[INDOLOGY] our visit to Sri Lanka

John Brockington John.Brockington at btinternet.com
Tue Jul 21 13:43:09 UTC 2015

Dear Mr Metcalfe,

Thank you for your letter of 15th July welcoming us back home.  We will 
put the questionnaire into the post in the next day or two but we would 
like also to make some further comments on our time in Sri Lanka for 
which there is not sufficient space on the form.

As you will remember from our initial enquiry and the details then 
provided on our itinerary, the sole purpose of a first full day in 
Colombo was to visit the National Museum and we were therefore very 
disappointed to discover on arrival that it was closed for repairs and 
essentially had a wasted day.  We feel strongly that your local agent, 
Pan Lanka Travels & Tours, should have been aware of this and warned us 
of the fact; if this had been done early enough, we might have had 
opportunity to make different arrangements.  Also, two mattresses on a 
single base (which therefore could not be separated at all) which was 
provided at Vil Uyana by the £380 upgrade to a Forest Dwelling scarcely 
qualify in our opinion as twin beds.  By contrast, the provision of an 
extra single bed at the Tintagel Hotel was perfectly adequate and the 
rooms at Ulagalla and Galle Face Hotel had twin beds as standard.

The location of the Tintagel Hotel would have been ideal for visiting 
the National Museum but its rooms are rather a case of faded glory (with 
limited drawer space, only a single usable electrical socket in our room 
and no lift) and the Galle Face Hotel even more obviously trades on its 
reputation (being overstaffed with under-motivated personnel in the 
middle ranks) and its excellent sea-front location.  Both Vil Uyana and 
Ulagalla were undoubtedly luxurious (and we appreciated the private 
plunge pool at each) but they were obviously chosen for that reason by, 
we presume, Pan Lanka.  Despite the address given for it, Ulagalla is in 
fact at Tirappane and so some considerable distance south of both 
Anuradhapura and Mihintale – unnecessarily so, since there are clearly 
perfectly adequate hotels in Anuradhapura itself (such as the one that 
our guide took us to twice for lunch).  However, the luxury for guests 
at Vil Uyana and Ulagalla is not matched by the totally inadequate 
standard of accommodation provided for their guest's drivers, as we 
discovered by some questioning of our guide about the whole concept of 
such establishments in that context; our guide, incidentally, was 
excellent and sufficiently knowledgeable to appreciate that we did 
ourselves know something about what we wanted to see and even to be keen 
to learn from us on some points, as well as looking after us very 
considerately.  Could some remark on this accommodation issue be passed 
on to the two hotels without identifying the source (we would not want 
our guide to suffer because of information that we elicited from him 
rather than his volunteering it)?

The questionnaire asks, inter alia, for an assessment of the destination 
guide notes.  May we point out that Sri Lanka is not on GMT plus 6 hours 
but, like India, differs by an odd half hour?  Also in our itinerary the 
Sri Lanka Airlines baggage allowance was given as 20 kg, whereas to our 
relief it is in fact 30 kg (and clearly advertised as such on the 
website), and their online checkin opens 24, not 48, hours before the 

The above is intended as some candid and therefore, we hope, useful 
feedback.  We would like to conclude by assuring you that we greatly 
enjoyed our time in Sri Lanka overall and came away with many favourable 
impressions and happy memories.


John and Mary Brockington

Professor and Mrs J.L. Brockington
113 Rutten Lane
Kidlington 0X5 1LT
tel: 01865 849438

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