7 independent reviews for Sri Lanka birding & cultural tour

Reviews for Sri Lanka birding & cultural tour

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review 30 Aug 2022

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

Seeing the wildlife, birds, and cultural archeological sites. The food was fabulous.

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

Travel light as you can have clothes washed at some of the places mid way and at the end of the trip at extremely reasonable price. Bug spray and a hat.

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

Yes. all hotels we stayed in were eco friendly.

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

5 star. Fabulous experience.

review 7 Dec 2021

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

I will remember my guide, Mr THILANA the most, without whom this vacation could not have been my most exciting private bird-watching vacation to date. To put in context, i have over the decades done various group & private tours, but THIS tour exceeded my expectations. From start to finish, i was in, not just safe hands ( of an excellent driver ) but in awe of Thilanas' expert knowledge and professional experience. Built over years as a guide, he knows all the bird calls, where to locate, can ID at first sight, even if far away. The result of all i say, is the we saw all the expected ENDEMICS, and we saw them well, including the elusive SERENDIP Scops owl, which was the most challenging to locate. My thanks also to the manager Mr JITH, whose careful planning of the itinerary and selecting comfortable accommodation, assured that each day ended in the best possible place to rest overnight.

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

My tips to any future traveler is that they consider a trip of at least 2 weeks. This is my one regret, that i did not allow time for YALA or other wildlife reserves in the south, all easily accessible. I am already planning a return trip to see more birds but also mammals like leopards. I met other travelers at the airport and they were thrilled to have seen EXCELLENT views of leopards several times, as well as elephants, bears and a whole variety of fauna.

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

This was a tour to be close to nature and wildlife. Of course such a tour contributes to supporting conservation and protecting wildlife rich areas. Local guides are benefiting and after the impact of a long close down due to the pandemic, the accommodation we used is offering income to local staff and hotels are becoming occupied again.

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

I rate this vacation as EXCELLENT in all respects, and came home very satisfied indeed. It will suit all ages, single, couple or as a group. As i said earlier, the tour exceeded my expectations. Sri Lanka is a safe and beautiful island to visit, with delicious cuisine, wonderful countryside and welcoming people.

review 4 Mar 2018

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

The birds were wonderful and I especially enjoyed Kithulgala. My guide was very knowledgeable.

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

I really appreciated the possibility of designing the trip to my own specification. I was on my own and felt at times it would have been good to have a friend with me as the guide and I had difficulty communicating.

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

Only in the sense that it was nature focussed.

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


review 9 May 2013

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

There isn't really one single aspect we can pick out. The people were so friendly and cheerful, the standard of some of the hotels we stayed in was excellent, others very good. It was a real joy seeing lots of new things and to experience climbing the Lion Rock at Sigiriya; visiting the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy, and Polonaruwa. Obviously to see the elephants in Yala, and our brief glimpse of a leopard along with the other animals was exciting together with our whale watching trip when we had several sightings of a blue whale and hundreds of dolphins. The many species of birds, many of them seen for the first time, was the main reason for choosing this vacation, but generally the whole vacation was memorable and exciting.

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

Go along with the advice given and you will have a worry free very enjoyable trip. Our trip was organised by Prasanjith Caldera, and our guide/driver was Upali Nisanka and we couldn't have wished for a better combination. Upali is incredibly knowledgeable about his country, and pointed out so many things along the way that we learned a great deal. Allow them to lead you, they know what they are talking about.

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

When we stopped for lunch en route we called at small local cafes etc., our jeep driver in Yala and Bundala were local people, we stopped at roadside stalls for fruit and small shops for drinks. One of our hotels in particular, the Sigiriya Village Hotel is very conservation minded, as is the Ranweli Vacation Village, and so yes, we did feel that we were making the right impact on the country. Sri Lanka needs the revenue brought in by tourism and to vacation in the manner we did, ensures that the income goes to the local people and not large tourism organisations.

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

This was the most fantastic vacation. I was not that keen on going, but my husband is a very keen birder and he really wanted to go. I am now so glad he persuaded me, and will definitely visit Sri Lanka again, and Prasanjith Caldera will be the person we would want to organise it for us. If you want to try Sri Lanka to see the wildlife and wonderful cultural sites do not hesitate to go with this operartor I thought the best vacation we have ever been on was a cruise down the River Nile in Egypt, but this one has definitely equalled it.

review 15 May 2013

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

Most of it was very stimulating. Yala National Park is one of the best parks I have been to, despite the state of the appalling roads that one must use to travel through it.

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

Sri Lanka and southern India are both excellent venues for those interested in wildlife. We have excellent vehicles, excellent drivers and great guides who knew so much about the flora, fauna, farming practices, local economy and culture that we came away feeling that we had learned a great deal and that most of our questions were comprehensively answered.

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

I think that our vacation ticked all of these boxes and the local people were almost to a person very helpful and friendly.

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

This was a really excellent vacation. We had fun, we were stimulated, we were educated and we made good friends with our locals who showed us their country. We also feel that we had excellent value for money with two locals, a new vehicle, most meals, all entrance fees and other extras included for a very inexpensive daily rate.

review 2 Mar 2013

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

The most memorable was the smiles of all the people in Sri Lanka whom we passed in our bird walks and the children who got all excited and waved and called to us. The most exciting was seeing men up in palm trees collecting sap.

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

Do not have expectations re what you are going to see if you are going for nature. If you are going for culture, you'll be wowed by all the temples.

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

I think it definitely benefited local people as the employees of the hotels were local; the places we stopped at to eat were local; our guide and driver are Sri Lankans; the occasional tips to locals.

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

It was great and our guide, Jith, was an incredible birder, funny, and generous. He went out of is way to respond to our needs and wants.

review 19 Dec 2012

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

2 weeks birding in Sri Lanka with a truly professional local guide made the entire experience both memorable and exciting. Any true birder would probably be appalled at the idea of returning home relaxed and refreshed - for us the whole point was to return exhausted and inspired, and this we did. We have relaxed and been refreshed since returning home.

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

Just do it. The operator knows how to put a good programme together. If you think you have a better suggestion it can be accommodated. Be prepared for the early starts which are really necessary (and some late finishes). Take an alarm clock. Sleeping pills will not be necessary. You will enjoy it.

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

The entire vacation was managed and delivered by local people with none of the frequently experienced evidence of larger multi national companies creaming off profits from the community. All vacations must have a degree of environmental impact but I think we trod very lightly and would hope that the degree of contact with local people had a positive benefit.

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

This was a truly excellent vacation. 200+ bird species (and birding in the rain forest is hard work) as well as an interesting range of accommodation from the sublime to the shall we say 'unusually interesting' gave us a sense of the real Sri Lanka.

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