Your ultimate guide to Sri Lanka

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

Pick of the month – May
Travel

Pick of the month – May

May calls on the adventure seekers. The north-western winds are ideal for kitesurfing, dive in and witness the marvels of the ocean or hike through historical sites or safari in the wild. Relish the sizzling spicy flavours of street food. Savour delicious tropical fruits, a gift from the island to help everyone beat the heat. Pamper yourself and experience truly warm hospitality and discover the many mysteries this beautiful island has to offer. For the thrill-seeker and the soul-searcher, Sri Lanka has something to offer everyone.

Fruity Flash
Things to do

Fruity Flash

Enjoy the island's juicy and crunchy tropical treats. Insanely delicious, Sri Lankan mangoes are many in variety, and whether you enjoy it as a juice, fruit salad, or nibble one, the taste is simply great. Sri Lanka’s famous spicy Mango ‘achcharu’ sprinkled with pepper and chilli powder, and soaked in vinegar is one of the best street foods. The Jaffna Karuthakolomban is the most sought after variety for having the best taste. This seasonal fruit cannot be missed. Vendors beckon passers-by, splashing bunches of juicy Rambutan harvested from the orchards of Malwana. These red balls of fur are so attention-grabbing in roadside stalls during its peak season from May to August. The lychee like flesh inside is sweet- ly supple and delicious. The sap on the skin tastes bitter, so avoid using teeth to open the rind. A small groove with your thumbs will open it around the equator. Queen of tropical fruits and the food of the gods, Mangosteen with its conspicuous deep purple rind hides the most delicious sweet white flesh segmented like oranges. Rich with antioxidants and vitamins, the fruit is opened by squeezing it firmly between the palms. Be cautious not to chew into the seed inside the flesh, as it’s extremely bitter. A barely known fact is that Kaju Puhulang or cashew apple is a false fruit that is actually a modified fruit stalk. The real fruit is the kidney shaped drupe hanging below, covering the cashew nut. Extremely juicy when ripe, although not too sweet,

Get ready for the East Coast!
Travel

Get ready for the East Coast!

From surfing to leisurely evening strolls and exciting whale watching, there are plenty of things to do. Visit religious sites and enjoy safari rides. 

Go Dutch in the island
Attractions

Go Dutch in the island

First, they left behind them a legal legacy: the Roman Dutch law:which is still resound and hold sway in Sri Lankan Courts. When the Dutch sailed their ships to Ceylon’s waters, it was trade that followed the flag, however faith preceded it. The heritage of the Dutch Reform Church. They built many churches from Point Pedro to Dondra Head and the Wolvendaal Church they built on Wolvendaal Hill in Kotahena in 1749 survives to this day. And that is not all. The Dutch Government House in Galle, Star Fort in Matara, Kalpitiya Fort, Jaffna Fort and many such buildings built by the Dutch have survived the elements of nature and are still in use to this day. The single storey Dutch Commissariat built in 1656 within the Galle Fort and the storehouse for the Dutch Garrison are now the National Museum of Galle housing a collection of exhibits from the Portuguese, Dutch and British, and the National Maritime Museum. In Galle Fort is also the Old Dutch Hospital. De- signed with long colonnaded verandahs on both side of the building, it was turned to barracks by the British in 1850 and made the Galle Town Hall of an independent Sri Lanka a hundred years later. Four years ago, renovated, it was converted to a shopping and dining precinct. It is the same with the Old Dutch Hospital in Fort, Colombo. This heritage-listed building was built in 1681 and still presides over the capital’s commercial hub within Colombo’s busiest square. Seven years ago, it was converted to a shopping and dini

Sports
Things to do

Sports

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

Explore art and culture

Theatre guide: what's on this month
Theatre

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.

The Colombo International Theatre Festival 2018
Theatre

The Colombo International Theatre Festival 2018

The Diary of a Madman                     “The Diary of a Madman” was read as an ironic attack on traditional Chinese culture, and is seen as a call for New Culture. The character “Madman” who has supposedly been cured of his paranoia, presents his thoughts and understandings of the world around him as entries in his diary. After living in confusion for thirty years, his sudden Lunar Spiritual enlightenment is documented in thirteen fragments of his diary. After an extensive study of confusion culture, his confusion gives way to Paranoia, as he starts seeing the words “Eat People” between the lines. As he discovers his brother’s and mother’s plans for eating him, he simultaneously realizes his unwitting involvement in eating his sister’s flesh. The play ends with the “Madman’s” desperate cry “Save The Children”. The Diary of a Madman” exposes the ubiquity of cannibalistic nature of four thousand years of Chinese history and how everyone is an accomplice in the game of eating and being eaten. 25th May 2018               By Joy Maisnam                                           India - Bilingual with English sub-titles   Amok     One day a Lady with a veil over her face comes to his bungalow and asks him to perform an abortion. She will give a lot of money in order to make the doctor to keep his mouth shut. The doctor gets passionate after the Lady. Her insistence to "buy" the doctor creates a tension situation. The doctor responds “not for the money but I will not do t

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.

Embekke Devalaya
Art

Embekke Devalaya

Built of wood, the Embekke Devalaya comprises of a shrine room, a dancing hall and a drummers’ hall. The most eye catching feature of this Devalaya is the intricate wood carvings that decorate the whole premises, in every pillar and inch of the roof. The carvings, considered by some experts to be the best in the world, include animals such as swans, lions, elephants and bulls along with twisting vines, dancers and other mythical creatures. Roof of the devalaya does not have a central beam, but is built of 26 rafts that gives the impression of a wheel of a cart with spokes, meeting at the centre and is connected with a wooden nail. To the side of the devalaya is a Atu Geya or a rice barn, with two rooms and a gable roof. The paddy and other grain harvests that were offered to the Devalaya was once stored here. 

