Image by Daniel Franci - Unsplash
In the heart of Sri Lanka's cultural treasure trove lies a marvel that defies time and imagination. Sigiriya, often dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World," stands as an architectural masterpiece that has captivated minds for centuries. Rising dramatically from the central plains, Sigiriya is more than just a fortress; it's a symphony of history, art, and nature that beckons explorers to embark on a journey into the past.
A Royal Legacy: Sigiriya's story traces back to the 5th century AD when King Kasyapa chose this majestic rock as the foundation for his royal abode. Perched nearly 660 feet above the ground, the king's vision was realized through intricate engineering and creative ingenuity. The palace, adorned with luxurious gardens, frescoes, and reflecting pools, showcased not only his opulence but also his prowess as a ruler.
Image by Kelum Chathur - unsplash
Sigiriya Frescoes: A Glimpse into Antiquity: The Sigiriya frescoes, delicately painted on the rock's western face, offer a rare window into the artistic and social milieu of ancient Sri Lanka. These vibrant depictions of heavenly nymphs, known as "Apsaras," stand as testament to the skill and creativity of the artists who breathed life into the rock's surface.
Image by Prof Rangi Sai -Wikimedia Commons
Lion's Paw Entrance: A Grand Welcome: As visitors approach Sigiriya, the massive lion's paw carved into the rock serves as a foreboding yet awe-inspiring gateway to the citadel. This monumental entryway harks back to an era when art and architecture merged to create grandeur that left all who beheld it in awe.
Landscape: Nature's Embrace: The panoramic views from the summit of Sigiriya offer a breathtaking vista of the surrounding landscapes. Vast greenery stretches out in all directions, providing a serene backdrop to this majestic marvel. The surrounding water gardens, designed to mimic the royal pleasure gardens of ancient times, add an ethereal charm to the experience.
The Mirror Wall: Echoes of History: The Mirror Wall, once polished to a brilliant sheen, was designed to reflect the frescoes and the beauty of the surroundings. Though time has softened its luster, it still echoes the whispers of ancient conversations and poetic inscriptions, giving modern-day visitors a glimpse into the sentiments of a bygone era.
Image by Samin Nipul CC Wikimedia
A Timeless Experience: Visiting Sigiriya is not merely a journey to a historical site; it's an expedition through time. The air is thick with the resonance of past footsteps, the whispers of ancient courtiers, and the echoes of forgotten stories. Every step up the spiral staircase, every gaze at the frescoes, and every touch of the rock's surface transports visitors back to a world where art, architecture, and nature converged to create a masterpiece.
Embark on Your Sigiriya Odyssey: For those seeking an extraordinary encounter with the past, Sigiriya stands as an unmissable destination. Its fusion of history and art, its awe-inspiring architecture, and its connection to an age gone by make it a living testament to human creativity and ambition. Whether you're a history aficionado, an art enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, Sigiriya promises an unforgettable journey into a realm where legends and reality intertwine. Come, let the "Citadel in the Sky" rewrite your travel narrative with its splendor and mystique.
For a journey through this majestic marvel please click the contact button and make an inquiry or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org for a booking.
A Path to Inner Harmony
Sri Lanka, with its serene landscapes and rich cultural heritage, has become a sought-after destination for those seeking solace, rejuvenation, and spiritual enlightenment through yoga, meditation, and wellness treatments. This tropical paradise offers a unique blend of ancient practices, modern facilities, and natural beauty that create a holistic haven for individuals seeking to nurture their mind, body, and soul.
Courtesy Alex Shaw - Unsplash
Yoga and Meditation:
Yoga, an ancient practice that unites the body and mind through physical postures, breath control, and meditation, finds its spiritual roots deeply embedded in Sri Lanka's cultural fabric. The island's tranquil settings provide an ideal environment for practicing yoga, whether it's on pristine beaches, amidst lush green hills, or within serene temples. Skilled yoga instructors guide practitioners through various forms of yoga, from Hatha and Vinyasa to more specialized practices like Kundalini and Ashtanga. Meditative spaces, often adorned with breathtaking views or surrounded by whispering palm trees, allow visitors to delve into mindfulness, finding serenity amid the chaos of everyday life.
Courtesy Jared Rice
Sri Lanka's wellness retreats have gained international acclaim for their holistic approach to rejuvenation. These retreats combine yoga and meditation practices with wellness treatments that draw inspiration from ancient Ayurvedic traditions.
Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old holistic healing system, emphasizes the balance of mind, body, and spirit through natural remedies, dietary adjustments, and therapeutic massages. These retreats offer tailored experiences, providing personalized wellness plans that consider an individual's unique needs and goals.
Ayurveda plays a central role in Sri Lanka's wellness offerings. Visitors can indulge in a range of Ayurvedic treatments, such as Abhyanga (warm oil massage), Shirodhara (oil pouring on the forehead), and Panchakarma (a detoxification process). These treatments are believed to not only alleviate physical ailments but also restore mental equilibrium, promoting overall well-being.
Courtesy Anthony Tran Unsplash
The island's natural beauty serves as an essential backdrop for these practices. From the lush tea plantations of the central highlands to the palm-fringed beaches and serene lakes, the environment in Sri Lanka fosters a sense of calm conducive to inner exploration. Retreats often integrate outdoor meditation sessions, allowing participants to connect with nature's rhythms and find a deeper sense of connection to the universe.
Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage also adds a layer of depth to wellness experiences. Visitors have the opportunity to engage in mindfulness sessions within ancient temples, partake in traditional ceremonies, and learn from wise monks who embody the essence of spiritual growth.
Yoga, meditation, and wellness treatments in Sri Lanka offer a transformative journey that transcends the physical realm and delves into the realm of inner harmony. In this tranquil haven, individuals can rekindle their connection to themselves, nature, and spirituality. With its idyllic landscapes, holistic practices, and cultural immersion, Sri Lanka stands as a sanctuary where seekers of wellness can find rejuvenation, self-discovery, and a renewed sense of purpose.
Leisure World Tours organises frequent yoga and wellness treatment services for travellers interested in their wellbeing. Take a break - Take a holiday and include yoga, meditation and wellness treatment into your tour. Use the contact form below to book a wellness tour.
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Sri Lanka is truly an amazing travel destination that captivates visitors with its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, diverse wildlife, and warm hospitality. Located in the Indian Ocean, south of India, this tropical paradise offers a perfect blend of stunning beaches, lush green mountains, ancient ruins, and vibrant cities.
One of the most enticing aspects of Sri Lanka is its natural beauty. The country is adorned with pristine beaches along its coastline, where you can soak up the sun, indulge in water sports, or simply relax in the idyllic surroundings. From the popular resort towns of Bentota and Mirissa to the secluded beaches of Tangalle and Arugam Bay, there is a beach to suit every taste.
Courtesy Kelum Chathur - unsplash
Image by Samantha Weerasinghe - unsplash
To arrange group tours and bespoke tour express your interest using this contact page.
Reg de Livera
Chill out on this beach side bungalow in Tangalle., Sri Lanka. A convenient location to do your day trips. You have the services of a Chef and cook on standby. Bring your own provisions or get the chef to accompany you to the super market to buy your own provisions and wine. Do your own cooking or get the Chef to cook to your heart's delight.
A beautiful hideout by the beach.
Book the whole villa.
Check for availability with email@example.com
Rupees 85,000/- per night
THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU STAY
Sri Lanka offers several compelling reasons why it can be a great destination for photography tours. Here are some factors that make it an attractive place for photographers:
These are just a few reasons why Sri Lanka is an appealing destination for photography tours. The country's natural beauty, cultural heritage, friendly people, and diverse subject matter make it a rewarding place for photographers to explore and capture compelling images.
START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY
Don't miss the opportunity to explore the wonders of Sri Lanka. Contact us now to begin planning your dream vacation. Get ready for an extraordinary journey filled with unforgettable moments and lifelong memories. Contact us for a bespoke Photography tour of Sri Lanka
HIKING THE BEAUTIFUL TERRAIN OF SRI LANKA
Designed for those interested in Hiking and Trekking the remote highlands of Sri Lanka The Pekoe trail is an absolute must for those interested in getting close to nature.
What is the Pekoe Trail all about? Click on map below for a clearer view.
What is the Pekoe Trail all about?
The highlands of Sri Lanka are composed of a myriad of features, habitats, cultures, landscapes and rolling hills. An ideal way to take in the sights and sounds is to slow things down and take a walk along the roads that take you through all that you can see.
Tea plantations were introduced to the central highland by the British and has become an integral attraction in the region. Seas of green tea fields spanning across the hills are a soothing sight for sore eyes and is best experienced on foot.
The Pekoe trail is Sri Lanka’s brand new tourism product, a 300Km walking trail divided in to 23 sections that take you through roads less travelled. Done in either direction, the start/end points of the trail are Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The trail takes you through Tea estates, Montane forests, Pine and Eucalyptus fortes, thorough remote upcountry villages, National parks, train stations and even bustling townships, albeit small. There are stages that suit every type of individual, from hardcore hikers/trekkers to novices taking on a new adventure for the 1st time!
The trail has been developed conveniently to allow travelers to pick and choose the level of difficulty. If you want a bit of history, culture and wish to meet a few people along the way you can pick stages that intertwine immersive experiences. If you are an avid nature-lover and wish for a more solitary journey you can chose a stage that takes you through forest patches and protected areas.
Stage 20, which can be done from Udupussellawa to Lunuwatte or in reverse, is 12Km long. At a slow pace while immersing yourself in the locality, you can commence the trail at 7:00 AM and complete by noon.
Starting off at Udupussellawa, the trail takes you on a slight incline and through a tea estate leading to a narrow path and before you know it you are walking along a small path way with breathtaking views of the valley below.
During this stage you walk through varying habitats and sceneries, that range from tea estates, Pine forests, Eucalyptus forests and small villages. Keeping a keen eye out for the wildlife you encounter along the route won’t disappoint as well.
Each stage has its own unique characteristics for one to enjoy. Stage 20 is one for everyone and you get to experience a little bit of everything the hill country has to offer.
Walking tourism steps beyond the conventional boundaries of hospitality by offering travelers of all ages an opportunity to truly experience the serenity of roads less traveled. The Pekoe trail sincerely invites visitors to experience its stunning vistas, curious wildlife and refreshing ambience.
Await our next update as we complete more stages.
STAGE ONE PEKOE TRAIL
Hantana to Galaha - ROUTE MAP
STAGE TWO PEKOE TRAIL
Galaha To Loolecondera - ROUTE MAP
Elevation: 838 m
Attractions - Kondagala/James Taylors seat.
Kondagala mountain peak is a 300 m hike to the summit. It is situated close to James Taylor's cottage.
STAGE THREE PEKOE TRAIL
Loolecondera To Thawalanthenna
Elevation: 1177 m
STAGE FOUR PEKOE TRAIL
Tawalanthenna To Kumbaloluwa
Elevation: 960 m
STAGE FIVE PEKOE TRAIL
Kumbaloluwa To Watagoda
Elevation: 949 m
STAGE SIX PEKOE TRAIL
Watagoda To Kotagala
Elevation: 1349 m
STAGE SEVEN PEKOE TRAIL
Kotagala To Norwood
Elevation: 1245 m
STAGE EIGHT PEKOE TRAIL
Norwood to Bogawantalawa
Elevation: 1120 m
STAGE NINE PEKOE TRAIL
Bogawantalawa To Dayagama
Elevation: 1303 m
STAGE TEN PEKOE TRAIL
Dayagama To Horton Plains
Elevation: 1421 m
MORE PEKOE TRAILS - TO BE CONTINUED
Start of The Pekoe Trail
Horton Plains to Udaweriya - ROUTE MAP
Start of The Pekoe Trail
Udaweriya To Haputale
Elevation: 2127 m
Start of The Pekoe Trail
Haputale To St. Catherine
Elevation: 1426 m
Start of The Pekoe Trail
St. Catherine (Lipton Seat) To ALLIMALE - ROUTE MAP
Start of The Pekoe Trail
Makulela to Ella
Start of the Pekoe Trail
Ettampitiya to Lunuwatte - ROUTE MAP
The Pekoe Trail
Kandapola To Pedro Estate - ROUTE MAP
Distance: 10.8 km
Located just 12 km from Habarana is a long-forgotten monastery at a Forest mountain hermitage at Ritigala. The monks who lived here were either killed by the invading Cholas or forced to abandon the site altogether to escape the wrath of the marauding enemies from South India.
Even the Kingdom of Anuradhapura under whose jurisdiction the monastery fell into was abandoned and set up in nearby Polonnaruwa to protect the reigning King and preserve greater autonomy away from the cholas. Ritigala was intermittently used as a sanctuary for the kings Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) and King Jetthatissa in the seventh century.
The Cholas were defeated eventually but Anuradhapura and Ritigala were left to the elements for centuries.
What happened next was mother nature was left to pillage the structures. Walls inside the palaces and temples at Anuradhapura and the monastery walls at Ritigala gradually crumbled and decayed. The roofs caved in, opening the floors to the elements. Seedlings fell into its hallways and sprouting plants grew into trees and nature enveloped Ritigala and Anuradhapura for centuries.
Elephants, bears, leopards and other animals roamed peacefully, and the forests remained hidden for a long period of time until it was re-discovered in the 19th century by Sri Lanka’s first archeological commission (1893) headed by H.C.P Bell and the long-forgotten sanctuary was once again used by hermit monks to accommodate their reclusive lifestyle.
According to the Mahavamsa, the great historical chronicle of Sri Lanka, Ritigala was known by the name of “arittha-pabbata” and was believed to have been inhabited during the 1st century BC during the reign of Pandukabhaya (377-307 BC), the third king of Sri Lanka.
Ritigala brings to light the story of an ancient monastery built for the Pansukulika buddhist monks who wanted to observe strict austerity measures by living a hermit life away from the city monks and the general community. This jungle monastery was built by King Sena of the kingdom of Anuradhapura in around (377-307 BC)
Rock inscriptions and remaining ruins and 70 rock caves tell the story of life back then for these Pansukulika monks. Pansukulika means garments made from rags taken from burial sites. Generally speaking, most monks during this period chose to live in caves or rock shelters. Inscriptions at the site also refer to King Lanji Tissa (119 – 109 BC) as the founder of the monastery which was built observing the tradition of Padhanaghara Parivena (Type of Buddhist structure built for meditation)
It is noted in the chronicles that these ascetic monks protested against the lifestyle of the city dwelling monks and the king seeing their dismay built this monastery at Ritigala to appease them.
The area was best served when the Malwathu Oya (river) was dammed and diverted by king Pandukabaya to fill the Yodha wewa or Giant tank. Expanding over 4550 hectares, the tank is filled by an 8 mile (13 km) ancient canal, carrying water from the Malwatu Oya River. This Yodha wewa feeds 1762 small streams irrigating 11,000 hectares of rice fields.
The fascinating ecosystems of Ritigala are twofold. The base shares the hot and dry conditions of the surroundings and the top of the mountain is mostly cold, misty and wet featuring mired forests different to that at the base.
Ritigala probably got its name from the Riti trees that are endemic to this area. Today the Ritigala forest mountain and sanctuary remain declared as a strict natural forest reserve. The archaeological department has painstakingly restored many of the ruins.
Visitors to this forest reserve will come across a huge man-made reservoir protected by 1,200 ft elevated bund and a catchment of water flowing from two streams originating from the mountain. The inside of the bund is lined with stones and serve as steps for bathers.
The path to the ruins along the southern banks over a bridge will lead you to the site of the first buildings. A short climb uphill will lead to the ruins that remain scattered over an area of 120 acres. There is a rectangular building with paved courtyard adorned with pillars. There is a refectory paved with stones and a trough. Next to the refectory is a large area enclosed by a wall made of finely cut stone slabs.
You will also see an enclosed pathway that runs for about 1000 ft of several steps with 2 roundabouts spread in between that leads down a ravine and then to river with a stone bridge and a bathing enclosure. Just before the first roundabout there is a pathway that leads westward to the dense forest. There are double platforms built on the rock and aligned in similarity with urinals built on stone elaborately carved and decorated. Why these urinals were elaborate carved is yet to be understood.
There aren’t any stupas, images or temples at this forest monastery. The architecture here is rare and unique unlike the architecture found in the ruins of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. There is a long meditational pathway branching to other buildings. As you climb up the mountain you will feel the ambience of the place. The mere tranquillity of the jungle fits in with the meditational aspirations of these hermit monks
I am happy that this long forgotten sanctuary at Ritigala is once again being used as a monastery for buddhist clergy.
I encourage travellers of all walks of live to visit this hidden gem. You will experience a sense of serenity, tranquillity and peacefulness at this jungle hideout. In comparison to your lifestyle in the bustling cities Ritigala firmly serves as a panacea for human suffering and mental disorders. A good place to meditate, rewind and rejuvenate.
We offer Buddhist tour packages to Ritigala and other places of historic value in Sri Lanka. Check out our Sri Lanka Buddhist tours.
Leisure Travel Sri Lanka
By the Glanville Family (January 2020)
Reg – You provided excellent service in putting our trip together and accommodating all of our requests. Your regular checking in was very reassuring. We want to thank you so much for a wonderful experience and we will be recommending your services to everyone we speak too 😊
Thanks for the lovely box of tea bags as a gift as well.
Driver – Sanjeewa was excellent, polite & looked after us very well and was a pleasure to be around. Was informative, good English (occasional different interpretations but overall very good) & always put our needs & well being first. The little things like stopping along the roads and buying us coconuts, cashews, corn cobs, yogurt was all part of the fun.
Vehicle – very good – but would be better if there were safety belts for all passengers.
Accommodation – All very good – have made some comments above. Please let us know if you need further review. We did complete a rating sheet for all the accommodation for George Steuart Travels.
Food – Really enjoyed the food. Provided variety for everyone including fussy teenagers.
Sri Lanka – Beautiful country with some many amazing things to see and do. People very friendly. Loved it 😊, Definitely a great place to visit and has something to offer for all ages.
THANK YOU HEAPS REG 😊
Stephen & Michelle Glanville
A great start to the trip with a friendly greeting from our driver Sanjeewa ( Sanji ) who presented us with bottled water and garlands. He helped us to organise mobile phone sim cards and exchange currency prior to leaving the airport. The Beacon Hotel was right on the beach and was clean and our rooms had lovely ocean views. The staff were friendly and check in was smooth with Sanji’s aid which was much appreciated after a long flight. We were served a lovely 4 course meal for lunch. We enjoyed a restful afternoon by the pool and beach. The Hotel facilities were good. We had a short tour later in the afternoon at the fish market and local harbour prior to dinner to avoid the main heat of the day. The market was essentially empty with only a couple of stores still operating. Probably best to visit the fish market early in the morning when it is busier with more to see & cooler. We enjoyed another 4 course meal for dinner with excellent service.
After a restful sleep we went for a morning walk along the beach to check out the boats and fishermen. We were surprised at the number of stray dogs on the beach. We saw baskets of fish, and a crab. We enjoyed a buffet breakfast on the top floor of the hotel with magnificent views of the beach and ocean. Meal was good with friendly service.
First stop was the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnewala. - We loved seeing the Elephants bathing in the stream and then walking up the main street back to the orphanage. We were able to have a close up experience with the elephants with our teenage children enjoying being able to feed & pat the elephants. Would certainly recommend the viewing of the elephants bathing in the stream as was very picturesque. Entry fee to the orphanage seemed high & was not included in our package.
Note we elected not to do the stop at the coconut based product manufacturing factory.
Next we visited a spice farm which was very informative & we all enjoyed a relaxing massage using natural oil products. We felt a little uncomfortable having to take our shirts off in an open shelter for the massage but overall the experience was enjoyable.
We stopped at a small village for lunch which had a beautiful outlook over a stream. Meal was enjoyable & scenic. Sanji selected our lunch stop locations which we were happy for him to do with his local knowledge. Generally the meals offered a variety of selection & were not expensive which suited our needs.
Due to the heat in the afternoon and at the suggestion of Sanji we decided it would be better to visit & climb Lion Rock Fortress early the next morning. So we went straight to our accommodation ( Kassapa Lion Rock Resort ) which was a very high standard in all aspects – Service/ facilities /cleanliness/location/food. The food & service was excellent with the dessert room being the highlight.
An early rise 5.30am, but so worth it. We climbed the 1200+ steps up Sigiriya/Lion Rock and admired the water gardens and amazing views while eating our packed picnic breakfast. Both our guide and our driver accompanied us giving explanation and information about the fortress & surrounds.
Next we went to Anuradhapura and saw the Rock Temple and the oldest documented tree on earth “The Sri Maha Tree” and also saw the Great Stupa. We experienced our first Tuk Tuk ride which was fun.
A more formal tour of the area with a local guide would have been a better option to help explain more about this ancient city in the little time we spent there. Approximately 3 hours.
The afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool. We saw Monkeys, Mongoose and two types of lizards which made things even more interesting.
Our dinner was again very enjoyable in the open air restaurant which provided a great atmosphere
Again started the day with an enjoyable breakfast. A religious public holiday today with the full moon. Hence the Dambulla Temple was a hype of activity with ceremonies being conducted and many pilgrims and tourists for the holy day. The history, caves and statues were very impressive.
Next we did the village tour, we didn’t really see much of the village but we did enjoy the cart ride (although no bullock due to public holiday, but a motorised machine pulling the cart) and they put our daughter in the drivers seat which added to the experience.
The canoe ride was fun, our son was requested to assist and we all enjoyed participating in the cooking demonstration. The food was very tasty & somewhat spicy. Gave us runny noses and watery eyes, but a good way to try the local traditional food 😊.
The Tuk Tuk ride back to the van was fun. Our son was pleased he had a chance to drive.
Lovely breakfast before checking out (would highly recommend the Kassapa Lion Rock Hotel)
We visited Polonnaruwa, we rode bikes, it would have been good to have a guide on the bikes with us explain what the different ruins were. Our driver met us at the major places and explain a little history. The Gal Vhare complex was very impressive. The Village lunch at Priyamali’s Gedara was again a good way to enjoy the some of the different rice and curries whilst looking out over the rice paddies was very picturesque.
Arrived at Gal Oya late afternoon and settled in. What a unique & wonderful place.
5.30am wake up call, some discussion between staff about whether it was going to be too wet to climb, then given the OK to go. We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 hour hike up Monkey Mountain. A bit scary in some parts with a little drizzle of rain, but well worth the views which were majestic. (Important to mention to wear appropriate footwear for hiking).
When we returned to the Lodge we had a scrumptious breakfast and enjoyed most of the day at leisure, the pool was wonderful and we had time to play cards, read and then we went to the research centre to learn about the research being conducted by the centre which was very informative and interesting. The Naturalist explaining everything was very passionate which made it all very engaging. Unfortunately they only had 3 mountain bikes operational so we didn’t get to go for a ride.
In the evening we went with a naturalist on a night walk in the forest where we were able to view fish, frogs and some night birds. Another highlight of Gal Oya is the accommodation. Rooms were fantastic with bathrooms overlooking the surrounding jungle. A real back to nature feel with environmental sensitive construction. The meals and service was outstanding.
Another lovely breakfast and then checkout and off to the boat safari. Safari was good, however the boat required serious maintenance as the seat Stephen was sitting on broke off and motor stopped a couple of times. We saw a crocodile, Elephants, Deer and various birds.
The evening visit to the Kandy Temple of the Tooth was very interesting, learning the history about the journey of the Buddha’s tooth and the famous Elephant Raja. The ceremony was entertaining and viewing all the beautiful artefacts and statues.
Hotel Suisse was a lovely place with lots of character, the dinner and the evening entertainment was very enjoyable.
We took the opportunity in Kandy to have clothes washing done by a local laundry service. Cheaper than the hotel.
A busy day with a visit to a tea factory which was interesting and we all enjoyed our complimentary tea (including our non-tea drinker children having their first cup of tea). We went to a silk shop and tried on a sari, very nice things and bought a gift. Went to a wood carving place, excellent workmanship, however the salesman was too pushy. Really enjoyed learning about the different gem stones.
The Kandy Royal Botanical Garden, was definitely worth a walk around. We had an hour to discover & wonder around this beautifully maintained estate. We could have spent more time here but with all the other activities on the day this was not possible.
We enjoyed our walk around Kandy lake (saw our first land monitor lizard) from our accommodation on the way to the cultural dance show – We all enjoyed the show with the very colourful performers and the drummers were fantastic as well as the dancers and firewalkers.
The Hotel dining rooms were being set up for a large wedding function the next day so dinner was outside which provided a wonderful atmosphere with the surrounding gardens & fairy lights.
We enjoyed our stay at Hotel Suisse, such a grand old building and it was very professionally run, clean and in a good location. We met the manager who was very keen on our feedback.
We all had fun white water rafting, but unfortunately the river wasn’t as high as it would normally have been as it was a religious day and the water hadn’t been released. The rafting instructor was professional, friendly and good fun. Would recommend this company to other travellers.
Lunch stop was nice with a scenic view over the river.
The drive to Nuwara Eliya was very picturesque with waterfalls, tea tree plantations and the Hindu celebrations happening along the sides of the road.
Nuwara Eliya had plenty of character with the London architecture. We settled into our accommodation before taking a look around the town and at the Pink Post office and a market.
The Galway Heights Accommodation was very good & would highly recommend it. Clean, well maintained establishment, with home made baked goods in our rooms for us as a welcome gift and the staff were very friendly and the food was excellent. The only suggestion to improve the stay would be requesting rooms further away from the foyer area as the evening entertainment was very loud, especially when we were keen to have an early nights rest prior to an early rise the next morning to Horton Plains.
A very early start 5.30am with a packed breakfast and off to Horton Plains National Park, with the many other tourists. The sunrise was magnificent. It was very cold with a heavy frost, lucky we soon warmed up hiking. The scenic views of Adams Peak, and surrounding views from Worlds End was amazing. Bakers falls were beautiful, and the hike was a good moderate level. We were lucky enough to see a Samba deer, some mongoose and different types of birds.
On the way down from Horton Plains Sanjeewa stopped on bought us some local yogurt which was really yummy.
We had a delicious lunch at a café restaurant in the centre of town in the garden’s. Would highly recommend. After lunch we had a look through a fruit market, checked out the golf course, Gregory lake, and had a look around the town.
Mid afternoon we went back to our accommodation for a rest and some billiards before another tasty dinner.
After a lovely breakfast and checking out it was off to the train station to catch the train to Ella. We really enjoyed the trip the views were beautiful. (While waiting on the platform Stephen, Joseph and Sanjeewa made the local news – Sanjeewa’s mother saw him and sent him the link which was funny). Sanjeewa made sure we got our seats then set off to meet us in Ella. Would highly recommend the train journey & pre purchasing 1st class tickets to ensure a seat.
When we reached Ella, Sanjeewa was waiting and took us to our accommodation at the Oak Ray Hotel. The Hotel was in a really good location and was clean. The furniture was a little dated but overall it was clean & good. We had lunch at local restaurant overlooking the main street which we enjoyed as we watched people go by. This was a very busy & popular area particularly for tourists.
In the evening we went back to the train station and walked to the 9 arch bridge along the train line which was a pleasant walk and a very impressive bridge. We waited till the train came, before walking back to the station and back to the hotel for dinner.
Again dinner was very nice and the service very good.
In the morning we hiked up Little Adams Peak, which had beautiful panoramic views of the High country, so worth the effort. Would recommend doing this in the morning due to the heat & humidity. We went zip lining which we all enjoyed, in particular our teenage kids. Lunch was at a restaurant with amazing views of the valley and the hills. We then checked out Rawana Ella Falls, which was very busy but beautiful. You could easy spend more time at the falls exploring. When returning to our accommodation we went for a swim (pool very nice and clean) before having a leisurely wonder around the town. This was a good opportunity to carry out some souvenir shopping along the local shopping strip. Prices seemed reasonable compared to other towns.
Sleep in this morning before a buffet breakfast (the Restaurant we ate at while staying in Ella was very nice). The morning was a pleasant drive to Tissamaharama. There is always something interesting to be looking at out the windows. We arrived at our accommodation early and we were able to gain an early check in. In the hotel foyer we took part in a special ceremony where we each had to light a candle. We went to a local restaurant for lunch before relaxing back at the hotel for the afternoon by the beautiful pool. Pool was much appreciated as weather was hot & humid & had a panoramic view of nearby rice fields. Very interesting watching the peacocks run through the rice paddy fields.
Dinner was lovely and we had a choice of dishes rather than a buffet which was a good change.
The Kithala Resort was very clean, with very good facilities and service, a lovely place to chill by the pool, read a book and just relax. We arranged a take away breakfast for the next morning as we had a big drive planned.
With a packed breakfast we headed off on a 4 hour drive to the Kumana National Park for our 3 hour safari. There was plenty to see along the way which made things interesting and we really enjoyed the Safari. The 3 hours went really fast. The highlight was seeing a Leopard and her cub as well as many other animals (including Jackals, wild boar, buffalos, elephants, crocodiles, spotted deer, Land monitors, many birds including peacocks doing their mating dances). We only saw a couple of other jeeps on our way out which made us feel like we had the park to ourselves, it was amazing. We had a lovely lunch at a café at Arugam Bay, it would have been nice to have had more of a look around this beach village. The safari company was good with the driver stopping frequently & at our request. Would recommend a little vehicle maintenance & clean windows when looking out to the front of the vehicle. Would highly recommend Kumana NP for overall wildlife viewing.
We suggest it would be much better to travel from Ella to somewhere closer to the Kumana National Park doing the Safari and spending the night in Arugam Bay, then head to Tissamaharama for a night the next day and relaxation before doing the second Safari at Udawalawa National Park the next day. This would reduce the driving time on the travel days, as it was a massive day for our driver and us with the 8 hour return trip and the 3 hour safari. Also it would be better not doing the safaris on consecutive days.
Buffet breakfast was nice, then it was off to Udawalewa, on the way we visited a temple and then it was straight to our accommodation and dropped off our luggage, before going to the Elephant Transit home. It was interesting to see so many baby elephants being bottle fed and checking out the information centre. This was worth the visit.
At the Athgira River Camp when had the unique experience of enjoying our Lunch down on the river bank. Then we played some badminton and cards.
Mid afternoon we where picked up by our safari jeep and guide and headed off to the Udawalewa National Park. A lot of jeeps after being spoilt after the previous day having the Kumana National Park virtually to ourselves. We did see lots of Elephants and their calve. It was lovely seeing how they socially interact with each other. There were also lots of birds and buffalo. This was also an enjoyable safari and the guide was a keen bird spotter.
We enjoyed Athgira River Camp immensely, making the most of the pool and relaxing in our very cool tent, it was clean, with terrific staff and a great atmosphere and we all enjoyed our stay very much.
A breakfast on the banks of the river really is a lovely way to start the day. We travelled to Galle and enjoyed lunch on the balcony of a restaurant overlooking the fort wall and the ocean, very picturesque. We spent some time walking round the Galle fort before continuing on to Hikkaduwa. The location of the Hotel was terrific, and the view along the beach was beautiful. With interesting walks in both directions. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the Hotel Citrus Hikkaduwa which although a little older was clean and facilities very good. Staff were very friendly and provided a good service.
Sleep in and a relaxing day at the resort. We did go snorkelling, however it wasn’t very good conditions for snorkelling as the waves were going over the snorkels, there were plenty of fish, but Michelle did get sea sick and took 5 hours before she felt well enough to eat. I felt the group we used was not very professional and for novice snorkellers were not very helpful to be able explain how to do it. It was pricey for the standard of the equipment. In hind site we may have been better to do it through the hotel.
Relaxing on the beach and enjoying the pool and beach walks was a relaxing way to spend the rest of the day. The evening was enjoyable with a lovely meal , listening to the live music and enjoying cocktails on the beach. This was an excellent place to stay for beach activities & marine life experiences as very close to shore and wading with the turtles.
Again a lovely breakfast overlooking the beach. Before checking out a very interesting walk along the beach enjoying the friendly green turtles (amazing they come up and they are happy to be patted), we also saw 3 grey coloured eels and 2 spotted eels and other marine life. A swim in the lovely clean pool before packing and checking out.
We stopped at a Tsunami museum which was very interesting and confronting. Although expecting how horrific the devastation was we would recommend that some warning signs be put up when you enter before going through the museum. The images are very graphic and may cause distress to some people in particular children. But definitely worth the visit.
Next stop was a Turtle hatchery which we all enjoyed. We were surprised with how hands on they allowed us to be picking up a turtle. The guide as very informative and the experience was educational.
The drive to Colombo was an experience with the busy & congested traffic making it a long journey. We checked into the Fairway Colombo and had some down time before going on an evening tour of the city. Some very impressive buildings and very hectic traffic. Terrific view from the top of the Fairway Hotel building. Dinner was lovely and lot of music and entertainment in the street.
The Fairway Hotel although the staff didn’t seem as friendly as the smaller hotels, they were very professional, and the facilities were excellent. Also a very central location for the night life.
