Sri Lanka and Maldives vacations

“A tailor made trip to both Sri Lanka and Maldives. Nine days of chauffeur driven luxury in Sri Lanka. Five days of speed boat driven luxury in the Maldives. Paradise.”

Highlights

Polonnaruwa | Sigiriya | Kandy | Bogawantalawa valley | Tea plantations | Jeep safari Minneriya National Park | Stay at iconic Geoffrey Bawa eco hotel , Sri Lanka | Five nights at Angsana Ihuru, Maldives

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements although we do not offer trips for under 10 days
Our top tip:
Pack for all weathers. And eat in real places not just hotels. Street food curries are the best.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Solos:
Not advised for solo travelers as cost prohibitive.
Accomm:
Small, family run guesthouses.
Included:
Flights, speedboat transfers in Maldives, transport, entrance fees, activities, paradise.
Meals:
Breakfasts included, although half/full board is possible. The food is delicious wherever you go.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
We actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka and Maldives. By working closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development.

Guides
We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

Restaurants & accommodation
We encourage travelers to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food. We actively promote small family-run guesthouses that employ local workers, or in the case of larger hotels, locally owned establishments.

Environmental projects
Behind the success of Angsana Ihuru lies the untold story of a steely faith in the power of environmental conservation. Environmental considerations were taken into account long before the resort was actually built. It was imperative that the villas on this fascinating island surrounded by shallow crystalline waters were built without damaging the beautiful coral reefs surrounding it. The solution was to transfer thatched roofs and other pre-fabricated building materials brought in from Indonesia to small boats and barges that could navigate the shallow waters without threatening its delicate marine life.

Such dedication to eco-conservation has since extended to the many marine conservation projects initiated by Angsana Ihuru, which pioneered marine biology research initiatives including turtle and coral projects particularly well received among resort guests. The resort was honoured with the first Maldivian Environment Preservation Award in 1996 and the President of the Maldives Green Resort Award in 2002. Indeed, in every aspect of the resortís operations, the effects on the environment are given due consideration. For instance, to prevent oil spillage into the sea, fuel to power the resortís generator is pumped directly into the storage tank via a 300-m long oil pipe installed along the jetty so that oil tankers would not have to come too close to shore.

To preserve the ecological balance on the island, scarce water is not extracted from the underground water table but obtained by the ecologically friendly alternative of desalination. And instead of using environmentally harmful pesticides in the resortís thriving herb and vegetable garden, chickens are reared to control the islandís insect population. It is precisely such a holistic approach to conservation that makes Angsana Ihuru truly eco-friendly.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Community-led projects
The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (an independent charitable organisation) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every vacation booked.

Climate

9 Reviews of Sri Lanka and Maldives vacations

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 23 Feb 2020 by

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


The whole exposure to the adventure, culture, history and way of life in
Sri Lanka coupled with the total relaxation of the Maldives. Elephant
safari, tea plantation, curry cooking, sea plane transfer and reef
snorkelling were all highlights.

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


Choose as high end hotel as you can afford.
Make sure that you have a driver / guide in Sri Lanka - ours was brilliant.
Be aware that it will effectively takes a day to transfer from Sri Lanka to a
resort in the Maldives. Be aware that Maldives use a reef time, which is one hour ahead of Male. Look carefully at the direction that the selected villa faces in terms of sun exposure time of day and likely cooling breeze direction.
Be aware that All Inclusive on the Sun Aqua Villu Reef is not really 'all'
inclusive and that you may have to pay a very high price for selected
dining and drinks. Be sure to look at the view of any adjacent islands to your selected resort. This one overlooks an island on the reef side which has a communication antenna structure and storage buildings that are less idilic than you may expect.

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


In Sri Lanka, yes. The April '19 bombings had clearly hurt the tourist
trade and they are struggling to recover. It is perfectly safe now, at least as
safe as any of us are in Europe, so we would encourage people to visit to
experience this wonderful country. In the Maldives, there is clearly a plastic pollution issue and I suspect that our trip did not help the situation.

