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Car hire in Sri Lanka

TIME : 2-27 10:54:27

WE ARE PLANNING TO GO TO SRI LANKA IN MARCH OR APRIL THIS YEAR AND WERE WONDERING IS IT SAFE NOW AND OK TO HIRE A CAR AND DRIVE AROUND ON A SELF-GUIDED TOUR? WHAT'S THE BEST PLACE TO STAY AT YALA NATIONAL PARK AND WHERE CAN WE DO SOME WALKS IN OTHER NATIONAL PARKS? WE ARE QUITE ADVENTUROUS AND WILL PROBABLY HAVE A BORED TEENAGE SON WITH US; WHAT IS THERE TO KEEP HIM INTERESTED?

S. HOMEWOOD, BONDI

I wouldn't. Driving anywhere in the Indian subcontinent is foolhardy for those not born to it. I drive all over continental Europe and, after about a dozen trips to India and a couple to Sri Lanka, there is no way I would dream of getting behind the wheel there. This is not like driving anywhere in the Western world. The road rules as they are practised are opaque and the behaviour of other road users often unpredictable to our way of thinking. It might even be difficult to find an operator that will hire you a self-drive vehicle. You'd be much better off hiring a car with a driver. This will probably end up costing less than a self-drive vehicle and it's stress free. 

Jetwing Yala [jetwinghotels.com] is a resort-style hotel in the vicinity of the national park. Another good option is Leopard Trails [leopardtrails.com], a tented safari camp that comes with a fair degree of luxury. 

Horton Plains National Park and Bandarawela, in Sri Lanka 's hill country, are both excellent areas for walking. Take a look at the Eco Team Sri Lanka website [srilankaecotourism.com] for more information.

As for safety, just take the normal precautions and you should have no problem. And as for that teenager, you could show him whales leaping from a sea strewn with icebergs and he'd probably still yawn, but they get over it. 

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