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Old 7th October 2012, 20:42   #16
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At Colombo airport they don't convert INR. You will need to carry usd. Money changers will offer around 2.3 for every INR. Don't know tho whether money changers accept INR only in Colombo or elsewhere as well.

Eta takes a few minutes to submit.
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Old 9th October 2012, 13:30   #17
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Thanks Aravind, I got a wealth of information from you after speaking to you. Now the only remaining question I have is with regard to cell phone usage in Lanka.

I know that airtel will charge a bomb for incoming and outgoing calls, but does anyone know the rates? I use a pre-paid card in Hyderabad.

And what would be the data roaming charges like? I guess it may be better to get a pre-paid sim card in Srilanka. Does anyone know how much that would cost, and is it easy to get one?

By the way, I was surprised to get my ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) approved within 12 minutes of submitting my application online.
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Old 9th October 2012, 16:05   #18
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Why dont you use the Matrix sim cards ? Heard they are cheaper. Dont have first hand experience though
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Old 9th October 2012, 16:16   #19
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Thanks Aravind, I got a wealth of information from you after speaking to you. Now the only remaining question I have is with regard to cell phone usage in Lanka.

I know that airtel will charge a bomb for incoming and outgoing calls, but does anyone know the rates? I use a pre-paid card in Hyderabad.

And what would be the data roaming charges like? I guess it may be better to get a pre-paid sim card in Srilanka. Does anyone know how much that would cost, and is it easy to get one?

By the way, I was surprised to get my ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) approved within 12 minutes of submitting my application online.
Hi,

We visited SL in 2010 and were there for 10 days on holiday. Dad carried a Matrix SIM from here and i got myself a pre paid SL sim card from there. towards the end of the trip we did a calculation of cost and the Matrix bill came close to ₹ 4k and my local pre paid sim was around ₹1100/-.

For dad having a number before hand was necessary so Matrix was the only way out. If you are OK with getting a Number there and then informing your friends & Family, i would say get a pre paid sim from there and send the number to all.

We too booked our holiday through Aitken Spence and traveled to Dambulla, Kandy, Nuvara elia & Bentota. A total of 9N / 10D. We were not much keen on spending a night in Colombo so we just spent a full day there before boarding flight back home on last day.

We carried US$ as well as INR. And we did most of our conversions in banks there. Doesn't take more than 10 mins. But ya, safer to carry some before hand. I didn't do any conversions at the hotels, they are expensive. So avoid unless emergency.

Last edited by h@r$h@l : 9th October 2012 at 16:17.
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Old 9th October 2012, 16:20   #20
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Will check matrix. Meantime, I spoke to Aitken Spence Travels, and they recommended Dialog prepaid card for Srilanka. I believe it has the best coverage, even in remote areas.

One can buy a prepaid sim for Rs 1000 LKR, out of which the talk-time is Rs 700 LKR. One needs to show the original passport to get the prepaid card, and it is a quick process, unlike in India.

I browsed their website and it says GPRS and 3G is enabled for all prepaid cards by default. Let me see how it goes.

By the way, I was surprised to know that even Airtel is a service provider in Sri lanka. But their coverage is mostly in cities.

And all providers charge for incoming calls for calls beyond 30 seconds.
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Old 9th October 2012, 16:27   #21
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

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Originally Posted by h@r$h@l View Post
Hi,


We too booked our holiday through Aitken Spence and traveled to Dambulla, Kandy, Nuvara elia & Bentota. A total of 9N / 10D. We were not much keen on spending a night in Colombo so we just spent a full day there before boarding flight back home on last day.
We're covering the same places, but in 7D/6N, that also includes the last night at Colombo. First night at Dambulla, 2nd at Kandy, 3rd at Nuwara Eliya, 4th and 5th at Bentota, and 6th at Colombo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by h@r$h@l View Post
We carried US$ as well as INR. And we did most of our conversions in banks there. Doesn't take more than 10 mins. But ya, safer to carry some before hand. I didn't do any conversions at the hotels, they are expensive. So avoid unless emergency.
Thanks. So do you suggest I convert USD at India or at SL airport? Or go to a bank from airport on the way to Dambulla on day 1. I don't thinks banks will be open at 3 pm though.
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Old 9th October 2012, 16:36   #22
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
We're covering the same places, but in 7D/6N, that also includes the last night at Colombo. First night at Dambulla, 2nd at Kandy, 3rd at Nuwara Eliya, 4th and 5th at Bentota, and 6th at Colombo.


Thanks. So do you suggest I convert USD at India or at SL airport? Or go to a bank from airport on the way to Dambulla on day 1. I don't thinks banks will be open at 3 pm though.
We spent first 3 at Dambula, then 3 at Kandy & travelled to Nuvaraa elia & last 3 at Bentota.

