Remember me!! One time forum admin of TP!
Anyway still travelling & going to Sri Lanka in November. Spending 8 days travelling around centre - Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe & Galle. Then 7 days chill out coastal resort at Katuturunda.
Indeed doing some hiking Worlds End/Adams Peak too.
But any recommendations?? Not to be missed?
What about food? Local specialities food & drinks?
Also am I right in assuming we should take US dollars to covert whilst there? Are ATMs available in towns??
What should l be aware of?
You should have no problems finding and using an ATM in Sri Lanka. I use Commercial Bank. For branch locations, see this link: http://www.combank.net/newweb/branch-network.
Any interest in visiting Anuradhapura? It's the second-most holy site in Sri Lanka; home to a cutting of the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha was enlightened. The Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, India, is from a cutting of the Sri Lanka tree.
I saw elephants at Kaudulla National Park. The elephants also migrate to another park nearby, so check with rangers to see which park has the most. I spent four days in Yala National Park; but saw no leopards. But I did see other animals, including hornbills. There are some very nice beaches in Galle and surrounding areas.
Do not miss the excellent seafood; and try the different teas while visiting the plantations. Hope this helps.
P.S. I plan to return to Sri Lanka next year to visit friends there.
I have been to Lanka 6 months ago. It's a beautiful country.
First get currencies converted, do not do it in the Airport. They charge you so much as a service fee and the difference is too much. Getting Visa on arrival is cheaper with USD. 7-day visa.
You won't need US currency once you're out of the airport. Some airport shops accept only USD. So having some USD will help you. But convert the rest to LKR. No local shops and transport would accept USD. And breaking it into small denominations would help you pay the exact amount and right amount of tipping. ATMs are available throughout the city. You can bring the cash to avoid ATM fees and abnormal currency conversion gaps. For me personally, 1000 USD worth of LKR would be enough to enjoy the 8 days in Lanka.
Get your local SIM, Airtel or Dialog. You just have to provide your passport copy (sometimes, also a passport size photograph). The SIM costs you 1 USD. 30 days validity (can be extended). You can get 1 GB 3 data for 2-3 USD. The call charges to local numbers are not worth mentioning, it's very cheap. International calls are cheaper too. You can save a lot.
You have got a nice list of places to visit. Negombo is in the outskirts of Colombo city. As Berner said, Anuradhapura (North to Dambulla) is a place that worth adding to the list, so is Bentota (on the way to Galle). Buddha temple in Kandy is worth every minute, not to be missed.
Sri Pada (adams peak) is going to be an adventure. You can reach the foothills of the peak by either Bus or Car. Bus is the cheaper option but you have a lot to compromise when it comes to comfort. Car is the next best option, may charge you anywhere between 3000 and 4000 LKR. It will take you almost 4-5 hours to reach the foothills, depending on the traffic conditions.
It will take you somewhere between 4-6 hours to reach the peak, again it depends on your fitness level. You have to be present on the top to witness the spectacular Sunrise. That's your victory!!! So, start your hiking by 12 Midnight. There are some tea shops on route. Leeches are going to be a little problem at this time of the year. If you avoid the bushes, you're unlikely to get sucked by those unfriendly parasites. It's better to wear a rain coat, warm clothes, and cover your feet with a good length of shoes.
(Only for the people who don't know)Tip: Carry a small amount of Cooking salt and turmeric, incase, you need to sprinkle it on the leeches to make it fall off. And you can apply a small piece of paper or antiseptic ointment on the bitten spot. 'Do not try to pull the leeches off from your skin'. The bleeding should stop in a few minutes if you keep the bitten part still. Always inspect your body if you had to come across bushes and grasses.
Food & Drinks
You can easily get Indian, American, Chinese foods in mid-level restaurants. Sri Lankan cuisine is tasty and cheaper than foreign cuisines. Sri Lankan food tastes and smells like Indian but different. Lankan food is a must try, especially Lankan Fish Curry. Seafoods!! I liked it. You have a lot of dishes to try and treat your taste buds. Drinks are available everywhere, it may not be as good as your favourite drinks. But It's all good to sip.
Just my two cents. lol
Have a safe and memorable trip! Enjoy