Darshana Tours - The best way to see Sri Lanka
I can honestly say that booking Darshana tours was one of the biggest factors that made our time in Sri Lanka so special.
I found Darshana Tours through Trip Advisor and could already see they had great reviews with people rating their friendliness, excellent transport vehicles and overall service. The excellent reviews weren’t wrong. Check them out here:
I messaged Darshana via what’s app and he made the entire process so simple and easy. All I had to do was tell him details of our flights & a few of the things we wanted to do during our visit & that was it – he took care of the rest.
Full Itinerary Planning, Accommodation and Transport
The next thing I knew we had a full itinerary planned, and every day was jammed with things to do / places to see. Hotels were all booked & transport taken care of. Not only had Darshana included everything we wanted to do, he added in so much more which is exactly why using a local company has so many benefits. They know the best routes, times to visit certain places & the best lunch spots (more on that in a minute).
The price was so reasonable too. We paid £1300 (for two people) and this included so many things – 7 nights of hotels (every single one was to a good standard – we were comfortable & happy with each location. To be honest we were so busy every day we didn’t really spend that much time in our hotel rooms. The booking was for half board so this also included breakfast and dinner at each location. The food was one of the things we enjoyed most about our trip. Plenty of buffets to try a selection of foods both Sri Lankan and also some home comforts too if you want a meal more familiar to home. (It’s worth mentioning here that we visited at the end of April which is entering the off season for tourists so hotels were probably slightly cheaper than in high season. You could stay in some of the best rated hotels for around £40-50 a night incl. breakfast and dinner.)
The price also included all of our transport (airport / to all hotels / all day to activities & lunch spots etc.). Essentially all our travel from beginning to end. The only time we ever paid for a tuk tuk was in an evening if we chose to go out for food or explore but that was entirely our choice (and it’s not expensive at all – tuk tuks will cost between 100-500 RS if they’re just taking you somewhere local – equivalent to £1)
The price also included entrance to almost all the tourist attractions we visited – again only with the exception of one activity (elephant freedom project which we specifically chose to do and book ourselves). Otherwise our driver Suneth took care of everything at each location. Sometimes he would explain where we needed to go and he would meet us at the car after we’d completed the activity. Other times he would accompany us around the stop and always had so much knowledge to share. It was so helpful as we’d have missed a lot of small things / details just wandering around by ourselves, and again I think that’s just another reason having someone local show you around really enhances any visit. It also means you get to try all the best lunch spots. Lunch was the only thing not included but again really wasn’t a big expense – never costing more than £10 each (often much less). We would often go to little restaurants in beautiful spots with a gorgeous view & try a selection of home cooked dishes. Safe to say the curries, vegetables, side dishes & rotis were absolutely delicious. I’m going to miss the food so much once we get home – maybe I need to give some of the dishes a go at home!
Which brings me on to Suneth – our incredible driver who I can’t speak highly enough of. From the moment we met Suneth he was so warm and welcoming. His English was excellent and as I’ve said above he would always go the extra mile to do anything at all to enhance our trip. Suneth was always so accommodating, constantly checking if we were ok or if we needed to stop for water / snacks etc. Whatever we needed Suneth had usually already thought of it or he would sort it for us instantly. He strikes the perfect balance between being a total professional but also making you feel relaxed and welcome.
Suneth was also a great driver on our trip – I’m a nervous passenger at the best of times & Sri Lanka’s roads are a ‘little different’ to the UK. It was a bit of a shock at first seeing how people drive – but I felt completely safe & relaxed enough that I slept for large parts of the journeys between hotels or activities. That may not sound like much to some but trust me – I never sleep in the car unless I feel truly comfortable.
We were also really happy with the car itself – fully air conditioned and super comfortable to be transported in. Again it may sound like a small detail but the air con made a huge difference to our comfort. Sri Lanka is so hot and humid, it was often a much welcomed relief when we got back to the car from an activity to cool down.
By the time our tour ended neither myself or Nick wanted to leave. Usually when we go abroad for more than a week we’re both ready to head home, but we were both so sad that this trip ended. We even tried to extend our stay but unfortunately we couldn’t on this occasion. Suneth was so much more than a tour guide and driver – he became our friend.
It’s safe to say when (not if) we return to Sri Lanka we will be staying for much longer and we will absolutely be booking with Darshana tours & requesting to have Suneth as our driver. We can’t wait to see him again & we can’t thank Darshana tour enough for our trip. I think it’s safe to say we highly recommend them – they are without doubt the best way to see Sri Lanka, which we have completely fallen in love with.
Check out Darshana Tours Website
Here’s a few photos from our travels with Suneth!