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Discover Sri Lanka 18 Feb

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 13:34

Just wanted to say "hi" to anyone who will be on this trip. Also if anyone knows of mosquito repellent that really works please let me know!!!

Thu, 07/21/2011 - 09:53

Hi Katie,

I have just booked for this trip. I am really looking forward to it. I used the standard insect repellant available from Nomad travel - it has to have at least 50% "Deet" in India and Peru this year. I also stay well covered with long sleeve shirts and long trousers - I don't give them much of a target !


Thu, 08/11/2011 - 23:23

Hi Katie and Colin,

I've just booked this week and according to the website there are now only 2 places left on the trip!  

I use Boots own brand tropical strength insect repellent with 50% DEET and I survived 18 days in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia without any mozzie bites!   


Fri, 08/12/2011 - 09:26

Hi Cathy,

it must be a popular trip to be booked up so soon !  The Thailand , Laos and Cambodia must have been a good trip , I am thinking of going there the year after next - nothing like planning ahead.


Fri, 08/12/2011 - 21:00

Hi Colin,

The Sri Lanka trip gets really good reviews so lets hope it lives up to them!  It sounds like an amazing country.

I can highly recommend the Exodus Discover Thailand, Laos and Cambodia trip - it was fantastic!  I went in late November / early December last year and apart from a couple of downpours in Bangkok and Phnom Penh the weather was pretty much perfect.  I liked that area of the world so much that I'm hoping to go to Vietnam at the back end of next year!


Mon, 08/15/2011 - 09:42

Sounds fabulous. I have good reports of Vietnam.I have never been to that part of the world,

still I shall try to get there sometime.


Fri, 08/19/2011 - 14:03

Hi, thanks for the tips. Really looking forward to this trip, just wish we didn't have another 6 months to wait. I made sure I booked in plenty of time as tried to book last year and it was sold out. Seems a popular trip which is a good sign! x

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:13


Just booked one of the last 2 places yesterday, and I see the trip is now full.

Sri Lanka's been on my list for a while and the reviews of this trip are fantastic.  Can't wait!

I also use Boots Deet.  Also take antihistamines everywhere I go in case any of them brave their way through it :)







Fri, 10/21/2011 - 18:23

Hi there -

I have finally booked this trip to Srilanka - I think I have taken the last place.I am not very organised as never can forward plan 6 months like the rest of you obviously organised people! I always dither trying to decide where to go - too many choices.

 I am travelling from Manchester with Emirates - is anyone else doing this or is everyone on group flights from London.

Also - heard the visa system is changing so need to do it online - does anyone know the best time to do this?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:03


I am flying from Manchester on the shuttle then taking the group flight.

I was not aware that the visa system was changing. I thought they just sent a form..

Have you any more information ? 


Sat, 10/22/2011 - 19:49


thanks for the information on the visa, I will look it up.

I am staying in London on the return journey. The hotel is quite inexpensive.  I can't remember an Emirates flight being available when I booked. It is always a problem what to do when flying from Manchester


Fri, 12/02/2011 - 11:05

This is my first trip with exodus and im really looking forward to it.  I too am traveling from Manchester on the Emirates flight.   I have pre arranged transport from Colombo airport so if the other person who is traveling on the same flight wants to share then just let me know.

Any top tips items to take from you professional travellers so that i can put on my list to Santa?


Fri, 12/02/2011 - 14:32

Hi Nikki,

I have been on two trips so far India and Peru .I take the stuff in the packing list - particularly insect repellant and sun screen. I try to pack as light as possible since we move on a lot, so I have easy dry / care clothing . The Nomad site has a lot of information. I carry valuables, passport etc. in money belts, and also take copies of documents, and put save them on my e-mail online. I have never had any problems . On the Peru trip the clean water system in the coach leaked onto some of the luggage (the tour leader arranged for those affected to have their stuff washed , dried and ironed overnight ), but even  so I am thinking packing my clothes inside waterproof stuff sacks inside the luggage.  I cannot think of much else - it is a question of trial and error.







Sat, 12/03/2011 - 07:40

I'm also booked on this trip- can't wait. Went to india with Exodus in 2006 which was amazing. Looking forward to meeting you all. Judy x

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 14:42

Hi Nikki - I would advise taking disinfectant hand gel and hand wipes and also toilet roll! 

 Has anyone done the visa yet? Had a look at it but not actually done it.

