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sri lanka itinery help neede

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posts: 51
reviews: 9
sri lanka itinery help neede

07th March 2013 - Depart Manchester

08th March - arrive Colombo at 08.30am

09th March - Negombo to Elephant orphanage then onto Sigiriya

10th March - Minneriya safari ?

11th March - climb sigiriya rock then head to Kandy - driver to leave us here

12th March - Day in Kandy to see sights and show

13th March - day in Kandy

14th March - Kandy to Ella by train

15th March - Day in Ella

16th March - Ella to Tissa (not sure how to get there)

17th March - Yala safari from Hotel (not got hotel idea yet)

18th March - Tissa to Mirrissa (not sure what sort of transport yet )

19th March - Mirrissa - whale watching

20th March - Mirrissa - to viist stilt fishermen

21st March - Mirrissa to Bentota (not sure of transport)

22nd - 26th March - Bentota

27th March - head to Negomob for 2 nights before early flight home on 29th March.

Some questions - Is March the right season to visit Minneriya national Park, is it worth visiting compared to Yala.

What sort of price are we looking at for a a driver to be with us until Kandy.

Any suggestions for hotel or guest house at beginning and also at end.

How do we get from Ella to Tissa - is a driver needed or could we use other transport, train or bus.

Would you bother with a Yala safari as well as Minneriya

How do we get from Tissa to Mirrissa.

How do we get from Mirrissa to Bentota

Havent planned any accommodations yet, ideas welcome

Any suggestions or advice gratefully received thanks

posts: 51
reviews: 9
1. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

just a thought - how long is the climb of sigiriya lions rock, and how strenuous is it. thanks

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
posts: 33,175
reviews: 132
2. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

Hi there,

1] Climb is 3 hours up and down with time for watching. Not too strenuous.

2] Car is around USD 60/day in Triangle as the stretches aren't that long there. But you also need car Ella-Tissa and Tissa-Mirissa, from there to airport can be mostly train again.

Yala and Minneriya have quite some overlap, not really worth doing both unless you really want the large Minneriya herds of jumbos. Tissa's best hotel is Chaaya Wild but not cheap.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

posts: 51
reviews: 9
3. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

thanks for your quick reply Erik, may look at doing one or other of the safaris and not both. thanks again for your advice.

posts: 51
reviews: 9
4. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

Would it be cheaper to book a driver from Ella to Tissa and Tissa to Mirrissa when we are there or would it have to be prebooked. Thanks

Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 36,414
reviews: 7
5. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

Price will be about the same whether you pre book or book on the spot.


posts: 134
reviews: 30
6. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede


Just to answer a couple of your questions;

Havent planned any accommodations yet, ideas welcome? Do google up the eco lodges that are available throughout Sri Lanka. Whatever you find on the net, please do research for TA reviews and choose whats best value for money. Some of them give you a really authentic Sri Lankan experience especially if the upmarket hotels are beyond budget.

Is March the right season to visit Minneriya national Park, is it worth visiting compared to Yala?.: In March you will not witness 'The Gathering' of elephants at the Minneriya Tank, but you do get to see large herds of Asian Elephants and their young, either in the adjacent Kaudulla Park or Eco Park. Just last week, we watched over 150 elephants for nearly 2 hours in Kaudulla. You will not see herds of this nature in Yala during any time of year and IMO Kaudulla or Eco Park is well worth a half day's visit during your 20 day stay in SL. Minneriya (and its adjacent parks) and Yala also have two very different types of habitat. Where Yala has scrub jungle, sand dunes and semi deciduous forests, several small water holes with over 40 species of mammals, the largest of the Asian Leopards, over 200 species of birds etc, Minneriya has more open grasslands and monsoonal forests. It really depends on what you want to see but it's two very different experiences.

And just FYI, Kandy to Yala can be done in 6 hours on very good roads.

Enjoy planning!

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 1
7. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede


My family just had a wonderful 12 day trip in Sri Lanka! I gleaned quite a bit from TA and thought I'd contribute back with my 2 cents' worth.

a) To save time and hassle of chasing tickets and transport schedules, I'd strongly recommend getting a driver. We got loads done compared to other guests we met along the way who did it themselves. The cost was not too much extra - if you use a private driver as opposed to one from a tour agency.

b) A pity you are missing the cultural triangle. We had a great time at Danbulla Caves and Pollonnaruwa. I especially appreciated that many of the relics are thousands (!!) of years old and they stand humble and frankly nondescript (as opposed to other countries that make a big deal of their ruins "only" hundreds of years old.

c) We did not like Kandy that much and 2 days would suffice for the main sights. A very big chaotic city.

d) I'd recommend Minneraya (or Kaudula) national park for sure. Minneraya was too wet and flooded 2 weeks ago and our driver learnt early that the elephants had migrated. We went to Kaudula instead (less than an hour away) and had a GREAT GREAT time. While you can probably see elephants in Yala (we did), I think you can only get elephant herds numbering over a hundred in one sighting at Minneraya/Kaudula (we did). Magnificent and sight to behold to understand the grandeur....

e) Negombo is not much. We were met by our driver at the airport and immediately left for Habarana, with stops along the way. Sri Lanka is not big really - travel time was largely a function of road conditions, which can be bad except in the South. If you are not jet-lagged, this may work and you squeeze more (I guess difficult if you are using public transport).

f) We broke up Kandy to Ella by driving to Nuwara Elia before jumping on the train there to Ella. Worked well as the first part allowed us to stop and get up close to waterfalls, tea plantation, little towns and shops along the way. We saw the same on the second leg but from a distance which worked well. We got second class tickets but this did not work out was the train was packed and here was standing room only. With low windows, it was a major back strain to bend down all the time to steal looks outside the windows. I hear the first class is air-con'd which may not work as well as you'd probably get stained glass in the way.....

g) We had decent places to stay throughout the trip. Don't think you'd get too wrong if you target top ranked TA choices as we did (we only stayed at top 5 of TA specialty rankings). Sri Lanka is newly opening up and most places are fairly new and competitive.

Enjoy Sri Lanka - we loved it!

Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 4
reviews: 12
8. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede


Coincidentally, I am also planning to be in Srilanka from 9th to 23rd March with my wife with a somewhat similar itinerary - except for the fact that we will also go to Cultural Triangle and go to only one of the national parks.

Advice that we have mostly got - and thought of sharing it with you - is that hiring a vehicle and driver all through the trip is much more efficient and not so expensive. I have reached out to a few recommended tour operators and have received quote in the range of US$ 50-US$60 / day all inclusive.

I will keep you posted with any additional information that I get.

Hope you enjoy planning your trip :-)


posts: 3
9. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

hi, in march Eco Park or Kaudulla may be better to see the big elephant herds than Minneriya. However, as it is not the season for the elephant gathering the numbers you see will be lower than in july-august. Since all these 03 places are in close proximity, once you get to Sigiriya, you can check with your agent which park out of the three is best at that particular time and visit. I think Yala is also a must since its very different to Minneriya/Kaudulla/Eco park. The variety of animals you see, the vegetation etc is very different in yala than Minneriya. Yala is a very beautiful park. But do avoid visiting it on weekends as it gets too crowded. Regarding the cultural triangle, it may be better if you could extend your sigiriya stay by 01 extra day and visit either Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa. In case you decide to visit Polonnaruwa, do try and go to Medirigiriys Watada Ge. Its one of the most beautiful ruins.

posts: 1,162
reviews: 63
10. Re: sri lanka itinery help neede

There is an "elephant corridor" between the three parks in the Minneriya area and the elephants move freely arond them. The guides always know the current location of the elephants as they communicate that by cell phones.