Friday, 10 March 2017
The Sri Lanka Tour we have just completed was a wonderful experience and has totally changed my conception of what I thought Sri Lanka had to offer. How wrong I was, having previously assumed it would be similar to India.
What I loved about Sri Lanka was the lush countryside; the pretty houses and well cared for gardens with their clay pots of colourful bougainvillea; the towns with bustling markets and open fronted shops laden with multi coloured brooms, steel pots and whatever else they were selling spreading into the street as well as the never ending well organised clothes shops. I found it interesting that in what seemed like the middle of nowhere we would come across well stocked nurseries full of healthy looking plants, not dissimilar to what one would find In Australia. The intrigue to some of us on the tour were the neatly stacked brown walls and/or conical stacks of what we thought to be some sort of dung which turned out to be empty clay pots to be re-used and filled with luscious home-made curd made from local buffalo milk. The people of Sri Lanka are gentle kind, handsome people, nothing is too much trouble and so far they do not seem to be spoilt by tourism.
The itinerary for the tour provided a good contrast of cultural and relaxation activities. Our guide Danu had a wonderful way of telling stories of how the next stupa, temple, or place of interest fitted into the known history of Sri Lanka which dates back hundreds of years BC. This included a variety of the main religions that still exist in Sri Lanka including Bhuddism, Hinduism, Muslim, and Christianity. He also had an excellent knowledge of who and when various nations had invaded Sri Lanka and what they had destroyed or built and how their influence still remains in Sri Lanka.
We arrived in Colombo at night and left the following day for Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital dating back to 500BC where we looked at several of the many religious sites. From there we travelled to Tricomalee which has an enormous harbour used by the British and Allies in the Second World War where we visited Fort Frederick built in Trincomalee then onto Nilaveli where we had hoped to visit Pigeon Island to swim and snorkel but owing to the weather the Navy would not allow us to go. Our tour organiser, Lyn Taylor kept us occupied with an aquarobics class and we chilled out or had massages. Next onto Dambulla where we visited the cave temples with statues of Buddha and then to Sigiriya where half of the group climbed the Sigiriya Rock Fortress Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site whilst the rest of us had the opportunity to see the gardens and museum which had models of the entire layout of the palace and many relics which have been found over the years as well as giving accurate details of it’s history. For me this was a marvellous experience.
We visited the glorious world renown Botanical Gardens in Kandy which were totally up to expectations and took a train to Nuwara Eliya in the cooler climate of the mountains in the centre of the country. Here we visited a working tea plantation which I found to be uninspiring having seen better ones in Malaysia and visited the very British Grand Hotel but feel both of these experiences could well have omitted from the itinerary. We then moved onto Belihuloya where we camped. I was unable to do the trek through the jungle and paddy fields but had a peaceful few hours sitting outside our tent looking at the beautiful lake from an elevated position and watched the monkeys playing in the trees. Unfortunately it rained that night but it did not stop the group having a delicious meal and sharing stories around a campfire. This experience was one of the highlights of the trip.
We saw a lot of wildlife along the way having visited the Elephant Orphanage en route from Kandy and at Yala National Park experienced seeing a herd of elephants, two leopards (one very hard to see in a tree, the other languishing in the sun on a rock), spotted deer, land monitors, water buffalo, and a variety of birds. The Park was also our first evidence of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami where over 35,000 people died in Sri Lanka and over half a million people were displaced. During our time in the country we saw a lot of evidence of the destruction of homes, hotels and shops which were damaged. There were several memorial sites along the way on both the East and West coasts and we visited a small museum set up by locals which left us all emotionally drained but gave us a better and first hand insight into the devastation it caused.
Galle, the fort city in the South Western part of the country was all that you would it expect it to be, being a walled city with bastions and tiny well thought out streets. It is rich in history having been established with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505, been captured after a battle by the Dutch in 1640, and in 1796 the British took over Galle Fort without any fighting until 1948 when the country was given independence. There were several places of interest, again an amazing museum, several churches, good cafes but a little too touristy for my liking.
