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Old 11th April 2011, 17:07   #1
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Default Sri Lankan Splendour

Festivals bring happiness. Festivals also bring long weekends that add to the happiness. And long weekends bring a splash of ideas to travel and holiday. This time around it was Ugadi on Apr-4 and more importantly on Monday. Add another day to it and that certainly qualifies for a long weekend. So we could do a 3 night/4days holiday from Apr-2 to Apr-5th. It was unanimous between my wife and me that it had to be a beach destination. To start with it was almost an unanimous decision to go to the Andaman Islands. And so the research started for places to visit,stay and the airfare availability. We narrowed down to Havelock islands and PortBlair as the destination. Though accomodation was not too expensive, airfares were sky rocketing. And then there was 4 hours transport to Havelock islands from Port Blair and thats 8 hrs on the ocean two way. Not very appealing now. I switched my focus to Lakshwadeep. I could do Agatti island and it looked a great desitnation as well. But since the island had only one stay option, it was natural that the prices would be too high. It was about 12K for a night stay. Also, it seemed that there were not too many things to keep us occupied for 4 days. With these options in hand and looking at the budget, a third option struck me. SRILANKA!!! Yes, that was doable. A quick check on makemytrip and others pushed me towards Srilanka. That also meant another tick mark against the countries to be visited on my wish list!! Last year this time i had visited Thailand and so i practically knew every travel agency in Bangalore. I asked for quotation from most of them. They were more or less the same. Now it was upto me to make a choice. So i decided to go with Frontier Travels. My thailand trip was organized by them and i was not disappointed. Since i was a second time customer, i was expecting some discounts. But on the contrary, it turned out that they were charging me 1000 bucks more for each ticket and the flight timings didnt go well with the itenerary i had in my mind. So, i booked the tickets myself from Kingfisher and asked Frontier to take care of everything in Srilanka that included stay, airport transfers and half day sight seeing of Colombo. So the itenerary was to spend to 2 nights in Bentota(Induruwa Beach resort) and a night in Colombo. So, Fasten your seat belts and here we go to SRILANKA. Few snapshots to get started..

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Old 11th April 2011, 17:15   #2
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Wow!! Super-start to the travelogue. Looking forward for more info on the trip.
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Old 11th April 2011, 17:18   #3
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Thanks @rk_sans. Sure there is more to come and hope you like it. Quite informative actually and could benefit those looking for a short getaway to Lanka
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Old 12th April 2011, 08:02   #4
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Come Apr2 and we are all set to fly. Our flight was at 9AM and we flew to Chennai and then got a connecting flight to colombo at 12.50PM. Man, call it our luck or a nice gesture from Kingfisher, our seats were upgraded from economy class to first class. Apparently economy class was running full and they could not issue 2 seats together. It was a good experience and certainly the treatment is considerably different from economy class. Flight duration was 1hr and 10 mins and we landed at the Bandaranaike Airport. Its not a massive airport, but well maintained and no surprises, since it was the world cup final, there were flags of all countries participating in the tournament as well as cutouts of their favorite players. The all important question was running in my mind. "Who won the toss and who's batting". Didnt find me long to find the answer though. The guy who stamped my passport knew we were indians and smiled and said to me that Srilanka had won the toss and elected to bat. Gosch!!! What a news to start the holiday. Never mind. We had 'GOD' in our team and we could win any match!! Little did we know that we would be talking cricket with every person we bumped across for the next couple of days!!!
Once we came out, our driver was waiting with my name written in the placard. We were directly going to Induruwa beach resort. Its about 2.5 hrs from the airport and about 1.5 hrs from colombo. Its a village, about 5 kms from Bentota. The drive did not look much different from India. Looked more or less like Tamilnadu. Same telephone operators, same vehicles( though i could not find a single chevrolet), similar looking people. Whats lovely, is that right from Colombo to Galle, thats southern Srilanka, you drive on a road, that goes along the coast all the way. So you never are short of great views of the ocean. Since it was the final, driver told us that the streets were relatively empty, though it didnt seem like that to me!!! On the way, he pointed us to few of the houses that were totally destroyed in the tsunami. Srilanka, especially southern Srilanka was severly hit by the tsunami resulting out of the Indonesia's massive earthquake. About 5 and 2.5 hrs in the journey, we made it to Induruwa Beach Resort.
We checked into the hotel and it was a great view from the reception. You could see the swimming pool and in the distance, the beach. Its a rough sea and you could hear the large waves smashing the shore all the time. Its predominently european crowd here. We could not find a single indian or a single Asian in the hotel. More than half of the hotel was empty and we were upgraded to a Suite room. It was more than twice in size to the one i stay in Bangalore!!! All rooms in the hotel are beach facing and have a balcony. Its an excellent view and great place to hang out. Since the place is quite secluded, the only visitors on the beach are the people from the resort themselves thus making it a private beach. I knew that since the resort mainly had european guests, prices could be high. But this was insane man. A lunch or dinner costed 1500LKR(Sri Lankan Rupees) with extra tax. We are vegeterians and there was little veg option in the buffet meal. And to add to all this, it was a Barbeque night!!! We ventured out to have a look around to see some food was available. There were a couple of hotels, but closed. Got some fruits from a local vendor and ordered some veg stuff from the hotel itself. All through the meal, we had decided to buy food from outside for the following day. From my research, there was a lot of mention of food packets that were available. And that was true. You could find it from any hotel for 110LKR. It basically consisted of rice, dal, paapad and another curry. This would do. Rest of the evening was spent cheering for India. And when Dhoni hit the winning runs with a six, along with a billion people in India, there were 2 more in Sri Lanka cheering wildly and very much part of the celebration. Dhoni finishing with a six, Yuvraj in tears and sachin being carried around the ground are some images i wouldnt forget in my lifetime. Cheers.Alright back to the travelogue. Just got a little carried away! And that was the end of Day-1.
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Induruwa Beach Resort

