Wild Life

Feel the wondering variety of wild life and bio diversity in this little island


Arugam Bay in east cost of Sri lanka is the one of best places in earth for surfing.

White Water Rafting

The small town of Kitulgala in the hill country is the most famous whitewater rafting location in Sri Lanka.

Goldi Sand Beaches

Experience the Miracle Beaches

Cultural Events

Kendy Perahara

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mattala Rajapaksa Int’l Airport opens

Today 18, March 2013, would be a red letter day in Sri Lanka’s aviation sector when Sri Lanka opens its second international airport. (MRIA) MRIA, Hambantota, Sri Lanka’s second ‘Gateway’ to the world, springs new hopes, aspirations, ambitions and excitement for Sri Lanka’s aviation industry, business, trade and leisure sectors, opening up a major growth opportunity for SriLankan Airlines.

The new airport would fulfill one of the longest infrastructure needs of the local aviation sector, a second international airport. Previously, airlines had to carry additional fuel and used to have back up plans in case they were unable to land in Colombo and with the opening of the MRIA, this major problem has been solved thus giving the airline additional savings.

Minster of Civil Aviation, Piyankara Jayaratne, said that one of the main reasons to build MRIC in Hambantota was the demand from the tourism sector where tourists wanted to start their tour by visiting wild life parks, (Yala) enjoy the sunny beaches in the Eastern province, cool themselves in the hill country, see the historic city of Kandy, followed by the cultural triangle and return via the Elephant orphanage in Pinnawela and finally enjoying the entertainment and shopping in Colombo, before departing.

The Mattala airport will also support the international cricket stadium, convention centre, harbour and most importantly the emerging economic zone and the International IT Park. MIRA will also be the only available air strip that could land the world’s largest aircraft, A380.

“We have reduced the fees of ground operations and airport fees in Mattala. In addition, we have introduced an “Open Sky Policy” which enables the landing of aircraft anytime in Mattala”. “In addition, we have mapped out several development plans for MRIA to refute allegations that Mattala was a White Elephant.”

SriLankan Airlines Chairman, Nishantha Wickramasingha, told Daily News Business that Sri Lankan Tourism can now aim at 2.5 million tourists in 2016. “The new airport would help Sri Lanka attract an additional million arrivals to the country,” he said.

Chairman, Airport Aviation Services, Prasanna Wickramasuriya, said that they have been marketing the MRIA for a long period and said that it had a sound business model to survive.

“We are targeting charter flights and logistic flights to use MRIA as it would be more viable for them as we have offered concessions,” he said. By providing water and fuel for aircraft and also providing maintenance services, the port can earn extra revenue which would be a commercially added advantage. All operations will be done through Katunayake. Aircraft landing at Mattala will fly through Katunayake. All flights operating through Shanghai, Beijing, Male, Riyadh, Buddha Gaya, etc. will fly to Mattala via Katunayake.

Two foreign airlines, flydubai and Air Arabia even before the completion of the airport, expressed their consent to start operations at Mattala and make it a destination for their flights.

In addition, several other airlines would be flying to MRIA soon. The cost of the project was funded by the Chinese Government. During the first phase, all basic facilities and requirements were completed, including a runway, taxiways and parking facilities. Any kind of airline in the world could land to Mattala International Airport. Mattala could accommodate massive aircraft such A 380 and even the largest aircraft Antanov 225.

The airport had been constructed as an eco-friendly airport, minimizing damage to the environment. During the second stage, aviation related facilities, such as a servicing and repairing centre for aircraft, pilot training centre, maintenance hub, private jet parking, technical training centres, hotels and many more facilities would be completed.

“SriLankan Airlines and Mihin, while operating several flights, plans to set up its Aviation Academy and a Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility with Lufthansa to expand its business in the South Asian region.” Catering for all flights that depart the MRIA; Engineering line maintenance support; and cargo handling whilst operating the airline’s own introductory schedule of flights, initially to the Maldives, the Middle East and China.

