It was our first time in Sri Lanka and we did not know what to expect. We usually try to book our holiday without a travel agent but this time we wanted to avoid the hassle and have a peaceful & well organised trip in a new country. The customer service provided by Shernela (local agent) was amazing. She was very responsive, friendly and always there to answer our questions. The Travellocal platform is user friendly and believe me l am very critical as l have been working in digital consulting for the past 7 years (user experience design, design thinking approach...). Travellocal was also very responsive and put me in touch with Shernela very quickly. I love the fact that they work with locals who know their country better than anyone. I was still waiting for the other travel agents to come back to me and when they did the service was not as good. They did not understand our needs and the fact that we wanted a tailored trip with different activities & sceneries, not too intense (l had too many activities planned per day with other popular travel agents), private, as ethical & ecofriendly as possible. Travellocal & Shernela knew exactly our needs and they made our trip unforgettable and magical! We love Sri Lanka so much! People are super friendly, food is nice, the nature is incredible (Tea plantations, Peaks, safari & wildlife,...) My friends have been in touch with us via Instagram and they are already asking about Travellocal & Sri Lanka. :) Sri Lanka is not really touristic and my partner and l loved the peacefulness. This country is so beautiful, extremely clean and still untouched (hopefully it will stay that way forever and never become another Thailand or Indonesia). Our driver was also very friendly, Funny (we laughed A LOT), flexible. He was also very good at avoiding the crowd and would let us know what the best time is to visit a temple, do a safari etc. Finally important note: Sri Lanka is not India! 2 very different countries, different cultures, different food, different believes etc. I also love India (not the intensity though haha) and l thought Sri Lanka was similar...Don’t listen to what they say. Go see! 😊
Responsive, ethical, eco friendly hotels when possible, amazing service and friendly
I would not recommend the other corner hotel (basic hotel & food was not good quality) but that depends on the client needs of course and their budget. I would recommend to provide 2 hotel options when possible and let the customer pick (we would have stayed at least one night at the Jetwing in Dambulla but we had dinner there as a compensation haha) I would recommend to propose options for Xmas & New Year’s eve. I would recommend only one night in Udawalawe. We could have done the safari and the elephant transit home on the same day. This area was a bit boring. The food at the Grand Udawalawe safari resort was not good at all and the service at the restaurant was not great. Less friendly. There were too many Mosquitos and l am still suffering from their bites (I have at least 50 on my body, it is itchy and getting red). I wish we had osquoto repellent spray offered by the hotel, as part of our welcome pack on our first day in Sri Lanka or highly suggested by Travellocal or the local company. Our tips (not part of the private tour with Travellocal) If your next clients go to Galle we recommend the Fort Printer, Amari hotel & Jetwing Lighthouse based on their budget of course. Amari is actually better than Jetwing lighthouse and 300 dollars per night less expensive and our suite at the Amari is 90m2 square with ocean view. Great way to finish our stay in Sri Lanka. :)
Our driver was amazing, friendly, funny, kind, considerate! Very good values! I would just say don’t assume we might not like something. Let us experience and make our own opinion. He thought we would not like Ella and Galle. We actually love both places! The Galle fort remind us of Hoi An in Vietnam. The food at Cafe Chill in Ella and the food at the restaurants in Galle were the best we had during our trip. We highly recommend « The chambers » in Galle (Middle East cuisine) :)
Use Travellocal (easier as Sri Lanka is not really touristic...so harder to organise which is good! We love the fact that it is that way still) I would give them tips on hotels, restaurants, our itinerary... I would also tell them that Sri Lanka is more expensive than Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia etc So that they are prepared with their budget. We are okay as we only have one big trip per year and we love to spoil ourselves but some of our friends or colleagues might not have that luxury.
Tea plantations & Lipton peak hike Horton Plains hike Little Adams Peak Elephant Safari Spice garden (I am into Ayurvedic medicine) Cooking class Less memorable: Udawalawe (1 day is enough)