Beneath Ceylonese Beauty, lies the Precious – Sri Lanka, The Island of Gemstones

Sri Lanka boasts a long history of gemstone production and arguably produces some of the finest gem specimens in the world. Out of the Sri Lankan gemproducing areas, Rathnapura is by far the most prolific source of world-class gemstones. There is a huge variety of gem types found in Sri Lanka and Sapphires are the most popular amongst them. While Rathnapura is well known for its incredible range of gorgeous gems it is also the source of perhaps the finest sapphires in the world. Other cities in Sri Lanka also help expand the range of stones available from this one country with Elahera, Rakwana, Katharagama, Balangoda, Okkampitiya, and Kandy – all providing a source of quality gemstones.

Sri Lanka is also prolific for being amongst the prominent producers of more than 50 varieties of gems which include sapphires. Sri Lanka is one of the most popular and richest countries in gems and stones. It is also known as the “Treasure Box of the Indian Ocean” because of the availability of various kinds of precious gems. Sri Lanka has a renowned center of country’s mining industry stationed at Ratanpura which is popularly known as “The Gem Town”. Sri Lanka as a country has been the prominent supplier of the most precious stones which beautify the crown jewels of various countries like Great Britain and Russia. The list of gemstones produced by the rich lands of Sri Lanka include ruby, sapphire, spinel, the finest chrysoberyl (including cat’s-eye and alexandrite), topaz, tourmaline, quartz, peridot, moonstone, garnet, zircon and a number of other gemstones.

Map of Gem Deposit Areas in Sri Lanka



The Highland Complex of Sri Lanka is the most important area for formation of
gemstone deposits. Illustration by Peter Johnston, © GIA.
(Sri Lanka: From Mine to Market, Part 1, 2014)

A brief breakdown of the popular Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Ceylon Sapphires

The Ceylon Blue Sapphire is known for its beauty possessing the glorious cornflower blue shade as well as for being one of the few sapphires in the world that can be sold as a completely natural stone without heat treatment. The blues aside, Ceylon sapphires also come in beautiful hues including pink, yellow, orange, green, purple, lavender and of course, the inimitable ‘padparadscha’ sapphire named after the lotus flower. All these highly marketable qualities of Ceylon sapphire has created brand recognition world wide – a brand not created by the producers of the stone, but by the sellers and consumers.

Sapphires that show a star-like light effect are called star sapphires; the most famous star sapphire from Sri Lanka is displayed in the Museum of Natural History in New York. Star sapphires or star rubies display a star-like marking and this effect, commonly known as asterism, occurs when light falls on the cut stone, cut in the cabochon form, and three rays appear giving a six-point star. However, stones with six rays have also been known to occur.

Lastly, there is milky corundum, a white opaque form of corundum also called geuda, which for many years was regarded as useless and discarded, often ending up lining fish tanks in some gemstone merchant’s house. This happened until dealers in Thailand learned to heat-treat geudas to change the colour of the stone from an unattractive cloudy grey-white to a bright, sparkling blue. They completed the work nature began and ended up with a blue sapphire – of much greater value than a useless pebble. The colour of heat-treated blue sapphires are stable and the chemical composition of the stone is that of a sapphire, although prices are lower than for a similar quality stone with natural colour.

Ruby

Ruby is an aluminum oxide, a variety of corundum; it occurs in medium to dark tones of red and violetish-red to brownish-red

Alexandrite

Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl, which ideally shows a distinct colour change from green in fluorescent light or daylight to red in incandescent light.

Star Stones

Star stones of the corundum family are either star sapphires or rubies. When light falls on these stones, a star effect is visible (known as asterism).
Sri Lanka is the best known source for star sapphires and star rubies. Star sapphires range in colour from grey to bluish-grey and from medium blue to medium dark blue. The very slightly purplish medium dark blue is the best colour grade for star sapphires. Star rubies range from light pink-red to purple-red through deep purple-red. The intense red star rubies are extremely rare. A good quality star stone should have a high degree of transparency and a well-defined star with no weak or missing rays. It should be reasonably clean and in the face-up position, no distracting inclusions or cracks should be seen. There should be no excess weight at the bottom of the stone.

Star sapphires and rubies are hard stones (9 on the Moh?s scale), which can take a high degree of polish and retain the shinefor a long

Chrysoberyl

The species name chrysoberyl is given to a transparent, faceted gemstone that does not show a colour change between daylight and artificial light (the chrysoberyl which shows a colour change is called alexandrite). The ideal colours of chrysoberyl are green and yellowish-green In addition, due to strong dichroism, one may see an attractive bi-coloured chrysoberyl occasionally. Hardness is 8.5 on the Moh’s scale. The high refractive index of the stone makes it very lively when properly cut and polished.

Cat’s Eye

A cat’s eye like effect, known as ‘chatoyancy’, appears to move on this stone’s surface. Cat’s eye is a gem variety of chrysoberyl. Hardness: 8.5 on the Mohs’ scale.
There are generally two varieties of cat’s eye the alexandrite cat?s-eye and the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye, which is very popular in the Far East, particularly in Japan. The ideal colours of the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye are yellowish-brown, which is called the honey colour, and the yellow-green, which is called the apple green colour. A very good cat’s eye, apart from being of ideal colour, should have a high degree of transparency and a well-defined unbroken ray. It should be free from any distracting inclusions visible to the unaided eye. The chrysoberyl cat’s-eye is one of the most beautiful gemstones because of the chatoyancy or the eye effect.

A translucent variety of chrysoberyl (beryllium aluminum oxide) which exhibits a silvery white line across the stone. This moves as the stone, the light source or the observer moves and may appear to open and close like an eye.

