Hiring a car in Sri Lanka

image

Why you need to hire a car with a driver in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan roads are busy and chaotic .on the other hand you are on a holiday and the purpose of your Sri Lankan holiday is to enjoy the country ,but as you would expect some adventure in to your travelling ,you can try-to-relax while looking out of the vehicle.

The conditions of Sri Lankan roads need lot of attention ,there are no separate pavements and lanes for pedestrians or cyclists on most parts of the island,even in big cities like Colombo.
The same road is use by pedestrians,cyclists and animal traffic.

Country roads in Sri Lanka also narrow and pot holes are almost everywhere .lot of drivers try to overtake even in these narrow busy roads and hardly show any patience.

Sri Lankan bus drivers and three wheel drivers ,tuk tuks has been criticised by public due to lot of accidents happened due to negligence and reckless driving practices for recent years.

Whether you are a solo traveller ,a couple or a family travelling to Sri Lanka .The best way to explore the island is hiring a car and driver. Tourist drivers in Sri Lanka will do their best to satisfy their guests ,having driving tourist around the country for many years they know what guests expect from them ,they are safe drivers ,giving lot of attention to the safety of their passengers.

How much is the cost to driver hire in Sri Lanka

the cost is quite reasonable ,which is about US$ 60 a day for a air -conditioned (5 door ) car which will comfortably Carry up to 3 people .

Drivers don’t charge for the number of people travelling in a vehicle .the price determines by the type of vehicle you are hiring.

you will need to hire a van if your party is about 4 adults .

If you are a couple with two small kids ,a car will be fine ,.try to hire a spacious vehicle in that case rather than a small car.

Unless you are taking a transfer from and to the airport . The tourist won’t be travelling around in the night in Sri Lanka .your driver will try to bring you to your destination or hotel maximum by 7 to 8 clock in the night according to your tour plan.

How much distance you should travel in Sri Lanka.

depends on your tour itinerary ,tourist usually take about 4 to 5 hours journey in a vehicle . You will have lot of stopovers on your way .( one thing is speed limit in Sri Lankan cities which is 50km per hour and 70 km per hour in out of cities ).
Drivers normally cover about 60 km in general and about 35 km in hill areas per day .

Which routes should you take in Sri Lanka

When you are coming from the Sri Lankan international airport ,and if your stay happens to be in one of the accommodation in southern beaches ,you have to travel via Colombo .
Taking the Colombo -airport express route will take you to Colombo within 30 minutes -( speed limit 100km ) from there on you can travel to southern part of the island using southern express way cutting down your journey time for about 2 hours to reach to Galle.

Even though Driving Down the normal road -to southern beaches take some considerable time it will be a journey of a life time since you will be passing lot of coastal towns along the way.

If you are coming from the airport and travelling to Kandy (central hills ) the journey will take about 3 hours. still the Kandy -Colombo express way is under construction.

If you are coming from the airport and travelling towards Dambulla or Sigiriya to north central of the island the usual journey time is around 4 hours.

Should you start your tour straight if you arriving to Sri Lanka in a night flight

As most of the tourist do ( practical) they start their Sri Lankan Holiday with a tour around the country and then spend couple of days at their favourite beaches .

Assuming you arriving to the airport not later than 5 pm , please also do consider it take some time to come through immigration and clearance of bags ,depends on the days and time .it may take up to one and half hour to some times more to come and meet you’re driver at the lobby.

Depending on which route you take either to north ,north central , central hills ,east coast you can start straight from the airport (journey times vary ).

If your flight happens to arrive to Sri Lanka after 5 pm and between 2 am ,4 am in the morning it is recommended to take a transit stay in a nearby cities like Negombo,marawila,kochikade.

Well again depends on which country you are coming and your whole flight time determine how much rest you should take before starting the tour .

How to plan a tour with a driver

Most of the drivers speak good English ,so having a separate tour guide for your journey is unnecessary unless you need a specific foreign language speaking guide or a driver (which is also possible in Sri Lanka ).
Most of the tourist sightseeings like Sigirya,dambulla,polonnaruwa,Anuradhapura,Kandy,Galle,Royal botanical gardens have on site tour guides where you can hire them separately if needed.

