4 independent reviews for Sri Lanka small group tour, a food adventure

Reviews for Sri Lanka small group tour, a food adventure

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review 27 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Undoubtedly the most memorable and exciting part of the trip was the food, Sri Lankan food is spicy, flavourful and delicious. If you're a foodie, this trip is heaven; and even if you're not it's a fantastic way to see the country, learn about its culture and history and importantly meet ordinary Sri Lankans. I will always remember the kindness and generosity of the Sri Lankan families who opened the doors to their homes, cooked and fed us; no easy task as we were a full group of 12 plus a tour leader and two drivers. A special mention to our fantastic tour leader, Priyantha Balakrishnan who really went the extra mile for the whole group throughout the trip.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you are not used to spicy food, Sri Lankan food is going to come as shock to the system, I recommend drinking lime juice, which is cooling and/or coca cola (not that I'm promoting the company) which is a good digestive for spicy food. We went just before the monsoon when it was very hot and humid - so pack light, woven cotton or linen loose clothing and take an umbrella to keep the sun off. I'm vegetarian and was very well catered for but don't be afraid to remind both the tour operator and tour leader. If you're worried about mosi's and other biting bugs, you can buy Citronella oil, extracted from lemongrass and a natural insect repellent in any supermarket in Sri Lanka. The rest is up to you, how much you engage with the people and the culture or if you're going to spend time worried about whether the hotels have pools or not. Sri Lanka is unique, leave aside whatever assumptions exist about South Asia and open yourself to its uniqueness.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Plastic water bottles were collected for recycling in a bin on our bus, while we travelled by tour bus one journey was on a local train, which was a lot of fun and the scenery spectacular. For the main part I would like to think the benefit was mutual, for the families we visited as much as our group. We tipped, to express our gratitude, after each meal.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This is a five star vacation. Everything about it was wonderful, from our knowledgeable Tour Leader, Priyantha, to our drivers, Sam and Chris, to the families we met and shared food with, to the culture and country. You will experience a good cross section of society, we ate street food, invaded the kitchen of a local restaurant to learn how to cook Kothu roti, we visited coconut farm, buffalo curd farm and met the families who worked on the farms, ate with a Kandian middle class Sinhalese family and their delightful daughters, a Tea Plantation managers family and then a yummy Tamil lunch with the tea pickers family, a lovely Muslim family with the best veggie Biryani and spicy coffee I've had in a long time and a typical Dutch Burgher's meal. The trip also covers the must -see highlights such as a spice garden, Yala National park, Dambulla Caves, Sigiriya and time by the beach.

review 15 Mar 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Visiting local families to learn about local cuisine, and sampling the food. The trip also included historical sites, visits to local markets, cottage industries etc.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Travel light. 7 hotels in 10 days (all offer 12 hour laundry service). Carry a good waterbottle you can refill from a communal 5Ltr flagon rather than using new plastic bottles every day.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Focus was on meeting local families and tasting their food, plus visits to local cocnut processing plant, tea plantation etc. Hotels used were all modest and locally run.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A most enjoyable experience, getting much closer to the local culture than a standard trip.

review 18 Jan 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Memorable, either the natural beauty of Sri Lanka or our outstanding guide, Bala.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go with an open heart, palate and hope to have Priyantha Balakrishnan as your guide. Remember that 3 star hotels are not what they are in Europe, most hotels in this range are older and may or may not have been renovated.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Because of Bala we spent our money in local establishments and tipped appropriately everywhere we went. We all reduced our waste as much as possible and followed sustainable tourism practices as much as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

My vacation was amazing. I am very glad I chose the tour I did and providence gave my group such a wonderful guide. I do feel that it is relevant to mention one thing that a single traveler should consider when booking any group tour on a room share basis. I am a solo traveler who has routinely 'room shared' on many trips and I didn't see why this one should be any different to my previous experiences. My room mate was a very nice person who unfortunately snored like a train and then became really quite unwell shortly after the start of the tour. As a result of these 2 factors I had hardly any sleep for nearly 2 weeks and never felt comfortable going to 'our' room to rest at any point during the day if the opportunity arose as it was always occupied. A couple of times our tour guide tried to source me a single room and was often quoted ridiculous rates for the quality of the accommodation on offer. This was disappointing. Finally on the last night of my trip I fell foul of her germs and the long journey home was most unpleasant. Hardly a great way to go back to work. It is no one's fault that my room mate snored or got sick but it definitely adversely affected my enjoyment of the vacation.

review 1 Jan 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Train journey through the tea hills and the Botanical Gardens in Kandy

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared for spicy food.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes it did.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Good value, interesting destination, a lot packed into the time available.

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