Date printed: 1 September 2014
Elephant Paradise - Family Holiday
The teardrop shaped island in the Indian Ocean is a truly magical place. The legacy of its position on the sea route to the East is evident for all to see; from the Moslem fishing villages which saw the passing of early Arab traders, to the several common surnames which tell of Portuguese occupation and the neat hill villages left by the British. This cultural crossroads has much more besides - all crammed into an area less than one third the size of Britain. There are ruined cities and rock-top forts to explore, strangely colourful birds, encounters with elephants and other wildlife and some of the world’s best beaches. Sri Lanka has something for everyone and never fails to enchant visitors.
Itinerary (Without Flights)
Anyone in good health should be able to take part in this busy itinerary. Most days are filled with a variety of sightseeing activities, but there is free time built into the programme. The heat and humidity can be tiring and the limitations of the road network means there will be some long journeys. Please note that waves and undercurrents can be strong and special care should be taken when bathing in the sea: children should be supervised by an adult at all times. We use 2/3 star properties in Sri Lanka. These are generally standard, no-frills hotels with adequate amenities, although some will have added facilities such as air conditioning, a swimming pool, bar or restaurant. PLease be aware that some of the hotels we use are outside of the town centres. Minimum age: 7 years.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed as an optional activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to The Adventure Company.
Family First Accommodation
As the leader in providing Family Adventure holidays, we fully understand the importance to you of clean, comfortable, family friendly accommodation. Our families team hand-pick all of our accommodation to provide you with the best value and best experience possible. We are so confident in our accommodation selections, that we name every property that you will stay in on all our Family Adventures, so that you can be fully confident in your holiday choice.
We use a variety of accommodation around the world. Wherever possible we try to ensure that this is in keeping with the itinerary and the region that you are visiting. To give you a feel for the standard, we have provided an accommodation grading for each night. However please bear in mind that these are intended as a guide and are not based on 'star' ratings, so there will be variations within each grade: AA - Hotels, lodges or guesthouses, usually with en suite facilities. These are generally simple hotels with adequate amenities. Whilst comfort levels are perfectly acceptable, there are generally no added facilities
Rooming in Hotels
When arranging rooming for our trips, we try to meet the needs of all families. As families come in all sizes, we do not offer a set formula regarding rooming arrangements, and we ask you to be as flexible as possible. Our trips are based on a twin share basis, but we try to accommodate families in triple or family rooms if available. Full details of our rooming procedure can be found here. Very occasionally rooming is in communal or dorm style rooms where you'll share with other families. Where relevant this is indicated in the itinerary.
On occasion late hotel changes are unavoidable and you will get final confirmation of the particular hotels for your trip when you receive your joining instructions.
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store.
Although western standards of dress are becoming more accepted, the Sinhalese in general remain very traditional in what they wear. Out of respect (even though you may see other travellers dressed otherwise) both men and women should dress conservatively - no sleeveless/halter-necked tops please. Whilst shorts are acceptable in tourist centres they should be modest and reach to just above the knee. Arms and legs (and, occasionally, heads for women) should be covered when in religious buildings.
- Lightweight cotton clothing – T-shirts and baggy trousers. Shorts are generally only acceptable whilst on the beach
- A couple of long-sleeved shirts to guard against sunburn
- Brightly coloured clothing is not appropriate in Uda Walawe NP as it is easily seen by the animals; wear muted tones in natural colours
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm mid-layer (fleece or wool)
- Lightweight trail boots / trainers with grip for walks at Kithulgala
- Sun-hat and swimsuit
- Trainers/sandals for relaxing
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, waterbottle and lipsalve
- Binoculars for wildlife viewing
- Personal First Aid kit and Insect repellent
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Alongside our Sri Lankan agent we employ local guides, drivers and of course the Group Leader. Money from our visit also reaches a wide range of people from local hoteliers to restaurateurs. During your holiday you will visit the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Uda Walawe National Park. The ETH is run by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation and supported by The Adventure Company's charity partners, Born Free
Set-up in 1995, it provides shelter for 30 orphaned or abandoned baby elephants, releasing them to the wild when they are strong enough to survive in their natural habitat. You will visit the Elephant Transit Home at feeding time and see the elephants from a viewing deck approximately 10 metres away. The Adventure Company donates $5 per every passenger who travels with us to the maintenance and upkeep of the ETH.
