“Preparations will kick your worries away.”
* * *
How did you prepare on your first travel? I am asking this because the trip to Sri Lanka was my first official travel, vacation, backpacking to a different country. Yes, I am working abroad and I roamed around the Philippines (my homeland), but this was a different scenario. So before I will tell you how we wander in Sri Lanka, let me have this side trip first.
The trip to Sri Lanka was my eye-opener to the “World of Travel”, a lesson learned vacation. Why? it was not planned well, my travel buddy (Nikki) and I just booked a flight, asked for some advice and fly. Then… “We are here in Sri Lanka International Airport! No place to stay, no itinerary. My goodness! Scared, it is my first time! But, in an impulse I decided to head to the tour agent at the airport. The Rate? Out of the budget! Sweating and still scared, but this is it, no turning back, I will explore this country! There’s a way, so Nikki and I discussed and agreed then we told the agent… this is our budget, what can we do? we tailored the itinerary!” and… There, we enjoyed the rest of the days exploring Sri Lanka. It may not be luxurious as what we imagined, but we managed to explore the best of Sri Lanka and most of all we had an elephant ride.
So What to Expect in Sri Lanka? (base on our experience)
– PEOPLE –
It is important how the locals will treat us when we visit foreign places. This will make or break our trip. Sri Lankan, in general are polite and hospitable. I worked with them, and they were kind. Sri Lankan especially the oldies were conservative (my observation) you can see some women still dressed with their traditional outfit, and I did not see any of them (woman) in super-short-shorts. The communication was okay, my thought was as long as we can impart our message and get the desired outcome, then we’re good. We may be a bit paranoid and cautious on the first day but then we felt safe eventually.
– PLACES & ACTIVITIES –
This place, I would describe as the place of ancient Stupas. Stupa is a sacred place for Buddhist. It is where the some of the relics of Buddha placed and other stupa are where the kings and families were buried.
Kannimaduwa & Siriliya
Kannimaduwa a farm fields with so much of picturesque scenery, we also went to the monastery here. And, Siriliya is one of the top tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, the Palace at the top of the rock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also do elephant ride here.
Kandy is also one of the tourists destination in Sri Lanka because of its UNESCO sites and place itself has so much to offer, from nature to Temples. There’s also a lot of establishments here compared to other places in Sri Lanka.
The journey to the top is amazing, lots of pine trees and tea plantation. This place is NATURE! From waterfalls to lakes. It’s the peak and being here, feels great — seeing all those marvelous creations, realizing how tiny we are but can play a significant part in this world. I wish we stayed longer here, but it’s too cold, ana we did not able to bring warmers so we decided to head to the beach.
It is where the airport located. We stayed just right across the street from this beach. We decided to spend our last 3 days here in Sri Lanka, so we don’t have to worry on how we will go to the airport. It’s also a touristy area, lots of stores and restaurants.
– EXPENSES –
1. Arrival: At the airport there will be 40USD Electronic Visa fee. Check this site for details: Visa Fees . By the way, again it’s in USD, so have some US dollars with you because paying in SR Rupee ends up paying more.
3. Transportation: How to go around? If you can afford to rent a private car, this is the most convenient/hassle-free to tour, but public transpo is the best way to indulge the local ways.
- Car Rental with Driver: 50USD/Day
(Our driver Sanjee, he is polite and knows the best places, he can arrange your tour in Sri Lanka, as well as accommodation. You can inquire, here’s his FB: Sanjee
- Tuk-Tuk: Actually, we just rode tuk-tuk going to the airport, for 6 days we were in the car with Sanjee roaming around, places to places. Sanjee, also owns a tuk-tuk, so you can ask him about this.
*For more info on other means of transportation: Check the Lonely Planet site
4. Accommodation: We arranged the package with the Tour Agent in the airport, this includes the car rental and accommodation. We choose a BnB that is approx. 4,000LKR/night. We stayed in different accommodations, because we hopped from places to places that is quite far. Sanjee was so helpful to us, adjusting the itinerary. Thank you Sanjee.
*Options for accommodation? check Agoda, Trip Advisory, Booking.com, Expedia, etc…
5. Dining: I can say that foodtrip is a travel’s soulmate, when you go to a new place it is always great to try their cuisine and delicacies.
Breakfast: With BnB for 8 days, the breakfast we always: bread, butter, jam, fruit/s, egg, coffee/tea
Lunch: As we roam around we dropped by to any restaurants that is along the way to our next destination. Well, there are lots option for lunch. Meat, seafood, veggies. Meal is about 1,200LKR++
Dinner: We always had them in the places we stayed, because we just want to rest and prepare for the next day. My best meal was in Nuwara Eliya, their food was fresh, especially the shrimp. 1,00LKR+
6. Temple/Museum Entrance: I was impressed. Totally different. Entering some monastery has fees, about 250LKR+. There are also free and you will just pay if you will go in the museum. Take note that this is a Holy place, so dress appropriately to show respect to the locals.
7. Souvenirs: 200LKR+ but you always can ask for discounts
8. Elephant Ride & Safari: 1300LKR ++
In my bucket list, the experience is great. I wanna do it again! For the safari, we did not do it, we don’t have enough budget anymore. So, Sanjee did a road trip where we can possible see some elephants in the wild from the highway. Amazing!
9. Tips: Like other countries including my own, just expect that in a Tourist Places, attendants (some, NOT ALL) will be expecting for tips. How much? It’s up to you.
*Pocket Money: Have enough Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR), maybe about 4,000LKR/day (1.00USD = approx. 145.00 LKR). But, it depends on how you spend, on what you want to buy and do. Some of the tourist attractions including souvenirs are priced in US Dollars, so I suggest to always have this currency. I would say that our ave. expenses per day was 110USD.
– THE WRAP – UP –
The total experience while we were in Sri Lanka was fantastic. 2-Thumbs-Up on how they preserve their forest, how elephants are free to roam in certain area, NO BARRIERS, NO CHAIN. The places we visited were clean. People that we met were kind to us. It was quite expensive than what we expected but Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, it is like a huge museum of antient structures and picturesque scenery. It was so worth the visit.
Again, thank you so much to our Tour Guide/Driver, Sanjee!Tags: journeytohappiness, questtosuccess, Sri Lanka, Strolls and Goals, Tea Factory, Travel Tips