CHRISTMAS IN SRI LANKA

  Christmas in Sri Lanka

Season’s Greetings! Sri Lankans love to party and happily join in the celebrations of the feasts or holy days of all religions. December 25 is a public, bank and mercantile holiday throughout Sri Lanka. Even though it is a Christian festival, the government sometimes regards Christmas Day as equivalent to a (dry) Poya (Full Moon) Day and bans the sale of alcohol then, so visitors need to make advance arrangements if planning a traditional Christmas wassail.

 

Since Sri Lanka is within six degrees of the Equator, Christmas Day is usually sunny and hot, making an unusual experience for visitors from the West accustomed to cold and even snow. While all the mainstream Colombo and beach hotels put up decorations and lay on sumptuous buffets (yes, with turkey) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, guesthouses leave tourists to their own devices.

WHALES AND DOLPHINS IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is becoming a major spot for watching Whales and Dolphins. Dondra Point of down south in Sri Lanka is the main port of Whale Watching in Sri Lanka during December to April. Out of these months December, January and April are the peak months of sightings. During these months there is 95% chances of spotting Sperm Whales and great chances of spotting Blue Whales as their migration path is just off Dondra Point. We are able to arrange Whale Watching Trips off Dondra Point in a fully insured trawler boat which will last for 3 hours. Also there are good chances of spotting Spinner Dolphins also off Dondra. Ample of accommodation options are available as Dondra point can be reach easily from Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama, Mirissa and Tangalle which are popular beach locations in Sri Lanka. Mirissa is the closest point to Dondra Point with good accommodation options.

We usually start at 6AM and the duration of sailing is 3 – 5 Hours at Sea. We provide Free Breakfast and Water, life Jackets and Life Guards are present in the Vessel as well. The boat has toilet facilities to cater to the long duration.

Kalpitiya is the best places if you are interested in seeing Dolphins. During November to March is the best season to go Dolphin Watching off Kalpitiya. At a time you can witness 1000-1500 Dolphins. We can arrange accommodation in basic holiday cottages to nice beach villas in Kalpitiya area.

Kalpitiya is 3 1/2 hours drive from Colombo and 2 1/2 hours drive from popular beach location Negombo.

Whale and Dolphin watching is also possible during June to September off the eastern shores such as Trincomalee.

Beautiful Kitulgala

If you are little bit adventurous and want to enjoy your holidays in calm and serene surroundings then do visit Kitulgala, a small town situated on the outskirts of Kelani River and rain forest in lower part. This area is one of the beautiful regions where you can experience white water rafting in picturesque Kelani River. The river and its surroundings will make you feel enchanted with a memorable experience. 

Migrant birds in Sri Lanka

If one is interested in migrant birds, the ideal time to look for them is during the last two months of the year, by mid-November, the majority of our wintering birds may have arrived in our shores. The migrant birds generally start arriving here late in August and early September. When the cold wind from the Bay of Bengal begin to blow over, heralding the onset of the North-East monsoon. But it will not be until October and November that the main influx takes place. During these two months large number of winter birds arrives from their breeding haunts in the dist and part of Asia and Europe.

There are nearly 427 species and sub-species of birds in Sri Lanka today and of them approximately 176 are migrants. And, except a few species of oceanic birds, all of them fall in to one category – winter visitors.

From which parts of world do these migrants birds come and how? What are there migratory routes? These are but a few of the questions posed by amateur bird watchers. Detailed studies carried out by ornithologists in this country an elsewhere have revealed that majority of migrant birds found in Sri Lanka come from countries situated within the temperature zone.

Almost all migratory waders seen here during the North-East monsoon have breeding grounds in the Steppes and Tundra, north of Asia and Europe. Such birds as the Turnstone, Marsh Sandpiper, Sanderline, Long-tailed Stint and Caspian Plover may Sri Lanka from breeding grounds in Northern and Southern Russia or from places within the Arctic Circle.

The Great brown-headed Gull and the Herring Gull; which occasionally visit our coastal lagoons, definitely come from large lakes in central Asia and from Russia, including Siberia, while their smaller relative, the Whiskered Tern comes here from inland lakes in Kashmir.

