Sunday, 16 April 2017

Tour of Sri Lanka with Tailor-Made by Jetwing. Feb 2016

Our driver, Lucky was on time and picked us up just after breakfast from The Jetwing Beach Hotel. He had a modern Toyota and we set off. our first stop was at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. We have seen African Elephants in the wild and I found it a bit sad to see captive Indian elephants, but the Orphanage seems to be a very popular attraction and we were in time to see the Elephants in the river.

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage




Sigiriya
Sigiriya Lions Paw




Sigiriya
Sigiriya
 The roads were very small and winding and I ended up having to sit in the front with Lucky as I was feeling car sick.
Lucky stopped at a very nice open restaurant for lunch. We then told him that if he didn't mind we would rather not have lunch, as we had only just had a massive breakfast. If he did mind he hid it well! and we just had lunch stops for drinks after day one....also to let Lucky get his lunch.

The next stop was Sigiriya Rock. Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress, you go through the lions paw gates and climb rickety steps to the top.  

Sigiriya
Sigiriya Steps
Sigiriya
Sigiriya Steps
 The steps are not as bad as they look, and the view is worth the climb. The rock was a great experience and far better than I had expected.  

We then had a short drive to the Aliya Resort and Spa. This place absolutely blew me away. it was beautiful and the food was fantastic. The view of the rock from the swimming pool was amazing.





 At the hotel were some of the people who had experienced the delayed luggage, this hotel had been there first stop. they were on a Kuoni Tour. there luggage had only just arrived and they had been in winter clothes all day. I was really glad we had had the first day in Nogombo.

The next day we drove out to the World Heritage site of Polonnaruwa to look at the ruins of ancient Ceylon.

Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa

 On the way back to the Aliya Resort we went to Minneriya National Park and had a jeep safari. there were promises of Sloth Bears and Buffaloes, but we just saw Elephants and people! But it was a nice end to the day, and returned to the fabulous hotel for a comfortable night and world class dinner.

Minneriya Safari
Minneriya Safari

Minneriya Safari
Minneriya Safari

 The next day we started to climb up into the hills, driving through forests and the first stop was Kandy and Temple of the Tooth.

The hotel was the Amaya Hills, again another very nice hotel. we had time to relax around the pool and enjoy the setting sun. The hotel was a bit of a way outside of Kandy so we did eat at the hotel, it was a buffet and was OK, nothing like the gourmet food we had been served at Aliya Resort but all OK.
Temple of the tooth

Amaya Hills Hotel
Amaya Hills Hotel

 We continued on the scenic drive up towards the town of Nuwara Eliya. Visiting the Mackwoods Tea Plantation on the way.

Mackwoods Tea Plantation
Mackwoods Tea Plantation

 The name of the next hotel will give you a clue to the town of  Nuwara Eliya roots; The Jetwing St Andrews. It was like being in a Scottish town. it was also very cool. The town and building were very colonial, with a very well kept golf course.

The hotel was a little old fashioned and quite dated in its d├ęcor. But we enjoyed the roaring log fires and really did need them with the chill of the misty evening air.
Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya

The next day was along drive down to Yala. we drove through dramatic water falls and forests, stopping at the road side for some fresh Coconut juice and some spice gardens ( a rip off!).

At Yala we stayed in Cinnamon Wild, it was great. Set out like a lodge, the rooms were massive and very nice.

We enjoyed a safari in Yala National Park and got very close to a bull Elephant who wanted our bags!

Yala National Park
Yala National Park

 Today we drove along the coast, and passed the yoga retreat I had stayed at on my last visit to Sri Lanka. We were heading for the fort of Galle. Passing the stilt fishermen on the way. sadly this is now only done for tourist photos.

 Galle Fort was very interesting and we walked round the walls of the fort. the hotel tonight was the Jetwing Lighthouse. another good quality hotel.

 The next day we were back to Colombo. Lucky asked if we wanted to go on the coast road or on the new Freeway. We had spent a long time in the car over the past few days so opted for the freeway. it is a new toll road and in no time we were in Colombo. Lucky then gave us a tour of Sri Lankas capital city and the last night of the tour was spent at the very grand Galle Face Hotel. were we mingled with the crowds enjoying the street food and the night time atmosphere.  

Colombo

The next morning Lucky picked us up and took us to the airport as we were getting an early flight to the Maldives.

Lucky had been the perfect guide. When we told him we did not want to be taken to tourist shops he listened to us and didn't drag us round such establishments. I would recommend his services

When booking this tour I had asked for a quote from Red Dot, but they never got back to me so ended up booking with Marini at Jetwing. She was really helpful answering all my questions promptly and changing the tour as requested. The tour cost £1630.00 for both of us. (Feb 2016). I would highly recommend using this company and visiting this fantastic small Island. There is so much to see and experienced, truly a trip of a life time.

Finally, just to let you know. I never inform anyone that I write a blog, not do I receive any money or favours from the companies I use, I am just a tourist!