Nice breakfast before checking out. We proceeded to finish our city tour of Colombo, visiting the Colombo Gangaramya temple the wealthiest Temple in Sri Lanka which included an amazing museum with so many relic’s and donations that you couldn’t get around them all – very impressive (a cross between a Sunday market and an Art Museum). We also went to the Seema Malaka Temple).
Then it was off to Negombo, having lunch at the Container, which was a quirky café set up in shipping containers run by a couple of French people, food very nice.
Checked into the Beacon Hotel for our final night, lucky enough to have another room with a view of the breach (a room with a view of the beach is definitely a must for this).
Spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the pool and watching the sunset.
Meal at Hotel was again was consistent with our first night in Sri Lanka and was very nice.
After a lovely sleep in, a final walk along the beach, we again enjoyed the panoramic view while having breakfast from the top floor of the hotel. We spend some time in the morning looking around Negombo including the market, buying some last-minute souvenirs having lunch at a local restaurant. We spent the rest of the day at the hotel swimming and relaxing before checking out (the late checkout was great). We had a thankyou / farewell dinner with Sanjeewa. Prior to being dropped off at the airport with plenty of time prior to departure.
Plan your next holiday in Sri Lanka with Leisure World Tours. We do our best to make your dream holiday a reality. Contact us or message Reg on WhatsApp +61 421 705 852
By Reg de Livera
What Cruisers seek most
In terms of taking a holiday on a cruise ship travellers seek a more immersive type of cruise holiday nowadays. More time at ports means more time to immerse and understand the culture of a location. Port visits to unique destinations allow the passenger to enjoy and interact with local people and in essence experience their culture.
Travellers will make the most of a cruise if the provider is more innovative in their planning and implementation procedures. Stopping at multiple destinations for a couple of days will draw the attention of travellers seeking to enjoy a cruise that provides such a service.
Sri Lanka among other destinations in Asia is where cruise liners have missed out on the opportunities available for guests to enjoy a 2 to 3 days stopover. From an Industry perspective cruise organisers should look for these opportunities beyond Europe, USA, Canada, and the Americas.
Recognising this trend for stop overs is important and acting on it is crucial. Cruising companies should take heed of traveller expectations and include new itineraries with onshore 2 to 3 day stopovers that enable destination immersions in multiple destinations. Culinary experiences, short adventure tours included in cruise itineraries will bring more fun and happiness to cruisers.
Passengers do seek options in cruising itineraries. Scenic destinations, services to the South Pole, trips to fjords in Norway and South Islands of New Zealand and jet trips to the South Pole allowing passengers to stand at the South Pole marker are once in a lifetime experiences that passengers will seek as options in an itinerary. Similarly wildlife experiences, cultural experiences, ancient cities explorations in Sri Lanka are opportunities cruisers will not like to miss.
Cruising itineraries should also respond to consumer awareness of sustainable tourism. Implementing environmentally friendly technology and programs that involve more destination visits that benefit economically and culturally. These are programs that will reduce CO2 emissions considerably. Conscious travel and awareness of sustainable tourism is the way to go in these times of climate change.
It is a fact that cruise bookings are very strong for 2020 and some cruise liners have taken bookings beyond 2020 and up to 2022. These are very good signs facing the cruising industry. It solidifies the fact that the cruising industry is very popular among travellers. Lets hope this trend continues for a long period of time.
Travel to Sri Lanka for your next holiday. An opportunity you will not like to miss. Culture, wildlife, camping, trekking, adventure, Ancient cities, Heritage listed cites, beautiful beaches, wildlife, golden palm fringed beaches and friendly and hospitable Sri Lankans will make your holiday worthwhile.
Contact Us for a bespoke tour. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to see this spectacular procession, which started during the 3rd century CE and continued to this day, you should visit Sri Lanka during the month of July.
This annual festival is a combination of the Dalada perahera and the Esala perahera. The Dalada procession is believed to have started when the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka during the 4th century CE, 800 years after the death of the Buddha.
This two-fold aspect of the annual festival has many traditional dances, fire-dancers; whip dancers and a cultural mix of traditional dancers depicting the flag bearers of each region of Sri Lanka.
Among all the ceremonial pomp and splendour of the perahera are the very noticeable, spectacularly adorned elephants walking gracefully with the crowd of whip crackers, flame throwers, traditional dancers, drummers and men carrying fire torches to light up the streets.
This annual event has maintained its original theme, which to this day has not had much of a variation to its form.
The original esala perahera was an invocation to the guardian gods for rainfall needed for the cultivation of crops and enrichment of the lands of the kingdom.
The temples dedicated to these guardian gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and goddess Pattini are built in the sacred temple grounds of the tooth relic of the buddha. The presence of these temples in Kandy ascertains a strong fusion of Hindu beliefs entwined with Buddhism long before the arrival of the tooth relic of the Buddha.
Leisure world Tours conducts itineraries that cover the Kandy perahera each year. Make reservations to witness this event for July 2020 with email@example.com.
Plan your holiday in Sri Lanka
Travel to Europe is increasing steadily at around 30%.
This is a good sign and we hope it will continue to rise.
Britain is in a sort of turmoil with Brexit and the election of Boris Johnson to the realm, But tourism is still trending and that is an encouraging sign that all is not doom and gloom.
From a demographic view among travellers Gen Z tops the list with an increase of 55 % in Spain, followed by the Netherlands with a whopping 95% increase by millennials.
Gen X travellers loved Switzerland and Germany while Greece showed a 40% increase by baby boomers.
Overall spending has decreased due to the rising costs in Europe although Greece has seen a 50% increase in spending by baby boomers.
Hurray! the government of Sri Lanka has decided to issue free visas for travellers, starting from August 2019 - January 2020. This is a very encouraging step and one set in the right direction. Ever since the suicide bombings in April this year, revenue from tourism dropped to zilch.
