Trusted Travel Questions and Answers » Lifestyle Strategies, Travel, Adventures--Todd's Wanderings

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Trusted Travel Questions and Advice by Todd Wassel

If I don't know I'll ask my crackpot team of expat misfits

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Trusted Travel Questions and Answers is my monthly chance to answer reader questions about travel and destinations. It can be hard to find trusted advice on travel from people who have actually been there. Every week I get a number of questions from readers asking for specific advice. This is my way of answering them but also sharing with others who might be looking for the same information.

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8 Days in Sri Lanka

Daniel (sorry but you didn’t actually leave your name!) is heading to Sri Lanka for 8 Days and asked the following:

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I am planning a trip for 8 Days in Sri Lanka. Going straight from the airport to Sigiriya, then Kandy the next day and after that driving to Kitulgala. From there I would like to go to a beach but I am trying to find the shortest most direct way to a beach and I am not sure if I have to drive back to Colombo to get there. Any advice you can give me would be great. Also if you know of any great places to eat local food that would be great. Thank you in advance.

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Hi Daniel, first off, you are going to have a blast. I lived in Sri Lanka for 3 years and despite a civil war at the time I loved every moment. I have been all over the areas you mentioned and I’ll have to make a few assumptions first.

Castlereigh Family Cottages Sri Lanka

Yes, it says "Probably the Best in the Up Country" :)

1) You’ll have your own car in Sri Lanka (or at least a driver)

2) You will be driving to Kitulgala through the hill country and not back through Colombo. This route is much more scenic and gets you into the heart of the tea country.

My advice is that you drive through from Kandy through Nuwara Eliya and then down to Kitulgala. If you have a chance don’t miss the quite Castlereigh lake. You can also get a nice view of Adams Peak from this area. If you are looking for a nice place on the water to stay I can recommend Castlereigh Family Cottages. They are warm, friendly, and have two amazing bungalows with verandas that look out over the lake.

How to get From Kitulgala to the Beaches in Sri Lanka

The most direct route in Sri Lanka is not also the quickest! From Kitulgala you are not that far from Colombo and the main road that runs south along the coast towards Galle and the beaches. At the moment (October 2011) this is still the fastest way south. However, the 4 lane toll highway (Southern Express Way) is due to open by the end of the 2011. Once it opens this will be your fastest way South.

Remember that the monsoon switches by season allowing swimming on the West and East coasts at different times of the year. If you are going this season (September to March) you can swim on the West Coast (advice below) and the rest of the year on the East Coast at Argum Bay.

From the coastal road you have basically three choices, first you can stop at the popular party and surfing beach Hikkaduwa. There are a number of hotels where you can stay here, almost all of them right on the beach.

Your next option is just past the fort town of Galle and is called Unawatuna. This small town is my favorite in the south and has a nice mix of clear tropical water, decent accommodation, relaxing during the day but with some parties in the evening. Further along, and probably too far for an 8 day trip are the secluded beaches of Hambantota. They are virtually deserted and offer great value for the intrepid traveler.

Where to Eat Local Food

To be honest this one is the easiest to answer! You can get great local food anywhere in Sri Lanka. Just stop into the local shops along the road and you will get homemade local fare. Everyone and their grandmother can cook amazing curries so you are in for a treat no matter where you go.

If you have your own questions about travel, life on the road or specific destinations Contact me and include the subject Travel Question. If your question can be used by others I’ll include it in my monthly Trusted Travel Questions and Answer section.

*In case you are wondering, some of the links above are part of an affiliate deal I have with Hotels Combined. When you buy or do research on hotels through those links I earn a ton of money to add to my already huge vault of gold and diamonds. Joking aside, I use Hotels Combined myself and would will only ever promote or suggest services to you that I don’t believe in myself. If you do use them, thank you for helping to keep the lights on here at Todd’s Wandering. No worries if you don’t as well, I’m just glad you are here.

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37 Responses to “Trusted Travel Questions and Answers”

  1. Looks quite an adventure! I heard that they have weird food but the taste is exceptional to say the least.

    Have a good trip!

  2. This makes me want to go travel again! I grew up in Portugal and I miss being overseas. Loved reading this post

  3. HannahNo Gravatar says:

    We would love to go on a trip to Sri Lanka. Would love to change our itinerary when we are near India. :)

  4. Terrie ExleyNo Gravatar says:

    Wow! I am impressed. This is some incredible information and a virtual itinerary with full directions. I have been considered about traveling around this area but your post has calmed those fears a lot. Thanks for a super blog!

