Wild Life

Feel the wondering variety of wild life and bio diversity in this little island


Arugam Bay in east cost of Sri lanka is the one of best places in earth for surfing.

White Water Rafting

The small town of Kitulgala in the hill country is the most famous whitewater rafting location in Sri Lanka.

Goldi Sand Beaches

Experience the Miracle Beaches

Cultural Events

Kendy Perahara

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Seaplanes in Sri Lanka: up and away with a new air taxi service

A thrilling new seaplane service in Sri Lanka takes you from Colombo into the hill country, landing on temple lakes – and the tickets start at just £30
It was at Koggala lake, near Galle, that I first saw the seaplane that was to whisk me up to Sri Lanka's lush and temperate tea country. There, bobbing up and down, lashed to a floating dock, was the white dual-engine DeHavilland Twin Otter, on its tail a phantasmagoric mural depicting the supposed sights of Sri Lanka: leopards, giant squid, elephants and whales.
Seeing the plane floating on two giant pontoons, its wings set on top of a fuselage that holds 15 passengers, I was transported back to a time when air travel was still an adventure, when stepping onto a plane amid the uproar of whizzing propellers felt intrepid.
I'd long wanted to visit Sri Lanka's hills, though driving from Colombo up to Kandy and then on to Nuwara Eliya – while an exciting experience – can eat away at your itinerary. That's why, on a recent trip, I decided to see the country from the sky, by opting to take SriLankan Air Taxi, a little-known seaplane service that, for the price of a hire car, plies routes from Colombo to the coastal towns of Galle and Tangalle, as well as the hill towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, and Dambulla, famous for its cave temple complex.
SriLankan Airlines' seaplane service was set up in 2004 but was promptly suspended due to the country's protracted civil war, which finally ended in 2009. The service was re-launched last year but its existence is still under the radar. It has only been possible to book online since June 2012.
The ceasefire has been a boon to domestic air travel. It is now possible to fly from Colombo to Jaffna in a Cessna operated by ExpoAir (expoavi.com) and another seaplane service, Cinnamon Air (cinnamonair.com), will be launched in early 2013.
Over a piquant fish curry on the veranda of the painstakingly restored Amangalla hotel in the Dutch fort at Galle, I imagined life in wartime Ceylon, having read about Sri Lanka's seaplane legacy and Leonard Birchall, the Canadian second world war pilot remembered as the "saviour of Ceylon". After taking off from Koggala lake, about nine miles east of Galle in a Catalina "flying boat" seaplane in 1942, Birchall spotted a "black speck" on the horizon, which turned out to be the Japanese fleet, the co-ordinates of which he radioed back to Colombo before being shot down (he survived).
Inside the Amangalla Hotel in Sri Lanka The hotel dining room at Amangalla hotel. Photograph: ./Bloomberg Today, Koggala is still a naval base, and doubles as a SriLankan Air Taxi runway. I took the morning flight to Colombo for £40. The cabin was basic and unpressurised; the seatbelt was the only amenity. There was no cockpit door, so I was able to watch the captain and copilot manipulate the yoke, foot pedals and throttles. I could read the plane's instruments and feel the vibration of the propellers.
The plane only needed about a quarter of a mile to take off. Rising off the water, we climbed steeply to 7,500ft and for most of the 45-minute journey followed the ribbon of the Colombo-Galle highway as it bisected paddy fields and palm oil plantations. I barely moved my eyes from the window, from which I could see hilltop Buddhist temples, mosques and cricket pitches.
As we approached Colombo, the pilot banked the plane to the left and we followed the coast to one of SriLankan's two bases in the capital. Since landing a seaplane depends on water levels, currents and visibility, the air taxi's schedules are flexible, their bases changeable. Two more bases are being prepared, one downtown at Colombo Fort and another at the international airport.
During the layover the pilot, Canadian George McBain, told me that, though run by SriLankan Airlines, the whole operation – the plane, the crews, the maintenance – have been leased from Kenn Borek Air, a Canada-based charter airline specialising in Twin Otters. Borek Air leases SriLankan the same planes that ply hunting and fishing lodges in western Canada and Alaska, and support Antarctic research missions. "The Twin Otter is fun to fly," McBain said. "It can go anywhere. There is no other plane in the world that can fly where it goes. It can fly in the open oceans in the Maldives, land on riverbeds, frozen water, glaciers. And you can't see anything from a jet. At 5,000 or 10,000 feet, I have stuff to look at all day long."
The centre of Kandy. 
Fly into the heart of Kandy. Photograph: Getty Images