The recent bombings has had a very serious toll on tourism in Sri Lanka. Many workers in the hospitality industry lost their jobs as a result of the bombings.
We encourage travellers to return to Sri Lanka and support the industry.
Leisure World Tours has this all inclusive 12 day Sri Lanka holiday for you or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brawl on P&O cruise ship
Brawl on P&O cruise ship.
Leisure World News
This could happen anywhere. But on a cruise ship you are stuck with the perpetrators until you get to disembark at the nearest port or carry on regardless. This is the downside of happy cruising. Apparently media fake news put the blame on a clown that caused a fight to break out where furniture and plates were used as weapons of destruction and another story relates to the brawl being caused by a passenger dressed up as a clown. What a way to enjoy a good time on a cruise ship. I thought a clown makes people laugh and be as merry as a clown. Unfortunately not on this cruise ship though. These are isolated incidents probably fuelled by excess consumption of alcohol. Try a holiday in Sri Lanka instead.
Second international airport
BALI TO GET SECOND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Apparently the Bali governor, Wayan Koster mentioned during a speech in Denpasar Arts Centre that Bali would be getting a second international airport. They hope to relieve pressure from the influx of tourists arriving currently.
Another reason is to encourage an even distribution of tourist hot spots to areas in the North that don’t get many tourists visiting. It is hoped that tourists will move away from Seminyak and Kuta.
It is to been seen that this airport will meet the needs of foreign holidaymakers. About 370 hectares of land at the Kubutambahan village and Sani Village will stand to gain from this transition.
As a result, the new airport is envisaged to take about 70 percent of low cost flights from Australia normally operated by Jetstar, Air Asia and Lion Air.
Visit Sri Lanka
Ella Sri Lanka
Locals and tourists fall in love with this small mountain town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. You can get to this interesting hideout by train, bus, hire car or by requesting your travel agent to arrange a tour covering this beautiful back packers town.
What you can do in Ella
For starters there are lots of interesting hiking trails. Little Adam's peak and Ella Gap are the most common trails. The trek to Horton planes and world's end is mesmerising.
The scenic train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is the most interesting train journey you should not miss. Treks are best done in the early mornings and you can trek by yourself. You really don't need a guide. As there are quite a few fellow travellers you will pal up with while you hike.
There are around 350 0r more waterfalls in Sri Lanka. In Ella you can visit Ravana Water falls, Bomburu Ella waterfalls, Bambaragama, Diyaluma and Dumhinda waterfalls. If you are a nature lover and one that likes hikes then visiting as many waterfalls in Nuwara Eliya and Matale districts will attract your attention.
Nine Arch Bridge Ella
The nine arch bridge known commonly as the bridge in the sky is a reminder of colonial era construction. Many tourists and locals flock to this place to admire the beauty and surroundings. A good picturesque location.
Marriot is said to be releasing a new loyalty program called Bonvoy which is soon to replace the existing loyalty program. It is envisaged members will have more benefits with this new look launch. Customers wishing to book into the Marriot Sri Lanka can start taking advantage of this new benefit by signing up for membership.
Leisure Travel Sri Lanka will be will include in their itineraries a couple of days stay at the Marriot Beach Resort in Sri Lanka. Email your inquiry to email@example.com
Visit to Kala Oya has become a "Must" for us since our first visit there last year. I have been saying this place teaches me what "Destitute" is. Unless one visits and sees it for themselves no words can aptly convey what tough conditions under which the residents survive here. It is a very well run facility but sadly it lacks regular "Supplies." We do our bit but there has to be something else that needs to be done to help the facility. Elderly people going without meals regularly is not nice. Those who are reading this piece please think about it. I am open to suggestions. It takes a mere $70 Australian to provide all meals and two teas daily for nearly twenty five people.
It is also in Kala Oya there is a little paradise hidden away about fifteen minutes of extremely slow drive from the main Puttalam - Anuradhapura Road. This place is surrounded by paddy fields on one side and a lovely secluded lake on the other. This "Cabana" is perched atop the banks of the lake which gives views, sights and sounds money cannot buy. The property is owned by Auril's best friend Scolestical's sister and family. Two nights here was just superb. The "Facilities" that add to the charm of this place: water tank on top of a mango tree that stands above the cabana, generator-run power supply which is available from about 6.30 pm to when it runs out of petrol, showers at the well, dip in the lake in which crocodile and human beings live in harmony, eating the catch of the day from the lake, eating mangoes just fallen off the tree, waking up listening to the sounds of lapping water below your feet, the chirping birds, sounds of peacocks, jumping fish, wonderful breeze off the lake....oh where do I stop?!
Our half day safari through Wilpathu National Park was great for one particular reason - leopards. We did not see any in Yala last year and this time in Wilpathu we spotted two of these spotted big cats! And both of them gave good sightings. I could photograph the second one and did not bother about the first because I simply wanted to "Take it all in" seeing a leopard in the wild for the first time. Wilpathu should really be done over a whole day as it is bigger than Yala and the vegetation is magnificent. We need to revisit this place.
And then we got to Jaffna and I have written plenty below most of the photos in my FB pages. Point Pedro, Causarina Beach, Thurkai Amman Temple in Tellipalai, Keerimalai, Nallur are some of the places we covered. Things happen because they are meant to happen as they did today. Our plan today was to visit Thurkai Amman Temple and keep moving and yet we ended up having a lovely lunch at the temple. We visited the temple as we planned and were invited to join them later for lunch. Still we were not sure but we moved on to visit my ancestral home and then Keerimalai. After Keerimalai we resolved to go back to the temple and join them for lunch. What a good decision it was.
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