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


Fantastic, and unforgettable experience. It leaves us wanting to return as
soon as possible!

Reviewed on 02 Feb 2019 by

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


Meeting the Sri Lankan people, seeing a leopard in Yala national park, staying in very interesting unusual accommodation.

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


Use a small tour operator like this one who can tailor your vacation to your requirements. Go early to busy tourist sites.

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


Yes, to an extent. The hotels were all very "green", reducing plastic waste, using local foodstuffs, employing local people etc. Our local guide was very good. Our only gripe really was with the bad management of the national parks, particularly Yala, which felt like an overcrowded theme park, with the wildlife being exploited for commercial profit.

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


Excellent.

Reviewed on 23 Apr 2017 by

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


Staying in Ella and walking in the hill country and snorkelling in the Maldives.

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


Be very specific in your requirements as we felt there was a limited amount of time we had to ourselves in certain locations e.g. Kandy. We asked if we could
be met later and that did not happen. The planning and timing was too rigid.

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


Yes i believe so, although several large hotels were used, where a more local hotel or accommodation would have been more appropriate.

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


Very good, loved the Maldives.

Reviewed on 19 May 2012 by

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


The most memorable part of our vacation was snorkelling in the Maldives. It was amazing to see sharks, fish and sea turtles on the reef. It was a surreal experience.

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


I would suggest to try the local curries and road side stalls in Sri Lanka. The food was amazing. Also take a rain coat!

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


The vacation benefited local people. Our guide, Kapila, was great. Very experienced and knowledgeable. He looked after us very well.

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


Overall, I would rate our vacation 10/10. We had a great time in all the countries we visited, the locals were very friendly and hospitable.

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2011 by

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


Flying in a seaplane over the Maldives and landing in the lagoon by Filitheyo Island where we spent an amazing week!

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


Make sure you book some days (ideally a week) at the end of the Sri Lanka tour to relax. The tour was amazing, but there was quite a lot of traveling by car which does wear you out. We had a week in the Maldives at the end which was amazing, but a few days on a beach in the South of Sri Lanka would also be a good option.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Well, our guide was local which was good. The hotels were generally part of large chains, but of course all employees were local and most food etc seemed to be locally sourced. Not so sure about minimising environmental impact, flying thousands of miles and staying on a desert island where everything has to be shipped in will never be the most environmentally friendly vacation!

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


Amazing, wonderful - wish we could do it all again next year!

Reviewed on 06 Sep 2011 by

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


Maldives beach/food/diving - Ceylon tee trails - lavender house - Kalundewa retreat.

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


Do not underestimate the time needed to travel from 1 point to another in Sri Lanka. Do not book Serene Pavilions.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I suppose it allows them to make a better living through work and tipping.

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


Very happy with our vacation, certainly related to the quality of the different guest houses.

Reviewed on 16 Jan 2011 by

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


Sri-Lanka - Being with our tour guide Niroshan who totally made our vacation because of his thoughtfulness and consideration to our needs.

Maldives
The beauty and serenity of the whole island.

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


Sri-Lanka.
Ask for Niroshan as your guide.

Maldives.
Don't bother taking any shoes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

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


5 star.

Reviewed on 23 Apr 2010 by

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


We can say we had 2 most memorable part of our vacation:
- the climb of Adam's peak: started at 2am to reach the top before sunrise, it was an amazing experience. Only few tourists but thousands of Sri Lankan Buddists on Pilgrimage. The atmosphere was very unique. And when you see grandchildrenís carrying their grandparents to the top of the 5000 steps, you remember that your life is not that difficult!
- The Paradise in the Maldives: a postcard everywhere you look, this place is paradise on earth!!

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


John from the tour operator organized an amazing itinerary, but sometimes you want to tailor yourself when you get there, don't hesitate!!! Our driver guide was really flexible and had very good suggestions, he was really trying to plan according to how we felt.

