Sri Lanka

Old Mar 6th 2017, 3:35 am
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Default Sri Lanka

Morning campers,

Seems we are off to Sri Lanka in July for a short break.

Don't want much out of it, but it's quite a specific list, if anyone can help with recommendations it would be greatly appreciated as always:

Beach front (she's keen on this).
Decent food, maybe some out-of-hotel options nearby? Or is that wishful?
Nice hotel, but no, for 4ish nights I'm not paying 10,000 dizzers.
Not too far from the airport - within an hour or so if that's possible? Short trip so don't want to spend forever in a car to a hotel.

Bentota and Beruwala seem to come up regularly? Any hotel recommendations in these areas?
Anywhere else anyone would recommend?

Again, all ideas appreciated.
Thanks
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 3:59 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Beach front for swimming? or just to sun bathe? The ocean currents are pretty gnarly dude, you'd be better finding a place with a swimming pool perhaps if that's the intention.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:00 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Originally Posted by weasel decentral View Post
Beach front for swimming? or just to sun bathe? The ocean currents are pretty gnarly dude, you'd be better finding a place with a swimming pool perhaps if that's the intention.
To be honest, I'm keen to explore the opportunity to surf, but as it was 8yrs ago I stopped, I'm also keen to not embarrass myself.

That aside, not so much for swimming, more just the beach as the good lady loves a beach. A decent pool was sort of assumed by me...
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:08 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

People generally go down to Galle (old historic fort town) and the beaches nearby, particularly around Unawatuna.

Never heard much talk about the beaches near Colombo.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:23 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
People generally go down to Galle (old historic fort town) and the beaches nearby, particularly around Unawatuna.

Never heard much talk about the beaches near Colombo.
I'd agree with this plus there is loads to do in the Galle area. There is a new highway which reduces the journey time from Columbo to Galle to a couple of hours I believe. But use the old coast road at least one way- it's fantastic.

There is just so much of cultural and natural interest in Sri Lanka. I think you would really enjoy Sigiriya: sketchy climb up a huge Uluru-style rocky protrusion rising up from the jungle using poorly maintained stairs, slippery rocks and crevices to see the remains a fantastic 4th century tyrant's palace which occupies the whole top of the rock; totally gangster. But it's nowhere near Galle. En route there I spent one night in a hotel on the beach in Negombo north of Columbo: lovely beach but sea was just too rough in the morning for swimming even though it was nice weather.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:29 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Thanks chaps. Appreciated.

Will look at Galle and getting there.

I'm sort of keen to spend mornings exploring and afternoons drinking / sunbathing but this mini-break is a compromise because I've turned the Japan trip into non-stop city slicking.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:39 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

I'd go with Galle also.

Aprrox 2.5 hrs travel time.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:41 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

West coast catches the monsoon which is generally June to September.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 4:42 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

would recommend this small British run hotel in Hikkaduwa (Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel).

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Old Mar 6th 2017, 6:41 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

I love SL and will be there yet again for a few days in May.

Scamp, bear in mid that apart from the few new fast roads the general infrastructure is poor and it can take a very long time to get from place to place. You really don't want to spend all your time in a car bumping along.

Surfing is recommended for the East cost but there are fewer places to stay (and travelling time) albeit some nice looking boutique places. I really like the Galle area but tend to largely avoid Unawatuna as it's a bit 'back packer-ish' for us. There are a number of resort hotels but why bother with those if you actually want to see a country?

I'd suggest looking for smaller places to stay. Whilst beaches are fine the sea along the West and South coasts can be very rough and not great for swimming.

Take tuk-tuks to explore a local area. Cheap and as they are open and small you are not disconnected as you are in a car.

Just eat anywhere as most SL food is fab. Just order 'rice and curry' and you'll get several different curries, manly vegetarian and you can ask for a meat/fish one too. Add in a few Lion beers and that's all you need.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 7:30 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Originally Posted by Meow View Post

Just eat anywhere as most SL food is fab. Just order 'rice and curry' and you'll get several different curries, manly vegetarian and you can ask for a meat/fish one too. Add in a few Lion beers and that's all you need


Be prepared that SL 'rice and curry' is nothing like what you may expect .. overall pretty foul in my opinion and everything has a oily burnt fishy quality that seems to permeate through your pores.


