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SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s Treasures: From Cinnamon to Sea Turtles

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Road Scholar
Program #19868RJ
14 Days | 13 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Premium Email Subscriber Jun 08, 2014 at 03:25 PM

Hi<
We are looking at this trip but are concerned that there may be a lot of time on the bus.
Could anyone comment on this from their own experience?
Christina Bellamy Jun 09, 2014 at 06:19 PM

My friend and I took this trip in November 2012 and was very disappointed. There is a lot of traveling time on the bus to arrive at a destination for a short time and back on the bus to next location. Most times we arrived at destination well into evening when you had little or no opportunity to experience any of the people/culture. Also the trip is filled with visiting buddhist temples. Turtle hatachery was a big joke...very small with a few tanks with some turtles. The Spice Farm was like a hot house environment of sample herbs/spices..then on to where you're offered a massage...and where the people giving massages expected to be paid...then on to the big sale to buy the their merchandise. I could go on but that is not what you asked. simple...yes there is a lot of traving on the bus.


Anne Klenk Dec 20, 2013 at 02:41 PM

Hi everyone, i'm on the jan. sri lanka tour and will be arriving at the colombo airport at 4:35 am on 1/12; can anyone share a ride to the hotel around that time?


Benedicte Valentiner Nov 23, 2013 at 09:13 PM

Hello there, am on the January tour 2014 and shall be in Colombo 3 days earlier than tour arrival. Am retired from the US government (U.S. Senate and Mgr. Blair House in D.C.) and am enjoying great happiness in retirement in Santa Fe, NM since just before 9/11. Look forward to our adventure. Benedicte Valentiner


Frances Corbitt Aug 14, 2013 at 11:58 AM

I'm signed up for Feb 8, 2014 trip, Want to share a wonderful Sri Lankan/British author, Roma Tearne, who writes beautifully about her childhood home. She left Ceylon when she was 10. Her descriptions of her homeland are incredibly beautiful. The first book
I read was "Mosquito" and I've read two others by Roma Tearne. Highly recommend even if you're not traveling there.


Christina Bellamy Dec 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

William...I hope you are prepare for extremely hot weather. The weather was oppressive. The overall the tour was a bit stressful and somewhat dissapointing. NO WATER provided at meals nor on the bus during travel. Group had to chip in and by cases of water for our own use during road trips. Hotels were just okay. Meals were better at first two hotels. Thereafter, quality not as good. Real problem with Hotel Yala Safari change at last minute when it became evident they knew about the beforehand at the first lecture because the name of the changed hotel was listed in the evaluation packet distributed to us. Communication problems...No viable down time, no opportunity to shop, Spice Garden was a BIG SALES pitch; BUS TRAVEL...at least 2-1/2 days of bus travel with minimal stops. Second day 8 hr bus ride after 18 hours international travel to get there. Another all-day (8-9 hours) bus trip at end of tour (Yala-Ngumbo)arrived at 7:00pm in time for dinner and no time to enjoy the beach and surrounding area. Beach hotel was very noisy with loud music late into the night. The Sri Lanka people at the hotels were very nice..however, we never really had any opportunity to meet nor interact with local people. Only opportunity to do so was the meal at a village (best part of trip)...but no interaction with them or us took place. We just ate and left...no opportunity to sit and talk a bit. Overall I felt the trip was more about Buddhism because of all the temples we visited. Be prepared to take off shoes numerous times for both inside and outside temples. You will need to track over very hot stones, pebbles, water and sometimes mud. We had a lovely guide who was very knowledgeable but constrained by the schedule he was suppose to keep...keep us moving. NO FLEXIBILITY in this tour. No hands-on visits to markets (just drive-by). Communication was also a bit of a problem...often unable to understand what was being said by lecturers, presenters and guide. There were other hiccups along the way...too numerous to get into. However, I do hope you have a better experience.

Christina Bellamy


Christina Bellamy Oct 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Hello fellow travelers.

I am Christina Bellamy and along with my traveling companion Janice Kaplan we are looking forward to meeting you. It will be nice if we new names of other participants...just in case we run into one another at the airports.

This is our second trip with RS and we are excited about Sri Lanka. Hope to hear from you.

