Dambulla golden cave temple
SRI LANKA HOLIDAY TIPS

Srilanka package tour

We (me and my wife) spent time together amidst verdant hills, cultural sites and enjoyed a bit of city life of Srilanka. It was the exact Srilanka package tour we wanted to have, exactly the way we wanted to have it. We wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary in an exotic location, our choice was Srilanka. We travelled to Srilanka to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but not in a manner most people do, instead of throwing a party and we opted to have a peaceful time together to go back to our beautiful memories in the past.

Srilanka package tour

Srilanka package tour-Guest Post

This is a guest post written by Mr and Mrs Gabriel who travelled in Srilanka recently.

I was invited by Seerendipity tours to write an article on our Srilanka package tour to publish on their website. That’s why I’m writing this article, I thought of writing this article for them because they have provided a very valuable service to us in Srilanka. Their service was very good, time saving and trustworthy. We wanted to have maximum privacy and do whatever the activities at our own pace. We wanted to avoid the unnecessary rush that’s why we opted for a private tour.

Celebrating wedding anniversary with a Srilanka package

We (me and my wife) spent time together amidst verdant hills, cultural sites and enjoyed a bit of city life of Srilanka. It was the exact Srilanka package tour we wanted to have, exactly the way we wanted to have it. I must say it was a lifetime experience.

I’m not fancy about historical monuments and cultural site but my wife interested in foreign cultures. On the other hand, beaches are my favourite and Srilanka has plenty of it. After a lengthy discussion between my wife and myself, we decided to have a fair share in the trip top both of us. Therefore we decided to scratch the historical monuments and ancient structure at the beginning of the trip by visiting the cultural triangle, Srilanka. Later driver to west coast beaches to enjoy the pristine beaches.

We wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary in an exotic location, our choice was Srilanka. We travelled to Srilanka to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but not in a manner most people do, instead of throwing a party and we opted to have a peaceful time together to go back to our beautiful memories in the past.

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Our Srilanka package tour in brief

We met our guide Mr.Shelton upon arrival at the arrival lounge of Colombo airport, he had been waiting for us with a name board indicating our names. Shelton was a nice gentleman and very easy-going character. I thought he was around 55 years old. He was very good at his job and very polite and nice gentleman. Even though it was our first time in Srilanka, we felt very secure with him.

Our Srilanka package was consisting of 2 parts,

  • 4 days Srilanka sightseeing mainly for my wife
  • 3 days leisure on the beach, that’s the fun part for me.

Day 1 (24 May):: Colombo to Sigiriya

Shelton briefed us about the next seven days of our tour package and later we left for Sigiriya after a brief interval. However, we did not want to have a big break, despite our long flight from Lebanon. We wanted to gt to the hotel in Sigiriya as soon as possible and have a rest. In fact, there had been few places to visit on the way. We wanted to visit as many places as possible during the first few days and spare as much time as possible for the leisure stay. Therefore we thought of visiting 2 important places on day 1 despite the long drive.

Places visited on the day 1

  1. Dambulla golden cave temple
  2. Pinnawala elephant orphanage

We visited both places on the way to the hotel, after all, that’s how it was planned by the tour operator. I feel it was perfectly planned with a visit along the way. If we were to visit the hotel first and later drive to those places it could have been catastrophic. We would have ended up travelling for the entire day.

We landed early morning in Colombo and it was really a bonus to us. The entire city was sleeping as we started our journey to Sigiriya. Shelton told us that we saved around 2 hours by avoiding the early morning traffic.

Just after 12 noon, we were at the checking desk of the hotel and room was ready. We did not have lunch because we had a snack with Shelton on the way and we opted to jump into the pool and have a refreshing bath. It was our first swim after about 30 hours (flight+transfer+sightseeing). The Afternoon swim was a perfect ending for the long day.

Sigiriya rock fortress, Sigiriya or Kandy? Srilanka package tour
Sigiriya rock

Day 2 (25 May):: Sigiriya to Kandy

After a swim in the warm water, delicious meal and sound sleep, we woke up full of energy. And looking forward to having a nice beautiful day. The sun is smiling and pouring its energy on to the beautiful countryside. Trees, plants and creepers are shining and reflect the sunshine. What a sunny day I thought, and it was a perfect beginning for a memorable trip.

Places to visit on the day 2

  1. Sigiriya rock fortress
  2. Spice garden
  3. tooth relic temple
  4. Kandyan cultural show

Sigiriya rock climb

Sigirya rock climb was a highlight for us. We are not frequent hikers but my wife was very interested in it after stumbling upon some information about the rock. To sum up the Sigiriya rock climb, I feel it was a nice experience, a bit of work but it is nice to know what people achieved many thousands ago.

Spice garden

After passing a few small towns we stopped in a spice plantation. We drove about 45 minutes from Sigiriya before arriving at a Spice garden. It was a winding road but less crowded. Roads in Srilanka are well maintained and can have a smooth drive. We were passing through the paddy fields, huge trees, vegetable shops and lush green vegetation all the way from Sigiriya, it had been a wonderful journey so far.

It was a beautiful and well-maintained garden. We could see many trees, plants and creepers that producers spices. We are using Vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon but never knew how it grows. It was interesting and we also learned to about the indigenous medicine of Srilanka known as Ayurveda.

After the Spice garden, we drove to the hotel in the city and Shelton gave us a little break. It was not necessary but why not take it if it is possible. Our hotel had a nice swimming pool and we decide to have a swim before heading to the city in the afternoon.

Srilanka package tour
Kandyan cultural show

Visiting Kandyan cultural show and tooth relic temple

After about 2 hours rest and a leisurely lunch, we met Shelton and drove to the city. First, we spent about 1 hour at the cultural show and later visited the tooth relic temple.

It was about 07.00 PM as we returned to the hotel. Yesterday we had about 5 hours rest despite the long journey and sightseeing. Today also we had 2 hours midday rest. And now we have free time again. Everything is perfectly planned and has a nice balance of sightseeing, driving and rest.

Day 3 (26 May):: Day tour to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy

We planned to start a little bit late today. Because the last two days we started early (yesterday we started at 07.00 AM). Shelton was also on our side when I suggest him to start at 09.00 AM today. There was no rush and there was no hard and fast rule with regards to our program, even though there was an itinerary. It was a private tour and everything was decided by us. I think that’s the most interesting part of a private tour, the privacy. If we booked a group tour we never had the liberty to enjoy the tour as we wish. And we had to pack into a large coach and follow the instructions given to us by the tour leader.

We were looking forward to having a beautiful day. Today we suppose to drive uphill, to cooler areas of Srilanka. Shelton manoeuvred his vehicle with attention on the road, but time to time he was giving us important information about places we pass and stories connected to those areas.

The day is good so far, the sun is shining but some clouds are building up in the distance. We heard that rainfall in the hills is higher than in the low elevated areas.

We like nature, we love trees, plants, creepers and enjoy watching fauna and flora. Shelton said we get plenty of as opportunities to enjoy breathtaking scenery as we drive uphill. It was a nice ride as Shelton told us early in the day. We were passing through the very beautiful surrounding, full of lush green vegetation, waterfalls, streams, green-capped mountains and Hardly any building.

We were tempted to stop many times along the way at waterfalls, tea plantation, mountains and ravines. It took around 4 hours for us to reach Nuwara Eliya with 2 stops at a Tea factory and Ramboda waterfalls, which was a part of the schedule.

Srilanka package tour
We trekked to the foot of the waterfall “Ramboda falls”, it was a nice trek through the beautiful lush vegetation

Nuwara Eliya sightseeing tour

My impression of Nuwara Eliya was that it was a nice beautiful city, not much complicated like most cities. The small, less crowded and laid back city was a good place to hang around. There are many beautiful places in Nuwara Eliya such as Gregory lake, victoria parks, Botanical garden, Seetha temple, waterfalls, tea factory and not to forget Horton plains.

By the time we arrived in the city ut was afternoon and we did not have time to do much. Therefore we visited a few places, which was easy to reach from the city.

We were wandering through the streets and we were doing some window shopping. We also jumped into the market, which was a mindblowing experience. The market is the best place to see what Srilanka people eat and drink. It is full of vegetables, fruits, dried fish, fresh fish, chicken, beef and many many more.

We wanted to wind-up the day in style and we were in a round table in the old pub (started by the British administration in early 18), located on the opposite side of the market. The pub has perfect settings of an English style pub, we liked it. It was serving glass beer as well as bottled beer, we opted to have glass beer. Three of us discussed various things relating to the island its people, it was a very nice discussion, thanks to our tour guide.

Even though we expected some rain, it was not raining until we go to bed. Weatherwise Colombo, Sigiriya, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya totally different characteristics each other. In general Sigirya and Colombo was warm. Kandy had cooler temperature while Nuwara Eliya was even cooler than Kandy, where the temperature was around 15 degrees Celcius.

Mirissa beach sri lanka
West coast beaches

Day 4 (27 May):: Nuwara Eliya to Bentota

We left early morning from the hotel. We were heading to the beach and all the way from the highly elevated area to the beach. We started the journey at the elevation of 1800 meter above sea level and 15 degrees Celcius. By the end of the trip, we were touching the Indian Ocean and temperature had risen to 34 degrees Celcius. Elevation, temperature, humidity and vegetation all turned upside down within a 5 hours time.

The beaches have totally different contrast against the hilly areas but it is very striking. We settle in our beach hotel for another 3 days and enjoy nothing but sun, sea and sand.

It was time for our loyal companion Shelton to leave us and live with his family. He promised to come to take us to the airport in 4 days time.

End of the Srilanka tour package

How to book Srilanka package tour with Seerendipity tours?

Even though I have purchased many other products online this is the first time I booked a tour package online with a foreign company. I bit hesitated at the very beginning but as the discussion went by I was convinced about their genuineness.

This Srilanka package tour was a sudden decision of my wife but I wanted to do something else rather than going on a foreign trip. My wife wanted to visit Sri Lanka for a long time, but it did not materialize somehow. So, we decided to go to Srilanka this time, of course, it was a short holiday package.

Srilanka package tour
Ramboda plateau

How did we find the Srilanka best tour operator?

I was started to search on the internet for various options for our Srilanka package tour. Actually, we had only 2 days before our Srilanka package. Therefore we had no time waste and I immediately shortlisted several tour packages and tour operators. Srilanka package tour of Seerendipity tours was also among them. Some of the tour operators were from Dubai (I was based in Dubai) and Some of the tour operators were local companies.

Their service was very good and very fast it did not take more than 30minutes to respond to our first email. And later whenever we asked a change (we wanted to change tour itinerary many times), they responded very quickly. They helped us to plan the entire Srilanka package within several hours, and we just had to write only a few emails.  It was very convenient to work with their system.

Prices of Srilanka tour package local TO Vs foreign TO

When it comes to prices, the prices of local tour operators were far cheaper than foreign tour operators. We spent a long time planning the trip, during the planning stage we compared many different tour packages offered by local and foreign toru operators. We compared the prices as well, usually, the prices of foreign tour operators are about 25% higher than the rates of local tour operators. However, the tour package we booked with Seerendipity was not available on their website and it was fully customized to meet our requirements.

Organizing Srilanka package with Seerendipity tours

We love travelling and we have travelled a lot. I normally like to explore the beaches and city life of the destination when I travel but my wife on the other hand like culture, tradition and things like historical sites. We did not want to have a Colombo city tour in the first places because we are not kind of travellers to hang around cities.

Exploring the cultural triangle was one of our priorities and then we wanted to go to the mountains of Srilanka to see waterfalls, tea gardens and enjoy great vistas. Towards the tail end, we wanted to have leisure on the beach. Seerendipity tour had a tour itinerary on their website, which is a bit similar to what we wanted to have but not the exact match.

So I called Seerendipity tours but the line was not clear. I asked them to contact me on Whatsapp. Then someone from seerendipity tours (later I came to know it was Sandra) was on the Whatsapp and discussed with me. Initially, I wanted them to organize our tour package to see Kandy and Nuwara Eliya and I asked them for it. In about 30 minuted they sent me an email with the tour itinerary, in which they covered only Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

I should make a note on their corresponding, they were very fast in correspondence and they sent very detailed documents all the time. Some tour operators responded to us on the next day (a bit late) and some others sent us itineraries on the same day but very little information.

We wanted to study all the program in detail that we received from all tour operators, before making the final decision. We had a lengthy discussion on the tour itinerary that we received from Seerendipity tours. My wife wanted to make a change to the itinerary received form Seerendipity, she wanted to some more cultural sites if possible, but I had a doubt if it was possible, because we were having some time constraints.

Now, we wanted some changes to our tour package and I asked them to remove the Colombo city tour from the package because we do not like city tours much and add few cultural sites. They sent us the revised tour itinerary for our Srilanka package tour without Colombo city tour and added with Sigiriya and Dambulla.

The package includes everything from transfers to accommodations to sightseeing and guides. During the trip, we found that it was a very wise idea to get everything done through the local tour operators. Because they are the experts on it and have vast experience organizing tour for travellers. The tour was very smooth and we did not have to do anything, just enjoy the trip.

Now everything is done by seerendipity tours so that we have nothing to do other than enjoying our holiday if it goes well, hopefully, it goes well! We entrusted Seerendipity tours in organizing our entire Srilanka holiday. We got the tour package for the entire circuit from arrival to departure, it was 7 days 6 nights Srilanka package. 1 night Sigiriya, 1 night Kandy, 1-night Nuwara Eliya and 3 nights at the beach.

But, I had sent an email to seerendipity tours and asked them to add Dambulla and Sigiriya to the tour. Fortunately, the answer was positive under one condition, we had to eliminate the overnight stay in Colombo. In a few minutes later we got the tour package with an overnight stay in Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Bentota.

We again had a lengthy discussion on the program in order of fine-tuning it. We were going to ask them for another change, by now we have done many changes to the tour itinerary it was revised about 5 times.

We came to know Ramboda was very beautiful isolated remote area and has a very beautiful surrounding (while we were googling). The hotels we wanted to have was built on a westward slope of Ramboda plateau. It commands a very beautiful view of the surrounding area. Instead of an overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya, we asked them to shift our hotel to Ramboda.