If you are staying in 4 to 5 start hotels most of the time the hotels have facilities for the drivers to spend the night .but if you are staying in budget or any other type of accommodation including boutique hotels drivers have to find own accommodation somewhere near.

When deciding on the tour prices drivers usually quote while taking these facts in to consideration. which they need around 15 dollars per day to cover for the accommodation and food.

Drivers are knowledgable enough to find you a good accommodation within your budgets .they know best hotels and places to eat in Sri Lanka. Sometimes pre -booking is unnecessary( except star class hotels for high seasons) if you are doing a budget tour since you will be able to find the accommodation on the -go.

How much tip should you give to the drivers in Sri Lanka.

This is seems like dying culture for most part of the world today,but still the drivers in Sri Lanka expect at least some sort of tip at the end of their services. which is usually around 10 % (or 100% if you like )from the total price of the tour.

Islandsrilanka.com can help you with planning your tour free and provide you with a good driver with a car.

 

 

is tourist get attacked by wild animals in Sri Lanka

image
elephants attack which has become a every day problem in Sri Lankan villages among locals. Even though Attacks from crocodiles rarely to be heard.

there are considerable number of incidents per year in Sri Lanka where locals die from animal attacks such as snake bites,elephants attacks and crocodiles attacks Sri Lanka.

the lost of habitat for elephants in Sri Lanka has prompted these animals to come to villages to looking for water and food.
rapid developments and deforestation has caused human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka.

It is possible to encounter a wild elephant when you staying in a accommodation closer to nature.
it is just not a safari trip that you see these wild elephants.

In SriLankan villages specially the one in north central provinces such as Dambulla ,Habarana,Sigirya,Minnneriya spotting a wild elephant is easy as you passing alone the jungles patches on the main road.

Tourists visiting Sri Lanka must take extra care when visiting the areas with the wild animals presence.

Sometimes you hear tragic stories like recent death of British holiday maker attacked by a crocodile while trying to wash his hand in the lagoon .this incident happened near to the elephant rock by famous surfers area in Arugambay in the east coast of Sri Lanka.

Patchy overgrown jungle scrubs should be always avoided.just don’t walk in to woodlands that you don’t know.

image

 

Trekking through juggles of Sri Lanka should only be done with someone who know the area better .
it is not good enough to have a Google safari map or a Google jungle app.

ask from your hotel reception whether the area is safe enough to have a walk around in the dusk.

What not to do with wild elephants

Getting closer to elephants to take a snap is not a good idea at all.
if you are on a safari tour please make sure that you always follow the advise of the ranger.
you will never able to predict a behaviour of a wild elephant.
Some safari jeep drivers trying to get very closer to the animals to give their guests a closer photo opportunity.but as a responsible traveller you can always say no to these kind of activities.

lagoons,rivers,lakes are not safer to take swim or dip. Specially the marshy and overgrown areas with jungle patches. You will hardly identity a presence of a crocodile or other dangerous reptile in those spots.

If you are going for a Scot in the jungle ask from a local whether the area is safe enough to do so.

It is best to avoid any trekking or walks in the night.
the snake and other reptiles attacks are very common in the night.
Carrying a torch and accompany with a local is always advisable when even going for a small walk in less inhabited areas in the night.

image
be safe and enjoy the nature and animal of Sri Lanka on your holiday.

 

Top ten countries visiting Sri Lanka

image

tourists arrivals to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is increasing becoming popular tourist destination among world travellers. For over thousand years from india to Far East ,Chinese to Arab traders has visited this Indian Ocean island. when the Europeans started conquering the world, Sri Lanka became one of Their hot spots. Starting from Portuguese ,Dutch to English .the lush green tropical island was full with spices and gems.

not to be forgotten the wild life filled island was popular hunting ground  during the English colonial time .

still Sri Lanka is famous for its spices and gems . tea plantation culture was introduced to us during the colonial English time. Sri Lanka still holds the top position as a world best tea producing countries in the world . Ceylon tea and Ceylon cinnamon,known as true cinnamon are two products  which earned a name for its quality and the originality.

Top reasons modern tourists visit Sri Lanka .

unlike in the past the world travellers has discovered this island as one of the must visit island in their life time .

  • the prestine beaches  of Sri Lanka

being a island Sri Lanka has sandy beaches stretched over miles around the island .