The rest of the West Coast up to Colombo was also fairly touristy however we had an enjoyable stay at Bentota where the beach was as good as any we have in Australia and during our stay we did a boat trip through mangrove forests to a cinnamon plantation on the Madu River and a wonderful visit to the country home and gardens of architect Geoffrey Bawa who was among the most influential Asian architects of his generation whose works included houses, hotels, schools, clubs, offices and government buildings as well as the Sri Lankan Parliament Building. The gardens and man-made lake were ornate and well thought out and during the tour we met a Dutchman and his wife who had also visited the home of Geoffrey’s brother Bevis Bawa which was nearby, who was a well known landscape architect and they said his gardens were even better but lesser known. Regrettably we did not have time to visit would have liked to.
Our final destination was Colombo and we had a whirlwind tour of Colombo en route to our hotel, which gave us some idea of the layout and we did stop to see a few of the sights. On our last day which was a free day I took a taxi with a friend back into central Colombo and spent over two hours at the marvellous Colombo museum which is a glorious building, with 16 different areas containing collections of much importance to Sri Lanka which held many exhibits telling the story of ancient Sri Lanka giving an overall view of its history of Sri Lanka and people. I so enjoyed this experience as it pulled together much of what we had seen on our journey. From there we had lunch at The Gallery which was formerly Geoffrey Bawa’s office in Colombo and is now a restaurant and art gallery in a lovely setting and also visited a couple of other interesting art galleries.
To make comment on the inclusions of the tour, the hotels we stayed in were good, some better than others. The food in Sri Lanka was delicious, however nearly all meals were buffets and I feel the itinerary would be better suited to provision of breakfast and dinner only and find your own lunch where you could or be warned to take something with you if it was known you could not obtain food en route. I personally was not interested in jewellery shops or gift shops we visited which were not to my taste and felt that some of the shopping time could have been better spent on places of interest. For those of us who were not fit enough to participate in some of the treks and climbs it would have been good to have some alternatives offered. The itinerary was well planned and covered most of the highlights of Sri Lanka; the guide Danu had a good knowledge of English, kept his eye on each and every one of us, nothing was too much trouble, and as I said earlier has an excellent knowledge of the history of his country and knows how to tell a good story; the driver Mahindra, was careful, knew where he was going, navigated the sometimes difficult roads and traffic with ease and made us feel safe and secure in his hands; the luggage handler and assistant guide Varunha (spelling) was very adept at getting our luggage on and off the bus, handing out drinks, helping us on and off the bus and being of assistance when needed. The other participants in our small group of 8 were all interesting and we all got along well, everyone was on time, and we had some good laughs and many fun times along the way. Lyn Taylor, the tour organiser, was a ball of energy and constantly at our sides ensuring we were enjoying ourselves and coming up with suggestions when not all went to plan. Thank you Lyn for the experience. Sri Lanka I hope to visit you again.
Thursday, 09 March 2017
We have just come to the end of a wonderful adventure in Sri Lanka - the 5th trip for Jo and the 2nd for Sue. Nothing is too much trouble for Lyn and our holiday has gone without a hitch. We have visited tea plantations in the highlands, had our feet tickled in a mangrove river and saw a leopard in a national park and loved spending the night in an Eco camp - everything was great and so thank you very much Lyn.
Thursday, 09 March 2017
Sorry for the delay, just sending a few words below re. our wonderful trip to Sri Lanka. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for all your magnificent organisation and care from the minute we all met up to when we said good bye. What a spectacular time we had, and memories of it keep flashing through my mind. Also, many thanks for the great photos you have been sending to my email address. Very best wishes for your next trip - very soon I believe. Best wishes, Sandra.