Our Srilanka package in a nutshell

Day .1 drive to Sigiriya from the airport and visit Sigiriya and Dambulla

Day .2 drive to Kandy and visit temple of the tooth relic, royal botanical garden, Kandyan cultural show

Day .3 drive to Nuwara Eliya and visit waterfalls, tea gardens, tea factory, Gregory lake and city tour in Nuwara Eliya

Day .4 drive to the beach hotel via Kitulgala en-route visit waterfalls

Flight details

This was our final tour itinerary and we received the detailed tour itinerary for it. The tour package perfectly matched with our flight. Because we were arriving at Colombo international airport at 0530hrs on 24th May 2018 (EK 665) and our departure were on 27th May 2018 at 2200 hrs (EK 664).

Accommodation for the Srilanka package

We did not want to have expensive hotels for our tour and asked Seerendiopity tours staff to accommodate us in good 3-star hotels. We had constant contact with Sanjeewa of Seerendipity tours and he helped us to organise our tour package. They suggested us very good hotels we liked them a lot, they are nice, clean, very good food and good service too.

We liked the tour package and confirmed our Srilanka package with Seerendipity. I sent him an email confirming that we go-ahead with Serendipity tours as we have discussed. Next day we got an email from Sanjeewa with all the booking details of the hotels and contact details of our driver-guide.

Flexible payment for the tour package

I thought they made a mistake and they have forgotten to collect the payment from us. Then I asked them how we make the payment and I said we were ready to make an advanced payment. They were happy with the advanced payment and we had to make the balance payment on the arrival.

It is very convenient to make a payment to them because they gave us many payment options such as credit card payment, bank transfer or direct payment. We chose bank transfer to make the advanced payment and paid rest in cash.

It was not necessary to make the full payment until we start the tour, and we had to make 50% advanced payment to them. I feel it was a good decision of Seerendipity tours because some people are worried to make payment to unknown persons or companies before arriving the destination, due to the online fraud activities.

By having talked to them many times and knowing the way they assisted us to organize our Srilanka package we did not have any doubt about their genuineness and we were ready to make an advance payment. But they did not want us to make any advance payment (if we made payment at that time we had to pay taxes as well). And asked us to make the full payment on arrival.

Flight details

We had to send all the flight details to Seerendipity tours after we confirmed the tour with them, so we did it. On the day of the arrival, one of their representatives was at the arrival lounge, waiting for us. We met him and he took us to our vehicle just outside the arrival lounge, he introduced us to Shelton our driver/guide.

Everything works perfectly and our Srilanka package tour was one of the best holidays that we had so far. We went on this trip because of our wedding anniversary that was falling on 27th May. In every hotel we got a very nice room with beautiful flower decorations, I thought because of our anniversary and everything on the compliment.

Pleasant anniversary celebration

Later we came to know through our guide, that Seerendipity tours have informed the hotels about our anniversary. When I was in a discussion with Sandra I told him about the anniversary (only once) and told him we wanted to have a leisurely tour. He had registered it and arranged all the decorations for us. It was perfect customer care of seerendipity tours.

It was very well organized and we had a well balanced Srilanka package with sightseeing, leisure and shopping. I think I should put a special note on our driver/guide Shelton, he is around 55 years old and well-experienced guide. He gave us every bit of information on Srilanka and the places we encountered during our Srilanka package.

After having a very nice tour we returned to the airport at around 1800hrs on 29th May, Shelton brought us to the airport 1 hour before starting the check-in, but it was totally OK. Because we had the opportunity to do some last moment shopping at the duty-free shops.

Inclusions, exclusions and the cost

  1. Trip Type: Sightseeing tour package
  2. Cost: USD 570
  3. Duration: 3 Nights 4 Days

Inclusions:

  • Accommodation on a double room on B/B basis in 3* hotels (Daily breakfast, included)
  • Transport in an air-conditioned vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Arrival/Departure transfers
  • Tea factory
  • Silk garden
  • Gem Museum
  • Kandy city tour
  • Colombo city tour
  • Spice garden
  • Wolvendaal church
  • BMICH
  • Viharamahadevi
  • Gamgarama temple
  • Nuwara Eliya city tour
  • Buddhist temple Kandy
  • Gregory Lake
  • All taxes

Exclusions:

  • Airport taxes
  • Elephant orphanage Pinnawala
  • Temple of the tooth relic
  • Kandyan cultural show
  • Royal botanical garden
  • Sigiriya rock fortress
  • Dambulla golden cave temple
  • Expenses of personal nature such as tipping, porters, laundry, telephones, etc.
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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka. I am trying to share my knowledge and experiences as a traveller, who had been to most parts of Sri Lanka, with my valued readers. My sole intention is to help my valuable readers to plan their most memorable Sri Lanka trip. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, I can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka.