Category Archives: Tourism in Sri Lanka

New Shopping & Service Centers On The Colombo Southern Expressway

Have you heard about the new shopping and service centers coming up in the Colombo Southern E1 expressway? I got some photographs of them on the way to Galle recently. Here they are.

service center expressway

I took these photos using my normal Nokia phone’s camera. They aren’t high quality photos but you can see the new buildings of the southern expressway shopping and service center coming up nicely. They looked good like a giant steel crescent rising out the road sides.

highway shopping center

This is how they look when you pass it on just in front of it on the expressway. There is a high bund built right in front I think to prevent vehicles that may accidentally slip and getting hit on the buildings. That’s a good precaution. There is access point roads also built with this so motorist can drive to the shopping center. The road you see in the above picture outside of our lanes road barriers is actually the access road for people who are coming out of the service center to rejoin the expressway.

srilanka highway shopsI was impressed by its size too. This is a massive building. You can see how big it is by comparing part of the shopping and service center with the tiny three-wheeler that’s parked in front of it. You won’t notice how big it is when you speed alone the highway at 100kmph but if you go near it I think you will really appreciate its size.

colombo south expressway

There were two buildings like this one in each side of the road. Soon the motorist traveling on the Colombo Southern Highway will be able to enjoy breaks and fill up there fuel tanks and drink some tea or do a spot of shopping on the way to Colombo or Galle. I heard that there are going to be shopping shops for tourist, fashion stores, supermarket as well as fuel stations and restaurants in this Southern highway service centers so who knows, it might even become more interesting and jam packed in future than our only shopping mall in Majestic City, Bambalapitiya.

expressway petrol shed

There are also a couple of smaller half circle roofed outer building alone side the big building. I think those are going to be the fuel pumping petrol sheds while the main building will be for restaurants and shopping stores.

nolimit sri lanka

NOLIMIT: Sri Lanka’s Biggest Fashion Store Chain & Best Place For Shopping Clothes

What is the best place to buy clothes in Sri Lanka?

I get queried often about the fashion stores in Sri Lanka, shopping in Colombo and about Colombo cloth shops. So I made the below list of the what I think are the Top 10 Fashion Stores in Sri Lanka.

nolimit sri lankaNolimit Fashion Store in Wellawatte, Colombo 6

This list of top 10 fashion and cloth shops in Sri Lanka is based on my experience and observation. Such a top 10 list is always a judgmental call and I’m sure not everyone will agree with it. I’d love to see you come up with your own list of top 10 clothing stores in Sri Lanka. You can leave  your list in the comments below or post in your blog and let me know so that I’ll link to your post from SriLankaNewsOnline.com)

My Top 10 Fashion Stores in Sri Lanka

1. Nolimit Sri Lanka
2. Odel Sri Lanka
3. Fashion Bug Sri Lanka
4. House of Fashion Sri Lanka
5. Hameedia’s (Menswear specialist)
6. Ranjanas (Pettah, Colombo 11)
7. Kandy Fashion Store (Kiribathgoda)
8. Ranjanas (Pettah, Colombo 11)
9. Bavery Street Sri Lanka
10. Romafour (Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4)

I may eventually get around to write in detail about each of these leading fashion stores in Sri Lanka. In the meantime out of these top 10 fashion stores, here are some details and my experience and opinion of the best and largest fashion store, NOLIMIT Sri Lanka.

 

The Nolimit Sri Lanka Fashion Chain

What makes me say Nolimit is the top fashion store in the Sri Lanka are their 20 or so showrooms located throughout the country. In addition they also sell cloths at reasonable prices, have a large selection of clothing available in their stores. The cloths are also of acceptable quality and the staff are quite helpful when you ask their assistance. Nolimit showrooms are also very modern and look like any international fashion chain stores such as Addidas or Levi’s showrooms in Colombo.

As for the products they sell, Nolimit offers all kinds of clothes and accessories for men, women and children. Their cloth prices are reasonable and within reach of average Sri Lankan citizens buying ability. Nolimit showrooms also have the biggest collection and selection of clothing types and designs I have seen anywhere in Sri Lanka. So personally, I’m a big fan of Nolimit even though their cloths are not of the high quality I expect for the money I pay.

Below is a snapshot of some shirts and a t-shirt I bought from Nolimit and their sister store,Glitz recently. They are not designer cloths or the of the best quality nor were they the cheapest in the market but overall I’m happy with them becausse they look good and they are comfortable to wear. My more fashion conscious cousins and friends have also said they look good  and are made of good mixed cotton and polyester materials.nolimit srilanka fashion store

Nolimit Sri Lanka is also the unmatched leader in this fashion store business in the country with around 20 showrooms so far which are located in strategic towns and cities across the country such as Colombo, Kandy, Dehiwela, Mount Lavinia, Rathnapura, Negambo among others. No other fashion store or clothing shop in Sri Lanka has so many outlets. So NOLIMIT in their advertisements claim they are biggest fashion chain in Sri Lanka. They are also opening more clothing showrooms all over the island. In fact, their popularity is such that in recent years they have also garnered fear and hate attacks from certain extremist groups in the country because the owners of this store is from the a minority community.

In the last year or two, the owner of Nolimit seems to have split his single flag-ship fashion chain into 3 fashion chains named Nolimit, Glitz and Pallu respectively. So in addition to Nolimit clothing showroom, they have opened several large specialized fashion & clothing stores in Colombo called Glitz and Pallu. The Pallu chain of showrooms specialize in traditional and eastern clothing such as expensive Indian Saris, Panjabis, Shalwar Kameez, etc while in Glitz chain seems to be aiming to become a high class fashion store with expensive and designer clothing.

In the meantime the normal Nolimit shops you find all types of clothing from really cheap ones to expensive items. They also have some discount cloth shops called NOLIMIT Discount Store. I have visited one of their discount shops in Dehiwela Hill street and found it had some decent cloths for dirt cheap prices. You can find more about Nolimit through their website at www.nolimit.lk

So what’s your experience with Nolimit and other Fashion Stores in Sri Lanka? Feel free to share them below.

Largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka: Photos of 1624 Trincomalee Fort Fredrick

If you visit Trincomalee area in North Eastern Sri Lanka you can find many tourist attractions to occupy your time.  Some of them are the hot water springs in Kanniyayi, the Trincomalee Harbour, the Pigeon Island, the old Dutch Fort, the Nilaveli beach and other beaches for surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching, not to mention the town itself with its blend of people with their different cultures and traditions.

Out of these famous locations in Trincomalee, the old Dutch Fort is perhaps the most important tourist attraction. That is because it is not just a old fortress. This fort is a very diverse attraction for a tourist, because within it a curious tourist has got many things to see and experience.

Sadly many people don’t know about the things you got to see in this historic Fort. So I thought to photograph and document things of interest you find within the old Trincomalee Dutch fort which also happens to be the largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka. I took the photographs of the Fort I’m sharing here on a visit to the Trincomalee somewhere in the end of September 2011. So without further ado here is the largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka at your perusal…

 

Trincomalee Fort Fredrick (1624-1948) As Seen From Trincomalee Town Dutch Bay Beach

trincomalee beach pictures

The Dutch Fort as seen from the Trincomalee town beach. As you will see in the map below the Fort is built on a small north facing peninsular land mass that juts out of a larger peninsular  in which the Trincomalee town is today located.

The Map of the Fort

[mappress mapid=”4″]

trincomalee fort dutch

The Entrance To the Fort 

trincomalee fort entrance

Backside of the Fort Entrance

srilanka dutch fort

Fort Fredrick Road leading to Trincomalee Town

fort entrance road

Road within the Fort to Koneswaram Hindu Kovil

trincomalee pictures fort

 

The Army Camp of Sri Lanka Army Gajaba Regiment

trincomalee army camp

srilanka army camp

Koneswaram Kovil (Hindu Temple)

trincomalee Koneswaram kovil

Monkeys Waiting for Food from Tourist & Pilgrims

srilanka wildlife photos

 

Tourist shops and souvenir stands within Fort on the way to Koneswaram Kovil

trincomalee fort market

Sweets and Food Products made primarily from Palmyra Tree

Palmyra tree products

Souvenir stand selling Seashell And Shell-work Artifacts

seashell shellwork artifacts

View of Trincomalee Town And Fishing Harbour from a hill within the Fort

trincomalee town pictures

A hill within the fort

trincomalee photos fort

 

The Place called Lover’s Leap

srilanka lovers leap

 