The finest quality has a sharp eye that appears to open and close as the stone is rotated, and exhibits a strong “milk and honey” effect (stone on one side of the eye appears lighter than the other). These colours switch as the stone or [light source is moved. The most highly prized body colours are greenish-yellow and brownishyellow (honey colour).

Quartz

Quartz is the most common mineral on the face of the Earth. Gem varieties include amethyst (purple), citrine (yellow), milky quartz (cloudy, white variety), rock crystal (clear variety), rose quartz (pink to reddish-pink variety), and smokey quartz (brown to grey variety).
Gem varieties of quartz include: citrine, amethyst, rock crystal, rose quartz, and smokey quartz. There are also varieties of Quartz cat’s eye.
Colours: citrine (yellow); amethyst (purple); rock crystal (colourless); rose quartz (pink); and smokey quartz (purplish-brown).

Amethyst

A variety of quartz, silicon dioxide, which appears to be dark purple in transparent light. This should be cut so that the long portion of the cabochon is 90 degrees to the direction of the needles.

Citrine

A transparent variety of quartz, silicon dioxide, occurring in yellow to red-orange to orange-brown. The name is derived from citron, which is French for lemon.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a group of minerals comprised of a complex boron-aluminum silicate with one or more of the following: magnesium, sodium, lithium, iron, potassium or other metals. It appears in light from dark red to purple as well as brownish variations of these hues – light to dark green, yellowish-green, greenish-yellow, brownish-orange. It also grows bi-coloured.

Spinel

A magnesium aluminum oxide which occurs in all colours, ruby-red being the most popular. Most colours are greyed out. Gahno-spinel is a dark blue or greenish-blue spinel with high zinc content.

Topaz

Topaz is a fluosilicate of aluminum, occurring in transparent yellow, yellow-brown, orange-brown, light to almost medium red, very light to light blue, very light green and violet colours.

Moonstone

Moonstones are usually colourless to white, semi-transparent to translucent, and characterised by a glowing light effect known as adularescence, the visibility of which is confined to a restricted angle of view. The most valuable of the feldspar gems.

Zircon

Zircon is a zirconium silicate, occurring in colourless, light blue, brownish-orange, yellow, yellowish-green, brownish-green, dark red or light red-violet. Blue is the most valuable. This stone is usually heat-treated.

Peridot

Peridot is a silicate of magnesium and iron, occurring in yellowish-green, green, greenish-yellow, brownish-green and brown (all transparent).

Sri Lanka is not just an Island its an Island full of wonders, magnificent gift on earth and an extra ordinarily beautiful country in its natural form. Gems are one of Earth’s best tressures.
And if you are one of those enthusiasts in Gems and beautiful colorful stones, Sri Lanka is your location and we are here to assist you in anything at your convenience. Click on www.bluelankatours.com for more information.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

Palmstone Retreat – Kithulgala

A serene hideaway, if you would rather be at one with nature, but tents and sleeping bags aren’t your style, check into Palmstone Retreat, and enjoy its unique suites designed for your lux life. Palm stone retreat delves in the lush ‘natural forests, overlooking a picturesque flowing stream, complete with a cascading waterfall’.

If staying in cozy surroundings is your thing, you’ll want to take advantage of this beautiful Palmstone Retreat in Kithulgala that gives you an ultimate wild experience.

Palmstone Retreat is not just a luxury stay but also that which looks out giving you the best of Kithulgala where adventure never stops in the woods. But before we could get to the exciting details – we know you need the details of how you would want to spend your nights in the coziest and most comfortable, luxurious way.

Accommodation

Palmstone Retreat in Kithulgala, is known around Sri Lanka for its wilderness sanctuary that’s home to many migrant bird species and more. Someone wanting a rejuvenating stay amidst this wooded wonderlands, can spend a whole day looking at nature’s beauty. To ease this process, here’s a list of the 3 luxury palm chalets to accommodate you at Palm Stone Retreat Kithulgala.

The three chalets in Palmstone Retreat Kithulgala, is a combination of style and luxury that opens doors to the beautiful serene woods of Kithulgala. It is out of the ordinary that is inspired by local architecture. The three luxury chalets at Palmstone Retreat intersects modern impeccable interiors with nature in its purest forms. Each chalet consists of two beautiful room types – Nelum and Araliya, which are 5 star rooms designed to ensure absolute privacy and luxurious comfort.

Nelum Suite

The Nelum Suite spacious bedroom and a sitting space overlooking the lush gardens and the stream. Unwind and soothe your tiredness while enjoying a Jacuzzi in your very own indoor Jacuzzi.

Araliya Suite

The Araliya suite offers you relaxation and rejuvenation in the luxury settings; where you can enjoy being pampered in your own steam sauna or just relax in the sitting area or take a dip in the private heated plunge pool.

Dining Experience

The Palmstone dining experience is extra ordinary and exceptional with an exemplary service. It is indeed a culinary journey with a set menu rather bias towards the Western dining experience. However, the Sri Lankan dishes are also served with a perfect combination of local varieties.

Palmstone Retreat also offers private dining facilities where guests can choose to dine in several chosen Romantic settings in the Palmstone premises. The most scenic option according to Palmstone is ‘the dining deck’ with complimenting views of the glorious waterfall, where your dining experience is magnified by the sights to behold and sounds out of the ordinary. You are also given the option to dine at tables set between the swimming pool and garden, or on the private decks of your rooms.
*Meals served at Palmstone Retreat are Halal-certified and are made using only the freshest ingredients.

Adventure calls, when in Palmstone Retreat Kithulgala

Kithulgala is known for its adventure with a perfect combination of many activities that gives you a thrilling experience.
Here’s a list of the most exciting activities to do when in Palmstone , Kithulgala.

