#1 2-13-2017 11:18 AM

Paulovic
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IIAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 6050

Sri Lanka

This year Sri Lanka might be my travel destination. I am looking forward to it, since it has been quite a few years since I went on holidays outside of Europe.

I have some questions about this country, its people and traveling there.

1.) How easy is it to travel around by public transport? Are the train and bus stations one big mess where it's hard to find where to buy tickets and/or to see where the right buses and trains leave?

2.) How are the people in Sri Lanka? Are they currious and hanging around you all the time? Are they reserved?

3.) Is English widely spoken by the Sri Lankan people? Are they willing to help you?

4.) Are there many hostels for backpackers? Or are hotels more common? How easy is it to get in touch by people who are also traveling around?

I might have more questions later.

Thank you for your replies in advance!

 

#2 2-13-2017 2:50 PM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: AmbassadorAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi IIIAward: Spambuster IAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Nomad
Posts: 959

Re: Sri Lanka

Srilankan people were very friendly and helpful. English is widely spoken communicating with locals is not a problem except elderly people.

Food and drinks are very cheap, hostels are available, but hotels were more comfortable I guess. Srilanka is a poor country, people were likely depending on tourism. Many Srilakan worked in tourist industry such as in a hotel or resorts, and they expected to get tips, but is not mandatory to do if you don't feel like tipping

Is a beautiful country to explore. Travelling with public transport is very slow, but is the cheapest way around. Bus/train stations is a bit messed, but that's part of culture, you need some patient smile

Last edited by shavy (2-14-2017 12:19 AM)

 

#3 2-14-2017 1:26 AM

Jigg
Žiga
Award: Community LeaderAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: Vox Populi IIIAward: Spambuster I
Nomad
Posts: 676

Re: Sri Lanka

My 0.02 €:

1.) How easy is it to travel around by public transport? Are the train and bus stations one big mess where it's hard to find where to buy tickets and/or to see where the right buses and trains leave?

It's easy enough. Bigger cities' bus stations are a mess, but not so much so, that it is that difficult to find a bus. People are eager to help, if you need to be pointed to the correct bus. We only had some problems in Kurunegala bus station, but that was mostly because we were only transfering and have just arrived in Sri Lanka. If you tell the bus driver where you are going they won't forget to tell you when your time is to get off.

Trains are no problem, but I didn't feel like the timetables were something to rely upon.

The main problem that I had with public tranposrtation is, that it mostly stops quite early in the afternoon.

2.) How are the people in Sri Lanka? Are they currious and hanging around you all the time? Are they reserved?

I am not generous with the phrase great people, but in Sri Lanka they are. In less touristy places they will of course be interested in you, but they won't harass you or anything. If you need help, most of the time you will get a useful answer. You will get some "great offers" for whatever, but they are generally less pushy than in SE Asia.

3.) Is English widely spoken by the Sri Lankan people? Are they willing to help you?

Yes, most people that I've come in contact with spoke some english, plenty of people spoke it fluently. Not everything is written in english though (especially short and mid range busses' destinations) so be prepared for that.
As I've stated before, most of the time, you will get an honest and usefull answer.

4.) Are there many hostels for backpackers? Or are hotels more common? How easy is it to get in touch by people who are also traveling around?

We've stayed in homestays, there are plenty of them, good prices. Not difficult to find in most places.
Meeting other travelers is the same as in other countries. You can meet plenty of travellers in touristy places or hiking.

 

#4 2-14-2017 4:55 AM

gingerbatik
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IVAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 1978

Re: Sri Lanka

Paulovic wrote:

This year Sri Lanka might be my travel destination. I am looking forward to it, since it has been quite a few years since I went on holidays outside of Europe.

I have some questions about this country, its people and traveling there.

1.) How easy is it to travel around by public transport? Are the train and bus stations one big mess where it's hard to find where to buy tickets and/or to see where the right buses and trains leave?