  • Sub tropical climate

all year around good weather for sun seeking travellers ,even one part of the island getting rain ,you can still look for sunny spots on a different part of the island.

  • scenic beauty

from tropical jungles to misty mountains ,tea plantations ,water falls , hundreds of rivers ,lakes and lagoons

  • amazing wildlife

from big to small variety of wild animals ,elephants,bears ,leopards ,Wales ,Dolphins  birds and butterflies.

  • historical sites

from ancient kingdoms to temples ,shrines ,fortifications,churches and world heritage sites like Sigirya,polonnaruwa,dambulla ,Kandy ,Galle .

  • authentic food

having ruled under many nations and being explored to many ancient visiting traders like Arabs ,Sri lanka has one of its kind version of cuisine which has been passed from generation to generation. The fresh tropical fruits and vegetables to abundant sea food in their meals ,Sri lanka is becoming a sought after destination for a foodies.

  • word class accommodation

from simple home home stay to super luxury accommodations available in almost every part of the island. The genuinely friendly Sri Lankans are welcoming nation who will always happy to help the visitors to their country.

  • safety and security

when traveling to any country what comes in to our mind is whether the destination is safe for travel . Sri Lanka is at top as a safe destination to travel with this current word scenario.

image

The snap shot of tourists arrivals to Sri Lanka between 2016 to 2017.

  1. indian tourist were among top travellers visiting Sri Lanka . The short flight time and the value for money is one of the main reason for the increase .there were around 110,891 arrivals up to April 2017.colombo is very famous among shopping loving Indian tourists.
  2. there were around 99,045 Arrival from China by April 2017 ,with the increase of larger investments projects by China in Sri Lanka  ,Chinese tourists find is as a ideal holiday destination. Chinese tourists find  Sri Lankan Chinese food ,the Sri Lankan version of Chinese food is better than their home countries.
  3. there were 76,978 tourists arrival from United Kingdom by April 2017 . Sri Lanka is still very famous among English travellers since Sri Lanka has lot of of colonial heritance still evident today. nuwaraeliya is a must visit English type hill country holiday retreat,where you can enjoy a hot cup of Ceylon black tea in chilling weather.
  4. Germans love Sri Lanka for its friendly people.they come mainly for aurvedic treatments. When thinking of a healing holiday Sri Lanka is a must visit destination. the island is blessed with herbal plants and spices .54,256 German tourists has arrived in Sri Lanka by Apri 2017.
  5. sun seeking European choose clean Sri Lankan beaches compared to other south Asian countries. French tourists are among top five countries visiting Sri Lanka on holiday .there were 48,861 French tourists arrivals by April 2017.
  6. Russians tourists arrivals to Sri Lanka  has increased up to 31,067 by April 2017.they wealthy Russians of course loving Sri Lankan gems and of course the Sri Lankan teas . They prefer to stay in large villa type of bungalows by the beach in Sri Lanka
  7. with better flight connection from Australia ,the tourists arrival from Australia has gone up .there were 24,929 tourist by April 2017 from Austria to Sri Lanka.from Sri Lankan sightseeings to elephants and leopards watching were very popular among the Australians.historic sites visist were top for them.
  8. the negbouring maldivian also choose Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.the variety of things you can do and see other than beaches being the main reason the Maldivian love Sri Lanka.there were 24,632 Maldivian tourists to Srilanka by April .
  9. many think American tourists won’t travel as far as Sri Lanka .but there were 20,615 arrivals by April from USA. many tourists from America has added Sri Lanka to their bucket list.
  10. Ukraine has become the one of the top 10 countries to visit Sri Lanka .there were 16,778 Ukrainian tourists arrival.the good flight connection from Russian region countries to Sri Lanka and the safety for those travellers was top reason for the increase of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka.

Reference .

the statistics for tourists arrivals to Srilanka is from the annual report from Sri Lanka tourism promotion bureau.

Be aware hikers ,walkers and Trekkers to Sri Lanka

Plants and insects that you need to look out when you holidaying in Sri Lanka

Plants have their own methods to stop animal and insects eating them .whether you simply walk along the beach ,when you choose to trek or explore the tropical jungles of Sri Lanka.
you may come across unpleasant surprises if you ever come in to contact with them.

image

Sri Lanka beach cactus -locally known as pathok

These plants are covered in  thorns ,thorns are painful to pull out.along the coastal belt of Sri Lanka there are abundant of these cactus.

image

Locally known as kahabiliya,Stinging nettle

The leaves of these plants have little hairs which cause discomfort and itchy feeling.

