Category Archives: News

Massive Festival in Negombo coming soon

2016-07-30 18.15.34It starts on the Sunday 29th July 2018 and will continue until the 6th August.

St.Anne’s church in Palagathura in Negombo is one of the biggest churches in the area. This one is set close to the Dutch Canal on St. Anns Road.

This is an annual event starting the last Sunday in July.

This is a church festival celebrated all over Negombo, where the streets are decorated and lit up at night. The church grounds host a carnival organised by the church youth group and the local community.

The streets are lined with market stalls selling food, sweets, toys, gifts and there is even a 6D mobile cinema, I dont know how you experience 6D!

Families come from miles and mile around to experience the spectacle and to be blessed. On the first Sunday there is a parade through the streets with lots of music and smiling faces.

This is the biggest festival of its kind in Negombo. Take a look at some of last years photos!

2016-07-30 18.10.21 2016-07-30 18.14.42 2016-07-30 18.15.41 2016-07-30 18.18.33 2016-07-30 18.22.16 2016-07-31 00.29.44 2016-07-31 00.29.53 2016-07-31 00.31.05 2016-07-31 00.33.36 2016-07-31 00.34.03 13615357_1127269107330209_370037570940975436_n 13645165_1127269280663525_1700884844291565356_n 13872685_1127269633996823_2409291847795907814_n 13882138_1127268500663603_1394288182778909135_n 13895132_1127187060671747_304289459917379324_n 13906858_1127269213996865_170852571592947335_n

 

 

Red streets of Sri Lanka

Rambutan2It’s that time of year again  in Sri Lanka where the streets are turned red with many stalls at the side of the road selling the rambutan fruit. In some places it can be such a spectacle!! but what exactly is it?

The Rambutan Fruit

The Rambutan tree grows to about 10 to 20 metres in height. Its alternate leaves are 10 to 30 cm in length and pinnate and have three to eleven leaflets, each with an entire margin about 5 to 15 cm in width and 3 to 10 cm in breadth. Petal-less small flowers which are about 2 1/2 to 5 mm in size are disk-shape and they bloom cluster wise. The shape of the Rambutan fruit is round or oval and it is about three to six cm by three to four cm in dimension.
Rambutan Rambutan_fruit_Sri_Lanka

Rambutan is borne in clusters, and about 10 to 20 Rambutan fruit can be present in a typical cluster. Its leather like skin has pliable thorns. Rambutan fruit is typically red though some are yellow or orange. ‘Rambut’ is a Malay word that means ‘hairs’, hence it gets its name because of the thorn like appearance of its fruits. Its brownish seed is about two to three cm in size and is basally scarred. It is soft and crunchy. Although the raw seeds are poisonous, they may be eaten after cooking.

Open Rambutan fruit by removing one part of its skin. Find the seam across the fruit and pull apart the leathery skin. You can also use the knife, but be careful, only cut through the skin. Then you can hold the fruit with your fingers and enjoy the sweet taste. Rambutan fruit cannot be cooked; it can be eaten raw only.



Thomson Airways now flies from London Gatwick to Sri Lanka

thomson 787 dreamliner 1Thomson Airways now flies their new luxury Boeing 787 Dreamliner weekly to Colombo Sri Lanka from London Gatwick.

This is a direct non stop flight of 11.5 hours and Premium Class is also available.

This is a huge boost for tourism for Sri Lanka and follows the announcements from both Austrian Airlines and KLM who are also offering new services to the island.

The Thomson flight now fills part of the gap left after British Airways pulled out of the service in 2015 due to competition from Sri Lankan Airlines.

Seats are sold on the aircraft as part of package holidays or seat only.

Long haul holidays are fast becoming the preferred choice for many British holidaymakers as new research from holiday brands, Thomson and First Choice reveals that more people than ever before are prepared to go the distance to find their dream destination. Travelling for nine hours or more is now considered par for the course for many Brits (77%) as they seek more adventure and cultural diversity from their holidays.

Whilst two week durations remain the most popular, increasingly British holidaymakers are jetting further afield for just 10 or 11 nights in search of better weather (53%), cultural diversity (52%), beautiful beaches (42%) and more adventure (38%). This combination of factors resulted in 65% of those asked saying their long haul holidays were the most memorable and that they felt more adventurous (36%) than on a short-haul holiday (9%).

