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“Terrible (terrifying!) airport transfer from Colombo to Hikkaduwa”

NorLanka Travels - Day Tours
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Dodanduwa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: We arrange day trips from Hikkaduwa to Galle Fort, surf-trips to Welligama, air-port pick up and airport drop. We also arrange all kind of round-tours upon request. Please visit our webpage or Facebook for more details.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 18 January 2018

We pre-arranged a one-way airport transfer from Colombo Airport to a small hotel in Hikkaduwa with Norlanka, who were recommended by the hotel.
The driver was not at the meeting area when we got to through Arrivals at the airport (on time). After calling staff at the Norlanka office, we were able to locate the disheveled driver who was holding our name sign by his side. Not wearing a Norlanka uniform, unkempt appearance, and inappropriate footwear for driving a long distance.

Our immediate gut-reaction upon sight of him is that this journey was not going to go well.

He fetched a decent Toyota car (no Norlanka logo's) and as we quickly established that there was little English language ability, we just confirmed the destination and let him get on with the journey.
We realise that driving standards vary from country to country, so the cutting lanes & horn use etc in the city limits was no issue. However, once we hit the Expressway towards the South Coast, the driver was in his own world, and never in his own lane! We're unsure if it was fatigue (...or something smoked...), but as we drifted from left lane to right lane with cars blasting us as they passed, we got to the point of offering him coffee or a rest, with just a laugh in response. As the situation stretched on, I tried to indicate that I was willing to drive if he didn't want to (couldn't) - again, a laugh in response.
Needless to say, we pressed on and we made it. We were quite pleased that when we reported the experience to a Norlanka representative at the hotel, that she was very apologetic and disturbed by our recounting of the journey. We thankfully accepted a discount on the fare, which was not our intention, but given the experience, received as being appropriate.
We acknowledge that Norlanka have numerous 'Excellent' reviews on TA, and are pleased that many others have had more positive tour and transfer experiences with the group. However, we felt that we should provide an honest review of our experience, just as we would have if it had been "5-Balls". We can understand that "it is a busy time of year" and that "regular drivers were not available", but your business reputation and the safety of your clients is reliant on your driving staff & vehicles, so if you cannot confirm their ability, its perhaps best to let your clientele know this and let them decide if they still wish to use your firm. If we had been with small children or driving at night, the journey would have been freaking scary.
At least it's good to know that our "gut-reactions" are very reliable.

1  Thank GandCAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merete L, Manager at NorLanka Travels - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 23 January 2018

I am deeply sorry for the experience you had with the airport Transfer.
As I already expressed to you in person when meeting you at Your hotel, this is by no means the service we want to offer our customers. And I was also upset hearing your story of how you did not feel safe on your journey. I am so sorry!
I can assure you that this particular driver will not be used in service for Norlanka Travels again.

As our regular drivers, are mostly handling our round tours, we do sometimes use freelance-drivers for airport pickups and drops. But we will definitely look into our routines for selecting the best drivers to do this service.

Again, my deepest apology for your experience,
and I hope that your Sri Lankan holiday was good!

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5 - 9 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 3 December 2017 via mobile

We had only one week in total so we went for the «best of Sri Lanka» - a four day round trip. We received good advice from Norlanka while we were planning and follow-up during the trip. Everything was perfect. The driver/guide was always on time and he saw to it that we got the best local guides and the best rooms on each location. He was also an excellent and safe driver. We felt really well taken care of and had four very interesting and fun days. We will come back to Sri Lanka and we will definately contact Norlanka next time also. Highly recommended.

Thank Anne L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merete L, Owner at NorLanka Travels - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 6 December 2017

Thank you so much for great feedback!
I am so happy to hear that you are happy with the tour we planned for you,
and that the driver did exactly as he is told: To come on time, and arrange the best guides and in general give you the best experience as possible when travelling in Sri Lanka!

Thank you for recommending Norlanka Travels to others

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Reviewed 9 August 2017

We made a 8 days roundtip in July with Norlanka Travels.
From our booking, til we were met by our exellent driver at the airport in Colombo all the days to he dropped us in a Beach resort for our last week vacation- everything went smooth and perfekt.
Our driver, Sarath, made us feel welcome and safe in the almost new car with good aircondition. The traffic is crazy in Sri Lanka, so a good driver and a safe car was important to us.
After this roundtrip we do feel to have seen a lot of this beatiful country. We wish to come back some time.
Sarath was professional, friendly, serviceminded and a very good guide. He also had the patience to answer all our questions. It was a great plasure to spend time with him. Guides, hotelbookings, tickets- everything was fixed in advance. 100% trust in Sarath and Norlanka Travels.

We can really recomend this travelagent.

Thank ChristinHM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merete L, Owner at NorLanka Travels - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 6 December 2017

Thank you so much for your kind words!

The traffic here in Sri Lanka truly is CRAZY, and comes as a shock to most Europeans! But I am so happy, that you still felt safe with our car, and with our driver. Sarath is one of our most experienced drivers, and I am so happy that you were satisfied with the service he provided!

Sri Lanka still has much more to discover,
so please contact us again if you want to come again!

Thank you
from Merete, Dinesh, Sarath and the rest of the team!

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Reviewed 6 August 2017

We had an excellent experience with Norlanka Travels. They did help us to plan, book and organize our trip to Sri Lanka. We had a wish list before going, but with the help of Norlanka we got everything put together and we got an excellent roundtrip. This included a good combination of travelling, relaxing and exploring. Our driver, Sandun, was professional, friendly, serviceminded and a very good guide.

Thank Frode L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merete L, Owner at NorLanka Travels - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 6 December 2017

Thank you, Frode for your kind words!

So happy that your holiday turned out exactly as you were hoping it would be!
I will pass your kind words forward to our driver,
he has a great knowledge about Sri Lanka and I am happy that you appreciated his service!.
It was also nice to meet you in Hikkaduwa,
and hope to meet you and your family again next time!

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Reviewed 13 December 2016 via mobile

We wanted a 9 days roundtrip in Sri Lanka, so we contacted Norlanka. Unfortunatly, they where fullbooket. Instead we got a 6 days tour, customized to our wishes.

It was an amazing tour, the driver was professional and easy to talk to.

Big thank you to Norlanka for a great trip and a lot of good memories!

Thank Kathrinesn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Merete L, Manager at NorLanka Travels - Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 20 January 2017

Hello Kathrine :)

Thank you for an amazing review! I was a pleasure to take you on a round tour, to show you the Highlights of this beautifull country. Hope to see you again in Hikkaduwa one day.

-Merete-

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