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Old 20-11-2006, 03:28   #1 (permalink)
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Sri Lanka

I am heading to Sri Lanka in a weeks time and was wondering if anyone has any tips on 'must see' places to see and photograph. Any tips on equipment security would be great. Thanks
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Old 20-11-2006, 15:26   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Hi Jason,

I've just found this forum and spotting your post made me join up. So it's your fault that I'm going to be spending even more time in an online forum!!!

Sri Lanka is a fantastic place. I just wish that when I went back in February that I'd of hand more of the kit I now have. I could of made much more of the experience.

The thing that shocked me really was just how poor a country it is. I realised that it's classed as 3rd world country but nothing really prepares you for just how much of a step down it is from your nice westernised lifestyle. Saying that the people are far from what you would expect. They are incredibly proud, kind and willing to help. They realise that, after the tsunami, they need to keep people coming to their island as they rely so much on tourism. The industry has been hit but hopefully that will recover in time.

The island itself as you know has had a rather jaded past with regards to its civil wars but to be honest if you're in a tourist area you won't notice it. However, don't be too shocked by the Machine gun nests lining the roads of the airport entrance!!! There are also military checkpoints along the road. More frequent as you get further North. My advice would be to get yourself a copy of the World Traveller book about Sri Lanka as it explains the do's and don't far better than I can. In short it's a case of common sense. Don't flash gear around and you won't invite problems.

Places to go... well, to be honest there is just SO much to see that you'll have a hard time fitting it in. We did a 2 day tour of the centre of the island which encorporated a stop off in Kandy (the old capital). There's so much to see in the city itself that you really do need to organise this through a guide!

We were advised before going by a friend that we should book our tour through the hotel as it would be cheaper. I agree it was, but the hard sell we received from them (as opposed to NONE from the tour operator) really put us off. As it turned out paying that bit extra really was worth very penny. If we'd of listened to our friends and the reviews on the net we'd never of met Jerome.

The guy was an absolute star! Not only was he incredibly knowledgeable about everything from flora and fauna, the history of the island and even my local football team, but the passion and effort he put into the tour was incredible.

What I wouldn't of missed:

1) The elephant sanctuary (lunch overlooking the river with the elephants bathing is an amazing experience).

2) The temple of the tooth (Budha) in Kandy.

3) The Botanical gardens in Kandy. Make sure you have a LOOOONG lens as the fruitbat perch very high up in the trees. Also worth taking a macro for the orchid house.

4) The Citidel of Sigiriya is a hell of a climb but trust me, the view from the top is out of this world!!!

5) Take in a tea plantation as well. Being a Brit this is the first time I've ever got bac from a holiday and NOT wanted a cup of tea. Out there it's like nectar!

6) We didn'tdo it in the end but a trip up to the high country sounded fantastic (it's a VERY long drive though).

In all honesty you can't really go wrong. It's a holiday and photography paradise!

Just try not to get too scared by the driving!




Nathan

Last edited by Nathan; 20-11-2006 at 15:36.
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Old 20-11-2006, 21:33   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

G'day Nathan,

Thanks for sharing some of your experience and tips on what i think will be a pretty amazing trip. Having only ever travelled through Europe i am sure this will be quite an eye opener. Sigiriya seems to be a much talked about place, and is on the list to check out. Thanks again.
Sorry mate, but i think you will be spending a LOT more time online now that you have found this site. This site is awesome and i hope you get as much from it as I have. Welcome.
looking forward to sharing some of my own experiences and sharing some of the pics from the trip.

Cheers
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Old 20-11-2006, 22:04   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Jason,

I'll dig out a few photos in the morning and post them.

Can I ask where abouts you're staying on the island?
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Old 21-11-2006, 03:51   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the wonderful introduction of Sri Lanka. I hope Jason will be able to get some cool set of photos.