Thomson, part of TUI UK & Ireland, is one of the UK’s most well-known holiday brands, delivering unique and modern holiday experiences for its customers every year.

The airline was the first UK operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

What’s different about Dreamliner?

thomson dreamliner cabinBigger Windows
The windows on a 787 Dreamliner are about 30% bigger than those on your average plane. What’s more, when you’re ready to sleep, you can dim them at the touch of a button.

Room Overhead
Even at its lowest point, the Dreamliner cabin is over 6-foot high, so there’s a real sense of space.

More Oxygen
You’ll leave the plane feeling fresher when you fly on the Dreamliner. This is because its cabin pressure allows more oxygen to be absorbed into your blood.

Mood Lighting
Your body clock is more in tune wherever you’re heading on the Dreamliner, as the plane features a high-spec mood lighting system that can mimic things like dawn and dusk.

A Quieter Flight
The Dreamliner generates 60 per cent less noise than standard planes during take-off and
landing. It’ll be quieter in the air, too.

Quality Time
You can indulge in some proper ‘me’ time on the Dreamliner. It’s kitted out with state-of-the-art seatback TVs – and you can even plug your camera into them.

More fuel-efficient
Thanks to its composite structure and revolutionary engines, the plane is more fuel-efficient and emits less CO2 – about 20 per cent less carbon on a flight from Britain to America.

A bigger reach
The 787 Dreamliner can fly about 8,000 miles without stopping, which means it can go direct to destinations other planes can’t reach.

thomson 787 dreamliner cabinUpgrade to Premium Club :

For a bigger luggage allowance and seats with a bigger recline and a 38-inch pitch. You’ll also get priority check in and boarding, security fast track and UK airport lounge access, plus luxury extras like a Rituals cosmetics kit, a bigger TV screen, and a complimentary drink before you fly. And if you’re on a night flight, they’ll supply a duvet and pillow, too.


To check out these flights and others to Sri Lanka and beyond click HERE

Sri Lanka is Open for Business

Sri Lanka is Open for Business

Lanka4me.com along with other tour companies has seen a huge decrease in future bookings taken, due to the Sri Lankan government giving incomplete and inacurate press statements to the worldwide media.

We would like to assure all our current guests and future guests that the unrest, which was only in 2 very small villages on the outskirts of Kandy has dispersed and only lasted a few days. Even the main tourist destination of Kandy was not affected even though they had to tolerate a curfew.

Therefore Sri Lanka is SAFE and is OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

On the 6th March 2018 the Sri Lankan government issued the following statement:

“Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for 10 days”
A curfew was in place in the central district of Kandy, where crowds from the Buddhist Sinhala majority attacked a mosque, Muslim-owned shops and homes.
The authorities feared retaliation after a young Muslim man’s body was found in a burnt-out building. Tensions flared after the death of a Buddhist man who was said to have been beaten by some Muslims.
“Four mosques, 37 houses, 46 shops and 35 vehicles damaged in the small non tourist towns of Digana and Teldeniya (which are on the outskirts of Kandy) due to the mob attack,”

Social Media

Upon this same day the Sri Lankan government decided to block social media sites such as Faceboook, Whats App and Viber for a period of 72 hours in order to dull the amount of fake news being shared on social media and to halt the communication between the gangs, or rumours that instill a fear psychosis or a threat to communal harmony.

4 days later the Instant Messaging sites we reinstated but at the time of writing, which is 6 days later, Facebook is still blocked within Sri Lanka. Most users of smart phones have installed VPN’s in order to overcome this problem.

So Why Go To Sri Lanka? What’s So Great About It?

The people!

Don’t take our word for it, read a blog post from one of our recent guests who were staying in Hikkaduwa and travelled around the island, this month.

It started on the plane, we flew Sri Lankan Airways.

The cabin crew who greeted us were beautiful smiling ladies in peacock saris proudly displaying luscious, brown, rounded midriffs. You’ve got to love a nation that doesn’t need to hide it.

Sri Lankan women are spectacularly gorgeous, all glossy black wavy hair, tropical colours and lovely smiles furnished with amazing white teeth.

 

It doesn’t stop when you get off the plane. Wherever we go we are greeted by genuine, warm smiles, of greeting. Even the men do it.  After 4 hours on a local bus, with flu, I got off with a song in my heart and just one thought.

 

 

 ” These people are fantastic!!”

I have never seen such concern for strangers. Every time someone less able to stand boarded our bus, chairs would be shuffled. There was a hierarchy of seat-needyness. The elderly were immediately offered seats, so were mothers with babies or children, so were older, and then younger, women. It was a joy to see. If the young woman preferred to stand then a seated gentleman would take her bags on his lap. Total trust, nobody was worrying about theft at all. Call me old fashioned, but it was wonderful to see.

 

Manners aside, the buses themselves are a joy. Glittering lights and music turn every bus ride into a special occasion. No blaring techno or horrible elevator music, just lovely Sri Lankan tunes played at just the right volume to be enjoyable, even to us. Maybe the Sri Lankans are sick to death of the same tunes every day on their way to work, but we think it’s cool.
The bus drivers and conductors are friendly and helpful. They don’t try to rip us off, they take the correct money and tell us when to get off. Sometimes they will go out of their way to drop us exactly where we need to be dropped.

It’s Not Just The People

The natural environment is spectacular. Huge powerful waves pound the pristine shore. Dense rain forests appear just a few meters back from the coast road and there are the cool hill country tea plantations waiting for us to explore.
The wildlife is incredible, so much diversity! Leopards, elephants, ginormous monitor lizards, marine turtles, even blue whales.

 

It’s all here!

Sri Lanka is the only place I have ever seen a wild sea turtle laying her eggs on the shore. It was magical.

You have the co-existence of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Buddhist faiths, the historic buildings, temples, forts and markets. Sri Lanka is immensely rich in history and culture.
Then stop and consider the recent past. A war ( 80-100, 000 deaths ) and a tsunami  ( over 30,000 deaths) devastated this country in my living memory and still, these people are the friendliest and most welcoming that I can think of. I’ve travelled so wide and so far, and I really think that this is a good as it gets.

Jan Verspoor and family – The Netherlands – March 2018

IndiGo to fly from Chennai & Bangalore to Colombo

IndiGo to fly from Chennai & Bangalore to Colombo

IndiGo, India’s largest and fastest-growing airline, has announced that Colombo, Sri Lanka will be its eighth international and 49th overall destination on its network.

The new schedule will see non-stop connections between Colombo, Chennai and Bangalore, effective 20 January 2018.

Starting fares from $55 (ex-Chennai) and $93 (ex-Bangalore).

With this addition, both corporate and leisure passengers travelling to and from Colombo will get the opportunity to experience the on-time, affordable and hassle-free travel experience that IndiGo is synonymous with.

These new flights will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India with 149 Airbus A320s and a three ATR aircraft strong fleet, operating over 1,000 daily flights, connecting to 49 destinations.

Speaking on the launch, IndiGo President and Whole Time Director Aditya Ghosh said: “As one of the most sought after destinations in South Asia, Colombo draws visitors from across the globe for its fine blend of tradition and culture. It gives us immense pleasure to add Colombo as our 49th destination and cater to the needs of both business as well as leisure travellers. We aspire to continue providing an affordable and hassle-free travel experience to our passengers within and beyond India.”

Departing flights from Chennai to Colombo

Flight No.

Origin

Destination

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Via

Day of Operation

Effective From

6E 1201

Chennai

Colombo

04:00

05:30

Every Wed

24-Jan-18

6E 1201

Chennai

Colombo

06:55

08:15

Except Wed

20-Jan-18

6E 1203

Chennai

Colombo

10:05

11:30

Every Wed

24-Jan-18

6E 1203

Chennai

Colombo

12:00

13:25

Except Wed

20-Jan-18

Returning flights from Colombo to Chennai

Flight No.

Origin

Destination

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Via

Day of Operation

Effective From

6E 1202

Colombo

Chennai

06:30

07:55

Every Wed

24-Jan-18

6E 1202

Colombo

Chennai

09:15

11:00

Except Wed

20-Jan-18

6E 1204

Colombo

Chennai

20:30

21:55

Daily

20-Jan-18

Departing flights from Bangalore to Colombo

Flight No.

Origin

Destination

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Via

Day of Operation

Effective From

6E 1205

Bengaluru

Colombo

18:00

19:30

Daily

20-Jan-18

Returning flights from Colombo to Bangalore

Flight No.