  • White water rafting
  • Canyoning (rock sliding)
  • White water kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Abseiling
  • Biking
  • Bird watching
  • The beli lena cave




To have the best enhanced experience at Palmstone Retreat in Kithulgala, visit us @www.bluelankatours.com, we are just a click away.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

Ceylon Tea Trails – Summerville Bungalow

Built in 1923, classic like the country cottages, standing at an altitude of 4000 ft, Summerville Bungalow is another beautiful residency in Ceylon Tea Trails family. With abundant light and a plethora of views, at the end of tea estates stands this beau – the ideal residence for the discerning luxury traveler seeking a luxurious sanctuary amidst mountain ranges, lakes, tea factories to tea fields and wilderness. A little bit of cold weather with a little bit of sunshine and hot pot of tea at a century old planter’s residency – yes we are talking about Summerville Bungalow by Ceylon Tea Trails.

Summerville is nestled amid a rolling landscape of untouched native bush that kisses the lake isle of our tranquil tea estates above. Whether you are seeking world-class cuisine, breathtaking scenery, the spirit of adventure or simply a sense of renewal, you will find it here. It’s perhaps, surprisingly easy to find yourself a world away. And, even arriving becomes part of the destination. Enjoy the all-too-brief journey from the Colombo, by land or air, through some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Immerse yourself in Summerville’s pristine natural setting, with bush that extends down to the very water’s edge of our secluded lake. From private gardens and bespoke butler services await you on our doorstep. And, with chefs close at hand, Summerville is dedicated to a unique experience that is unforgettably yours.

Accommodation- Summerville Bungalow

Ceylon Tea Trails luxurious retreat – Summerville Bungalow is a sanctuary in every sense, surrounded by the timeless beauty of nature herself in the fire crackling sounds at the cozy fire places. A place to relax, escape the everyday and discover the exceptional.
Enjoy experiencing the magnificence of the Summerville Bungalow with family or alone, whilst also assured of the privacy of your own personal luxury retreat. Absorb the unparalleled secluded tranquility, both inside and out, from the natural wood comfort of your colloquial English planters house.
With sunlight radiating into every corner, the warm wooden interior offers a refreshingly relaxed atmosphere that embodies the unique qualities of our natural sanctuary. Spacious and stylish, the Summerville Bungalow has been designed to offer a generous combination of both social and private historical and contemporary living.

Five superbly-appointed suites, complete with cozy furniture and soothing carpets, reflect the pride Ceylon Tea Trails take in their attentiveness to each and every luxurious detail. With windows opening wide onto uninterrupted views across Hatton’s beautiful mountains, all suites offer king size beds dressed with the finest linens and smoothest down pillows.

  • The Shuttleworth Master Suite is of 70 sq.m, separate living room, bath & walk in rain shower, private garden.
  • Garnet Garden Suite is of 45 sq.m and includes bath with rain shower, with complementing view of reservoir from private garden.
  • Goddard Garden Suite is as big with 47 sq.m includes bath with rain shower, and views of private garden.
  • Cosby Garden Suite is of 45 sq.m including same bath & walk in rain shower, and complementing view of the lake from private garden.
  • Middleton Luxury Room is of 38 sq.m that includes twin beds, bath with rain shower, and garden view.



Dining – Summerville Bungalow

Gourmet cuisine at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows are often celebrated with numerous delicious arrangements fresh and fine. Start your day at Summerville Bungalow with a tea-kish wakeup call from the butler, followed by English or Sri Lankan breakfast of your choice, either to stay in or stay out staring into the misty eye of Hatton.

Ceylon Tea Trails dining is known for its fresh home grown fruits and vegetables, teas and herbs from its surrounding estates. Enjoy these fresh meals in elegant surroundings at Summerville Bungalow, be it at the main dining room or the resplendent tearoom, with vistas overlooking the garden escapes, or in an open dining concept that merges seamlessly into the lush tea grounds around. A four-course dinner menu of your choice of English or Sri Lankan will always come handy to you at Summerville Bungalow.

Things to do – Summerville Bungalow

The Tea Experience

From trekking through the dense jungle to a tea estate to watch and experience how tea pluckers work their magic with two hands, is a much do excursion for anyone staying at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. The trek does not simply end at that, but at the factory where all the tea-talk takes place.

Biking

Ride through slopes to mountains and aside tea-estates in the Lankan highlands with cool winds tucking against you.

Scenic sidewalks and hikes

A walk to remember? Yes! In deed! There’s nothing like getting into shoes and trekking amongst the jungles and beautiful roads and a plethora of scenic escapes where heaven feels like home.

Croquet

All bungalows have a croquet lawn where you can unleash devious tactics against family and friends, a Pimms No 1 in hand.(Resplendentceylon.com, 2018)

White Water Rafting

Your adventure starts at a beautiful nature base in Kitulgala about 75 minutes from Ceylon Tea Trails. After a safety briefing and a few pointers on rafting technique, you’ll jump right into the action. (Resplendentceylon.com, 2018)

Kayaking

Hop in to kayak across the majestic Castlereagh Lake to journey through the cold waters with a plethora of views.

Ceylon Tea Trails journey continues… click on www.bluelankatours.com for more information- the most luxurious resorts in Sri Lanka.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

Ceylon Tea Trails – Dunkeld Bungalow

Are you thinking of the bungalow with your favorite pool at Ceylon Tea Trails? Then you’re reading the right article. The newest addition to the Ceylon Tea Trails family, Dunkeld Bungalow stands high above the Castlereagh lake of mature tea-estates and gardens in the Highland town of Hatton, majestically overlooking the mountains and beyond to the lake of Castlereagh. The Dunkeld Bungalow boasts two main residencies, The Dunkeld Owner’s Cottage and the Dunkeld Bungalow, with master suites and lovely bedrooms with a lush view, all elegantly furnished and individually designed. The Dunkeld Factory is one of the prime locations of the Dunkeld Bungalow and one of the sunniest spots in Ceylon Tea Trails. Enjoy the scenic riverside walks, take a stroll on the sun bathed gardens and capture the memories over the views of Hatton and the Great Western mountain range.

