Sri Lanka and Maldives holidays

Countries:
Maldives, Sri Lanka
Price:
From £3195 (15 days) including UK flights
Includes flights from UK & speedboat transfers in Maldives, a/c transport with dedicated Tourist Board-licensed chauffeur guide in Sri Lanka,† B&B, half-board or all-inclusive accommodation, all entrance fees & activities. This trip can also be booked without flights.
Vouchers: accepted
Dates:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements although we do not offer trips for under 10 days
Reviews:
8 reviews5 star rating
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Sri Lanka and Maldives holidays

Responsible travel: Sri Lanka and Maldives holidays

We actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka. By working closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development.

Guides: We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

Restaurants & accommodation: We encourage travellers to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food. We actively promote small family-run guesthouses that employ local workers, or in the case of larger hotels, locally owned establishments.

Community-led projects: The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (a charitable organisation currently applying for charitable status with the Charity Commission) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every holiday booked.

Behind the success of Angsana Ihuru lies the untold story of a steely faith in the power of environmental conservation. Environmental considerations were taken into account long before the resort was actually built. It was imperative that the villas on this fascinating island surrounded by shallow crystalline waters were built without damaging the beautiful coral reefs surrounding it. The solution was to transfer thatched roofs and other pre-fabricated building materials brought in from Indonesia to small boats and barges that could navigate the shallow waters without threatening its delicate marine life.

Such dedication to eco-conservation has since extended to the many marine conservation projects initiated by Angsana Ihuru, which pioneered marine biology research initiatives including turtle and coral projects particularly well received among resort guests. The resort was honoured with the first Maldivian Environment Preservation Award in 1996 and the President of the Maldives Green Resort Award in 2002. Indeed, in every aspect of the resortís operations, the effects on the environment are given due consideration. For instance, to prevent oil spillage into the sea, fuel to power the resortís generator is pumped directly into the storage tank via a 300-m long oil pipe installed along the jetty so that oil tankers would not have to come too close to shore.

To preserve the ecological balance on the island, scarce water is not extracted from the underground water table but obtained by the ecologically friendly alternative of desalination. And instead of using environmentally harmful pesticides in the resortís thriving herb and vegetable garden, chickens are reared to control the islandís insect population. It is precisely such a holistic approach to conservation that makes Angsana Ihuru truly eco-friendly.

The story of the provider of Sri Lanka and Maldives holidays

John spent most of the 90s travelling extensively around Asia. Whilst backpacking in Kandy, Sri Lanka, for the millennium New Year, he bumped into local lad, Pathi. They quickly became close and Pathi introduced John to his whole family. A decade later, the two friends still speak every day and share a successful company offering intimate tours of Sri Lanka that really get under the skin of this beautiful, diverse country. John operates from the UK, providing customers with a bespoke service, and Pathi, in Kandy, arranges a welcome team of fully trained chauffer guides who are proud to show off their home.

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Sri Lanka and Maldives holidays

You can trust responsibletravel.com reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.


5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed 19 May 2012 by Tracy Watson5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable part of our holiday was snorkelling in the Maldives. It was amazing to see sharks, fish and sea turtles on the reef. It was a surreal experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I would suggest to try the local curries and road side stalls in Sri Lanka. The food was amazing. Also take a rain coat!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday benefited local people. Our guide, Kapila, was great. Very experienced and knowledgeable. He looked after us very well.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Overall, I would rate our holiday 10/10. We had a great time in all the countries we visited, the locals were very friendly and hospitable.

Reviewed 23 Sep 2011 by Greg Harris5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Flying in a seaplane over the Maldives and landing in the lagoon by Filitheyo Island where we spent an amazing week!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you book some days (ideally a week) at the end of the Sri Lanka tour to relax. The tour was amazing, but there was quite a lot of travelling by car which does wear you out. We had a week in the Maldives at the end which was amazing, but a few days on a beach in the South of Sri Lanka would also be a good option.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Well, our guide was local which was good. The hotels were generally part of large chains, but of course all employees were local and most food etc seemed to be locally sourced. Not so sure about minimising environmental impact, flying thousands of miles and staying on a desert island where everything has to be shipped in will never be the most environmentally friendly holiday!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Amazing, wonderful - wish we could do it all again next year!

Reviewed 06 Sep 2011 by Tinnes Sebastien4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Maldives beach/food/diving - Ceylon tee trails - lavender house - Kalundewa retreat.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do not underestimate the time needed to travel from 1 point to another in Sri Lanka. Do not book Serene Pavilions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I suppose it allows them to make a better living through work and tipping.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very happy with our holiday, certainly related to the quality of the different guest houses.

Reviewed 16 Jan 2011 by Jillian Sharples4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Sri-Lanka - Being with our tour guide Niroshan who totally made our holiday because of his thoughtfulness and consideration to our needs.

Maldives
The beauty and serenity of the whole island.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Sri-Lanka.
Ask for Niroshan as your guide.

Maldives.
Don't bother taking any shoes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


5 star.

Reviewed 23 Apr 2010 by Foster Patrick5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We can say we had 2 most memorable part of our holiday:
- the climb of Adam's peak: started at 2am to reach the top before sunrise, it was an amazing experience. Only few tourists but thousands of Sri Lankan Buddists on Pilgrimage. The atmosphere was very unique. And when you see grandchildrenís carrying their grandparents to the top of the 5000 steps, you remember that your life is not that difficult!
- The Paradise in the Maldives: a postcard everywhere you look, this place is paradise on earth!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


John from the tour operator organized an amazing itinerary, but sometimes you want to tailor yourself when you get there, don't hesitate!!! Our driver guide was really flexible and had very good suggestions, he was really trying to plan according to how we felt.

Your guide will try to bring you to "local shops" (it means where he would get commissions...), it is part of the culture in Sri Lanka, so don't be offended. However, if you want him to help you to get good deals, tell him how much you're willing to pay for something and tell him that if he get a better price the difference is for him. Otherwise, the more you pay in the shop the more commission he gets, so he would be on "the shop side" :-)

In terms of hotels, try to choose the small ones, the staff will be much more friendly!!! The Ceylan tea trail has only 4 rooms so if you want breakfast at 2pm, it won't be a problem at all, you really felt at home!!!

Also, get lots of 50 and 100 ruppies notes!!! You need to tip everywhere...

If you think that 5 days in the Maldives can be long doing nothing, you re wrong!! After 10 days in Sri Lanka doing lots because there is so much to see, you'll love the beach side!!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


All the hotels we went to were clearly trying to be eco-friendly, they tried to minimise their impacts on sceneries by using local materials and trying to be as hidden as possible.

In terms of benefits on local people, we are not really sure, because you could tell our trip benefited to a few, but all tourists were going to the same places, the same restaurants, the same elephants rides... obviously some people have organized their business.

You could also tell that your guide was slightly worried to take you to places he'd never been for a meal for example.But because it is not packed with tourists everywhere yet, you can feel you re enjoying part of the Sri Lankan life.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This holiday was just amazing!!!

John from the tour operator obviously knows Sri Lanka, and Pathi, our guide, loves his country! Sri Lanka has a lot to offer, it has very different landscapes and people are usually very friendly!!

The Maldives: close your eyes and imagine the most amazing beaches ever, this is it!! And when you wake up and this is all you can see from your villa, it is just paradise!!

Reviewed 05 Jan 2010 by Jay Das-Munshi5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We chose Sri Lanka and this tour operator for our honeymoon. Memorable or exciting? Absolutely! Where to start....We really liked this tour operator, they are a small business. John and Tracey were really helpful before we left and in Sri Lanka we thought our tour guide and driver, Sena was excellent. We were blown away by the Heritance Kandalama in Dambulla and loved our room and the infinite swimming pool in this hotel. Sri Lanka is teeming with animals and bird life and our other highlight was the trip to the national park, where we saw wild elephants bathing, saw spotted deer, as well as many rare and exotic birds. We went on a tour of a tea factory, whilst staying at the tea trails. The tour was given by an experienced planter who was passionate about tea-making and treated us to a tasting afterwards. The setting of our bungalow overlooking the lake on tea trails was amazing. We loved the hotel in Kandy which was an old colonial mansion, the meals at the Kandy House were superb. The beaches in Southern Sri Lanka are beautiful, we really enjoyed sipping cocktails on the beach and swimming in the sea, in Unawatuna.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take good mosquito repellant! Pack clothing for a variety of temperatures (from high heat on beaches close to the equator, to temperate cooler places in the tea-growing hills). The nice thing about this tour operator was that the itinerary which they provided took in the highlights of Sri Lanka with enough relaxation time in between. Although Sri Lanka is a small island it takes time to get to places as the roads are not always good- so we would recommend not trying to fit too much travelling in.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