Your guide will try to bring you to "local shops" (it means where he would get commissions...), it is part of the culture in Sri Lanka, so don't be offended. However, if you want him to help you to get good deals, tell him how much you're willing to pay for something and tell him that if he get a better price the difference is for him. Otherwise, the more you pay in the shop the more commission he gets, so he would be on "the shop side" :-)

In terms of hotels, try to choose the small ones, the staff will be much more friendly!!! The Ceylan tea trail has only 4 rooms so if you want breakfast at 2pm, it won't be a problem at all, you really felt at home!!!

Also, get lots of 50 and 100 ruppies notes!!! You need to tip everywhere...

If you think that 5 days in the Maldives can be long doing nothing, you re wrong!! After 10 days in Sri Lanka doing lots because there is so much to see, you'll love the beach side!!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


All the hotels we went to were clearly trying to be eco-friendly, they tried to minimise their impacts on sceneries by using local materials and trying to be as hidden as possible.

In terms of benefits on local people, we are not really sure, because you could tell our trip benefited to a few, but all tourists were going to the same places, the same restaurants, the same elephants rides... obviously some people have organized their business.

You could also tell that your guide was slightly worried to take you to places he'd never been for a meal for example.But because it is not packed with tourists everywhere yet, you can feel you re enjoying part of the Sri Lankan life.

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


This vacation was just amazing!!!

John from the tour operator obviously knows Sri Lanka, and Pathi, our guide, loves his country! Sri Lanka has a lot to offer, it has very different landscapes and people are usually very friendly!!

The Maldives: close your eyes and imagine the most amazing beaches ever, this is it!! And when you wake up and this is all you can see from your villa, it is just paradise!!

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2010 by

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


We chose Sri Lanka and this tour operator for our honeymoon. Memorable or exciting? Absolutely! Where to start....We really liked this tour operator, they are a small business. John and Tracey were really helpful before we left and in Sri Lanka we thought our tour guide and driver, Sena was excellent. We were blown away by the Heritance Kandalama in Dambulla and loved our room and the infinite swimming pool in this hotel. Sri Lanka is teeming with animals and bird life and our other highlight was the trip to the national park, where we saw wild elephants bathing, saw spotted deer, as well as many rare and exotic birds. We went on a tour of a tea factory, whilst staying at the tea trails. The tour was given by an experienced planter who was passionate about tea-making and treated us to a tasting afterwards. The setting of our bungalow overlooking the lake on tea trails was amazing. We loved the hotel in Kandy which was an old colonial mansion, the meals at the Kandy House were superb. The beaches in Southern Sri Lanka are beautiful, we really enjoyed sipping cocktails on the beach and swimming in the sea, in Unawatuna.

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


Take good mosquito repellant! Pack clothing for a variety of temperatures (from high heat on beaches close to the equator, to temperate cooler places in the tea-growing hills). The nice thing about this tour operator was that the itinerary which they provided took in the highlights of Sri Lanka with enough relaxation time in between. Although Sri Lanka is a small island it takes time to get to places as the roads are not always good- so we would recommend not trying to fit too much traveling in.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


All of the hotels employed local people, and most of the hotels were small businesses. Our tour guide Sena was passionate about supporting local businesses and careful about the disposal of rubbish and water bottles. We visited a turtle hatchery in Southern Sri Lanka which is a conservation project that looks after some of the indigenous turtle species in Sri Lanka, our fee and tips went towards the project. We were impressed by how pristine clean some of the beaches and other habitats were. Overall we were saddened by how quiet Sri Lanka, even coming into peak season, appeared to be. Many of the people depend on tourism for their livelihood however it seems that a recession, the war, and previously the tsunami have adversely impacted on the tourist economy. We hope that the end of the war will start to bring people back to this beautiful country.

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


This was an amazing destination for our honeymoon. In the twelve days that we were there we took in tea plantations, forests, national parks, and beaches but had a really relaxing time. We loved all of the hotels which were destinations in themselves. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with friendly, welcoming people.

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