Arrival in the International Airport, Sri LankaPosted on May 21 in Colombo, Sri Lankaby ShelynPrint
I slept only one hour the day before flying to Sri Lanka. The departure time was at 6:15 a.m., so we had to reach airport by 4:15 a.m.. In other word, we had to leave the house at 3:00 in the freaking morning!
As usual, I packed my luggage very last minute, 4 hours before the leaving time to the airport. After done packing, it was already 1 a.m.. I couldn’t really sleep well with “OMG, I gonna wake up in 2 hours time” filled up my mind. When I finally fell asleep, the alarm clock rang.
It wasn’t a fun experience to wake up this early with so little sleep. That’s the cost for opting cheap flight. Airasia has only one flight to Sri Lanka daily, and it was scheduled at freaking odd hour.
We reached Colombo airport at 7:30a.m., Sri Lanka is 3 hours 30 minutes ahead Malaysia. Colombo airport is kinda small, it doesn’t have the top-name stores like LV, Gucci, Mont Blanc, Royal Selangor Pewter, and so on that we can find in KLIA airport. Instead, you can find many electronic shops selling television, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, etc.
So I went to one of the shops to order a refrigerator. I then asked the staff there…
Me: “Can I hand carry the refrigerator to the plane? My luggage is full.”
*Above conversation is a sheer fabrication*
Electronic shops in the airport
When I back to Malaysia, I asked almost every friend the same question:
“Guess what’s the first car I saw in Sri Lanka?”
“Car, not fruit!”
“Cherry QQ, you know? China car!”
“That’s CHERY! Wrong!”
No one can guess it right.
The first car I saw was Perodua VIVA wrapped with a huge ribbon! Didn’t know VIVA is popular in Sri Lanka
Upon exit Arrival Hall, there were several local travel agent counters at the arrival waiting hall. One of the travel agents approached us trying to introduce us the places in Sri Lanka. At first we were quite reluctant because we seldom engage travel agent in any of our trips. But the man who approached us was very enthusiastic that we decided to give it a shot to listen to what he would propose to us. He asked us a series of questions about our journey and the places in mind. We told him we will stay only 5 days in Sri Lanka and have booked 4 nights stay in Hilton Colombo, and we would like to visit Galle, Kandy, Sigiriya Rock and Udawalawe National Park. He then customized the itinerary as follow:
Day 1: Colombo city tour
Day2: 4 hours drive to Sigiriya Rock in the morning. 2 hours drive to Kandy in the evening. Overnight stay in Kandy.
Day 3: A sight seeing tour in Kandy. Return to Colombo in the evening.
Day 4: 3 hours drive to Galle. En-route pass by Manu River to take a river tour. Return Colombo in the evening.
Day 5: Transfer to the International Airport to board onward flight.
It isn’t the ideal itinerary but it’s the best customized itinerary to accommodate our 4 nights stay in Hilton Colombo. We made mistake to take the Flight + Hotel package from Airasia and paid off all 4 nights accommodation in Hilton Colombo. Due to the absence of highway in Sri Lanka and the chaotic traffic mainly due to most of the roads are one lane roads, the average speed limit of traffic within city limits is 50 – 60 km per hour, while it is up to 70 km per hour up in the countryside. So you can imagine why travel back and forth from one place to another is strongly discouraged in Sri Lanka.
We agreed on the itinerary and was initially charged USD390 which includes the fee for the gasoline, the driver as our tour guide, and one night accommodation in Kandy. We found that the price was quite high and finally haggled it down to USD340.
Some practical information that we learnt from Sri Lanka trip:
- When planning your itinerary, you can count on covering about 35km per hour in the Hill Country and 60km per hour in most of the rest of the country. Our driver drove no more than 60km per hour for the whole 5 days journey, despite the traffic was actually quite clear in some of the journey.
- The taxi fares are from Rs 2400 per day, including insurance, tax and the first 80km; there is a Rs 18 charge for each km in excess of 80km.
- It’s not easy to get a taxi in the streets, but the 3-wheeled vehicle, tuk-tuks, were everywhere. The taxi price from Hilton Colombo was way too expensive in comparison to the whole package that we received from the local travel agent. So it’s advisable to engage local tour guide especially in the 3rd world country where you know very little of their culture.
- Do more research and check the price with different travel agents from the internet prior visiting Sri Lanka. If you solely relied on the packages given by the hotel, you could spend more than you can imagine.