Having worked and travelled abroad independently over the last 30 years I was tempted to go it alone. However, I was organising a very special holiday for my husband and our 3 grown up children and decided to use an agent. From the moment I first contacted Best of Lanka I was confident it would pay off and it did for many reasons. Viraj took time via Skype to listen to our requests, hear how we wished to travel and stay "away from the crowds" in small independent hotels and visit some lesser known destinations. He quickly came up with suitable ideas and together over about 1 month we put together a fabulous itinerary. We travelled for 15 days in mid April. Firstly, we visited the Cultural triangle (v. hot!) and stayed at the lovely rustic The Other Corner where the staff were wonderful and the food delicious. We moved to Madulkele Tea Plantation where we stayed in tents perched on the side of the hill looking down to the valley below and the Knuckles mountain range beyond. It was utterly breathtaking and one of the most spectacular locations I have every stayed. We hiked up the Knuckles Mountain range which was strenuous but memorable and a must. Then on to Kandy where it is worth getting up at 5am for the opening of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth - at this time is is very atmospheric. The train from Kandy to Ella was absolutely awesome - rumbling along sitting in the open doorway dangling our feet over the edge whilst it snaked its way up the mountain with jaw dropping views and sights to see. We managed to stay 2 nights at Gal Oya - an eco retreat offering a boat safari - and were rewarded with the rare chance to sit in a boat and watch elephants swimming together across a small stretch of water - amazing! Our final paradise was to stay at Karpaha Sands - luxury tented accommodation on the beach between Batticaloa and Passikudah with maximum 40 guests and a few fishermen on a 14km stretch of golden sand, very warm sea and nothing else! It was very exclusive and a wonderful way to relax at the end of our holiday. Sadly, on our return to Colombo where we planned to stay on Easter Sunday close to where our son works the bombs went off and suddenly the holiday became very different. However, our driver Roshan kept us informed via a friend of his in the Military and we booked a small hotel in Negombo to prepare for our flight home the next day. We spent the last 24 hours in an anxious state feeling incredibly sad and sorry for the wonderful people of Sri Lanka who simply do not deserve for such an atrocity to take place in their beautiful country. We had just enjoyed the best holiday of our lives in the most incredibly stunning, diverse, welcoming country and we would encourage anyone to visit and experience what we did. Of course, it will take time, but don't wait too long - Sri Lanka remains somewhere you must visit. Thank you to Best of Lanka for all your help in organising such a superb and successful trip and thanks to Roshan, our driver, who worked so hard to keep us safe in more ways than one.