  5. Never thought of this destination very much. But it sure seems interesting. Now to get there is another story. From Philly, it is quite a hike.
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  6. I knew someone in college from Sri Lanka and he was quite a jokester. It’s interesting to read about the place as I know nothing about it at all (and what he did tell me, I’m not sure if he was just kidding or not:)).
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  7. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    You’ve sold me on Sri Lanka! I wouldn’t have normally considered this a spot to visit, but you’ve convinced me to look into it some more. Great guide!
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  8. NicoNo Gravatar says:

    Great tips. I’m thinking of going to Sri Lanka next year so I’m sure this information will come in useful.
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  9. NicoNo Gravatar says:

    Great tips. I’m thinking f going to Sri Lanka next year so I’m sure it will come in useful.
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  10. Great tips and advice! :D

    I’d never been to Sri Lanka but it really sounds so exciting and awesome. If ever if I’ll plan to travel to Sri Lanka for a vacation someday now I know where to ask questions that are guaranteed to be trusted. Very informative post you got here. :)

  11. Great tips. Unfortunately you’re making my travel bug itch… =P
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  12. I just discovered your blog. What a great resource!
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  13. TwilaNo Gravatar says:

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  15. RobertNo Gravatar says:

    It’s an amazing road trip! I’ve never been to Srilanka, but read and heard such a beautiful things about it that really would love to go!! Hope to make it not too far!!
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  16. Great advice! While I’ve never been to Sri Lanka… it is on my bucket list. I have a co-worker who grew up there… and it sounds spectacular!
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  17. Nice blog site. I got plenty of effective information…and I also even laughed a bit.
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  18. Nunzio BrunoNo Gravatar says:

    Wow that was a great post. I think I am way to nervous to make that trip to sri lanka. One of my favorite things about you guys recanting your journeys is how well you tackle the immersion – way to go! I love the journey :)
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  19. AnnieNo Gravatar says:

    Sri Lanka sound awesome! I hope I could go there one day.
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  20. KellyNo Gravatar says:

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  21. Wow! You lived in Sri Lanka? How’s the weather there? We’re planning a long summer vacation for my family. Any suggestions on where to spend it? Thanks^^
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  22. Samual JamesNo Gravatar says:

    Such an adventures story, it is great for new travelers who willing to visit Sri Lanka. I love the natural beauty of Sri Lnaka and feel like myself in the nature. and yeah that “Castlereigh” is surely the best one. thanks for sharing.orlando airport taxi service

  23. ElizabethNo Gravatar says:

    Hello! I realize this is somewhat off-topic however I had to ask. Does operating a well-established blog such as yours require a lot of work? I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  24. Excellent answers! I love question-and-answer posts
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  25. Great tips! I’m itching to go to Sri Lanka :)

  26. AlbertNo Gravatar says:

    Hmm… this post really convinces me that it would be a great experience to be in Sri Lanka. That means Sri Lanks is officially part of my to-visit list. Thanks for the info!
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  27. Jai CatalanoNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t been to Sri Lanka or plan to go anytime soon but it’s good to know.

  28. Happy New Year 2012 Todd! I hope to meet up with you in Timor Leste this year. Anyway, your statement “Everyone and their grandmother can cook amazing curries so you are in for a treat no matter where you go” <—- LOL! I have heard this from a friend who just got back from Sri Lanka a few weeks ago.

    All the best in your travels this year!

    David
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  29. Sri Lanka must be amazing right now, but be careful of weather conditions. You will enjoy the local dining experience. You may be surprised at how friendly people are.

  30. This makes me want to go travel again! I grew up in Portugal and I miss being overseas. Loved reading this post….it made me reminiscent of my childhood. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!
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  31. I liked your idea of a blogpost dedicated to “Trusted travel questions & answers”. As you say, there could be others (this time, like me!) who would benefit as well from the answers. Thanks for sharing this!
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  32. I really like how you said “in spite of the Civil War” … cracked me up. No biggie … just a minor war. haha. My fiancee has a friend who was born and raised in Sri Lanka. I hear it is a cool place.
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  33. Was mentioning the Sri Lankan civil war and the word ‘BLAST’ in the same sentence deliberate?

    If so, absolutely brilliant.

    If not, WHOOPS!

  34. @ DA, If you are coming from Kitulgala Benthota is much better than other beaches i guess. You can go to Kaluthra if you like.

    @ Todd Wassel , You seems really love visiting Sri Lanka , Your header image , Is that on your way to Lipton Seat in Sri Lanka ? I guess i am right .

  35. DANo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for your response. I am planning to visit in early November so I guess the fastest way won’t be done yet. We don’t want to spend 5 hours driving in a car if we can avoid it. The longest we would like to spend driving at one time is 2.5 hours. So I am not sure what road we will be taking from Kandy to Kitulgala, and the only reason we want to go to Kitulgala is because of the rafting. And if I understand you correctly, because the new Route 4 is not yet open we will have to drive from Kitulgala through colombo to get to Bentota for example is that correct? Thank you again for all your help

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Well, driving in Sri Lanka is quite an experience and not the feint of heart! Many road rules are not followed expect that there are no rules. In general the areas just out of Colombo will be filled with traffic, especially on your way to Sigiriya and the drive will be longer than 2.5 hours (probably around 4-5). To Kandy it will be shorter, 2 hours or so.

      From Kitulgala you have to drive towards Colombo but will not have to go back into the city. The road mergers with the coastal road just South of the city near Mount Lavinia. Have fun!

      • DANo Gravatar says:

        Thanks Todd. So how many hours from Kitulgala to Bentota driving on that road? And is there any beach site closer to Kitulgala than Bentota that is worth stopping at?

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