I carried INR and used up the US$ that i had from a previous trip. AFAIK i was able to convert INR to SL at banks. But it would be best to re confirm this with someone who has travelled recently or check with Atkin Spence representative. If you can easily convert INR to SL Rupee no need to carry US$. The only advantage of carry US$ is you would have to carry less cash.

1 INR = 2.42885 LKR & 1 USD = 128.267 LKR
Source : http://www.xe.com/ucc/

You may refer to http://srilanka.travel/index.php
for more information. I am sure you will find most your doubts solved there.

Regards,
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Old 9th October 2012, 16:37   #23
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Thanks. So do you suggest I convert USD at India or at SL airport? Or go to a bank from airport on the way to Dambulla on day 1. I don't thinks banks will be open at 3 pm though.
Sirji, Check with Aitken Spence, they would do it for you. Just inform them in advance.
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Old 9th October 2012, 19:02   #24
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

if you are in interested in wildlife, Trincomalle is the place to go for Blue Whale / Sperm whale sightings. http://www.visitmagicalsrilanka.com/...whale-watching. May be a good idea to add this to your schedule
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Old 9th October 2012, 19:39   #25
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Default Re: Chennai - Srilanka - Need help in planning

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Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
Hi,

I did the trip in Feb 2012 and went through Aitken Spence. Regarding their service first, they are excellent and provide good assistance through out the trip. We opted for a 4 star hotel stay in Kandy and a 3 star stay at rest of the places. Overall the hotels were as expected and no deviancy in service.

For me all inclusive (includes my food, stay, touring, shopping, air tickets) came up to 75K for two of us .

Cash conversion do some here in India and rest at the Colombo airport as you can get better rates.

Regards,
Aravind

75K for how many days? The cost per day would be more indicative ...

Thanks
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Old 9th October 2012, 19:54   #26
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Default Re: Chennai - Srilanka - Need help in planning

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Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
75K for how many days? The cost per day would be more indicative ...

Thanks
--R
Ragul, my package was for 4 days. We paid Aitken Spence 20K per person (40K total) and flight tickets costed us (14K) and we spent 20K there inclusive of sight seeing, food and beverages , Shopping .
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Old 9th October 2012, 21:14   #27
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Default Re: Chennai - Srilanka - Need help in planning

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Originally Posted by aravind84 View Post
Ragul, my package was for 4 days. We paid Aitken Spence 20K per person (40K total) and flight tickets costed us (14K) and we spent 20K there inclusive of sight seeing, food and beverages , Shopping .
Golly, flight tickets for 2 at 14 K is a real steel! It is costing us 12 K per head from Hyderabad to and fro (Spice Jet via Madurai)

Aitken Spence is charging us 335 USD per head for the 7D/6N package. Therefore, airfare, visas and travel is costing us around 92 K for 3 adults.

However, we need to spend on lunch, dinner and shopping from our pockets. I expect the total to be around 1.2 Lacs (40 K per head)
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Old 9th October 2012, 21:19   #28
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Default Re: Chennai - Srilanka - Need help in planning

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Golly, flight tickets for 2 at 14 K is a real steel! It is costing us 12 K per head from Hyderabad to and fro (Spice Jet via Madurai)
You could try Chennai - Colombo on Air India Express .will work out much cheaper. But yeah, if you add Chennai - Hyd flight costs, might add up to the same costs. You should give it a shot
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Old 9th October 2012, 21:44   #29
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Default Re: Chennai - Srilanka - Need help in planning

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You could try Chennai - Colombo on Air India Express .will work out much cheaper. But yeah, if you add Chennai - Hyd flight costs, might add up to the same costs. You should give it a shot
I did take a peek at Chennai fares, as they are dirt cheap. But airfare from Hyd to Chennai and back costs minimum 7 K per person, so it does not make sense in my case.
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Old 18th October 2012, 22:57   #30
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Guys
I asked Aitken Spence for an estimate of how much it would cost us as entry fees to visit places in the itenerary, as those are not covered in their charges for the tour. Lunch and dinner are also excluded.
The estimate I got made my eyes pop out! Here it is, after converting to INR:-

Dambulla Cave Temple: Rs 1700 for 3 adults

Sigiriya Rock fortress: Rs 5600 for 3

Kandy temple, Cultural show and Galle museum: Rs 652 for 3 in each spot

Balipatiya boat ride: Rs 1086 for full boat.

Lunch: Rs 1650 for 3 per day

Dinner: Rs 3500 for 3 per day.

The charges seem to be abnormally high. Adding all that comes to nearly Rs 39000 INR for 3 of us for a 7 D 6 N trip.

Can anyone who's travelled comment whether this is realistic?
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