2.) How are the people in Sri Lanka? Are they currious and hanging around you all the time? Are they reserved?

3.) Is English widely spoken by the Sri Lankan people? Are they willing to help you?

4.) Are there many hostels for backpackers? Or are hotels more common? How easy is it to get in touch by people who are also traveling around?

I might have more questions later.

Thank you for your replies in advance!

Not my cup of tea since I really don't like Sri Lanka even  when I spend one whole month there, I was ready to leave after one week in Sri Lanka.

To answer your questions:
1. It was easy and dirt cheap to travel by public transport especially bus.

2. Since I travel alone (single female) I was hassle many times by local man and people there were not that nice.

3. Yes, English is widely spoken and some people wiling to help, but mostly they want your money.

4. Mostly I stayed in the hotel and it wasn't good value for what it was- very basic room compare with other Asean countries for the same price

You can meet people everywhere if you want to, regardless of the countries.

 

#5 2-14-2017 10:32 AM

Paulovic
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IIAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 6050

Re: Sri Lanka

Thank you all for your replies and your input. I always have an idea like it is as crazy as in India. That it's hard to find your way around. And that people irritate you while just walking over street.

I like it to get in touch with the local people. But I don't like it if they don't leave you alone.

 

#6 2-15-2017 11:05 AM

nolan
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: AmbassadorAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 3784

Re: Sri Lanka

Paul,

Quick answer to your queries.

1) public transport is relatively easily, especially trains. Not all destinations are bookable online though, but the city trains are really cheap. Inter town trains like the one to Kandy are a bit more expensive if you take the Expo rail, but generally the local services are among the cheapest in the world that I've encountered so far. (Less than 20 cents on short routes in the city).

2) Sri Lankans are friendly but watch out for the pesky touts at the bus and train stations and other public places. Women are generally more reserved except for those who are educated and those who are sellers.

3) yes they can speak English but not everyone. Those who are more educated are just like the intellectuals you will find anywhere in the world. Most are willing to help if you ask, but if there's a language barrier, it will get more confusing.

4) seems to me hotels are more common because that's what we normally stay at but I've encountered backpackers and even exhange students.

 

#7 2-19-2017 4:07 AM

Paulovic
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IIAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 6050

Re: Sri Lanka

nolan wrote:

Paul,

Quick answer to your queries.

1) public transport is relatively easily, especially trains. Not all destinations are bookable online though, but the city trains are really cheap. Inter town trains like the one to Kandy are a bit more expensive if you take the Expo rail, but generally the local services are among the cheapest in the world that I've encountered so far. (Less than 20 cents on short routes in the city).

2) Sri Lankans are friendly but watch out for the pesky touts at the bus and train stations and other public places. Women are generally more reserved except for those who are educated and those who are sellers.

3) yes they can speak English but not everyone. Those who are more educated are just like the intellectuals you will find anywhere in the world. Most are willing to help if you ask, but if there's a language barrier, it will get more confusing.

4) seems to me hotels are more common because that's what we normally stay at but I've encountered backpackers and even exhange students.

Thank you for your reply Nolan! Especially #4 I am doubting how to travel to Sri Lanka. I'm used to making contact more easily at hostels as at hotels.

 

#8 2-25-2017 1:21 PM

mubarra
Mubarra
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Couch Potato
Posts: 24

Re: Sri Lanka

'Clock inn' was a great hostel in colombo and kandy. It can be a cheap option for in those two cities.

 

#9 2-26-2017 6:55 AM

travellisa
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Re: Sri Lanka

For you first question, the most common option of transportation in Sri Lanka is a three-wheeler (Tri-shaw). It is also known as Tuk-Tuks from the noise of their horns. These operate like taxis and they are convenient and highly cost-efficient way to get around.

