Honeymoon to Sri Lanka

From Outline Ideas to an Unforgettable Experience

The Enquiry

The customers contacted Tikalanka by email on 28 April 2014 requesting an itinerary and quote for a honeymoon to Sri Lanka from outline ideas of theirs.

We're looking to book a honeymoon to Sri Lanka departing around 6th August and returning on 21st August. Ideally from Gatwick direct to Colombo.

We would like to see the following:

  • Yala National Park - for big cats and Buddha
  • Ella - tea plantations and village, possibly staying in a double room for a couple of nights at Tea Trails. Polonnaruwa - ruins and temples
  • Kandy - culture and elephant orphanage
  • Mirissa - beach, whale and dolphin watching
  • Sigiriya - world heritage site

Please advise how realistic it is to visit all of these and if anything else can be included or should be included instead of the destinations listed above.

We are interested in your tailor made packages.

Customer, 28 April 2014

The Conversation

This is the abbreviated email exchange from initial contact to booking.

Before we send a suggested itinerary and quote, here is my feedback on your wish list:

  • Direct flights with British Airways from London Gatwick are available for departure on 06 August 2014 and return on 21 August 2014.
  • Yala – possible, but see my comments below.
  • Ella – potentially affected by the monsoon. A stay at Ceylon Tea Trails is always recommended as it is one of the best accommodation available on the island, however the Hatton/Adam’s Peak area may be wet at this time of year, also.
  • Polonnaruwa – recommended and not affected by the southwest monsoon.
  • Kandy – recommended, especially during early August this year as the Esala Perahera, an elephant parade in homage to the sacred Buddha tooth relic and one of the cultural highlights of the year, is 01-10 August 2014. For your information, we no longer promote or visit Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ following adverse reports from Travellers’ Animal Alert, the global animal welfare campaign of the Born Free Foundation we support, and some of our own customers.
  • Mirissa – potentially affected by the monsoon. Also, the whale watching season off the south coast from Mirissa is between November and April.
  • Sigiriya – recommended and not affected by the southwest monsoon.

Considering the southwest monsoon, I would suggest a different itinerary for your trip, which would begin in Kandy (or Ceylon Tea Trails) and then head north into the Cultural Triangle and across to the east coast, which is unaffected by the southwest monsoon. Wildlife watching opportunities include the ‘gathering’ of large herds of elephants in Minneriya National Park (August to October), which is between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, and whale watching off the east coast from Nilaveli (June to October) and a visit to Wilpattu National Park, the island’s largest wildlife reserve. Other sites of interest include Dambulla cave temples and potentially Anuradhapura and Mihintale, if you would like to see more of the cultural heritage of the island. If you are interested, please get back to us and we will check availability before suggesting an itinerary and sending a quote.

Tikalanka, 29 April 2014

Thank you for your email and comments on our initial suggestions.

Both my fiancée and I are interested in finding out the availability of the options you have suggested and of course a quote based on your findings.

Other questions/requirements we have are:

  • Will we have a guide/driver assigned to us?
  • Can you recommended excellent restaurants based on our dietary requirements (gluten free and fish rather than seafood)? Is this something best left to our guide/driver?
  • Do the hotels offer peace, quiet, luxury, pampering and great vistas?
  • Do all the hotels provide (at least) 6 foot wide beds? I'm 6'3" and my fiancée is 5'11".
  • We are both looking for a relaxing trip. Is this proposed (based on our original suggestions) trip a lot of travel, are we being too ambitious?
  • Is it possible to include the scenic train route from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy?

Many thanks again for your help so far.

Customer, 29 April 2014

To answer your questions:

  • All of our holidays include a dedicated Sri Lanka Tourist Board-licensed chauffeur guide with a/c transport.
  • The better quality accommodation has in-house executive chefs who will cater for your every need! These will be the types of places I will be recommending in your itinerary.
  • I will select hotels based on your requirements.
  • Again, the better quality accommodation has King-size beds.
  • I suggest staying at Ceylon Tea Trails (near Hatton in the south-western Hill Country), Kandy, Sigiriya, east coast beach and then Dambulla on your way back to the airport. This shouldn’t be too much travelling (except for the drive back to the airport from the east coast beach and I suggest breaking the journey in any case), and the itinerary will enable you to see the major sites and stay at the best beach at this time of year. As a gauge by road, airport to Tea Trails is 4 hours, Tea Trails to Kandy is 2.5 hours, Kandy to Sigiriya is 2.5 hours, Sigiriya to Nilaveli is 4 hours, Nilaveli to Dambulla is 4 hours and Dambulla to airport is 3 hours.
  • Yes, if you stay at Ceylon Tea Trails and transfer to Nanu Oya railway station close to Nuwara Eliya, there is a train at 12.00 which arrives in Kandy at around 16.00. Tea Trails to Nanu Oya by road is about 2 hours.

Please confirm that you are happy with the outline ideas and I will check availability before suggesting an itinerary and sending a quote.

Tikalanka, 29 April 2014

Thank you again for your answers. Although my fiancée is away on business at the moment I am sure she will be happy with your outline ideas and both of us would like to see a draft itinerary and quote. We both saw the website for Ceylon Tea Trails before contacting you (and were very impressed) so it is good to hear it does match up to our expectations!

Customer, 29 April 2014

Quotation and itinerary sent.

Tikalanka, 30 April 2014

Thank you very much for all of that information, it looks fantastic. Rachel is away with work this week so we won't get a chance to read through all of this and compare with another quote until early next week. We will be back in touch after that.

Customer, 30 April 2014

My fiancée and I want to go with your proposal for our honeymoon.

Customer, 06 May 2014

The Result

On return from honeymoon in August 2014, these are unedited comments taken from the customers’ feedback sent to Tikalanka.

  • Thank you so much for all your planning and the consideration you put into our requests for our honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
  • The experience was unforgettable with so many memorable occasions.
  • Finally thank you again for an outstanding experience - we feel we know Sri Lanka far better and have left with huge affection for the country, the people, the culture and the wildlife.
  • We are thrilled that we chose you and for the time and energy you put into planning our honeymoon.

Customer, August 2014