Your ultimate guide to Sri Lanka

Restaurants and bars, museums and galleries, shopping, hotels, travel and more…

Remember me Sri Lanka by LAF
Things to do

Remember me Sri Lanka by LAF

The events begin with Run to Remember, which will kick off from the Taj Samudra North Lawn on September 1 at 4.30pm. The first event, which is a five kilometre run, will be flagged off by Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries – the first Sri Lankans to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Runners will have to be present at the venue by 4pm for registration and the briefing. The runners and spectators are also encouraged to purchase a t-shirt and other memorabilia sold by the volunteers to help raise awareness and funds for the Foundation. A unique art exhibition titled, “Remember me Sri Lanka” will be held from September 22 – 30 at the Barefoot Gallery from 10am – 7pm. The exhibition will feature the works of Sabine Ferber, a volunteer of LAF. The vibrant collection of 26 collages are skilfully created as a means of holistic therapy. A theme featuring Sri Lanka enables the members of Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation to enjoy while at the same time enhance their social engagement by inspiring conversations among people who generally have difficulties in expressing themselves. Cinnamon Grand’s Angsana Garden will hold the five kilometre Walk to end Alzheimer on September 29 at 8.30am; the participants are invited to gather there at 8am to meet prior to the commencing of the walk. Refreshments will be provided as the walk routes out through key roads of Colpetty, with police escorts assisting at all times. There will also be a raffle draw with attractive prizes to culminate th

The Fascinating City
Restaurants

The Fascinating City

The bustling city never runs out of its lively ambience filled with good food and invigorating beverages. From happening streets to subtle and intimate settings, there's a choice for everyone. 

Discover the island on a train – the best views around the country
Travel

Discover the island on a train – the best views around the country

The first steam powered train in Sri Lanka rolled into the Ambepussa station on December 27, 1864 via the Main Line being built from Colombo to Kandy. Since then, the Sri Lankan railway has travelled on a progressive journey and has served countless passengers, daily commuters and holidaymakers. One of the most romantic ways to discover the tropical island is by train. Colloquially known as the yakada yaka, these iron devils rumble along the tracks, allowing countless passengers to enjoy delightful views of the scenic landscape; and the rhythmic and repetitive sound of the train can be heard as it passes over the railway sleepers. There are three main rail lines that take passengers to the south, the east and the north, all setting forth from Colombo. Each of these railway lines offer splendid scenery before arriving at the final terminus. 

Sports
Things to do

Sports

Cheer on your favourite sports personalities as the games move forward.

Festivals
Things to do

Festivals

September marks many significant festivals including the Feast of Our Lady of Matara, Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya, Festival of Vallipuram Vishnu Kovil, Getabaruwa Esala Perahera and Maha Saman Devalaya Perahera. The Nallur Kandaswamy Festival, also continues this month.

Explore art and culture

Theatre guide: what's on this month
Art

Theatre guide: what's on this month

Visiting Sri Lanka this month? Here's our hand-picked selection of this month's best stage plays. Save the date and join in with the fun.

Art and Music
Art

Art and Music

When in Colombo, do not miss visiting the art galleries – featuring some of the best exhibitions of paintings, jewellery and photographs – and the wide array of musical performances.

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil
Attractions

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil

Built in 15th century CE, the Nallur Kovil in Jaffna is sacred to the Hindu believers of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, it was built by the adopted son of a Sinhala King, Parakramabahu VI of the Kotte Kingdom, who built it for the benefit of the Hindu populace of Jaffna after defeating the invading forces of the Vijayanagar Empire of South India. The original Nallur Kovil was razed to the ground by the Portuguese and later rebuilt in an adjacent location by the Dutch in 1734. The Nallur Kovil, set amidst the scorched terrain of the North, still has a sacredness that is radiated in the front courtyard, the Dravidian architecture and the majestic and ornately carved gopuram or tower at the entrance. There are many festivals at Nallur Kovil that attract Hindu devotees from around the world, in addition to the many spectators who take pleasure in the pomp and pageantry of the celebrations.

