We booked two nights at the Paradise Inn with Milton via e-mail, mainly based on reviews on TripAdvisor. We arrived via a bus from Anuradhapura to Dambulla and then a half hour's tuk-tuk ride from Dambulla (Lkr 500). The place is nicely situated a stone's through away from the tourist shops and restaurants in Sigiriya and Sigiriya Rock is visible from the garden. Our room was a double-bedded ensuite room; a large bedroom and a large shower room, both spotlessly clean and Lkr 3000 per night. Nirmala talked about the wild elephants visiting at night and eating and trampling the rice crop in the back garden. Although we didn't see the elephants, we did see a giant squirrel, woodpeckers and a hornbill in the garden. Nirmala made dinner for us - excellent chicken curry with accompaniments and then fruit (Lkr 600 per meal, beer Lkr 350 per bottle)) and a large breakfast of Sri Lankan coffee, fruit, omelette and toast pockets (Lkr 400 per meal). A review based solely on these aspects of the guesthouse would rate 4 and a half or 5 out of five (although Nirmala and Milton should be more up-front about their pricing)..
But Milton is also a tuk-tuk driver and a former guide and, with his friendly manner and his talk of mutual respect, we foolishly decided to allow him to take us to Polonaruwa to tour the ancient city and then to Minnerya National Park for a dusk safari without consulting other providers. Milton was a little evasive about how much the trips would be but he said that he knew the area (he did) and that his friend was a very good ranger in the national park and knew all the best spots. In the end, the trip to Polonaruwa was Lkr 4500 for Milton and his tuk-tuk plus Lkr 3125 per person admission - in hindsight the 4500 looks overpriced. The safari was excellent; we spotted hundreds of elephants, sambar deer, a crocodile and lots of peafowl, herons, egrets and the like (but no leopards). The entrance fee for the park was Lkr 2970 per person and on top of that we were charged Lkr 6500 for the hire of the 4x4 jeep. At the time we assumed this was the going rate but we met some other travelers in Dambulla the next day who went on the same safari and saw the same animals and their jeep was Lkr 3500.
Milton offered to take us in his tuk-tuk to Dambulla the next day from where we were going to get a bus to Kandy. Again we foolishly accepted his offer without discussing the price. When we arrived in Dambulla, I offered him Lkr 500 since that was the cost of the initial tuk-tuk trip from Dambulla to Paradise Inn with someone else. He declined that and requested Lkr 1000 since this is, he said, the usual fare for the trip. This is when his talk of mutual respect sounded a bit hollow. Please be warned!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.