Sri Lanka

Date of visit: February 2013
Guide book used: Lonely Planet. Sri Lanka. 12th edition

Pictures of Sri Lanka can be seen here.

In a world where travel destinations are being homogenised Sri Lanka helped remind me why I travel. With the long running civil war mercifully well and truly over – albeit a case of the end justify the means – tourists are returning. The supporting infrastructure however is straining to cope.

Accommodation

Despite being published in July 2012 the prices experienced in February 2013 were often double to those quoted in the Lonely Planet. In many places accommodation was booked out days in advance.

Compared to destinations such as Cambodia and Laos the prices are poor value. In Sri Lanka often the most basic accommodation is $30 per night whereas in Cambodia or Laos that would see you firmly in mid range territory. In Colombo it is near impossible to get anything for less than $50 a night. Plus then they want to charge you for things life Wifi.

The answer is to try to avoid places listed in the Lonely Planet – often they are just relying on this recommendation rather than paying attention to their service. Agoda is quite good for finding hotels. However as my credit card didn’t work (see below) I couldn’t book any. I ended up phoning the hotels and being quoted much higher prices but then bargaining them down when I said I could get it for so much on Agoda. Most places seem open to some bargaining on price.

Food

The food is great and very cheap. Unfortunately outside hotel restaurants it is just served from pre cooked trays of food and so is actually not hot or fresh. Also most restaurants (often called Hotel) seem to be very male affairs and female travellers may feel uncomfortable in them.

Visa

I managed to get multiple cards blocked trying to pay for the visa on the government website http://www.eta.gov.lk/. Has anyone else had problems with cards on the site?

Colombo

Galle

Haputale

Kandy

Uda Walawe National Park