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Advice for visiting Sri Lanka and Goa

(21 Posts)
jeanie99 Thu 12-Feb-15 10:53:49

I am in the throws of planning our next trip for 2016 and would love to hear from anyone who as visited these regions of the world.

Must see and does would be great.

These are our interests, temples, churches, architecture, getting close to the wild life, small towns and villages, forested areas and green places to walk, beach activities, love snorkeling.
I'm not sure whether to go on an organized tour or independently.

Brendawymms Thu 12-Feb-15 11:33:01

I have been to Shi Lanka but not Goa. It's very colourful and vibrant but also very dirty and disturbing. I buy material in Shi Lanka as it's cheap and fine.
Personally I would go on an organised tour as I like the certainty they offer. However if you like to be adventurous then either hiring a car or a car and driver is fairly cheap. Be very careful of pickpockets, as with any tourist area.

Also personally I hated Northern India so much I would not return but I believe Goa is very different.

Decide where you want to go and have a look on trip advisor.

Jane10 Thu 12-Feb-15 11:46:54

Goshbrenda can I ask what it was about northern India that made you dislike it so much? Sorry. Don't mean to divert the thread but it was such a strong reaction! I'm keen to visit India but was slightly disturbed by these awful rapes. Not that I'm afraid of that -more the circumstances and implications for women there

jeanie99 Thu 12-Feb-15 12:54:26

I hadn't thought about hiring a car and driver, it's a thought.
Thank you

TriciaF Thu 12-Feb-15 13:48:10

I've been twice to SE India (son lives there) and once stopped overnight in Sri Lanka. Never been to Goa, but we visited Cochin which isn't far away.
I was going to visit again last summer, as son had an accident, but had to give up because of the nightmare of trying to get a visa. The system had changed since my previous visit.
The night in Sri lanka was lovely, but we didn't explore.
India - I could write a book! It's a country of opposites, eg extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Extreme beauty and extreme ugliness. The traffic shock
Son lives on top of a 7000ft mountain, a Hill Station, so once you get there it's lovely. You would enjoy the scenery and walks:

pinkannie Thu 12-Feb-15 16:13:12

Haven't yet been to Sri Lanka but planning a trip later this year. In answer to Jane 10 - I absolutely love India - yes its a country of contrasts and it is hot, dirty, smelly but is also vibrant, colourful and simply magic. North India is much more 'full on' southern India is more laid back. Taj Mahal is not over rated and Varanassi is not to be missed. In southern India the temples at Madurai are amazing. Yes its a busy bustly country but as long as you keep your wits about you its fine. I have certainly never felt threatened or uncomfortable.

TriciaF Thu 12-Feb-15 16:37:00

The temples at Madurai are certainly wonderful, we visited or passed through there several times. Once there was a festival for one of their gods and families were trekking on foot for miles to pay their respects.
I should have added that the Indian people are very warm and friendly and exuberant, from whatever class they come - the caste system still exists. With a great sense of humour. Most speak english.

jeanie99 Fri 13-Feb-15 09:59:50

Hi everyone, thank you for your responses.

We have traveled in India but not the region of Goa, this was the area I was researching for the trip.
I was under the impression it was very different to the rest of India. I had a colleague who holidayed there many times but am not in touch with her now since retirement.

TriciaF Fri 13-Feb-15 11:11:50

Son and DIL and their family go there every year for their December holiday, good sea swimming.
It seems to be a very cosmopolitan place, not typically Indian.
If you need more info, I'm sure DIL would tell you all about it, I could give you their contact details. Her mother met them there once and enjoyed it, but I don't fancy it.

jeanie99 Fri 13-Feb-15 12:29:14

Hi TriceaF
These are our interests, temples, churches, architecture, getting close to the wild life, small towns and villages, forested areas and green places to walk, beach activities, love snorkeling.
I'm not sure whether to go on an organized tour or independently but we would ideally like a mix of a tour and a beach stay.

If your DIL could give us some ideas based on our interests that would be great, even a website for a touring company.

India is not for everyone TriceaF it is a culture shock to Westerners but Goa could be a toned down India if you know what I mean.

