The Time Out Sri Lanka blog

Your guide to island life, news, culture and everything in-between
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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

Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct
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News, City Life

Live it up in Colombo – At Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct and Hospital Street

Looking for relaxation, delicious cuisine and retail therapy? The 17th century Dutch Hospital in Colombo Fort is a shopping precinct encompassing all that is Sri Lankan, where the lively and relaxing ambience as well as restaurants, bars and shops attract crowds throughout the week. With extensive wooden doors and windows, charming colonnades, low slung tiled roofs and subtle colours, the aura of a bygone era is fostered within the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. Encapsulated within this historic charm are the https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/shopping/colombo-jewellery-stores-2#tab_panel_2, https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/restaurants/harpos-colombo-fort-cafe, https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/restaurants/ikoi-tei-by-wip, https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/shopping/luv-sl, https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/restaurants/ministry-of-crab-1, https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/shopping/spa-ceylon-1 The cobbled courtyards are hotspots especially after dusk with many sitting on concrete benches enjoying the lively company and breezy atmosphere. It is one of the best places to spend a day while shopping and relishing delicious meals all day long. Indeed, the corridors are usually filled with shoppers and diners immersed in the casual ambience. The Dutch Hospital Precinct is the ideal venue to catch up with friends or unwind with soothing tunes in the backdrop. Behind the Dutch Hospital is Hospital Street, one of the cities most charming pathways. With twinkling lights and jazzy

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Little Adam's Peak, best hiking and trekking places
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News, Transport & Travel

Best hiking and trekking trails in Sri Lanka

Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock Visit the beautiful and laid back town of Ella. Located in the Badulla District of the Uva Province; Ella is a rather quiet place nestled in lush greenery. With plenty of accommodation to offer; boutique villas, resorts and hotels as well as cozy cafes, rest houses and pubs; Ella is an ideal place to unwind during a vacation. Board a train and enjoy the most scenic views from Nuwara Eliya to Ella whilst gradually appreciating the cooling climes of the hill country. Passing picturesque sights, especially the nine-arch Demodara Brigde, one can witness the true beauty of nature. The best two sites for hiking and trekking in Ella is the climb to Little Adams peak’s and the hike up to Ella Rock. Little Adam’s peak is also known as the “little brother” of the sacred mountain, Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada). The hike is not so vigorous as the path is marked with signs boards to ease your navigation around the trail. Begin a 45-minute walk from the Ella town to the foot of the mountain. Along the way, you may explore views of the local village and tea plantations. The path up the mountain may take you approximately 30-45 minutes. When you finally reach the top, you will be mesmerized by the panoramic view of Ella including the sight of Ella Rock. The climb is worth it as it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding vistas. If you are ready to embrace a more adventurous hike, trek a journey to the height of Ella rock. From Ella town, trod along the road, u

Galle Fort
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A Taste of Ethnicity

Explore the cultural landmarks and the heritage of the island. From exotic beaches to historically famed sites, there are plenty of places to visit. When in the island, experience an abundance of Sri Lanka's rich culture and history in the Southern province.  Dondra Head Lighthouse The lighthouse was built by the British in 1989. The 150 ft tall structure was constructed solely using stones, were shipped from Scotland and weigh over two tons each. The lighthouse is currently operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. It is also the tallest lighthouse of Sri Lanka and in the South East Asia. One of the four international lighthouses in Sri Lanka, it consists of seven floors, 14 two panel windows and 196 steps, which, once climbed provide a breathtaking view. However, prior permission from the Ports Authority is necessary in order to gain access to the top.  The Dondra Lighthouse is positioned at a crucial point in the Maritime route, and is still active and guides ships and boats and. It also transmits radio wave signals to surrounding lighthouses in the country.   Galle Fort Galle Fort in the cultural capital of Galle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fort is vibrant with many shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes which allow the visitor to immerse in the cultural hub of Galle. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, there's a little bit of history embedded in the origins of the quaint fort. Built by the Portuguese and extended by the Dutch and British, th