The sap ,the milk produce by the leaves or barks of some plants can also make your skin itch.

image

Photo credit dasun nawoda-flicker

The contact with the oil from cashew cells causes itch and blistering .

Leeches ,caterpillars ,small and bumble bees  are some insects which can ruin your Sri Lankan Holiday. Sting from bees and bumble bees can be really painful.

there are different types of ants in Sri Lanka .bites from large red ants and the black small locally known as snake ants (nai koombee) can be painful as well.

image

Photo credit Daneila Hartmann-flicker

hairs from caterpillars are really itchy

image

Photo credit Driss & Marrion -flicker

A bite from a leech can be sensed and the the wound continues bleeding for far longer than normal because the leech injects an anticoagulant.

image

Photo credit Steve Garvie -flicker

How to avoid these plants or insects.

  • Always try to find clear vegetation-free squat spot when squatting outdoors for a pee or poo.
  • Avoid any plants that produce a milky sap
  • Wearing long clothing in jungly or scrubby areas can protect you against these plants and insects.
  • wear leech socks when trekking in Sri Lankan jungles
  • observe thourougly before you touch and feel them
  • look properly before you lean on to trees
  • check out for trees or bushes before you go under shade or sleep

Basic treatments

Wash off with cool water with plenty of soap as soon as possible .tweezers can be helpful to remove barbed thorns .
please seek medical advise from a local doctor since break in the skin needs proper wound care . In every larger towns of Sri Lanka it is possible to consult a doctors ( at medical clinics ) they will charge you a small fee for their service.most of the hotels in Sri Lanka have call in emergency doctor service.

5 Famous trekking paths in Sri Lanka that you may come across with these plants and insects.

 

Sinharaja forest( tropical rain forest)

image

As a tropical rain forest sinharaja have three main factors in common which is typical to tropical forests in the world .there should be bright sunlight, secondly there needs to be a high rainfall, distributed all along the year and also a high temperature.Which makes the region very humid. The forest is in the southern western part of Sri Lanka and bordering the three districts Galle ,Matara and ratnapura respectively.this hot bio diversity spot is home to more than 340 timber species.out of 192 endemic plants about 19 of endemic plants to Srilanka can be found only in sinharajaha. Out of roughly 11000 hectares of land area ,there are about 240,000 plants density per hectare in the woodland.

Adams peak (Sri pada)

image

The famous pilgrimage trekking for both locals and foreigners to the country for thousand years .the mountain is located south western edge of the hill country. Sri Pada or the sacred foot prints of the top of the summit has accumulated legends and belief of various religions .
The Buddhists clams it is the foot print of Buddha while 8th century Muslim pilgrims called it foot prints of Adam ,the Hindus called it the foot prints of God Shiva and the Christians called it the it is the foot prints of st Thomas.the Trekkers to worshippers make the journey by night to reach to the top in the dawn .it will be really interesting to trek during the season usually starting from December to may ,with the illuminated path and the all night along tea shops .
As the dawn breaks on top of the peak ,you will be surprised by mysterious shadow of the mountain.

Udawatte kelle (kandy Sri Lanka )

Udawatta Kele Sanctuary or famously known with visitors to Sri Lanka as the Royal Forest Park of Kandy is located on the hillside behind the the Temple of the Tooth Relic. This forest covers about 257 acres and is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much populated Kandy City. The last kingdom of Sinhalese kings before it was fallen in to the British colony in 1815.
A walk in the woodland worth a visit with a homage to the famous temple of tooth relic of Buddha in Kandy.

Hortain plains (high-lands)

image

Horatian plains national park located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka in nuwaraeliya district.The plateau of Horton Plains which is at a nominal elevation of 2100 m above sea level.
The plains can be reach from north via place called pattipola or if from south via place called Ohiya ,if you coming by train you can get off at train stations at either of these places.