BTW, at the moment we’re experiencing bit of rainy climate is here Jason. Some days, 3-5 hours continuous shower is there. Few lakes and tanks are overflowing and due to that some of the low lands are flooded. Also few landslides reported on the hill country area too.

So if you’re planning to visit hill country cities like
“Bandarawela”,
“Nuwara Eliya”,
“Ella”,
“Badulla” or
places like “Horton Plains” and “Hakgala” Botanical garden,
or Devon, St. Clair, Ravana, Dunhinda, Bakers, Diyaluma or Bambarakanda Waterfalls (Well there are lot of Waterfalls but I just mentioned the major ones),
travel with caution.

But if you’re traveling with an experienced travel agent, he’ll guide you well to avoid trouble areas. Anyway please make sure you have enough protection to your valued equipment from Rain and bit of high moisture. Especially I advise you to have a good rain gear. The monsoon season we’re experiencing now is not that difficult with high winds, but continuous rain can be expected at any time of the day.

Following link is an article about Horton Plains (FYI) JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE WORLD: Sri Lanka's Horton Plains

Apart from the list Nathan provided, we have Yala, Minneriya, Kawdulla, Wasgamuwa and Uda Walawe wild life parks where you can see lot of wild elephants and other animals like peacocks, deer and crocodiles. If you’re really lucky you can see wild leopards at Yala as well.
Sri Lankan Wild life Parks Virtual Library - Sri Lanka - WILD LIFE, FAUNA & FLORA

And down south beaches also a wonderful place to relax 
I think Sri Lanka holidays and hotel booking service have more information about places.

Hot Air Ballooning also available if you feel lazy to climb the Sigiriya Rock Adventure Asia Int. Sri Lanka


I’m just a beginner for Photography but if you have enough time just have a look on my photo page; you’ll find few of the places I describe above.
Beautiful Sri Lanka - a photoset on Flickr

Wish you all the Best Jason.

Thilina
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Old 21-11-2006, 08:50   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Oh regarding the rain.. I can certainly vouch for that!

We went to a cultural show when in Kandy which at the end included a display of fire walking. Well, just as the indoor show was about to start the heavens opened! I've been t many places in the world and have seen monsoon rain before, but this was on an entirely different scale!!!

The funny thing was, with the rain you'd think the fire walking would be cancelled? Oh no, they simply poured PETROL on the fire to stop it from going out!

I'm in meetings all morning but I will try my best to post some pictures after lunch.
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Old 21-11-2006, 11:01   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Hey Nathan,

Will be staying at the Taj Exotica in Bentota for the first 9 days as my wifes brother is getting married there. Bride, groom and all of the guests attending are from Edinburgh apart myself and Lucy my wife who now resides in the sunshine of Australia. Should be a laugh as we haven't seen them since we were both in Scotland last christmas.
We have spent the last few hours going over our plan of what we want to see and what we think we will be able to fit in....ahhhhh its to much !
I guess the plan is to do as much as we can using Bentota as a base for the first part and then get traveling as soon as the hangover from the wedding has worn off !
As for the fire walking...rain, petrol and human skin, sounds good to me.

Cheers

Jason
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Old 21-11-2006, 11:19   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Hi Thilina

Wow what a reponse. I have checked out the links and had a look at your pics, and let me tell you i can't wait to arrive. It looks amazing. Even if there is crazy weather.
The hot air ballooning sounds like my way to the top, although i am not all that good with heights at the best of times. See how we go. (chicken !)
We have been busily planning our trip and are counting down the sleeps till we arrive. 10 to go !
Thanks heaps for the info, both Lucy and I really appreciate it

Jason
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Old 22-11-2006, 07:42   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Great response guys to the original question. Thanks to everyone that has taken the time and put in the effort with such details.

Now you have made me want to visit
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Old 26-11-2006, 20:03   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Sri Lanka

Thili, if you are just a beginner, I am packing up right now! You have some wonderful shots there that really capture the beauty of your country. I really enjoyed looking through them, thanks.

Rob
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