All the best...
Christina Bellamy
William Schmidt Oct 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM

hi Christina, im looking forward to meeting you and Janice. you flying out of JFK? looking to see Sri Lanka. This will be my 18th trip with RS. They always do a great job. I ahve visited other Asian countries and expect this to be fantastic also. Can't wait to meet you guys!
William Schmidt Oct 31, 2012 at 07:29 PM

RS used to mail the names of participants prior to the trip' But havent done this since the name change. I think too many lawyers involved now. :)
William Schmidt Oct 31, 2012 at 07:31 PM

I'm assuming you are going on the 2/15/12 trip.
Christina Bellamy Nov 01, 2012 at 04:39 PM

Hi William....
Christina Bellamy Nov 01, 2012 at 04:39 PM

Hi William.....
Christina Bellamy Nov 01, 2012 at 04:45 PM

Hi William...So good to hear from someone else who will be on the Sri Lanka trip. Since we did not receieve a list of participant we were curious about who and how many other travelers will be on the tour. We are flying from JFK on Friday evening 11/16 and will arrive early Sunday morning 11/18. This will give us the remainder of the day to rest and regroup from the long flightand be refreshed the following morning when the tour begins. Arriving late Sunday evening was not appealing. When are you leaving and what airline are traveling on? We made our own travel arrangements and will fly Emirates Airlines through Dubai.
Christina Bellamy Nov 01, 2012 at 04:46 PM

Christina Bellamy Nov 01, 2012 at 04:48 PM

As you can see I'm not sure how to use this discussion board...so disregard all the other false starts :). Will look forward to meeting you.
William Schmidt Nov 10, 2012 at 02:06 PM

Hi Christina.. I think we are going at different times. I'm leaving on the February 15th trip and it appears that you are on the November trip. I'm sorry we won't be on the same trip but I would appreciate your thoughts on the trip once you get back. Hve a great time!!!
Joy Hafner Dec 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Hi! I will be going on the Februrary 15 trip. I will be arriving in Sri Lanka at 6:30 PM on Feb 16. I am flying on Emirates Air. If anyone else is going to be on that flight, or at that airport at that time and would like to share a taxi, reach out so we can meet up.Can wait for the trip!
Christina Bellamy Dec 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Hi Joy...I and my travelling companion just returned from the November trip to Sri Lanka. We also went thru Dubai....great airline and great airport. We had a 5 hour layover and very much enjoyed our time in the airport. Then on to Sri Lanka. I hope you have an enjoyable and more rewarding trip than what we had. ...I hope you are prepare for extremely hot weather. The weather was oppressive. The overall the tour was a bit stressful and somewhat dissapointing. NO WATER provided at meals nor on the bus during travel. Group had to chip in and by cases of water for our own use during road trips. Hotels were just okay. Meals were better at first two hotels. Thereafter, quality not as good. Real problem with Hotel Yala Safari change at last minute when it became evident they knew about the beforehand at the first lecture because the name of the changed hotel was listed in the evaluation packet distributed to us. Communication problems...No viable down time, no opportunity to shop, Spice Garden was a BIG SALES pitch; BUS TRAVEL...at least 2-1/2 days of bus travel with minimal stops. Second day 8 hr bus ride after 18 hours international travel to get there. Another all-day (8-9 hours) bus trip at end of tour (Yala-Ngumbo)arrived at 7:00pm in time for dinner and no time to enjoy the beach and surrounding area. Beach hotel was very noisy with loud music late into the night. The Sri Lanka people at the hotels were very nice..however, we never really had any opportunity to meet nor interact with local people. Only opportunity to do so was the meal at a village (best part of trip)...but no interaction with them or us took place. We just ate and left...no opportunity to sit and talk a bit. Overall I felt the trip was more about Buddhism because of all the temples we visited. Be prepared to take off shoes numerous times for both inside and outside temples. You will need to track over very hot stones, pebbles, water and sometimes mud. We had a lovely guide who was very knowledgeable but constrained by the schedule he was suppose to keep...keep us moving. NO FLEXIBILITY in this tour. No hands-on visits to markets (just drive-by). Communication was also a bit of a problem...often unable to understand what was being said by lecturers, presenters and guide. There were other hiccups along the way...too numerous to get into. However, I do hope you have a better experience. Christina Bellamy
Joy Hafner Jan 02, 2013 at 05:11 AM

Wow...sounds very disappointing! I do hope we have a better trip. Did you like Dubai? Thanks for the review.
Joy Hafner Jan 02, 2013 at 05:14 AM

How did you get to the hotel from the airport in Colombo? Did you meet up with others from RS?
Joy Hafner Jan 02, 2013 at 05:15 AM

Just saw that you didn't leave the airport in Dubai.
Christina Bellamy Jan 02, 2013 at 07:14 PM

Joy....I do hope you have a better experience than we had. We arranged with RS travel office for our pickup at the airport and transport to Colombo. Note we paid $54 for this. No we did not leave Dubia airport. It is a wonderful airport and we found much to do during our layover. However, we are going to Dubai and Oman in February. Will spend 3 days in Dubai and 9 days in Oman. Looking forward to this trip as we have heard so much about Dubai. Will expect to experience the culture of the area while in Oman. Wishing you all the best in your Sri Lanka adventure. I noticed they have not renewed this trip in the RS listings after the February tour scheduled.
Joy Hafner Jan 02, 2013 at 07:26 PM

