13 independent reviews for Family holiday in Sri Lanka

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.


review 12 Jan 2015

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

It would be impossible to single out one aspect of the holiday as the most memorable/exciting so I shall name several: the boat trips in Tortuguero, white water rafting in Sarapiqui, dipping in and out of the hot springs at the hotel in Arenal,the hanging bridges and zipwire in Monteverde,catamaran trip at Manuel Antonio, and over and above everything else the constant and endlessly varied intermingling with wildlife in its own environment.

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

Make sure you have and use insect repellent containing deet - it was invaluable, and consequently we had very few bites. In Manuel Antonio, beware the strength of the sun and keep reapplying suncream. Make sure you find out from the guide about all the available additional activities before you arrive in a new area so that you don't miss out on any of them.

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

Yes, we were informed that all the hotels were individual family owned hotels, rather than part of a chain of hotels. We were conscious of the impact we were making on the environment as tourists, but also aware of the contribution we were making to the economy by being there. We noticed that numbers were often limited on various activities to minimise impact on the environment.

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

The holiday was fantastic, and exceeded our expectations in terms of wildlife sightings, activities, organisation and efficiency and even cuisine. Special mention should be made of our guide, Eduardo, who made a huge contribution to the holiday's success; he had excellent knowledge of wildlife, history and culture of Costa Rica, arranged wonderful restaurant visits at each venue for the group, was flexible with the itinerary without changing it, was reliable and efficient throughout, and had a great sense of humour!

review 22 Aug 2011

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

Waking up camping high up in a tea plantation, with a view across miles of Sri Lanka

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

Go for it! You won't regret it - Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, the people are very friendly, our guide was superb and the itinerary was excellent.

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

We had a local guide and visited several local workshops with the opportunity to find out about real life in Sri Lanka.

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

Brilliant!

review 21 Aug 2011

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

Elephant ride, white water rafting, camping on tea mountain, Sigiriya Rock

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

Most hotels took credit cards. However almost every else needed cash (tips, lunches, excursions). Whilst a warm jumper is required for the one night camping inc. the tea mountains we didnít need it any other time - so only pack one!

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

It provided income for locals. Don't know about minimizing impact on environment. Think hotels could do more about making drinking water freely available and avoiding purchase of lots of small plastic bottles.

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

Excellent.

review 6 Sep 2010

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

We all enjoyed every part of the holiday, especially the elephant riding, white water rafting to the resthouse and fantastic views from the campsite above the tea plantations

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

Take the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before it is rediscovered as a fantastic holiday location. At the moment they are still trying to rebuild their tourism after the tsunami but it is going to become busier and more expensive once more people discover it.

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

Our holiday helped to provide work for the local people, especially in the hotels, but more can still be done to reduce the impact of tourism by encouraging hotels not to provide clean towels and linen every day.

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

A fantastic action packed holiday.

review 23 Aug 2010

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

So many experiences; we loved riding the elephants, and feeding them bananas at Habarana. Sigyria was amazing as was Polonorwara and Dambula. We enjoyed seeing all the fruit bats take off at sun down in Kandy. White water rafting was brilliant fun for the whole family. Camping was a highlight as it was so much higher up in the tea plantations than we had expected and the views were awe inspiringly magical with the clouds below us changing the views moment by moment. Watching the orphan elephants feeding time was very entertaining and the jeep safari was fantastic, especially seeing wild elephants and enormous crocodile. The beach hotel was a welcome break and the kids spent both days body surfing in the waves.

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

Be prepared for long distance drives and ensure you have plenty of water available on your excursions. Check the prices and exchange rates of the activities such as the white water rafting as we were quoted a vastly inflated rate in dollars than was given in sterling in the trip booklet. Take plenty of anti mosquito repellent. Some accommodation was not as good as others, however, the food was always good and the rooms were always clean.

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

Our guide was very informative of the local culture and environment. We found all the locals so friendly and our guide was careful to ensure we respected the codes at religious sites and we do feel that we were helping the local community. However we did feel that certain organised visits pressurised into buying things that we would not necessarily have wanted to.

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

We all thoroughly enjoyed the holiday, we really got a huge insight into the history, culture and different environments in Sri Lanka. An intensive trip that had plenty of interest, activities, entertainment and just enough rest for our two teenage boys.

review 15 Apr 2010

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

There were so many different memorable and exciting parts: Seeing elephants on the jeep safari, the spinner dolphins in the Indian Ocean, all the beautiful birds and amazing wildlife along the trip as well as the magnificent Dambulla Caves and all the buddahs. I also want to mention breakfast on bird island in the early hours when the lake was magical. It was all so fantastic. Last but not least the camping in the tea plantation was a surreal and wonderful experience! Also, we had a fantastic guide: Asanga. He was really wonderful.

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

The holiday is wonderful for both children and adults alike. There is something for everyone. It contained a good mix of activities.

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

I am not so sure about this. I think that sometimes the motorboats we used were not so environmentally friendly. However, I think that some local people benefited and that the country needs tourism.

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

We all loved the holiday and will highly recommend it. The mix of activities was great and the level was suited to most. A fantastic memory!

review 25 Aug 2008

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

Lots of things - swimming in the beautiful warm sea at Lovina, spotting dolphins, swimming in hot and cold springs, climbing the volcano, the wonderful warmth of the people...

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

It says suitable for 5 years and upwards. Most children under 8 years old would find parts of it quite hard. The accommodation is mixed - some quite luxurious, others very basic. Take torches. Changing money is very easy in the main towns and everything is very cheap. Be prepared to barter hard at the markets.

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

Yes. We were taken to local markets, small villages and shops. All our accommodation was run by locals.

