‘Fantastic beasts’ – Marine Mammals on the loose ‘They are coming for you’

Dexterous, powerful, and hugely impressive, whales are some of the finest animals to grace our planet. The opportunity to watch whales in their habitat, or even share the water with these ocean giants, is a wildlife experience with few equals.

Let me first start with a spot light on our very own brand title ‘Blue Lanka Tours’ – simply because we cannot miss the most interesting and capturing reality behind our brand; we are a pearl surrounded by the ocean. Not just the ocean but also the greatest life in it – the largest predators on our blue planet- WHALES; and impeccably one of the fundamental reasons for our tourist attraction to witness and cherish the experience of whale watching in Sri Lanka.

BEST WHALE WATCHING TIME-LINES

First and foremost, whales are migratory species in the ocean depending on the weather and the abundance of food. There are heights in the migration of whales from December to February and again in March. In January, whales are known to be passing the South of Sri Lanka (Dondra), eastward to the Bay of Bengal. In April, the whales are travelling Westward, past the South of Sri Lanka, across the Maldives and on to up-wellings off Somalia, in the Arabian Sea around the Horn of Africa.

The peak in Trincomalee will be when the whales have ‘arrived’ which is around February and March. The period from February to March has so far been brilliant for records of Sperm Whales and even Blue Whales.

Whale watching in Sri Lanka during these peak times has been remarkably documented by the famous BBC short series – Blue Planet. In fact, in Sri Lanka whale watching has gained international acclaim for Sperm Whales and the best ever sightings of Blue Whales.

With our passion for marine life, the welfare of the whales themselves is integral to our approach and defines our whale watching experiences.

Where should you go whale watching in Sri Lanka?

MIRISSA

The Southern seas of Dondra head (the southernmost point in Sri Lanka) are the best for whale and dolphin watching in Sri Lanka. This is reasoning that the continental shelf is narrowest around Sri Lanka to the South of Dondra. It is also very much known for the best of whale watching infrastructures.

Okay now let’s spare the usual scientific and the more boring details about the continental shelf and the depths etc.

Let’s focus on the mere experience we are all ears to. Boiling it all down to Mirissa we assume you are well aware of what Mirissa got to offer – the endless palm-trees lined in the white sandy beach with the perfect amount of waves of turquois water. Amidst all of these is the truly unforgettable sanctuary of largest living mammals on Earth. Jurassic Park takes over the ocean? 😉

Now, the best of time for whale watching in Mirissa is December – April. When we say Whale watching Mirissa, we don’t mean just whales. Sri Lanka has the best species in its utmost natural habitat. Blue whales, Sperm Whales, Whale Sharks and even Killer Whales are spotted in Mirissa. Not just whales but the Mighty JAWS (sharks) and even the playful spinner Dolphins are always around the corner. Mirissa Whale watching is no mediocre. It is as showy and sumptuous as it can get that gives you goose bumps for life. Watching the largest mammal swim past you with its most glorious and sinewy fin is beyond what words could convey to you.

There is always something magical about observing wildlife in their natural habitat. And it is our prime objective to lay down what’s best we got to offer to have a soulful experience while protecting the best creations of the world.

TRINCOMALEE

Behold, you are about to hear the most spectacular and remarkable highlights of Trincomalee. Trincomalee Sri Lanka has one of the deepest natural harbors in the world. Splendid spotting of Blue Whales is promising and spectacular. In fact, Trincomalee is guaranteed to have 99% of Blue Whale sightings overriding the sailing in Mirissa. Trincomalee has been long known for its natural habitat of Blue Whales given the submarine canyons in the harbor.

The best time to catch the fantastic beasts of the Indian deep blue oceans is from March – April. We personally recommend the first two weeks of March to have quite the dense population of Whales.

Whales are largely migratory animals, and often the best encounters depend not only in being in the right place, but often also depend on being there at the right time. Most of the encounters of whales in Trincomalee are reported in the morning sea runs. Perhaps it also depends on how calm the sea is. However, more often than not, Trincomalee is your sea that shares space with the mighty blue whales.

A LITTLE THOUGHT BEHIND WHALE WATCHING EXPERIENCE IN SRI LANKA FROM OUR BLUE LANKA TEAM

The spectacular, intelligent, social and complex, encounters with whales often represent a life defining moment for many of us. However, sought after those experiences, we believe passionately that the welfare of the whales themselves should be at the heart of any whale watching experience.

We heartily and with much concern suggest that you work with whale watching operators that meet the highest standards, using knowledgeable guides that carefully observe and respond to the behavior of the whales, while adhering to local and international best practices with regards to whale watching experiences.

When conducted in this manner, whale watching experiences can be both hugely rewarding and sustainable, leaving only the most minimal footprint and ensuring the health and well being of the whales is integral throughout.

We as a team are here to provide you with the best interest at heart to experience the most splendid, unforgettable moments of your encounter with our fantastic ocean beasts- WHALES.

Contact us www.bluelankatours.com for your tailor made bespoke tour services in Sri Lanka for the best of whale watching experiences, EVER!