Remains of World War II British Coastal Artillery Guns

 

coastal artillery guns

world war 2 artillery

Un-Preserved Ruins & Wilderness within the Fort

dutch fort ruins

ruins and wild plants

Hope you enjoyed these pictures and the little detail I could provide with it. Feel free to add your comments and any knowledge about Trincomalee Fort you like to share in the comments.

pinnawela elephant orphanage

Tourist Hotels in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Area

pinnawela elephant orphanageAn elephant walks in front of the Elephant Park hotel after a bath in MaOya river – (Photo was taken by my cousin in a recent visit to Pinnawela

If you want to get the most of a visit to see wild Asian elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka then you have to be ready to spend sometime there. However many tourist both local and foreign visit the Pinnawala elephant sanctuary as a drop visit of few hours. I think thats because they are unaware of hotel and lodging facilities available near this orphanage which also happens to have the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

Now thanks to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela area some small but good tourist hotels have come up. So if you are hoping to visit Pinnawala, you can spend more than a few hours, perhaps stay a day or two and watch the elephants without traveling a hour or so to big hotels located 25km away near Kandy city. The hotels in Pinnawala area are as follows;
1) Hotel Elephant Bay, Pinnawala – This is a 19 room hotel just opposite the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala. It has rooms with large private balconies and spectacular views over Ma Oya River where the Pinnawela elephants bath and soak in water for hours. The hotel also offers bicycle rental facilities for guests’ convenience which allows you to ride and experience the surrounding tropical countryside. They also have activities like hiking and fishing available.

2) Hotel Elephant View, Pinnawala – This is another small tourist hotel located right next to the Pinnawala orphanage. It has 16 rooms and all the other amenities of a small hotel.

3) Pinnawala Hotel Champis – Located at a 5-minute walk from the Pinnawala elephant orphanage is the 10 room  Hotel Champis of Pinnawela.

4) Pinnawala Elephant Park Hotel – This is a 6 room hotel located a five minute walk from the Elephant Orphanage. Guests at Hotel Elephant Park can watch elephants directly from their rooms.

All these hotels at Pinnawela have restaurants which provide an international menu and Western-style guest rooms with a private bathroom and toiletries and shower facilities. They also have room services including laundry and ironing and satellite TVs. You can make booking and also get lot more information about these hotels through the Pinnawela Hotels page in Bookings.com

 

Beautiful Scenery & Places in Kandy Colombo Road Travels

Colombo and Kandy are the two biggest and most important cities in Sri Lanka. Colombo is situated in on the western shores of the Sri Lankan island while Kandy is situated almost in the center of the island between scenic mountain ranges. The distance between these two cities is about 120 kilometers and they are connected via the A1 highway of the country which is otherwise known as the Kandy Colombo road. When you travel on this road you can see some awesome scenery that is not second to any other road in the world.

Sri Lankans travel this road countless times and therefore sometimes they forget to appreciate the beauty and important places you find in this road. You need to look at it from a foreign tourists eye to appreciate how blessed this country is in natural beauty and splendor not to mention historic and tourist value. So on this page I would like to share some pictures of beautiful scenery and interesting places I photographed while traveling on Colombo Kandy road from the last few times I traveled on it.

 

scenic roads srilanka I photographed this particular tree arch just passing Nittambuwa town on the way to Colombo on April 2011. You find many scenic tree arches like this formed by big tree branches throughout the length of the A1 Kandy Colombo route.

roller highway  museumRoadside Highway Museum at Kiribatkumbura between Peradeniya and Pilimatalawa towns. Here you find original old road construction vehicles and equipments used to lay the Colombo-Kandy road such as steamrollers & bitumen boilers. Next to the museum is a replica of the 300-year old Bogoda roofed wooden bridge.

 

pictures beautiful sceneryIn several places along Colombo Kandy road you can see beautiful tall trees like this that were once planted along the roadside by someone in order to provide shade to the road users. This line of trees with blooming light pink flowers are betweenthe Nittambuwa and Thihariya towns.

Kadugannawa tunnel kandy 175 year old in-road rock tunnel at Kadugannawa Pass. Until recently all road traffic from Colombo to Kandy and beyond went through this tunnel until a bypass road stretch was built for longer and bigger vehicles.

kegalle town clockKegalle town clock tower constructed during the British colonial era.

