Foozoo
Negombo

Negombo

Cities & township

Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison. Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal.

Elevation
2 m
Climate
27°C, Wind SW at 18 km/h
Foozoo destinations
Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya

Cities & township

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of
central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, is decorated with religious figures.

Elevation
1,868 m
Climate
16°C, Wind SE at 5 km/h
Foozoo destinations
Kandy

Kandy

Cities & township

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling.

Elevation
500 m
Climate
25°C, Wind SW at 5 km/h
Foozoo destinations

Top Hotels

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LATEST FROM THE BLOG

Security Detail Update for tho..

Helpful information for visitors to Sri Lanka
(Updated as new information is received).  This is for those seeking information on arrivals at the Bandaranaike International Airport after Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka.

 

  • Ayubowan and welcome to Sri Lanka. Our sincere hospitality is legendary but in these difficult times we are truly awed by your decision to visit us. When they want to disrupt our way of life, our dreams and our simple joys, your arrival tells them loud and clear, that you nor we will be cowed down.

 

  • The enhanced security protocols mostly come into play once you clear customs. After collecting your bags and walk out the doors into the arrival lounge you will be presented with a large waiting area with numerous stalls. Previously you could have a person waiting for you here but now access is very limited.

 

  • Given the drastic security changes it is strongly advised that you organize your transfer with the hotel. There was a system in place but a lot of it has changed and we have not had enough time to adjust to offer a high level of service or efficiency.

 

  • If you are booked in with us or a major hotel, a relevant representative will be available to escort you to your car. If you are booked with us and have organized a transfer, look for our representative holding a name board with the given name.

 

  • If you are arriving on your own, you can use the services of the officially cleared taxi services operating from within the arrival lounge.

 

  • All passengers will be escorted out of the airport through a shuttle service. This is a new feature. Make sure you hold onto your valuables and travel documents.

 

  • There is a host of taxi services out there but they are known to overcharge so do your research in advance and make sure you are advised on what is a good price. The bus station is a few km and it is best that you take a tuk-tuk there. However it is best to avoid public transport from and to the airport when it is dark and services are limited.

 

  • Always make it a point to avoid crowded areas. When using public transport be alert to suspicious activity or parcels. The various security forces of Sri Lanka are doing a fantastic job in keeping us safe since the attacks but every little bit of alertness and care does help.

 

  • Travel times to your hotel vary depending on the time and mode of travel. Please be aware that curfews might be imposed (especially at night) and your driver may need to call over at a police (briefly) for security clearance.

 

The Tourism Police Number is, +94 112 421 052 or dial 119 for emergencies

 

If you wish to get a local phone connection, we recommend that you do it from the arrival lounge

 

We hope you enjoy your stay in Sri Lanka to the maximum.

Tags: Sri Lanka travel, Sri Lanka travel advisory, Sri Lanka security alert, Bandaranaike International Airport

Security Detail Update for Dep..

Helpful information for visitors departing Sri Lanka (Updated as new information is received). This is for those seeking information on departures from the Bandaranaike International Airport after Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka.

 

  • Airport authorities have requested passengers to arrive 4 hours prior to flight departure time (the standard had been 3 hours). Most passengers who check in online or do not have to drop off baggage have done so with much less time in the past but in the current situation, it is best to follow given advice. Be aware that there might be overnight curfews. If a curfew is expected, discuss your travel plans with the hotel or designated service provider.

 

  • Drive times to the airport will vary according to the general traffic situation, time of travel and mode of travel. Roads have been deserted since the Easter Sunday attacks but life is expected to return to normal soon and with it, the traffic will increase.

 

  • Vehicles and passengers are thoroughly checked. This takes about 2 minutes on average per car and more for cars and vans with several passengers. This leads to a long line of vehicles. and leads to a long line of vehicles. Depending on flight traffic and the progress of checking, this last stretch (from the start of the traffic jam to the checking point) which is about 2km may take over an hour. Come prepared for this wait. There are no toilets along this stretch.

 

  • To make the process quick for you and easy for the security personnel, keep your vehicle tidy. Main luggage at the back and carry-on luggage with you and ready for inspection. Also, have your passport and ticket in your hands as you arrive at the security check. Once you are through with the security there is no hindrance. But you will have to get off the vehicle before the departure terminal and take your luggage with you. You could grab a trolley if you have more than a backpack.

 

  • All bags will be scanned. But if security feels suspicious they may do a detailed search. Once again, please keep your passport and ticket ready for inspection at all times.

 

  • Finally, be alert! Sri Lanka has enjoyed a whole decade of peace and as such enjoyed a high degree of freedom. That has all changed but you may find most security checks within the airport to be equal to what you find anywhere else. So, in general, avoid crowded areas and be on the look-out for suspicious persons or items. Once you clear immigration, there is a decent waiting area with a selection of coffee shops and restaurants.

 

  • ·We wish things didn’t have to be this way and we sincerely apologize for your negative experiences. We hope you would remember Sri Lanka for all the right reasons and would love to see you back in our Paradise Island someday.

 

Thank you. Bohoma Isthuthi 

 

Tags: Sri Lanka Security, Easter Sunday attacks Sri Lanka, Departures from Colombo International Airport, travel advisory Sri Lanka

Happy New Year in April

The Sinhala & Tamil New Year explained.

This is Sri Lanka’s single largest celebration and festival and usually takes place on the 13th and 14th of April every year. It is also one that is celebrated by both of the island’s main races, the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The Sinhalese refer to it as ‘Aluth Awurudda’ and the Tamil community refers to it as ‘Puthandu’or ‘Puthuvarudam’. It can be said that the festival combines aspects of astrology, Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also a harvest festival.

 

 

Astrology is at the heart of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year

The sun has been worshipped by the people of this part of the world from time immemorial. And the origins of this festival can be traced to this connection. Today every aspect of this festival is interpreted through Astrology and in simple terms is all about the Sun moving from the house of ‘Meena’ (Pisces) to ‘Mesha’ (Aries). This celebration also coincides with similar celebrations of many traditional calendars in South and South East Asia.

 

 

Lead up to the festival

 

Sri Lankans start preparing for New Year as early as February. The radio and TV stations start promoting the New Year with traditional music and reminders. Shopping picks up and houses are colour washed. New clothes and gifts are purchased. As the dates get closer you will also hear the call of the ‘Koha’ bird fill the air. This bird call is synonymous of the coming celebrations. As the days get even closer the roads get busy. So do the markets and malls. By about the 12th of April, the locals take leave from work and travel to their hometowns and villages. By the time the first auspicious time descends the country comes to an almost standstill.

 

If you are travelling to or in Sri Lanka this time, it is best to avoid the direction of travel of the locals. Catching a train or bus out of Colombo from about the 10th should be avoided. But transport towards the city will be relatively easy and less crowded. The opposite happens after the New Year. While most places of tourist importance will remain open, most food outlets will be closed and transport will be difficult to find at the peak of the holiday. This may last for a period of 48 hours. Most Sri Lankans take about a week off and so it will also take time for life to return to normal after the holidays. If you are travelling without the assistance of a tour company, you should plan your travel and meals in advance. It would best to book hotels with all meals.

 

 

Auspicious times and the sequence of events

 

Unlike the celebration of the new Gregorian calendar year at midnight on December 31, the Sinhalese traditional New Year begins at a time determined by astrological calculations. Also unlike 31st night celebrations, where old year ends at midnight and new year begins immediately afterwards; the ending of the old year, and the beginning of the new year occur several hours apart from one another (this span of time is usually 12 hours and 48 minutes, which starts when the sun, as a disk, starts to cross the astrological boundary between 'House of Pisces' and 'House of Aries' and ends when the crossing is complete. 

 

The auspicious times are published in advance and can be found online. As each time comes and goes, the locals light crackers and engage in a specific activity. The first auspicious time to be celebrated is the one for bathing for the New Year. This involves rituals of cleansing and spirituality. Next up is the actual dawn of the New Year. The inauspicious time is a period of no festivities or importance and most people use this time to visit temples or to reflect on their lives and plans. The lighting of the hearth puts the festivities into full swing as the fires are lit and the food is prepared. Next is the time to partake in meals and transactions. All of these times will happen at different intervals and is different every year. The anointing of oil happens a few days later and the auspicious time for leaving for work can happen a full week from the first auspicious time of that year’s festivities. So as you can see it can be all very confusing for a person who is used to a countdown on New Year’s Eve.

 

 

Is there an actual festival?

 

Technically the whole duration from the first auspicious time to the last is a time of the festival. But you may not see much happening other than people walking about. In that sense, it is more a holiday. You will see people attending temples and Kovils, and then visiting friends and family. They will also be wearing the auspicious colors of that year. Most villages will also hold ‘Aluth Avurudu Uthsawa’ meaning New Year Festival. Here you will see people playing traditional drums, engaging in sports activities, song contestants, cooking feats and even beauty pageants. Bicycle races, cross country running and musical shows also happen. So it really is a lot of different activities happening at different times.