Origin

Destination

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Via

Day of Operation

Effective From

6E 1206

Colombo

Bengaluru

12:30

14:00

Every Wed

24-Jan-18

6E 1206

Colombo

Bengaluru

14:25

15:55

Except Wed

20-Jan-18

To Book these or any other worldwide airline, click HERE

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New service from Switzerland to Sri Lanka

New service from Switzerland to Sri Lanka

Edelweiss, Switzerland’s leading leisure airline and sister company of Swiss International Air Lines, is further expanding its route network to Asia.

From 3rd November 2018 the airline will offer direct seasonal flights between Zurich and Colombo.

An Edelweiss Airbus A340-300 will fly twice weekly. Every Thursday and Saturday between Zurich and Colombo connecting the two cities directly. Flight time will be 10 hours.

Day Zurich Colombo
Saturdays 21:05 11:30 (the next day)
Thursdays 17:55
08:20 (the next day)

The new connection allows Swiss and other European tourists to reach Sri Lanka with ease and in comfort.

“Sri Lanka and its countless leisure activities are very popular among Swiss tourists” says Bernd Bauer, CEO of Edelweiss. “Swiss vacationers tend to spend more time and money than visitors from other countries. Our flights will bring approximately 11,000 visitors to Colombo each year, generating an annual economic impact of more than $ 32million.”

As well as opening Sri Lanka to Swiss and other European visitors, the new route offers a convenient direct flight for travellers from around Colombo to the heart of Europe, with many onward flight options from Zurich to other European cities and world-wide destinations with Swiss International Air Lines.

The route will be operated with an Airbus A340-300 seating 314 passengers. Edelweiss Business Class is equipped with 27 fully lie-flat seats and a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system with HD touchscreens. Economy Max encompasses 76 comfortable seats with six inches more legroom, more recline and many other amenities.

The 211 seats in Economy Class provide for a relaxing flight and offer an inflight entertainment system that also features HD touchscreens. For more information regarding the Edelweiss product visit

To book your flights with Edelweiss or any other airline to / from Asia please click HERE

Christmas in Sri Lanka

Christmas in Sri Lanka

Preparation for this great day begins weeks before, as in any other country. The festive sound or annoying sound of fireworks waking you up at dawn every morning of December is the first intimation that Christmas is round the corner.

Despite the fact that nearly 70% of population are practicing Buddhism while another 15% of people are Hindus, only a 7% of Sri Lanka’s population are Christians It is celebrated by Christians and shared by non-Christians in true Sri Lankan style.

It is said that the very first celebration of this festival was perhaps introduced to Sri Lanka (early known as Ceylon) by the Portuguese who ruled Lanka From 1505~1650.then the Dutch who ruled from 1658~1796 followed by British who ruled from 1815~1948.

The festivity spreads through all shopping centres all over the island. Even the small wayside boutiques in the heart of the country come out with their small festive décor. Homes are cleaned and painted, new clothes are bought or stitched and decorations are hung.

Hotels and commercial establishments are given a facelift around mid-November with seasonal decorations, and an interesting fact is the emerging trend of utilizing natural materials such as twigs, jute, leaves, etc, to create a natural but visually stunning Christmas ambiance.

The 25th of December is a public holiday and the midnight of 24th of December Cathedrals, Churches and little Chapels all over the island Christians attend “Midnight Mass”.

Christmas day finds people visiting relatives ,friends and neighbors to share with them the seasonal cake followed by a lavish spread of lunch or dinner.

Since Christmas is followed closely by the New Year sales. ‘Sale’ signs can be seen in almost all shops, with attractive price reductions being offered.

Spend Christmas in Sri Lanka

Should you opt for a tropical Christmas in Sri Lanka, you can be sure that it will be a most memorable one with all the trimmings of the festive season. Take your pick out of all the scenic locations Sri Lanka has to offer, and celebrate Christmas there. All Hotels indulge their guests with a fantastic Christmas spread, carols, dancing and other seasonal activities. It will be just like home but with a number of new experiences thrown in.

Contact us with your requirements and we will include them all and much more in your Sri Lanka tour package. In addition the New Year’s Eve dances in Sri Lanka are something special, so be prepared to party your way into the New Year in style!

4 Great Minds come together in Negombo

When four great minds come together they create something that is simply authentic, different and a total success.

That is what happened with a new bar and restaurant named Toro (which is Spanish for bull) ideally located opposite the Jetwing Sea hotel in Palagathura which is Negombo Beach North.

