Sri Lanka

I got kicked off the plane because I didn’t have checked luggage

Vicki Copping, Otley, NSW

cold case

My small claim was still outstanding after my suitcase was damaged on a Singapore Airlines flight early September last year. Its baggage services unit could not be reached, nor its representative at Melbourne Airport, Swissport. Even making five formal complaints won’t help, so be careful if your luggage is lost or damaged by this airline.or use an old bag just in case

Tony Danino, Wheelers Hill, Vic

naked truth

Putting on and taking off shoes during the flight (touristsJanuary 3)? In my experience, the real culprits are hiker’s socks worn on overland treks, and runners that don’t breathe without taking them off. Bare feet are beautiful.

John Swanton of Coogee NSW

Tyrannosaurus rex

Letter from Grant Taylor (Traveler Letters, December 4th) About Rex Airlines Doubling the fare for a simple date change is typical for most airlines. Another popular trick is to refuse to transfer the ticket to someone else if you can’t. Unreasonable, even if it’s in the fine print. Airlines say “low” fares are a very special privilege. Rubbish. They go “low” to make sure they can load the plane to 100% and buy bigger or more planes to brag about. We need a union of at least 5 million Australian pilots who will only fly on private airlines. Then we’ll see a change.

Richard Dowling, Blackburn, Vic

Editor’s note: Due to an editorial error, the name of our reader above has been incorrectly attributed to a letter dated 7 January regarding Air Vanuatu. The author of that letter was Natasha Weinberg. Apologies to both readers.

do the right thing

Congratulations Lee Turok (touristsDecember 10) to raise the issue of plastic pollution. I totally agree with her statement that “people who try to do the right thing are let down by corporations and the government” Lee convinced me to use toothpaste tablets and soap instead of bottles. I really hope Lee’s message hits the nail on the head.

Jenelle Heslop, Coal Point.New South Wales

Tower of Force (Operator)

We totally agree with Rae Masman (Traveler Letters, December 10) on Intrepid Travel. In June 2022, we contracted COVID-19 in Mexico during an intrepid journey through Central America. We had to leave the tour after only 10 days, but we received full Intrepid credits for the remaining 47 days of our trip. After recovering, we spent another month traveling alone through Central America, which was an amazing experience in itself. We will now travel again with Intrepid to Egypt and Jordan in February 2023. Unlike Rae’s experience, our vouchers are non-transferable and only valid for 24 months. But hey, in these uncertain times of travel, it’s certainly still an amazing result for us.

Marlene Lawton, Bundara, NSW

tip of the week


I spent three weeks in December in Sri Lanka (, my favorite island and a country I visit regularly. This was my 10th visit and it did not disappoint. After the political crisis earlier this year, this resilient part of the world is bouncing back and welcoming tourists again. I spend most of my time in the south of Hikkaduwa, a popular tourist town. Since my last visit three years ago, many new cafes have opened, such as Gunni’s German café. It prides itself on delicious borscht and a good selection of homemade ice cream. Another new store, Salty Swami (, is Australian-owned with a Balinese feel, next to Funky de Bar on the beach and popular with millennials for its food, music and dancing. Nothing like Lobster Red, which specializes in mouth-watering fish dishes, and just a little south of Galle Fort has always captured my imagination. At dusk, stroll around the city walls overlooking the ocean, finishing with a latte at Pedlar’s Inn Café, famous for its chocolate brownies. The country was still without power for an hour a day due to the power shortage, but people quickly got used to the minor inconvenience.

Gloria Meltzer, Chewton, Vic

Impressions of Marrakech

As an older woman, I recently traveled alone to Marrakech, Morocco for a short stay. This tour is arranged by Aussies in Morocco Tours ( Owner and founder Cara Ghassemian was sensitive to my solo travels. She is always happy to answer questions and provide advice as well as a helpful information sheet on topics such as tipping and bargaining. She arranged two great guides, one for a traditional riad in the heart of the medina and the other for a wonderful evening food tour. It’s been a wonderful trip.

Jebby Phillips, Turramurra, NSW

sad hotel

We recently wrapped up a fantastic visit to Laos and Vietnam. We booked our hotel in Vientiane through Qantas Hotels and when we arrived at the hotel around 8:30pm on a Saturday night, there was no one there. We then learned that it was closed two years ago due to COVID and Qantas hadn’t noticed. Contacting Qantas Hotels on weekends is impossible, and finding alternative accommodation in a new city, at night, on weekends and with luggage in tow is not easy. Qantas Hotels did refund the prepaid fee for the non-existent hotel and gave us about $14 each to cover the many expensive phone bills, additional fees and enormous inconvenience. In the future, we will book directly with the hotel.

Donna Ravenscroft, Mosman, NSW

simple bloodletting

After reading Ben Groundwater’s article on the origin of vanilla slices, I was reminded of the famous and delicious Brad cake, which is very similar to our vanilla slices. We enjoyed the Bled cake, a vanilla cream cake sandwiched between layers of pastry, overlooking Slovenia’s scenic Lake Bled at the hotel park cafe. Vanilla slices are an Australian favourite, and Bled cakes are a Slovenian favourite, and a must-see when visiting Bled.

Glenn Earl-Peacock, Mosman, NSW

earn their honor

I just got back from Kerinci in Sumatra with an Indonesian tour company called Wild Sumatra ( During my 4 days and 3 nights trek the provided mosquito tents, floor mats and sleeping bags were comfortable and the food was 4 star The Jungle Standard uses butane gas. The jungle is still great tiger cover and the guide and the two porters were excellent. The steep dirt trails were a worthwhile experience, and my prepaid Cover-More insurance was reassuring.

Timothy Scolari, Carlton, Vic

how to write to us

We give priority to 100 words or fewer letters and may edit them for space, legal or other reasons. Please use complete sentences, do not use textspeak and do not include attachments. Please email and, importantly, include your name, address and phone number.

Writer of the Week wins a Hardie Grant travel book worth over $100. November includes Ultimate Caravan Travel: Australia, Ultimate Food & Drink: Australia and Neighborhood Guide for Cycling: Naarm Melbourne. See

This week’s Tip Writer wins a set of three Lonely Planet travel books, including Australia and New Zealand’s Wine Routes, Australia and New Zealand’s Food Routes and Australia’s Best Travel Guides. See

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