The Time Out Sri Lanka blog

Your guide to island life, news, culture and everything in-between
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News, Events & Festivals

Things to do for the avid cricket enthusiast

The England tour of Sri Lanka once again brings the excitement of cricket to the island with five ODIs, three Tests and a T20. While flocking to the stadiums to cheer on the Lions, don’t forget to check out the manifold attractions that are waiting to be discovered in the area. Dambulla Visitors never fail to be amazed by the amount of history that surrounds the city of Dambulla. Famed for its rock cave temple and beautiful scenery, Dambulla is a popular destination for tourists. Its proximity to the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress is also another reason to visit the city, and many tourists are eager to make a combined tour of Dambulla and Sigiriya. ©BT Images Cave Temple The Royal Rock Temple complex contains five separate caves that feature stunning Buddhist statues and paintings. Considered to be some of the most evocative Buddhist arts in Sri Lanka, the images are several centuries old. It is said that King Valagamba of Anuradhapura took refuge in the caves during the 1st century BC when the Chola invaded the island. Once he regained his throne, he converted the caves into a Temple, and over the centuries, later kings subsequently added more paintings. King Nissanka Malla had the cave interiors gilded, thus giving it the name Ran Giri (Golden Rock). From here, you can get superb views of the region and the Sigiriya rock. Golden Temple The Golden Temple sits at the foot of the cave temples. The modern structure is built in the shape of a cube. A golden statue of B

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Winner Lesitha Prabath flanked by first runner-up Praneeth Sandaruwan (left), second runner-up Asanka Waduga (right) and third runner-up Nadeen Sampath (far right)
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Things to do, Sport events

1st National Surfing Championship

Words- Udeshi Amarasinghe                  Photographs- Mahesh Bandara and Menaka Aravinda There was excitement in the air as the crowds gathered on the beach. As the waves rolled in with surfers completing their ride, loud cheers erupted. The first National Surfing Championship was gathering momentum in Arugambay! THE first National Surfing Championship to be held for Sri Lankan surfers, the competition provided an opportunity for contestants from around the country to participate in a profes-sional level competition. Organised by the Surf- ing Federation of Sri Lanka, the championship was supported by various establishments in Arugambay, all coming together to encourage Sri Lankan surfers to reach their potential. Following the completion of the competition, a Sri Lankan national team will be formed where focused training as well as participation in competitions will provide the experience and expertise for the team to perform internationally. With surfing being introduced for the first time to the Olympics in 2020, this provides an impetus for Sri Lanka to form a national team consisting of both men and women. A unique aspect of the National Surfing Championship in Arugambay was the pres- ence of young Sri Lankan women surfers, who though did not participate in the competition itself, were present to provide their support for this endeavour. The crowds included both Sri Lankan and nationals from various countries all coming together to give their enc

News, Events & Festivals

Oktoberfest in Sri Lanka

Can you pass the Brezeln– pretzels please? The celebrations of Wiesn, most commonly known as Oktoberfest, takes us to the world- famous European beer festival and travelling fun fair. Held throughout Germany, it has been a significant part of Bavarian culture since 1810. Celebrating custom, traditions and the love for merriment, the much-anticipated event is revelled by both locals and tourist alike with a variety of traditional delicacies, numerous attractions such as amusement rides, side stalls and games. It’s also the time for enthusiastic beer chugging. Today, Oktoberfest festivities have spread all around the world. In fact, even on the sunny island of Sri Lanka, Oktoberfest has become a yearly ritual. The celebrations treat everyone on the island to an amazing extravaganza of Bavarian-themed cuisine, music and dance with many hotels re-creating the spirit and traditions of the original Oktoberfest.  Serving special brews and authentic German staples such as as bratwurst, schnitzels and sauerkraut, the entertainment that you are sure to enjoy throughout the night may vary from activities such as the Chicken Dance to brew competitions as well as music from Bavarian bands and other traditional services. It is quite a joyous occasion; full of good food, drinks and cheer. As the Germans say, “Prost- Cheers” to an Oktoberfest with a Sri Lankan twist to keep you hyped up all night! Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi hoi hoi! See ‘October Shenanigans’ for Oktoberfest events i