 

#10 5-7-2017 1:12 AM

Uranus
Uranus
Hong Kong
Couch Potato
Posts: 1

Re: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country , people were very friendly and helpful. I was there last year and stayed in a wonderful home stay with gracious family in modern hotel-style rooms near Sigiriya Lion Rock. I enjoyed my time talking to the host and his family. For an additional fee, host arranged for a driver and accompanied the driver to pick me up at the Colombo airport then driving me to his Lodge. And they also arranged a vehicle with driver for my trip. It is enjoyable stay.

He have website and you can search it at Google, For your reference:
Search  Isanka lion lodge or  Isanka lion tour
It is near Sigiriya Lion Rock and Dambulla cave temple (UNESCO listed World Heritage Site)

 

#11 5-7-2017 5:22 AM

ulis
Uli
Vienna, Austria
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Wanderer
Posts: 426

Re: Sri Lanka

Paulovic wrote:

Thank you all for your replies and your input. I always have an idea like it is as crazy as in India. That it's hard to find your way around. And that people irritate you while just walking over street.

I like it to get in touch with the local people. But I don't like it if they don't leave you alone.

On the popular beaches are "beach boys" easy to spot´and not too persistent if they see they can't get money out of you, around the major tourist attractions you might find some con artists, a bit more difficult to spot.
Public transport goes everywhere and frequently but most of the times uncomfortable. Overnigh trains are fine and there are now also some comfortable long distance buses but the tend to use not the big bus terminals.

 

#12 5-7-2017 7:37 AM

Cho
Cho
Orlando, Florida
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IIIAward: Spambuster IAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Nomad
Posts: 667

Re: Sri Lanka

As a lot of TBs have presented their views and excellent advice above, I'm not going to add much more except to say:
It is certainly worthwhile to visit Sri Lanka, I enjoyed my visit there especially in Kandy. 
I will say this; watch out for the guys in front of big hotels.  They approach you with a friendly smile and start off by asking if you're staying in that particular hotel.  Next, he says that he works in that hotel and just about to go home after finishing his work shift.  Then, he says he has just been pick pocketed or lost his wallet and need a few dollars to go to the police station.  He might only ask for 5 dollars saying he'll return the money to you at the hotel (because he has to return on his next work shift).  $5 isn't that much and you might end up giving him but that's the last you'll see of the fellow, and of course he doesn't really work at the hotel!
I've had this scam pulled on me a couple of times and also heard some other tourists were cheated....so watch out for those "hotel staff."

 

#13 5-8-2017 12:14 AM

gingerbatik
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IVAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 1978

Re: Sri Lanka

Cho wrote:

As a lot of TBs have presented their views and excellent advice above, I'm not going to add much more except to say:
It is certainly worthwhile to visit Sri Lanka, I enjoyed my visit there especially in Kandy. 
I will say this; watch out for the guys in front of big hotels.  They approach you with a friendly smile and start off by asking if you're staying in that particular hotel.  Next, he says that he works in that hotel and just about to go home after finishing his work shift.  Then, he says he has just been pick pocketed or lost his wallet and need a few dollars to go to the police station.  He might only ask for 5 dollars saying he'll return the money to you at the hotel (because he has to return on his next work shift).  $5 isn't that much and you might end up giving him but that's the last you'll see of the fellow, and of course he doesn't really work at the hotel!
I've had this scam pulled on me a couple of times and also heard some other tourists were cheated....so watch out for those "hotel staff."

I was approach by that kind of guy when I was in Kandy, Cho. He was a middle age man around 50 years old, and dress very nice and speak english well.  He said he saw me in the hotel I was staying.  and I asked which hotel I stay? he said the name of the hotel and I just said, NO and leave after that and ignore him.

another incident was when I was walking along the Kandy river to go back to my hotel, a car following me and then stop and the driver a young man speak and asked me to go to his car.  I said NO and continue walking, and the car keep following me and stop for several times,, until I pretent to go to one of the houses nearby.

many incidents when I was there alone.  I was biking in Jafna, a group of young man around 5-6 tried to grab my bike when I was biking and luckily I escaped, but I was really scared since not many people around the area.