Written by
Carol R Taylor

Experience Harmony at Living Heritage, Koslanda

Traditional architecture and design, combined with premium facilities and attention to detail presents guests with a unique luxury boutique hotel – Living Heritage.

Not heard of Koslanda yet? It is a little town situated in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country – close to the famous Lipton’s Tea Estate and a little away from Ella and Mini Adams Peak. If you are on the scenic train route from Kandy to Ella, Koslanda is one of the stops en route.

One particularly special feature of Living Heritage Koslanda is that it has its very own waterfall. Carefully wind your way towards the jungle paths to find yourself in a fantasy setting, taking a cool dip in the waterfall’s plunge pool before returning back to the indulgence of fabulous food and spa treatments of Living Heritage.

With no shortage of places to relax, this harmonious and peaceful retreat lets you recharge and reconnect with life. The infinity pool is located just above paddy fields where you can sit back and treat yourself to splendid views. The villas at this hotel have a private courtyard, also ideal for relaxing with a good book and drink in hand. The Forest Pavilions at Living Heritage Koslanda exhibit a unique construction of local timber placed on cantilevered platforms that offer amazing views of treetops. The rooms also have a ‘semi-open wall’ concept, providing guests with an opportunity to truly connect with nature in a romantic atmosphere. For those who want to explore more places to relax and unwind, 80 acres of stunning forests can be dug into for discovering more wonders of natural Sri Lanka.

Whether you are on a honeymoon in Sri Lanka, spending quality time with your spouse and children, or just enjoying some time off with a group of friends, Living Heritage Koslanda offers activities for everyone. The Luxury villa can sleep a family of four and the villa suites have an interconnection by way of the private courtyard, ideal for larger groups. Kids have plenty of safe and open space to roam around and play outdoor games. Books, board games and lawn games are also available to keep them occupied. Other activities for adults and older children include:

  • A hike to the waterfall
  • Group cooking class to learn some simple Sri Lankan dishes
  • Fun and play at the infinity pool
  • Roasting marshmallows under the stars with an evening bonfire
  • Explore ‘the rock of Buddhist Sculptures” (35 mins drive from the hotel)
  • Guided nature walk along Nahavila Oya River (pepper vines, wild coffee bushes, jackfruit and kumbuk trees)

 

The Kitchen at Living Heritage Koslanda works hard to create delicious varieties of food, ensuring guests go back raving about their dishes. Flavorsome Sri Lankan cuisines are available, along with a wide range of western dishes and homemade desserts that are absolutely scrumptious.

Honeymooners can enjoy private candlelit dinners while evening BBQs can also be arranged with seafood specialties for guests in groups. Special picnic lunch hampers can also be arranged for your hike to the waterfall if requested in advance.

The importance of rice in Sri Lanka

Being a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine, rice is an important crop. So much so that rice paddies across the island are protected from being developed into something else; thereby leaving huge swathes of luscious green land, most of which are still irrigated by water systems put in place thousands of years ago by early Sri Lankan civilizations.

Let us take a look at some important statistics of rice cultivation presented by the Department of Agriculture in Sri Lanka:

  • Rice occupies 34% of total cultivation in Sri Lanka.
  • Approximately 1.8 million families island-wide are engaged in paddy cultivation.
  • Current production of rice is about 2.5 million tons annually to satisfy 95% of the domestic requirement.
  • For an average Sri Lankan, rice provides 45% total calorie intake and 40% total protein requirement.
  • The per capita consumption of rice ranges at about 100kg per year.
  • The annual demand for rice is expected to grow at 1.1%
  • Annual production should grow at 2.9% to meet this demand.
  • Sri Lanka’s current cost of production for rice is LKR 8.57 per kg, with labor occupying 55% of this cost.

 

How it started?

Reliable historical records indicate that rice cultivation in Sri Lanka originated from the ancient city of Anuradhapura. With the added benefit of being located in the dry zone, Anuradhapura was a flourishing rice growing region from 161BC to 1017 AD.

Rice cultivation became more of a way of life in the nation rather than an economic activity. Successful weaving resulted in the togetherness of society, culture and religion throughout the country. Ancient rulers constructed large scale tanks and irrigation systems to aid the production of rice and are still proudly used today.

The two main rice cultivation seasons are as follows:

Season Planting Harvesting Total % Dependent Monsoon
Yala (Minor) Apr-May Aug-Sept 30% Southwest
Maha (Major) Oct-Nov Feb-March 70% Northeast

As of today, some of the major rice producing areas in Sri Lanka are Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa, Hambantota, Ampara, Monaragala, Badulla, Matale, Puttalam and Trincomalee.

Types of Rice Cultivated

Compared to 400 different varieties of rice cultivated in ancient Sri Lanka, just a few strains are widely grown today, all of which are fertilizer dependent.