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News, Weird & Wonderful

A Spooktacular Night in Sri Lanka

When the moon awakens and the black cats are seen, may luck be yours this Halloween. All Hallows’ Eve is celebrated annually across the world on October 31. The tales of old connect these festivities to the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter. As the occasion was believed to be the bridge to the world of the dead, villagers would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. Evolving into a popular expressive culture, today Halloween embraces the making of decorations, jack-o-lanterns and displaying fruits and vegetables, harvest figures, paper witches and skeletons around homes. Masquerading around the streets in all sorts of fun, chilling costumes; trick-or-treating is followed by all-night parties. The day is not complete without an abundance of candy. Although Halloween is not a traditional holiday for the island of Sri Lanka, there are many things to do on the eve of October 31. Halloween themed night outs and parties with all-night DJs as well as amazing deals on food and drinks make this spooky night quite unlike any other. Restaurants and hotels may also feature exclusive Halloween inspired dishes on their menus. There is sure to share a blur of activities including the traditional apple bobbing Halloween game. Visit stores that cater to finding a wild bunch of accessories to invent that perfect look of disguise. Halloween party photo booths and prizes for the scari

News, Weird & Wonderful

Regal Waterfalls of the Hill Country

As you drive along the roads of the Hill Country in Sri Lanka, through the trees, you begin to spy long plumes of white frothy water off in the distance, cascading down from great heights, only to plunge into wide rivers or deep pools. Waterfalls have an untamed beauty that draws the attention of both the young and the old. A trek through the surrounding greenery can take you closer to the stunning site, where a cool mist will envelop you. The thundering roar of a waterfall provides a stimulating soundtrack if you want to dive into the refreshing water of the river fed by the water carried in the fall. In the monsoon season, the waterfalls of Sri Lanka are a sight to behold, due to the additional water volume. While the dry season can reduce the volume of water, the torrent of ceaseless water can awe visitors with their sheer beauty. Sri Lanka has numerous waterfalls of all size and shape; from tall waterfalls that fall in one unrelenting line to small-scale waterfalls that contain several levels. Discover the power of a waterfall and be amazed by the experience. Bambarakanda Falls Plunging from a height of 863 ft, the Bambarakanda Falls has the honour of being the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The falls can be seen through the pine trees between Belihul Oya and Haputale. From a distance, it appears as one uninterrupted white ribbon that stretches from the skies to the ground. Diyaluma Falls The second highest waterfall in the country Diyaluma is found in the Badul

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A day in Galle
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News, Transport & Travel

A day in Galle…

This Southern coastal town features sunny beaches, museums, historic sites, shopping destinations and delectable cuisine. Both Sri Lankan and international tourists flock to Galle simply to soak in its laidback ambience. Perfect for a weekend getaway, Galle has a wealth of cultural marvels for the tourist to indulge. The city had a thriving hub for commercial trade even before the Dutch Era and has a fantastic story that visitors can unravel while exploring the city and all its wonders.  Galle Fort The UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated overlooking the Indian Ocean is one of the most popular destinations in Galle, and draws a large number of tourists. The houses within the fort has been converted into chic boutique shops, colourful art galleries, antique shops and restaurants. A walk along the inner streets of the fort always brings you to trendy shops or cafés. ©BT Images The lighthouse The lighthouse within the fortress is a steady structure that has been a part of the site through the decades guiding the sailors ashore. The Maritime Archaeology Museum Located within the Galle Fort, the museum offers amazing insights into the Sri Lankan maritime traditions through the years. Galle National Museum Known to be constructed in 1656, the museum displays an array of archaeological and anthropological objects. This includes the ancient carvings, Beeralu collection, objects reflecting the influence of the Dutch such as large water vessels, VOC porcelain objects