Originally built in 1925, the bungalow sits at an altitude of 4750 ft as an owner’s home in the 19th century, the Dunkeld Bungalow has seen a number of improvements, including the addition of the infinity-edge swimming pool that offers unimaginable panoramic views, whilst the hot tub seemingly floats above the lake surface. This is also well known for its beauty for it can host a variety of functions and events. This perhaps is your perfect location to celebrate you weddings in the hill country with the perfect weather and ambience including Ceylon tea Trails bespoke services. This venue at the Dunkeld Bungalow also comes handy with the capacity to accommodate up to 350 delegates for any of your special occasions or events. The hospitality of the delightful Ceylon Tea Trails team is matched by the warmest of welcomes that awaits you at Dunkeld Bungalow.

Accomodation

The Taylor Owner’s Cottage

Taylor Owners Cottage is also known as the Dunkeld Owner’s Cottage and it is a standalone, beautiful and coziest Bungalow in Dunkeld Residencies. It comprises of one master bed room with a king size bed, living room and a varendah. Taylor Owner’s Cottage also includes a heated Jacuzzi and the Cottage alone captures scenic view of the lake side. It is 145 sq.m in size in total.

The Dunkeld Bungalow – Rooms and Suites

The main bungalow of the Dunkeld Bungalow comprises of 4 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, Billiard room and also a Library. The Dunkeld Bungalow perhaps is your go to Bungalow if fancy private verandahs, majestic mountain views, and English gardens for morning walks.
The Greig Master Suite is the biggest suite in the Dunkled Bungalow. It offers a kind bed with spate living room space for your relaxation, a bath and a separate walk in shower and offers soothing views across the lake.
The Anderson Garden Suite is the second largest room of 48 sq.m including a king bed, bath, walk in shower and a private verandah also garden and mountain views. The Clark Garden Suite is also 48 sq.m in size that includes a king bed, a bath, walk in shower, private verandah, garden and mountain views.
Apart from the main 3 suites the Dunkeld Bungalow also has a luxury bedroom. The Allen Luxury Room is as big as a suite with 48 sq.m with twin beds,a bath, a walk in shower, and also complementing garden and mountain views.



Dining – Dunkeld Bungalow

Gourmet cuisine at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows are often celebrated with numerous delicious arrangements fresh and fine. Start your day at Dunkeld Bungalow with a tea-kish wakeup call from the butler, followed by English or Sri Lankan breakfast of your choice, either to stay in or stay out staring into the misty eye of Hatton.
Ceylon Tea Trails dining is known for its fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables, teas and herbs from its surrounding estates. Enjoy these fresh meals in elegant surroundings at Dunkeld Bungalow, be it at the main dining room or the resplendent tearoom, with vistas overlooking the garden escapes, or in an open dining concept that merges seamlessly into the lush tea grounds around. A four-course dinner menu of your choice of English or Sri Lankan will always come handy to you at Dunkeld Bungalow.

Things to do –Dunkeld Bungalow

The Tea Experience

From trekking through the dense jungle to a tea estate to watch and experience how tea pluckers work their magic with two hands, is a much do excursion for anyone staying at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. The trek does not simply end at that, but at the factory where all the tea-talk takes place.

Biking

Ride through slopes to mountains and aside tea-estates in the Lankan highlands with cool winds tucking against you.

Scenic sidewalks and hikes

A walk to remember? Yes! In deed! There’s nothing like getting into shoes and trekking amongst the jungles and beautiful roads and a plethora of scenic escapes where heaven feels like home.

Croquet

All bungalows have a croquet lawn where you can unleash devious tactics against family and friends, a Pimms No 1 in hand. (Resplendentceylon.com, 2018)

White Water Rafting

Your adventure starts at a beautiful nature base in Kitulgala about 75 minutes from Ceylon Tea Trails. After a safety briefing and a few pointers on rafting technique, you’ll jump right into the action. (Resplendentceylon.com, 2018)

Ceylon Tea Trails journey continues… click on www.bluelankatours.com for more information- the most luxurious resorts in Sri Lanka.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

Ceylon Tea Trails – Norwood Bungalow

The Epitome Of Luxury In The Highlands

A quick glimpse at Ceylon Tea Trails…

Dare to adventure on a holiday like never before? A luxury adventure that is a little different to your last, unwind at Ceylon Tea Trails, your holiday home located in the idyllic Sri Lankan tea country. The five Tea Trails bungalows lies nestled among the hills of the Bogawantalawa region in central, Bandulla district in south central Sri Lanka. With beautiful Vistas and tea-infused gourmet cuisine, it is a perfect slice of paradise. Ceylon Tea Trails is the worlds first tea bungalow perched at an altitude of 1250 metres in Ceylon tea region. What makes Ceylon Tea Trails the ultimate holiday escape is the bungalows that it is comprised of. It is the ideal setting for trekking and biking against the breath taking backdrop of mountains lakes and waterfalls. In fact, Ceylon tae Trails comes with a view that will never cease to amaze you. Either to laze in or be out and about Ceylon Tea Trails is an icon of paradise on earth.

The maketh of Ceylon Tea Trails is none other than the infamous Resplendent Ceylon luxury chain of resorts around Sri Lanka. As we have already taken you through Wild Coast – Yala, Ceylon Tea Trails is the other most truly beautiful resort in the Resplendent Ceylon chain.