“For SriLankan Airlines, this is a quantum leap where we have the convenience of utilizing two international airports just 90.8 nautical miles apart, affording flexibility and new avenues for innovative expansion and development,” said SriLankan Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer, Kapila Chandrasena.

“We have recruited and we continue to recruit young Sri Lankans from new regions in the island, to enter lucrative careers in the dynamic aviation industry.”

Gunarathna said that the new airport commences its operations at a time the Tourism Industry of Sri Lanka was experiencing a steady growth, recording more than 46% annual growth over the years.

“As such, Sri Lanka Tourism is delighted to witness the opening of the MRIA and feel confident that it was definitely going to contribute in a mega scale for the development of tourism.”

These attractions are situated in close proximity to the Mattala Airport and introduced recently for tourists following the peaceful environment prevailing in these parts of the country, as a result of establishing peace, law and order by the Government of Sri Lanka.”

The strategic location of the new airport would also be significant in around the Eastern and Southern Provinces to serve the purpose of the frequent travellers who wish to travel at short transit times to visit tourism hot spots such as Nuwara Eliya Galle Arugam Bay, Yala National Park, Willpattu National Park, etc. Reaching these key tourism destinations from Mattala Airport is less time consuming than traveling from the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.”

Veteran hosteller Chandra Wickramasinge of Maalu Maalu fame said that the MRIA would be a major boost to the development of tourism specially in the Eastern province. Tourists can now come to the East in less than three hours,” he said.

Chairman, Master Divers and Former Director of the Southern Development Authority, Ariyasiri Wickramanayaka told the Daily News Business that the new venture of opening the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) is a highly commendable step taken by the government.

“I am one of the pioneers who proposed to take this development into Hambantota. In fact, it was me who proposed to build the Hambantota port as Galle was not large enough. Therefore, I am happy that the new international airport is being built in Hambantota because it is where we are meant to be,” he said.

According to Wickramanayaka, Hambantota will be the next capital of Sri Lanka due to its ample space vacant for opportunity. According to him the fact that the airport and port, being bigger than the Katunayaka Airport and Colombo port, will attract many business opportunities.

“This is where we belong. Galle was the capital when the Dutch were here and Colombo was the capital when the British were here but now it is time we go back to the capital which was truly local and before the invasion, the late Magampura and the present Hambantota, we are going back home,” he said.

According to him opening the MRIA is a practical step as people would be drawn there business wise and it will be the future economic hub.

“If people want to earn a US $ 200 salary in future, Hambantota is the place to go, and that is were people will go to earn a good living as there is plenty of job opportunities,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer, Hambantota Chamber of Commerce, Krishanthi Weerasinghe said that Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport will bring in a lot of opportunities for the business community because of the development in the tourism sector.

She said that with the new airport, all the other areas in the vicinity, namely Tissamaharama, Tangalle, Belliatta and other towns will develop rapidly. Weerasinghe said that there is ample chance for the development of infrastructure facilities due to the opening of opportunities in the area.

The majority of land belongs to the government, therefore, the government could easily provide more opportunities for the development and attract foreign investments into the country.

General Manager, Peacock Beach Hotel, Nalin Fernando said that this area was neglected for sometime and with the opening of the new airport there would be a big boom in the hotel and tourism sector in the area.

He said this would be a great move by the government to create a window of opportunities not only to the area but also to the whole country. This airport would bring enormous opportunities to the country from medium to long term perspectives.

Meanwhile, taking an international visual aspect on the proceedings of MRIA, a delegation from Germany and France visited Sri Lanka to enter into deals regarding rubber with one of Sri Lanka’s well known Rubber exporting companies, said that it will ease their burden of travel and that the location, though is highly condemned is by no way an inconvenience.