Hate to admit it, food wise we were miserable inside and outside hotels, starving after 3 days and couldn't help ourselves when we seen the McD's in Columbo - and I usually don't eat McDonalds.


I would also up accom to 5 star minimum, its still pretty cheap but no point in going lower. We stayed in a mix of hotels as did the full tour, best place was up in the mountains (nura-something) , worst place was the shit covered beach. The national park was alright and I think there was a 'waterfall' in the middle of the trip somewhere.


If you've never been then yeah tick it off your list - but a relaxing enjoyable getaway - not quite, more of an adventure.


edited to say - in some places scenery is amazing, and everywhere you see remnants of the tsunami impact and how lives were changed- everyone you speak to lost someone, you can see the waterlines up 10 floors - very humbling in that respect.

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Old Mar 6th 2017, 7:33 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Originally Posted by Shawlands View Post

Be prepared that SL 'rice and curry' is nothing like what you may expect .. overall pretty foul in my opinion and everything has a oily burnt fishy quality that seems to permeate through your pores.


Hate to admit it, food wise we were miserable inside and outside hotels, starving after 3 days and couldn't help ourselves when we seen the McD's in Columbo - and I usually don't eat McDonalds.


I would also up accom to 5 star minimum, its still pretty cheap but no point in going lower. We stayed in a mix of hotels as did the full tour, best place was up in the mountains (nura-something) , worst place was the shit covered beach. The national park was alright and I think there was a 'waterfall' in the middle of the trip somewhere.


If you've never been then yeah tick it off your list - but a relaxing enjoyable getaway - not quite, more of an adventure.
Sorry you had a poor experience but I rate SL curries as some of the best and most people will tell you about their skill with spices. Where did you stay? Your experience is not mine, nor that of anyone I know who has ever been there.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 7:49 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

We went back in 2009 - stayed at The Fortress near Galle which was very good for a relaxing holiday.

The beach was crap, but everything else spot on.
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 8:51 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Originally Posted by Meow View Post
Sorry you had a poor experience but I rate SL curries as some of the best and most people will tell you about their skill with spices. Where did you stay? Your experience is not mine, nor that of anyone I know who has ever been there.
In a real turn-up for the books, I fully agree with Meow. Best rice and curry we had was in the St Andrews hotel up in the tea-growing hill station of Nuwara Eliya (I guess that's where Shawland meant - spelling might not be right...). White glove service in the dining room of what used to be the plantation owners' club; pressed tin roof, dark wood and smoky atmosphere (from the past, not from people smoking and not at all unpleasant), impeccable service. Mind you that was during the civil war...
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Old Mar 6th 2017, 9:21 am
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Scamp, there's a few Sri Lankan restaurants in Dubai. Chef Lanka in Karama on the square and Red Box (better, I think) in the no-man's land between Nahda and Ghusais. Give them a try. Sri Lankan is generally very spicy and not for everyone. Curries tend to be dry (dry fry), not like the creamy North Indian ones. Without the tempering influence of the yoghurt or even regular cream in the bastardised versions, the heat is very pronounced. Someone will doubtlessly come along (Bipat?) and gush about the wonders of spices but I say bugger that, it's all just brown spicy mush and tastes the same. I find Sri Lankan less heavy than the typical North Indian but many of their dishes are so spicy that you don't taste anything which sort of defeats the point of eating, in my view, except if you enjoy the occasional sweat breaking, beer swilling meal, and there is a place for that especially if dining in one of those open air restaurants in the tropics when it's humid and there's a thunderstorm approaching.

They also do a lot of seafood and seafood is the one thing I cannot have spicy.

I've also heard some good things about Ayubowan in JLT but haven't been there.

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