Comprising of five resorted colonial era residencies,

1. Norwood Bungalow
2. Tientsin Bungalow
3. Castlereagh Bungalow
4. Summerville Bungalow
5. Dunkled Bungalow

Ceylon Tea Trails is a truly immersive experience in the beautiful highlands of Sri Lanka. The five Tea Trails bungalows are located between 2 km and 15km from each other.

Norwood Bungalow – Ceylon Tea Trails

Set 1,250 metres above sea level amongst tea trails and mountain-scapes, Ceylon Tea Trails Norwood Bungalow is built as a long extension from an existing 1890s planter’s residence with architecture dating from the colonial era. Promising splendor, romance and nostalgia, the interiors hark back to its grand colonial heritage with tall French doors, timber-beamed ceilings and plantation shutters combined with the colours and textures of Asian silks. This is mirrored in the friendly service, where traditional English charm merges seamlessly with discreet Sri Lankan hospitality.




Norwood Bungalow comprises with five elegant, beautiful and timeless suites and an easy cozy bedroom that’s situated at the Far East end of Bagawanthalawa valley, Hatton. Endearingly can be known as the ‘little piece of England in Sri Lanka’, the cool climate on the picturesque plateau and its hilly greenery are tailor-made for rounds of cycling, pink-cheeked rambles along jungle trails, tea plantations, farms or gardens, afternoon Ceylon tea at the croquet lawn with scones. Play rounds of Billiard and indoor games and hop to the large swimming pool and sun deck where you can unwind and stare at the soothing sceneries. With your in-room spa treatment celebrate the restorative powers of tea, after your treks in our highlands.

At Norwood Bungalow the elegant interiors, lush surroundings and five-star care, set the tone for the perfect highland getaway filled with trails, tales and traditions where Norwood Bungalow is nothing but the epitome of highland lush in Sri Lanka.



Suites and Rooms- Norwood Bungalow

Norwood Bungalow at Ceylon Tea Trails comprises of four suites and two luxury rooms, each with its own unique view and comfort that is crafted to suit the cold weather and lush landscapes.

  • Hazel Master Suite is a spacious and large area of 62 sq.m with a king bed, separate living room, bath and walk-in rain shower and also with an extra ordinary view of private garden and tea fields.
  • Irvine Garden Suite is 45 sq.m in size and includes a king bed, bath and walk-in rain shower and French doors that opens view to the private garden.
  • Andrews Garden Suite is 46 sq.m with a king bed, bath with rain shower, and a view to private garden.
  • Trevaldwyn Garden Suite is 39 sq.m with a king bed, bath and walk-in rain shower, also obliges view to private garden.
  • Jeffery Luxury Room is 31 sq.m including a king bed, bath with rain shower, garden view, and direct garden access.
  • Wyatt Luxury Room is 30 sq.m including twin beds, bath and walk-in rain shower, garden view, and has direct garden access.



Dining – Norwood Bungalow

Gourmet cuisine at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows are often celebrated with numerous delicious arrangements fresh and fine. Start your day at Norwood Bungalow with a tea-kish wakeup call from the butler, followed by English or Sri Lankan breakfast of your choice, either to stay in or stay out staring into the misty eye of Hatton.

Ceylon Tea Trails dining is known for its fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables, teas and herbs from its surrounding estates. Enjoy these fresh meals in elegant surroundings at Norwood Bungalow, be it at the main dining room or the resplendent tearoom, with vistas overlooking the garden escapes, or in an open dining concept that merges seamlessly into the lush tea grounds around. A four-course dinner menu of your choice of English or Sri Lankan will always come handy to you at Norwood Bungalow.



Things to do – Norwood Bungalow

The Tea Experience

From trekking through the dense jungle to a tea estate to watch and experience how tea pluckers work their magic with two hands, is a much do excursion for anyone staying at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. The trek does not simply end at that, but at the factory where all the tea-talk takes place.

Biking

Ride through slopes to mountains and aside tea-estates in the Lankan highlands with cool winds tucking against you.

Scenic sidewalks and hikes

A walk to remember? Yes! In deed! There’s nothing like getting into shoes and trekking amongst the jungles and beautiful roads and a plethora of scenic escapes where heaven feels like home.



Ceylon Tea Trails journey continues… click on www.bluelankatours.com for more information- the most luxurious resorts in Sri Lanka.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

Ceylon Tea Trails – Castleregh Bungalow

If you’re looking for a bungalow perched amongst dramatic mountain scenery, a property with great views of gardens or a cosy lake side retreat overlooking nature at its purest form you’ll find it here. Castlereagh Bungalow was built in 1925, at an alleviation of altitude 4025 ft. It is one the most beautiful Ceylon Tea Trails bungalow infamous for its sweeping trails and pretty gardenscapes. Set at close proximity to Castlereagh lake, the bungalow boasts a mere picture of a draling escape in the eyes of a luxury traveler seeking for the best views and serenity instilled backdrops. The Castlereagh is not just another bungalow but at a glimpse, its perceived as a bungalow standing amidst the wilderness and sun kissed in a cold cozy day ready to indulge in tranquility.




Castlereagh Bungalow as beautiful as it is, comprises of not just the luxury tea planters abode but the little summer houses scattered in the premises to soothe and ease in to nature with an authentic pot of Ceylon tea by dawn for when the sun rays drop in filters or even for lovers of sunset, with high tea gazing at sweeping views across and watch natures magic before going to warm your cold finger tips at the fireplace in Castlereagh Bungalow.


Suites and Rooms – Castlereagh Bungalow

The historic nature of the Ceylon Tea Trails – Castlereagh Bungalow means that every room and suite is unique, with quirky original features, however, the truly outstanding feature of almost all Castlereagh Bungalow rooms is the view. Every bedroom is furnished to the highest standards with more than just the comforts of home in all colonial form. It is a chance to re-live the life of a planter and evoke the colonial feels at every nook and corner in the Castlereagh bungalow.