Knuckles mountains (highlands)

image

there is a mountain with five peaks in itself, that looks like the knuckles of a clenched fist when seen from Kandy in central highlands .mountainous area is off the motoring roads, it remains as an unspoilt nature reserve with the changing terrain of grasslands ,streams and cascading waterfalls covering area about 18512 of hectares.

 

Seven wild animals you won’t miss in your holiday to Sri Lanka

 

Lion in the flag

image

this is the very first thing you will notice when you thinking of Holiday to Sri Lanka . As the legend goes on when the first King of Sri Lanka arrived to the island back in 486 BC ,he carried a flag with a lion on it ,a son of Indian King singhabahu (mean lion) and the his clan -the people were called clan of sinha (lions). The story of Sri Lanka begin with the arrival of King Vijaya and Sinhalese(lions) are the people.
Nowadays Sri Lankan flag is a representation of their majority Sinhalese people with the sword holding lion in the middle while is orange and green strips represent the minority Srilankan Tamil Hindus and Sri Lankan Muslims. the yellow borders represent the unity of the island including the minority burgers( Portuguese descendants) ),Malays and so on.
the four leaves ( from the Bo tree ) is the representation of four pillars of Buddhism,the fundamental of the religion (the countries main religion).
there haven’t been much proper research done on this subject whether actually lion were in the island other than Dr daraniyagala research where he suggest there have been some evident of Sri Lankan lion, a sub species of pre -historic endemic Sri Lankan lion which became extinct 37 000 years BC before the modern humans.
So only place you will get to see a actual lions in Sri Lanka is at the national zoological garden in Dehiwala Colombo ,but they are actually African imported lions .
you will also notice some lions while sipping down your favourite Sri Lankan beer while watching sun go down in Sri Lanka .

image

Sri Lankan local brew by the name of lion beer

Elephants

image

of course you will be able to see this giant Asian elephants anywhere you go in the island ,from wild to tamed temple elephants which has taken a huge part in traditional Sri Lankan culture.
There are of course elephant orphanages (pinnawala elephant orphanage ) in Sri Lanka .

Ever disappearing habitat for the elephants in the island with deforestation has increased the on going elephant -human conflict with all modern developments in the island.

It is estimated to have there are around 4000 wild elephants in the jungle of Sri Lanka .
There are lot of wild parks in Sri Lanka where you can observe these animals in their natural habitat .the famous Sri Lankan wild parks to observe these animals are yala ,willpathu ,kaudulla,udawalawe,minneryia.
on your Sri Lankan road trips , you may come across an occasional sighting of these animals as well .they often come to near to the main roads by the border villages to the jungles of Sri Lanka .villages like Sigiriya,habarana ,polonnaruwa are popular of these sighting of these animals.

Sri Lankan Leopards (Kotiya)

image

Sri Lankan leopards (Kotiya)are endemic sub species native to Sri Lanka which is the smallest of Big cats. Seen them in the wild sometimes considered to be depends on your luck since they hardly come to the open spaces during the day lights. Yala and willpathu is the famous national park of Sri Lanka where you may get an opportunity to see them in action.it is roughly about 700 hundreds to 900 leopards in the wild since no proper study has done on these animals.

Srilanka sloth bear

image
sighting of these animals is very rare while willpathu national park ( north west of the island ) seems like a good spot for spotting the animal nowadays. The omnivorous animal is feeding on nuts ,wild berries ,roots ,insects to meat .it is considered they rarely kills other animals as a prey.

Sri Lanka blue whale

image
The world largest mamal ,Sri lanka is the home largest concentration of pigmy sperm blue whales . Mirrissa the beach village in the southern of the island to trincomalee of north east and the kalpitiya north west of the island are the popular beach spits to see these ocean creatures including the Sri Lankan dolphins.

Srilankan monkeys

image
You may actually wonder whether is it a elephant island or a monkey island ,apart from the major cities and your beach resorts monkeys are almost everywhere to the inner of the island.
Purple face leaf monkeys ,grey langurs,toque macaques are the main three type of species identified in the island , before taking any pictures of them let them familiarise with your presence ,number one rule is -do not look directly at them since they see it as a threat .

As one of the world top biodiversity hot spot of the world ,Sri Lanka is home to many endemic species ,including flora and fauna . some of the animals can be seen only by participating on a Sri Lanka wildlife tour.you also may come across hundreds of birds varieties to other mammals while you travelling around the country.