In Trincomalee, when I was swimming infront of my hotel, and then relaxing in one of the small house (open cottage) belong to the hotel,  a group of young man approach me and was trying to get to know and asked me to go out with them.  I said no and asked them to leave me alone, but they keep coming and I inform that to the hotel staff.

so yeah.  I don't like Sri Lanka unfortunately.

Last edited by gingerbatik (5-8-2017 12:19 AM)

 

#14 5-9-2017 10:27 AM

Paulovic
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IIAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 6050

Re: Sri Lanka

Thank you all for your generous help, tips and information. I will all keep it in mind. Unfortunately for some reasons I can't go to Sri Lanka this year anymore. But there will be a time in the future when I will go. At that moment I will come back at this forum to re-read all your tips and information. smile

 

#15 5-12-2017 11:34 PM

planxty
Fergy
London, England
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Tourist
Posts: 164

Re: Sri Lanka

Hello there,

Sri Lanka is a country I know a little having spent about six months total there in the last three years and the first thing to say is htat it is a wonderful travel destination.  Apart from the natural beauty of the place, the people are incredibly hospitable. 

To answer your questions in order, public transport is easy although not quick and very cheap.  No, bus / train stations are not one big mess and you can usually fond someone who speaks English except in the really tiny places where finding the right platform will not be a problem anyway.

The people, as stated above, are friendly beyond belief and the numerous small acts of kindness you will receive there will amaze you.  I am sure they are no more or less curious than anyone else in the world and I never found them to be intrusive at all. 

English is fairly widely spoken especially amongst younger people and you will find Sri Lankans to be amongst the friendliest people on the planet, they'll do anything to help you as previously mentioned.

There are very few hostels as we understand them in Western Europe but cheap accommodation is available all over. 

Hope this assists and please come back with any further questions.  As I say, I do have a bit of an idea about the place and have a very dear friend there who I can contact for specific information if I do not know the answer to a particular question myself.

 

#16 6-26-2017 11:40 PM

ademararau
Ademar
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Re: Sri Lanka

Most beautiful Places to visit in Sri Lanka are:
Ella
Nuwara Eliya
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Polonnaruwa
Dambulla Cave Temple
Adams Peak
Old Dutch Fort at Galle
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Mirissa
Yala National Park
Bentota
Arugam bay
International Buddhist Museum

 

#17 7-31-2017 11:23 AM

NeedaBreak
San Francisco, California
Couch Potato
Posts: 32

Re: Sri Lanka

maybe I can piggyback on your thread...
I am planning heading to Srilanka in a month. I will only have a week there. Any recommendation on cant miss places to visit in a week and the best mode of transport? also want to avoid monsoons.

I am more in to nature, beaches/ diving, archaeological sites, animals rather then big cities. Will be there late Aug

 

#18 7-31-2017 4:16 PM

Drycat
Couch Potato
Posts: 3

Re: Sri Lanka

A week really is a limited amount of time to visit Sri Lanka. The most efficient way of transport would be to hire a car with a driver. This allows you to save some time (which may come in handy for you) but is relatively expensive compared to public transport, especially if you're going alone.

I'd suggest going to Anuradhapura (you can take the train from Colombo) and Sigiriya (you'll need to take the bus for this one). You could also add Polonnaruwa and Dambulla or if you feel like going to the beach you could head up to Uppuveli or Nilaveli near Trincomalee. You should have good weather conditions over there during this time of the year.

 

#19 7-31-2017 7:32 PM

Lotus28
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IAward: Critic IIAward: Writer IIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Spambuster IAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 1971

Re: Sri Lanka

1 week is never enough to see "everything" but you can still enjoy your stay.
I visited SL in August 2012 and had almost the same amount of time but still enjoyed my stay and didn't feel the needs of private drivers.

