bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sri Lanka needs you

It's not beekeeping, I know, but I couldn't resist giving travellers encouragement to visit Sri Lanka where we spent Christmas and New Year.

Still making a remarkable recovery from the 2004 tsunami (road, rail and telecoms links were back up within weeks though house-building seems to be lagging), Sri Lanka is going through a tough time at present. With trouble in the north and east of the island, most western governments are advising against travel to the whole country. Only the British government seems to be taking a reasonable line (I would give a link, but its website has been inaccessible for days!) Tourists are very thin on the ground which is a huge shame.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Sri Lanka -- even right now. The people are wonderful (touts notwithstanding), the food is fantastic and the variety of scenery and the historical heritage is breathtaking. And after you've paid for your airfare, the cost of travelling is very low to dollar and euro travellers.

One word of advice: don't hire a car in Sri Lanka! Hire a driver with car -- it'll be significantly cheaper than a renting a car in most western countries and much more relaxing. The rules of the road there are -- ahem -- a little different. Drivers communicate with their horns, but informatively, not angrily. Overtaking on bends and brows of hills is normal practice and amazingly not fraught with danger because everyone expects to meet a vehicle on the wrong side of the road. I didn't see a single accident on the whole trip.

So if you'd like a taxi driver in Sri Lanka who can been hired for a day or a few weeks, I have the very man: Jagath Kumara (telephone Sri Lanka 0777681754). His driving is excellent, he won't take you to tourist traps and will do exactly as you ask. He knows his country well and his English is improving with every visitor he meets (he'll have an odd accent after our visit though!) He also has a very good sense of humour!

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Jagath Kumara, highly recommended Sri Lankan driver based in Galle, who will drive you safely all over the island at very reasonable rates. 0777681754

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