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  • ClaireF 26 posts

    We would like to do this trip in 2026 for husbands retirement. Not been to either before. We are thinking end of Feb beginning of March. Would have to be under 3 weeks in total as I will still be working. We are not big drinkers but considering all inclusive in the maldives. Not too fussed about beaches in Sri Lanka as will probably do maldives at the end. Hoping to use virgin upgrade voucher for the 2 of us to fly to India then on to colombo. How easy is Sri Lanka to do DIY. Has anyone done the viceroy train as that was tempting. Will use 2nd virgin voucher for return or ba 2 for 1. Any tips or advice on where to start most welcome. Thanks

    BBbetter 370 posts

    I’d suggest flying to BLR, a new route for Virgin from this spring, instead of DEL or BOM if possible. DEL often has smog problems. BLR is a small airport and easy to connect. Also has quite a few sightseeing options, is less humid and good hotels, if you’d like to take a break. Availability on upper class should also be good given it’s a new route.
    You can obviously use avios on Srilankan but Indigo is a good low cost airline and cost of extras such as spacious seat or baggage are reasonable.

    Strickers is the srilanka expert.

    qc 173 posts

    Sri Lanka is extremely easy as DIY holiday especially if you use the Driver/guide that he used. We have been twice – once backpacking doing it all on public transport and last year doing a combination of @strickers driver then drivers from place to place at the end as we were staying a few days in each and didn’t need excursions.

    NorthernLass 6,461 posts

    Hi @ClaireF, there are a couple of Maldives threads here with discussions on the merits of AL v other options and which are the best islands to visit. Also the vagaries of getting avios seats to/from MLE at T-355! Sounds like a lovely trip to be planning!

    omicron 40 posts

    We’re doing 10 days in Sri Lanka in March. We’ve just booked hotels in the areas we want to visit, and will be getting the hotels to arrange transfers between them to get around. I can let you know if we experience any unforeseen challenges when we’re there, but I doubt it!

    Our itinerary is
    Day 1: CMB > Hatton (3-4 hrs drive)
    Day 3: Hatton > Ella (by train, approx. 4 hrs)
    Day 4 Ella > Yala (2-3 hrs drive)
    Day 8: Yala > Colombo (~4 hrs drive)

    Will be 10 hours of driving (at least), but I think it will be worth it to see more of the island! Some people also visit Sigirya north of Kandy, but I’ve seen a lot of ruins and don’t think it’s worth adding two extra days of 2-3 hour drives. Kandy also seems to be receiving mixed reviews, so we’re skipping that. Our key activities on the trip will be travelling through the hill country and then on to safaris in Yala, and we’re also not prioritising beaches.

    Looks like the Viceroy train is not bookable anywhere – might be charter only (in which case you have to use a tour company), or they might have gone out of business. I know there used to be another upscale tourist train as well that no longer exists. The regular train looks ok but nothing fancy, we’re taking it for the journey from Hatton to Ella.

    strickers 619 posts

    Here is my trip report from a year ago, a few people have used Nandika and all as far as I’m aware have had positive experiences. If you need any other advice then I’ll try and answer otherwise WhatsApp Nandika.

    ClaireF 26 posts

    Many thanks for all the tips and advice I am bookmarking this thread and will take a look at all the suggestions.

    Metty 18 posts

    Here is my trip report from a year ago, a few people have used Nandika and all as far as I’m aware have had positive experiences. If you need any other advice then I’ll try and answer otherwise WhatsApp Nandika.

    We’re off to Sri Lanka on Saturday (Avios ex-DUB-DOH-CMB as Qatar had 4 Business seats) but meeting Nandika on Sunday morning for a 6 day trip around. Thanks for recommending him, his pre-trip comms by WhatsApp has been excellent and he seems happy with my google maps route and self-booked hotels. Will report back.

    Is there anything we could take him as a gift? Obvs we’ll give him money too, but just wondered if anything in particular. Have got Percy Pigs for the kids.. hopefully dental appts are easier to come by in SL 🙂

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