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Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Old Feb 16, 17, 2:39 pm
  #1  
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Sri Lanka and the Maldives

I am planning on going on a trip to Sri Lanka and to the Maldives in January-February 2018.
Has anyone here every done that and combining the two and do people here even enjoy Sri Lanka? Should we bother even going to Sri Lanka or should we go rather to India, Kenya, South Africa,etc??
Is Sri Lanka well praised here on the forum?

Also, if anyone has any more insight into what we should do while in Sri Lanka. Is it ample to be with a tour and guide while in Sri Lanka regarding all the driving and tours etc.

Finally, if anyone has ever been to Sri Lanka please if you could send me a private message (PM) or just write your impressions of Sri Lanka, it's highlights and IS IT WORTH VISITING SRI LANKA at all or are there better destinations to combine the Maldives with?

P.S. I am planning going to Cheval Blanc Randhelli to check if they have fixed themselves after my visit this year or should I try the new St. Regis Vommuli Resort or the Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giravaru

Thank you so much to everybody who would like to help me with this amazing trip I have dreamed about for a while.

All the best,
Alex
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Old Feb 16, 17, 4:54 pm
  #2  
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I have been to Sri Lanka many times as well as the Maldives. They are easy to combine as there are plentiful flights from Colombo to Male. Maldives is very much a beach destination whereas Sri Lanka has a rich history and a cultural center to the island. There are also good beaches on the island. We spent a week touring the cultural heart of the island and thought it was a great trip. We've also stayed at Tea Trails, a great assortment of tea plantation managers' bungalows now made into intimate hotels. If you search for "Lanka" in the thread title on this forum, you'll find many recent threads. Here is a copy of what I found.
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Old Feb 16, 17, 6:20 pm
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We did 3 weeks last spring -- 2 in SL, 1 in the Maldives (at Amilla Fushi, for what its worth). Sri Lanka was wonderful and I would go back in an instant. The people are great, the food is phenomenal and the historic and cultural sites are incredible. Yes, we liked it a lot. A travel agent that posts here occasionally set it up for us, I will pm you her name if you need an agent. We stayed at Tea Trails, a Jetwing property (local, but very nice if not CBRH standards, with absolutely excellent food), Amangalle, and a couple other places. Strangely Tea Trails was not quite up to expectations (kids and noise, but still excellent). Absolutely worth going to Sri Lanka, my only advice would be to take a plane (Cinnamon Air, for example) instead of the long drives if you are trying to get from the cultural triangle to Kandy or the southern beaches. Drives can take a very long time due to very low speeds (not nerve-wracking like driving in India, just slow). Happy to answer any specific questions you might have.
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Old Feb 16, 17, 6:35 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by ridefar View Post
We did 3 weeks last spring -- 2 in SL, 1 in the Maldives (at Amilla Fushi, for what its worth). Sri Lanka was wonderful and I would go back in an instant. The people are great, the food is phenomenal and the historic and cultural sites are incredible. Yes, we liked it a lot. A travel agent that posts here occasionally set it up for us, I will pm you her name if you need an agent. We stayed at Tea Trails, a Jetwing property (local, but very nice if not CBRH standards, with absolutely excellent food), Amangalle, and a couple other places. Strangely Tea Trails was not quite up to expectations (kids and noise, but still excellent). Absolutely worth going to Sri Lanka, my only advice would be to take a plane (Cinnamon Air, for example) instead of the long drives if you are trying to get from the cultural triangle to Kandy or the southern beaches. Drives can take a very long time due to very low speeds (not nerve-wracking like driving in India, just slow). Happy to answer any specific questions you might have.

Thanks for the info!

It would be great if you could PM me the name of the agent that set up the trip for you.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 16, 17, 10:16 pm
  #5  
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The Maldives and Sri Lanka are a great combination, but allow yourself a lot of time. Sri Lanka has a lot of natural beauty and cultural things to see which will need more than just a few days to see.

After a trip to Sri Lanka, the Maldives is a great place to relax on beautiful beaches and again, you'll want more than a few days to enjoy it.

Kat
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Old Feb 17, 17, 12:09 am
  #6  
 
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I am in Sri Lanka right now, having left Ceylon Tea Trails this morning and flown down to Galle. I thought Tea Trails beyond all expectations, possibly the best hotel I've ever stayed in. I'd go back there in a milli-second.

Personally I find the Maldives totally without interest but it's an easy combo with Sri Lanka.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 2:48 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
I am in Sri Lanka right now, having left Ceylon Tea Trails this morning and flown down to Galle. I thought Tea Trails beyond all expectations, possibly the best hotel I've ever stayed in. I'd go back there in a milli-second.

Personally I find the Maldives totally without interest but it's an easy combo with Sri Lanka.
Glad to know about Tea Trails & that you it a pleasant surprise . If alright with you , please share which one were you staying in ?
How many days should one plan on ?
Wondering if April is a good time or if another period is better , like now or later in the year .
Thank you .
Like it cool & as we will also be in Galle at Galla , now that Sean F will be there then Wella .

Likely won't return to Maldives in a long while too , if at all .
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Old Feb 17, 17, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
I am in Sri Lanka right now, having left Ceylon Tea Trails this morning and flown down to Galle. I thought Tea Trails beyond all expectations, possibly the best hotel I've ever stayed in. I'd go back there in a milli-second.

Personally I find the Maldives totally without interest but it's an easy combo with Sri Lanka.
We stayed at Ceylon Tea Trails during our trip to Sri Lanka last november. Absolutely fantastic property. Our accommodation was at Summerville bungalow and the full sevice, all included concept worked perfectly.

