Sri Lanka's Whales with Paul Goldstein

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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 20 reviews >
Trip code: 
WIX
Activity:
Wildlife
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–8

Enjoy the best of Sri Lanka's marine life

Behind Sri Lanka's dazzling coastline there is a lush interior of thick jungles, vast palm and paddy plantations, waterfalls, rushing rivers and an abundance of birds and wildlife. Many people are only just learning of the extraordinary phenomenon of 'super-pods' - huge numbers of Sperm whales congregating around the east of Sri Lanka, near Trincomalee. There are also migrating Blue whales in this region.

Highlights

Six whale watching excursions from Trincomalee in search of Blue whales and Sperm whale 'super-pods' Accompanied by specialist naturalist guides throughout Excellent accommodation at Chaaya Blu Resort throughout with almost all meals included

Key information

6 nights comfortable hotel at the Chaaya Blu Resort in Trincomalee, all rooms en suite

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    Those on group flights will leave London today for an overnight flight to Sri Lanka.

  • Day 2

    /

    /
    Chaaya Blu Resort, Trincomalee

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Six whale watching excursions looking for Blue and Sperm whales.

    Today is our last day out on the boat. We return to the hotel around 2pm in time for lunch. A late check out of around 3pm has been organised today, but our transfer back to Colombo will not leave until the early hours of the morning. Any land only clients will need to join the group transfer back to Colombo or request post-tour accommodation at Chaaya Blu for tonight onwards and organise their own return transfer.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Early departure from Trincomalee to Colombo airport; depart Colombo; arrive London.

    There is a very early departure (around 1am) from Chaaya Blu Resort this morning, in order to transfer back to Colombo airport in time for our flight home early this morning. Unfortunately the flight timings have been altered due to a runway closure at Colombo Airport, which necessitates such an early departure.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Sri Lanka

A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. If you do not hold a British passport, please check the visa requirements with your local Sri Lankan Embassy or the ETA website www.eta.gov.lk. Passengers should also be aware of local laws and customs in Sri Lanka (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/local-laws-and-customs). The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is an offence; please note that people have been refused entry to Sri Lanka because of visible tattoos of Buddha.

Vaccinations

Sri Lanka

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners included. The majority of meals will be taken at our hotel but we also have a few packed breakfasts.

Weather

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with two distinct wet seasons or monsoons. The SW monsoon brings rain to that area of the island between May and August. The NE monsoon takes place from October to January and only really affects the north and east coastal regions. Be prepared for rain on occasions but hopefully interspersed with plenty of sunshine. Colombo has an average daytime temperature of 30ºC.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 4. This trip involves early starts, some long coach transfers (the longest of which is 6.5 hours) and boat excursions in small vessels that take a maximum of 4 passengers. The average temperatures in March are high. We use the Chaaya Blu Resort (a comfortable hotel) throughout the itinerary, which has a lovely swimming pool and is very close to the beach. Our main transport will be in an air-conditioned coach. Seeing whales is not an exact science and these animals do not appear on demand; however by including six boat excursions our chances are maximised.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Chaaya Blu Resort

