We had a good time in Sri Lanka. Its a beautiful lush place with lots of fantastic wildlife and surprisingly clean and litter free compared with Goa. Our hotel (Lihiniya Surf) was brilliantly situated right beside a beautiful deserted beach and served up (mostly) excellent food. Just as well as the standard of food generally was very poor.
There was nowhere to go at night. No bars or cafes anywhere around the place but the hotel put on some entertainment incl Sinhalese devil dancers and a snake charmer + local musicians, and we chatted with other tourists around the hotel bar.
The thing that spoilt our holiday and put us off going back was the local people. Everyone was looking to extract money from us right down to the little monks at the temples. They appear to be a nation of con merchants and unfortunately 99% of conversations lead to an attemp to lead you off to a shop or a restaurant where they claim 25% of any inflated cost for taking you there.
Driver guides aren't interested in taking you to places that you want to go but instead take you to places where they can get a cut of the price you pay. Our driver took us to a moonstone mine and an expensive restaurant despite me stating that we didn't want to go to either. We dumped him and made our own way back on the A/C bus. Not all drivers are like this (apparently) so if you do go check a good one out with one of the destination experts.
We travelled up to Kandy (via Columbo and Pinewalla ) on the train. Altough we didn't visit the elephant orphanage we stayed at the elephant view hotel and watched the elephants bathing the follwing morning which was a fantastic sight to behold. The staff at the hotel tried to rip me off despite me leaving a generous tip.
My conclusion is that it isn't the Tamil Tigers that put people off visiting Sri Lanka so much as the the local people who put the dampeners on what would otherwise be a fantastic holiday.
We wont be going back as we enjoy open communication with freindly honest people. The Indians are far better hosts in our opinion