Castlereagh Bungalow comprises of four garden suites and a luxury room. Out of the four suites the Baker Garden Suite is known for its extravagant comfort of its king bed, the bath and walk in shower and most importantly doors being opened to view of stretching tea fields and majestic mountains of the hill country in Hatoon Sri Lanka. Views of verandah and garden also come handy at this suite in Castlereagh bungalow. The Baker suite is of 45 sq.m .

Alston Garden Suite is of 46 sq.m, with a cosy king bed, relaxing bath and walkin rain shower and also offers views of tea fields, private verandah and garden. Palmer Garden Suite on the other hand is rather small (36 sq.m) but as cosy as it is wiith a king bed, bath and walk-in rain shower, view of tea fields and lake, private garden.

Jamieson Garden Suite is of 40 sq.m including a king bed, bath and walk-in rain shower, offering views just as the Palmer Garden Suite.
Tate Luxury Room is of 41 sq.m and comprises of twin beds, bath and walk-in rain shower, and offers tanatalising view of lake & tea fields.
All four suites and the room and extra ordinarily beautiful and different at the same time. Opening doors to nature from any corner of Castlereagh Bungalow is truly mesmerizing as its set amidst sights to behold.

Dining – Castlereagh Bungalow

Gourmet cuisine at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows are often celebrated with numerous delicious arrangements fresh and fine. Start your day at Castlereagh Bungalow with a tea-kish wake up call from the butler, followed by English or Sri Lankan breakfast of your choice, either to stay in or stay out staring into the misty eye of Hatton.

Ceylon Tea Trails dining is known for its fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables, teas and herbs from its surrounding estates. Enjoy these fresh meals in elegant surroundings at Castlereagh Bungalow, be it at the main dining room or the resplendent tearoom, with vistas overlooking the garden escapes, or in an open dining concept that merges seamlessly into the lush tea grounds around. A four-course dinner menu of your choice of English or Sri Lankan will always come handy to you at Castlereagh Bungalow.


Things to do –Dunkeld Bungalow

The Tea Experience

From trekking through the dense jungle to a tea estate to watch and experience how tea pluckers work their magic with two hands, is a much do excursion for anyone staying at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. The trek does not simply end at that, but at the factory where all the tea-talk takes place.



Biking

Ride through slopes to mountains and aside tea-estates in the Lankan highlands with cool winds tucking against you.

Scenic side walks and hikes

A walk to remember? Yes! In deed! There’s nothing like getting into shoes and trekking amongst the jungles and beautiful roads and a plethora of scenic escapes where heaven feels like home.

Croquet

All bungalows have a croquet lawn where you can unleash devious tactics against family and friends, a Pimms No 1 in hand.(Resplendentceylon.com, 2018)

White Water Rafting

Your adventure starts at a beautiful nature base in Kitulgala about 75 minutes from Ceylon Tea Trails. After a safety briefing and a few pointers on rafting technique, you’ll jump right into the action. (Resplendentceylon.com, 2018)

Kayaking

Hop in to kayak across the majestic Castlereagh lake to journey through the cold waters with a plethora of views.


Ceylon Tea Trails journey continues… click on www.bluelankatours.com for more information- the most luxurious resorts in Sri Lanka.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

A Tranquil Setting – The Three Temple Loop

In addition to its many beautiful beaches, stunning waterfalls and rustic villages, Sri Lanka’s temples are some of the most interesting and indeed, most important places to visit on this little Lankan island. Suffice to say, no visit to Sri Lanka is complete without at least checking out the serene and rich in history- the temples on the island. Kandy, one of Sri Lanka’s central islands, has its own unique style of architecture, Buddhism, art, music, rituals, and spirituality. The Three Temple Loop perhaps draws significant attention nestling in Gampola. ‘The Three Temple Loop’ is named after the three temples Embekke, Lankathilake and Gadaladeniya situated in close proximity to each other just a few steps away.

Embekke, Lankathilake and Gadaladeniya are three of the most ancient and legendary temples in the central highlands. The temples serve living testimony to Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage, history and exceptional craftsmanship. Each temple holds a considerable amount of historical information of the ancient kingdom’s era, carved mostly in stone.

 

Embekke Devale

Embekke is famous for the intricately carved wooden pillars of its digge, or drum hall. An artistic creation in the fourteenth centuryEmbekke Devale was built by King Wickremabahu III. The temple is an audience hall for guardian deity of Sri Lankan Buddhism also known as Kataragama Deviyo. The temple in the form of a hall way has elaborated wooden sculptures in all its pillars. Each pillar had a different pattern carved into each of its four sides.Wrestlers, stick dancers, warriors, battles between elephants and lions, dragons, peacocks and flowers are some of the incorporated artistic choices. Amongst them the most favorite of all visitors is a strange sculpturing of a hybrid of a bull and an elephant. The wooden craftsmanship of Embekke devale is absolutely interesting and could mind boggle you at the same time.

Embekke Devale

 

Lankathilake

The majestic, imposing structure of Lankathilake Vihare,is believed to be one of the most magnificent architectural edifices in the Gampola kingdom. It nestles one kilometer away from Embekke on a large stone outcrop. The Lankathilake was built at the crest of a large rock named Panhalgala overlooking the Hantane mountain range in the Hiripitiya hamlet in Udunuwara. Coming in to full form in 1344 the Lankathilake temple relives the memory of Pollonaruwa era. It blends wood, plaster and stone in an architecture to resonate this era. For historians, the temple is a sight to behold for its ancient paintings and the temple itself as a whole is whitewashed with numerous sweeping roofs and incredible in its solidity and powerful structure.