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Shrine of Our Lady of Matara
Attractions

Shrine of Our Lady of Matara

Positioned across from Beach Park, where many find a welcome interlude among the waves, is the Shrine of our Lady of Matara, formerly known as St Mary’s Church. Built in 1907, the statue of the Blessed Mary and Child is said to have belonged to the Portuguese era dating back to the 17th Century. The mystery is that no proper record exists as to who really sculpted the statue or which country it came from and many devotees believe that the statue itself is a miracle. The feast of Our Lady of Matara takes place annually.

Where to stay?

Pigeon Island Beach Resort

Pigeon Island Beach Resort

Pigeon Island Beach Resort is located to the north of Trincomalee City. Offering rooms and suites with a private balcony, the resort has an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Situated off Nilaveli Town, Pigeon Island is a 6-hour drive from Colombo International Airport. Featuring a modern decor, rooms at Pigeon Island are equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. A tea/coffee maker and minibar are included. Some rooms feature sea views. Guests may play a game of billiards or table tennis at the resort. Water sports such as diving and snorkelling can be arranged. Resort Pigeon Island organises trips and activities such as whale or dolphin watching. The resort’s restaurant serves a variety of local and Western dishes. Drinks and light snacks are offered at the beach bar. Alternatively, room service is available.

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Cantaloupe Levels

Cantaloupe Levels

Cantaloupe Levels is located in Unawatuna, just steps away from the beach. It welcomes guests with an outdoor swimming pool, tastefully furnished rooms and free internet access. Lazy afternoons can be spent relaxing at the private beach area. All the rooms at Cantaloupe Levels feature classic Sri Lankan-style décor. It comes with air conditioning, a fridge and an attached bathroom with a bathtub. Some rooms offer a private balcony overlooking sweeping views of the Indian Ocean. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can arrange for various water-sport activities including diving and snorkeling. Other facilities include currency exchange services, luggage storage and car/bicycle rentals. Guests can sample a delicious Sri Lankan-style meal at the in-house restaurant. For alternative dining options, room service is available and packed lunches can be arranged upon request. Cantaloupe Levels is 1.5-hour drive from Colombo city. Bandaranaike International Airport is 2.5 hours away by car.

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Heritance Tea Factory

Heritance Tea Factory

Heritance Tea Factory offers colonial-style rooms with views of the surrounding tea plantations and hills. It features a luxurious spa, tea-picking tours and a restaurant set in a train carriage. Cosy guestrooms come with a minibar, cable TV and free organic tea leaves. The en suite bathroom is fitted with a bathtub and a rain shower. Guests can work out at a fitness room or go for a tea plantation nature walk. Massage and other treatments are offered at the Misty Mountain Spa. Billiards and mini golf facilities are available. Dinning on Wheels Restaurant features Western and European meals. Kenmare Restaurant serves a selection of Eastern and Western dishes. Accommodation and meals are free for hired drivers of in-house guests.

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Amagi Beach – Secluded Slice of Paradise

Amagi Beach – Secluded Slice of Paradise

Only a few steps away from the secluded Marawila Beach, Amagi Beach Resort welcomes guests with a private beach area, an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi access. Authentic Sri Lankan meals can be enjoyed at the in-house restaurant.Amagi Beach is situated a 30-minute drive from Negombo and a 25-minute drive from Chillaw. Bandaranaike International Airport is located 45 minutes away by car while the city centre is 23 km away.Rooms are well-appointed and boast a spacious private terrace. A flat-screen TV, seating area and private bathroom are provided as well. Extras include free toiletries and hot-water showers.At Amagi Beach, you will find a 24-hour front desk, car/bicycle rentals and laundry/ironing services. This beachfront property also offers barbeque facilities and free parking space for guests who drive.In-room dining options are available.

