I transferred to this trip from Elephants and Leopard which was undersubscribed, but am so glad I did as it was a really fantastic trip with great variety. Sri Lanka is a real country of contrasts from great bustling towns, to stunning and tranquil sights and scenery. The people are welcoming and friendly. Had an amazing group and a fantastic leader in Roshan.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
So many great moments of the holiday but some of the more memorable:
- climb to the top of Lions Rock in Sigirya and the panoramic view of the landscape,
- the trip to Pinnewala - we were unable to visit the orphanage but did experience seeing the elephants walk to and from the local lake and watch them relaxing and playing in the water.
- the walk on Horton Plains, with spectacular views at World's end and Baker's falls.
- the drives through the tea plantations showed the diversity of scenery from newly constructed roads to green plantations and hills to mountains.
- Fascinating temples in Dambulla and temple ruins in Polonnaruwa.
- Yala National Park - sadly the leopards stayed hidden but we saw a rare sloth bear, plenty of crocodiles, peacocks, wild buffalo, and a variety of birds.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Roshan is an experienced and enthusiastic guide who planned and organised every detail of the trip to perfection so that everything was seamless. He has a wealth of knowledge about Sri Lanka and its people which give you a great understanding of the country's history and present.
Our original itinerary changed as we had to stay in two different hotels, which caused him some concern but he remained good-humoured and was intent on making sure that the group was fully satisfied with the substitutes and negotiated some free meals for us.
Also, he went out of his way to help some of the group to acquire more currency,or see a doctor with the least fuss.
Roshan is one of the best leader's I've met, a real professional who has a great sense of fun and wicked sense of humour. Our Sri Lankan singalongs were a highlight and it felt like we were travelling with a friend rather than a guide.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Listen to Roshan! he gives great advice and also gives you the right amount of detailed knowledge about Sri Lanka and the sights. He has a love and enthusiasm for his country which is infectious.
The optional activities - elephant riding, visit to the orphanage/lake, white water rafting and small boat trip through the mangrove swamp don't cost that much and are really worth doing.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
All of the hotels were lovely whether standard or comfortable and the substitute hotels worked really well in terms of accommodation provided and location.
As a previous traveller said there no pressure to buy items at the wood-carving factory, gem-factory or herb/spice garden and they do nice items but some of the stocked items at the places we visited were still quite expensive even after the discount.The gem factory was a hit with the group however, and seemed quite reasonable and provided very efficient service.
This is my third trip to date with Exodus and I will certainly consider them above other tour operators. Their approach to responsible tourism is excellent and it was clear that they have made a really positive impact on Sri Lanka with the renovation of Tsunami houses. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and this trip is certainly one of discovery. It was a well balanced trip with lots of activities but also plenty of opportunities to relax, and I would highly recommend it!