Lankathilake

 

Gadaladeniya

An old monastery and a historical marvel Gadaladeniya Temple in Sri Lanka is a must see attraction among the ‘Three Temple Loop’ and it is the last temple in the loop. According to an inscription in the Gadaladeniya Temple, this temple was built by King Buwanekabahu IV in the year 1344. The chief architect of this temple is known to be a South Indian called Ganesvarachari, and perhaps the temple is essentially a South Indian design. The Gadaladeniya temple is built almost exclusively in stone, nestling on a hilltop with complementing extraordinary serene views of the country side.

Gadaladeniya

 

Let’s be mindful about…
  • If you could perhaps accommodate a local guide to decipher the symbolism of the many carvings in these temples it would be rather easier to understand and comprehend the story behind all the mind boggling craftsmanship.
  • Early starts in the mornings are best to avoid hot stone stairways when you walk barefoot. It is advisable to carry or leave your Footwear like sandals or flip flops in your transport or nearby and, not to be worn inside the temple premises.
  • Yes, we all know that dress code for temples are pretty conservative and we hope you respect these religious and conservative choices. For ladies, a rather long shawl perhaps would suffice.
  • And of course to avoid sunburn, it is better of you could bring your shades, a cap and be in comfortable clothing as you walk through the three temple loop.
  • And yes, this experience is rather private unless and of course you bump in at the same time with another group of visitors or local worshipers.

The Three Temple Loop is nothing but a journey through a tranquil setting, where ancient history comes to life through art and architecture. It is a ground where religion, history and architecture intersects. Join us @www.bluelankatours.com for your exclusive tailor made tours, to enjoy the serenity of The Three Temple Loop.

A Brief Breakdown of Visa Categories and Processes when visiting Sri Lanka

With the objective of facilitating a comprehensive and efficient service to all visitors to Sri Lanka, here’s a breakdown of the most valuable information with regard to the Visa Categories and Processing in Sri Lanka.

Hang in there, let’s get started with introducing the types of Visas and to the most fundamental process of how visitors must apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization via www.eta.gov.lk established in the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

 

What are the Types of Sri Lankan Visas?

There are four (4) kinds of visas to Sri Lanka which permit a person
to enter and/or stay in this country.

Visit Visa/ETA
There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas :

1.1 Tourist Visit Visa – A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, visit relatives for a short period of time.

1.2 Business Purpose Visa – Issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short period of time. This visa may be issued for single or double journeys.

Residence Visa
A residence visa is a permit for a non-Sri Lankan to obtain residence facilities for special purposes. There are eight (8) sub-categories which come under residence visas.

Transit Visa
A Transit Visa is an entry permit granted to a foreign national for admission into Sri Lanka for a brief period which is incidental and in the course of his journey to another destination.

Gratis Visa
The holder of a Diplomatic or Official Passport or a passport with a valid Diplomatic or Official endorsement will not be required to pay any fees for the visa.

 

What is a Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authority (“ETA”)?

ETAs are issued electronically by the Sri Lanka Department of
Immigration. Travelers, travel agents, airlines and specialist service
providers can use the ETA system to process an Electronic Travel
Authority.
The Sri Lanka ETA is electronically linked to the passport and is accessible to the Department of Immigration. We strongly recommend travelers print a copy of their Sri Lanka ETA in case there is a problem with the computer terminals at the immigration office upon arrival.

Please note unlike a traditional paper visa, the ETA is electronically linked to your passport. The Department do send travelers an email confirmation with their ETA number. It is advisable to print this email or have a soft copy to present at immigration upon arrival.

 

How to access the Electronic Travel Authority?

It is pretty simple, reach out to Electronic Travel Authorization viathe link below and you are just a click away. http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp

 

For what types of purposes are Sri Lanka ETA´s needed?

Sri Lanka ETAs are issued only for Short Visits to Sri Lanka for Business purposes, Tourism and Transit purposes. If you are looking for work visa you may need to apply for your visa through your local embassy.

 

How long is your Sri Lanka ETA valid for and what are the costs?

The visa for Sri Lanka ETA is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in Sri Lanka. You are permitted two entries into the country with the same ETA.

The cost of the ETA is $35 + $20 Service Fee per person for all countries except SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). For SAARC countries the ETA cost is $20 per passenger + $20 Service Fee.
Following category is exempt from ETA Processing Fee

  • Children under 12 years of age
  • Transit permitted ONLY for 48 hours

*You can pay with MasterCard, Visa, American Express or PayPal.

 

Who are the SAARC countries?

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are listed below:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

 

How to Extend Short Visit Visa?

A visitor wishing to stay more than 30 days in Sri Lanka, may apply for an extension. The Short Visit visa may be extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and further 90 days at the second instance.

Application for an extension should be submitted to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration (head office) by visiting the Department or through an Authorized Agent.

Department of Immigration and Emigration 41, Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka
For more details, visit. www.immigration.gov.lk.

 

What are the countries that DO NOT require Visa?

Nationals of the following countries who visit Sri Lanka for a Short
Visit up to 30 days are exempt from ETA,

  • The Republic of Singapore
  • The Republic of Maldives
  • The Republic of Seychelles

*every other country needs to apply for an ETA when visiting Sri Lanka.

*Please note that all the above information is 100% authentic and up to date and have been extracted from www.eta.gov.lk

Please feel free to contact us @www.bluelankatours.com if you need any assistance with your visa procedures etc. We are here to guide you through everything with much eagerness. Until then, good luck Captain :).

Written By
Carol R Taylor

Embark into a Basket and delicately Float Away…

Have you experienced your Hot Air Balloon Flight yet? Well… if not, here’s what you need to know.

There is nothing quite like floating over the greenery in Sri Lanka. Not just in any other place but the infamous cultural triangle with the most astonishing skylines and down below wilderness, the thick vegetation, one of the worlds wonders and then, the serene lakes that stand still with time.