We flew to Kandy from the Peliyagoda base, which is at an elbow in the river Kelani in a suburb of Colombo. Its dock is leased from a Buddhist temple, its terminal comprised of a collection red plastic chairs. I spun the giant prayer wheels under the gaze of a statue of a standing Buddha as five passengers checked in, posed for pictures on the dock and inspected the plane.
As we flew north-east from Colombo towards the hills, we passed in and out of clouds, the plane skating gently on the wind. Passengers took photographs of waterfalls, plantation houses, still more temples and cricket pitches.
At Kandy, we descended between the trees lining a dammed segment of the Mohaweli river. There were about 50 locals by the dock waiting for the plane to land, taking pictures on their mobile phones. After disembarking, Saleh al-Estry, an Omani tourist who was on my flight, called the journey "fantastic". He said he clicked the seaplane icon on the SriLankan website by chance. "I saw there was a seaplane and thought, 'I should try this'," he said. "The funny thing is, in Colombo nobody knows about this. Even the guy in my hotel had never heard of it."
After a walk around Kandy lake and a tour of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which supposedly houses one of the Buddha's teeth, I boarded a train for the former British redoubt of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka's best-known hill station. For three hours we wound through the jungle and tea plantations I'd seen from the air and at station stops I bought sweet coconuts and wadi (fried savory snacks with chilli chutney) through the window.
After a night at the Hill Club, a rambling colonial pile where guests are served seafood thermidor in a formal dining room by white-gloved waiters, I embarked on the flight from lake Gregory back to Colombo. Seaplane travel now felt routine. In the air I thought of all the remote places I've been that could be made less remote by Twin Otters, and thought with vertiginous dread of the inevitability of future long-distance journeys on pitted and perilous roads.
Not in Sri Lanka, though. George McBain, the pilot, suspected he'd see me again. "A lot of passengers – the ones that we do have – are repeat passengers," he said.

Way to go

Getting there
Emirates (emirates.com) flies from Gatwick to Colombo via Dubai from about £550 return including taxes
Getting around
SriLankan Air Taxi Service can be booked at srilankan.com. A flight from Koggala to Colombo costs 8,969 LKR (about £42); a flight from Colombo to Kandy costs about £31
Where to stay
The seafront Galle Face Hotel in Colombo (gallefacehotel.com) has doubles from £95. Deco on 44 (decoon44.com) is a boutique hotel in a restored art deco villa in Galle Fort with doubles from £135. Hill Club Sri Lanka in Nuwara Eliya (+94 52 222 2653, no website), doubles from £70. The sprawling and eccentric Helga's Folly (helgasfolly.com) in Kandy has doubles from £125

Source - Click here

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sri Lanka and Spain going cheap in 2013

Spain and Sri Lanka have emerged as the best-value destinations for 2013, with Australia and South Korea coming bottom of a list of the world’s leading holiday hotspots.
The annual Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer compares the cost of a holiday shopping basket in 42 destinations worldwide. The basket contains a meal for two, a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, a can of Coca-Cola, a glass of wine, a bottle of water, suncream and a packet of cigarettes. The survey found that while these eight items cost £146.93 in Seoul and £145.28 in Darwin, they cost just £36.14 in both Malaga and Galle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Departures S3E3 - Sri Lanka

