Trip to Sri Lanka - Jan 27 - Jan 31, 2019

Traveler: Margaret D. - Local specialist: Sandun Jayasundara

My guide, Solomon, was always on time and knowledgeable about a site. I was walking on a sore foot and he was sure to help me navigate all steps. However, I had some difficulty understanding his English but I have hearing aids and had trouble understanding many of the Sri Lankans, so I don't know if it was his English or my lack of hearing well. My major complaint was that we had arranged for me to meet a friend of mine in Colombo on the last day of the private tour and we never made it to Colombo on time to meet him. I really felt that Solomon did this on purpose as I got the impression that he thought my friend was my Gate 1 guide before my private tour and that my friend was encroaching on his territory. Actually, it was someone I had met on a tour in Europe and who had convinced me to visit Sri Lanka. To meet him again was to be a highlight of my time in Sri Lanka and I was very disappointed. Solomon did not know that a boat from Delft Island was canceled, so we had to wait two hours for another boat to leave. He said that there was no place to eat lunch on the island so I was starving but he did find a place that I could buy some cookies. The Big Game Camp was recommended as a place to stay. It was the worse overnight accommodations that I have had anywhere--a tent that was too dark even during the day and the worse place to rearrange items for my flights home the next day. I was not told in advance that the scheduled trip to see the dolphins would require leaving the camp at 5 a.m. in the dark from the dark tent and the trip would have been on a fishing boat, which my friend had warned me was unsafe. I decided to not go on it, which resulted in having my last day on the tour just driving around. The boats going to and from Delft Island was enough of an experience already as they were far from being tourist boats. All in all, my private tour of Northern Sri Lanka was quite an experience, an adventure, though I wish that it had worked out a bit better.

Sandun Jayasundara profile photo
Sandun Jayasundara, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Margaret,

Thank you very much for your valued feedback and my sincere apologies for the inconveniences occurred. First I would like to explain the situation with your guide. Soloman is a vastly experienced, knowledgable guide and had your best interests in his heart. Like I have explained in our conversation the last day (where you have hoped to meet your friend) was a really busy day. I sorry you was not able to meet your friend is because of the road conditions (even though Sri Lanka... read more

Hi Margaret,

Thank you very much for your valued feedback and my sincere apologies for the inconveniences occurred. First I would like to explain the situation with your guide. Soloman is a vastly experienced, knowledgable guide and had your best interests in his heart. Like I have explained in our conversation the last day (where you have hoped to meet your friend) was a really busy day. I sorry you was not able to meet your friend is because of the road conditions (even though Sri Lanka is a small island travelling time can be long between destinations) and also traffic on the way. I have talked with Soloman when he was on the tour and he really wanted to take you on time, but due to road conditions and traffic, he could not make it in time.

About the boat ride to delft-island, it is only handled by Sri Lankan Navy so any cancellations happened is on their side, and was beyond our control. They also do notify this so Soloman had no idea about the cancellation.

When we were planning the trip I have suggested you two options, to stay at a Hotel in Anuradhapura (which is a bit far) or stay at Big Game Camp. I have mainly recommended Big Game Camp because it was closer to the National Park so you can rest after the long journey before the safari. (so less travelling). Since you have not spent much time at the Camp you may have the wrong impression. I have mentioned that you have to wake up early but it was my fault not mention the exact time.

The boat there at Kalpitiya is a six-passenger boat which is quite safe with all the safety precautions. We have not encountered any issue with the boat and the Whale watching excursion in Kalpitiya. That is the main reason I have suggested this excursion. Apologies that you were not able to do the excursion.

Even though you have faced some inconveniences, I am glad you were able to enjoy the adventurous experiences up North which is amazing, off the beaten path location. Do let me know if you ever decided to come to Sri Lanka again. I would like to make up for all the inconveniences and make your stay special. I wish you all the best in future travels!