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yisaam

:: Great Sri Lankan Drives ::

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Hi All

I'm sure you guys have seen stuff in magazines and on websites that talk about point to point drives on beautiful and challenging roads, mostly in Europe. All very mouthwatering but I was thinking about the holidays mid next week and wondering if anyone can suggest a good 'drive' for a day-trip from Colombo. I don't mind leaving super early, but need to be back 8pm-ish. Focus on less traffic and challenging drive :-). Try to include great food at the destination.

Thanks in advance.

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Dude whats so challenging about driving in a straight line? And thats not very far.. I sometimes do that drive just for kicks in the night. its hardly a trip

PS: excellent choice for a thread

I really liked the Drive upto Hatton last week.. you dont have to Drive all the way there. The roads a good mix of carpet bends and straights

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lets ask his requirments shall we? I thought he wants a one day trip

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lets ask his requirments shall we? I thought he wants a one day trip

Yes, he does want a one day trip..and Hatton and back (or close) is totally do-able in a day. I've done that drive the last few times I was in SL, and I'd have to agree it is a great drive. Plus the roads for the most part outside Colombo are so much better.

Honestly, there aren't that many places in Sri Lanka you couldn't drive to and back from in a day...it really is a pretty damn small country! But as far as windy roads goes heading towards the Hatton area is the best option. There are quite a few smaller roads around there you can take that are pretty scenic and fun..can't remember what they are without a map in front of me, but I believe there's one that goes by Castlereigh reservoir and back down through backroads to the main Hatton road. I don't remember anything specific enough for this to be useful at all so I'll shut up!

But yes, def. a good thread to start, so hope there are some good gems of drives out there that come up here that we haven't really tried before!

Cheers,

S

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I have driven from Nuwara eliya to bandarawela (to the monestary - name?) lots of nice scceneries and elevation changes. Also the road from Alpitiya? to rathnapura? at least thats what I remember, it was 10-15 yrs ago..

There are some nice places in hatton around the bogawanthalawa plantations, sadly I was driven around :(

my parents talk about drives in ampara and hingurana but sadly I've never been anywhere near that.

how about a top-ten list? maybe the AL members can do a wknd drive. kind of a slow-bullrun. I would even suggest Feb 08 for the event, I heard the weather is gonna be good around that time :)

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dhp, you're referring to Adisham, right? The Benedictine Monastery? I've been there, and its certainly worth a visit, even if its only for the home-made jams they have for sale there.

Probably the best driving road in Sri Lanka is the Hatton road stretch from Yatiyantota to Ginigathhena, so try that. It's a good mix of short straights, fast sweepers and tighter, technical sections. The best part is that the road surface is still great and the scenery excellent. However, Ginigathhena is not on any gourmand's must-visit list, so pack something, or drive on to Nuwara Eliya for lunch.

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Thanks all for the replies so far.

Totally agree with the Avissawella Hatton stretch. Did that once last year, on to Ambewela, Nuwara Eliya and as the usual Kandy road was blocked because of poorly dynamited rocks, was forced to come through an estate-ish road (only wide enough for 1.5 vehicles) through Pundul Oya (if I remember right) down to Nawalapitiya, Gampola, Kandy and back to Colombo. All in one day. Close on 500km, 6:00 am to 11:45 pm. Would not recommend to anyone to do in a day no matter how experienced/macho/'fit' they may be, it's very tiring and without R*D B*LL I think reasonably dangerous.

I've heard the road from Puttalam to Anuradhapura, average speed in a van is 120kmph :-S.

Anyway, has to be done in one day, very important. Would say max 200-250 km round trip; nd would like there to be something to see/eat at the destination as well :-)

Perhaps someone can suggest a way to a Kandy or Galle (where at least there'll be a nice buffet) a bit off the regular routes?

Thanks loads.

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dhp, you're referring to Adisham, right? The Benedictine Monastery? I've been there, and its certainly worth a visit, even if its only for the home-made jams they have for sale there.

yup thats it! they even had some kinda wine...it was either non-alcoholic or too little for my system. there is a good down grade to the valley and a two lane rd thru feilds (got stuck behind trucks) and then back up.