We support the Trees for Life project which is run by The Travel Foundation. This project has planted over 200,000 trees in conservation areas and tsunami housing villages in Sri Lanka and over 16,000 children and adults have participated in awareness raising and biodiversity education programmes.
For better or worse, tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and - although it is always at your discretion - you will be expected to tip to reward service. Your Group Leader will give you an indication of when and how much is appropriate. It can vary widely but as a general guide the following amounts may be considered reasonable:
- Housekeeping 200 Rupees per room per night
- Porters 100 Rupees per bag
- Local guides 1200 Rupees each
Please allow approximately £30-40 for this trip. In addition to this, if you wish to tip your group leader and driver (in recognition of their contribution towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday), a suggested guideline would be as follows:
- Group leader £1-2 per person, per day
- Driver £1-2 per person, per day
The contrast in temperature between the hot and often humid lowlands and the 'tea country' around Bandarawela is quite marked
Don’t be tempted to leave your warm fleece or jumper behind!
SOME INTERESTING READING:
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis & Jane Wilson-Howarth
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler
Running in the Family – Michael Ondaatje
Monkfish Moon - Romesh Gunesekera
SOME USEFUL PHRASES:
Ayubowan – Greetings
Sama venna – Excuse me
Karuna kara – Please
Es thu thee– Thank you
Mage nama Sam – My name is Sam
For most trips prices are based on sharing a twin room. Therefore, if you’re a solo traveller you’ll be paired with someone from the group of the same sex, unless you decide to pay a single room supplement. Details of this supplement can be found on the Extensions & Extras tab on our website. Occasionally we use multiple-share or dormitory accommodation – particularly when stating in remote places.
Rooming arrangements – Family trips
If you’re a family of 2 you’ll be accommodated in a twin room. If you’re a family of three you will usually be accommodated in a triple room. If you’re a family of four you’ll probably be accommodated in two twin rooms and we’ll do our best to ensure they’re as near as possible. We cannot always guarantee a triple room. If a triple room is not available, an adult from your family will automatically be roomed with a fellow adult member of the group of the same sex. If you prefer to have a room of your own we can sometimes offer a single room for the entire trip or on selected nights within a trip. However a single room supplement applies, ask our Travel Consultants for details.
Currency - Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan rupee - sterling (or any other major currency) is readily exchanged. There are approximately 179 rupees to one British pound (as at March 2014).
There are now many ATM machines throughout Sri Lanka, which accept both Visa and MasterCard. Although this is a safe and convenient way to access money during your trip we do recommend that you carry some money as cash/travellers cheques for when ATMs can not be accessed. Some money should be taken as US dollars cash in case of emergencies.
A 'black market' for currency changing does exist in Sri Lanka, these are considered a danger and best avoided. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks will allow cash advances against a credit card.
Local Costs - Sri Lanka
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink £0.80
Medium beer £2.50
Local snack lunch £5.00
3-course dinner* £10.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant.
Visas & Permits - Sri Lanka
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa.
All passengers entering Sri Lanka from 01 January 2012 onwards must submit an online visa application for each applicant via the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to the Ministry of Emigration and Immigration. Therefore, it is mandatory that all passengers travelling after the 1st of January 2012, submit their Visa application on-line by logging into www.eta.gov.lk
This is a very simple procedure and requires no additional documents. Passengers are required to fill in the information and once the Visa is approved, the passenger will be notified with an ETA approval notice. The ETA approval notice will be required for entry into Sri Lanka.
Passengers arriving into Sri Lanka from the 1st of January 2012 are also required to make a payment of US$ 20 per person by following this ETA process. The Visa issued will be a Double-entry Tourist Visa, which would be applicable for 30 days from the date of arrival to Sri Lanka. However, for those who obtained a Visa Approved Reference number using ETA prior to 31st December 2011, there will be no VISA fee as long as they enter the country within 90 days.
For those who arrive without obtaining a Visa Approved Reference number through ETA after midnight 31st December there will be a facility to obtain ‘on-arrival VISA’ by paying the on arrival VISA fee of US$25.00. However, there could be long queues and we recommend all passengers obtain their approval in advance of travel.
Please note the cost of the Visa's might change.
Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the end date of the trip.
For the most up-to-date information and to purchase a Visa via our partner Visa Machine visit www.adventurecompany.co.uk/visa
. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Sri Lanka
The following are recommended:
† Hepatitis A † Tetanus † Polio † Typhoid † Malaria
† NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if travelling via an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
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