It’s not everyday that you make a plan to visit Sri Lanka. It’s not on Pakistanis’ list of desired destinations either for holiday or honeymoon. The most desired destination for honeymoon, at least in the middle to upper-middle class is Malaysia, followed by Thailand. Malaysia being more favored because it’s an Islamic country and Pakistanis are more apt to find Halal food there than in Thailand. And our middle class still adheres to the religious restrictions of halal and haram, even if that’s the only restriction they adhere to.
It’s a different story altogether for the ultra rich. They’ve two different types of vacations. The long vacations are spent either in a European country, or in Canada as part of their immigration regulations. Then they have a shorter version, one that’s reserved for the 3-5 holidays of Eid. After all, who wants to spend Eid in your own poor country mingling with your boring relatives? Its so uncool. So this vacation is spent in Far East, mostly Thailand but sometimes Malaysia, Singapore or Hong Kong as well.
They won’t be caught spending the long vacation in the Far East. That’s so Middle-class-ish.
So what was my Sri Lanka tour plan and how did I create it?
The plan was to go through the picturesque side of Sri Lanka as well as experience the cultural kaleidoscope of Sri Lanka.
And here’s what I came up with to cover all these objectives:
SRI LANKA TOUR PLAN:
Day 1: Thursday: Arrive in Colombo
Day 2: Friday: Leave for Anuradhapura – ancient capitals of sri lanka :
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, Loha Prasada, the Kuttam Pokuna, and Dagobas such as Thuparama, Jetawanaya, Abhayagiriya, Ruwanweli, and the Buddha Statue, Samadhi
Day 3: Saturday: Polonnaruwa and Dambulla
Parakrama Samudra, an ancient reservoir, Vatadage, Nissanka Lata, Lotus Bath , Kiri Vihara and Gal Vihara, an ancient temple dating back to 2,500 B.C, Sigiriya Lion Rock Frescoes, Cave Temple
Day 4: Sunday: Minneriya National Park – Kandy
4X4 wildlife safari in Minneriya National Park, “Dalada Maligawa” or temple of shrines at 7:00pm in Kandy.
Day 5: Monday: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Horton Plains and World’s End,
Day 6: Tuesday: Nuwara Eliya to Pinnawela – Baby Elephant Orphanage
Day 7: Wednesday: Colombo & Galle
Day 8: Return flight
Well actually I didn’t devise it completely on my own. Trip.me which offers guided tours to different parts of the world came up with this plan and were charging a staggering $797 per person for this tour package. While I didn’t take up on this offer, I did copied their plan which sounded good enough for me.
So why didn’t the Sri Lanka tour plan materialized?
I was going to be traveling with a friend of mine to Sri Lanka who unfortunately met with an accident just two days before the departure and had to abort his plan. Now with him I was going to be sharing the cost of accommodation, transport and even food. With him out of the picture, I had to bear the burden of all these costs myself.
I had set aside a budget of roughly Rs.100,000 or $1,000, give or take a couple of hundred dollars. And that included everything, even the ticket and visa. And this was a pretty good estimate if you’re travelling with a travel companion to Sri Lanka.
Alone, the cost of just inland travel and accommodation was coming out to be $650. Include food and other miscellaneous stuff in it, and you are looking at a figure of Rs. 150,000 or $1400. That’s how expensive it is if you’ve got a tight schedule and everything is rushed.
Ironically, I had prepare a tight budget just because of my friend who had to come early to sort out his business affairs. So much for that.
And the cost of not going? Since I had already bought the ticket and got the visa, Rs.6920 as cancellation charges and Rs.2500 for visa processing. That comes out to be Rs. 9420. Now that’s an awful lot for nothing. So instead of cancelling it altogether, I extended it.
There’s still a fees for that, Rs.3500, but at least I get to save on the visa processing cost as well since the visa is applicable till 5th July 2014. So I’ve now scheduled the trip tentatively for April.
Let’s see now if I can get a travel companion till then or a business to sponsor my Sri Lanka tour plan.