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Interesting. We were just dicussing this on e-mail and we were talking with Madz about putting out a feature on this on AL.

For your time frames, Belihul Oya Rest House and back? have the buffet, have a nice river dip and head back in. We hit Belihu-Oya for lunch after leaving Colombo well past 7.

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NO DOUBT THERE ARE SOME GREAT DRIVING ROADS IN SL WITH ALOT OF ELEVATION CHANGE BUT THE BUSES TURN IT FROM GREAT TO DANGEROUS

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I second the drive up to Ambewela.... You can drive fast if you want, but drive average and enjoy the breath-taking scenery is something you should do....

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The Kandy to N.Eliya stretch is now pretty much excellent, given the fact that the roads are now almost 80% carpeted thru out the stretch and some of the narrow stretch's have other entry points. Like theres a tunnel being dug in a mountain thats hosts the Rock overhang near the Ramboda falls which i think is the narrowest in the stretch.

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The Kandy to N.Eliya stretch is now pretty much excellent, given the fact that the roads are now almost 80% carpeted thru out the stretch and some of the narrow stretch's have other entry points. Like theres a tunnel being dug in a mountain thats hosts the Rock overhang near the Ramboda falls which i think is the narrowest in the stretch.

yeap kandy to NE strech is awesome,

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just be on the watch out for cops...not just for speeding...jumping the double lines :)

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The Kandy to N.Eliya stretch is now pretty much excellent, given the fact that the roads are now almost 80% carpeted thru out the stretch and some of the narrow stretch's have other entry points. Like theres a tunnel being dug in a mountain thats hosts the Rock overhang near the Ramboda falls which i think is the narrowest in the stretch.

Its a good road but still a little dangerous. The fog in the evenings is terrible and there is still the threat of occasional landslides.

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Ok... some great drives...

So what’s the worst drive... for me it’s Colombo to Kandy... Unpredictable traffic jams- imagine going up hills in the 1st or 2nd in the hills. Had enough in my last trip. Can’t speed because of cops with speed guns and other offences. Most of the times I don’t enjoy the drive to Kandy :angry-smiley-024:

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Again, thanks all for the suggestions and comments and insight.

I haven't driven the Kandy - N'Eliya stretch recently and I'm sure it's great now that it's paved. There's the small problem of getting to Kandy without doing the Colombo - Kandy bit :-p which I have to wholeheartedly agree is an immense frustration and reverses any efforts made to stop using bad language and swearing. It's still a thought though, the scenery is fabulous ney.

Leaning towards the Belihul Oya idea, thanks Peri.

Again, just to clarify further, I'm kind of looking for a drive eensy bit off the beaten path, but with low traffic and no buses and other hard-to-overtake traffic. I know, it's asking a lot but please keep the suggestions coming. I'm open to I-was-once-driving-to-X-and-took-the-wrong-turn,-but-machan-what-a-road-it-was suggestions too! Places we'd never know without someone who experienced it tellng us. Appreciate full contact details of person suggesting so my family can come and shoot you if I get shot, eaten by a bear or fall off a precipice.

Further thing to note, I'm not driving a Porsche Cayenne or Rangie Sport or even a Audi RS4 (sigh, the dream world I live in), just a good ol' Corolla 121. So no jungle trails please!

As a further extension of this request, can anyone here suggest a 'Great Sri Lankan Ride'; I ride a VT250 and a quick engaging ride to somewhere and back is appealing too. Key thing here is good road surface and wide roads, sans traffic if possible. Keep in mind it's from Colombo and proximity to civilization (in case of any failures) is a factor as well.

