Ranjith Sudasingha, our Guide/Driver in Sri Lanka (mid-Feb 2020 for 20 days) was excellent. We just cannot say enough good things about him and we highly recommend him. He drove effortlessly around the country covering a large circular route that we had preplanned, through traffic of all kinds, and took bumpy roads ever so gently. FYI, we are two older women (retired Geography professors), 72 and 77 years young, with some minor mobility and dietary problems, so perhaps some of you can relate/appreciate our comments below. We hope they will help you to plan your Sri Lanka adventure with Ranjith.
In excellent English, Ranjith patiently described the significant history of the nation’s archaeological and historical sites. He had lots of very interestinginformation and “stories” to tell, even sharing his personal life, so there was rarely ever a quiet moment, even in the car. He has a strong and loud voice so he could easily be heard even from the back seat. He would tap on his window to indicate when we needed to look to the right to see a given building etc. He used his cell phone to call in advance to confirm our arrival at a given place and to make sure the trip ran smoothly, which it did.
Ranjith was very attentive to our dietary needs; he made sure that the folks at each restaurant or lodging knew that we could not eat hot spicy foods or curries as one of us is allergic to some of the ingredients. Most places serve buffets with many hot spicy dishes, but with his help we were able to order a la carte. There was a good selection of western style and/or plain non-spicy foods available so we were able to get the protein that we needed (fish, chicken, prawns, calamari, etc), rice, potatoes, and many delicious freshly cooked vegetables and fruits. Plus I carried nuts with me for off times. FYI, excellent and large cashews were available for purchase too, and Ranjith always offered us bananas (they have many delicious types) and coconut water.
Furthermore, he was attentive to our physical needs for assistance up and down various uneven steps—especially where hand rails were absent. This was of enormous help as one of us has poor depth perception, and both have some knee problems. He helped each of us, sometimes singularly, and sometimes with one person on each hand, and was always patient. At many locations, especially museums, he was able to convince the guards to let us park close or to be let out right at the door. Many times he drove us up close to things to get photos without getting out of the car or having to walk very far.
Our day trip to Horton Plains was memorable; we were lucky to have perfect weather and the countryside was beautiful. We had an excellent local guide who knew all the plants and animals. In addition, always concerned for our welfare, Ranjith decided to join us so that we would each have help as needed along the trail, which we certainly did. We made it far enough to get a good view and were appreciative of Ranjith’s concern, attentiveness and help.
Likewise he kept his car (which had great AC) very clean including the windows, provided plenty of bottled water, lot of wipes, and a basket of mints (mentos) on the back seat. In retrospect, I would get a larger car (SUV)next time. With my bad knees, the smaller sedan (Toyota hybrid) was hard for me to get in and out of especially when making many stops for photos. I should have known, since I drive an SUV at home.
Our trip represented the longest time Ranjith had been away from his family. He said most of his trips with clients are of 10 days duration, ours was double that. During that time we all became good friends and shared many stories and laughter. We felt that we could ask him anything and we did. There were many times during our drives that we all laughed about how Sri Lankan dogs seem to know how close the traffic is coming to them, and whether they have to move!
By the way, Ranjith has also been very helpful with some follow up to my trip. While on my trip, I had purchased and paid for shipping of some masks (I collect them from around the world), but with the Coronavirus they have been delayed and he has been graciously checking on this for me.