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Old 19th October 2012, 00:49   #31
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Am not sure about entrance fees but dinner will definitely not cost you INR 3500 / 3 unless you are looking out for some fancy restaurant that serves some weirdo meat and calls it exotic
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Old 19th October 2012, 10:37   #32
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
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.
If the Chennai fares are so damn cheap,then you could consider taking the train from Hyd to Chennai and back.

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
entry fees
Not sure of the entry fees,but just a generic statement the entry fees look to be in line with the entry fees charged at most monuments in India for foreign nationals.For instance the Taj has an entry fee of INR 750 for foreign nationals while its INR 20 for Indians!
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Old 19th October 2012, 12:25   #33
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

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Originally Posted by neoranjit View Post
Am not sure about entrance fees but dinner will definitely not cost you INR 3500 / 3 unless you are looking out for some fancy restaurant that serves some weirdo meat and calls it exotic
Sounds good. Hope it is true. Else my expenses for the trip will turn out to be as expensive as the airfare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
If the Chennai fares are so damn cheap,then you could consider taking the train from Hyd to Chennai and back.



Not sure of the entry fees,but just a generic statement the entry fees look to be in line with the entry fees charged at most monuments in India for foreign nationals.For instance the Taj has an entry fee of INR 750 for foreign nationals while its INR 20 for Indians!
Chennai fares are not cheap now, but only if one books in advance, in non-peak season. Right now the 7D 6 N plan by Srilankan airlines works out to Rs 35000 per head. I'm saving nearly 13 K INR by booking on my own, and also avoiding air/ train fare to Chennai from Hyd.

Thanks for the entry fee clarification, but the one for Sigiriya seems to be astronomically high.

One more question I have relates to plug points in Sri Lanka. Are they the same as in India? We need to charge our cell phone and laptop there.
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Old 19th October 2012, 12:43   #34
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post

Chennai fares are not cheap now, but only if one books in advance, in non-peak season. Right now the 7D 6 N plan by Srilankan airlines works out to Rs 35000 per head. I'm saving nearly 13 K INR by booking on my own, and also avoiding air/ train fare to Chennai from Hyd.

One more question I have relates to plug points in Sri Lanka. Are they the same as in India? We need to charge our cell phone and laptop there.
For the cheapest fare out of India to Colombo on any day,take the MihinLanka from Trichy or Madurai.This is the budget arm of UL and fares are generally in the range of 7k-10k return. (www.mihinlanka.com)

As for plugs,SriLanka has the TYPE D plugs,the same as India-the round pin ones.
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Old 19th October 2012, 19:48   #35
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Sounds good. Hope it is true. Else my expenses for the trip will turn out to be as expensive as the airfare.



Chennai fares are not cheap now, but only if one books in advance, in non-peak season. Right now the 7D 6 N plan by Srilankan airlines works out to Rs 35000 per head. I'm saving nearly 13 K INR by booking on my own, and also avoiding air/ train fare to Chennai from Hyd.

Thanks for the entry fee clarification, but the one for Sigiriya seems to be astronomically high.
Sirji,
I got spice jet 3 persons from madurai at 19k-3k(discount on SBI Card)=16k.
Sigiriya per person for indians $15, so i paid 3900 LKR for 2 adults.
Let me know if you want any more information.
I covered Colombo, Bentota, Galle, Unawantuna, Pinnawale, Kandy, Dambulla and Sigiriya. Total 6 days, returned today morning.
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Old 19th October 2012, 21:49   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi


One more question I have relates to plug points in Sri Lanka. Are they the same as in India? We need to charge our cell phone and laptop there.
No worries. Same old Colonial style plug points. Though England as moved on these days...
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Old 19th October 2012, 21:55   #37
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

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Originally Posted by rk_sans View Post
Sirji,
I got spice jet 3 persons from madurai at 19k-3k(discount on SBI Card)=16k.
Sigiriya per person for indians $15, so i paid 3900 LKR for 2 adults.
Let me know if you want any more information.
I covered Colombo, Bentota, Galle, Unawantuna, Pinnawale, Kandy, Dambulla and Sigiriya. Total 6 days, returned today morning.
Thanks a lot, Santosh. You've given me a wealth of information. I now wish I'd taken the self-drive option after hearing from you.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 18:29   #38
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Default Summary of Trip did in Oct 2012

Summary of the trip i did last week. Will post the full travelogue separately.
Posting it here with information required for Srilanka Trip.

Transportation
Hired Self drive Car for 6 days - Honda Fitaria Automatic.

I used the following operator for Car hire. There are lot of operators.

Raj Rajgopal Ananth
NVLS TOUR
109/3A SRI DEVANANDA ROAD,WILLORAWATTA, MORATUWA, SRI LANKA.
TEL :- +94777329448 , +94115739703
EMAIL :- nvlstour@gmail,com
skype :- nvlstour1

International Licence Permit is sufficient to drive around in Srilanka. No endorsement is required if the permit is in English.
Used a GPS system to go around added with couple of hard copy maps. It was more than sufficient to go around in Srilanka.

Accomodation
Stayed at various places near Bentota, Unawatuna, Pinnawale, Dambulla and Negombo. No pre-booking of hotels was done, just gate crashed couple of hotels and decided one of it.

Currency
Better to do Currency conversion with a agent outside Airport as they give good rates.

Communication
Buy a local tourist sim card at the airport, which comes as cheap as LKR 1600 and its more than sufficient for 1 week trip with international calls back to home.