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Yaal Devi
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News, Transport & Travel

En route to Jaffna on the Yal Devi

The Yaal Devi, the northern train to Jaffna is a must for those who seek to witness lovely landscapes and scenic views. The trains chugs on from Colombo to KKS, Jaffna and Anuradhapura being one of the major stops along the way. Passing through the heritage cities, witness the historical landmarks such as the Abhayagiriya Viharaya, see verdant paddy fields while passing Gampaha, Polgahawela, Kurunegala and Galgamuwa, and feel the sea breeze as the train crosses the Elephant Pass causeway. Be prepared and take your own food and water to avoid disappointment as the train does not stop for breakfast or lunch. Accommodation Jaffna welcomes you with homely ambience. Palmyrah trees flicker in a distance over green paddy fields. There are hotels, private villas and luxury boutique hotels, located proximate to the town centre. The hotels promise comfort and elegance, influenced by the exotic culture of Jaffna.    Things to do in Jaffna  Fervent worship The heart of the island’s Hindu culture, Jaffna has many kovils. The Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil in the town is opulent with elaborate carvings and a decorated history. From July to August, thousands from around the world, visit to attend the annual festival. The ancient Nagadeepa Viharaya in Nainativu isle is a Solosmasthana, one of the 16 consecrated sites in Sri Lanka, believed to have been visited by the Gautama Buddha. Other important places of worship include the Nagapoosani Amman Kovil and St Mary’s Cathedral.  

Arugambay
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What’s up Arugambay!

Beautiful beaches, rustic wilderness, mysterious legends and happening parties. The south eastern coast of Sri Lanka and its famous resort town Arugambay promise fun and adventure all year round. Surf points… beach points… The area is known for its great surf points: Arugambay Point, Whisky Point, Pottuvil Point, Panama Point, Crocodile Rock/Elephant Point, Peanut Farm, Lighthouse Point and Okanda Point. Although the perfect time for surfing here is considered to be from July to November, Whisky Point, Peanut Farm and even the Arugambay Beach especially promise great fun all year round. If you are not in a mood to surf, these beaches are great for morning yoga, tanning in the sun, building sandcastles or just a splash in the water. ©BT Images     ©BT Images   Don’t forget to tour the Panama sand dunes too… Note: The beaches are safe, however avoid wandering into the nearby wildernesses and lagoons. Before you explore these areas, it is always better to be accompanied by a local. Elephants ahoy! ©BT Images   The jumbos simply love this area, so you are bound to see many of them. Either in the protected National Parks, near beaches or simply strolling along the roadside you will catch a glimpse of these gentle giants. If you travel through the Pottuvil Road that runs through the Lahugala – Kitulana National Park during dawn and dusk, you are bound to see herds or at least a few lone bull elephants on the way. It’s a fantastic sight! If you want more el

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Kirindha
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Legends and Lingo!

Pottuvil in the South East coast of Sri Lanka, once a part of the Ruhunu Kingdom is privy to an ancient legend. Many of its area names are derived from this legend and other Sinhalese and Tamil language words. The legend A brave princess from Kelaniya, who sacrificed herself to the sea to save her kingdom, is believed to have landed on this south eastern shore. Historical evidence unearthed in the area indicates that Princess Viharamahadevi’s ship landed here. The place she landed is marked by the Muhudu Maha Viharaya. Her wedding to the ruler of Ruhunu, King Kavantissa is today known as the Magul Maha Viharaya. In addition to historical remnants, the legend had led to the coinage of many names in the area. A legendary debate – Though many believe the princess landed in Kirinde in the South, historical evidence points to the landing place being Pottuvil. It is said that the Princess was possibly first spotted at Kirinde, where her ship drifted past its rocky beach to land in the sandy shore of the south east.   ©BT Images       So here’s what’s in a name…       Komari – Coined from King Kavantissa’s questions, “Ko Kumari” meaning “Where is the princess?” in Sinhalese. The place the king asked the question is today named Komari. Arugambay – Derived from “Ara Gam Bokke”, meaning “at the bay of that village”. When summoned by King Kavantissa, his subjects are said to have pointed to the bay now called Arugambay and said that is where they saw the princess’ shi

