What a wonderful trip. Our 14 days in Sri Lanka were the result of several months planning, reviewing and refining the schedule with the ever helpful Viraj who gave us all sorts of information and ideas, not to mention advice on what to pack and even what travel adapters to bring with us. Then, quite apart from the ever-changing and stunningly beautiful scenery; the fabulous wildlife, delicious curries and our packed itinerary of safaris and other experiences, our guide-driver, Dula, added hugely to enjoyment of our trip. Gentle, helpful and courteous, he showed us things we would never have tried on our own, such as the chaotic wholesale fruit and veg market in Dambulla. We shared Sinhala language lessons, discussions about our respective cultures and traditions and feel we made a new friend. And his excellent driving was an absolute must given the highway madness of Sri Lanka's tuk tuks, motorcycles piled high with families, endless street dogs and lawless bus drivers competing for road space. In short, Sri Lanka exceeded all our expectations and we can't wait to go back. It is the most wonderful country, a place full of smiles. We did eat an awful lot of curry but it was almost uniformly delicious and we learnt to eat with our hands like the locals do, which won us an even warmer welcome. We just hope the current political upheaval doesn't set it back.
Good ideas for the trip, lots of inspiration and very responsive to questions. Also Viraj came and had a meal with us on our first night, which was great. He even provided us with some beer for our first few nights in a treehouse in the jungle!
In the out of the way places, it would have been nice to pre-book half board rather than bed and breakfast. No opportunities for nipping out to a restaurant when you're in the jungle, so it would have been good to have pre-paid for dinner and not have to work out additional costs each time.
Dula was absolutely fantastic. He added greatly to our enjoyment of the trip.
1) Pack your binoculars 2) Understand that you will eat a LOT of curry, almost all of it delicious. Also its easy to be a veggie in Sri Lanka 3) Be prepared for the damp climate - pack an umbrella and expect very humid conditions 4) Bring a lot of mosquito repellant - we used a natural one and it was very effective. We only got bitten on the bits we missed! 5) Do not expect to find alcohol everywhere, it is quite expensive in SR and many of the more local places don't serve it.
The wildlife. We saw elephants, three species of mongoose, jackal, endless butterflies, lizards, even a snake. And twice as many bird species as on a previous trip to Costa Rica.