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maybe the AL members can do a wknd drive. kind of a slow-bullrun

I smell a local version of Gumball 3000 ;)

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I'm open to I-was-once-driving-to-X-and-took-the-wrong-turn,-but-machan-what-a-road-it-was suggestions too! P

Machan had one of those last week when we while traveling to Bandarawela through NuwaraEliya we took a wrong turn and headed towards the Bogawantalawa Estates area.. Man those have got be some of the loveliest tea plantations in the country.. we just went on through Wanaraja, Norwood, Castlereigh- exteremly scenic and the colors just hit you like crazy. Also if you have the bucks to bust theres these set of luxury bungalows called 'Tea Trails' in the area (Managed by the MJF/Dimah Group) try and visit them sometime as well. I hear the scenes from them are out of this world. The road is sort of ok, its a bit bumpy but your corrola will do just fine on it.

Best SL drive would be

Galle Rd. between 8am- 10am and 4pm-7pm

NO DOUBT THERE ARE SOME GREAT DRIVING ROADS IN SL WITH ALOT OF ELEVATION CHANGE BUT THE BUSES TURN IT FROM GREAT TO DANGEROUS

I really dont think you can streotype Sri Lankan roads to such an extent.. after all we're here and your there :D .

and most of us I'm sure are good enough Drivers to handle them buses. We mingle with them every day after all <_< And outstation vehicles are a lot more polite than those in Colombo.

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I really dont think you can streotype Sri Lankan roads to such an extent.. after all we're here and your there :D .

and most of us I'm sure are good enough Drivers to handle them buses. We mingle with them every day after all <_< And outstation vehicles are a lot more polite than those in Colombo.

you assume too much. I go back and forth between SL alot. I know how the roads are and the traffic situations. I've driven private cars outstation and used the public transport. In my experience I have found bus to be very dangerous especially on the blind corner roads of the hill country.

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Machan had one of those last week when we while traveling to Bandarawela through NuwaraEliya we took a wrong turn and headed towards the Bogawantalawa Estates area.. Man those have got be some of the loveliest tea plantations in the country.. we just went on through Wanaraja, Norwood, Castlereigh- exteremly scenic and the colors just hit you like crazy. Also if you have the bucks to bust theres these set of luxury bungalows called 'Tea Trails' in the area (Managed by the MJF/Dimah Group) try and visit them sometime as well. I hear the scenes from them are out of this world. The road is sort of ok, its a bit bumpy but your corrola will do just fine on it.

I vacationed at summerville and toured some of the other bungalows and tea factories in 03 and honeymooned again a few years later in another estate bungalow (dont remember the name). when I went back, tea trails were converting the old colonial bongalows into highend guest houses/b&bs. I think the going rate was 100-200$ but the prices have dropped since then. You can get the cabanas at Eagles's ridge? for much cheaper but not much in the way of amenities just a pool made from blocking a small waterfall. but amazing views.

I got to hangout with some cool guys at the planter's club (man those guys can consume) and was given a few highspeed rides on the curvey roads in the middle of the night (I wont recomend it with anyone other than someone who lives and drives there often).

I have to say that I got better service there than at any other 5star hotel. My wife and I were treated so well, I would recomend it for families and couples. Those Appu's can teach a thing or two to some hospitality managers in our hotels and so-called cheffs. Just make sure to treat them right, like fellow humans and leave a big tip (cos I dont think they get paid a lot).

I have been kinda selfish about this and havent told many ppl or posted pics cos I dont want it ruined like most other SL tourist destinations. I am glad they price it out of the range of cheap foreign tourists' budget cos thats what cheapens any destination.

If I offended anyone (ie cheapass european tourists) then I ment to :)

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Tomorow heading towards Hikkaduwa to enjoy the finals with a nice bottle of barcadi. Anyone heading there?

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I really dont think you can streotype Sri Lankan roads to such an extent.. after all we're here and your there :D .

and most of us I'm sure are good enough Drivers to handle them buses. We mingle with them every day after all <_< And outstation vehicles are a lot more polite than those in Colombo.

you assume too much. I go back and forth between SL alot. I know how the roads are and the traffic situations. I've driven private cars outstation and used the public transport. In my experience I have found bus to be very dangerous especially on the blind corner roads of the hill country.

Great! Why not contribute to the topic :)

Edited by Pilawoos

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