According to these delegates they expect MRIA to reach the international standards and is sure that this new initiative will make way to increase the already expanding tourism industry. Taking a more general perspective, Daily News Business spoke to some constant travelers, former FedEx Sri Lanka Manager who travels as a hobby said that the MRIA will actually increase the convenience of travel as there might be less traffic in reaching the airport.

“The MRIA is bigger than the Katunayaka International Airport and thus, in my opinion, traveling from Sri Lanka is about to be a more comfortable experience,” he said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Seaplanes in Sri Lanka: up and away with a new air taxi service

A thrilling new seaplane service in Sri Lanka takes you from Colombo into the hill country, landing on temple lakes – and the tickets start at just £30
It was at Koggala lake, near Galle, that I first saw the seaplane that was to whisk me up to Sri Lanka's lush and temperate tea country. There, bobbing up and down, lashed to a floating dock, was the white dual-engine DeHavilland Twin Otter, on its tail a phantasmagoric mural depicting the supposed sights of Sri Lanka: leopards, giant squid, elephants and whales.
Seeing the plane floating on two giant pontoons, its wings set on top of a fuselage that holds 15 passengers, I was transported back to a time when air travel was still an adventure, when stepping onto a plane amid the uproar of whizzing propellers felt intrepid.
I'd long wanted to visit Sri Lanka's hills, though driving from Colombo up to Kandy and then on to Nuwara Eliya – while an exciting experience – can eat away at your itinerary. That's why, on a recent trip, I decided to see the country from the sky, by opting to take SriLankan Air Taxi, a little-known seaplane service that, for the price of a hire car, plies routes from Colombo to the coastal towns of Galle and Tangalle, as well as the hill towns of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, and Dambulla, famous for its cave temple complex.
SriLankan Airlines' seaplane service was set up in 2004 but was promptly suspended due to the country's protracted civil war, which finally ended in 2009. The service was re-launched last year but its existence is still under the radar. It has only been possible to book online since June 2012.
The ceasefire has been a boon to domestic air travel. It is now possible to fly from Colombo to Jaffna in a Cessna operated by ExpoAir (expoavi.com) and another seaplane service, Cinnamon Air (cinnamonair.com), will be launched in early 2013.
Over a piquant fish curry on the veranda of the painstakingly restored Amangalla hotel in the Dutch fort at Galle, I imagined life in wartime Ceylon, having read about Sri Lanka's seaplane legacy and Leonard Birchall, the Canadian second world war pilot remembered as the "saviour of Ceylon". After taking off from Koggala lake, about nine miles east of Galle in a Catalina "flying boat" seaplane in 1942, Birchall spotted a "black speck" on the horizon, which turned out to be the Japanese fleet, the co-ordinates of which he radioed back to Colombo before being shot down (he survived).
Inside the Amangalla Hotel in Sri Lanka The hotel dining room at Amangalla hotel. Photograph: ./Bloomberg Today, Koggala is still a naval base, and doubles as a SriLankan Air Taxi runway. I took the morning flight to Colombo for £40. The cabin was basic and unpressurised; the seatbelt was the only amenity. There was no cockpit door, so I was able to watch the captain and copilot manipulate the yoke, foot pedals and throttles. I could read the plane's instruments and feel the vibration of the propellers.
The plane only needed about a quarter of a mile to take off. Rising off the water, we climbed steeply to 7,500ft and for most of the 45-minute journey followed the ribbon of the Colombo-Galle highway as it bisected paddy fields and palm oil plantations. I barely moved my eyes from the window, from which I could see hilltop Buddhist temples, mosques and cricket pitches.
As we approached Colombo, the pilot banked the plane to the left and we followed the coast to one of SriLankan's two bases in the capital. Since landing a seaplane depends on water levels, currents and visibility, the air taxi's schedules are flexible, their bases changeable. Two more bases are being prepared, one downtown at Colombo Fort and another at the international airport.
During the layover the pilot, Canadian George McBain, told me that, though run by SriLankan Airlines, the whole operation – the plane, the crews, the maintenance – have been leased from Kenn Borek Air, a Canada-based charter airline specialising in Twin Otters. Borek Air leases SriLankan the same planes that ply hunting and fishing lodges in western Canada and Alaska, and support Antarctic research missions. "The Twin Otter is fun to fly," McBain said. "It can go anywhere. There is no other plane in the world that can fly where it goes. It can fly in the open oceans in the Maldives, land on riverbeds, frozen water, glaciers. And you can't see anything from a jet. At 5,000 or 10,000 feet, I have stuff to look at all day long."
The centre of Kandy. 
Fly into the heart of Kandy. Photograph: Getty Images

