for the tea plantations. The carriage wasn't that nice (could get stuck with small windows for certain rows) but it was at least comfortable.

Next was Galle to Marissa with choice of 2nd or 3rd. We paid for 2nd and had no problem getting a seat.

A few days later, we went back to Colombo for Galle. Train started out fairly empty but it was full (or rather, nearly jammed) by the time it got to Galle. Some people were stuck standing the entire way to Colombo.
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Old Feb 23, 16, 1:24 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
If taking the train, I would suggest starting at the beginning of the route or book one of the "first class" or tourist carriages due to potential overcrowding unless there is reserved seating.
Did you book online via Sri Lanka Railways' site, somewhere else of just wait until you were in the country to purchase tickets?

Also, any bathroom facilities on these trains? I can't seem to find any confirmation or denial of such things.
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Old Feb 23, 16, 2:07 pm
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Seat61 has lots of great train info
http://www.seat61.com/SriLanka.htm#.VszJoPlViIc
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Old Feb 23, 16, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
Did you book online via Sri Lanka Railways' site, somewhere else of just wait until you were in the country to purchase tickets?
Only certain routes (mainly the ones to/from/through the highlands are reservable/purchasable in advance, as well as the two companies that add on tourists carriages to the regular trains (these two you can buy online). The line to and from Galle you have to buy tickets only on the day of travel. Unless of course you book in the once-daily tourist train.

Also, any bathroom facilities on these trains? I can't seem to find any confirmation or denial of such things.
I didn't use the facilities on the ride from Kandy (or rather, just outside) to the station for the main highlands town. Rather not even though it was a tourist carriage. I presume it had a washroom. The 2nd class trains have facilities but again I didn't want to use them.
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Old Feb 24, 16, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
Seat61 has lots of great train info
http://www.seat61.com/SriLanka.htm#.VszJoPlViIc
Thanks! I know I've looked at this website before for general train things but I had forgotten its existence.

Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
The line to and from Galle you have to buy tickets only on the day of travel. Unless of course you book in the once-daily tourist train.
Thanks for the information. I think I'll just have to take my chances as I will be taking the Galle but a bit beyond that to Weligama.

I didn't use the facilities on the ride from Kandy (or rather, just outside) to the station for the main highlands town. Rather not even though it was a tourist carriage. I presume it had a washroom. The 2nd class trains have facilities but again I didn't want to use them.
I didn't imagine that they would be particularly nice but it's at least comforting to know they're there if I do need them for the four hour ride from Colombo to Weligama.
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Old Feb 24, 16, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by zoomgirl View Post

Day 4: Ella, car/driver to Udawalawe National Park, night in Udawalawe

Day 5: Safari, travel back to Colombo, night in Colomobo
Please avoid the Elephant Safari Hotel if you go to Udawalawe. You can read my Trip Advisor review but basically it is a terrible hotel.
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