Having shuddered at the sight of dozens of tourist buses herding groups of travellers from one site to another, I couldn't be happier for having chosen to organise my trip to Sri Lanka through a local travel agency. My agent, Yasasvi, couldn't have been more helpful or attentive in putting together an itinerary that covered everything we wanted to see - tea plantations, wildlife, beaches, national parks, ancient cities - and with the services of a local driver who accompanied us throughout the tour, we were able to explore one of the most popular tourist destinations of the moment in our own authentic and unique way. From stopping off to show us passing wildlife or beautiful views to explaining the history and culture of Buddhism in his country, our driver gave us an insider's introduction to Sri Lanka that we certainly wouldn't have had from an international guide. Sri Lanka is the most stunningly diverse and fascinating country I have ever seen, and I can't recommend booking through Evaneos enough - we paid a very fair price for all the services we received, and on a personal level, I felt much better knowing that that money went to the benefit of the local economy where it belongs.
It's too hard for me to decide what I liked most about our trip. Sigiriya Rock definitely lived up to its reputation as one of Sri Lanka's most iconic sites, the train ride through the tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya was every bit as spectacular as it looks on the postcards, the Sri Lankan people were so gentle and friendly throughout, and the food was amazing (lots of yummy veggie options). As an animal lover, spotting a leopard in Yala National Park was a personal highlight, and for anyone interested in delving into the history of Sri Lanka, a trip to its ancient cities like Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura are a must.
To be honest there was nothing I didn't like about the trip itself with the exception of a couple of pushy salesmen we came across in souvenir shops (not the agency's fault), and we were even lucky enough to have sunshine every day. Yasasvi and her team did a fantastic job, thank you all!