Sri Lanka Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Arrived more or less on time, after just an hour delay at Gatwick due to the snow.
We were very tired and found that the q for the entry was very long and going very slow!!!
Once on the bus to Negombo which was about 20 minutes we had a local guy that tried to cram every little bit of info regarding Sri Lanka into us. Everyone that we spoke to after said that was the last thing that they wanted after such a long flight!
On arrival at Browns Beach Hotel we had a shell necklace placed around our necks as a welcome.We f
illed out the arrival forms then went to our room. On entering the room, it smelt damp, the bathroom very small, but the bed comfortable.
The hotel is very tired, the food was ok but very samey (no upset tummys) Christmas Eve and New Years Eve Gala dinners were brilliant, apart from No alcohol on New Years Eve because of Poya Day! The staff were pleasant, but not willing to give exceptional service to the guests, I was told that the natives are usually very friendly wanting to help and make friends, but found that they would only be helpful and friendly if a large tip was available! They were also not backward in stating that the tips that we had given were not enough, how rude!!
I was not impressed by the Thomson rep or the deal of All Inclusive. The rep had no organisation in telling us about any thing, and certainly didn't know about his own country.
We had problems in getting money via ATM's and in the end had to ring the UK to get access to our money, we walked for about 2 hours to get to the HSBC in Negombo in the end. The tuk tuk back to the hotel was great and much needed once we had some money to pay him.
We spent most of our time by the pool whilst at the hotel , the beach was very nice, but no sunbeds on the beach and no shade. The sea was warm but not really safe to go swimming in due to the strong currents, and not really the place to go after you see the locals openly using it as their toilet!
Lots of mosquito, I don't think that there was anyone who hadn't been bitten.
We were told that it was ok to go out and that there would be no problem with crime etc. Well not what we experienced. Walking down the main street a transit type vehicle came onto the wrong side of the road and tried to get my camera from over my shoulder, we were not the only ones who had experienced this.
We arranged our trips from Rohan Tours and he operates from Goldi Sands Hotel, he was fine, and I would say that he can be trusted, but, he seemed to always make arrangements for a private guide who was also a good friend of his to take us around the sites who of course wanted a big tip. This put a bit of a dampner on the trip for us and we chose to cancel the last day of our trip and asked to go back to our hotel, enough was enough being taken to places that expected tips all the time.
On our first day of our trip we called to see bricks being made, coconut factory, a place where they get rubber from the trees, and called for breakfast on the side of the road where we had Hoppers. We continued to the Elephant Orphanage which was lovely, enjoyed watching them having their bath in the river. We then headed to our hotel close to Sigiria which was called Eden Garden Hotel which was arranged by Rohan, strange place, not clean at all, food dreadful! We had requested that we stay in nice hotels, but obviously our standards are higher than theirs. Since being back I looked that hotel up and it doesn't have good reviews, so avoid this one. We went on a Safari from here it was pouring with rain, but we had a fantastic time, really enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Next day after breakfast and tea which was stone cold we set off to Sigiriya. Once there we were left with our guide (a friend of Rohan) who got 2 of his friends (at 1st we didn't notice them ) to help us up steps, we kept saying we were ok but they insisted to help us, again wanted a tip and told us not enough! We made it to the top although couldn't see a great deal due to the cloud and rain. We were taken to a place to have a ride on an Elephant after, but we refused as they wanted another 3000 rupees each. After drove to Kandy stopping off at a Spice Garden where they wanted you to buy lots again.
In Kandy we were met by guide who took us into the Temple, he was very nice and how I expected the rest of the guides and Sri Lanka people to be. We went after to the Cultural show, nice but went on too long. After went to our hotel which was the Kandy View. The room smelt terrible again and the beds damp. By this time I had become ill from all the damp I developed a type of cold. The food in this hotel was dreadful! It again was cold, and we weren't given a choice, ans in the end I asked for bread, and went to bed to be woken in the night by the monkeys trying to get in. Again the breakfast tea was cold, then they didn't bring me my egg after asking twice. It was at this point we then told Rohan enough was enough we didn't want to stay another night away from Browns Beach which was a palace compared to the two hotels that he had taken us to.
When we got back some people who we had made friends with had also been away for a few days and swopping stories came to the same conclusion as us, great to be back at Browns Beach!
As our holiday came closer to the end, we ate out of the hotel with the friends that we had made, at a restaurant just up the road, can't remember the name of it but the owner is called Joseph, a great character who has made some great memories of that evening in his restaurant, which was also very cheap. Six of us had starters, steak for main with loads to drink and the bill for all of us was only £40.00.
Our flight back home was longer, which we were told is the normal due to jet stream. Upon landing in Gatwick we were greeted with the freezing cold weather, but good to be back home.
Would I go back to Sri Lanka again? No, and it has also put us off trying Goa and other places in that part of the world.