I would say three nights at Ceylon Tea Trails would be ideal. We used Cinnamon Air sea planes to get from Colombo to Kandy and also from Ceylon Tea Trails to Koggala. Train from Kandy to Hatton to reach the Ceylon Tea Trails was an experience. Otherwise I would recommend the seaplane as the roads in Sri Lanka are not that very good. It was nice to board the plane directly from our bungalow jetty.

Lots of interesting history in Sri Lanka. Highly recommended.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 5:23 am
  #9  
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We went to Sri Lanka last year and the Maldives several years before. We did them separately, but they could certainly be combined.

For a TA, we used Red Dot, which is the same company as Sri Lanka in Style. I think most agents would go through those destination management companies (DSM) if they are US based, especially if they use Virtuoso suppliers. The DSM gets your tour guides at places like the cultural triangle, oversees the trip while there (i.e. checking in with the driver), and ensures that you have a great driver. All of those were true for us. Otherwise, you're just booking hotels and you'll find the most knowledge of specific hotels on this forum.

Ideally, a combo of taking some planes and a private driver through a DSM would be the best way to travel. We just used a driver but could have shaved off some time with a few internal flights.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 6:21 am
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I'll report fully on Tea Trails in a short while. in Galle we're not at Amangalla but will be having dinner there tomorrow night.

Briefly, we stayed four nights at Summerville bungalow and could have stayed longer, possibly at another bungalow. We looked at the newest, Dunkeld, and Castlereagh. We are glad we stayed at Summerville because we think it has the best view.

We too took the Cinnamon Air shuttle to Koggala. About 60 minutes max from door to door.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 8:23 am
  #11  
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We stayed at Castlereagh and I thought it had the best view. Whatever bungalow you select you'll be happy with and become an ardent defender of.

The biggest difference I noticed between the newest bungalow and Castlereagh was that the windows and seals were nicer, meaning no bugs could get in. And of course we had a better view as well.

At our bungalow there were miniature leeches that several times ended up around my ankles and prevented me front walking in flip flops. If Castlereagh is the only one with leeches I'd recommend against it, but I think all the bungalows are the same during June.
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Old Feb 17, 17, 9:18 am
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Thanks all for chipping in .
Helpful to know that the roads still aren't good in Sri Lanka even with improvements .
Will look into the flights including those float / sea planes .

Seems like we will have to make a few trips in the near future to make up for lost time ..

Looking forward to your reports Pausanias . Hope dinner at Galla will also exceed expectations .
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Old Feb 18, 17, 2:11 am
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
I'll report fully on Tea Trails in a short while. in Galle we're not at Amangalla but will be having dinner there tomorrow night.

Briefly, we stayed four nights at Summerville bungalow and could have stayed longer, possibly at another bungalow. We looked at the newest, Dunkeld, and Castlereagh. We are glad we stayed at Summerville because we think it has the best view.

We too took the Cinnamon Air shuttle to Koggala. About 60 minutes max from door to door.
Hope you enjoyed your dinner at Amangalla. We had a birthday celebration dinner there and were very pleased. They also showed around the property - looked great indeed. Surely have to stay there if ever going back to Galle.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 8:03 pm
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We went to Amangalla for dinner last night. The building is fabulous, far bigger than we expected, and superbly furnished. It was a Saturday and I saw only another four couples dining with us. We sat outside on the terrace. The main dining room was empty. When it came to paying the bill the machine would not accept Amex so they asked me to go into the office and sign a bill there. As I was doing this I noticed a huge wall chart with all the month's guest reservations. I thought I saw only three rooms were currently occupied while my hotel, the Galle Fort, is completely chocker. The restaurant manager blamed his low occupancy on the partial closure of Colombo Airport. Personally, I blame the pricing strategy.

The dinner was OK, by the way, nothing special and actually not as good as our own hotel. We had a starter of tuna tartare which sat on a bed of avocado and was garnished with potato crisps, which was unusual. My lobster risotto was a bit on the dry side and my wife's fish came with a blodge of cold mashed potato. Service was leisurely. Not a brilliant meal but we were pleased we went. Wearing long slacks, sleeved shirt and suede loafers I felt overdressed. Most people wore shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops.

People spoke highly of a casual, sort of Japanese place called Tuna and Crab. It was jam-packed.

Galle is obviously in a hotel renaissance right now, with the new Fort Bazaar earning high praise, though they currently lack a liquor license and cannot build a pool. Many other hotels are being constructed in the fine Dutch mansions.

I think Galle is probably worth a two night stay, no more. I got up at 6.30am yesterday to photograph the fish market and we do late afternoon strolls on the ramparts. Much of the town is now dedicated to selling tourist tat, the fate of most World Heritage Cities. I'd read about hassle and scam people but they never bothered us.

Last edited by Pausanias; Feb 19, 17 at 4:40 am
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Old Feb 22, 17, 6:59 pm
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We are at Saman Villas right now, just south of Bentotsa. The setting is stupendous and dinner last night was by far the best we have had in Sri Lanka. Absolutely perfect carpaccio that couldn't be bettered in London and a baked crab main course that was exquisite.

On check-in I asked if the hotel was full and the manager said only 50 percent. He asked if we'd like an upgrade to a pool suite - we normally avoid these things but said maybe, if we could see the room. Whereupon a produced a pocket calculator and started to work out how much he'd charge us. After a minute or two he said he'd charge us $300 for 3 nights and that included a big discount. This financial hassle was not the most stylish of welcomes we thought. Otherwise, it's a lovely hotel.

Last edited by Pausanias; Feb 23, 17 at 1:20 am
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