In the search of forts around the island…
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News, Weird & Wonderful

In the search of forts around the island…

A rising of the richness of history within Sri Lanka’s magnificent fortresses. A true experience of Sri Lanka cannot be complete without a visit to some of the great forts, which date back to thousands of years. Sri Lanka was occupied by colonial empires of the Dutch, Portuguese and the British; these colonists as well as the past Kings of the island left behind many western styled forts, of amazing architecture. The Kalpitiya Fort stands at the entry point to the Puttalam lagoon. With only a single arch entrance it can be seen as square in shape, with massive walls made out of coral and limestone. Within the fort, the walls of a chapel, dining hall and prison can be seen as well as the remnants of two wells. ©BT Images Galle Fort, recognised as a World Heritage site, the beauty in architecture and history is preserved. You can spend an entire day exploring the area within; activities are in abundance such as shopping, dining, exploring the history or watching the sunset at the wall. The Matara fort protects the the old town of Matara with its thick granite and limestone walls. The Old Dutch Church with tombstones dating back to 1686 AD are fascinating. ©BT Images With a unique shape of a six pointed star, a visit to the Star Fort and its museum can bring back the ancient glory of the Dutch colonial era. The arch of the main entrance has an embossment of the VOC and the coat of arms of Governor Van Eck. Fort Frederick is used today by the Sri Lankan milit

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News, Sport & Fitness

All Aboard the Ride of Adventure!

The sunny island of Sri Lanka of the Indian Ocean has always been known for its formidable natural landscapes and the numerous escapades one can venture forth with. Ranging from the underwater safaris, kite surfing, traversing the Knuckles, mountain biking and white water rafting; there is an abundance of activities to encounter on land, air and sea. Get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping with a weekend at Amagi Aria. Amagi Aria fulfils some desires of adrenaline junkies on the beautiful Negombo lagoon, with their exciting range of water-based activities. As the only location in Sri Lanka with certified hosting of an international training course for jet ski racing, you can participate in mini-training sessions conducted by trained professionals. Aside from that, kayaking, wake boarding, boat rides and tube surfing are more of the options you can choose from to have some fun in the sea. In order to relax after all that excitement, the hotel also offers a welcome drink, a great lunch buffet as well as tea and coffee with a slice of cake; this all inclusive of using the pool. If you come in a group of 10 or more, also check out the complimentary room for day use provided by the hotel. The beach, the pool, the sun, fun-packed activities, amazing food and amenities designed for comfort and relaxation makes Amagi Aria a great package to try out on your visit to Sri Lanka.

Kandy town
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News, Events & Festivals

Kandy – charming citadel of the hills

Kandy is a quaint town amidst the cooling climes of the island with a rich heritage and legendary tales to reveal to the traveller. Kandy, being the cultural capital of the island is one of the destinations of the cultural triangle and thus many significant features including its unique architecture. The bustling town coupled with royal heritage and legendary sagas attract the visitor with vivid sightings and scenic locations. Continuing to preserve the capital’s heritage, Kandy is a must see destination when visiting Sri Lanka. The majestic complexes and illustrious monuments resemble the epitome of the Kandyan era. Of the many remarkable sites is the revered Sri Dalada Maligawa, which hosts it annual Esala Perahera in August The Pulsating beat of the esala perahera. Kandy is renowned for its several cultural and religious sites and attracts large crowds all year round. We recommend many fabulous things to do while in Kandy. Immerse in mesmeric views of the cool climes wafting with mist in the early morning hours. The hill country is a truly charming destination with many historical accounts to explore. Things to do: A visit to the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens The impressive stretch of 147-acre is occupied with verdant flora. Well pruned walkway provides a sense of peace and relaxation as one walks through the garden. The scenes of fresh green trees tended branch out to several categories in the surroundings. The Great Lawn is where families are seen gathered for a

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