 

Dawson Tower kadugannawaThe 38 meter tall Dawson tower as seen from Kadugannawa town. This is the tallest memorial tower in Sri Lanka constructed in memory of Captain W. F. Dawson who started building the Colombo to Kandy road just after British captured Sri Lanka in 1820s. The Dawson tower is built at the roadside of the highest altitude point of the A1 route.

 

colombo kandy roadThe Tea Station, a tea factory and restaurant by the roadside where you can sample the world famous Ceylon tea straight from the factory.

beautiful scenery roadKadugannawa pass. One side rock mountain wall and the other side of the road dangerous precipices. The road is great. View is spectacular.

beautiful sceneries pictureA beautiful tree with branches covering a large area near the Kadugannawa tunnel.

beautiful mountain roadFor several kilometers near Kadugannawa town the road passes what is known as the Kadugannawa pass. There you find spectacular views of the mountains and land hundreds of feet below like in this picture.

beautiful road sceneryA nice scenic road stretch near before Kegalle town.

beautiful pottery shopA pottery shop along the roadside. You find beautiful handicraft shops throughout the length of this route. Shops like this sell handicrafts and ingeniousness stuff made in the vicinity of the shop to tourist and road commuters.

bambalapitiya colombo 4

View Colombo City From Top Deck Of A Double Decker Bus

I was very trilled yesterday when I got the opportunity to travel on the top deck or should I say the second floor, of a double Decker bus in Colombo yesterday. As far as I’m aware there are only three such double decker buses are currently operating in Sri Lanka. Due to this situation very few people have traveled and enjoyed this mode of transport. So I took the below photos to share with you through Sri Lanka News Online website. I hope you enjoy them and leave your comments.

double decker bus

This snapshot showed the double decker bus I traveled in and took the below pictures of the Colombo And Dehiwela Cities. I took the above photo after getting down from the bus at a bus halt in Kollupity, Colombo 3. It’s a Government Public transport bus and plies the bus route No. -100 which is to & from Colombo 11 Pettah central bus stand to Panadura town bus stand.

The bus runs in the Colombo Galle road every few hours each day, so if you are in Colombo, you can see and even hop in for a ride on this rare Double Decker bus and view Colombo from a unique perspective. These kind of Double Decker buses were very popular and more prominent feature of Colombo city a few decades back. Unfortunately as far as I know there are only two other double decker buses currently in operation in Sri Lanka. One of them can be seen around Colombo with the hood of the top deck removed and with advertisements on it saying “Colombo City Tours”.  The third Double Decker bus I know plies the Kandy City to Pilimathalawa Town Bus route in central province.

galle road dehiwela

I got into this Double Decker at a Galle Road bus halt in Dehiwela. I immediately climbed to the top deck of the bus and took this photo.  As you can see you from the Bus’es top deck viewing the front traffic is like looking down upon vehicle, even those big  Tata Buses!

You can see the Dehiwela Galle Road traffic in this picture. In the top right corner you see the Dehiwela Municipal Council Building roof.

bambalapitiya colombo 4

This photo was taken in Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4. In this picture you can see the hood of the front big 60 seater Indian Tata bus. So you can imagine how it feels like to travel on such an elevation. I should think its probably about 10 to 12 feet above ground at the top deck.

wellawatte colombo 6

Another photograph I took from the top deck. This one shows Galle Road traffic on a typical Saturday morning in Wellawatte, Colombo 6. I was sitting in the front first seat of the top deck, right above the Double Decker Bus drivers seat, which was on the below floor. From my elevation the car and vans seems so small and low.  Do you think Giraffe’s maybe looking at us like this?

galle road wellawatte

Another splendid view of Galle Road in Wellawatte, Colombo 06 I was able to capture on camera from the Top deck of the Double Decker. Children and tourist should love such a way of traveling and viewing Colombo City!


Driving in Sri Lanka For Visiting Foreigners, Tourist & Expats

Do you want to experience attractions of Sri Lanka most tourists or expatriates to Sri Lanka will never see or hear? Then driving in Sri Lanka is one of them. For Visiting Foreigners, Tourist & Expats taking the wheel and doing a bit of self driving in Sri Lanka is a activity many try to engage in when they go to the island nation of Sri Lanka.

You should also expect lot of disorder while driving in Sri Lanka and also blaring vehicle horns that toot from every direction. Nightmarish slow moving traffic jams during office and school opening and closing times in cities like Colombo, Kandy, Dehiwala and Katunayake Airport road is a certainty and very poor and narrow roads and streets in rural Sri Lanka is the norm!

