Heading to Sri Lanka on a holiday? Then it is advisable to have a look at its holiday calendar. The island has a staggering number of holidays and most of these have religious significance. One key holiday is the Poya holiday which may happen up to 12 times a year. And because it has religious, cultural and practical considerations it is good to be aware and prepared.

What really is a Full Moon Poya Holiday?

A Poya day is the name given to the Buddhist full moon holiday called ‘Uposatha’, and is celebrated monthly in recognition of the moon being at it’s the fullest point. This usually means that a Poya Day falls once a month, however, there can occasionally be two Poya days in one month depending on the lunar calendar. This additional Poya is given the prefix “Adhi”, meaning extra. What all this also means is that Sri Lankans are lucky to have a holiday every time the moon is full! If and when a Full Moon Poya holiday falls on a weekend a holiday in lieu of it will not be given. However, there have been instances where this has happened and usually applies to the most sacred holidays of them all, the Vesak Full Moon Poya.

How does one celebrate a Poya Holiday?

All Poya days are recognized by the Sri Lankan Government and so are marked with both a civil and bank holiday, throughout Sri Lanka. All practising Buddhists within Sri Lanka meditate, reflect and put particular importance on the five precepts of Buddhism. These five precepts are to abstain from: harming living beings; sexual misconduct; stealing or theft; deception or lying and intoxication – whether from alcohol or drugs. If you are visiting Sri Lanka during a Poya holiday you can see most people visit temples dressed in white. However, since this is a Buddhist holiday the other religions continue with their normal lives. Also, not all Buddhists practice the rituals and rights associated with a Poya to the fullest.

How will Poya impact your holiday?

A Poya holiday applies to all sectors of work and business in Sri Lanka. This means all schools, banks and government offices are closed. So are most private businesses. There is also a ban on the sale of meat, fish, alcohol and cigarettes. Serving these items are also prohibited. It has been noted that those not following this holiday will usually stock up on the previous day.

Why does each Poya have a different name?

The Sinhalese have given a name to each month and this name is tied to that month’s Poya holiday. Each Poya also relates to an important aspect of Buddhism or a significant event in Sri Lanka’s Buddhist history. For example ‘Vesak’ Poya happens in the month of ‘Vesak’ (May) which is the first month in the Buddhist calendar. And on this Poya holiday Buddhists all over the world commemorate the triple anniversary of Lord Buddha – the birth, enlightenment and passing away. ‘Poson’ Poya in the month of ‘Poson’ (June) commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

Here is a list of Poya holidays and their meaning in brief.
Vesak – May: Birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha
Poson – June: Introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka
Esala – July: First sermon to the ascetics. (Also corresponds with the Esala Perahera/festival of Kandy which may happen in July or August)
Nikini – August: First Dhamma convocation
Binara – September: Buddha’s visit to heaven to preach to his mother and the celestial multitude
Vap – October: Conclusion of Buddha’s preaching of the Abhidhamma
Ill – November: Obtaining of Vivarana
Unduvap – December: Arrival of the Bo-tree sapling to Sri Lanka
Duruthu – January: Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka
Navam – February:  Entrance into the order of two leading disciples of The Buddha (Sariputta and Maha Moggalana).
Medin – March: Commemorates the visit of The Buddha to his home to preach to his father King Suddhodana and other relatives.
Bak – April: It commemorates the second visit of The Buddha to Sri Lanka. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year also happens during this period.
Sources:http://www.mysrilanka.com/travel/lanka/festivals/POSON.HTM

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

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

Sri Lanka Travel Advise

You are planning for an adventure in Paradise and want to be fully prepared. This write-up on Sri Lanka travel advise is all about providing you with essential and helpful tips to aid that preparation. The dos and don’ts mentioned here have been drawn up for the regular traveller but if you are travelling with Foozoo you can count on everything to be taken care of. Also, these points will not only help you bridge the cultural gap in no time but also give you a chance to enjoy Sri Lankan way of living.

Drinking water. Unless you are particularly sensitive, general tap water is good to drink. But to be on the safe side and not ruin your holiday, stick to bottled water. Most hotels will provide these at a cost. If you are staying at a Foozoo run guesthouse or hotel you will notice that they will provide free drinking water from a dispenser. Also if you tour with them, they provide water for the entire journey. Do make it a point to take a refillable glass or metal bottle to help the island fight its battle against Single Use Plastic. One good way to stay hydrated however is to keep downing those sweet and cooling king coconut water which you will find in abundance.

Sugar and Spice and all that’s nice: Try everything once and be amazed and delighted. And note that every cup of tea or fruit juice is too much too sweet. So if you are particularly trying to avoid sugar, give the restaurant or cafe a heads up. This mostly happens in rural areas and street-side shops. The same goes for spices. Remember you can always ask to have the spices a bit toned down if you know the food is made to order.

Insect Repellent: It’s a tropical paradise and that means the insects are abundant and the locals have adapted well to live with them. So don’t be alarmed when you see way too many creepy crawlies and winged insects everywhere. Mosquito-borne diseases are however a big issue. Although concerted efforts have helped keep some of the dangerous diseases like Dengue Fever in check it is always good to stay protected. So do keep your favourite mosquito repellent or all-purpose insect repellent handy. We recommend you try out the many organic ones available which are good for you and the environment. And by the way, if you tend to swell up or have allergic reactions to insect bites, maybe see a doctor before you travel and get some medication.

No Selfies with the Buddha: Don’t take a selfie with the Buddha or any other religious statues such as Hindu gods etc. Sri Lankans hold their religion in high regard. To the extent, a female tourist with a Buddha Tattoo on her arm was recently refused entry to the country for disrespecting Buddhism. Always remember to show respect to religious statues. Avoid facing your back to religious statues or worse yet taking selfies with them. Also, make sure your shoulders and legs are covered when visiting places of religious or cultural importance. Also, no hats when entering such places.

Ahem. No PDA, please. Sri Lankans are a prude lot. You will rarely see people kissing in public, let alone couples holding hands. Showing affection in public is something we tend to avoid like the plague. So unless you enjoy being stared at, it’s best to avoid PDA (Public Displays of Affection) at most times when you are out and about. Of course, this applies to the times when you are in public.

The pace is super slow: What is a 15-minute drive on the map could take an hour if you set off at the wrong time. Sri Lankan roads are small and packed with an ever increasing number of cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks! Rush hour traffic can come to a virtual halt. Also, bus travel can be slow because they to stop whenever they see the potential of taking on another passenger. So Intercity express is more a concept here vs a reality. And it only gets worse on holidays, festival days and so on. While this is all fun for the adventure or budget traveller you will end up precious time staring blankly into another vehicle for long amounts of time. Therefore plan ahead and leave space for delays. If you can afford it, Sri Lanka is one destination where using the services of a tour operator makes perfect sense.

No Meter? Girl Bye! Yep. If the slow pace was bad, being ripped off at the end of a long journey is the worst. Being in the industry we know. And it keeps happening. So always agree on a price beforehand or stick to a taxi with a meter and ensure the meter is running. You could be paying multiple times the cost of an actual trip and have a bad experience overall. So always look for the meter. If there is no meter, simply refuse and walk away. To make matters easy, we have Uber which offers tuk-tuks and a host of transport options as well as the local version, Pick Me, Sri Lanka. The latter, however, requires a local sim to be operational.

Watch out! It’s a fact. Some of us (yours truly excluded) drive like maniacs. Especially the Bus Drivers, Tuk Drivers and motorcyclists. They swerve and cut through in the most unimaginable ways, an innocent drive to the shops sometimes does feel like a rollercoaster ride. There have been occasions too many, where even the pedestrian crossing has not proven to be safe. Make sure to look and look again, before you cross the road. Double the level of alertness if you are brave enough to wield a bicycle, motorcycle or drive.

How does one book a train? Well, this does seem tricky indeed. The general rule is to go to the station, buy a ticket and travel. Scoring a seat is like a winning a lottery. A private website under the title Malinda Prasad provides an easy to understand the time table of trains. The government website can be a bit perplexing. Some train lines, particularly the ones on the upcountry line (Colombo – Kandy – Nanu-Oya – Ella) line offer carriages where the seats can be reserved one month in advance. But they also sell out before you say ‘one ticket please’. Work with Foozoo or other local agents to have your train tickets reserved on these busy lines and act at least a month in advance. For those who fail to get one, know that you can still travel on these trains. A seat may become available as the passengers alight from different stations.

Hand sanitizer and tissues: Sri Lanka is humid and before you know it you are feeling hot and sticky. So passing on or attracting germs is easy. This is why having a bottle of hand sanitiser is a good idea. Especially when there is such a lot of good street food to be had. And you don’t want to pass one by. And wet tissues are a genius invention. Not just to wipe off the dust and feel a temporary cool respite. They also help clean your hands after a quick bite or prove helpful in the case of a toilet emergency.

To tip or not to tip: Tip away. It is not essential. It is not expected. But a lot of Sri Lankans you will meet on the road, at cafes, at hotels etc really struggle to get by. So a standard tip of 10% will have a large impact on their lives and families.