 Can't believe how close it is getting now! xx

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 15:56

Hi Katie,

I have submitted my visa application but it is still in pending. I am not certain the system is functioning properly . It did not ask for any money and there was a pop up on the site which said to go ahead and book holidays until the end of March 2012 without waiting for the ETA.  I have a confirmation that I have actually applied for it but that is all.

On the subject of toilet rolls I take the Andrex "On The Go" - they are specially compressed so they don't take up much room. I could not find them in the supermarket, so I ordered them from Amazon.


Tue, 12/13/2011 - 15:32

Just reading Christopher Ondaatje's The Man-Eater of Punanai which is very interesting. It is about his return to Sr Lanka after about 40 years. It has childhood recollections and a search for leopards!

Tue, 12/13/2011 - 16:06

Sounds good, I must take a good book.

I have just got my ETA application approved. I had to e-mail them in the end, it was stuck in pending for two weeks.  I did not have to pay anything. You get the actual 30 day visa on arrival by showing your passport, a return ticket and sufficient funds for your stay.


Thu, 12/15/2011 - 20:24

Hello Colin,Katie,Cathy,Ruth,Nikki and Judy -

I dig the fact that our messages are hot on the forum board - so thought I best reply to keep us at the top! It is nice to meet at least a third of he group so far online. This will be my 5th trip with exodus - so far I have been to Jordan,Cuba,Bhutan and just recently Tunisia.I am trying to be better and reply to the messages on the board - rather than nodding at the screen and not actually writing back!!

Nikki - I think that most important things to take are loperamide (antidiarrhoea tablets) and oral rehydration scahets as well as eucalyptus oil and plain old paracetamol.I agree with Colin about ensuring that you scan all documents before hand and email it to yourself so you have access to it if needed. If you don't have a scanner, try the local library which usually will have one.I also suggest a passport waist band to keep yopur documents secure whilst travelling.

Colin -  I have just applied for the ETA online but found it a bit weird as UK/England/Great Britain  was not listed in the drop down menus for places of birth or passport issued location so ended up puttingdown British Citizen?

 Nikki - it would be great to share the car to the hotel - I was planning to get a prepaid taxi from the airport but was apprehensive on travelling by myself to the hotel as it is about an hours journey. Exodus never mentioned that anyone else was travelling from Manchester with Emirates. I am catching the 1.30pm flight from manchester that gets to colombo at 830am on the Sunday morning

 If you wish to get in contact directly , my email adress is

 [email protected]

Take care everyone andtread carefully on all the slippy ice that suddenly has appeared!


Thu, 12/15/2011 - 21:24
Mon, 12/19/2011 - 18:03

Hi, I got my ETA approved within 24 hours of application! Just paid off final payment so feels a bit more real now!


Mon, 12/19/2011 - 18:16

i applied on line and got approval within 24 hours.  It said about duplicate application as soon as I put my passport details in - but I just ignored it and went through the process. There are weird anomalies like for place of birth and issue of passport , the drop down menu only has British Citizen listed not UK/Englad/Great Britain/Wales or Scotland so I just used that and it seemed to work.

I got an email staright away to let me know my application had been received and then 24 hours later an approval email.

I gather that on arrival to Srilanka armed with your ETA form, you still need to get a visa with proof of return travel and sufficent funds.

ETA holder will be able to enter Sri lanka within 3 months from the date of issue on the ETA. The address in Sri lanka that you will need to put is :-  NKAR Travels & Tours (Pvt) Ltd, 45, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha , Colombo 07. Sri Lanka Tel:   (+94 11) 2564584

I hope that it helps someone


Thu, 12/29/2011 - 22:42

Hi Latha (and everyone else!)

Thanks for the info about the ETA - I wouldn't have got very far without it.  I was going to apply in January but according to the website they start charging for the visas from January 1st, so I thought I'd do it while it's still free!

Just over 7 weeks to go until our holiday - I can't wait!  


Sun, 01/01/2012 - 17:27

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year !

Suddenly there is just under two months before holiday time -  Hope everyone is well rested after the festive period.

take care


Tue, 01/03/2012 - 10:19

Happy new year. Back at work today but the thought of the holiday kept me going as I battled through the gales!

I got my ETA approval just before Christmas and didn't have to pay anything. Does anyone know if we need to pay for the visa when we get there?



