Quentin and Kate Hulm

Sri Lanka 16 nights & Maldives 4 nights

- August 2019 -

Overall review: We just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our tour of Sri Lanka with Mohan and all the super hotels and experiences we enjoyed. I know that this is your bread and butter in terms of your knowledge and insight about Sri Lanka but of course so new and different for us never having travelled anywhere in Asia before. It really was the holiday of a lifetime. We loved everything about our trip. The itinerary was well planned and we never felt we spent too much time in the car. We appreciated the variety of terrain and things to do that were part of our tour. I would feel wistful leaving lovely places but excited to see the next! Mohan was great...a really safe pair of hands and very thoughtful. So very many thanks again for all the brilliant choices and organisation.

How were your hotels?: I think I have said in my email about how much we enjoyed all our hotels. Even the more standard hotel in Kandy had a lovely roof top pool and a great view. The staff in all our hotels were diligent and professional and extremely welcoming. The facilities in all hotels were of a high standard. Perhaps guests going to Fort Bazaar should know they currently do not have a liquor license but they will help you order it in! Also there is provision made there to use the Jet Wing hotel pool or 41 Lighthouse which was a lovely surprise. The Maldives was simply idyllic and we were lucky I think with the weather at the time we went; only one rainy thundery afternoon when we enjoyed just hanging out in Helen's Bar sipping lovely drinks. The snorkelling was incredible...and Luisa the manager of Oblu a complete star over a misunderstanding about their fine dining! The night we booked was a buffet night in the fine dining area and this wasn't clear. The other buffet is so good we were a bit surprised that it was pretty much the same only with lobster included. Anyway it was sorted very happily by the man in charge on the evening but Luisa wanted to see us the next day and gave us another fine dining experience on our last evening with bells on. I have written and thanked her. They did not have to do it at all but it was absolutely amazing. An incredible last evening and she was so gracious about us having nothing but good memories of our stay.

How were your excursions?: A great variety of different excursions was a pleasure especially loved the Perahera. Both Quentin and I think that probably the Perahera in Kandy was the most unique and special human led event we have have ever been lucky enough to witness. However, the whole holiday was simply magical. We were very glad we asked Mohan to stop at Dambulla Cave Temple...an optional excursion for us but really a must see in the area we were in. The safaris were all great ...each feeling quite different from the last. We loved seeing the elephant gathering. We also loved the cookery class at Gal Oya.

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How was your Chauffeur-Guide?: We were very grateful for safe and reliable Mohan who made everything run so smoothly for us and looked after us so well and thoughtfully. We cannot speak highly enough of Mohan. I think initially we thought he was a little reserved but with hindsight this was him being very careful for the holiday to be mine and Quentin's and not one for 3 people! He so thoughtfully organised a lovely lunch in Madulkelle for use after our guided walk ...it was a real highlight for me. He really wanted us to have a lovely time and we did. Have already said he was a great driver especially where there was crazy roadworks or simply very busy and different to UK driving. The thing we are sad about is not getting a picture with lovely Mohan!

How were your flights?: All flights were good. We both liked flying with Sri Lankan. Food was good especially the curry options. We were fortunate not to have any delays and everything ran smoothly.

What's your best memory of the trip?: Well too many really. The sight, sound and smell of the Perahera for sure but also jumping into the fish aquarium that is the se around Oblu too. Being hustled in Colombo but I loved our crazy first Tuk Tuk rude! Understanding more about Buddhism and the wonderful temples we saw everywhere. Rounding the corner at Kaudulla national park to see literally a hundred elephants against a backdrop of blue and green. The elephants who wandered up to our jetp in Yala. The sught and sounds of the birds of Sri Lanka. Looking up at Monkey Mountain as the sun set while drinking a gin and tonic. The hustle and bustle of Ella and the train whistle. The beauty of the mountains and tea plantations in Madulkelle. Dusk in Galle Fort and the lighthouse on the sea. Sorry ....hard to pick a best when there were so many highs!

How was your trip overall?: Excellent

Could we have served you any better?: We had not understood about alcohol restrictions in Kandy during Perahera or on Poya days ...as lots of Western tourists appeared not to so perhaps making that clear to people in future would be helpful for them. It was not a problem just a surprise not to be able to order a beer in Kandy! It's probably on your small print somewhere but perhaps a footnote to itinerary would be good.

Any ideas on what we could do differently to make our travel service even better?: See idea above. We thought your travel information pack was really good especially with what to tip. We had not got dollars before we left UK and thought we'd be able to pick up in Male airport foreign exchange. This is not possible so again perhaps useful to tell future clients. Our tips for Oblu staff had to be given in Maldivian currency as that's all we could get in Male.

It honestly was a holiday of a lifetime and I'm still basking in its glow.

Good enough to recommend?: Yes

Would you travel with us again?: Yes

Sri Lanka

Maldives