KIA Lanka Travels Reviews
We’ve just used the car service and it was amazing. Mr. Suneth it’s an amazing man and a great driver. We took the service from Kandy to Unawatuna and we had a really pleasant experience. Totally... more »
We first met Dinesh at the Temple of the Tooth, politely advising us that we were quite late to the ceremony and it wouldn’t be worth the money as it was so busy, he gave us his card and we looked... more »
(Too long; didn’t read summary:) After a successful multi-day trip in Sri Lanka with Dinesh of KIA Lanka Travels, I’m planning another one with him, which is my best recommendation. On the just completed trip I had a day trip with a follow on 9 day, overnight driving trip through the central and southern parts of the country. Longer review: I had a 10 day driving trip as the only traveler with Dinesh of KIA Lanka Travels in November, 2018. This was a return to Sri Lanka after a visit 15 years ago, pre tsunami, so some things were new and there were also return visits. For this trip I traveled solo. This 2018 trip was a great experience and an itinerary I plan on doing again when I can get on Dinesh’s schedule. For calibration, I’m an older, mid range traveler, with extensive solo experience, especially in Asia. I was targeting hotels in the US$40/night range, including breakfast. I like Sri Lankan food and asked that we generally have Sri Lankan food for all meals, focusing on the national rice and curry assortment for dinner. We generally skipped lunch, but sometimes had snacks. Usually Dinesh and I ate together. As a trial outing, which I recommend, we did a single day trip from Kandy to the Sigiriya and Dambulla Cave Temple sites. During this trip we discussed a tentative schedule, which we ended up revising several times. Dinesh is a reliable, safe driver, which is a major factor since Sri Lankan drivers in general aren’t particularly safe. His car is a newer, air conditioned, comfortable hybrid, suitable for up to 3 total adult clients. He said that if he had 4 or more clients, he’d get a mini van. All in all, it was a great trip and was nicely facilitated by Dinesh. My recommendations: -Try a day trip from Kandy first to Sigiriya and Dambulla, to make sure the interpersonal chemistry is good and everyone’s expectations are aligned. -Except on the few expressways, expect slow travel by road. -Be clear on expectations for hotels and restaurants. For hotels, be clear on rates, facilities, whether credit cards are ok, and whether meals are included or extra. -Negotiate the guide daily rate in advance for both one day and multi-day trips. I tipped at the end, as well. We traded off on incidental expenses like snacks. -Be clear on the amount of activity you’re willing to do. There can be a lot of walking in hot, humid weather, some shoeless. At Polonnaruwa you can rent a bicycle and bike on mostly shady, lightly trafficked roads, but this may not be for everyone. -ATMs may limit the amount of cash you can take out, so estimate well and get cash before it’s needed. -Scam factor: I never felt I was steered to shops where Dinesh would get a commission. Otherwise I was rarely approached by scammers, which was quite different than my earlier trip. -Though we went to Trincomalee, it’s missable. Sea is rough in November. -Galle needs two nights. Stay in the fort area and avoid the foreigner restaurants, which are overpriced. -You may want to spend a couple of nights in Colombo at the beginning of your trip. You can take Uber from the airport to your hotel and within the Colombo area. Then take the train from Colombo Fort station to Kandy, where you can meet Dinesh or another driver. Buy a train ticket as early as possible. There are some good AirBnB opportunities in Colombo. I stayed in the Cinnamon Gardens area at the Black Cat B&B, recommended.
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