A flourishing underwater world awaits the visitor to the northeast coast of the island at Trincomalee. At Scuba Safari, visitors can dive or snorkel among the thriving marine life, accompanied by experienced guides and instructors. The team specalises in offering unique Scuba Safari services in the East Coast areas during the season as well as off-season. Diving instructors impart their expertise and knowledge for the beginners in safe and protected waters, while intermediates, enthusiasts and professionals can make use of the well-maintained equipment at the Scuba Safari to explore the wonders of the underwater life. Scuba Safari conducts diving sessions in the mornings, due to better weather conditions. Several hours spent underwater allows the divers to immerse in the adventure. The beautiful reef is home to numerous fish including lion fish and stone fish while sea turtles, whale sharks and manta rays can also be observed. Scuba Safari focuses on small groups where each visitor is given careful attention. To cater to bigger groups, extra guides are provided, ensuring that every individual has the freedom to explore different sites while remaining within the group. Personalised services, tailored and flexible packages, experienced divers and well-maintained equipment together with its fleet of boats allow the visitors to create unforgettable memories. Scuba Safari maintains a family friendly atmosphere and is ideal for individuals regardless of skill level. With beach
9 wonderful things to do in Colombo
If you are ever in the island, a visit to Colombo is a must. With an ever changing skyline, cosmopolitan dining scene, art galleries, and an extensive shopping experience, the city offers a one-of-a-kind adventure. Even if you are on a tight budget, there are still many things to do. This is Time Out Sri Lanka’s list of things to do in Colombo, at a cost of almost next to nothing. Note: While most of the places on our list do not have an entrance fee, call ahead to double check about ticket prices and opening hours, especially on Public Holidays.
The Bliss of Bandarawela
Locked amidst picturesque mountain views, Bandarawela is an enchanting town in the Badulla District. The beauty of nature flourishes here, and this captivating scene along with the soothing cool climate has enthralled Sri Lankans for millennia. Even the British colonisers were charmed by this scenic destination centuries ago. Bandarawela truly has an invigorating atmosphere, perfumed with the fragrance of wild flowers. The rolling hills form an endless emerald carpet of wild greens, pine forests and neatly pruned tea plantations. Winding along the slopes, one can witness precisely terraced paddy fields and vegetable patches. Leeks, carrots, beetroot and various cabbages blossom bright and crisp in the cool climate, and along the way, makeshift stalls sell these fresh vegetables. Pears and strawberry gardens are charming places to explore during the fruiting months. There are many vantage points from which to truly witness the salubrious scene of Bandarawela, the most popular being Porawagala. After a rejuvenating trek through nature, gasp at the 360-degree panorama of the area capturing its natural bounty and charming structures at once from this point. Hidden amidst the forestry of the Bandarawela town is the Dhowa Rock Temple, dating back over 2,000 years. These caves were believed to have once provided sanctuary to mon- arch King Walagamba when he fled Anuradhapura during an invasion. Within the hiddem caves are large Buddha statues and the ceiling is adorned wi
Major festivals in Sri Lanka
What to do in Sri Lanka
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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.
Tongue-tingling Sri Lanka
The island in the sun is blessed with a bounty of ingredients. Fresh and nutritious, these culinary gems are transformed into scrumptious dishes with island-grown spices and a cheerful Sri Lankan twist. When in the tropical isle, these dishes are a must try...they are nothing like anything you have tasted before!
Oktoberfest is here! Come Strap on your lederhosen, raise a pint and grab a pretzel; it’s that time of the year when the spirit of Oktoberfest is in town. During October, throughout the island, special events will be held to commemorate the world famous German beer festival. Feast on schnitzels, bratwurst, sauerkraut and fried potato in all shapes and sizes. Treat your taste buds to apple strudel, ginger-bread hearts and sugared almonds. Be enthused by the antics of Bavarian folk dancers and musicians and games. There are Oktoberfest events scheduled in bustling Colombo and across Sri Lanka that are perfect for unwinding with friends and colleagues. It’s time to raise your mugs and be merry! Oktoberfest at The Floor by O! October 1 – 10; A celebration with special German food and limited edition beer. Oktoberfest at Colombo Fort Café October 1 – 31; Harpo’s Colombo Fort Cafe offers Oktoberfest Specials for lunch and deals throughout the month. Oktoberfest at Anantara Kalutara Resort October 5 – 6; Oktoberfest with an unlimited German cuisine themed buffet and amazing deals on rooms. Oktoberfest at The Shore by O! October 1 1– 17; A festival with special German food and limited edition beer. Oktoberfest at Hilton Colombo November 1 – 10; Hilton Colombo Sports Center Arena; Sunday to Thursday (7pm–12 midnight); Friday and Saturday (7pm – 1am) A slice of joy It’s time to celebrate the circle that has won the hearts of the world for decades. O
The Minneriya National Park has at its heart the ancient Minneriya reservoir, built by King Mahasen. As the dry season begins to wither the green land of the rustic North Central province, and suck dry the waters in the area, the elephants have no option but to follow their scent looking for sweet grass and water. The Minneriya reservoir never dries, so it becomes the centre of herds literally nosing their way through. The herds converge and their ‘gathering’ can grow up to 300 elephants. The Gathering has the allure of being the biggest annual grouping of elephants in Asia. The drought months of late June to September propel it. If you wish to experience the complete splendour of the giants living out their life in the open, be ready before dusk. Late afternoon is when the peace-loving, gentle animals prefer to have this social evening or garden party. In their hundreds, the elephants are happy to squelch in the precious pocket of lush sweet grass and muddy water. Their hides will be bathed in the golden dusk light and, possibly, their glow of happiness, at this massive herd rendezvous. They bathe, mate, eat and socialise. You will have a good number of animated action to witness on the same plane. Look out for the adorable tiny ones that run like nobody’s business, but approach with care because the jealous mothers, aunts and uncles are quite protective. The Gathering in Minneriya is truly a rare and must-see spectacle! The Gathering is best witnessed at dusk in the mon
Places to visit in the east
Have a wave of a time in Arugambay!
