About

History

Since 1996, Isle of Smiles Sri Lanka has been showing international visitors our beautiful island of Sri Lanka – The Isle of Smiles. We were originally based at the exclusive Plantation Villa Hotel near Galle, the first eco-tourism boutique hotel project in Sri Lanka, which was opened in 1982 by the Abeyesundere family. We conducted tours for exclusive clients, mainly from Europe, and catered for their personal customised Sri Lanka travel requirements. During the next 20 years and more, Isle of Smiles Sri Lanka continued to grow and expanded our operations to visitors from Asia, The Middle East, Australia and the USA.

Our first guests in 1996, Uli & Ulriche Kohl from Germany

Today Isle of Smiles Sri Lanka is still a family business giving our exclusive personal, attentive service and creating customised, packaged and individual destination tours as well as organising transport and accommodation. We can book you into Sri Lanka’s best hotels at the good rates and provide you with transport of all types for your Sri Lanka travel requirements including tours to individual destinations. Our staff will assist you right throughout your stay in Sri Lanka – The Isle of Smiles.

Our founder, tour and safari director, Shane Bayley was born in Sri Lanka and is the great great grandson of British settler, Captain Francis Bayley of the P&O Shipping Line. Captain Bayley first arrived in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in 1842 and later built a beautiful villa on a headland overlooking Galle harbour which is now the famous heritage Closenberg Hotel. Being born and raised in the Tea Hills of Sri Lanka, Shane migrated to Australia with his family. He returned to his motherland Sri Lanka in 1996 after many years in Australia and started Isle of Smiles Sri Lanka. He is also owns a fruit farm and is a nature lover, wildlife enthusiast and photographer.

Messages from Our Guests:

We look back very fondly of our trip to Sri Lanka. We really appreciated all your help and found your advice and organisation really terrific.

Michele & Simon Fleming and family, Australia.

Tina and I were able to achieve far more than we anticipated mostly through good luck and little planning. Meeting up with old friends and, equally importantly, my family members who still live in my grandfather’s house in Kandy. Thank you for your time and efforts in organising our great experience.

Rod & Tina Lobo, U.K.

Hi Shane
I just sent you a photo of the 3 of us waiting for the train to Ella. Eric stayed with us and made sure we got on the train in the correct carriage. We really appreciated him waiting with us. The train ride was a wonderful experience. The tour has been great so far despite to rain! Eric is a wonderful guide-very obliging, caring and professional. The driver is fabulous as well-he is very careful and a good driver. We head to Yala tomorrow… hopefully some sunshine to find us!
Cheers, Erwin, Debbie and Alexander Groenveld – Australia

We had a great time in our two weeks in Sri Lanka – a host of different experiences and attractions.  Sri Lanka has an enormous amount to offer.  Thanks to Shane, at Isle of Smiles, for organising everything on our behalf.  It all went extremely smoothly – good accommodation options, great driver/guide and terrific assistance in advising us on what we should do and what is achievable.  Without this on hand and local experience our itinerary would have been a nightmare to achieve given Sri Lanka’s transport infrastructure.  With Shane’s help we were able to see some wonderful cultural and historical sites around the island, indulge our penchant for train travel across the tea country and fit in a private visit to a community we support through an international charity.  No request or change in plans was too difficult to arrange allowing us terrific flexibility during our trip.  We will certainly return to Sri Lanka to experience more and different things next time and we will certainly use Isle of Smiles again.  Great holiday, great value for money and great assistance with our needs and wishes – would heartily recommend both Shane and Sri Lanka to any intending traveller.

Suzanne Jones and Henry Musidlak, Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia

Dear Shane,
This was our second trip to Sri Lanka through your company and allowed us to enjoy several new significant cultural aspects. (Climbing Sigiriya and your informative commentary combined with the local guide was exceptional.) This is a credit to your capacity to customise our holiday around what we had seen before and what we wanted to see this time, combined with your valued suggestions.

The final itinerary was a perfect balance of enough time to enjoy each attraction and ample time to relax in some of the most outstanding resort hotels in the world – all with impeccable service. Having our own driver for the entire trip also made us feel completely relaxed and totally pampered. Thank you for suggesting this.

We are currently planning our third trip and with some research I have some destinations that hopefully will be a challenge even for your organisational capabilities.

Thank you once again for your valued assistance and do enjoy an Arak on my behalf.

Look forward to seeing you in the near future.

Cheers,
Hugh and Cynthia Edwards
Sunnybank, Queensland, Australia

In September 2011 we had a two-week holiday, touring around Sri Lanka and organized by Isle of Smiles. It was the second visit for my wife and the first one for the rest of the party.  Since I am originally from Sri Lanka and left at a very early age, I was keen to see a couple of sights which were not on the usual tourist itinerary – like my old home on a distant tea plantation and my old school in Kandy. Through his contacts, Shane was able to make both happen and it meant a great deal to all of us to be able to experience these venues and I would like to thank Shane for going the extra mile to do so – something, which would not have happened with a normal travel agency.

We had a full agenda but managed to combine travelling and seeing a lot, interspersed with some relaxing days and the only complaint was that the time went so fast! The program was put together in an iterative process with Shane providing input based on his knowledge and experience but our suggestions were always considered and our questions answered completely and comprehensively. As a result, we were able to see a great deal of what the island has to offer in terms of natural beauty, cultural and wildlife highlights as well as some special, tailor-made trips.

Our driver, Charith, was very friendly, generally did an excellent job and provided some useful insight and guidance as we travelled around the island. If any problems did arise, he was quick to find a solution.

All the hotels we stayed at were very good but some were even better.
Our favourites were:
The Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana (location, accommodation, service, food)
The Hideaway in Arugam Bay (not luxurious but very friendly, great atmosphere & great food)

The whole party enjoyed a very special holiday – in no small way thanks to the organization and experience of Shane and his colleagues at Isle of Smiles.

Keith Lobo & family, Kehlegg, Austria

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