Sri Lanka - a most magnificent country with it’s gentle smiling people. New adventures and horizons awaited us with vibrant colourful sights, sounds and smells, emanating the warm humid air and the lush tropical countryside. The organisation of Lyn Taylor’s tour ran like clockwork - nothing was too much trouble, and the odd query was dealt with quickly and efficiently. Our small friendly group of eight, got on well together. Everyone we met at our various hotels, restaurants and touring sights were most polite and friendly. Besides delicious meals, the tour provided many varied enjoyable pursuits, ensuring that all our days were filled with amazing sights and activities. Our Sri Lankan Tour Guide was extremely knowledgeable and was always present to help us and make sure we were safe, our bus driver and baggage man were also very competent and helpful. Thank you Lyn for a most memorable trip - wonderful memories were made - many ancient temples, caves and rocks, fishing villages, ancient kingdoms, fort, beaches, the deliciously warm Indian Ocean, museums, cooking class, tea plantations, botanical gardens, treks and camping site, gem mines, local village visit, safari incl. elephants, leopard, crocodiles, cinnamon plantation, river boat through mangroves, and many cities throughout the island. Transport on bus, safari 4 wheel drives, tuk-tuk, boats, train, bikes and ox cart - all brilliant.
Wednesday, 08 March 2017
Dear Lyn Many thanks for the photos, they bring back so many happy memories. I had an absolutley wonderful time in Sri Lanka with you, you are such a wonderful organiser and communicator and you put together an amazing trip with so many varied and wonderful experiences !!!
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Thanks you so much for all your guidance and help over the pas 2 weeks. I have had so many new and challenging experiences. Thanks again in giving me the opportunity for some character building.
Best wishes Rob.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Thanks for letting me experience this wonderful country of Nepal. Sharing your knowledge that I thoroughly enjoyed and will remember this holiday forever. Best wishes for your future adventures
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Lyn thanks for sharing Nepal with us this trip! It has been an awesome adventure that I have enjoyed tremendously. Best Wishes for all your Nepal ventures Jenny
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Firstly, we really enjoyed our time in both countries. In Kathmandu, the Yak and Yeti was a very good place for us - quiet and comfortable with easy access to lots of interesting areas. Three days in Kathmandu was a nice introduction. We took a day trip out to Patan with Gaye on the extra day. Bhaktapur and the monkey temple was sobering and sensational.
Similarly, the hotel in Lhasa was a great choice. The garden was a peaceful retreat with good food.
Our guide Dorje was excellent, reflecting many years in the job and an extensive knowledge of Buddhism. The driver, Somdoup, was safe and was compelled to drive at 40km/hr which was fine by us.
Facilities at the other hotels were fine - a bit weathered in places but comfortable. Everest base camp hotel was basic but the lady running the kitchen worked hard and provided good food in difficult circumstances. The rooms were fine and the beds comfortable. There were basic squat toilets with no privacy which annoyed some but it is a remote area. The views of Everest were sensational - we were very very lucky.
The security situation is concerning and we became heartily sick of police and soldiers checking our documents 4-6 times per day.
Altogether a most enjoyable time - thanks for your organisation and attention to detail.
Wednesday, 04 November 2015
Sorry for taking so long to reply to your email. It's amazing how quickly you slip back into normality on returning, but I have been enjoying going through my photos and plan to make a book of my trip.
I greatly enjoyed the Camino walk.
It was probably more challenging, walk-wise, than I'd expected especially our first day's walk. The last downward section into Molinaseca was really heavy going & unfortunately, for a few of us, damaged our toes - I've just lost a big toe nail! With the assistance of others in the group I was thereafter able to care for the relevant toes and amazingly didn't get blisters.
I loved the beautiful countryside through which we walked.
Having a single supplement I was very happy with all the hotels.
I found the other women friendly but I sometimes regretted not having a particular friend doing the walk with me.
I loved the Gaudi buildings & Cathedral in Leon - it was a beautiful city to start in.
Not being a Catholic, I loved the simplicity of the chapel at OCebreiro.