Christmas
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News, Events & Festivals

Christmas

Christmas is the joyous celebration that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians across the world get together with family and friends as the festive season enlivens the homes and streets with dazzling lights and colourful decorations. In Sri Lanka, Christmas spirit is celebrated with joy and happiness, and as Colombo welcomes the joyous festive season, the celestial sound of carol services echoes the Christmas spirit. The chapels and school halls ringing with joy and brimming with evangelical zeal of the choristers, these carols solemnly draw upon the traditional favourites. Moreover, amidst the cold climes of Nuwara Eliya, you can experience whimsical and traditional Christmas celebrations. 

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Cricket Club Cafe
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News, Drinking

Happy Hours in Colombo

Colombo hosts a great set of pubs and bars with atmospheres ranging from luxurious to rustic. If you are in town or just want to grab a drink after a busy day we have narrowed down the times and places where you can maximise your socialising budget. Enter the best happy hours Colombo has to offer–this top-rate bars offer deals and discounts for food and drinks. Its just the right amount of make up that is needed to make one look ‘good’, or ‘posh’ in the end of the day, these are Happy Hour at 7° North, Cinnamon Lakeside  From the Caipirinha to the classical Margarita, a diverse variety of cocktails, beverages combined with a selection of mouthwatering dishes.  Days: Monday–Friday Time: 7.00pm–11.00pm   Cloud Red at Cinnamon Red With both indoor and outdoor bar counters, Cloud Red has happy hour offers on their cocktail pitchers (Ten cocktail pitchers) Days: Daily Opens from 5.00pm   Happy Hour at Curve Tapas Restaurant and Bar, Park Street Mews Offers a range of wines, cocktails, tapas and desserts. Days: Daily Time: 5:00pm to 7:00pm Happy Hour at Stella Karaoke Bar, Hilton Colombo  50% off on an array of beverages. Days: Daily Time: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Special offers at Pool Bar, Hilton Colombo Enjoy 50% off on selected beverages. Days: Daily Time: 5:00pm to 6:00pm Happy Hour at Retro Bar, The Bayleaf The Bayleaf is not only known for its exquisite Italian cuisine. This retro-style bar serves premium liquor, fine selection of wine and cocktails. Days:

Street Food
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News, Eating

Street Food in Sri Lanka

Street food is a national treasure here in Sri Lanka. The fondness and love we put into making food with recipes that have been passed down generation after generation, has in no small way affected the very fabric of our every day lives. So next time you are in our neck of the woods and you’re looking for something good to eat… here are seven tasty street food treats, you don’t want to miss out on. Kothu         The King of Sri Lankan street food, Kothu in theory seems like an easy enough dish to make but people rarely make it at home. Instead Kothu can be bought at anyone of the multitude of restaurants that has to offer. The dish consists of Godambha rotti, vegetables, egg or meat and some spices. It is prepared on a hot cooking surface with two rectangular knives chopping the roti and accompaniments up into small pieces before it is served piping hot. Kothu is usually accompanied with sauce to put over it like Masala sauce.   Acharu         Acharu is a very fond memory for every Sri Lankan who has the tangy, sweet taste of it etched into their minds thanks to their childhood. What the dish is un ripe fruit pickled in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt and some chili powder. Often fruits used for Acharu are mango, pineapple and ambarella but it is also made using olives.   Uludu Wade Wade is a staple in any Sri Lankan street food connoisseur’s pantry. This savory doughnut type morsel is soft and doughy on the inside but crispy on the outside often times w

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