We flew to Kandy from the Peliyagoda base, which is at an elbow in the river Kelani in a suburb of Colombo. Its dock is leased from a Buddhist temple, its terminal comprised of a collection red plastic chairs. I spun the giant prayer wheels under the gaze of a statue of a standing Buddha as five passengers checked in, posed for pictures on the dock and inspected the plane.
As we flew north-east from Colombo towards the hills, we passed in and out of clouds, the plane skating gently on the wind. Passengers took photographs of waterfalls, plantation houses, still more temples and cricket pitches.
At Kandy, we descended between the trees lining a dammed segment of the Mohaweli river. There were about 50 locals by the dock waiting for the plane to land, taking pictures on their mobile phones. After disembarking, Saleh al-Estry, an Omani tourist who was on my flight, called the journey "fantastic". He said he clicked the seaplane icon on the SriLankan website by chance. "I saw there was a seaplane and thought, 'I should try this'," he said. "The funny thing is, in Colombo nobody knows about this. Even the guy in my hotel had never heard of it."
After a walk around Kandy lake and a tour of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which supposedly houses one of the Buddha's teeth, I boarded a train for the former British redoubt of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka's best-known hill station. For three hours we wound through the jungle and tea plantations I'd seen from the air and at station stops I bought sweet coconuts and wadi (fried savory snacks with chilli chutney) through the window.
After a night at the Hill Club, a rambling colonial pile where guests are served seafood thermidor in a formal dining room by white-gloved waiters, I embarked on the flight from lake Gregory back to Colombo. Seaplane travel now felt routine. In the air I thought of all the remote places I've been that could be made less remote by Twin Otters, and thought with vertiginous dread of the inevitability of future long-distance journeys on pitted and perilous roads.
Not in Sri Lanka, though. George McBain, the pilot, suspected he'd see me again. "A lot of passengers – the ones that we do have – are repeat passengers," he said.

Way to go

Getting there
Emirates (emirates.com) flies from Gatwick to Colombo via Dubai from about £550 return including taxes
Getting around
SriLankan Air Taxi Service can be booked at srilankan.com. A flight from Koggala to Colombo costs 8,969 LKR (about £42); a flight from Colombo to Kandy costs about £31
Where to stay
The seafront Galle Face Hotel in Colombo (gallefacehotel.com) has doubles from £95. Deco on 44 (decoon44.com) is a boutique hotel in a restored art deco villa in Galle Fort with doubles from £135. Hill Club Sri Lanka in Nuwara Eliya (+94 52 222 2653, no website), doubles from £70. The sprawling and eccentric Helga's Folly (helgasfolly.com) in Kandy has doubles from £125

Source - Click here

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sri Lanka and Spain going cheap in 2013

Spain and Sri Lanka have emerged as the best-value destinations for 2013, with Australia and South Korea coming bottom of a list of the world’s leading holiday hotspots.
The annual Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer compares the cost of a holiday shopping basket in 42 destinations worldwide. The basket contains a meal for two, a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, a can of Coca-Cola, a glass of wine, a bottle of water, suncream and a packet of cigarettes. The survey found that while these eight items cost £146.93 in Seoul and £145.28 in Darwin, they cost just £36.14 in both Malaga and Galle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Departures S3E3 - Sri Lanka