I must admit to feeling very disappointed that the front of the Cathedral in Santiago was being cleaned, so it was 'defaced' with scaffolding!
Attending the botufumeiro was truly awesome & later hearing the men's group sing in the cloisters was sensational.
Santiago de Compostela is such a beautiful city and our guides (Banca in Leon & Emma in Santiago) were fantastic. I wish I could remember all they told us about the two cities & their history!
David was a very friendly & knowledgeable guide
All in all it was a hugely memorable experience which I shall enjoy remembering in the future.
Tuesday, 07 July 2015
Thank you for providing us girls with the most wonderful experience in Bali – definitely more adventure than indulgence. We saw the side of Bali that most tourists miss, the real culture, religion and lifestyle, as well as the vibrant, colourful villages and homes of the beautiful Balinese people. True local markets. Real streetscapes. Then of course there is the grandeur and beauty of the landscape and the agricultural production (still enjoying the cashews). The bike ride was such fun, and the trek was worth the exhaustion to see how small, struggling communities, now that they have water, are becoming so productive, developing skills, and creating incomes. The villagers now have a future and purpose and all seem so happy. Inspiring. Ubud and Sideman were awesome and the accommodation perfect. As for the villa in Tembok – truly spoilt!
The trip was made especially successful because of Lyn’s cool, unflustered ability to just get on with things, with the local driver’s humour and knowledge, but most importantly, the company of a diverse, fun loving and companionable group of fabulous women.
Wednesday, 08 April 2015
Hi Lyn. Back home again. A few hiccups with plane delays then lost baggage, but made it eventually. We had the most awesome holiday and everything went so smoothly. The organization and professionalism of everyone involved was really second to none. All the accommodation was well thought out and of a good standard. The holiday has done me the world of good and I feel like a new person, after losing my husband so very suddenly and unexpectedly last year I was in a haze and with this holiday, it has made me come alive again, so a big Thankyou. I am interested now in doing another trip maybe to Peru this time with my sister. Looking forward to hearing from you about this.
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Trip to Patagonia was fantastic. Went like clockwork. All pickups , transfers etc worked beautifully. Thanks for a greatvtrip
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Ben and I would like to thank you. We had an amazing holiday and we saw and did some wonderful things. This was enhanced by plans that ran without any problems or disappointment.
We were met for transfers, by guides and hotel staff without any delays or problems. We were very impressed with everything you organised.
We had a very busy, but amazing time at Hotel Las Torres. The whole package was professionally run with wonderful attention to detail, but it still maintained a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We did some exhausting, but invigorating hikes with very passionate guides.
El Calafate was a joy and Perito Moreno Glacier did not disappoint, giving us a great spectacle with an amazing calving.
El Chalten thrilled us with some very demanding hikes, but the reward of fantastic views of amazing scenery- mountains, glaciers, lakes etc., made every tired muscle worth enduring. Iguazu Falls, well what can you say about the falls, the beauty of such magnificence!
Buenos Aires has such history, wonderful architecture and potential.
We will be enjoying our memories and photos of this 'trip of a life time' with our friends and family for many years to come.
Thank you again, and we wish you lots of success now and in the future.
Gaye and Ben Moffitt
Monday, 20 October 2014
We just wanted to thank you for helping organise our trip to Africa. We had an absolutely fantastic holiday!!! There was only one unfortunate event, where our good friends had a death in the family and had to fly back home for the funeral.
Twiga tours were absolutely fantastic re-organising them so they were able to fly home for the funeral and then rejoin us on safari. We really thank them for all their efforts.
The gorillas and Rwanda were a real highlight for us. Being so close to the gorillas was a special experience. Then visiting the local village was memorable to. All the children followed us and sang us songs. It was wonderful to see the country so happy after all their hardship.