Sun, sands and whopping waves, the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka is in its element. Whether you are a beginner or pro, enthusiast or first-timer, grab a surf board and head on over. Along the beaches, nestled amidst forestry or rural villages, there are many surf points in the southeast, some hidden away in the wild terrain. It’s more than waves... There is so much to eat, see and do... Many hotels as well as restaurants are located in the southeastern coast and along the Main Street in Arugambay where the nightlife is especially happening (See East Coast). Relish delicious cuisine from around the world with a unique local twist, enjoy tasty Sri Lankan fare and street food and savour the delightful treats from roadside barbecues. Explore the untouched wilderness and witness herds of elephants, leopards, deer and birdlife at the National Parks, Sanctuaries and even lagoons. If you are lucky you might even catch a glimpse of elephants strolling along the roadside, especially in the evening and at dawn. Arugambay and the surrounding area was once part of the illustrious Magam Ruhunu Kingdom extending to the second century BC. Take some time to discover the ancient mysteries and be enthralled by remnants of structures built by kings of yore. Ride the waves, lounge on the sunny, sandy beach, explore and experience the best of Arugambay. Surf’s up in the East Coast and it is time for a wave of an adventure. Tip: Do not wander into the wilderness and water bodies. Al
Arugambay at Night
After a day of sunbathing, surfing and exploring, the cooling night provides the ideal atmosphere to enjoy the many cuisines and snacks available. If you simply want to have a roti, hopper or a crispy vadai you can make a quick stop at one of the food carts while walking along the road. Lamps are lit and grills are fired as the restaurants get ready to serve. Fresh fish and various types of seafood are laid out for diners to make their pick. This area is renowned for its selection of seafood. Thereafter, the dish is prepared according to their preference. Spicy aromas drift in the air, as the BBQ is prepared. There are restaurants that serve delicious pizzas, burgers, Sri Lankan, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and also fusion cuisine. However, if you wish to try something different you could head to some of the hotels such as the restaurant at Blue Wave Hotel, which offers both Sri Lankan and international cuisine. You may also dine at Arugambay Roccos, amidst the relaxing ambience of the Square. The delicious cuisine are freshly made and will be definitely satisfying as you enjoy the evening. Take a short ride to Whisky Point and dine at Dream Garden. With a delectable menu, you can enjoy your dinner while admiring the charming surroundings. Paper Moon Kudils also provides a unique experience as you savour the flavoursome dishes served at the Kusini. Prepared freshly, with many of the ingredients from their very own garden, the cuisine is a blend between Sri Lankan and contin
Pigeon Island National Park
The island just one kilometre and a few minutes by boat, from Nilaveli Coast, Trincomalee is in itself a unique destination. Lush greenery and white sandy shores enveloped by the foaming waves of the bright sapphire ocean, The Pigeon Island Marine Park is a must visit for the ocean lovers and the adventerous; snorkelling amidst the colourful schools of fish and the conserved coral reefs is an exhilarating experience! Make sure you’re well equipped and accompanied by an expert, who will guide you through the sites and even take you to a shark point!
Kumana National Park
Kumana is well known for its wildlife and more so for its migratory and indigenous bird population. Sightings of changeable hawk eagles, painted and rare black necked storks, egrets, godwits, ibis and many more are possible by the many lagoons, and reflected in eyes of curious, wandering jackals. While on safari, watch out for the elephants, spotted, and sambhur deer. They too are quite active around watering holes like the Kumana Villu swamp, and in pockets of lush foliage. Kumana is situated in the eastern district of Ampara and is 12km south of Arugam Bay. There is a turn off just before the town of Panama, which leads to the National Park.
A little distance away from the South of Arugam Bay, you will come to an endearing little village called Panama. Unspoilt and remote, Panama is host to a charmed way of life and century-old traditions unheard of in modern Sri Lanka. Spiritual beliefs and faith intertwine irrevocably with the quiet everyday life in the village. The community of 5000 families harbours much faith in the blessings of the Pattini Deity and is venerated at the Angpiti Devale. Villagers are filled with tales of the past that weave the colourful history of the village. Amidst natural beauty and attractions, such as the Panama Lake and Panama Beach, the village is interspersed with farming lands, paddy fields and greenery.