We have 6 nights at the Chaaya Blu Resort in Trincomalee (a comfortable hotel), with all rooms organised on a twin-share, en suite basis.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    A week spent in the prescence of a dying breed, that was finicky, inspiring and at times quite marvellous. Enough of Paul and onto the Tigers. A week spent in the prescence of a dying breed, that was finicky, inspiring and at times quite marvellous. Spectacular scenery, good food and excellent leadership along with doing something uselful for the community in Tala.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We went to the local school that Exodus supports and seeing the joy on the children's faces when they were presented with pencils, pens and basic calculators that the group had donated.Seeing a family of tigers in the bush for the first time.  Seeing another tiger, meaning that there was still more than one tiger left and the hope that that would always be the case.Having the alpha male tiger walk alongside the car for about 10 minutes.Watching the sun rise and the sun set on the Taj Mahal - we added an extra couple of days to this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See summary for Paul! Brilliant team leader who gets the group together and spurs you on to get good images and enjoy the moment. Also very good at giving advice (whether needed or not!) on practical photographic technique and processing Bavinder was quietly efficient in the background dealing with the unmitigating, trivial Indian paperwork requirements. When my wife was ill, he was very caring and considerate. he made an excellent partner to Paul. Our Driver (Gagan?) in Agra and Delhi was a really good driver with lots of help and information and a cheery personality. He finioshed off our trip really nicely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Very good laundry at the lodge so don't need to take huge amounts of clothes. Take a long lens instead of clothes, 500mm if you can, because the tigers aren't always as close as lions etc can be on other safaris. Take decent blowup cushion for overnight train.  Also take Immodium despite good quality food in lodges etc! When in Delhi (if you take extra days) be careful of ANYONE who offers you advice when walking about sightseeing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go see the tigers before the Indian government decides that you can't.If you've not been to Agra, add it on, it really is worthwhile- after all, you are going past the place!
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    A great trip if seeing animals in their natural environment is for you. The whole experience was enjoyable and memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first sighting of a tiger and the realisation that it was really possible to see them in their natural environment. We were incredibly fortunate to have nine individual tiger sightings. How lucky were we!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul is definitely the full deal, very high energy. He really wanted everyone to have a great experience and did everything possible to ensure that this happened. Balvinder was a perfect foil to Paul, calmly organising the details to enable the action to happen. Together they made a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack appropriate shoes for playing cricket! Be patient with beaurocracy at the Tala gate, it's all part of the experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was great fun for several reasons. Obviously the tigers and other wildlife were a highlights, the accommodation was excellent, as was the food. We enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers, with lots of laughs. We'll remember the experience with enormous fondness. The cricket and school visit were important parts of the trip also.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    A fantastic expedition. Out of 11 game drives we saw tigers on 7 occassions and only on the last half day did we not see one. We had 3 sighting from the back of an elephant. The bird life was also great. Need we say more? The overnight train journeys were interesting!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments on this trip: watching a tiger eat a cow, which had strayed into the park, from back of an elephant; succeeding in capturing an unblurred picture of a blue roller bird in flight; watching a tiger arrive at a water hole after waiting patiently for about an hour. etc. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul Goldstein may make Zaphod Beeblebrox appear self effacing but he certainly gets the results and does his best to ensure that his clients do as well! Don't expect a quiet life if he's your leader because his mantra is "do the time at the coal face and the rewards will follow". It works!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of stuff like Medi-wipes for the journey and drink plenty of bottled water. Take lots of memory cards for the camera, preferably an SLR.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it!
  • Reviewed April 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    This was my vist to India and my first opportunity to see and photograph tigers in the wild.     My first sighting was magical but my second was absolutely fantastic - not just a sighting but a photographic opportunity that was something to die for.     And more followed.    A trip that came without guarantees of sightings - but which delivered more than I dared hope.    

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger in wild walk towards us out of the undergrowth and looking straight at us.   Magical beyond belief.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What brilliant leaders we had - Balvinder and the legendary Paul Goldstein.    Balvinder is a real gentleman, gentle, kind, focussed, hard working and informative - nothing was too much trouble.   Paul is - well Paul - consistently enthusiastic, committed, manic and full of energy.      They both made sure everyone in the group was looked after well.     Their commitment to the tigers - 'Worth More Alive' - matched their commitment to the local communities and their commitment to all the participants on the trip.     Paul I know from previous trips but this was the first time I have met Balvinder and enjoyed his leadership.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To enjoy this trip you need to be passionate about Tigers - and about them being protected in the wild.     You need to enjoy spending hours and hours looking for and appreciating wildlife and to enjoy the company of people with similar passions.    And of course it helps if you enjoy photography.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks you Exodus - and Paul and Balvinder - for a trip that surpassed my hopes and expectations.     Tigers are indeed 'Worth More Alive'.       
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    This trip should come with a Government Health Warning. Booking a trip with Mr Goldstein can cause serious addiction. Symptoms include a craving for more, feelings of fulfilment and in the most severe of cases, a desire to play cricket. If you seek a quiet, lethargic hoilday devoid of culture, interest and laughter, this is not the trip for you. Those of a nervous disposition or those who are photographically precious need not apply.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    "Yellow burning eyes penetrating the bamboo thicket."Psychologically broken and physically restrained ?, not here. Intoxicating felines in the wild, where they should be, how they should be and where they must stay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    "Balvinder", one of the most sincere and caring guides I have ever met.As for Paul, this charismatic man does run on E's; Emotive, Effervescent and Ebullient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Blow the dust off your red balls, get out those bats and get some cricket practice in before you go. Sport is not about "the taking part", what nonsense. It is all about winning.This year the Tigers put in a valiant effort but more runs resulted from the Delhi Belly than from the pitch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wildlife watching can seriously improve your health. It is not an exact science, it is a gamble, but then so is life!
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    Another fantastic trip - although a big group this time all the logistics worked well - thanks to a great team - Balvinder especially - even the trains played ball and got us there and back in good time! It was fun too, a good group and lots of laughs.We had some good sightings (for me though nothing will ever match our 2009 trip, but that really was a one off, I know that!). The Park does seem better organised now, but you will continue to get a mass of vehicles at a good sighting, especially where routes/zones overlap.  Visiting the school is always humbling - it is a lovely experience though - as was giving out the pressure cookers to the ladies of a village bordering the Park.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Well, for me, it is all about the tiger and I was lucky to see 4 different ones on this trip. Nothing can quite touch the moment that I see one - it still sends tingles down my spine and yes brings a lump to my throat too, regardless of how many times I see them! I have to mention seeing that sloth bear for the first time too - quite lovely!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul, as ever, delivered - he and Bali make such a great team. Paul's passion for tigers and their preservation is inspiring!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the dust - it really does get everywhere!The trains were good this time - no delays - but that is not always the case!Take lots of goodies with you - for the school and the kids there (books, pens, pencils etc); sweeties for Paul and dog biscuits for the dogs at the Park!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well I think I've said everything above really - it was a very enjoyable trip, everything went according to plan (well we lost the cricket, but I guess you can't have everything!!). I was a bit worried initially about the group size but it worked just fine - if there was one niggle then I guess it would be that not everyone was able to go out with Paul, but that was obvious right from the beginning and there was nothing that could be done about it. Good luck to Paul for the marathons and Kili ...and yes I'll be there on the 12th - looking forward to seeing everyone again! 
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    A wonderful trip, very well organised, with an element of luck with the tiger sightings.  It certainly exceeded my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing my first tiger in the wild, then seeing another tiger the same afternoon.Watching the cricket match.The presentation of pressure cookers to people from a local village.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very impressed with his drive and enthusiasm - lucky to be with him when I saw the first tiger in the wild.
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    Wonderfully well organised, excellent staff and good company. I could have done with a little more info. about the need to carry some cash on each game drive because of the chance of ad-hoc elephant rides when tigers have been found. The staff did everything possible to mitigate the problems of currency exchange and the shortage of small denomination bank notes which will always be a challenge. Great trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The moment you understand how positive the local impact is of your visit and what exodus do to help the local people. Makes a change to feel like a positive force when you are atourist.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This is our second trip with Paul and we wouldn’t have him any other way. Excellent interaction with all the group members and his efforts to include everybody.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the culture shock of being in rural India. Try always to get small denomination bank notes – out of the cities big notes are a problem and ATMs are few and far between. Be rigorously careful about using bottled water all the time particularly when cleaning your teeth. The boiled water for tea and coffee in restaurants seems to be fine. Take something to store your photos on because you’ll take lots.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No....
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    Tigers, it truly does matter.. To see these wonderful cats in the wild is infectious, to see the children at the school is infectious, the whole experience in Bandhavgarh leaves you grinning like the Cheshire Cat.. The only question you have at the end of the 10 days is... when can i come back..

