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Visiting Sri Lanka - guidebook and general hints

What guidebook would you recommend?
15 years ago, April 26th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #33636  
N Posts: 1
I am new here so I am sorry if I put my post in wrong section or write something wrong.

I am going to Sri Lanka, to Galle, for 6 weeks for volunteer work. Certainly, I would like to use this time to visit as much as possible - mostly during weekends.

I would be grateful if you could recommend me some good guidebook which could help me planning my travelling around the country - when I opened amazon.co.uk I really found myself lost in all these books.

I do not know too much about this country, but maybe you could give me also some hints basing on your own experience? I mean, what should I be aware of, what is the best way to travel (bus, train, rent car, some other way?), what are the average costs (in $ or euro) for some basic things like dinner. What should I avoid, in general? Is there anything \"exceptional\" that I should think about or take with me?

As I will be living with a guest family during my volunteer stay, therefore I will certainly feel safety there, however while travelling I will be probably alone.

Thank you for your help! Reply to this

15 years ago, April 26th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #33643  
Hello Theriel 😊

I recommend the Lonely Planet guide books. There is one for most/all countries in the world. They give general information about safety, money, accomodation, transport, local customs........

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15 years ago, April 27th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #33710  
Spent time in Sri Lanka twice in early 90's so I guess some things have changed.
I went to the Sinharaja Rainforest ( one of the last virgin rainforests left in the world)and I'm sure you can hire a driver to take you or make your own way which might be more irksome as you might want to stop off overnight aound Ratnapurna area and make the most of visit.If you go to rainforest be prepared for leeches- knee length tubigrip socks work wonders! Both times we visited we used hotel as a base and exp-lored off for days on our own- even of to Arugam Bay where no tourists went other than surfers re: war. We were stupidly risky but it was magical.
Decided to have rabies jabs before we went as there are a lot of stray dogs around and I nearly got attacked by a large langur monkey so was glad of the protection. Sri Lankan doctor friends thought it prudent of us to have jabs.
Everywhere takes time by road because of sheer volume of traffic on roads.
Stayed in Hikkaduwa, S,West coast - you can catch train to and from Galle easily or even go by tut tut- its great fun & cheap but you are at the mercy of the driver and traffic that hares at the rate of knots.
There's always someone offering you a cheap gift either at the roadside or on the beach etc / offering to take you somewhere ( often gem shops)but that adds to the magic of Sri Lanka.It can be irritating for some people so you might need to be firm but fair!
If you are based in Galle do try and visit Unawatuna- its where the locals relax on Sunday (Beautiful bay). If you are interested Buddhism there is so much to see statues and temples are dotted around.Sometimes a local village might hold a special festival with elephants and dancers etc parading up and down the village plus food stalls and locals selling their wares.
All in all there is so much to see and if you are with a local family they will tell you the best places to visit. Every day is an adventure from seeing one of the many water monitors lope across the road to a kingfisher sitting on a telegraph wire. The place is teeming with wildlife and the jungle seems to encroach on everything. Food is cheap and plentiful.If you love curries then you'll be in heaven.

It probably wont take you long to make friends with the locals who will make you welcome and offer you a much better insight into their country than any guide book. Good luck and enjoy!
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15 years ago, April 29th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #33840  
I am from Sri lanka and I agree with whatever that is said here. Sri lanka is a beautiful island which is called the pearl of indian ocean because of it's beauty. Generally the people are very very friendly and if you know how to avoid unwated attention when you get any, then you ar quite safe. Staying with a local family means you are going to be one of the family for all the realatives and friends and all the villegers who are going to accept you with open arms to their hearts and lives...

Galle has a wonderful dutch fort which is same way as it was centuries away and UNESKO has declared it as a world heritage site. unawatuna beach is one of the most beautiful beaches you will see.

Southern coast is home for many turtle hatheries where you can go and see the way they help to conservate these animals(though it is getting more commecialised.. you will love the feeling of seeing 1000 of baby turtles ready to be free)

Hikkaduwa was very famous or coral reefs earlier but now it is getting extict soon. Only a handful of corals remain alive deep sea but still the boats and guides try their best to offer the "magical ride" Earlier you could see more tourists in Hikkaduwa as it was a tourist paradice but I do not know what is the situation there.

Ambalangoda will offer a noval experience as it isnthe place where they have the hand craft mask makers an the crats are very unique to sri lanka and a noval exoerience you will love. They will have variety of woodcratfss, mask and other items with nice desighs which would mak nice gifts to evryone at home.

As for prices.. bargain an you might get a cheper price. Always go and check from 2-3 plces and go for the best deal. Batik garments with colourful designs are must have.. dresses,shirts,skirts,scrafs,hankies everything in batik an bibrant colours... nice for a summer in your home country.

From Galle you can visit the near by towns like Koggala where you can see lot of clay pottery maker and spice gardens and may be go on river safari. One of the unique sights is seeing fishermen in castal sea water sitting on han made wooden seat and pole in the sea for hours and hours.. THIS CAN BE SEEN ONLY THIS PART OF SRI LANKA and only this in teh world.

As for travelling to Galle, you can take the luxuary intercity AC bus or the train.. Bus will take 3 hours and train a bit more. If you hire a van or a car you can stop at all the places you want to visit and go. While in Galle you can take the 3 wheeler TUk Tuk or bus or hire. If you are going o hire car,van or Tuk tuk regularly or daily get stick to one reliable driver and they will be very helpful and you can negotiate bettr rates. At the end of entire tour tip them an they will be happy.

Food!!! that is one thing cheap if you like spicy and hot! you will find ample places to eat.. sri lankan rice & curry, chinese, western etc. Since Galle and Unawatuna and the rest of towns are tourist atractions finding anice and small place would not be hard and cheap also. Most expensive thing in the menu is going to be Lobster and King Prwawns.. check the prices and you might be surprice How CHEAP comparing to your home country prices. The family you are staying will definitely provide you with all the traditional variety of yummy sri lankan food for breakfast and dinner. Try the Coconut Rotty, Plain Hoppers and Egg hoppers (Yummy yummmmmmyyy)

Well....... have a wonderful time.

if you need more help on anyhting I will be more that happy to help.

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14 years ago, February 19th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #63484  
N Posts: 1
I've visited many interesting places in Sri Lanka. Actually Sri Lanka is one if the best countries in the world to visit. I think this site will guide you. This site has many interesting locations in Sri Lanka in details.

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14 years ago, April 21st 2009 No: 6 Msg: #70319  
I recently visited Galle and true to words its a place not to be missed when in Sri Lanka. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. The beautiful beach of Unawatuna is just 6km south east of the city centre. Reply to this

9 years ago, April 8th 2014 No: 7 Msg: #180432  
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful Islands you just have to witness. It has great culture, the most amazing beaches and also great night life.

[Edited: 2014 Apr 09 01:08 - Roosta:95057 - No commercial links in the forums, please. See TOS]
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