  • Samba
  • Keeri Samba
  • Red Nadu
  • Red Samba
  • Nadu

 

Consumption of Rice

Approximately:

  • 60% of rice consumption constitutes long grain white rice
  • 30% rice consumption constitutes short grain white rice
  • 10% is parboiled red rice and other local varieties
  • Minor percentage of consumption is of imported varieties from India and Pakistan

 

Tourist Gains

During your tour in Sri Lanka, you will certainly notice rice being used as a staple food wherever you go. In fact the most popular local dish that you cannot fail to try is the authentic ‘rice and curry meal’. One of the activities offered to tourists in Sri Lanka is a cooking class to learn how to prepare this meal, which gives you something delicious to take back home!

As you drive around, notice the massive paddy fields and stop for a few minutes to capture the beauty of these on your camera. From seeding to cropping to harvesting, rice cultivation is a complex process indeed. If you want to learn more, the best thing to do is have a chat with one of the 1.8 million families engaged in rice cultivation and they will be more than glad to fill you in.

10 of the best ways to enjoy Sri Lanka

From rails to beaches and everything in between

 

  1. Riding the rails

Sri Lanka’s rail network is one of the best and cheapest ways to get around the country!

Some of the most scenic landscapes of the country side – including tea gardens and paddy fields, to that popular southern coastline.

Most photogenic routes:

  • Colombo to Kandy
  • Kandy to Ella
  • Colombo to Galle

High end rail services with carriages dedicated specially for tourist observation are available for the comfort of tourists. For those wanting a more budgeted option, go for second class carriages with a window seat or simply sit on the deck of the carriage for a stunning view.

  1. Walking tour of Pettah, Colombo

Colombo is the trading hub of Sri Lankan and Pettah Market is the most important of the city’s trading centers, also known for its historic buildings, and a place where you can find everything from spices to dried fish to textiles.

Places to visit in Pettah Market – Colombo

  • Main Street – a collection of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim merchants
  • Sea Street – gem and jewelry shopping
  • Wolfendaal Church – built in 1749
  • Jami Ul Alfar Mosque – built in 1909

 

  1. Golden Temple of Dambulla

As simple as its frontage is, the cave temple in Dambulla is a collection of beautifully painted murals and ancient artifacts. Also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, this rock temple is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Highlights:

  • 160 meters high
  • Five main shrines
  • Dates back to the 1st century BC
  • Massive Buddha statues in various positions
  • Statues of Hindu Dieties

 

  1. Cycling in Yala national park

Avoid the crowds, the game drive cost and the entrance fee by choosing to cycle on the public B35 route through Yala National Park. Start off at dawn to see a variety of wildlife such as mongoose, water buffalo, giant squirrels, crocodiles, elephant, spotted deer and if you are lucky – the leopard!

  1. Adam’s Peak

Dalhousie is the base camp for a trek to Adam’s Peak – a pilgrimage for many religious background and also a fun adventure for tourists from across the world. Without determination, it is hard to climb this popular mountain but once you get to the summit, the sunrise is absolutely breathtaking, along with the other views from up above such as the pyramid shadow created by the mountain at dawn.

  • 2,243m tall
  • 5200 stone steps
  • Depart at 2.00a.m. to reach the summit at sunrise
  • Tea shops are available for much needed breaks
  • Water and comfortable walking shoes are a must

 

  1. Sigiriya rock fortress

Another adventurous, yet much simpler rock climbing activity is to see the Fortress at the top of Sigiriya rock. A ruined royal palace, colorful frescoes, ancient graffiti, beautiful gardens, a lion shaped entrance and stunning views of the countryside are rewards of this tremendous activity.

  1. Catch a cricket match

Feel the passion for cricket in Sri Lanka! Soak up the atmosphere if you happen to be in Colombo, Kandy or Galle when a match is on. It is a great way to get to know the Lankans, dance with them and be asked about your opinions on the match!

  1. Anuradhapura on a poya day

Head towards Anuradhapura on a Poya Day and experience the hype as streets, temples and courtyards are lit with lanterns and candles. The ancient city will remind you of Sri Lanka’s ruling city of more than 1300 years. Join in these fun-filled parades with families and worshippers underneath a well-lit sky – it is simply magical.

  1. Don’t miss Mirissa

After Hikkaduwa, Mirissa is the latest tourist hotspot along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Be awed at the blue whales in their natural habitat while on a boat trip from the Mirissa Harbor. Pick your fish of the day and have it grilled just for you at one of the beachside restaurants.

  1. Villa life – Galle to Tangalle

Wrap up your tour of Sri Lanka with a couple of nights at one of the many luxurious, value for money villas lined up along the coast from Galle to Tangalle. These fully staffed villas vary in design from exclusive Geoffrey Bawa style to beach huts for to. The staff are from nearby villages who will happily converse with you about their daily lifestyle and will also gladly arrange transport for nearby excursions such as Galle city tour, shopping, turtle watching, stilt fishing and other activities.

A journey through the wild side in Sri Lanka

An ideal holiday for the animal lovers, who are also looking for a short and adventurous vacation would be a 4-5 days tour of the wild side in Sri Lanka.

Did you know? The king of the jungle in Sri Lanka is the leopard – not the lion!

This is no shallow statement dear readers! Yala National Park is the most popular and second largest of its kind in the country and is widely known for its high concentration of leopards. This big cat is the top predator in the area and it roams freely in the jungle.

The fastest way to get to Yala to start off with your wild side tour is to fly direct to Mattala Rajapakse International Airport in the southern district of Hambantota. The immigration facilities at this airport will take you just a few minutes, after which you can collect your baggage and head towards your hotel. Hambantota is the city of peacocks so don’t be surprised if you find a few of them wandering around the streets – simply enjoy the sight as a promising start to your quest!

Jetwing Yala, Cinnamon Wild Yala, Chena Huts – Uga escapes and Wild Coast Tented Lodge are a few luxury resorts in Yala that you can stay at. There is also the option of luxury camping inside the jungle with Leopard Trails and Mahoora Safari Camps. Budgeted camping options such as the Big Game Camp is also available if you want a more economical camping option.

Yala

Game drives inside the Yala National Park usually take place twice a day – morning and evening, each of which are about 3 hours long. The morning session begins at the crack of dawn so that you are usually done with the activity before the harsh morning sun hits you. Takeaway breakfast packs are arranged by hotels if you choose to go for the morning game drives. Evening safari begins at 3.00p.m from the park. You could also choose a full day safari that includes the morning and the evening session to observe what the animals do all day long. The park has designated areas to stop and refresh for guests who are on a full day safari.

During the jeep safari at Yala National Park you will see animals such as the jungle-fowl, sambar, spotted deer, elephants, crocodiles, water buffalo and of course – the leopard! The driver cum guide who takes you on the jeep safari has an excellent idea as to where in the park the leopards are spotted. Sometimes you may see them far away walking in and out of bushes to get a glimpse of the sun shine or walking towards a water hole for a drink of water. Sometimes you might even see them crossing your line of path – and that will be a stunning view indeed.

Along with these big animals, you will also spot many interesting bird species throughout the drive. Keep your camera’s in action, ready to capture. Put your phones away in your bags, not pockets because they may fall off on the bumpy jeep ride, and do not attempt to get off the vehicle at any time during the safari.

Bundala

After exploring the Yala National Park thoroughly for a couple of days, visit the nearby Bundala National Park – which is Sri Lanka’s first Ramsar site and also the fourth biosphere reserve. This wetland along the Southern coast is a port for resident and migratory birds. For a relaxing and mesmerizing experience of hours of flamingo and other bird watching, Bundala National Park is the best option.

Udawalawe

Udawalawe National Park, also close to Yala, is known for its elephant population. At any time during your game drive, you can easily spot a large herd of elephants with a beautiful mountainous backdrop. The reservoir at Udawalawe is the key for elephant and bird habitat in the National Park and water holes around the park are where animals are spotted for their dose of hydration.

Calling out to all the ‘wildlife enthusiasts’ – if you have got just a few days in hand for your holiday in Sri Lanka, focus on these three areas and you will have covered a diverse landscape, a variety of wildlife and also the warm hospitality of wonderful Sri Lankans.

Buckingham Place – Tangalle

Hidden away, nestling at the south corner of Sri Lanka, infamous for its bluely beaches unwillingly to resist, Buckingham Place Tangalle is your paradise sanctuary by the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka. Buckingham Place Tangalle is your perfect getaway and safe haven entering paradise, recreating timeless and luxurious boutique hotel experience.

Just before we can get into any detail as such here’s the most capturing detail of all, The NAME! Is it Buckingham Palace? Is it a palace at all? Is it English? What is with the name anyway? Whoa! Whoa! Hold on … Let’s get you started with Nick Buckingham – whose dream is now a reality with Buckingham Place, a stunning boutique hotel that came into life in paradise Sri Lanka. Nick’s forever lust wandering around the enchanting tropics of Sri Lanka, resulted in picking the little of a location half hidden at the corner of a southern coast.

What is most awakening is how Nick is now settled in Sri Lanka where he always thought he belonged and living his dreams in his safe hide away inspired by the beauty of Sri Lanka and the good –heartedness of its people continue to feed the soul of Buckingham Place –says Nick.

This in fact is as authentic as it can be. Entering through the gates of Buckingham Palace is as pleasing as it is and maybe you could call it one of the most romantic stays ever with its luxury enveloping the entire premises and its impeccable bespoke services.

ACCOMADATION

The sixteen bedrooms and suites stretching across the premises of Buckingham Place, are vast and designed with tropical luxury in every detail. The most basic rooms in Buckingham Place are in fact the three Balcony Bedrooms, then comes the four Extra- Large Bedrooms, four Extra Large Suites, four Garden Suites and one Honeymoon Suite unfolding the best romantic experience at Buckingham Place Tangalle, with bathrooms larger than many hotel bedrooms, fine toned cement and white furnishings. And Yes! If you haven’t seen the bathrooms, its pretty spoken of by many for its unique outdoor spacious yet private space inclusive of the circular bathtub in every room and sky lit showers embracing the paradise vibe.

Bedroom View Buckingham Place Tangalle

The complementary lagoon views are perhaps endless and you could watch dusk folding in to dawn at Buckingham Place Tangalle with wild life uncovering from the premises. Buckingham Place is a sanctuary you would long to stay I bet, on your short holiday to our paradise.

DINING

Dining at Buckingham Place can not disappoint you! An à la carte breakfast is served in rooms or in the restaurant with everything from the more usual cooked eggs, high-end charcuterie and cheeses to American-style pancakes and sweet crêpes. The Oceanfront restaurant at Buckingham Place Tangalle offers an ocean view pavilion through the poolside where guests can easily host special occasions upon request. Oceanfront restaurant is best for small packs to have the best of time swinging to the Jazz atmosphere. It serves contemporary, tropical-influenced dishes and chefs at Buckingham Place Tangalle always keep it dynamic. Not to mention the ‘Big-Village Breakfast’ is a must have and it is available all day. So, I guess Suit yourself! 😉

Oceanfront Restaurant at Buckingham Place Tangalle

There’s also a small indoor bar and lounge area in Buckingham Place Tangalle , for coffee and drinks as well for light meals and snacks by the pool area to just relax and chill!

EXTRAS

The Swimming Pools

Pool View Buckingham Place Tangalle

The main 33m infinity pool overlooking the spectacular Indian Ocean within the Oceanfront facility, Buckingham Place Tangalle also offers a second, more romantic, intimate and private pool for couples or even small groups.

The ‘AMPHITHEATRE’

Outdoor Theatre Experience

Yes! You heard it right, Buckingham Place Tangalle offers you, indeed a fine and darling escape for an outdoor theatre experience. It is a stage designed for special occasions and performances and also a place to explore the talents of Buckingham Place’s own guests. It is also the perfect intimate venue to grab your Harry Potter book while sipping on (butter) beer or cup of coffee to indulge in the magic of your own and seclude yourself in your imaginary world.

Lower Beach Garden and Nature Garden

Lower Beach Garden is your beach escape recreated by Buckingham Place Tangalle, perfect to sit by the mangroves and coconut trees and let it go! Let it go! Sit back and relax!

Interestingly the Nature Garden, is a space rather get you thinking and encapsulated in the moment. As you pick your favorite spot to wine down either under the sun or under a leafy shady tree, Buckingham Place Tangalle will create your bean bag and cane lounge instantaneously.

Nature Garden Buckingham Place in Tangalle

How can you ever get enough of Buckingham Place Tangalle; peacocks at your window in the morning, monkeys swinging from the trees, fresh fruits and coconuts galore, a little pony wandering around the hotel grounds, and the endless ocean for salty hair and perfect tan lines.

Plan your engagement to your honeymoon or maybe your short holiday hand in hand with assistance of us, @www.bluelankatours.com here in our paradise island at the best of boutique hotels, and we will assure you unforgettable memories in Sri Lanka.

Written by
Carol R Taylor

10 Best Nightlife Experiences in Colombo

Some cities come to life in the night, and when it comes to nightlife in Colombo, the city-state practically transforms itself from an ever-so-efficient business hub to a buzzing network of restaurants, bars and night clubs just when the sunsets by its coastal lines. Colombo perhaps is not just a city, it’s an epitome of a lifestyle.
Let the sun go down and you will see the thrill we are about to take you through.

The best nightlife in Colombo is centered around the city center, meaning that you can quite easily have a jump start meal down park street mews, unwind for its live music, head to Love Bar for a cocktail and dance the night away at R&B – all in the same evening.

Convenience is not Colombo’s only strong point either. Its new restaurants are meant for glorious taste buds. Colombo night life brings on a plethora of restaurants to foodies. And yes, the nightclubs and pubs, not to mention some spectacular rooftop bars that keep popping up around the city, as well as all the best venues as we have pointed you in the direction of the liveliest after-dark areas, are your best choices for a night you decide to spend in Colombo.

Here’s few of the best Colombo night life hangout spots you MUST try and the latest additions with no doubt spectacular.

#1. Ask for Fern

Ask for Fern Sri Lanka

Can’t think of a better place to have the best experience of Colombo night life, that blends a stunning ambience with favorable indoor and outdoor seating, a range of cocktails that will pleasantly surprise with both their taste AND the the eye candy presentation, each in its own unique way! The FOOD……Whilst they do have dishes that you might associate with pub type comfort food (the crackling pork and the chicken wings are both must-try items). This ain’t your typical pub style menu!! And mostly healthy to boot – we are talking about the food 😉 . For a place that is been open in the most recent past, Ask for Fern has been what everyone asks. So you might have to reserve a table to be on the safe side 😀 . Colombo’s night life’s most recent favorite experience should NOT be missed.

Located @ 32B, Sir Mohamed Macan Marker Mawatha, Colombo 03

#2. Park Street Mews

Park Street Mews in Sri Lanka

Here’s that one vibrant street, which lights up after dark in Colombo. Find your self underneath lights that amaze you with an ambience to kick start your nights with a variety of cuisines at the same place and pubs. Colombo night life always begins here, perhaps the go to place that gets you tuned with the best vibe. Suit your self with the variety of pubs and restaurants that line down the street.
Pub hop from live music Curve restaurant with a delightful fusion of continental and tropical cuisine that keeps changing and with the best of vegetarian dishes. Café Francais is the place to awaken your soul with the best cocktails in the town and yes, the bistro and typically French dining. And hey, yes Monsoon- the best South East Asian cuisine so far, and offers you the BYOB option.
Hello Middle Eastern lovers, Chambers is your Habibie with the best rated middle eastern dining spot in Park Street it self. And if you are feeling like sushi- Park street got you covered with Kuraku Japanese restaurant and for our very own Italianos, Trattoria offers you the best pizza and pasta in the town.

We assure you, park street never fails you. And this is the epicenter of Colombo nightlife.

Located @ Park Street Mews Union Place, Colombo 02

#3. Botanik

Botanik in Sri Lanka

A latest addition to Colombo night life restaurants rooftop bars. Botanik perhaps is located in the best tourist and historical hub – Colombo Fort. Here’s the best rooftop bar with no doubt to beat all the skyline views. It is also a restaurant to take your family to dine fine- with the contemporary bistro type food and alfresco dining. Botanik is a must-go place in Colombo night life as it had the best of city views to offer while you chill by the bar. Nothing beats the Botanik vibe and it only keeps growing. The music heals your soul and so does the amazing collection of their own cocktails and drinks. Colombo night life party goers start their night here for it’s the perfect ambience: so botanical- so good.

Located @8th floor rooftop of the Fairway hotel in Colombo Fort.

#4. The Love Bar & The Attic Club by Flamingo House

The Love Bar by Flamingo House

Set above the famous Flamingo House, The Love Bar by Flamingo House is the most pretty little darling escape for a best experience in Colombo night life. The décor in deed is a sight to behold and ‘psychedelic’. Love is in the air and written all over the interior of The Love Bar. The menu offers an extensive variety of exotic beverages comprising of unique Flamingo House ‘love potions’ and of course your favorites.

The Attic on the other hand is indeed an attic, cozy and limited for their special crowd, known for its romantic cozy ambience and best music that keeps you going until you decide to call it a night ;). This is the most go to place of our party freaks, to have the time of their life in where Colombo nightlife gets more exciting and inviting.
Located @ 58A, Horton Place, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 07

#5. Amuseum

Best Night Clubs in Colombo

Colombo night life very much missed and felt the absence of its very own people’s club Amuseum. And… Amuseum is back with a bang!! Much bigger, better and promising. Colombo night life’s center of attraction for our club hoppers is the infamous Amuseum. For all those who missed the absolutely hyped up music with the best nightclubs in Colombo, Ameseum opens its warm arms to never fail you and make it the place to have the best night with memories to cherish forever made in Colombo. Don’t miss it. If its Amuseum – its Colombo’s happening club.

Located @ 9th floor, green lanka towers, 46-46 nawam mawatha

#6. Bally’s Casino

Bally’s Casino in Colombo

Bally’s is the infamous casino that earned its reputation over the years and still the gaming hub of Colombo at nights. If it’s a casino its always Bally’s–everyone knows and everyone goes. Associated with warmth, respect, hospitality, and trust, Bally’s has earned itself a its loyal clientele.
The complimentary delicious snacks and drinks are promising as always. And their buffets and preferably never to be missed.

Located @34 D R Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka

#7. Sopranos

Sopranos in Sri Lanka

Sing your favorite song in the best Karaoke pub in the town. Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from &pm onwards, Sopranos is a classic Karaoke pub that you must experience to remember Colombo night life. Also never miss their famous happy hours from 7-9pm where you sing along with everyone or maybe just you (as you wish- always) while sipping on your favorite drink.

Located @ 29, Maitland Crescent, Colombo 07

#8. Sky Lounge

Sky Lounge

Why not kick start with watching the sun set projecting hues of colors in the skyline of Colombo?
Go hip with this amazing rooftop bar and lounge where Colombo port, Galle face, Indian ocean and the old parliament behold your sight. Sky lounge perhaps is one of the signature rooftops in Colombo, to start of your night with the best vibe. The place is phenomenal with high-quality cigars, premium champagnes, and their very own signature cocktails. Let’s tune into watching the sunset by the skyline and get our spirits high on views 😉

Located @The Kingsbury rooftop, Colombo

#9. Rhythm & Blues

Rhythm and Blues in Colombo

Over so many years and probably one of the most classic and oldest clubs in town and being consistent from the inception. From the name it self Rhythm & Blues is the place to rewind your memories and live your old school memories in one night. Perhaps the best club with the best music that keeps your Colombo night life alive and kicking.
We reckon you never miss dropping in to RnB-if you do it’s a loss.

Located @ R. A. De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 00500

#10. Pillawoos

Pillawoos in Sri Lanka

After dark, before the sunrises, once you had enough of all the 9 places above here’s the most demanding pit-stop of all our Colombo night life party rockers. Pillawoos is the last stop of the night to fill in your empty stomachs before hitting the bed with its famous and yummiest Cheese Kottu and Iced Milo. You will always numerous vehicles lined up by the side of the road at this spot waiting for their food to be served into the cars and some even dining inside. Never miss the best part of Colombo night life experience. Pillawoos is your must –go to place.

Located @ 417, Galle Road, Kollupitiya, Colombo 03

Outline your personal itinerary to have the best of Colombo that makes your nightlife a “living” experience with us @www.bluelankatours.com.

Written By
Carol R Taylor

Experience the best of Ayurvedic Spa’s in Sri Lanka

While so much is written about Sri Lanka’s beaches, historic ruins, distinct cuisine, dynamic culture, wildlife experiences, and the picturesque hill country, hardly anything is said about something that sets the island’s attractions widely apart: how creatively Ayurvedic medicine is incorporated into the some of the loveliest spas of the world.

Ayurveda is one of the most ancient holistic wellness systems that helps restore a balance between mind, body and spirit. In Sri Lanka, Ayurvedic medicine has been around for about 5000 years, providing healing schemes to purify skin, balance emotions, alleviate stress, and to treat several other ailments. Hotel spas in Sri Lanka offer a ‘light’ version of Ayurveda while the full spectrum is offered at hospitals and clinics specializing in Ayurvedic medicines. The latter is mostly for serious medical patients, so tourists are recommended to enjoy the introduction concept by trained specialists at hotel spas. Here are a few hotels that offer exclusive spa facilities in Sri Lanka:

Anantara Kalutara

Spa Relaxation Deck Anantara Kalutara

Just an hour’s drive from Colombo, Anantara Kalutara is one of the latest properties of the ‘Anantara’ brand on the southern coast. The wellness center here offers private lagoon frontage and is perfect for a peace seeking mission due to its location on a secluded beach near the Indian Ocean and Kalu Ganga River.

A resident Ayurvedic specialist is on call at all times here – who will assess your body first and then escort you to a room where you will climb on a wooden table and relax on your back. The treatment recommended depends on the specialist’s assessment and what he/she recommends for your body. A professional masseuse will begin pouring some warm oil on you to make you feel as if you are submerged in water. By the end of the treatment, you will feel relaxed and absolutely fresh.

Outside the spa is a pavilion where yoga classes are held and if you are an expert in the field already, you can simply practice yoga and meditation by yourself for further relaxation.

Amangalla in Galle

Hydrotherapy Pool Amangalla in Galle

Moving further south, to Galle, stop over at the Amangalla resort. A beautiful spa, pool, and grounds will lure you into a refined holiday. Initially constructed in 1684, the building was carefully restored, preserving every architectural and decorative detail, while also reaching the standards of the “Aman” brand.

A spa experience at Amangalla begins with a complimentary private hour in “The baths”. You are advised to soak yourself for an hour in the bathtub and imagine that the water around you is a restoration of the body and mind. As you walk silently to the spa desk, you are cloaked in darkness and can see your shadow through the candlelight of lanterns which produces a dreamy effect.

Five treatment rooms are available along with two hydrotherapy suites – where two hot and cold plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas are placed. A range of therapies are available – including massages, anointments, reflexology and scrubs, each of which can be personalized by the Ayurvedic doctor on call.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle

Ayurvedic Spa Anantara Tangalle Sri Lanka

Also known as one of the most beautiful hotels in Sri Lanka, Anantara Peace Haven is located on the southeastern tip of Sri Lanka, in the small town of Tangalle. The makers of the hotel found a gorgeous patch of secluded land in Tangalle to build a property that truly makes you feel like you are in paradise! Swaying coconut trees, landscaping done with optimum concern for the environment, beach chairs and sundries, and of course, another magnificent spa as a highlight of the resort.

The treatment packages offered here include ones with anti-inflammatory properties, those that help in relaxation, detoxification, muscle flexibility, skin moisture and much more. Teak platforms for guest treatments are more common in Sri Lanka as compared to soft padded massage tables in the West. Warm compresses are applied to parts of your body at the start of the treatment to relax the muscles. Once the therapy is over, you are left feeling lighter, refreshed and invigorated.

Discover a true railroad experience at the Idalgashinna railway station

The name ‘Idalgashinna’ will only ring a bell to those who have navigated through the upcountry railway. Situated in between the towns of Haputale and Ohiya, approximately 190km from Colombo, Idalgashinna is a small village with magnificent views – at a height of 5300 feet above sea level.

The charming railway station of this village is perched on top of a jutting ridgeline, offering stunning views of pine trees and rolling hills and valleys. From here, railway explorers can do a rail hike to the Ohiya station. Between these two stations, there are 14 tunnels – holding the record for highest number of tunnels between two railway stations in Sri Lanka.

If you are up for the rail hike, have a very accurate record of train timings so that you are sure to not have any trains passing while you are entering a tunnel or bridge. Apart from trains, there are also some rail cars that travel on the track so be aware of the train timetable as well as the sound of oncoming trains.

The best way to get to Idalgashinna is a magical experience by train – hop on to the early morning hill country trains from Colombo Fort railway station and you can reach Idalgashinna by about 2.00 pm. The best of sceneries are spotted from Nanu Oya and Ella (if coming from Colombo). Technically Idalgashinna is the 68th station on the main upcountry railway line and is in between Haputale and Ohiya railway stations. The picterusque views here with miles of wilderness and hardly any human presence around, endowing a sense of wonder and nostalgia, makes Idalgashinna railway station one of the most exquisite train stops in the country.

During your railroad hike, don’t be surprised to be walking in complete isolation, with nothing but acres of pine trees and eucalyptus forests around you. If you have the need to sip on a hot cup of tea, look out for the small petti-kadey (road side shop), which is a small walk off but serves a good tea along with some everyday biscuits and bites. About a hundred feet from the station, passing a spur ridge is the entrance of the Tangamale wildlife reserve. A nature lover’s eye can spot some rare species of flora and fauna as you walk around.

Just like train is the best way into Idalgashinna, same goes for departing this scenic village. The last train from Idalgashinna towards Badulla comes in at 5.00pm and if going back to Colombo, the last train leaves at about 8.00pm. It is always best to check in advance about train timings with the station staff.

The station itself is a remnant of the colonial era – a charming building constructed with thick stonework, surrounded by well-maintained flowers and vegetable fields and lovingly looked after by the station staff. Legend has it that the placement of the station results in rainwater falling on one side of the station roof going all the way to the catchment area of the Mahaweli River while the other side of the roof takes rainwater to the Walawe River.

Close to the railway station is the Idalgashinna Mountain which trekkers would love to climb and experience heavenly sceneries from up above. The best views at the station and the mountain top can be experienced at day break because the mist takes over most hill country scenes in the afternoon, unless you are lucky to be out on a clear day.

It’s time to taste the exotic seasonal fruits of Sri Lanka!

Yes, it is that time of the year again where you will see the sides of roads all across the island lined with towered layers of colorful fruits. If you are visiting Sri Lanka anytime between June-August, you HAVE to try these exotic seasonal fruits of Sri Lanka.

Rambutan

Rambutan is the fruit that dominated the island during this season. It has a leathery ruby reddish skin which is topped with flexible needles, and the fruit gets its name from a Malay word ‘rambut’, which means hairs. Some hard work is needed to peel off the tough skin but you are rewarded with juicy flesh (similar to the texture of grapes) covering a seed (similar to lychee).

The primary region that rambutan comes from is Malwana – with plenty of trees growing and people residing in the region owning at least 1-2 trees. This fruit ripens on the tree itself hence cannot be plucked in advance. Vendors purchase the fruit from tree owners and distribute them around the country. At the beginning of the season, the fruit is priced at about 10-12 LKR and these prices decline gradually as the season draws to an end.

Rambutan is rich in vitamins and minerals and is one of the safest options out there because no other chemical is injected into the making of the fruit. Eating five rambutans a day is said to decrease the chances of fatal diseases such as cancer. It also helps in preventing diarrhea and in reducing blood pressure. The portability of the fruit makes it popular with travelers who also use it as a great thirst quencher.

Once the rambutan indulgence is complete, responsibly dispose off the shells because these are a breeding ground for Dengue mosquitoes. So while enjoying the fruity goodness, do your bit to help keep the country clean.

Durian

The other exotic fruit indulgence is Durian – which is not only limited to Sri Lanka but is also popular around the world as the “King of Fruits”. When you’ve had your first tasting of this fruit – the conclusion will be that you will either love it or hate it. This is because of the strong, distinctive flavor and smell of the fruit. In fact, for this reason, Durians are banned from certain hotels and most public transportation across South-East Asia.

Durian Fruit in Sri Lanka
You will see durians stacked right next to the Rambutans on road sides during your tour of Sri Lanka. They are much bigger in size and they have a geryish green thorny husk. Inside, you will taste some creamy, custard like white flesh, very similar to Jackfruit.

 

Mangosteen

Joining these two seasonal fruits is the purple colored Mangosteen – which is supposed to be wine-red when ripe and is found mostly in dry zone areas such as Kalutara, Kegalle, Kandy, Matale and Gampaha.

About the size of a tangerine, the soft coating of the fruit can be easily pressed and ripped apart, opening its way to the actual sphere shaped mangosteen which is neatly sliced by nature into wedges, thereby making it very easy to consume. The flavor is mildly sweet with a bit of zing. Be careful not to let the juice of the skin and the fruit drip onto your clothes as the stain is irrevocable.

This fruit is also available in a few other countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and India. South East Asia refers to mangosteen as the Queen of Fruits with trees going as high as 20-60 feet. While the fruit does have some medicinal value for treating certain skin problems, eating too much may be too heaty for your body, resulting in rashes and such.