Tue, 01/03/2012 - 22:05

I think that although we have the ETA approval, we still may need to pay for the actual visa on arrival. It gives a price in US Dollars so don't think they will accept pounds - not sure if this is correct though.


Tue, 01/10/2012 - 04:32

Just wanted to say Hi to everyone and thanks for all the above advice! This is my first trip with Exodus and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm coming over from Guernsey in the Channel Islands & have always wanted to go to Sri Lanka. My sister has travelled with Exodus before and loved it, so she had no worries in recommending it to me! Looking forward to meeting everyone,
Charlotte x

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:08

Hello Charlotte,

I have just been emailing a friend about a book called "The guersney potato peel and pie society " and then read your email - small world.

Looking forward to meeting you -

Take care


Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:55

Hi Charlotte & everyone

Exodus holidays are fab - once you've done one you'll be addicted! 

We must have most of the group on here by now!  Colin appears to be seriously outnumbered by the ladies!  ;-)

I spoke to the nurse at my doctor's surgery today and was told that I don't need malaria tablets as we aren't travelling to a malarial area.  Has anyone else had similar advice from their doctor?

Not long to go now! 


Wed, 01/11/2012 - 09:42

Welcome Charlotte. Hi to everyone else.

I have only done 1 holiday with Exodus but done quite a few with other similar companies and they are always great. I agree with Cathy that you'll be addicted once you have done one! So far it sounds like this is going to be a nice group as well which is very important.

The info I have says you don't need malaria tabletsl, although just had to book in for a typhoid jab as mine has expired.

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 10:36

Hi All,

I can't wait  to go now. It sounds a really great group I look forward to meeting you all. I am outnumbered by ladies on most of the holidays I go on, women seem to be more adventurous than men. When I went to India last year most men I spoke to said that they would love to go but their wives would not go. Which was strange since the men were outnumbered at least 5 to 1 by the ladies. I have just come back from a fantastic New Year celebration at Cortijo Romero in Andalucia. There were 25 of us in the group all strangers at the start. There were only 7 men (2 with their wives)  including the facilitator, it was fabulous.

I have been to see the travel nurse. We don't need malaria tablets in the area we are going to , just plenty of insect repellent. She recommended spraying it on the clothes as long as they weren't too delicate.


Wed, 01/11/2012 - 11:39

Hi all, I usually like to have my currency before I go but from what I can see you can only get Sri Lankan Rupees once in Sri Lanka - does anyone know if this is correct?


P.S - Colin, your holiday sounds lovely. I was in Andalucia (as my Syria holiday was cancelled!) in May last year and it was beautiful

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 12:04

Hi Katie,

I think the Sri Lankan Rupee is a soft currency, there are restrictions on import  and export. So I am taking pounds sterling and a few US dollars I have left over and changing money there. We did that in India and Peru . We had to  change all the local   currency back to hard currency at the airport.

Andalucia was gorgeous. The oranges are ripening on the trees now. So to lie in the orchard under a blue sky surrounded by orange trees and snow capped mountains in January with only the sound of birds and the gentle splash of the fountains was like a scene from Arabian Nights.  It was hard to come back to reality !


Wed, 01/25/2012 - 12:30

Hi Katie,

I have just bought Christopher Ondaatje's The Man-Eater of Punanai . I will try and read it before I go as it is a bit heavy to carry. I have Chandani Lokuge's "If the Moon Smiled" to take with me.


Thu, 01/26/2012 - 21:21

Hi everyone,

I am begining to get excited about the trip now we have final confirmation - it feels more real. Need to still get some US dollars for the visa and start to figure how how much stuff to take - I always pack and then repack  at least 3 times the night before?!

Take care


Wed, 02/01/2012 - 13:25

not sure about this being medical  ( retired ) I'm a bit cautious. Will take some more advice.

4 of us travelling -self Helen wife + 2 daughters 

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 13:24

I have been told we don't need malaria tablets for the areas we go to. Did have to have a typhoid jab though as mine had expired.

 Do we need to pay for the visa if we did it before 1 Jan? Really not clear on it.

 Katie x

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 13:54

Hi Katie,

I was told the same thing about malaria.  I think it is only in the north.

I have my ETA approval, which I got for free before January 1st. But I don't think that is a visa as such. We have to show it when we arrive. I am taking a few dollars just in case I have to pay for a visa.

Not long now , must start packing / re-packing.