The Pintail, Garganey, Shoveller and Gadwall are some of the wild Ducks most of us will know may have seen some time or other. But how many of us actually know the great distance they fly to reach the warmth of our shores? The vast majority of them come from countries far North of Asia and Europe, and a few from Tibet and Mongolia. The commoner snipes – pintail and fantail-hail from places situated thousand miles apart. The first comes here from the East Siberian marshes and other from Northern European countries, Japan and northern China.

The migratory Warblers (as many as eleven are known) almost certainly come from breeding grounds in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. While a couple of Warblers come from Afghanistan, Kashmir and the Himalayas, the Blue-Chat, Pied Ground Thrush, Northern Orange Headed Ground Thrush and Indian Blue Rock-Thrush come solely from Himalayan foothills.

So do some of the migratory flycatchers, i.e. Blue-throated Flycatchers, Brown Flycatchers and the Layard’s flycatcher. It is certainly that the Indian White Wagtail, Eastern Gray wagtail and the yellow-headed Wagtail too come from the Himalayan nesting grounds.

The Indian plaintive Cuckoo and the Asian Common Cuckoo certainly breed in the same localities as the flycatchers, and used the same routes along the west coast to reach Sri Lanka.

The Hawks and Eagles encountered in the island during winter period come from a variety of countries in Asia and Europe. The Siberian Honey Buzzard has its headquarters in Eastern Siberia, while the Desert Buzzard comes from Japan or perhaps from Burma.

The four species of Harriers occur in the island have been traced to breeding grounds in northern parts of Asia and Europe.

The Osprey and the short-eared Owl are birds of the Temperature Regions. The rarer Red-legged Falcon arrives from breeding places in the North East of Asia and the Kestrels fly in to Sri Lanka from Western European countries, Japan and Northern China. The Purple Wood Pigeon obviously comes from Bengal Indo-China and the two migratory Turtle Doves have their nesting haunts from the Himalayas and Central Asia.

Nesting

The Black-capped Kingfisher and the Tiger or Malay Bittern are considered rare migrants whose nesting grounds have been traced to Western Sumatra, Burma and Malaysia to China.

The bird watcher countrywide looks forward to the arrival of the Eastern Swallow than the other migrant birds. It is one of the first to appear in our shores, scattered flocks having been seen here as early as the third week of August.

The Eastern Gray Wagtail, perhaps the commonest and the most welcome visitor in the Central Hill Zone, may be another forerunner in the long train of winter visitors in our country immediately on arrival in the Island it be takes to the hill country and as a result its first arrival is hardly recorded in the low-lands.

The Sandpipers, Stints, Curlews, Golden Plover, too arrive in the late August or early September. Many of the smaller passerine birds start to arrive in the late September or October.

The Pintail Snipe comes in from September. The ducks, teal and other wild fowl are surely the last to start on their migratory journeys, which can be judged from the vast flocks that appear in Sri Lanka during November and December.

 

COLOMBO

Just don’t miss this capital city which happens to be the biggest cities of country as well. It is a melting pot of all the colors and cultures that make up this island nation and condense them into a colorful patchwork which is full of amazing attractions both humble as well as grand. It is the political, economic and cultural center of Sri Lanka which gets loud applause for its colonial heritage, fine dining, shopping and a dash of urban buzz. The city boasts several cultural and historical attractions and is undoubtedly the backbone of Sri Lankan economic structure. It houses several important buildings and is headquarters to some of nation’s largest companies. National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, National Museum of Colombo, Galle Face Green and Beira Lake etc. are some interesting hot spots of city that you must visit on a visit to Colombo

Sri Lanka a magnificent country of so much in so little!

Few places in the world can offer travellers so much diversity which is a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristinely beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife sanctuaries, captivating cultural heritage, legendary temples, UNESCO world heritage sites etc. Undoubtedly Sri Lanka’s attributes are many. On a visit to this magnificent country one can say “So Much in so little”.