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Sri Lanka shopping guide

Suriya
Shopping

Suriya

Suriya is a lifestyle store located in Layards Road, Colombo 5. The emporium features a stunningly colourful collection of art, crafts and furniture created by Sri Lankan artisans. The spacious gallery pays homage to the Sri Lankan heritage and this is reflected in each and every item the tightly-packed shop has to offer. Customers can find a large collection of vibrant decorative items that range from candelabras to lamps, vases, wall hangings, ornaments, terracotta sculptures and intricately woven baskets. All the items displayed within the store are designed and produced by Sri Lankan artisans and craftsmen. While maintaining elements of tradition, hints of modernity are also incorporated in the designs. Suriya also manufactures and undertakes customised orders. Reproductions of antique, contemporary furniture and sofas are also an attraction. The custom-made furniture on display feature intricate lotus inspired designs. The classic Suriya collection is also inclusive of pettagam, which are traditional chests. With authentic designs, these chests are embellished with ornate murals. A range of handloom upholstery and curtain fabrics that creates a warmly atmosphere is also available. The brightly coloured fabrics and vivid patterns enhance the flamboyancy of the warehouse. As the outdoors is just as important as the indoors, customers can also discover decorating ideas for lawns, terraces, yards and porches. With an abundance of Sri Lankan arts and crafts, it is easy

Mlesna Tea Fortress
Shopping

Mlesna Tea Fortress

The Mlesna Tea Fortress is an imposing structure that captures your attention while travelling along the Kandy Road in Kiribathkumbura. Inspired by a fortified Bastian, sturdy wooden doors open to transport the visitor behind the stone façade. Within, one is warmly welcomed by the customary greeting “Ayubowan”, the soothing water feature in the atrium as well as the aroma of tea. Drawing inspiration from traditional Sri Lankan artistry, the interior complements the regal aura of Kandy. Since 1983, Mlesna has been a name that resonates with the offering of premium pure Ceylon Tea. A pioneer that introduced the Tea Centres in Sri Lanka. The Tea Centre at the Mlesna Tea Fortress is located on the ground floor. Customers can avail themselves to an array of single origin teas, regional teas, specialty Ceylon Tea blends as well as flavoured teas. From vintage wooden boxes, to classic caddies, rustic cloth bags and glossy foil packs, the teas feature in various packaging. The valuable classic tea sets, intricately designed tea pots and inspired ornaments make for distinctive gifts as well as souvenirs of the beautiful island. Friendly and well-informed staff are always on hand to provide a tour of the Mlesna collection and help you select a blend that suits you. The Fortress Fine Jewellery Creation features an exquisite collection of elegant jewellery. The skilfully handcrafted gold and silver designs are embellished with precious and semi-precious stones. ravellers can

House of Fashions
Shopping

House of Fashions

A fashion centre of Southeast Asia replete with fabulous fashion, spread out across 250,000 square feet is a veritable shoppers’ paradise comprising some of the most well-known brands of clothing for men, women and kids, household items, fashion accessories and loads of gift items for any occasion. Seventeen escalators operate for ease of access for shoppers as well as a 350 car park for customer convenience. The ground floor has a vast lobby, information centre and ample cashier counters. Cosmetics, perfumes, and jewellery will capture the attention of any discerning shopper as they enter the first floor whilst women will be kept busy on the second floor dedicated solely to women’s wear. The fourth floor has a range of men’s wear and accessories including shoes, belts, ties and casual, office and high-end wear. An entire floor of this mega store is dedicated to kids ranging from infants to teenagers. Clothes, toys and accessories. The home ware section comprises a huge array of items designed to enhance the bedroom and the elegance of bathrooms. 

The Body Shop
Shopping

The Body Shop

An iconic British retail brand with a global presence, The Body Shop is renowned for its range of body-care products that are ethically produced and vegetarian-friendly, and uses ingredients from natural sources. The local store is conveniently located on the corner of Bagatalle Road and Galle Road in Colombo 3. It stocks a range of product categories: bath and body, skin care, hair, make-up, accessories, and fragrances for both women and men. Explore their wide range of products to pamper your body.