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India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Bangalore...
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India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hi,

My wife and I are planning to travel Srilanka in the month of February from Bangalore. I have few questions that i have listed below. It will be of great help getting answers to these:

Planning to spend around 6 nights in SriLanka:

1) How do i manage the currency? Take INR and convert it to LKR? or convert INR to USD

2) Should i book a travel package or manage on my own?

3) If i travel from Colombo to Kandy in Expo Rail, I plan to stay there for 2 nights. What places should i not miss?

4)I like the beaches (Hikkadua), wildlife (Yala National park)

5) I am on a very economical budget and would try to reduce expenses wherever possible

6) Can anybody suggest a intinerary?

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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1. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hi Anila,

1] Bring about 50 USD or an ATM card (Maestro or Cirrus logo) for the initial expenses, and for the rest INR. The problem is you _can_ change INR freely at licensed money changers in the country but you can _not_ change at the airport, as this has only bank counters and for some technical reason banks aren't allowed to exchange INR and money changer are.

2] Fully up to you. On-your-own takes time organising and brings risks of un-adressable suppliers when things go wrong, but generally it's a bit cheaper.

3] Botanical garden, Tooth Temple, dance show, lake walk, Hill Buddha statue.

4] Good but they're quite some distance from Kandy and public transport travel is cheap but slow

6]

* 1 night Negombo after arrival, unless your flight arrives earlier in the morning

* 2 nights Kandy

Now you have only 3 nights left and you want beach and wildlife. Sorry to say that Hikka and Yala together simply don't fit. Suggest to change into

* 1 night near either the Habarana parks (Minneriya, Kaudulla, Eco-park) or Wilpattu park; morning safari next day

* 2 nights Kalpitiya beach, technically superior to Hikka but not many restaurants etc. yet

Or alternately 3 nights Hikka and no wildlife park at all (Yala is too far from Hikka for a daytrip).

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Bangalore...
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2. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Thanks for the Prompt response Erik.

1)I also would want to know how much money should i carry, rather what would be the expense that i will incur totally.

2)I believe you are from lanka, If i want to make it to hikkadua and Yala how many more days and money will i have to spend?

3) Please dont mind if i post more questions regarding my travel plan :)

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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for Sri Lanka
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3. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hi again,

1] That's quite hard to tell without a definite itinerary. Entrance fees to sights are relatively high for SouthEast Asia, often USD 20+; but many of the sights have a special SAARC price (hence also for Indians) of about half of that.

2] If you have 3 nights upto Kandy, you need 1 night Ella (stopover, public transport in one day Kandy-Yala is crazy), 1 night Tissa/Yala and then 2 nights Hikka. Hence totally 4 nights, making the total trip 7 nights at least.

'Extra money' hard to plan, travel is cheap but a national park is always expensive; total about 90-100 USD for jeep hire and 2 adults safari and no SAARC discount.

3] Fine by us, we are split between Lanka and Europe,,,

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hello Friends,

Came across this post while I was planning an itinery for our trip this month end.

We are looking at 4 nights, and want to have a relaxing trip, watch beautiful scenery and do some important sight seeing locations.

Due to our flight timings, arriving very late, we actually have only 3 proper nights.

Now, we plan to do hikka duwa for 2 nights and kandy for 1 night. Is that alright?

Are there better options we can consider- will stick to 2 bases for overnight stays, probably would like to fit in places enroute on the road trip if we will opt for a car. I read some good reviews about nuwara eliya, sigiriya rock etc.. Please suggest the best hill and beach place we could cover. I have read bentota is relatively more expensive than hikka..

Please suggest a minimum budget for 2 people if were to hire a car from colombo to the hill. In hikka, we plan to hire a tuk tuk from one of the drivers highly praised here on TA.. Looking at 3 star properties to stay in, simple water activities like snorkeling and explore the cuisine.

Looking forward to your advice.

Thanks,

See

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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5. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Snorkel in Hikka is more or less finished now, the sea outside the reefs stirs up the sand inside causing bad visibility. Sorry.

Kandy is a good base and for the coast Hikka is good too. Car Airport-Kandy-Hikka-Airport is about Rs 27,000. You pay for his empty ride back to airport anyhow and as you'd stay in Hikka for 1 night only you could as well use him for the local excursions there. Forget about Eliya; Sigiriya could maybe be done on your route airport-Kandy if you plan very well.

