Carol & Sarah
Canada, August 2014
What did you like most about Sri Lanka?
Variety of locations to visit, amazing scenery and wildlife.
Lots to see and do.
What did you like least about Sri Lanka?
A bit more expensive than I might have hoped but aside from that nothing to not like!
What is your opinion of your accommodation in Sri Lanka?
Ranweli Holiday Village [Airport] – a great place to recharge after a long (30 hour) travel time from Canada. We were given a free upgrade to a deluxe room which was great. Breakfast excellent, dinner average, location excellent.
Galkadawala, Habarana – the highlight of our trip. Cannot fault this unique lodge. However not for everyone, need to be OK with wildlife in room etc. We loved it. Very comfortable although rustic. Food and staff were exceptional.
Hanthana House [Kandy] – excellent homestay. Great hospitality. Cooking lesson here was a real highlight.
98 Acres Resort [Ella] – Amazing vistas, great room, awesome breakfasts on the balcony overlook the tea plantation. Was advised the dinner was not very good but did eat here one evening and was pleasantly surprised. Very nice pool.
Cinnamon Wild, Yala – excellent accommodation and location. Food mediocre but would still stay here again for location.
Talalla Retreat, Tangalle – liked this place but cannot say I loved it. A bit too isolated but I knew that going in. Beach was stunning but a few minutes walk from the hotel. Accommodation was good. Food just OK. I think two nights would have been sufficient. Most disappointing was that the hotel owners did not have much respect for drivers. Offered accommodation but no food which was unreasonable given how isolated it was.
Fort Bliss, Galle – was well located in the old fort. Did not spend long enough there to comment further. Comfortable.
Lake Lodge, Colombo – nice simple hotel. Clean, well equipped room and good food. Well located in a quieter part of Colombo and well located for an evening walk to Galle Face Green. With an evening flight we ended up paying to use the pool at Cinnamon Grand on the final afternoon so that we could relax and shower before the long trip home. On reflection we should have booked a hotel with a pool for this purpose.
What is your opinion of your chauffeur guide in Sri Lanka?
I really liked Sujith as a person, he was a kind person who looked out for our wellbeing and safety. He was very knowledgeable in the Cultural Triangle and made lots of nice road side stops to introduce us to new fruits, show us how rubber was harvested etc. His knowledge of local animal and bird life was very much appreciated. We always felt very safe in the car with him and he was always on time and courteous.
He did not seem very knowledgeable with some aspects of our tour - he did not know what to do with us for the tour of Kandy for instance - he ended up asking us what we wanted to do and just walked us around the lake. Similarly in Colombo, I did not feel we got the tour as described in the itinerary. He also seemed to have little to no knowledge of the optional trips suggested in our itinerary for Tallala and as such we did not get to do those.
Also he was not very knowledgeable or willing to go off the itinerary/ regular tourist track. In some of our unscheduled time in Tallala I asked to visit some other beaches along the coast near Tallala and he had not heard of those that I was interested in seeing (identified from Lonely Planet) and seemed reluctant to take us, though eventually did.
Overall I found we ended up doing more independently. We continued to enjoy Sujith as a driver, he is a very nice person but he did disappoint a bit as a guide. I think bottom line I did not feel we got the value that I hoped in this regard…
Any other comments?
Overall we had an excellent trip and thoroughly enjoyed Sri Lanka but I was a bit disappointed with the value for money given that our guide was not as knowledgeable/flexible as I might have hoped.