Where’s the toilet roll? Why wipe when you can wash? And here’s a delightful hand shower to change your life. If you are going to a public washroom or staying with locals (other than a guesthouse or hotel) you may find a handy shower you can aim at the ‘you know what’ and clean far better than a piece of paper ever could. It’s really nice. Try it.

A mess of a tax system. There are way too many tax systems even for the locals to understand. So don’t try. But if and when booking hotels and services in advance, be mindful that the figure you agreed on may not be the final. But as a standard, you will have to pay VAT, NBT and service charges.

We hope the above these Sri Lanka travel advise tips will be useful for your upcoming holiday.

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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.

A spiritual New Year’s Eve Holiday

Are you exhausted by the idea of a new year’s eve party? All the noise from the fireworks and the loud music can seem inescapable. You either join the party and drink till you can enjoy it, or you hide away at home, calming your pets as they fear for the end of the world. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could have a meditative, spiritual experience instead? Keep reading.

While it may be a tradition in the West to countdown to midnight on new year’s eve, in Sri Lanka, it’s not as big a deal. Sure, every hotel will throw a party and a put on a fireworks display, but apart from the bourgeoisie in Colombo, the rest of the country doesn’t really celebrate it. We actually have our own new year, a harvest festival, and it’s celebrated in April!

If you’re up for an uphill climb (there are stairs, don’t worry!), a boat ride on a lake, or a campsite in a grassland, here are our suggestions:

Peak Pilgrimage

Being a multicultural country, Sri Lankans share religious sites to which they make pilgrimages. People of all faiths begin the ascent to the top of a mountain, known to some as Sripada, Ratnagiri, Samanala Kanda, and Adam’s Peak. Yes, that Adam. Why do they climb? There is a footprint on its peak that Buddhists believe to be of the Buddha, Hindus believe to be of Lord Shiva, and Muslims and Christians believe that it was left by Adam as he set foot on earth upon exile from Eden.

What’s really to be marvelled at, though, is the view. If you make the climb at night, it will take about five hours to reach the peak. Once you’re there, settle in and look forward to the sunrise. Words can’t do justice to the sight, it simply must be seen and experienced. Watch as the sun leaps over the eastern horizon, drawing a shadow of the mountain in a perfect triangle over its western backdrop.

Cloud Forest

At an elevation of 2000 meters, there is a plateau rich in biodiversity, populated by endemic species. It is known as Horton Plains, a world heritage site that spans grasslands, a waterfall, a cloud forest and a spectacular view dubbed World’s End. It’s about a nine-kilometre walk, with a circuitous route, so you can decide in which order you want to experience it. Keep an eye out for the birds and lizards as you make your way through the cloud forest. In the grasslands, you’ll likely come across some sambar deer.

We suggest camping in the grasslands. The wildlife department operates three campsites, each about 500 meters from the visitation centre. You can spend a quiet night under the stars and then take the walk in the morning.

Ancient Reservoir

Man-made by damming one of Kala Wewa’s tributaries, the Kandalama Reservoir is a serene, placid water body that stands testament to this country’s ancient irrigation knowledge. Formed with masses of hewn rock, with stones ten feet thick at the base, placed like steps, it would have been quite a daunting task to complete. It’s actually often called Kandalama “Lake” as it’s so easy to mistake it for being a natural phenomenon.

You can look forward to birdwatching by boat, early in the morning. Imagine being greeted by birdsong at the dawn of a new year. Your view of the lake transforms over the course of the day, as the misty morning gives way to crimson skies at sunset. Other activities available in the area include hot air balloon rides as well as climbing Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress, just a few kilometres away.

Where To Avoid

In any case, if you want to enjoy a peaceful night on new year’s eve, you’d want to avoid major hotels, especially along the coast, and stay far away from the capital and larger towns. If you’d like to have a Spiritual New Year’s Eve factored into your custom-designed tour of Sri Lanka, write to us and we’ll see right to it!

10 nights on the beach

If you are looking for a beach holiday in a tropical destination to break away from all the stress of your everyday life then Foozoo Travel’s Beach Please Dash plan is the best place to start.

It combines 6 of Sri Lanka’s most amazing beaches. And because each beach destination in Sri Lanka is different you get to experience so much more than just sun, surf and sand.

The Sri Lanka Beach Holiday package offers 6 unique beach destinations

For example, the Beach Please Dash package offers Tangalle beach in the deep south of Sri Lanka. This beach is super quiet, unspoilt and very much like the picture postcard beaches you see. It truly is a paradise out here. The Beach holiday package which is of 10 nights and 11 days duration also features Mirissa beach and Weligama beach. Mirissa offers so much by way of nightlife, beach culture, parties and amazing restaurants. Weligama Beach is spectacular when it comes to surfing and whale watching.