Good budget hotels in Kandy are Hilltop, Thilanka, Serene Gardens. Hikka has plenty of them too.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Thank you Erik :)

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hello,

Sorry to bother you again.. I heard today that Colombo's traffic can be very slow moving. Ideally, how much time should I keep in my itinery for airport- kandy taxi transfer?

And, if we take a taxi from kandy to hikkaduwa, should we go via colombo (how much time would it take with traffic)? Is there an alternative route? (how much time would this take, if yes)

Will much appreciate all your help and response. Since we have only 3 nights, wouldn't want to crowd it with too much travel. Will probably have to stick to only hikkaduwa in that case :( :(

Thanks,

See

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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8. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hi again,

1] About 3 hours. You're not at all hitting Colombo on that route.

2] About 5 hours. You hardly hit Colombo on this route, basically long before the traffic jams you divert south from Kandy-Colombo road (probably passing Hanwella) towards Kottawa where you take Expressway. Sorry, there are other routes but taking much more distance and time only.

Do mind: it's not taxi, it is car with driver who stays with you all the time. That's a LOT cheaper than separate taxis because these calculate an empty return ride in the prices, and with the 3-day driver he returns you to airport.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Thanks a lot Erik!!

Helps me plan my itinery. Some one informed me that it takes about 6-8 hours to get to kandy from colombo!!!

See our plan below. Please suggest if the plan seems alright.

Day 1- Sunday, 08.30 AM: Arrive at Colombo airport and complete immigration etc by 9.30 AM.

Question- Do we find car drivers near this airport with whom we could work our rates for 3 days?

Day 1- Transfer from Colombo to Kandy. 10.00 AM to 1.00 PM travel, check in at kandy hotel

Kandy evening- kandyan dance, temple of tooth, dinner

Day 2- Kandy Full day

Question- 1. I have read about a beautiful train ride to some place closeby?? Could you please share details and feasability? How much would the round trip+sign seeing take? 2. What else could we do this day? We would like to visit some nearby scenic places. 3. How is Amaya Hunas? Is it very far from kandy city? What else would you strongly recommend seeing/doing?

Day 3- Transfer from Kandy to Hikkaduwa early morning. Start around 5.00 AM from Kandy and reach Hikka by 12.00 Noon.

Question- Is the timing realistic? Anything on the way we could take a look at?

Day 4- Transfer from Hikka to Colombo Airport

Question- What time should we start from Hikka in order to reach Airport by 4.30 PM? Flight is at 6.45 PM to Bangalore.

Question- Would it be raining in Kandy around April 28th and 29th?

Any suggestions about good drivers/companies? In the earlier post you have mentioned Colombo Airpot- kandy- Hikka- Airport to be 27,000. This is LKR I presume?

Thanks a ton!! for all your help Eric!! Looking forward to your reply

-See

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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10. Re: India(Bangalore) to SriLanka Travel

Hi again,

Wow, 6 hours Kandy-Colombo. Could be true but then an extreme case of traffic jam in rush hour...

Day1: There are six tour/taxi desks at the airport, and no drivers waiting outside. (A group of 'informal' drivers waiting opposite the desks too but they sound very, very shady - never heard of someone using them and being happy afterwards.) The desks generally have the standard prices, but what they have at hand are not licensed tourguides - only drivers with 'just enough' English knowledge.

Day2-1: That's Kandy/Peradeniya to Rambukkana station (near Pinawela). Yes very nice.

-2 Botanical gardens, tea plantations, waterfalls

-3 Great place but at least 1 hour from town, it's more for seeing the lovely nature of the Knuckles than for a town stay,

Day3: Yes should work, after 3 hours or a bit more due to rush you hit the Expressway and 1 hour later (almost guaranteed) you are at Baddegama exit; still 30 mins or so from Hikka town.

Day4: Using Expressway, 1 PM is fine.

Rain: totally unpredictable, sorry. Not all day that is quite likely, morning generally best chances for sun.

Large companies (but not cheapest for drivers): Aitken Spence, Luxe Asia, Red Dot, Tangerine, Walkers. For freelance drivers send PM's to regular posters including the DE's.

Yes prices given are LKR not INR.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]