The four great minds are:

  • Krishan (the owner) who has many years experience as a local caterer and a chef. He worked at Rodeo for many years.
  • Chanaka (Head Chef) who was the Head Chef at Rodeo for over 20 years.
  • Madusanka (Head Barman) who has gained experience by working at the Cricket Club in Colombo.
  • Geeth (Head Waiter) who is very well known to many Negombo residents as he previously worked at Serendib for many years.

Toro Bar & Restaurant has only been opened for about 4 months but is already established itself as one of the top venues in Negombo due to its great food, unique and imaginative menu, good value, great bar service and cocktails and friendly welcoming service.

The bar is frequented by many local families as its a safe and friendly place for women to come, many aircrew (especially the Emirates team as they stopover at the Jetwing Sea which is opposite) and foreign visitors to the area.

The atmosphere is friendly, mixed and there’s always great music and every Friday you can expect live music and feel free to dance if you want, there is plenty of room.

The décor of the place is modern with wooden pallets making up the walls and the ceiling. Modern lighting and wooden tables, some low down and some high up, spotlessly clean toilets and attractive bar area.

Feel relaxed with lots of large wall fans to cool you down. There is a vast array of drinks to choose from. From Lion beer, Apple cider, cocktails, milkshakes, Calsberg, Corona to Chilean wine by the glass.

Madusanka can serve up both the quickest and the meanest mojito in Negombo. Its great value with Lion beer just 420 rupees or Gin and tonic (with ice and lime, which is a rare thing in Sri Lanka) for just 500 rupees.

The menu is a mixed of Sri Lankan and Western and can be suitable for everyine including vegetarians and vegans. Steak Panini sandwich, (700 LKR) Prawn & Avacado wrap,(600LKR) Beer batter fish with home made chips and salad, (950 LKR), Freshly made pizzas, Seafood. Chop Suey and even delicious Traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry. The menu has been devised by Krishan and Chanaka and their joint vast experience is shown in their dishes and presentation.
If you have any questions then Geeth will be pleased to answer them.

The owner Krishan is very proud of his new venue. If you ask to see the kitchen he will be delighted to show it to you. Here you will find one of the largest and cleanest kitchens in the country. Very impressive and offers peace of mind about the food.

 

 

So if you are visiting Negombo then head North along the beach road, with the sea on your left hand side and get youself down to Toro Bar & Restaurant.

Why not stay at one of our many highly recommended guest houses in Negombo Beach North such as Anne Residence (from $18 a night) or Shannon Rest (from $20 a night), these two properties are only a short 5 minute walk to Toros.

Lanka4Me Wins Top Travel Blog Award

Lanka4Me Wins Top Travel Blog Award

www.Lanka4Me.com has been awarded a special merit as one of the  – Top 30 Sri Lanka Travel blog websites for 2017 by Feedspot.com

We have been chosen from thousands of top Sri Lanka Travel blogs using search and social metrics.

The top blogs are chosen and ranked on following criteria

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

“CONGRATULATIONS to Lanka4Me for making it to the Top Sri Lanka Travel Blogs list! This is the most comprehensive list of best Sri Lanka Travel blogs on the internet and I’m honoured to have you as part of this! I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world”  Anuj Agarwal Founder, Feedspot

Facebook Tests Splitting Its News Feed Into Two

Facebook Tests Splitting Its News Feed Into Two

Facebook Inc. said it was testing the idea of dividing its News Feed in two, separating commercial posts from personal news.

The Facebook News Feed is a series of posts such as photos from friends, updates from family members, advertisements and material from celebrities or other pages that a user has liked.

The test, which is occurring in six smaller countries, now offers two user feeds, according to a statement from the company: one feed focused on friends and family and a second dedicated to the pages that the customer has liked.

The change could force those who run pages, everyone from news outlets to musicians to sports teams, to pay to run advertisements if they want to be seen in the feed that is for friends and family.

Depending on how people respond, two news feeds could mean that they see fewer links to news stories.

The test has already affected website traffic for smaller media outlets in recent days.

 

Emirates Airbus A380 lands at Colombo Airport

Emirates Airbus A380 lands at Colombo

Emirates’ double decked Airbus A380 aircraft will make a one-off landing at the Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake, in Sri Lanka on the 14th August 2017, the first airline to land this wide-body aircraft at the airport’s new resurfaced runway.