Travelling to Sri Lanka at the tail end of the 25-year civil war, the guys expect to visit a war-torn country, yet discover a different land. From exploring the wonders of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin, to visiting Sri Lanka's indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas tribe, and joining the pilgrimage up Adam's Peak, the guys experience a beautiful and culturally rich country. They get to Sri Lanka's capital city, Colombo, just in time to see the Navam Perahera -- a spectacular parade made up of thousands of dancers and acrobats, and over a hundred decorated elephants.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sri Lanka welcomes one millionth tourist in 2012

Achieving another remarkable milestone in the country’s booming tourism industry, Sri Lanka Tourism welcomed the arrival of 1,000,000th tourist in year 2012 at Bandaranaike International Airport on 31st December 2012.

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardhana, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism- Bhashwara Gunarathna , Kamal Rathwaththa – Deputy Chairman Of Airport and Aviation(LTD), Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau – Rumy Jauffer with a group of representatives from travel and tourism industry warmly welcomed the guest Ms. Jiang Ying and her husband from China who arrived in Sri Lanka via flight UL 889 from Beijing at 10.00 p.m. Sri Lanka Tourism took steps to arrange a special ceremony to welcome the 1,000,000th guest.

Sri Lanka Tourism gavec special gifts for being the lucky couple from China to pass the milestone, so that their next stay in Sri Lanka will be absolutely free. Ms. Jiang Ying, being the happy visitor to arrive in Sri Lanka as the 1,000,000th tourist for the year 2012, said "I had heard a lot about Sri Lanka from my friends. I found out details about your country before deciding my holiday destination. I was simply bewitched by the photos on the internet. Sri Lanka is as beautiful and breathtaking as presented in the photos. Moreover, Sri Lankans are very hospitable and kind."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

British Airways names Sri Lanka as the top destination in year 2013.

Sri Lanka has topped the 13 destinations categorized as popular favorite places to visit next year.

This ranking has been accorded to Sri Lanka by a panel of experts assigned by British Airways to compile a list of the top 13 new destinations and popular favorite places to visit in 2013. 

Beautiful beaches, heritage sites, hospitality and no restrictions on travel are the reasons for this nomination. The British Airways points out different climates experienced in Sri Lanka is also another reason for this decision. Meanwhile, the one millionth tourist for this year arrived last night. There was a marked development in tourism this year. In the year 2010 the number of tourists visited Sri Lanka amounted 650 thousand.

The Panel of Experts have made their determination based on tourists heading to the island in increasing numbers after the end of terrorism, attractions like beaches, elephant treks and a large number of UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in the country.

The other destinations are Croatia; Vietnam; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Derry, Northern Ireland; Las Vegas, USA; Tbilisi, Georgia; San Diego, California, USA; Cape Town, South Africa; Alicante, Spain; and Dubai, UAE. (niz)
British Airways will resume direct flights to Colombo from Gatwick,UK in March 2013. This is an addition to Lonely Planet endorsement for Sri Lanka as best destination to travel for 2013 among global tourism destinations.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Floating Restaurant on Scenic Diyawanna Oya

Sri Lanka Navy's latest hospitality venture, SLN Floating Restaurant, set sail on the scenic Diyawanna Oya offering a novel experience to the booming leisure industry in the country. The event, one of many launched to reap peace dividends for the national development, was inaugurated by Secretary of Defence and Urban Development, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksha on 22nd December 2012. Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilake, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Chief of Staff, Director General Operations and Director General Engineering of the Sri Lanka Navy were also present on the occasion.

SLN Floating Restaurant equipped with all amenities is ideal for receptions, weddings and corporate events. It is custom-built by the Navy incorporating comfort and safety to cater to its clients' diverse needs. Catering is handled by the Waters Edge and the facility is manned by SLN personnel. Clients can now enjoy a relaxing meal while afloat in the scenic waters of Diyawanna Oya, comforted by caressing cool breeze marveling the lush greenery along the lake banks.

Source - Click here

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