 

As a tourist, the best way to experience this is to be invited to the home of a local. Most large hotels and even the smaller ones will also conduct their own festivals.

 

 

Should you avoid this time as a traveller?

 

Absolutely not! In fact, it is one of the best times to travel to Sri Lanka because everyone is on holiday mood and happy to welcome you to their homes or play traditional games. The days are usually the hottest of the year and fair weather is common. Although the occasional April Shower will come down and cool everything down in the late afternoons or evenings. If you are travelling on your own then it may be advisable to spend the peak festival time chilling out in one area without travelling around too much. But if you are travel with a tour company like Foozoo Travel you can count on having all the fun aspects of this unique holiday explained and included as fun activities.

 

 

Aluth Avurudu with Foozoo Travel

 

This tour package lets you spend 2 days and nights with a local family and experience the various festival highlights. It can be incorporated into an existing tour or enjoyed on its own as a special experience.

 

Image credits: Sri Lanka College of Journalism

Image credits: Kingsbury Hotel

Image credits: TimeOut

Latest News

Security Detail Update for those arriving at the Colombo International Airport

Helpful information for visitors to Sri Lanka
(Updated as new information is received).  This is for those seeking information on arrivals at the Bandaranaike International Airport after Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka.

 

  • Ayubowan and welcome to Sri Lanka. Our sincere hospitality is legendary but in these difficult times we are truly awed by your decision to visit us. When they want to disrupt our way of life, our dreams and our simple joys, your arrival tells them loud and clear, that you nor we will be cowed down.

 

  • The enhanced security protocols mostly come into play once you clear customs. After collecting your bags and walk out the doors into the arrival lounge you will be presented with a large waiting area with numerous stalls. Previously you could have a person waiting for you here but now access is very limited.

 

  • Given the drastic security changes it is strongly advised that you organize your transfer with the hotel. There was a system in place but a lot of it has changed and we have not had enough time to adjust to offer a high level of service or efficiency.

 

  • If you are booked in with us or a major hotel, a relevant representative will be available to escort you to your car. If you are booked with us and have organized a transfer, look for our representative holding a name board with the given name.

 

  • If you are arriving on your own, you can use the services of the officially cleared taxi services operating from within the arrival lounge.

 

  • All passengers will be escorted out of the airport through a shuttle service. This is a new feature. Make sure you hold onto your valuables and travel documents.

 

  • There is a host of taxi services out there but they are known to overcharge so do your research in advance and make sure you are advised on what is a good price. The bus station is a few km and it is best that you take a tuk-tuk there. However it is best to avoid public transport from and to the airport when it is dark and services are limited.

 

  • Always make it a point to avoid crowded areas. When using public transport be alert to suspicious activity or parcels. The various security forces of Sri Lanka are doing a fantastic job in keeping us safe since the attacks but every little bit of alertness and care does help.

 

  • Travel times to your hotel vary depending on the time and mode of travel. Please be aware that curfews might be imposed (especially at night) and your driver may need to call over at a police (briefly) for security clearance.

 

The Tourism Police Number is, +94 112 421 052 or dial 119 for emergencies

 

If you wish to get a local phone connection, we recommend that you do it from the arrival lounge

 

We hope you enjoy your stay in Sri Lanka to the maximum.

Tags: Sri Lanka travel, Sri Lanka travel advisory, Sri Lanka security alert, Bandaranaike International Airport

Read More
Security Detail Update for Departures from Colombo International Airport

Helpful information for visitors departing Sri Lanka (Updated as new information is received). This is for those seeking information on departures from the Bandaranaike International Airport after Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka.

 

  • Airport authorities have requested passengers to arrive 4 hours prior to flight departure time (the standard had been 3 hours). Most passengers who check in online or do not have to drop off baggage have done so with much less time in the past but in the current situation, it is best to follow given advice. Be aware that there might be overnight curfews. If a curfew is expected, discuss your travel plans with the hotel or designated service provider.

 

  • Drive times to the airport will vary according to the general traffic situation, time of travel and mode of travel. Roads have been deserted since the Easter Sunday attacks but life is expected to return to normal soon and with it, the traffic will increase.