The safari was also a very memorable experience, the accommodation and guides were fantastic and he whole trip went like clockwork! We saw the big five, some saw a kill in progress and, while we were watching a male lion guarding the Cape Buffalo in a river crossing, having just hunted it down , an extremely rare Serval cat started prowling around looking for an opportunity – amazing!
We saw so many animals and birds, it would take too long to list, and even stumbled across a river crossing as crossing as part of the great migration – thousands of wildebeest and hundreds of Zebras right under our nose!
The wonderful photos we have tell our story and I think there will be a book! Or perhaps a picture book? Thanks to everyone who made this such a special experience!
We not only had so much fun with our friends, we learned and saw so much, especially visiting all the villages and seeing how they all live
We will be recommending this trip to all of our friends!
Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible.
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Thanks for everything - it all went smoothly. I had a great experience walking the Camino with the all the other ladies in the group. They were all such nice people. The tracks we walked each day were all so different and diverse as seen in some of the following photos. The weather was superb.
Although my next holiday will be a 2 month one in our caravan in Western Australia in the next few years, I will definitely be visiting Lyn Taylor's Adventure Travel site to see what piques my interest for my next overseas trip.
Once again, thank you.
Monday, 13 October 2014
Have just returned from the Camino trip and would just like to say that it was extremely well organised and worry free. Lyn is obviously an extremely good organiser as everything went like clockwork. David our guide was just excellent and demonstrated a high level of care for his chickens. Manuel, the driver, was likewise accommodating and nothing was a bother. Miguel the local organiser was exuberant, passionate about life and great company at our farewell dinner. The high level of care and attention to detail made the trip a truly wonderful experience. Accommodation, meals, tours were top rate. I was nervous about going on the trip as a sole traveller but from the moment I met my travel companions there was nothing to worry about. I would highly recommend this trip and Lyn Taylor.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
I have just completed a fantastic 12 day Camino Walk with Lyn’s Travels. Lyn is a superb organiser and from the moment I first made contact with her, all my queries were promptly and carefully attended to. Our guide, David, and the driver, Manuel, were excellent and it was a pleasure to meet Miguel (the behind-the-scenes man) at our farewell dinner. I was especially impressed with David on our first day in Santiago de Compostela when he took us through each of the rituals. He showed us how to really hug the apostle and not affectionately pat him as I saw some tourists before us do. David allowed for lots of ‘crying time’ and he was very patient. Santiago, the city, is really very moving so you have to tread slowly and take it all in. We considered ourselves extremely fortunate and blessed to see the Botafumeiro ‘fly’ in the cathedral on our first evening. The hotels on our trip ranged from small ‘inns’ to boutique accommodation. I loved each and every one of them. The food was amazing and we all joked that we were quite possibly the only pilgrims actually gaining weight on the Camino. I believe that I will never again eat a paella that comes even close to the one I had in Amenal. And the Spanish white wine … yum! I highly recommend Lyn’s Travels. I was not disappointed in any aspect!
Friday, 03 October 2014
Thank you all for a wonderful journey in Slovenia & Tuscany, especially Lyn, who seems to make magic happen.
Happy traveling wherever you may wander.
Thursday, 02 October 2014
Hi Lyn. Thank you for your message of encouragement to all of us, which we received via Sherrie yesterday, when 'celebrating' our long day. Personally, The Camino has & is a wonderful experience. The group is fantastic & firm, long-standing friendships will endure from all that we have shared. Tomorrow, our big day of arriving in Santiago lays ahead of us. I am full of joyful anticipation, but mindful that the group's time together is about to end too. This Pilgrimage is like no other, & David is a fantastic guide. We have enjoyed both his company & expertise enormously.
Thursday, 02 October 2014
I just want to let you know I have had an amazing time. Everything during our Camino Pilgrimage has gone smoothly and David has been an excellent guide. Our last hotel in Santiago is beautiful and such a lovely place to end the tour. We are off on our day trip today .I have enjoyed everything and hope I will travel with you again in the future.