In addition to the happening Mirissa Beach and Weligama Beach the Sri Lanka Beach Holiday package, Beach Please Dash offers Unawatuna beach. This is a beach which has its own vibe and is super close to the famous Galle Fort. From here you can explore the old Dutch Fort its idyllic streets, high-end restaurants and so much more. So yes this Sri Lanka Beach Holiday package also offers superb opportunities to explore the island, meet people and take in a multitude of enthralling aspects.

The Beach Please Dash Sri Lanka Beach Holiday will also take you to the water sports hub off Bentota where you also have the opportunity to explore Geoffrey Bawa’s Lunuganga Estate, enjoy boat rides on the river and enjoy quiet nights under the stars with the rise and fall of the ocean to lull you into a state of bliss.

The tour ends with Mount Lavinia Beach which brings you super close to the city, allows you time to shop and sightsee and then head off back home.

Please follow this link to find out more about this package and to see our amazing inclusions, holidays and much more.

The featured video is by courtesy of BackPAcker Steve:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwO9naEwEdTuT9Q5Vze6XCA

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Adam’s Peak Hike Sri Lanka – Take on these sacred heights and let the first light touch your soul

Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada, i.e., “sacred footprint”, a 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Islamic and Christian tradition that of Adam, or that of St. Thomas.

The mountain is located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands in the Ratnapura District and Nuwara Eliya district of the Sabaragamuwa Province and Central Province —lying about 40 km northeast of the city of Ratnapura and 32 km southwest of the city of Hatton. The surrounding region is largely forested hills, with no mountain of comparable size nearby. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve, housing many species varying from elephants to leopards, and including many endemic species. Adam’s Peak is important as a watershed. The districts to the south and the east of Adam’s Peak yield precious stones—emeralds, rubies and sapphires, for which the island has been famous, and which earned for its ancient name of Ratnadvipa

Access to the mountain is possible by 6 trails: Ratnapura-Palabaddala, Hatton-Nallathanni, Kuruwita-Erathna, Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda. The Nallathanni & Palabaddala routes are most favored by those undertaking the climb, while the Kuruwita-Erathna trail is used less often; these trails are linked to major cities or town by bus, accounting for their popular use.

Adam’s Peak is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, some Muslims and Christians. It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint.

Do you plan on doing the Adam’s Peak Hike Sri Lanka? Then speak to us in having it included in a custom tour of Sri Lanka.

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Adam’s Peak Hike Sri Lanka

Galle Fort Guided Tour with Foozoo Travel – Historic yet contemporary in experience

Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.

The fort has a colorful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage. The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the “Ramparts of Galle” withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored

Galle Fort is in Galle, which is located at the extreme southwest corner of the island, in the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, where the shoreline turns east towards Matara and Tangalle. The fort, like most of the forts in Sri Lanka, is built on a small rocky peninsula, belonging to the sea as much as to the land. As it exists today, it covers an area of 52 hectares (130 acres). More than half of the inhabitants inside the fort are Moor, with Sinhalese, Dutch, English, Portuguese and German settlers. More details regarding the history of the fort can be found at the visitor center and at the Dutch period museum inside the Fort.

The Galle Fort Guided Tour by Foozoo Travel is handled by Shanjei Perumal, a fantastic personality that makes the tour a unique experience.

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Fall in love or be inspired by the legendary Geoffrey Bawa

The Lunuganga Estate was the country house of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. The estate had been used as a cinnamon estate during the Dutch era and then a rubber plantation under the British. In 1948, the small house in the estate was given on rent to the local tax collector. In 1949 newly qualified lawyer Geoffrey Bawa bought it from its owner intending to convert the estate bungalow into a weekend house and create a tropical version of a European renaissance garden.

The 6.1 ha (15 acres) property is located on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota. Bawa named the estate Lunuganga, which in Sinhala means Salt River. Recognising his lack of architectural knowledge Bawa returned to England to study architecture. After qualifying as an architect he returning to Ceylon in 1958 and joined the architectural practice of Edwards, Reid and Beggs. Bawa continued to develop the house and gardens at Lunuganga for forty years, until his death in May 2003. Bawa was cremated on the Cinnamon Hill and ashes buried there. The house and gardens contain many works from artists such as Donald Friend and Laki Senanayake as well as artifacts from Asia and Europe.

Since Bawa’s death in 2003, Lunuganga has been managed by a group of his close friends, who form the Lunuganga Trust. The gardens are now open to the public and the buildings on the estate are run as a seasonal country house hotel.

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lunuganga Estate, Bentota, Sri Lanka. Package Tour.