Here's my itinerary;

Day1: Arrival at midnight, arranged a pickup and a hotel in Negombo
Day2: Negombo to Dambulla by bus (via Krunegalla), visited Dambulla golden temple
Day3: Dambulla to Sigiriya. Visited Sigiriya Rock and head to Polonnaruwa from Sigiriya (via Innamaruwa)
Day4: Polonnaruwa and Elephant safari in the morning, sleeping in Polonnaruwa
Day5: Polonnaruwa to Kalkudah bay/Passikudah beach, sleeping in Kalkudah/Passikudah
Day6: Kalkudah/Passikudah to Kandy, checking out Kandian dance and temple of tooth relics
Day7: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Day8: Trekking at Horton Plains, Nuwara Eliya
Day9: Nuwara Eliya to Colombo, night flight out of Colombo

http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/103686/summary

My itinerary was not quite concrete when I started and I changed my plans after I hear some advice by locals. If I had planned in advance, I would plan Sigiriya/Dambulla between Polonnaruwa and Kandy to save time. And Horton Plains was a sort of "meh" for me so I may drop it if I don't have enough time.
I was planning to visit Trincomalee but went to Kalkudah upon locals advice and it was close to Polonnaruwa. (You can even do it as a day trip from Polonnaruwa.) The beach was beautiful and I wonder if how it changed after my visit. It didn't have so much going on and it was pretty quiet, but many resorts were under construction and it may had been changed a lot.

 

#20 9-21-2017 11:00 PM

eco1991
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Re: Sri Lanka

Paulovic wrote:

This year Sri Lanka might be my travel destination. I am looking forward to it, since it has been quite a few years since I went on holidays outside of Europe.

I have some questions about this country, its people and traveling there.

1.) How easy is it to travel around by public transport? Are the train and bus stations one big mess where it's hard to find where to buy tickets and/or to see where the right buses and trains leave?

2.) How are the people in Sri Lanka? Are they currious and hanging around you all the time? Are they reserved?

3.) Is English widely spoken by the Sri Lankan people? Are they willing to help you?

4.) Are there many hostels for backpackers? Or are hotels more common? How easy is it to get in touch by people who are also traveling around?

I might have more questions later.

Thank you for your replies in advance!

Hi,

1. You can select best transport method according to your place. If you wish to go Kandy, Just take "Express Train" Little expensive, but not much. and you can go quickly. And also, Because of the high ways, now you can go easily. But you should use intercity buses for that. And yIf you lilke to go public transport like people go, Dont select so far. smile


2. Many visitors are happy with sri lankans. They are happy to help each other.
3. Young people are good in English and many elders are not fluent. but they will help you anyhow.

4. you can easly select suitable hotel, or home for accommodation. If you like to know more details, ask smile

 

#21 9-23-2017 1:37 AM

amarnath_hp
Couch Potato
Posts: 2

Re: Sri Lanka

hi,

If you want to go to Sri Lanka, your desire is perfect and good, It is an ideal island for a picnic. There is a lot of natural prosperity to find Buddhist monasteries and many other specialty tourist destinations that little island country.

 

#22 9-26-2017 12:17 PM

IvanR
Ivan
Bergen, Norway
Award: Photographer I
Couch Potato
Posts: 38

Re: Sri Lanka

Public transport is cheap, but very slow, buses are crowded and dirty, they stop often and dust is everywhere since they have windows and doors opened. Train is fun, but very uncomfortable, wooden benches, slow and also dirty. After 3 days, we switched to taxis (minvans). You can hire driver and share it with other travelers, it is more expensive, but you save lot of time without sweat and dust.
For accommodation I recommend online booking web sites, you can read reviews and hotels are very cheap. Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest destinations I visited. Central part has beautiful landscape, south has very good beaches.
People there are very nice and helpful. Just avoid some typical tourist traps like spice gardens.

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB