Within the walls of Templeberg Villa Galle

By / 19th October, 2015 / Sri Lanka, Villa Templeberg News / No Comments

Our resident Templeberg Fellow Dion Teasdale had this to say about his time spent at Templeberg Villa Galle, Sri Lanka.

‘There are no airs or graces at Templeberg!’

That’s what Christopher Shields, co-owner of the 19th century Dutch colonial villa located on the outskirts of Galle, on Sri Lanka’s south coast, says when I arrive at 4am in the morning.

 

I’ve flown 15 hours from Melbourne to Colombo (via Bangkok) and then driven another 2 hours to get to Galle, the historic fort city famous for it’s architecture, beaches and literary festival, and for surviving the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

 

After nearly 20 hours in transit I’m hot, sticky and jet-lagged (the bags under my eyes are nearly as heavy as the ones on my back), and I must look a sight, but Christopher’s words immediately put me at ease.

 

‘You’re here now,’ he says. ‘And all you have to do is make this place your home.’

 

And while I feel instantly welcomed and relieved, the touches of luxury, service and indulgence do not go unnoticed.

 

Despite the hour, Christopher stands before me with freshly combed hair, and eagerly unburdens me of my luggage. The entrance to the villa is lit with candles and lanterns, incense is burning and there are lights swinging gently in the branches of trees.

 

Raja, one of Templeberg’s night watchmen, greets me with a broad smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He steps forward and offers chilled hand towels rolled into fat fingers on a silver tray, which I use to cleanse and revive my face and neck.

 

Christopher and Raja lead me up onto the front verandah of the villa and Karin, Christopher’s mother, the Madam of the villa, appears in a flowing nightdress to offer refreshments. We agree it’s too early (or late) for gin, and opt for a pot of Ceylon tea and a bowl of spicy ginger biscuits.

 

As we sit on the verandah sipping a locally grown brew, I struggle to make sense of my new surroundings. I know Templeberg Villa is perched on top of a hill, encircled by a 5-acre coconut plantation in the middle of a lush tropical jungle, but under the cover of darkness I can’t see beyond the manicured front lawn.

 

A steady breeze, coming in from the Indian Ocean a few kilometres away, disturbs the heavy palm fronds hanging overhead. Something – perhaps a bird, or a dog, or some strange creature from the jungle – calls out. Thunder rumbles in the distance. Each sound hints at the unknown world daybreak will reveal.

 

For now, I choose to focus on the small details and the things I can see – the internal world cocooned within the walls of Templeberg. A fat gecko with translucent skin scurries across the wooden verandah doors and disappears into the adjoining guest lounge. I take a peek inside.

 

The lounge is decked out in period and contemporary furniture dressed with designer cushions and matching rugs, there’s a giant bookshelf heavy with travel guides and novels by Sri Lankan writers, and side tables displaying an exotic collection of objects d’art.

 

There are sculptural light fittings, locally woven wall hangings, handmade lamps, vases and candelabras, mirrors framed in timber from local Jack Fruit trees, and arrangements of glossy leaves and fresh tropical flowers I assume have been cut from the surrounding gardens.

 

Beyond the lounge there’s a dining room and then a porch that leads to a small cluster of whitewashed buildings with terracotta tiled rooves that make up the villa’s accommodation. In the centre, at the heart of the villa, there’s an expansive lawn with a Jack Fruit tree flourishing over outdoor seating, potted palms and wild orchids.

 

It’s classy and on trend, but homely at the same time – stylish yet warm and inviting. I take a deep breath and feel myself beginning to unwind.

 

‘The monkeys will pass by soon,’ Madam Karin says, making note of the hour. ‘They swing through the fruit trees and grunt – you won’t be able to miss them.’

 

‘And before that there’ll be the Muslim Call to Prayer,’ Christopher adds. ‘And in between you’ll hear the bread van as it drives around the local village playing Fleur d’Lys or It’s A Small World Afterall.’

 

We finish our tea and I’m led to the bungalow at the rear of the property, my home for the next four weeks. It has two rooms – the first with a four-posted bed draped in mosquito netting, and the second (with desk, chaise lounge and pedestal fan) is set up specifically for writing.

 

As soon as I am left alone I toss my luggage aside, strip off and flop on the bed, reminding myself of Christopher’s motto – no need for airs or graces here. I have come to be myself, to unravel, to write.

 

I want to stay up, turn my computer on, start writing, but I don’t. I have a whole month for that. Instead I spread out under the mosquito netting, and quickly drift off wondering what shape the world will take on when the sun comes up.

 

Sri Lanka Honeymoon

By / 14th August, 2015 / General Sri Lanka / No Comments

6 Romantic Sri Lanka Honeymoon Ideas

Sri Lanka honeymoon ideas are plentiful and the island is becoming one of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in Asia. The country is a serious competitor for the neighbouring Maldives.  Sri Lanka Honeymoon

Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as one of the finest islands in the world. He chose his words well  given the fusion of tradition and heartfelt hospitality. Sri Lanka has it all. From white powdered beaches, jungle hideaways to the central highlands.  Sri Lanka offers diverse possibilities for newlyweds to start their lives together.

Sri Lanka Honeymoon Highland

Here are the six best ideas for a Sri Lanka honeymoon:

Beach Honeymoon Sri Lanka:

Living in an urban jungle you probably just want to relax and watch the world pass by. Or perhaps you and your loved one are water-sports fanatics? Then the beach is absolutely the right place for a Sri Lanka honeymoon! Sri Lankan coasts offer lots of stunning and often completely undeveloped beaches. Negombo – or Little Rome – is a great place to start or finish your romantic trip with lots of exclusive small resorts and boutique hotels in addition to the short proximity to the airport.

NEGOMBO

The lovely city of Galle also offers  great beaches and lots of fantastic historical places such as Galle Fort, All Saints Church and dozens of colonial style buildings. Arugam Bay on the east coast invites honeymooners with seemingly endless beaches, perfect for sun-basking and water sports.

Aragum Bay Sri lanka

 

Hill Hideaway Sri Lanka:

Imagine sitting on top of a hill while overlooking dramatic mountain ranges, sipping a world-class cup of tea and cuddling your loved one – welcome to Sri Lanka’s incredible jungle-clad highlands! Start your trip in Colombo with one of the world’s most scenic train rides to Kandy, the former royal capital in central Sri Lanka.

sri_lanka_kandy

A number of small resorts and exclusive hotels can be found on the hills surrounding the city, offering superb views over the countryside and the town itself. Explore the picturesque nature on your Sri Lanka honeymoon with an abundance of tumbling waterfalls and excellent walks (perfect for romantic photos). In addition you can find Sri Lanka’s world renowned tea plantations nearby where you get to know how tea is grown, processed and sold. Other beautiful areas within the highlands are Nuwara Eliya to the south of Kandy and the ‘Cultural Triangle’ to the north.

Sri Lanka Tea Plantation

Wildlife Adventure Sri Lanka:

Beaches and highlands in Sri Lanka are “great ” but if you are looking for a more unique way to celebrate your honeymoon in Sri Lanka then choose a wildlife adventure! The island boasts 22 phenomenal national parks with UNESCO-protected wildlife and rainforests. It’s here where you have the chance to encounter Sri Lankan elephants, a sub species of the Asian elephant, various monkey species like langurs or lorises and even leopards in their natural habitat. There are several lodges and cottages across the parks of which most are constructed from natural materials and specialised in environmentally responsible tourism – truly a distinctive honeymoon accommodation in Sri Lanka.

purple-faced-langurs-sri-lanka-

Colonial Style Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka has a number of places with well-preserved colonial buildings which will take you back in time. The best spots for living in a colonial style hotel are Galle (e.g. Templeberg Villa), Kandy and ‘Little England’ in Nuwara Eliya. All three places are  historically significant to Sri Lanka and feature lots of exciting cultural landmarks, antique shops and a great selection of restaurants.

Templeberg Image Card

Traditional Sri Lankan Style:

What could be more authentic than experiencing Sri Lankan culture by staying at a traditional homestay or guesthouse? Granted, it’s definitely a very unique way to celebrate your honeymoon, but how many couples actually do it? With a traditional Sri Lankan homestay you can  learn  about the culture, how to cook mouthwatering Sri Lankan dishes (take the recipes home, a great way to celebrate your upcoming wedding days and you’ll always remember your honeymoon by cooking delicious dishes) and get a glimpse in to typical Sri Lankan life.

rice_and_curry sri lanka

These types of accommodation are mostly run by families – Sri Lankans are known to be among the world’s most hospitable people.

The best of all – A Round Trip Sri Lanka:

Why not combine all of the above to one mega round trip? All these different places just waiting for you and your better half to get explored! You’ll start your trip in Colombo which deserves a day to explore (alternatively at the end of your trip). From here you can choose which places you want to explore first; taking the train to the central highlands and further on to the beaches on the east side? Or a trip to Galle in the south? The choice is yours, rest assured Sri Lanka will be the best choice for your honeymoon!

sri lanka with children

By / 26th July, 2015 / General Sri Lanka / No Comments

7 tips for travelling in Sri Lanka with kids

Travelling with Children Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s top destinations when it comes to travelling with children. Not only will you be greeted with a warm welcome when in Sri Lanka with children, wherever you go, but locals will try do anything they can to entertain the kids. You don’t need to worry about any disapproving stares or even comments when your kids or babies should start crying or be a bit louder. The most important part of being in sri lanka with children though is that your kids will love Sri Lanka too, especially the different environment, culture and of course, the animals like elephants.

sri lanka elephants

Here are seven practical tips on travelling with children in Sri Lanka:

1. Getting around Sri Lanka with children

Sri Lanka offers various methods of getting around from epic train rides to buses.  The most convenient way for you and your family is renting a mini-van with private driver which allows for multiple important things:

– Some roads in Sri Lanka are very daunting to drive along.  It’s better for you and your family’s safety to take advantage of a local experienced driver.  You can stop whenever you want and let the kids rest/nap or walk around.

– You have enough space for your luggage.

– Companies who rent mini-vans have most likely baby chairs as well since those are generally not very common in Sri Lanka. – Having an AC is a big plus (as opposed to trains and buses for example).

Consider also staying multiple days in one area without rushing; it takes long to drive around, often at a max. speed of only 40-50 km/h. Long, hot and slow journeys can be tough on children.  

car journeys sri lanka

It is also advisable if transferring from an international flight to villa accommodation like Templeberg Villa Galle to pre-book your car and airport transfer ahead of time with villa management so they can arrange seatbelts, car seats if necessary and early morning pick ups. This makes it easier to travel sri lanka with children.

2. Travelling with babies sri lanka

While travelling with children around Sri Lanka isn’t a problem, travelling with babies Sri Lanka can take more organising.

tours sri lanka kids

Here are a couple of tips to consider for travelling with babies in Sri Lanka before you get on the road:

– stock up on processed food and disposable nappies in major cities of Colombo, Kandy and Galle. The further inland, East and up north western baby supplies become harder to find as these are note available everywhere.

– High chairs are also a very rare thing (except in villas in sri lanka or hotels sri lanka), it’s better to bring portable high-chairs like Totseat or Sack ’n’ Seat.

– Powdered milk is widely available however in many areas microwaves for sterilizing bottles are unheard of. It pays to check that where you are staying in Sri Lanka has a microwave.

3. Stroller or pushchair sri lanka

If you’re traveling with a baby, take advantage of the fact that Airlines who fly to Sri Lanka include a foldable stroller with baby carry and car seat as free. This allows you to be more flexible when visiting country sides, national parks and rural areas. And remember to have a baby bijorn in your carry luggage as baby strollers are stowed just prior to take off. A good all round stroller to bring with you is a steelcraft profiler and baby zen yoyo which fits in an overhead locker.

travel kids sri lanka

4. Hotels Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka features accommodations of all kinds, from regular hotels sri lanka over resorts, villas to lodges and cottages sri lanka. For an outstanding family holiday in Sri Lanka, consider to vary your choice of hotels: kids love to jump into swimming pools to cool off after long days filled with activities.

More unusual and unique are lodges and villas, like Templeberg provide a private atmosphere with more personalised service and providing your children a close experience to the local side of Sri Lanka and its culture. Plus, a villa stay Galle enables your kids to  connect to local kids as well, a priceless experience you won’t get in any of the western oriented hotels/resorts of Sri Lanka.

guesthouse sri lanka for the female traveller

A villa stay outside the walls of the UNESCO Galle Fort also means there is more space for children to run around outdoors and generally easy and safe access to explore plant, animal and garden life.

5. Dining Sri Lanka

Food throughout Sri Lanka is not only safe to consume yet very fresh and delicious as well! Lots of restaurants provide buffets and a good variety of local-, western-, and child-friendly dishes. Moreover, you can find everywhere fresh fruits, vegetables and coconuts which help with any  dehydration. 

The biggest challenge is the ‘spice’ test. Finding less spicy food that agrees with a child’s palette can be challenging. It is advisable to travel with a supply of cereal, spaghetti and noodles to appease picky eaters.

Local Sri Lankan food that is a hit with kids include string hoppers, curd and fruit, coconut roti and fried rice.

Staying in a villa like Templeberg which has it’s own kitchen and cook also helps to prepare meals that are suitable for children.

villa with cook

6. Heat

Don’t underestimate the heat, even when it’s cloudy when travelling sri lanka with children. Always have enough water with you and protect your children’s skin with high SPF sunscreen lotions. Sunscreen while available is more expensive than supermarket brought sunscreens in western countries so bring a tube or two for the kids from home.

Beaches of Unawatuna

Caps/hats are essential as well. Mosquito repellent is needed if  visiting country sides when travelling sri lanka with childen. 

7. Activities

Sri Lanka offers an abundance of activities that are absolutely suited for kids. One being the phenomenal beaches where kids can go for kayaking, banana boating or snorkelling (older kids can even opt for diving sri lanka and do a ‘’Bubble-Maker” course) the other being the numerous turtle hatcheries where kids can see and learn about the turtle hatching process. Templeberg Villa supports the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Hatchery in neighbouring Rekewa.

leopards sri lanka

Then of course the picturesque national parks where children can spot an abundance of exotic animals like flamingos , leopards or even crocodiles. A further option would be taking your kids on a hike around the scenic tea plantations of Ella with a visit to Little Adam’s Peak.

And then there are the elephants – it’s a must to see elephants when visiting Sri Lanka and your children will remember any elephant encounter for years. The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is home to the country’s largest herd in captivity while Minneriya in the “cultural triangle” is the centre of the “Annual Gathering” (August and September), where hundredsof elephants gather around certain water resources, a breathtaking spectacle!

Older kids will certainly enjoy train rides such as the awesome ride between the towns of Ella and Nuwara Eliya. Another fun activity would be taking a tuk tuk around Galle Fort, simply because of the fun experience behind it or climbing along the rampart walls.

Things to do with kids sri lanka

So why not kick off a tour with children in Sri Lanka with a stay in the famous old town of Galle. With its stunning historical architecture and compact nature it makes an ideal family holiday destination Sri Lanka. 

 

unawatuna beach

By / 18th July, 2015 / General Sri Lanka / No Comments

How to spend 24 hours in Unawatuna beach

24 hours at Unawatuna beach

Unawatuna beach offers one of the best beaches near Galle and is of high popularity among visitors and locals alike. It just takes about 15 minutes from Galle to Unawatuna beach and therefore makes it perfect to spend an entire day in the area. Here is a fantastic action-packed itinerary on how to spend 24 hours in Unawatuna beach:

08:00

Start your day with a superb breakfast at Le Café Francais Bakery & Boutique. This little French café is especially famous for its heavenly croissants and coffees. All you need to start a great day at Unawatuna beach.

French bakery Unawatuna beach

09:30

Relax your mind and soul with a yoga session at Asiri, one of Unawatuna’s leading yoga studios. Whether your beginner, intermediate or experienced yoga practitioner, everyone is welcome to join the classes.  Sunrise Yoga med Asiri pa Unawatuna Beach. For prices and further information visit http://www.yogawithasiri.com/

IMG_5159

You might also be interested in our previous post about a Sri Lanka Yoga holiday

Yoga Unawatuna

11:30

What would be a visit to Sri Lanka without indulging insome local cuisine Sri Lanka? Learn how to cook authentic Sri Lankan dishes such as Mango Curry, Kottu or Samosas at Karuna’sCooking Class

cooking classes Unawatuna

In short, Sri Lankan cuisine reflects absolutely the island and its people – uniqueness! Your cooking experience will start with a visit to a nearby market where you discover typical local spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits of which most will be later used to prepare the tantalizing dishes. Karuna also specialises in Ayuveda cooking.

Cooking School Sri Lanka

Bring home some delicious Sri Lankan recipes and surprise your family and friends with your new acquired skills. If you loved learning about Sri Lankan food you might also like Trixie’s Sri Lankan Cooking Classes at Templeberg Villa.

Trixie's cooking classes

15:00

It’s a must to swim when visiting the beach at Unawatuna! The semi-circular Unawatuna beach is majorly surrounded by palm trees and lush groves, creating a picturesque atmosphere. Aside from swimming, Unawatuna beach provides excellent conditions for snorkelling and diving as well.

Beaches of Unawatuna

There are numerous ships wrecks around the area, such as a sunken British steamer or a cargo ship, which attract many dive enthusiasts. There are several diving schools around Unawatuna beaches of which all include these wrecks among their trips. We’ve covered the best of diving sri lanka in a previous post ‘Diving Sri Lanka’.

Unawatuna Diving and Snorkelling

 And if you prefer more action over diving/snorkelling or it’s just ‘not your thing’ why not renting a jet ski for the ultimate adrenalin rush? Unawatuna beach is great for water sports like jet skiing and water skiing. Watersports at beaches near Galle are a popular and fun way to relax.

Jetskis sri lanka

If you’re seeking for a more secluded beach close to Unawatuna, then  Jungle Beach is a perfect beach in Sri Lanka. Jungle Beach is asmall stretch of beach next to a forest without any hotels or restaurants around. It’s located roughly 4 km away from Unawatuna beach and can be either accessed by boat from Unawatuna or via a small road. With a bit of luck you may see even turtles around the beach!

Jungle beach Sri Lanka

17:30

After sunbathing and swimming at Unawatuna beach or Jungle Beach it’s time to explore Unawatuna a bit further with a trip to its centre. First, start with a visit to the mesmerizing Japanese Peace Pagoda which sits atop Rumasalla Hill. It has been built with the help of Japanese monks and is one of three such pagodas around Sri Lanka. It’s free to enter however you may be asked for a donation. The view from the pagoda is absolutely breathtaking and you can easily look over Galle and even Galle Fort. Take a minute, relax and soak into the stunning views. Perfect to watch the sunset here!

Japanese Peace Pagoda Sri Lanka

The centre of Unawatuna beach is beautifully located within lush palm trees and just behind the beach. Here you can find dozens of small shops, selling everything from clothes jewellery to typical souvenirs, cafés, bistros and numerous restaurants where you can choose from to have your dinner. Get a feel for the Centre by reading Nerd Nomads.

IMG_5160

20:00

When it comes to nightlife, Unawatuna beach has definitely some hot spots to offer; the town sees frequently popular national and international DJs providing awesome dance tunes and never-ending parties. 

Kingfisher is famous for its parties and often seen as a trendsetter among party crowds.

Further venues include Coco Bay Unawatuna and Calamander Unawatuna.

Happy Banana, Chili, Comaran Beach Club, UBR and Lucky Tuna are also great nightlife spots. Each night is owned by a different venue which makes your choice a bit easier. 

Nightlife Sri Lanka

And once the day (night) comes to an end, just call the Templeberg tuk tuk to bring you safely home to Templeberg just 10 minutes from Unawatuna beach for a good night’s sleep.

 

solo female travel sri lanka

By / 5th July, 2015 / General Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka / No Comments

beaches sri lanka

Solo Female Travel Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the last treasures for travellers in Asia –it’s rich in history and culture in addition to its magnificent natural surroundings. Tourism is growing fast and the country’s popularity as a tourist destination is increasing  as  travellers from all corners of the globe visit Sri Lanka. Solo Female travel Sri Lanka is now make up a growing community these days. But as a female traveling alone Sri Lanka, is this ok?  Well you need not worry as a female on your own in Sri Lanka, you don’t need  a travel buddy – Sri Lanka is absolutely safe for you!

Before you embark on your solo female travel sri lanka journey, here are a number of background tips that will help you plan your trip ahead and when travelling through the country:

bed and breakfast female traveller

Your attitude

First and foremost your attitude: As with any other nation, you need to respect local customs and understand that ‘’things are different’’ from home. This will more or less define whether you are going to have a great and unique experience or end up wondering whether you made a good decision. It may sound a bit like common sense but sometimes when faced with new experiences it’s easy to forget – just be pleasant and open-minded at all times.  

culture sri lanka

It helps to learn a little Sinhala to get you by. We have a useful post on common Sinhala phrases. Don’t worry if you can’t learn any Sinhala as most people speak a little bit of English but knowing how to say yes and no or I’m ok in Sinhala can help.

The warmth and hospitality of Sri Lankans is one of the most genuine you will come across. Tip: avoid drinking and smoking in public alone outside of tourist areas as this is not the “done  thing”. If you wish to do so, look up bars and beach clubs where lots of foreigners are and/or where the owner is a foreigner.

Dress respectably

Dress appropriate for the occasion! No sugar-coating here. 

Normal shirts with modest neckline (cover your shoulders, no tops), loose pants and shorts will see you through every occasion.

It’s also important that you dress properly before entering temples (long pants) and other cultural sites. A small tip that may make you feel safer if travelling alone Sri Lanka: buy and where a ring before you go – it may help against unwelcome attention.

Jaffna Sri Lanka Sightseeing

It may happen from time to time that you’ll be approached by single men for your phone number or Facebook. Again, take it with ease, it may be annoying, but seldom leads to anything and can easily be met with a polite refusal. 

Getting around Sri Lanka

Taking public transportation in Sri Lanka is one of the best ways to explore the country. Buses but especially trains will take you along incredible picturesque routes across Sri Lanka. Furthermore, buses and trains are reliable and thus making it a convenient transport option for most travellers. 

train travel sri lanka female

It might seem like a good idea to save on accommodation costs by taking an overnight bus or train between cities but it’s best for these type of trips that you have some companionship. Tip: travel by daylight as you can see more and any unwelcome advances you can brush off in broad daylight.

When it comes to short-distance trips within cities, taxis and tuk tuks are the most common (and fastest) way to get around. Tip: ride a tuk tuk with the flaps open. Don’t let the driver put the flaps down as it restricts your view and makes the space confined. Make sure that all your belongings are stored inside the tuk tuk especially handbags. Always store your handbag on the floor between your feet or placed on your inside arm in the tuk tuk.

travel for females

When you get out of Colombo it is less likely that tuk tuks will have a meter or be using it. Unfortunately, female tourists travelling alone in Sri Lanka need to be familiar with the going rates for tuk tuk fares so as not to be scammed. The best way for getting the cheapest fare is by asking several drivers before you choose one. Tip: if you get asked whether you travel alone, say you travel with your brother/sister/husband/family. Also read Eileen Fong’s helpful post on Guide to Tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka

sri lanka tuk tuk

Shopping Sri Lanka

You definitely shouldn’t miss shopping in the colourful markets. As everywhere around the world,  no matter if you are a female alone Sri Lanka beware of pickpocktes. Set yourself a budget before you go (incl. transportation costs) and leave the rest in the hotel safe. Only take a copy of your passport with you. Department stores like Odels are popular as well as local brands like Barfoot and Paradise Road.

sri lanka shopping

Travel essentials female travelling alone Sri Lanka

Get a SIM card- before you leave the airport, make sure to get a Sri Lanka SIM card (but before ensure that you have an unlocked mobile phone). Sri Lankan SIM cards are extremely cheap,you can get one for as low as 400 LKR (US$ 3) and top up for 100 LKR. There are booths directly in the arrivals hall of the airport.

Have enough tissues or toilet paper with you – public toilets in small towns and rural areas consist mostly of squat toilets only. 

Travel adapter – make sure to have one of these, or better a solar-powered one as some areas have occasional power cuts. This allows you to have a fully charged mobile phone at all times.

Sri Lanka travel forums for females

solo female travel

If you’re seeking  additional information or you have further questions, have a look into these travel forums which provide lots of relevant up-to-date information, especially about solo female travel in Sri Lanka:

Expat-Blog.com (http://www.expat-blog.com/en/destination/asia/sri-lanka/): 

An international forum where you can post any questions in regards to your travels. A number of people here have been living in Sri Lanka for several years and are happy to help with any questions and to give ‘inside advice’ > http://www.expat-blog.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=112031

TripAdvisor.com 

Similar cialis generique to the above, just look up Sri Lanka as travel destination and post your question. Travellers who have been to Sri Lanka and reviewed any attraction will be automatically notified by TripAdvisor whenever a new question is posted. 

Wanderlust.co.uk

Wanderlust is a well-respected online travel magazine. Join the forum myWanderlust and just ask any question concerning your travel plans > http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/mywanderlust/forum/travelling-alone-in-sri-lanka-advice_3880

diving sri lanka

By / 28th June, 2015 / General Sri Lanka / No Comments

Diving Sri Lanka

underwater diving sri lanka

Diving Sri Lanka is widely praised for its incredible ocean life  boasting numerous National , beaches and amazing coastal waters around the island. Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, the country first got noticed as a diving destination when blue whales were regularly sighted off the coastline. 

Since then, SriLanka has become a fantastic location for diving and snorkelling as it offers an abundance of colourful corals and  several abandoned WWII ship wrecks, making it a serious rival for its neighbour, the Maldives. 

Sri Lanka diving

Diving Sri Lanka April or September

Diving Sri Lanka is primarily influenced by the Sri Lankan monsoon – November to April is the best time for diving on the west and south coast in places like Unawatuna, Mirissa and Hikkaduwa  while the east and north coast and places like Trincomlee and Passikudah  offer the best conditions from April to September.  This makes it possible to dive in Sri Lanka anytime of the year.

The water temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C while air temperatures range from 22°C to 33°C also make being in and out of the waters of Sri Lanka most enjoyable.

Sri Lanka fish

Diving in Southern Sri Lanka

Southern Sri Lanka features not only some of the country’s best places to snorkel November through to the start of May , but has become a popular site for diving as well since the water is generally calm and thus makes it also convenient for kids to dive or snorkel. 

Recommended sites are around Unawatuna Bay and Hikkaduwa. Further off the shores  lots of different fish species, deep sea creatures and corals can be seen. Along the South Coast of Sri Lanka are a number of amazing ship wrecks which have turned into breathtaking artificial reefs and are now home to large groupers. The best spots for snorkelling are Rock Island and Jungle Beach where plenty of corals can be seen. Choosing Galle as your base makes it possible to experience multiple diving Sri Lanka and snorkelling spots all within 1 hour of Galle.

diving southern province sri lanka

Diving Sri Lanka Padi

If you’re looking into getting PADI certified in Sri Lanka, here are a number of well-known diving schools:

Unawatuna Diving (PADI certified)(http://www.unawatunadiving.com/) opened in 1999, owned and operated by a German. Unawatuna dive courses and dive packages include Intro Scuba Diving, Night Dives and Deep Dives. The Unawatuna  dive centre is annually closed from 11th April to 15th October.

diving sri lanka dive centre

Pearl Divers (PADI certified) (http://www.pearldivers.lk/) is also located in Unawatuna. The manager and owner has more than two decades diving experience in Unawatuna. Courses and dive packages include Bubble Maker, Open Water Diver and Dive Master.

Sea Horse Divers Sri Lanka (PADI certified)(http://www.seahorsedivinglanka.com/) has operated for more than 15 years in the Unawatuna area. Courses and dive packages include Open Water Diver, Multi-Level Dives and Night Dives.

diving sri lanka beaches

Poseidon Diving Station Sri Lanka (PADI certified)http://www.divingsrilanka.com/ has been around for 40 years near Galle and has been several times awarded by PADI for their achievements and high standards. A wide range of dive courses and dive packages are offered, including Scuba Diver Course for beginners over Open Water Diving Training to Underwater Naturalist.

Diving Sri Lanka Prices/Costs

In general, rates for a ‘Discover Scuba Dive’-course (one day)start at US$ 50, a fully certified ‘PADI Scuba Diver Course’ will cost about US$ 200 and takes on average three days. If you’re already a certified diver, packages including gear start at US$ 25-30 for a single dive and around US$ 110-120 for a 5 dive package. 

sri lanka diving

Little ones (ages 8 and up) can start with a ‘Bubble Maker’ which is a basic introductory course, specifically designed for kids, starting from US$ 40. If diving is not for you, consider snorkelling instead – you can get snorkel gear easily from any dive / water sports shop. Tip: avoid borrowing equipment  from your guesthouse as these are mostly worn out items. Use equipment from a Centre that regularly services and cleans their gear.

Diving Sri Lanka Fish

blue whales in sri lanka

When it comes to marine life, the waters around Sri Lanka are truly a diver’s wonderland: take for example Blue Whales, the world’s largest known animal, Sperm Whales, known to be the world’s largest toothed animal, the aforementioned Whale Shark or Napoleon Wrasse, a vividly coloured fish that can grow up to two metres. Even just snorkelling around the coast offers many encounters with reef fishes, trigger fishes, barracudas, turtles, crabs, honeycomb moray eels,colourful corals, scorpion fishes, cuttlefish and several species of jellyfishes. 

coral sri lanka

Diving Sri Lanka Forum

Here are three recommended diving sri lanka websites and diving sri lanka forums with lots of further information that make it easier to plan your dive trip to Sri Lanka ahead:

www.divesrilanka.com – Dive Sri Lanka features an excellent breakdown of the country’s dive regions plus additional information on the country’s marine life, marine archaeology and a useful dive FAQ.

http://srilanka.dive-international.net/ – Dive International is a leading resource for international diving destinations. It provides a summary of the most relevant information on diving in Sri Lanka as well a diving forum Sri Lanka with lots of helpful advice from fellow divers.

www.padi.com/scuba-diving/scuba-diving-travel/vacation-spotlights/srilanka/ – PADI is certainly the most renown and respected certification for divers. The site features a general overview of the best diving spots in Sri Lanka, some essential travel information as well a PADI dive shop locator at the bottom of the page. In addition, it features useful links to Sri Lanka’s official tourism website and the immigration bureau Sri Lanka for visa purposes.

snorkelling sri lanka

 

Yoga in Sri Lanka

21 June is International Yoga Day. Yoga in Sri Lanka is practiced routinely, is widespread and remains a means to enlightenment.

Sri Lanka yoga

“A person experiences life as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.” –  Albert Einstein

Incorporating exercise, breathing and meditation, yoga in Sri Lanka is just as good for you as it feels. The practice of yoga in Sri Lanka and everywhere stimulates both body and mind, and can improve your health and wellbeing in many ways.

Yoga history

The word `Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ which means to merge or unite. Yoga is based on the concept that the body and breath are intimately connected with the mind. The practice of yoga dates back over 5,000 years and is rooted in ancient Indian philosophies that connect the mind and body to improve overall health and wellness.

Sri Lanka outdoors yoga

What is yoga?

In Yoga, the body, breath and mind are connected. Yoga’s focus on the aspects of mind/body connection and emphasis on breathing techniques helps to promote relaxation, which over time can decrease stress levels.

Regular practise is designed to cultivate health and happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.

Yoga comprises many poses known as “asanas” and incorporates structured, controlled breathing and meditation techniques which cater to people of all levels and abilities. Ayurveda and Yoga come from the same philosophical background and examines the mind– body relationship from the perspective of maintenance of health and the treatment of disease.

Yoga Sri Lanka jungle

Today, many people (from Charlize Theron, Ariana Huffington and Britney Spears) are turning to yoga for a range of reasons (from stress management to maintaining optimum levels of health and well-being).

Sri Lanka and Yoga

Sri Lanka’s association with Yoga dates back to the early days when Hinduism and Buddhism flourished and practitioners taught the health and spiritual benefits of this ancient practice. Yoga in Sri Lanka is often used as a beneficial complement to Ayurvedic medicine and healing.

In Sri Lanka there are four main yogas: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga. Each of the four yogas in Sri Lanka having the following teachings behind them:

Karma Yoga – this yoga is about being true to your duty while being separate from any reward. It states that one can attain salvation by going about your duties in an unselfish manner

Bhakti Yoga –  means a blissful, selfless and overwhelming love of God

Jnana Yoga – is about knowledge and understanding your true self

Raja Yoga – is mindfulness yoga and emphasizes being in the moment of yoga and being conscious of all around you.

Sri Lanka yoga

Yoga Exercises In Sri Lanka

Yoga can have many positive physical and psychological benefits, with some of the most common being improved balance, strength and flexibility as well as reduced levels of stress.

Most asanas are isometric, meaning they rely on holding muscle tension for a period of time. With regular yoga practice, these isometric exercises can help to increase blood circulation and may lower blood pressure.

Weight-bearing isometric poses, such as the “Downward-facing Dog” or the “Cobra” can help to increase bone density and bone health.

Yoga Retreat Sri Lanka

Even though there are many different types of yoga, each session will generally be a mixture of lying, sitting, standing and inverted, or upside down asanas along with a focus on breathing and meditation. The combination of poses provides a whole body workout.

Templeberg: Yoga Retreat in the Sri Lankan Jungle

At Templeberg Villa it is possible to imagine being transported back in time when you practice yoga in Sri Lanka. When staying at the villa you have  the comfort and surrounds of an 18th century Sri Lankan coconut plantation.

Templeberg Villa is a classic example of Dutch Colonial architecture. Templeberg has been restored to its former glory paying homage to its Sri Lankan heritage with contemporary design.

Templeberg Villa collaborates with local yoga practitioners from Galle, to offer bespoke yoga classes in a magical and serene outdoor setting.

Villa sri lanka yoga

The rear enclosed green courtyard makes a great natural back drop for you to take Ashtanga, Visana or a tailored lesson. The  5 acres of tropical rainforest, coconut groves and wildlife make daily yoga in Sri Lanka a unique and memorable experience. It is not uncommon to have an audience of monkeys watch safely above, as the sun rises and faint sounds of the neighbouring Buddhist temple drift across the plantation.

Yoga holiday Sri Lanka

At different times of year, June through July and September until November, Templeberg Villa in Galle partners with many international yoga practitioners who arrange yoga workshops and yoga retreats in Sri Lanka.

Please check out the Specials area of the website for details of any planned yoga retreats or contact the villa directly to talk about possible options for your requirements.

To enquire about a yoga class in Sri Lanka or a stay contact Templeberg Villa Galle contact@templeberg.com

ayurveda sri lanka

By / 17th June, 2015 / Sri Lanka, Villa Templeberg / No Comments

ayurveda sri lanka

Ayurveda Sri Lanka – what most people associate with as a stress-relieving spa treatment is actually a well-known form of ayurvedic medicine in sri lanka and across the Indian subcontinent. Ayurvdic medicine has been practicsed for more than five millennia.

Ayurveda Sri Lanka

History of Ayurveda

Quiver da which is Ayurveda by another name and is believed to be the world’s oldest healthcare system.

Ayurveda was introduced to Sri Lanka during the 3rd century BC with the introduction of Buddhism from northern India during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa.

Since then, Ayurveda in Sri Lanka has been practiced throughout the country in its pure traditional forms without much alterations.

Templeberg Low Res-22

Ayurveda treatment in Sri Lanka

Ayurveda, which literally means ‘science of life’ (Sanskrit), aims to maintain harmony between the spirit, body and mind. It consists of various therapies, including massage, meditation and certain dietary requirements.

Why is Ayurveda important?

Today, as more and more people become interested in alternative therapies and become more health conscious they are searching for alternatives to overcome high medical costs and to steer away from prescription medicines. Ayurveda is a perfect complement to modern medicine.  It is also an important wellness therapy for travelers looking to take stock of life and relax and unwind.

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

How popular is Ayurveda in Sri Lanka?

In Sri Lanka more than ¾ of Sri Lankans are using primary natural resources like plants and oils for a better well-being.

So popular are Ayurvedic natural therapies that the Sri Lankan Ayurvedic medicine industry is regulated by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine.

Sri Lanka even has a Department of Ayurveda!

Ayuveda treatment sri lanka

Yes, believe it or not, the Department of Ayurveda is a subdivision of the ‘Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine’. The Department focuses on preventing diseases through the use of ancient medical treatments and herbal medicine.

Ayurveda sri lanka training is provided to Ayurvedic doctors who are generally awarded a B.A.M.S. (Degree in Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery) from Kelaniya University, Sri Lanka.

What does Ayurveda do to the body?

Let’s have a quick look at the fundamentals of Ayurveda.

According to the Ayurveda principle, all areas of life are of direct influence into one’s health. In a nutshell, Ayurveda treatments emphasise on the harmony of mind, body and spirit to curse diseases:

1. Curing diseases or ‘Shamana Chikithasa’:

Shamana Chikithasa, with the support of Ayurveda medicine, manages the symptoms that cause the disease. Ayurveda medicine consists of dozens of medicines of natural ingredients such as herbs and minerals.

2. Preventing diseases or Shodana Chikithasa’:

Considered to be one of the most important techniques of Ayurveda,Shodana Chikithasa’ focuses entirely on the purification process; speaking it removes the toxins from the body in order to restore the three Doshas. The three doshasVayu, Pitta and Kapha – in modern terms are muscles, nerves and hormones. While each person has all three doshas, it’s usually that one or two dominate.

3 massage and wellness treatments:

Unlike typical massages such as Thai massage, Ayurveda is not a single treatment but consists of several applications, while the key signature of Ayurvedic treatments is the use of oil; it is said that the oil gives longevity, helps to sleep and relaxes your mind while relieving stress.

treatments ayurveda

A classic Ayurveda body massage is therefore ideal to stimulate your blood circulation and to relieve muscle pain.The application of oil on your head prevents mental disease such as stress or migraine.

Ayurveda has different effects on different parts of your body: while a facial treatment for example is excellent to smooth your skin from wrinkles, a leg massage helps to reduce cellulite and a foot massage strengthen your walking ability.

Ayurveda in Galle

Looking for a healthy escape in the midst of Sri Lanka’s picturesque tropical vegetation? Interested in experiencing an Ayuverda package holiday?

Here at Templeberg Villa, Sri Lankan Ayurveda treatments are our signature speciality!

We provide all aspects of a five star resort in combination with the facilities of a professional Ayurveda experience.

Ayurveda Massage Galle

With many years of experience, Thyronne our therapist works with our guests to tailor his Ayurveda experience.    Rejuvenate in our relaxing oasis and reawaken your body’s natural healing methods!

Travel Sri Lanka India

By / 11th June, 2015 / Sri Lanka / No Comments

Sri Lanka is India without the culture shock.

Although Sri Lanka and India seem to share many things at first sight, both countries significantly differ from each other. India is a large continent with a very large population. It can be very tiring to get from A to B. Not to mention the constant challenge for your senses.

Too often, travellers cut their time short in India because they find the touring and culture shock too much. Here are some of the key differences between the two countries from a travel Sri Lanka India perspective and why if you are thinking about a trip to India you might want to consider a practice run to Sri Lanka instead. Call it the ‘lite’ version of India. What follows is travel Sri Lanka advice.

The People

One of the first differences you will notice upon arrival in Sri Lanka is the people. Sri Lankans are known to be very polite and respectful to others, especially foreigners.

People Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka you don’t have to deal with:

  • People’s constant ‘stares’ and ‘touching’ which is common in India.
  • Touts like travel agents, street vendors and tuktuk drivers looking to sell you a tour or package holiday. We don’t say that doesn’t happen in Sri Lanka, but chances are very rare in comparison to India as Sri Lankans value honesty.
  • People spitting and urinating in public areas. Although the government in Delhi issued guidelines ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, warning to not split or urinate in public, not many people continue to follow these rules.

All in all, Sri Lankans have a very natural and heartfelt attitude especially towards foreigners. Many have also a given talent to quickly learn foreign languages so don’t be surprised if a random person suddenly talks in your own language.

Travel Safety Sri Lanka India

Travel Sri Lanka safe should always be your motto. In fact, safety should be always one of your top priorities when travelling.

galle train

While travelling around India might be a nice idea, because of perceived safety concerns especially in the North of India much of your travel might have to be by arranged group tours. This can involve a lot of ‘on and off’ the bus, buffet meals etc’. Some areas have travel warnings and many international countries recommend not travelling alone to certain areas, especially if you are female.

The middle, east coast and South of Sri Lanka makes travelling around not only very easy but possible to travel Sri Lanka safely. If you are a solo (female) traveller then it is much easier to get around Shri Lanka than India and not be hassled.

 The Environment Sri Lanka India

Granted, Sri Lanka is of course smaller than India and yes, India is the second most populated country in the world. However, these are not valid reasons for the huge amount of litter covering sidewalks and even roads. The never-ending landscape of garbage in big cities is definitely one of India’s top environmental problems in its major cities.

Sri Lanka manages great environmental protection and has a well-functioning waste management system; streets are remarkably clean in major cities.

Sri Lanka being an Island nation takes marine conservation very seriously. It is home to 5 of the 7 species of sea turtle in the World and many  animals are protected by law.

Sea Turtle

Sri Lanka is also the first country in the World to protect all of its mangroves.

Travel Sri Lanka information

Driving around with any type of vehicle in India is a daunting experience: lanes are marked but often ignored and new lanes are created out of thin air: it’s not rare to see seven cars/motorbikes/vans next to another on a road with three lanes.

On top of all that, you need to take a considerable amount of time into account when travelling from one place to another, as just everything seems to be overcrowded

Travel Sri Lanka classic now is even more enjoyable given Sri Lanka has invested in new roadways opening several highways that connect major cities. The Southern Expressway Highway connects Colombo and Galle and continues between Galle and Matara. A separate highway linking Colombo and Kandy is under construction. This makes the journey time between major cities very reasonable.

A highlight of any travelling around Sri Lanka is also taking a ride on one of the refurbished train services. For more information about train travel in Sri Lanka read our blog post on train travel shri lanka

Stations

Poverty Sri Lanka India

One of the most confronting experiences for travellers in India is the scale of poverty everywhere, especially when visiting cities such as Delhi or Kolkata.

In terms of the Human Development Index for South Asia Sri Lanka ranks Number 1 in South Asia and 73 in the World as compared to India which is ranked 133 in the World. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/hdr/2014-human-development-report

Sri Lanka is a developing country and the average monthly wage is low by western standards. However, you’ll notice quickly that Sri Lanka manages a reasonable standard of living for its citizen which can be seen everywhere around the country, whether you visit Colombo, Galle, Kandy or even more rural parts.

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Wildlife Sri lana India

Sri Lanka is home to many stunning landscapes, wildlife sanctuaries and a unique marine world which you can find nowhere else in the world.

India has definitely a diverse flora and fauna and offers many unique places around the country. However, given Sri Lanka’s size it is much easier to have wildlife encounters with majestic blue whales in the Ocean, Leopards on the wild plains of Sri Lanka and Purple Leaf Monkeys in the Trees.

Leopard

Why Sri Lanka is a hot destination for Expat living in Asia

By / 29th May, 2015 / General Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka / No Comments

Sri Lanka is the ideal weekend getaway for expats!

Buddha

Its unique cultural diversity, no mass tourism and the ease of getting around are perfect reasons for a short break.

If you are an Expat living in Asia you will want to ensure you’ve ticked off Sri Lanka on your bucket list. Whether you live in Malyasia, Thailand, Vietnam, Dubai or around other countries in the Middle East or Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka is easy and quick to reach plus you can cover a whole lot of the county  during one 3 day weekend.

Map_Indian_Ocean_Malacca_Strait_Gulf_of_Thailand_55

We compiled a list of all essential tips for your expat holiday to Sri lanka:

Getting to Sri Lanka

Colombo is connected with major hubs around Asia and the Middle East. The airport is also home to the country’s flagship carrier SriLankan Airlines but is also serviced by a number of international air carriers include Emirates Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. Flight timings are short and convenient: approx. 4.5 hours from the U.A.E./Qatar and about 3.5 hours from Bangkok/Kuala Lumpur/Singapore. Sri Lankan Airlines offers great connections from major hubs.
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Best time to visit

Sri Lanka’s close proximity to the equator means that temperatures are constant year-round. Lowland and coastal regions have average temperatures of 26-30°C while highlands have a pleasantly mild climate of 18-22°C (Kandy) even a bit lower around Nuwara Eliya with 15-17°C. The weather varies slightly from place to place; the west and south is best to visit from December to March and on east from April to September.

hammock

Entry requirements

Most nationalities receive a tourist visa upon arrival (US$ 20) but it’s also possible to obtain it online via the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

What to see in 3-4 days

Colombo –

The thriving city is vibrant and colourful yet lacks the chaotic traffic of Bangkok or the busyness of cities like Hong Kong or Singapore. Since you’ll be probably arriving in Colombo consider spending at least half a day here before you start your trip around Sri Lanka. Highlights to visit include the stunning Gangaramaya Temple, the Independence Square and Memorial Hall, Colombo National Museum, the bustling Pettah Market and a walk along Galle Road.

Colombo, Sri Lanka: Gangaramaya Temple - slope of Buddhas and stupas - Slave island - photo by M.Torres

Nuwara Eliya & Colombo – Kandy –

If you’re heading to Kandy from Colombo, make sure to visit one of the countless tea plantations around Nuwara Eliya, the country’s major tea-producing region. After all, Ceylon tea is one of the world’s most recognizable teas and a must-try when visiting Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is often referred to as ‘Little England’ among Sri Lankans due to its many British colonial building which are all well-preserved. Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second largest city is home to the famous ‘Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic’ (Sri Dalada Maligawa), a temple which houses the relic of a tooth of Lord Buddha which is also one of the most sacred places in the Buddhist world. Take a walk around Lake Kandy, visit local markets and explore colonial architecture. Kandy is worth enough to spend a full day before continuing your trip around the Cultural Triangle.

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The Cultural Triangle –

Situated in the heart of Sri Lanka the Cultural Triangle covers the significant important world heritage sites of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigirya, Dambulla and the above mentioned Kandy. After you spent a night in Kandy, we suggest to set out for Sigirya further north with a short stop in Dambulla which is famous for its beautiful Cave Temple situated on top of a mountain. Sigirya’s most famous landmark is the massive 200m high ‘Lion Rock’ which was once home to a palace on the top. The ancient city of Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka for nearly 1300 years and can be reached directly from Sigirya or Kandy. Polonnaruwa was the second capital and consists now of picturesque ruins.

 

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Beaches –

Sri Lanka has an abundance of mesmerizing beaches. To round up your trip it’s therefore a MUST to spend some time at the beach and to take a dip in the Indian Ocean. Plan to spend a night in Negombo before heading home again. Chances are high that you have a big stretch of beach just for yourself. Furthermore, it takes just 15-20 minutes to reach the airport.

stilt_fishing_weligama_sri_lanka

Getting Around

Public transport is a great option to see a lot and to immerse in the Sri Lankan culture. Depending on your plans and what you’re willing to see, travelling by train – see our previous blog article on Train Travel in Sri Lanka would be a fantastic way to explore Sri Lanka. An alternative option would be a private transfer around the country. The prices are usually set but you may want to try to negotiate the given price. You have the freedom of exploring at your own pace, however, the driver won’t be your tour guide, speaking you will be on your own when entering any attraction.

train-hill-country-sri-lanka-300x199

More tips & info

Bring enough cash, as credit cards are mostly only accepted in hotels and upscale restaurants. ATMs can be found across metropolitan areas. – It is safe to travel around Sri Lanka, also solo. As everywhere around the world, keep an eye on your belongings at all times. – Make sure to bring light clothing but also a thin jacket for higher altitudes (e.g. around the tea plantations) as it is a bit chilly in mountainous regions. – Eat local food – try fresh mangos and young coconuts from markets and indulge to authentic Sri Lankan cuisine in typical mom n’ pop shops. Fly Sri Lankan Airlines for great travel routes like Kuala Lumpur to Colombo, Hong Kong to Colombo and Singapore to Colombo.