Brendawymms Fri 13-Feb-15 13:07:01

Jane10. There were 27 on our trip in northern India and Napal. 25 of us had severe stomach bugs and we journeyed from one chemists to the next. In Valanasi we got up very early to watch the sun rise over the Gangies. The cremations did not trouble me but the blackened bodies tethered in the river did but I understood the customs behind it. What got to me however, the straw that broke the camels back, was the group of Lepers who grabbed at us as we climbed the steps from the river and would not let go until given money.
Moving into Napal showed us such a cultural different picture.

Jane10 Fri 13-Feb-15 15:20:26

Oooh Brenda I see your point. I wouldn't fancy that much!

TriciaF Tue 17-Feb-15 07:05:00

Jeanie - I haven't been able to contact son and dil yet, phone and internet contact can be difficult where they are.

Carolynswalsh Fri 15-May-15 15:01:17

We travel to Goa every year,it has a wonderful climate,hot but not humid and there is usually a good breeze on the beach.I find the sea quite rough and there is often an undertow so although competent in water I am careful.
India is not for everyone you either love it or hate it.Always travel with a loo roll,torch and universal sink plug!You need to be a Tolerant kind of
person and take things as you find them.
I think a place not to be missed is Hampi,the ruins of an ancient kingdom.To get the most out of this you need to stay in Hampi and as this is a World Heritage site there are no hotels so the accomodation is rather basic think backpackeri.It is a train ride from Goa but worth it.

whitewave Fri 15-May-15 16:06:38


Liz46 Fri 15-May-15 16:58:06

We went to Sri Lanka quite a few years ago (before the tsunami). The people were very welcoming and the children gorgeous. The roads were poor although they may have improved now. The trips started early in the morning and ended late.

We have been to Goa ten times. The north tends to be busier and more touristy and the south is quieter. I would not advise swimming in the sea. We loved The Holiday Inn in South Goa but it has become noisy with conferences and Indian weddings so we have stopped going. We tried North Goa but found that there were some English 'lager louts'. I think that now there are direct flights people who would perhaps have gone to The Canaries now try Goa. Goa is India with a gentle Portugese influence and the food is lovely.

Micky Flanagan, the comedian, did a very good sketch on 'The Shits abroad'. He had been to Benidorm so thought he would be fine in India!

magpie123 Fri 15-May-15 18:33:49

I have been to Sri Lanka on a two week all inclusive package to Negombo which was OK but not enough to do for two weeks so we hired a driver and car from for a 5 nights trip away from our hotel, we visited The Pinnewala Elephant Sanctuary which I would thoroughly recommend, Sigirya’s Rock Fortress, Dambulla’s cave paintings and Buddha statues, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy (where buddha's tooth is) and The Kandy Perehara, we went on an elephant safari, also visited a Tea Plantation where we stayed in a converted tea warehouse. They arranged all our accommodation for us It was the best holiday and country I have ever visited really interesting.

zangxuma Sat 16-May-15 19:27:27

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loopylou Sat 16-May-15 19:39:09


Maggiemaybe Sun 17-May-15 19:19:53

We went to Sri Lanka four years after the tsunami, for a one week tour followed by a week all inclusive at a beach hotel. The tour was great - we'd expected to be in a minibus party of 8, but when we arrived we were the only 2 booked on the tour so had our own driver for the week. Our itinerary was practically the same as magpie's, and very interesting. We were the only couple climbing Sigriya Rock, and the only guests at the St Andrew's Hotel at Nuwara Eliya, where we had a taste of how life was lived by the old colonials. Everyone we met was so friendly and we learnt a lot about the country from our driver. The beach week wasn't really our thing, but gave us time to relax, and I must say the Sri Lankan food is some of the best I've ever had. Our driver was pulled over many times by soldiers or the police for searches, but once they can show they're carrying foreign tourists, drivers are waved on. The Sri Lankans were very keen for us to recommend the country to get their tourist industry back on track after the devastation of the tsunami and the civil war, and I'm more than happy to do so.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 16-Jun-15 09:30:13

Went to Sri Lanka at Easter - amazing place. Our favourite things were Sighiriya, the caves at Dambulla, seeing wild elephants in the eco park. So much to see and do, And the food is amazing