A fabulous trip and thanks for assisting us
Cody went above and beyond on several occasions including when an issue cropped up on the trip. He ensured we had the most amazing holiday. I have highly recommended him to my friends.
Very good customer support, answered every concern and questions we had.
We will book again!
Always great holidays from booking with you and using Stacey with her fantastic guidance and knowledge.
Howard Crafter was brilliant. So was the rest of the team when I got in touch and he was on a call.
Jeff Lee was fantastic, so helpful. Can’t wait to book another trip with you guys
You certainly came up trumps. Everything as promised! My son said he'd never felt so relaxed. Would recommend the hotel and DialAFlight
Highly recommend to everyone we speak to. Samuel is a pro at his job.
Great stress free transfers and ground staff at Coqueal de Bonneur. A fantastic holiday.
Many thanks to Ashley and colleagues for a wonderful holiday.
Excellent service that we could not fault! Amazing honeymoon. Thank you
The holiday was wonderful from beginning to end and the team at DialAFlight did a great job.
Harry Clark is my travel expert. I would highly recommend him,
Kylie Budinger went the extra mile to make sure we finally enjoyed a lovely holiday after we had to reschedule a number of times over the last few years
Brilliant as always
The hotel was absolutely amazing - would definitely recommend Jessica to my friends as the service from her and the team has been first class
Gino is simply the best - he takes care of all our holidays and is also helping friiends of mine. Great client service all round
Curtis was fantastic from start to finish
Always good to know that wherever you are, you can assist.
Best travel agent we’ve ever used by a long way
Mike Kohler’s hotel suggestions were excellent as always. Everything was well organised including all hotels, flights and transfers.
We have been using Travis for many years. He is always helpful, reliable and we have had some great holidays!
We liked the fact that the telephone was answered promptly and everything went very smoothly
Advice on entry requirements for the Seychelles was poor.
Fantastic experience from start to finish. I have a few holidays in the pipeline and will be using DialAFlight for those.
Eric could not have been more helpful every step of the way - we WILL be using DialAFlight again
They go the extra mile
Great time away -Sam was a big help
Sri Lanka is a destination of glorious, shimmering sandy beaches, enthralling wildlife and relics of ancient civilisations.
Serendip is the island's ancient name, so it can claim to be the spiritual home of serendipity - lucky discoveries by accident - and this is the feeling you get all the time here.
Hoteliers and the rest of the tourist industry on this beautiful teardrop-shaped island are keenly looking forward to welcoming holidaymakers back following the relaxation of Foreign Office warnings about travel to Sri Lanka after the tragic terror attacks at Easter.
On one of my early starts for an excursion, serendipity was seeing dozens of candles flickering in the dense dark outside a Buddhist temple. Then a schoolgirl in brilliant white uniform striding through the dawn mists along a levee between paddy fields, while an equally white egret paced daintily in the water.
Or an old lady, knee-deep in a swamp picking blue water lilies, the national flower. And everywhere, games of impromptu cricket, with a stick for a bat and a plastic drum for a wicket, on bare mud patches, in gardens, on roads.
The island’s unique subspecies of elephants are a vestige of ancient Sri Lanka. You can’t miss them.
My most memorable jumbo encounter was at the Uda Walawe nature reserve.
We watched in awe as an extended family ambled across our track. One juvenile pushed over a tree, just for fun, it seemed. Last across was a harassed young mother, sheltering a three-week-old baby.
You might see 200 elephants at the lake in Minneriya National Park, while the distinguished star in Yala National Park is the ‘prince of the night’ – the leopard.
The nearest thing to cool in Sri Lanka is its green and hilly heart, where tea plantations are a fascinating sight. Kandy, where the British beat the last king of Ceylon in 1815, still feels like a charming, antique outpost of empire.
It is dotted with guesthouses that recall Tunbridge Wells. The colonial throwbacks include a bus station clock that chimes like Big Ben. There are red King George V post boxes and immaculate old Morris Minors, Hillman Minxes and Ford Anglias.
I stayed at the Queen’s Hotel, all echoing wooden corridors and polished staircases. In the Botanical Gardens I found the tree that Queen Elizabeth planted.
In the serenity of the Temple of the Tooth, what is said to be the Buddha’s tooth is kept safe within the innermost of seven caskets.
Sigiriya is a quarter the size of Ayers Rock, topped with the 1,500-year-old fortress of the playboy King Kasyapa. He killed his father and surrounded himself with a crocodile-filled moat to exclude his vengeful brother.
I decided against the one-hour, 900ft climb to the top for the ancient frescoes and spicy graffiti.
Instead I strolled into the jungle that smothers the massive defensive stones at the rock’s base.
Huge, golden-green butterflies fluttered past. A strange symphony of birds burbled out of the trees – Sri Lanka has many wonderful avian species.
In a gap in the canopy I caught a flash of orange at the top of the rock. It was a Buddhist monk in his vivid garb. Yet more serendipity.
Most visitors stay on the west and south coasts where there's a growing choice of chic boutique hotels. You can book trips by coach or car (with your own private driver) to most parts of Sri Lanka. For short distances the ubiquitous motorised tuk-tuks are fun.
My advice is not to even consider hiring a car. Roads are an all-day adrenaline rush. You need an expert at the wheel to dodge the massive Ashok Leyland Tusker lorries painted with idealised landscapes, jam-packed buses and wobbling bikes with impossible loads.
The little station on the Colombo to Galle line close by my hotel felt like a slumbering country halt from 1950s Britain. Behind the ticket office’s narrow arched window, a clerk consulted his tomes and solemnly outlined my choices – I opted for a 90-minute trip in second class for about 50p.
On the platform I joined goats and men there just for a chat. We lurched off down the beautiful coast to Galle. Another epic rail journey is Colombo to Trincomalee, a city on the east coast.
First published in the Mail on Sunday - August 2019
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