All of the hotels employed local people, and most of the hotels were small businesses. Our tour guide Sena was passionate about supporting local businesses and careful about the disposal of rubbish and water bottles. We visited a turtle hatchery in Southern Sri Lanka which is a conservation project that looks after some of the indigenous turtle species in Sri Lanka, our fee and tips went towards the project. We were impressed by how pristine clean some of the beaches and other habitats were. Overall we were saddened by how quiet Sri Lanka, even coming into peak season, appeared to be. Many of the people depend on tourism for their livelihood however it seems that a recession, the war, and previously the tsunami have adversely impacted on the tourist economy. We hope that the end of the war will start to bring people back to this beautiful country.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was an amazing destination for our honeymoon. In the twelve days that we were there we took in tea plantations, forests, national parks, and beaches but had a really relaxing time. We loved all of the hotels which were destinations in themselves. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with friendly, welcoming people.

Reviewed 08 May 2007 by Alla Lapidus4 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Very hard to say - we absolutely loved Sri Lanka. I think the best part for me was seeing all sorts of animals and birds everywhere.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Spend longer in Sri Lanka than we did, 10 days is really not enough. And take lots of sunscreen and an umbrella!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Hard to say. I can only assume that in Sri Lanka the two small hotels we stayed in benefited the local people, but I don't know that for sure. The larger hotel definitely set out to be eco-friendly. The hotel in The Maldives (One & Only Kanuhura) did not strike me as in the least eco-friendly, though they purported to be. They seem to import most of their food from Australia, and their water from France! However, it would seem that they treat their employees very well, and employ mostly from Asian countries.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic.

Read the operator's response here:

We are disappointed that One&Only Kanuhura did not live up to expectations as far as minimising its impact on the environment is concerned. All resorts in the Maldives have to import everything they require (even locally-caught fish and seafood as they are sold on the international market). One&Only Kanuhura is no exception, although we will ensure that these comments are passed on to the resort's management and head office. We always appreciate comments received from our customers as this helps us to improve the quality of our service and delivery of our holidays

Reviewed 28 Nov 2005 by Bart Thoelen5 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The campsite in YALA was a great experience, sleeping with the crocs!!! I recommend to put something in your ears, it's very noisy during the night!!(insects) Travelling through Sri Lanka is an experience itself!! 5 days on the Maldives is the minimum, after 10 days SRI LANKA, its PARADISE, especially the BANYAN TREE.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't give money to children or beggars, give them some food, or a pen or candy. They see us as walking money. Try local food, it's very good. The guesthouse in BENTOTA is a wonderful place, it's a shame we couldn't stay longer, nice clean and very friendly, great food (shrimps). Try to inform yourself (book) a little about all the religions in Sri Lanka , it's too much to learn in 10 days. Take a massage!!! Beverage (drinks) in the BANYAN TREE is quite expensive, it's recommended to take full board!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It depends a lot on the tour guide , I have a restaurant and I specially mentioned that I wanted to try local food an see the country , but not as a tourist, he understood that very well!! The hotels where very good.

4. Any other comments?


First of all I would like to thank you for the great organisation of our holiday, we had an unforgettable time. I specially want to thank Ceylon, our tourguide who took such good care of us and showed us a magnificent country, the way I wanted to see it. A Man with his hart in the right place. Nothing was to much for him , and he was always in a good mood. Every day a nice and clean car. Some small point what could improve!! The overnight in the NP in Yalla was wet, so I would like to recommend to improve the tents. And make sure they are waterproof, also an air matress would have been very nice. The massage that we had on the end of our tour was good but if people stay in the DEERPARC Hotel I recommend the massage in The ANGSANA SPA, it's much more professional and cleaner. Not to compare with the local massage!!! Once again, the holiday was perfect!!
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