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

Fantastic - the scenery was amazing and we visited lots of places where there were only locals. They were all very welcoming. The walks through the paddy fields are stunning.
****NOT FOR PUBLICATION*** PAGE BUILT OVER

review 26 Feb 2007

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

The most memorable part of the trip for me was seeing the enormous excitement and pleasure my 2 daughters (aged 16 and 12) derived from their holiday. This was their first trip outside of Europe and Sri Lanka provided a fantastic backdrop, the people, countryside, wildlife (elephants galore!) and cultural visits provided an exciting mix, and ample time to relax by beautiful pools provided an oasis of relaxation. The highlights are almost to numerous to list-cycling through paddy fields and stopping to sample locally grown fruits, climbing Sigiriya rock, white water rafting through the jungle, and a tuk-tuk ride through Kandy all have created unforgettable memories. The most important factor however was the humour, knowledge and skill of our guide Sujan and driver Sri.

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

The most important tip I can give is to be prepared to be open and flexible to all the wonders Sri Lanka throws up, but not to expect anything to happen too quickly!. We found that our one day and night in the highlands to be pleasantly warm and fresh- we did not have to lug a change of warm clothes all the way round with us. The sun was very strong (we were burning after only 1 hour in the sun even with a good 'all day' factor 30). Take plenty of mosquito spray, and anti-histamine cream, some of our group were badly bitten in the south. I am very glad that we booked a holiday especially aimed at families, as the pace and emphasis was perfect for younger travellers ( whilst still providing for all the adults needs as well)

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

I felt this trip did benefit local people, we flew Sri Lankan Airways, the guide and driver were Sri Lankans employed by a locally based company, and we only stayed in hotels/guesthouses owned by local businesses. We bought produce directly from market stalls, and farmers, and ensured our tips went directly to the individuals who gave us excellent service.

4. Any other comments?

A 5 star holiday for us all.

review 6 Jan 2007

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

Three things: tea plantations; Madurai; coir making village. Strangely also the coach travel which I had expected to be a chore turned out to be a very good part of the holiday because of the excellent planning, and because of Manoj's informative commentary, and the places we stopped en route - particularly the small scale manufacturing - jaggery making and brick making. The team on the coach looked after us very well and the driver was brilliant.

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

Manoj's input was so good that there was little need to have read up beforehand. I would have liked a few more maps while we were there to trace our progress so I would recommend visitors to buy a detailed map of the area before they go - or maybe Adventure Travel could provide one. Take some travel sickness tablets for children for the coach journeys.

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

At the time I was a little unsure about this - for example I felt that we maybe did not spend enough of our money - particularly our spending on meals - with small scale local providers. I think that Manoj was keen to protect us from tummy bugs and I am glad of that, but how to square the requirement to stay healthy enough to enjoy the trip with the aim to spend as much money as possible with small scale local providers is the biggest dilemma. Hard to judge environmental impacts - the whole notion of long haul travel is suspect - but I have signed up with a carbon zero website and am choosing an offset project to make up for our air flight carbon.

4. Any other comments?

I would give it four stars going on five - not reborn, but it was a really memorable introduction to south Indian culture, and I have already recommended it to two other people.

review 23 Aug 2006

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

The exhilaration and excitement on my daughter's face after going over the first rapid when white water rafting. Falling asleep on the bus in the middle of a tropical rainforest storm and waking up an hour later in bright sunshine and the desert scrubland of a national park!

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

Travel light, take a good camera (with lots of memory if it's digital), take Malarone malaria tablets rather than the standard cheaper ones, enjoy every minute as it happens, the experiences come fast and furious...

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

Yes.

review 9 Aug 2006

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

The whole experience was great but probably the best bits were those where the 13 people in the group participated together in an activity e.g. cycle riding in a Sri Lankan village, white water rafting. at Giritale, watching the Kandy Esala Perahera.

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

Be aware there is a lot of travelling by bus. The distances look small, the time taken to travel them is long. Check out the accommodation configuration. It was OK for us, a family of 4 with two rooms, but the families of 3 were not impressed by their kids being put on camp beds in one shared room.

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

Yes, we injected alot of money directly to businesses in the local economy. Sri Lanka desperately needs the tourists to return. Continuing press reports of Tamil Tiger violence is stopping people from visiting this beautiful, friendly, exciting, but impoverished country, but people who want to visit should go ahead without any qualms.

4. Any other comments?

Four stars. It was great, but there is always room for improvement, e.g. in accommodation location.

review 10 Aug 2005

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

There were too many memorable moments to mention them all, but one of my personal favourites was feeding the baby elephants and watching the elephants bathe while we ate lunch overlooking the river at the elephant orphanage.

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

Our top tip would be to take suitable gifts for the local children they are really excited and appreciative of biros colouring pencils etc. Our top practical tip is to take antiseptic no water hand wash - this came in very handy!

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

We felt the local people were delighted we had come as tourism has been badly affected by the Tsunami even in land. People were very appreciative of the custom we bought and we felt that it was defiantly going to local businesses.

4. Any other comments?

We had a fantastic holiday as a family and really enjoyed the company of our co travellers and on the last night we had a holiday awards moment where nearly everything was nominated by at least one person! Finally I would rate the holiday **** we had a fantastic range of experiences. The only criticism we had was that our guide, although a very nice well meaning and knowledgeable man, was possibly not the most suited to a group like ours. We will certainly use the responsible tourism web site to source other holidays.

review 1 Jan 2005

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

Elephant ride and Sigyria rock, but all very good.

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

Pack light!

3. Any areas for improvement?

If possible, try to cut down travelling, or at least balance it out. One day we had lots of exercise, followed by 2 full days in the bus.

Holiday Reviews

You can trust Responsible Travel 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.

Read our review policy

Unedited reviews from other travellers

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Convert currencies