Sat, 02/04/2012 - 14:29

Hello everybody,

I too went to the doctors and was told that I don't require antimalarias for the areas we are going to. I also went to get my typhoid booster and Tetanus/Polio/Diptheria vaccine. I always wear long sleeves especially at dusk and night to try avoid to be being bitten and may take mosquito coils that you can plug into the electrics.  

Now time to start writing my packing list - how many outfits can I possibly cram into my suitcase also allowing space for any purchases!

Take care

Latha - watching the snow coming down - praying that it will melt by next week!

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 14:46

Hello everyone!

Can't believe it's only a week away now :)

Just writing lists and starting to dig out summer clothes.  Got a question for you...

I was going to take a rucksack, but a friend who just came back from a similar Exodus trip said because you move hotels every night and there isn't that much walking with luggage, I'd be better off taking my soft wheelie case.

Anyone got any preferences?

See you all next week! 

Sat, 02/11/2012 - 17:49

Hi Ruth

I've done a few similar Exodus trips and I always take a soft holdall with wheels.  Most people seem to take either suitcases, wheelie holdalls or kit bags.  You won't have to lug it around too much because the hotel porters will do it for you!

I'd better get back to my packing list and the pile of holiday clothes on my spare bed!  

See you in a week!


Sat, 02/11/2012 - 18:31

Thanks Cathy!

Oh how I'm looking forward to getting away from this icy cold winter :)

Sun, 02/12/2012 - 12:39

I am taking a soft wheelie case and a small rucksack as hand luggage

We move around quite a lot but we don't handle the luggage.


Sun, 02/12/2012 - 20:03

I am planning to take a rucksak as a day sack and a medium sized wheelied suitcase - semi hard case. Well that is the plan until I try to squeeze everything in - it was adequete for  a week in Tunisia but not sure whether I should take a bigger suitcase so I can bring more things back?


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 14:21

I was trying to pack light and take a smaller case.  Then I thought, why? 2 weeks away, don't even try :).

And I like Latha's thinking about bringing stuff back too!


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 17:39

The amount of stuff I have before even thinking about clothes is insane! I read very quickly so have to bring lots of books. I'll probably be giving some away once I have read them so if anyone needs additional reading material I am probably worth asking!

Trying to decide what sort of clothes to bring. I know we need to be quite covered up so digging out my long sleeved cotton tops and long trousers. Also packed a dress for if we go to that posh club place.

Can't believe it is only a few days now. It seems most people have been on here so won't be many surprises. I was thinking of putting my Exodus luggage tag on to my day pack rather than main luggage so we can spot each other easier once we reach the airport in Sri Lanka.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 20:59

Hi Katie,

that's a good idea about the luggage tag.  Mine got stuck under edge of luggage carousel in Lima, and broke when I pulled it out. So my "lifetime tag" lasted one holiday. I have a new one now.

You need it on your main luggage when they load it onto the coach and at hotels etc.

I hope a shirt and trousers is acceptable at the posh club place. I wasn't thinking of wearing a dress.


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:20

My packing style is thinking about for days and then similar to Judy -putting things in a pile and trying to rationalise them usually the night before!!

 What type of shoes is everyone  thinking of taking - I have got wet/dry regatta slippers, pair of light weight hiking shoes, trainers and possible a pair of loafers. I  think I ought to maybe reread the trip notes as I haven't really read them since I booked those months ago - as everyone today is talking about a posh club place - not sure if I will have space for a ballgown!

Colin - if  you are not wearing a dress at this posh place, assume you can go in a kilt instead!

Take care


Tue, 02/14/2012 - 23:08

Hi Latha,

I am taking a pair of casual shoes, sandals, and trail shoes.

I had not thought of a kilt -  not that good to keep out the mosquitoes though !


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 12:03

I have just finished reading Christopher Ondaatje's The Man-Eater of Punanai .

Fantastic book, really enjoyed the four small stories at the end as well.

Not long  to go now.


Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:05

Just checked out the temperature in Colombo and it is between 21-33 degress centigrade - so now in the process of repacking -have got eveything in heaps on the floor and instead of actually packing , I seem to be emailing about it - so time to bite the bullet and see if everything will actually fit into the suitcase!

I hope everyone else has a safe journey there and meet you guys at the hotel in Marawali on Sunday afternoon as I am flying from Manchester.

Looking forward to that beach!

 Take care



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