The country is blesses by graciousness of Mother Nature which offers a great escape to its visitors to enjoy tropical climate of coast and lowlands at its various beautiful hill stations which are lush , greenish and virally infectious with allure. Aromatic tea plantations and rain forested peaks beckon walkers and trekkers to come and enjoy the most beautiful holidays of their life. For beach lovers there are very few better options then Sri Lanka. The beaches are dazzling white and pathless. They ring the island in which ever direction you go, you’ll find yourself near to a sandy gem where you can surf, dive, swim or indulge in various beach site activities. The whole experience is so exhilarating that your few days will surely convert to weeks. To enjoy all this fun and much more, hurry, don’t wait and book low fare business class flights to Sri Lanka and enjoy a journey that will remain with you for long time.

It is not possible to cover all the gems of this beautiful island nation in just a single holiday trip. So lets us explore a bit of every beauty and visit the most alluring sites of this beautiful country that will surely compel you to soon plan your next visit.

Where to Visit during Holidays in Sri Lanka

Holidays in Sri Lanka is a dream to many while several People have already enjoyed Holidays at this beautiful Island nation.

Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and is recognized as one of the best destinations for Beach Holidays. The miles and miles of sun kissed beaches provides excellent beach sporting and relaxing opportunities. Negombo, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Beruwala and Galle are some of the best beaches for Holidays in Sri Lanka while Tangalle which is further away in the South Coast provides a less crowded and a beautiful beach.
The Hill Country which provides a cooling climate offers one of the best climate to explore the Hill Country which is full of scenic beauty while the waterfalls provides its visitors a refreshing holiday experience in Sri Lanka.

 

Kandy which is another famous and historic city to visit is popular as the gateway to the Hill Country. A visit to Kandy is a must to experience Holidays in Sri Lanka.

It is highly recommended to visit Nuwara eliya straight after visiting Kandy. Nuwara eliya which is also known as little England is an ideal location for Sri Lanka Holidays.

For cultural fans, Sigiriya which is also known as the Lions Rock, Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are must visit locations in Sri Lanka.

Holidays in Sri Lanka will never be completed without a visit to the colourful city of Colombo which is also the financial capital of Sri Lanka is a must visit place for Nightlife and shopping while Colombo is also home to some of the Star Class Hotels in Sri Lanka.

WHEN TO VISIT SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is tropical, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half, while the dry season here lasts from December to March. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East, while the dry season is from May to September. The North and East are comparatively dry, with around 1000mm of rain annually. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island.

Colombo and the low-lying coastal regions have an average temperature of 27°C. At Kandy (altitude 500m), the average temperature is 20°C, while Nuwara Eliya (at 1889m) has a temperate 16°C average. The sea stays at around 27°C all year.

When to go?

Climatically speaking, the driest (and best) seasons in Sri Lanka are from December to March for the west coast, the south coast and the Hill Country, and from April to September for the ancient cities region and the east coast.

December through March are also the months when most foreign tourists visit, the majority of them escaping the European winter. During the Christmas to New Year holiday season, in particular, accommodation anywhere on the island can be tight due to the huge influx of foreign visitors.

July/August is the time of the Kandy Esala Perahera, the 10-day festival honouring the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha, and also the time for the Kataragama festival in the South. In both towns accommodation just before, during and immediately after the festivals is very difficult to come by, and rates usually double or treble. Be sure to book rooms well in advance.

Sri Lanka’s climate means that it is always the ‘right’ beach season somewhere on the coast. The weather doesn’t follow strict rules, though – it often seems to be raining where it should be sunny, and sunny where it should be raining. Rainfall tends to be emphatic – streets can become flooded in what seems like only minutes.

Out-of-season travel has its advantages – not only do the crowds go away but many air fares and accommodation prices drop right down. Nor does it rain all the time during the low season.

Down by the riverside at Diyawanna Oya

A midst the steady drone of traffic who would have thought Kotte to be a fun place. However, this particular spot was seemingly so, as there I was amongst others watching small sail boats softly whirring on the Diyawanna Oya. Besides the onlookers, children, their eyes sparkling with expectation, were set on riding the giant swan shaped paddle boats, while others simply indulged in a stroll alongside the river with their folks.

Water is known to have a calming yet enrapturing effect on our senses, and by this strip beside the Oya (Lake), life is at its best; pulsating with all its pleasant ambience. The narrow rampart may have stretched just over a kilometer at the most, but its guests didn’t mind the repeat-recreational walks. Their demeanours said it all… they were among friends, family and loved ones and they were simply happy to be at peace by the water.

- Serendib -