Travelling to Sri Lanka at the tail end of the 25-year civil war, the guys expect to visit a war-torn country, yet discover a different land. From exploring the wonders of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin, to visiting Sri Lanka's indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas tribe, and joining the pilgrimage up Adam's Peak, the guys experience a beautiful and culturally rich country. They get to Sri Lanka's capital city, Colombo, just in time to see the Navam Perahera -- a spectacular parade made up of thousands of dancers and acrobats, and over a hundred decorated elephants.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sri Lanka welcomes one millionth tourist in 2012

Achieving another remarkable milestone in the country’s booming tourism industry, Sri Lanka Tourism welcomed the arrival of 1,000,000th tourist in year 2012 at Bandaranaike International Airport on 31st December 2012.

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardhana, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism- Bhashwara Gunarathna , Kamal Rathwaththa – Deputy Chairman Of Airport and Aviation(LTD), Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau – Rumy Jauffer with a group of representatives from travel and tourism industry warmly welcomed the guest Ms. Jiang Ying and her husband from China who arrived in Sri Lanka via flight UL 889 from Beijing at 10.00 p.m. Sri Lanka Tourism took steps to arrange a special ceremony to welcome the 1,000,000th guest.

Sri Lanka Tourism gavec special gifts for being the lucky couple from China to pass the milestone, so that their next stay in Sri Lanka will be absolutely free. Ms. Jiang Ying, being the happy visitor to arrive in Sri Lanka as the 1,000,000th tourist for the year 2012, said "I had heard a lot about Sri Lanka from my friends. I found out details about your country before deciding my holiday destination. I was simply bewitched by the photos on the internet. Sri Lanka is as beautiful and breathtaking as presented in the photos. Moreover, Sri Lankans are very hospitable and kind."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

British Airways names Sri Lanka as the top destination in year 2013.

Sri Lanka has topped the 13 destinations categorized as popular favorite places to visit next year.

This ranking has been accorded to Sri Lanka by a panel of experts assigned by British Airways to compile a list of the top 13 new destinations and popular favorite places to visit in 2013. 

Beautiful beaches, heritage sites, hospitality and no restrictions on travel are the reasons for this nomination. The British Airways points out different climates experienced in Sri Lanka is also another reason for this decision. Meanwhile, the one millionth tourist for this year arrived last night. There was a marked development in tourism this year. In the year 2010 the number of tourists visited Sri Lanka amounted 650 thousand.

The Panel of Experts have made their determination based on tourists heading to the island in increasing numbers after the end of terrorism, attractions like beaches, elephant treks and a large number of UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in the country.

The other destinations are Croatia; Vietnam; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Derry, Northern Ireland; Las Vegas, USA; Tbilisi, Georgia; San Diego, California, USA; Cape Town, South Africa; Alicante, Spain; and Dubai, UAE. (niz)
British Airways will resume direct flights to Colombo from Gatwick,UK in March 2013. This is an addition to Lonely Planet endorsement for Sri Lanka as best destination to travel for 2013 among global tourism destinations.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Floating Restaurant on Scenic Diyawanna Oya

Sri Lanka Navy's latest hospitality venture, SLN Floating Restaurant, set sail on the scenic Diyawanna Oya offering a novel experience to the booming leisure industry in the country. The event, one of many launched to reap peace dividends for the national development, was inaugurated by Secretary of Defence and Urban Development, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksha on 22nd December 2012. Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilake, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Chief of Staff, Director General Operations and Director General Engineering of the Sri Lanka Navy were also present on the occasion.

SLN Floating Restaurant equipped with all amenities is ideal for receptions, weddings and corporate events. It is custom-built by the Navy incorporating comfort and safety to cater to its clients' diverse needs. Catering is handled by the Waters Edge and the facility is manned by SLN personnel. Clients can now enjoy a relaxing meal while afloat in the scenic waters of Diyawanna Oya, comforted by caressing cool breeze marveling the lush greenery along the lake banks.

Source - Click here

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