Food
There is lot of options for Non-Veggies but for pure Veggies, you get all the options in Colombo and Kandy. Outside this area, there is very limited option.

I did a 6 days, Appx 800 kms of self drive, covered Unawatuna down south and Sigiriya in central North Lanka. It was myself, my wife and a kid(5 yrs), costed appx 70k all inclusive.
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Old 31st October 2012, 11:59   #39
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

!! IMPORTANT !!
Something which came up in last 2 days is that, been getting calls from Credit card company that Srilanka is termed as "High Risk" country for Skimming. So they have blocked all my credit cards which i used there and re-issuing new ones.
So avoid using credit cards in Srilanka.
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Old 31st October 2012, 12:54   #40
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

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Originally Posted by rk_sans View Post
...Srilanka is termed as "High Risk" country for Skimming.
So avoid using credit cards in Srilanka.
I think that is standard practice; nothing to be alarmed. Just keep an eye open for email alerts for a day or 2 till bank informs /confims your credit cards are blocked.

We had carried some low credit limit cards during our trip; so 2 of them hit the limit once we finished shopping. So eliminated the risk of someone swiping them during our travel to India. And soon after we landed initiated the reissue by calling the bank's toll free number. It is free of cost for Citibank.
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Old 31st October 2012, 13:05   #41
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rk_sans
!! IMPORTANT !!
Something which came up in last 2 days is that, been getting calls from Credit card company that Srilanka is termed as "High Risk" country for Skimming. So they have blocked all my credit cards which i used there and re-issuing new ones.
So avoid using credit cards in Srilanka.
This is normal in most South Asian and South East Asian countries as per my experience. The credit card industry simply wants to issue this advisory and limit their risks as well as the consumer's risk, by extension.
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Old 31st October 2012, 17:28   #42
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Gosh,
I've already used my Citi card at Lanka last week, though the amount is around 2000 LAR at the House of Fashion, and around 40 USD at the airport duty free.

I've not able to view the transactions yet in my account.
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Old 2nd November 2012, 22:50   #43
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Default Re: Sri Lanka

Folks

For the benefit of those travelling to Sri Lanka on a holiday, the following information may be useful, based on my recent experience:-
  • Carry USD from India. Helps a lot
  • Convert at banks or at gold shops in cities/ towns. You will get a better rate than at the airport. I got Rs 128 to 129 LAR compared to 125 at Colombo airport. Banks close by 5 pm, but gold shops are open till around 8 pm. I used my driver's help for locating decent gold shops at Dambulla and Galle.
  • Food is expensive. For instance, 2 plates of fried rice and a single plate of chicken shared among 3 of us cost Rs 2400 LAR (1000 INR)
  • A tourist sim card from Dialog at the airport counter is very helpul. Costs Rs 1300 LAR, is valid for 6 months. It gives Rs 700 talk time for ISD calls (Rs 6 a minute to India), 50 local calls and 50 International SMS free, apart from 3 G of 1 GB for 5 days. 3 G speeds were very good. I made my phone a 3 G hot spot, and all 3 of us could enjoy good internet speeds on our smart phones and laptop. And it only takes 5 minutes to get a new sim card. They will take a xerox of your passport and give you the card. By the way, airtel roaming rates are not very high in Sri Lanka. It is only Rs 10 per minute for both incoming and outgoing, and your India card is good enough. But downside is no GPRS/ 3G, but they could provide roaming facility, but rates may be very high.
  • Not all hotels have wi-fi, so a 3G enabled sim card is very useful. Some hotels charge Rs 500 LAR per hour for wi fi
  • Use up all your LAR before you leave Sri Lanka. Though the rate is 40 paise per LAR, you will not get more than 20 paise in India
  • Aitken Spence Travels is an extemely decent travel agency. They do not skimp on qualtiy, either on hotels or on tnansport. We got an exclusive 8-seater Toyota Hiace AC van for the entire trip for the 3 of us. The driver was very friendly and informative, apart from being honest. Not once did he switch off the AC, even while at standstill, except on our request.

Here is a picture of the van we'd got and our capable driver-cum-tourist guide.
Sri Lanka-img_6238.jpg

Last edited by vnabhi : 2nd November 2012 at 22:53.
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Old 19th November 2012, 21:46   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi
Folks

For the benefit of those travelling to Sri Lanka on a holiday, the following information may be useful, based on my recent experience:-
=========
Here is a picture of the van we'd got and our capable driver-cum-tourist guide.
I am just starting to plan a trip to Sri Lanka in December. Would you recommend any specific person at Aitken Spence that can provide us the best experience? Also, how long would it take to get visa for SL? Thanks.
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Old 20th November 2012, 10:12   #45
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I am just starting to plan a trip to Sri Lanka in December. Would you recommend any specific person at Aitken Spence that can provide us the best experience? Also, how long would it take to get visa for SL? Thanks.
Well, Aitken Spence is a reputed travel agency, and any person they provide should be good. The driver given to us was one Mr Sudath Kumarasinghe. The contact in Aitkens who was very helpful in closing the deal was one Mr Muthurajanathan Sarasmohan (email: india-south@aitkenspence.lk).
He is the guy who arranges for travellers from India.

It took me around 20 minutes to get a visa (known as ETA). All I had to do was to visit their website, key in passport and visit details, and pay via credit card. I took a print out of the ETA and that was accepted.

Wish you a happy holiday.
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