Checking into delayed flights, the procedural baggage counters, TSA pat downs—flying isn’t always about the mediocre processes in an airport or an airplane. But Captain… have you stepped aboard one of these timeless hot air balloons? ’Tis a guaranteed way to rekindle a love of air travel, an opportunity to merry make in the world’s most beautiful landscapes, high above the fray. And it is the kind of mesmerizing little trip in the air that you’ll be talking about long after you’re back on solid ground.

Why do you want to take a drone when you can be one?

Commercial air balloon flights have now come of age and being most asked about by many Sri Lankans as well as tourists visiting the infamous Cultural Triangle. The bird’s eye view in floating baskets has now become one of the best experiences one can hear from another. The splendor of historic backdrops is nothing more than a jaw dropping hot air ballooning excursion experience in the Lankan skies. Yes a $200 is something you would consider – but if you ever wondered what its like to be a cloud, the splurge is worthwhile, and we assure you that.

A brief glimpse in to Hot Air Ballooning experience as it takes off…

Not with any pilot, but authorized experts will board you into your baskets and following a brief introduction you will set sail in the air together with the sun. As the balloon fills with sufficient hotair you will rise up up and above.
Dambulla, Habarana and Sigiriya has turned out to be become a frequent sight to tourists and locals with complementing views of Sigiriya Rock, temples, mountains, lotus ponds, water ways and even the local village habitat, waving at you eagerly with their heart warming smiles. Amongst all of these, Kandalama has been rated as the ballooning capital of the Island and the region has been recognized as one of the best ballooning destinations in the world fot its own “unique ballooning beauty”.
After a smooth landing, toss a glass of Champaign to celebrate your hot air ballooning excursion and you will be driven back to your safe havens (hotels).

The best Season for Hot Air Ballooning experience in Sri Lanka

The ideal weather guaranteed in our Lankan tropics are from the latter part of the year to continue to the next first quarter, that’s from November to April. This is recognized as the season for Hot Air Ballooning rides in Sri Lanka with the highest probability of a promising weather. It is the best time for families, couples and even cooperate groups to hop into a hot air balloon flight to enjoy the vistas of a heritage land.

Hot Air ballooning experience is a sunrise experience commencing from 8am onwards, however it depends on the agents you wish to have you best of experience in a balloon in our Island.

Get in touch with us @www.bluelanktours.com before hand to plan your Hot Air Ballooning excursion. We assure you the very best and it to be a magical experience in the air with bespoke services.

Written By
Carol R Taylor

Welcome to the Magical Tropics – The Island of two separate Monsoons

Travel Northeast to Trincomalee or stick to the coastlines of the South or the good old Ceylon highlands of Nuwara Eliya. Whatever you do, wherever you choose to travel within our tropics, do not discount Sri Lanka holidays as anything other than awesome. The national parks alone will fill you with a childlike enthusiasm that’s off the scale and hiking in the Rocky Mountains or whale watching in Mirissa are just a couple of experiences that naturally knocks the theme parks of Urban into an unmentionable cocked hat.

Blessed with endless skies and carved by eons of simply letting Mother Nature do her thing, Sri Lanka is a geological wonder, a true beauty—and a photographer’s dream.

 

The Island around the two Monsoons

Northern Sri Lanka attracts a largely similar climate from coast to coast, but does not have as such defined seasons although the NorthEast Monsoons are significant during the months of October to January. Monsoons can bring heavy rainfall and fuller lakes, while inter-monsoons often start as late as July running until September, bringing a stable warmer climate across the country, although a good time to travel.

Southern Sri Lanka has one obvious monsoon season, the SouthWest monsoon which is running from May to September, but distinct regional differences, with the climate becoming more humid towards the east. Meanwhile the Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka is dry and warm, becoming colder further South.

While summer during April to July is ideal for beach relaxation or hiking, although sometimes it can be very hot and humid. Summer temperatures in April are arguably the driest and range from warm to very hot – cities in particular can feel stifling, but the coasts and national parks are usually cooler.

 

Best Time to Wander around the Lankan Tropics

January to April, and Mid-July to September are pleasant times to wander around the entire Island by far. February to September are the best times to head towards North to East. Rainfall can occur in the South-West during May to July.

Having said this, December to March are remarkably the best months to plan your vacation in Sri Lanka. From Leopard sightings in the infamous Yala jungle, to watching mesmerizing ocean giants migrate across the Southern and Northern Oceans, adventures that come with a breathtaking view in the cold hill country sipping on signature Sri Lankan tea, Sri Lanka is nothing but an endless adventure during December to March. The Hill Country, the Central highlands in Sri Lanka could be the ideal choice to beat the heat and feel like it’s a different country all at the same time. In fact, during the driest month of April, Nuwara Eliya converts in to a social hub with exciting horse races, motor race events and even colorful and green escapes to fill your memories with.

Sri Lanka is a destination to look up to at any given time of the year. Different times lines are dedicated to wander around significant locations. Hence why Sri Lanka is defined as a year-round destination. In fact, Sri Lanka’s tropical climate, with distinct wet and dry seasons, with the two different monsoon seasons, as well as the ‘inter-monsoon’ season, affects different parts of the island at different times. Meaning when it is dry somewhere on the island at any time of year, there is always another side that is cooler and maybe rainy.

We, @www.bluelankatours.com love pioneering your most awaiting holidays in Sri Lanka as this little island is blessed with speechless natural beauty, a rich culture dating back millennia and a handy wealth of wildlife. Our expert team looks forward to giving you the best memories to take home at any given time of the year. Come what may, we are here to welcome you to the most hospitable arms of the world- Sri Lanka.

Written By
Carol R Taylor