Where to stay?

The Kingsbury

The Kingsbury

The Kingsbury Hotel began life as the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel in the 1970s but has recently been transformed from top to bottom into a glittery hotel with 229 elegantly furnished rooms with ocean views and an ambience of contemporary charm. The efficiency of accommodation is complemented with versatility afforded by numerous restaurants, bars, lounges, meeting rooms and public areas.  The Sky Lounge on the roof top is the setting for a great night out overlooking the Indian Ocean, except when it rains since the bar really is open to the sky.     

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Amagi Aria
Hotels

Amagi Aria

Amagi Hotels, previously known as Amagi Lagoon Resort and Spa, has been given a makeover. The new Amagi Aria also includes a brand new seven-storey wing comprising 43 tastefully-designed deluxe rooms and four luxury suites in addition to the already-existing 21 standard rooms. This brings to 68 the total number of guestrooms, which are completed with modern amenities. They all offer stunning views. The new look also extends to the fine-dining seafood restaurant called Moya, which creates a unique private dining experience. Moya Seafood Restaurant, located on the rooftop of Amagi Aria, is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows that offer diners panoramic views of the Negombo lagoon and its fauna. The restaurant seats around 110 guests and features a live kitchen, seafood display and bar. The setting is a refined, relaxed space for guests to enjoy expertly-created beverages. The freshest seafood is prepared to perfection, providing a total seafood experience.

Cantaloupe Aqua

Cantaloupe Aqua

A modern beach escape in Sri Lanka, this boutique hotel in Talpe boasts a private beachfront and a beautiful plunge pool. Offering free Wi-Fi, stylish rooms all come with sleek white interiors and amazing views of the Indian Ocean.Individually designed, air-conditioned rooms are decorated with colourful pop art and polished wooden flooring. A flat-screen cable TV and DVD player are included. En suite bathrooms come with double sinks and hot-water showers.Cantaloupe Aqua is a 2.5-hour drive, or 25-minute air taxi ride, from Bandaranaike International Airport. The hotel is 5.5 km from popular nightlife at Unawatuna Bay and 10 km from the heritage site of Galle Fort.Coconut restaurant serves fusion cuisine with an emphasis on Thai and Sri Lankan flavours. Plush sun beds provide a comfortable setting to enjoy cocktails and wine at Amuseum Beach Bar.Upon request, water sports activities like diving and snorkelling can be arranged. The hotel also provides laundry services and a tour desk. Private car transfers to nearby areas can also be arranged.

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Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort

Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort

Nestled within a seven-acre land of trop- ical, indigenous and medicinal trees and plants, the Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort in Wadduwa provides a holis- tic experience. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, it is located in a serene, breezy setting. Therapies and treatments that promote well-being are provided under the care of expert resident physicians and therapists. The dedicated Ayurveda Centre offers complete healing therapies and treatment that are tailor-made to guests and utilise only 100 per cent natural products. Guests can choose from the packages ‘Traditional Ayurveda’; ‘Panchakarma’ for detox and cleansing; ‘Lavanya’ to promote beauty in the mind, body and soul; and ‘Vayasatha’ to revive and rejuvenate. Guests can choose from four types of accommodation at the resort – Deluxe Suites, Deluxe Bungalows, Superior Bal- cony rooms and Superior Terrace rooms. Comfortable and stylish the rooms and suites are designed to offer pleasant views of the surroundings. Dining mainly takes place at the restaurant, which overlooks the beach. Guests can also request for private dining arrangements. At Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort, healthy Ayurveda meals are transformed into delightful dishes withexoticherbs,greensandasprinkling of spice. Meals mainly include garden fresh herbs, salads, vegetables and fruits and are supplemented with fish or white meat. ‘Ama Pan Hala’ juice bar serves refreshing herbal drinks, which bring together the healing prope

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Sri Lanka shopping guide

Double XL
Shopping

Double XL

Double XL, located on Duplication Road, is a trendsetter in the Sri Lankan fashion industry. In 2010, Double XL embarked on a creative solution to make trendy, designer wear available in large sizes due to its non-availability in the market. “Beauty comes in all sizes” is the philosophy that drives Double XL. It is the first establishment in the country to stock fashionable attire in sizes rang- ing from Large to 7XL with a guarantee of high quality and comfort. Customers who once had to order clothes online or purchase from overseas to match their figure can now simply visit Double XL to purchase stylish plus-size attire. The store is designed with a wooden floor and an upbeat interior that has a touch of simplistic sophistication, allowing customers to engage in an exclusive shopping experience. Since fashion and attire create a personal statement, Double XL’s ladies’ section has unique, bold designs that highlight the confidence and grace of their customers. With many collections ranging from formal to casual wear, modern to ethnic, stylish evening dresses to lingerie, Double XL is committed to making fashion fun and full of excitement, regardless of size and shape. The store also offers a stylish collection of dainty jewellery and chic handbags to further enhance the elegance of the outfits. Making shopping easy and enjoyable for men, Double XL has a variety of stylish couture, from formal wear to shirts and t-shirts. The store also offers an array of

Lalitha Jewellers
Shopping

Lalitha Jewellers

Lalitha Jewellers sells lovely jewellery made with gems, white and yellow gold. It also offers a bespoke service. 

Malls Ahoy!
Shopping

Malls Ahoy!

So you need to find a new dress, pick up a new phone or some toothpaste? Have no fear because Sri Lanka has got you covered when it comes to all your retail therapy needs. Check out Majestic City or Colombo Race course and be prepared for a unique shopping experience.

Mainly men
Shopping

Mainly men

Men folk need not feel left out when it comes to fulfilling their shopping needs. There are plenty of places devoted to giving make customers a proper shopping experience.