Thanks for the info. I will be staying in Dubai for 3 days. Leaving on the 4th day in the am. Your Dubai/Oman trip sounds great! Is it through RS? RS didn't offer to make arrangements from the airport. I was told to take a taxi. I am hoping someone responds so we all can go together! Have a great trip to Oman.
Christina Bellamy Jan 02, 2013 at 07:54 PM

How great that you will take time beforehand to see Dubai. Our Dubai/Oman tour is a private tour we planned with Corinthian Travel (UK). Arranging independent travel with RS travel was not easy. Although, in their documentation the mention that you could choose to arrange independent travel thru their travel office...when calling to talk with them about the person indicated that that was not available to us....however, I reminded them that it was clearly to contrary it was outlined (highlighted) in their documentation that this was an option, A lot of back-n-forth before we could get this right. Getting a taxi is not the easiest thing to do. Either way it is a long drive with a lot of traffic (during the day). One other participant also arrived early and stayed over night at an airport hotel and returned to the airport to take the group ride at the RS scheduled pickup time. We did not get to meet any of the other participants because their was no Welcome Breakfast nor an assigned table for our group. We checked around with people we thought might be a part of our tour group. Also, because we came in early and arrange independent travel we never was given the name of our group leader when arriving at hotel. Hopefully, you will arrive at the scheduled pickup time and will avoid all this. Hope you have a great time in Dubai...will love to check back after you and we return from our trips and share our experiences in Dubai. All the best!
Joy Hafner Jan 04, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Thanks for the info. I will keep in mind all the issues that you mentioned. We are actually arriving 6 hours before RS. I do not want to sit in the airport for that long just to meet up with them. My Dubai trip iis after Sri Lanka. I figured I would pamper myself for 3 days afterwards. Why come home early! We should share our experiences. I would love to hear about Oman! Wish me luck! Have a great time!
William Schmidt Jan 06, 2013 at 02:35 PM

Christina, sorry to hear about all the issues you had to deal with on the trip. I'm especially surprised that they did not provide water for you at dinner and on the bus. Road Scholar has always been very good about that. I'm hoping that they have read your reviews of the trip and are making any needed corrections before the February 15th trip. Hi Joy, i will be on your trip although I am arriving on the RS flight from Ny through Delhi. I hope thing will improve by the time we arrive. Looking forward to meeting you on this trip. Christina thank you so much for your review. Although I wish it could have been better, you know what they say - forwarned is forarmed. To be honest though, if it wasn't so late, I might have canceled based on your review. Thanks again. Bill
Joy Hafner Jan 06, 2013 at 09:07 PM

Hi Bill...I agree with you too. I am a bit nervous about the trip. I hope ours is better! Let's keep our fingers crossed. Maybe they have made some improvements. Looking forward to meeting you as well. Joy
William Schmidt Jan 07, 2013 at 01:46 PM

Hi Joy. I see they have renewed the trip for this coming year. Hopefully they will have worked out any kinks in the program by the time we arrive. I do think we will have better weather in February than Christina had in November. Wishing you a safe journey until we meet in Sri Lanka! Bill
Nancy Kirsh Feb 24, 2013 at 09:35 PM

William - I see that you left for this program on February 15th. I would like to hear more about your experience, and whether it was similar to Christina's disappointing experience described above. My husband and I are considering this, for next year. Thanks.
Joy Hafner Mar 03, 2013 at 06:27 AM

Just got back from this tour. Had a FABULOU'S time. Our guide was wonderful. Hotels were very nice. I would recommend this tour. I took Air Emirates and was very pleased. My stop over in Dubai was lots of fun. I am happy that my trip was very different that Christina's
William Schmidt Mar 10, 2013 at 01:54 PM

Hi Nancy, I was on the trip with Joy. This is now one of my favorite trips. I had a fantastic time. I second everything that Joy reported. The hotels were great and the food good. Most of the meals were buffet style. Bottled water was provided by the tour operators and at the hotels. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. It is very hot but that is the nature of the country. I enjoyed all of our activities and the Buddist temples were fascinating to visit. If you go to climb Lion's Rock, which is fantastic, I would definitely recommend hiring at least one of the young men licensed as guides. They will help you up the mountain as well as give you a history lesson and are well worth the price. I could not have made it to the top without them. We had a great group of people on this trip, only 15. Also I have to say, that the Sri Lankan people are probably the most friendly people I have met on my travels. Nancy if you have any additional or specific questions about the trip, please let me know. I would be happy to answer them. Can't recommend it enough!


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11 nights of accommodations
31 meals: 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners
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13 Field trips

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