 

  • Vehicles and passengers are thoroughly checked. This takes about 2 minutes on average per car and more for cars and vans with several passengers. This leads to a long line of vehicles. and leads to a long line of vehicles. Depending on flight traffic and the progress of checking, this last stretch (from the start of the traffic jam to the checking point) which is about 2km may take over an hour. Come prepared for this wait. There are no toilets along this stretch.

 

  • To make the process quick for you and easy for the security personnel, keep your vehicle tidy. Main luggage at the back and carry-on luggage with you and ready for inspection. Also, have your passport and ticket in your hands as you arrive at the security check. Once you are through with the security there is no hindrance. But you will have to get off the vehicle before the departure terminal and take your luggage with you. You could grab a trolley if you have more than a backpack.

 

  • All bags will be scanned. But if security feels suspicious they may do a detailed search. Once again, please keep your passport and ticket ready for inspection at all times.

 

  • Finally, be alert! Sri Lanka has enjoyed a whole decade of peace and as such enjoyed a high degree of freedom. That has all changed but you may find most security checks within the airport to be equal to what you find anywhere else. So, in general, avoid crowded areas and be on the look-out for suspicious persons or items. Once you clear immigration, there is a decent waiting area with a selection of coffee shops and restaurants.

 

  • ·We wish things didn’t have to be this way and we sincerely apologize for your negative experiences. We hope you would remember Sri Lanka for all the right reasons and would love to see you back in our Paradise Island someday.

 

Thank you. Bohoma Isthuthi 

 

Tags: Sri Lanka Security, Easter Sunday attacks Sri Lanka, Departures from Colombo International Airport, travel advisory Sri Lanka

Read More
#1 On Lonely Planet In The Midst Of A Coup

Note: This article will be updated to reflect the changes in the ground situation.


Update (14/11/2018 11:40 AM) : Parliamentarians who voted in favour of the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse have signed a motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya reconfirming their calls. The majority voted ‘aye’.

Update (26/11/2018 4:30PM) : Following the initial NCM vote, there have been two further votes, both of which led to violent incidents within the parliament, as supporters of Rajapakse refused to accept the outcome. Those of the Rajapakse camp claim the Speaker is being partisan in how he chose to conduct the NCM vote. The Court of Appeal will take up a Writ of Quo Warranto filed by 122 MPs challenging Rajapakse and his purported government's continuation in office on November 30. Meanwhile, a seven-judge bench to hear the petitions against the dissolution of Parliament will be taken up on December 3.


No sooner than Lonely Planet announced Sri Lanka as its #1 travel destination for 2019, governments around the world issued travel advisories warning their citizens about the sudden shift in Sri Lanka’s political climate. Fear not, however, as we’re here to tell you that our doors are still open and why it’s still safe to visit the resplendent island.


So what’s really going on? Well, at the moment of writing this, a few things have happened. Our president and prime minister came under scrutiny as their government, which came to power on a popular platform, could not deliver on its promises. Perhaps in an attempt to avoid responsibility, the president chose to remove the prime minister and appoint a new one, former president Mahinda Rajapakse. The president appointed a cabinet of ministers, issued a gazette to dissolve parliament, and elections have been called for January 2019. This was much to the ire of those opposed to the previous regime and those who uphold the constitution, which does not allow for it. On the other hand, many have been celebrating this change.


In fact, for the most part, it is civil society, concentrated in Colombo, that are riled up about the issue. Everywhere else on the island, from tourist destinations to the rural countryside, peace prevails and life goes on as usual. There has been one incident of violence when a mob attempted to assault a member of parliament and his security personnel fired at them. This happened in the heat of the coup, and since then it has been calm and memes have taken over. Politics is certainly on everyone’s mind, but the hospitality sector, in particular, is never shaken. As Lonely Planet rightly notes, our people defy all odds with our welcome and friendliness.


Be it the tuk driver, surf instructor, waiter or bus conductor, wherever you go, you’re sure to be greeted by a Sri Lankan smile. That’s just a part of our culture and our personality, a curious fact. You’d sometimes stop and marvel at how we manage to maintain this sense of optimism. Some attribute it to short-term memory, that we soon forget our troubles. Others choose to believe that we simply persevere. After having to turn away visitors time and time again over a 30-year conflict, we’ve spent the past decade, post-conflict, inviting the world to share in the delights of this country, and we’re not about to let some political misadventures spoil that.


So what’s in store for Sri Lanka? A Supreme Court hearing on November 12 and 13 led to a stay order on the Gazette. This allowed the parliament to be convened, today. A No Confidence Motion has been called against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse.

Read More

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