Some foreigners and expats are known to tell others about their driving in Sri Lanka saying you can drive really really slow on the fast lanes of Colombo like no where else in the world and at times park where ever they want and when ever you please, even next to a no parking sign! Sometimes you will encounter drivers on the roads who are audacious enough to reverse on to the main road! You are likely to encounter drives at night with out lights or drive with 6 sets of head lamps and cyclist in Sri Lanka don’t wear bicycle safety helmets. However you will find out if you go to Sri Lanka that motorcycle helmets are mandatory and very strictly enforced by the Police.

All these coupled with driving in very traffic clogged, poor maintained and mostly narrow Sri Lankan roads and even highways can be a very enjoyable or adventurous at times for some but a nightmare for most if you don’t know what about driving in this island country.

But before you take the wheel and try to rent or borrow a car or vehicle and drive in Sri Lanka you must have your driving license from your country of origin or an international driving license. Sri Lanka News Online is informed that Foreign driving license holding tourist and expatriates who wish to convert their license to a Sri Lankan driving license are advised to first contact the Deputy Commissioner of Motor Traffic Department in Sri Lanka.

Most road sign in Sri Lanka are international standard signs but it’s best to get a road sign booklet and refresh your memory. In many parts of this beautiful island country the speed limit is 40kmph, 60 kmph and 72 km/h per hour. (that’s right, don’t expect to drive more than 72 km/h not 172km/h)!

The International Driving Permit (IDP) maybe your passport to driving overseas and is recognized worldwide including in Sri Lanka as a valuable document identifying motorists as legally-licensed drivers. However this IDP may prevent or be an inconvenience when renting a car or when driving in a foreign country like Sri Lanka where English is not commonly spoken and understood. So as mentioned above contact your tourist or foreign agency or ticketing agent and make these arrangements if you plan to do lot of driving in Sri Lanka. The authorities may require you to present one of several documents to obtain driving permit or license to take the wheel in Sri Lankan roads.

The Beautiful Island Of Sri Lanka on The Indian Ocean

The island of Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean. This island of Sri Lanka is the 25th largest island the world and the second largest island in the Indian Ocean after Madagascar discounting Java and Sumatra islands of Indonesia.

If you see the world map Sri Lanka island is only a small speck south of Indian peninsula in Asia. But this tiny island nation is home to 20 million people! That is as much as there are Australians in the world there are an equal number of Sri Lanka people or Sri Lankans.

This country was formerly known as Ceylon and you guessed right if you it has to do something with Ceylon Tea. This is the island from which you get the famous and best brands of tea collectively called Ceylon tea. World famous tea companies such as Lipton Tea, Dilmah Tea all made there name from this small almost unknown island in the Indian Ocean.

But the island is not as small as you might think. It is 25,600 square kilometers large. That is more than double the size of the state of Israel we hear so often in media. The island resembles the shape of a pear or mango fruit with the a small peninsular tips called Jaffna making the north. From north to south the Sri Lanka island measures more than 400 Km and from east to Colombo in the west coast it measures 230 odd kilometers.

This Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka is blessed with natural beauty of every kind. The only thing they don’t have is snow and winter seasons, what with it being a tropical island near the equator does not allow snow to fall in the island. The country is sorounded by the water so it has many beautiful beaches and in the center of the country you find mountains double the height of the tallest mountains of its former colonial master’s mountains in Great Britain.

The island has a rich written history spanning more than 2500 years. So there are many heritage cities and historical monuments in this island. The commercial capital of Colombo boasts of every luxury and modern amenity found in the world and you find all people of every major world religions living in harmony in this paradise isle on earth.

Major tourist attractions in this island country are important historical and tourist cities like Dambulla, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Kandy, Kitugala , Karunegala, Matara, Mt Lavinia, Negombo, Nuwara Eliya Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Trincomalee and Sigiriya. The tourist attractions, Buddhist sites , the beaches and the landscapes makes Sri Lanka a sheer delight for tourists. Sri Lanka is also popular for its cricket stadiums and sports complexes. You could shop for tea and handicrafts here.

That’s for now on Sri Lanka News Online and look forward to more news and information articles exclusively written for this website alone by a professional native Sri Lankan blogger on this website.