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Old 12th April 2011, 11:15   #5
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

@Lightening_Fast: Good write up. Thankfully the WC is over on ur first day so u will not get carried away while giving us the info on the next couple of days :P. Looking forward to Day 2 and 3. Please do mention the cost breakup of the trip including what you paid as part of ur package to travel agent.

Cheers,
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Old 12th April 2011, 11:39   #6
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Thanks bandlimitedlife. Glad you liked the writeup. Sure will touch upon all the details you have mentioned
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Old 12th April 2011, 13:48   #7
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Nice write-up Lightening-Fast. What’s the charge for accommodation in Induruwa Beach Resort?

Waiting for Day 2 and 3...
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Old 12th April 2011, 14:23   #8
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Nice Trip. You sure made good use of the long weekend. You have been lucky twice - upgraded to first class in the flight and then to a suite in the resort. Good going.

By the way what make of cars do you see on the roads in Sri Lanka?
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Old 12th April 2011, 14:28   #9
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Hey LF, nice writeup. Lovely pics too. Induruwa does look good.

Even I have Lanka on my wish list. Did a small (half day) stopover in Lanka, but that does absolutely no justice to the country. Glad to read about it through your TL.

Let the tale continue.
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Old 12th April 2011, 14:45   #10
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Good going Lightening-Fast, I am eagerly waiting for the next days' TL. It will be a great help as even I am planning a trip to SL for a very important day. My wife's birthday.
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Old 12th April 2011, 16:08   #11
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
Nice Trip. You sure made good use of the long weekend. You have been lucky twice - upgraded to first class in the flight and then to a suite in the resort. Good going.

By the way what make of cars do you see on the roads in Sri Lanka?
Thanks Amit. Yeah, i sure made good use of the long weekend. Anything less than 3 nights seemed too less and our work did not permit us to extend it anything beyond 3 nights. Its just luck and some research that Sri Lanka fell into the scheme of things!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjith.rajaram View Post
Nice write-up Lightening-Fast. What’s the charge for accommodation in Induruwa Beach Resort?

Waiting for Day 2 and 3...
Thanks Ranjit. My package in SL was taken care by the travel agent. I had booked the airtickets myself. Though you can directly book the resort for about 5K a night, i would still suggest anybody visiting to get the S'Lankan itenerary taken care of by a travel agent. You could be taken for a ride for transfers without good negotiation skills. Moreover, there are chances to get a good room or an upgrade as in our case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanand Inamdar View Post
Hey LF, nice writeup. Lovely pics too. Induruwa does look good.

Even I have Lanka on my wish list. Did a small (half day) stopover in Lanka, but that does absolutely no justice to the country. Glad to read about it through your TL.

Let the tale continue.
Thanks mate. But it sure does justice to my travelogue with comments like yours

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoNoob View Post
Good going Lightening-Fast, I am eagerly waiting for the next days' TL. It will be a great help as even I am planning a trip to SL for a very important day. My wife's birthday.
It sure is an important day. Hope my travelogue is of some help. Apart from this, you can always pm me for any details or help.Cheers
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Old 12th April 2011, 16:29   #12
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Default Re: Sri Lankan Splendour

Since most of you would be interested in the pricing part, here is the breakup.
Airfare: Bangalore-Chennai-Colombo and return airfare via chennai: 24,000 Rs for couple
Sri Lankan package : Included 2 night stay at Induruwa Beach resort and night stay in Colombo, half day sight seeing of Colombo city, airport transfers and inter city transfers : 21000 Rs
Apart from that, of course, you do spend on indian airport transfers, shopping and food. Breakfast was complimentary
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Old 12th April 2011, 16:51   #13
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What kind of visa policy does Srilanka have for Indian origin tourists? Do they have visa on arrival scheme? If not, what is the process to get a tourist visa?
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Old 12th April 2011, 17:02   #14
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Originally Posted by rajakumar View Post
What kind of visa policy does Srilanka have for Indian origin tourists? Do they have visa on arrival scheme? If not, what is the process to get a tourist visa?
Rajakumar, visa process for Sri Lanka is extremely simple. There is Visa on arrival and its free. Once you land in the airport, passport is stamped for 30 days tourist visa and i believe its single entry. There is no requirement of any other document or enough cash as security. Thats makes it quite attractive, isnt it.
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Old 12th April 2011, 17:31   #15
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Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
By the way what make of cars do you see on the roads in Sri Lanka?
We see more or less everything that is available here in India. There is Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Toyota and so on. I am not sure, but i could not find a single chevrolet in SL. Someone could throw light on this. And then there are also makers like KIA motors and few others that are not available in India, but i could find them in SL. KIA motors are the official sponsors for US open and i guess are lower end car manufacturers in US
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