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first sighting of a wild tiger, this is why we came and the park delivered day after day.. I remember clearly that 5 minute encounter on the back of an elephant with 2 Tiger Cubs, we drove away in the jeep a further 15 minutes later with my mind full of emotion and a tear in my eye..   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I think there are 3 elements to this trip as far as leaders go as no trip runs smoothly due to 1 person, its a team effort that brings it all together:  What can be said about Paul that hasnt been said before. Really i cant add to the long list of attributes that he bring to a trip. Overall the thing that shines through is his passion for Tigers, the people of Bhandhavgarh and Photography. Tigers matter, he tells you this throughout the week and after spending 10 days with him you understand why...   Balvinder is fantastic, a friendly smile every morning making sure you had water for the game drive ahead.. Caring if you felt under the weather and always available to help no matter what..Lastly our Indian drivers in Bhandhavgarh, every morning and afternoon they met us with a smile. Happy faces that became like friends as the week progressed. All knowledgeable about the park and the wildlife and birdlife, always stopping and pointing out something whether in clear view or out of sight.. They delivered each and every day..  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take time out to watch, sure its about Tigers but there is so much more in the reserve. Bee Eaters and Rollers to name but a few of the wonderful birdlife, Jackals to, there all so photogenic.. Its dusty out in the reserve. I took a pillow case to pull over the lens and body, it just helps to preserve your camera and ensure that dust isnt the thing that breaks your camera and stops you getting that wonderful image.. Bean Bags where available to us in each jeep and a monopod can be helpful although i found enough places on the jeep to offer support.. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The children at the local school are the next generation, we need to make sure that tigers are there for them.. They need our help.. Calculators, pens, book and pencils, all the things we take for granted are so important to them, please bring as much as you can. When you give your gifts to them, that mass of smiles makes you know that your doing something special..
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    TIGERS AND CRICKET SAFARI WITH PAUL GOLDSTEIN

    the long journey to and from Bandhavgarh was extremely tiring but well worth it, to see to not only Tigers but also Sloth Bears and Jungle Cats was truly brilliant not to mention Owls, Hawks, Kites, Rollers and lots of other great birds, deer and other mammals. There is more to the safari than Tigers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It has to be the first sighting of a Tiger as that is the main draw to the reserve but to also get an image of a Nightjar close up on the ground - wow. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    "Bally" the local leader was extremely good and experienced, what can we say about Paul who just has so much energy it makes me feel tired! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the long journey and travel light the lodge has a great laundry -provided you put it in in time it will be ready for the next day - Paul!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    perhaps the lodge could consider having cereals as an alternative for breakfast. Quite a few members of the group were not partial to the spicy food, perhaps also some none spicy alternatives (besides egg and chips) such as grilled or fried chicken could be offered - I did enjoy the egg and chips though!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 020 8772 3936