The special flight will be the first A380 aircraft to disembark passengers in Sri Lanka after completing a commercial service. The one-off A380 aircraft will arrive at 16:10 hours and be on ground for more than six hours. Before it returns to Dubai as flight EK655 departing at 22:10 hours, enabling airport executives, VIPs, trade partners and media to enjoy a guided static tour of the double-decker aircraft. The airline said in a media release.

This is not exactly the first time an Emirates Airbus A380 plane has landed here in Sri Lanka. In June 2015 the mentioned aircraft with more than 500 people on board had to make an emergency landing in Sri Lanka due to a technical fault.

The aircraft was en route to Dubai from Sydney when it was diverted to Colombo, where it landed safely.

“Colombo has welcomed us from the day Emirates commenced daily flights from Dubai in 1986, just a year after the airline launched its operations. We are honoured to work alongside the city, airport, and the Sri Lankan Civil Aviation authorities, to bring our flagship A380 to this vibrant destination.

For Colombo and for aviation enthusiasts in Sri Lanka, this will certainly be a special day and we look forward to showcasing our unique on board products in this market,” said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, West Asia and Indian Ocean.

An A380 aircraft can carry 853 passengers (538 on the main deck and 315 on the upper),

Customers in Sri Lanka can experience Emirates’ double-decker aircraft by connecting through the airline’s Dubai hub to more than 45 A380 destinations. As the first and only airline in the world to operate a fleet of all Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft for its passenger flights, Emirates’ operating fleet remains modern and efficient while offering customers a high level of comfort. Since 2008, Emirates has flown over 80 million passengers on its A380 fleet, the release said.

The story is a follow up from our story titled Airport closure a complete waste of time and money which we published on the 26th April 2017

This is a big embarrassment to the airport, the government and officials. Surely the contractors knew how to read a tape measure!!!

The extra wide runway would also allow for larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 super jumbo to be able to use the airport.

The problem is that the contractors measured the extra 30 metres incorrectly and actually only widened the runway to 60 metres making it short by 15 metres when measured by the IATA officials.

We are pleased to advise that this problem has since been rectifield and the addtional 15 metres has been added to the runway width without any further closures taking place.

This is good news to Sri Lankan tourism, in addition to the extra flights from Moscow and Melbourne.

To search for any flights to Colombo and beyond with Emirates or any other long haul airline, click HERE

Capacity increase from Russia with Emirates

Emirates announced that both its daily flights between Dubai and Moscow will now be operated by the airline’s iconic airbus A380.

Commencing 1st October 2017, the double daily Airbus A380 service will significantly boost seat capacity to and from Russia in order to meet customer demand. It will also allow multiple A380 to A380 connections to a wide range of destinations such as:

Mauritius, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland, Christchurch, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei and Sao Paolo.

Currently the airbus A380 cannot fly into Colombo due to runway restrictions. so the new Moscow flights will connect to one of the three Boeing 777 aircrafts operating between Dubai and Sri Lanka.

Since Emirates started flying from its Dubai hub to Moscow in 2003. The airline has carried over 4 million passengers on the route. This aircraft upgrade sees an increase of over 1,000 seats per week and clearly demonstrates Emirates’ commitment to the Russian market. and further supporting tourism and trade links between the Middle East and countries connected by the vast Emirates worldwide route network including Sri Lanka and Russia.

Flights EK131/132 and EK133/134 will be operated by an Airbus A380 aircraft in a three-class configuration with 14 Private Suites in First Class, 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 427 seats in Economy Class.


Emirates has also made amendments to its winter schedule to and from St Petersburg, giving passengers even easier connections to many Emirates destinations including Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka with just a short stop in Dubai.

From 29th October 2017 until March 24, 2018 EK176 will depart from Pulkovo International Airport at 23:55hrs and land at Dubai International Airport the next day at 07:05hrs.

The new times will enable clients travelling to Dubai an additional day in the city, arriving from Saint Petersburg early in the morning instead of late evening. Given that Russian customers can now receive a FREE UAE visa on arrival, the new schedule opens up even more opportunities to explore the city and take advantage of the following early morning’s departure from Dubai to Colombo Sri Lanka.

To Search for Any flight with Emirates click HERE

New Direct flight service from Melbourne to Colombo

New Direct flight service from Melbourne to Colombo

Sri Lankan Airlines has announced it will operate a daily non-stop service from Melbourne Airport, Australia to Colombo Sri Lanka from 29th October 2017.

Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Simon Gandy said in a statement the new service on the Airbus A330-330 aircraft would take Aussies directly to Sri Lanka’s capital city in just over 10 hours.

He said the new route would also allow more Sri Lankans to visit family and friends in Victoria, which according to 2011 census data is home to around 50 per cent of Australia’s Sri Lankan population.

Sri Lankan Airlines all new A330-300s come with a range of novelties where the ease of modern air travel harmoniously blends in with the uniqueness of Sri Lanka. With cabins illustrated by motifs featuring the diversity and beauty of the island’s flora and fauna, they feature the latest amenities.

Their comfortable Economy Class sector provides a pleasant flying experience, and lets you relax to the latest movies on-demand, while lavishing in the true SriLankan Airlines hospitality that they are renowned for. With mood-lighting and in-seat power for portable electronic devices across all classes – you can also stay connected and be productive throughout the flight with Wi-Fi and mobile phone connectivity. Surf the internet, send an email, and make a call or text your friends – all while you fly.

Enjoy your flight and relax in greater comfort on-board their enhanced Business Class cabin, designed to pamper. With seats that transform into full flat beds, extra space, on-demand entertainment and direct aisle access.

To check availability and prices from Sri Lankan Airlines and any other major scheduled airline, click HERE

 

Airport closure a complete waste of time and money

This is a big embarrassment to the airport, the government and officials. Surely the contractors knew how to read a tape measure!!!

The Bandaranaike International Airport was closed for daytime flights from 830am to 430pm for three months from January 6, 2017. The runway re opened as schedule on the 6th April and hailed a total success.

However, It was later revealed that the project was a total waste of time and money. The project was to include the widening the 45-metre main runway to 75 metres and to re-lay the surface to fix the lighting system. The initial estimate for the project stood at LKR 7.2 billion.

The extra wide runway would also allow for larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 super jumbo to be able to use the airport.

The problem is that the contractors measured the extra 30 metres incorrectly and actually only widened the runway to 60 metres making it short by 15 metres when measured by the IATA officials.

This is a big embarressment to the airport, the government and officials. Surely the contractors knew how to read a tape measure!!!

SriLankan Airlines alone incurred an approximate loss of USD 40 million during the time the runway was shut down for refurbishment. This is excluding other major airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways that had to reduce operations and all the airlines that had to reschedule operations which was a major feat in itself.

The total loss to Sri Lankan tourism for this period was estimated to be $80 million, however Sri Lankan Tourist Board denies this figure.

Leader of JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, speaking on the issue said:

We closed the airport for six months from 8 in the morning to 4 in the evening. The loss has been calculated at 7.6 billion. But what has happened after they reconstructed the runway incurring a loss of Rs. 7.6 billion. It has come to a situation where the A380s cannot land there. They had rolled back the previous plan but the cost has increased by USD 30 million. It is clear that the anticipated task has not been achieved”.

Chairman of  Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, Janaka Wijepathiratne speaking on the issue said:

We worked for 16 long sleepless hours in the night shift to facilitate the construction activities of the runway. But after all of this. if the international aviation authorities are not granting permission for bigger flights to land here, we see this as a massive waste of money. We are asking the government to provide a clarification”.

It has now been estimated that an additional cost of $30 million needs to be spent in order to do the job properly. Not one airport official has confirmed as to whether the airport runway needs to closed again for a second time with a huge inconvenience to airlines and tourism as a whole.

Colombo Airport (CMB) Re Opens for daytime flights on schedule

Colombo Airport (CMB) Re Opens for daytime flights on schedule

Civil Aviation and Transport Ministry said today 4th April 2017 that. “The main runway of the Bandaranaike Airport (CMB) ie Colombo International Airport will become fully operational again for daytime flights on Thursday April 06th 2017″.

The Srilankan Airlines’ new aircraft (UL-1162)  would make the first landing on the runway. The airport’s main runway was closed for renovations on January 6.  Ministry said  the construction was effective to expand the existing runway from 65 metres wide to 75 metres.

The new runway is now fully comprised with the LED lighting system, enabling the airport to operate even under bad weather condition & the new renovated runway would also allow for larger aircraft such as the A380 to use the airport,” ministry said.

Scandinavia to Sri Lanka Direct

Fly Dreamliner direct from Stockholm or Helsinki

thomson 787 dreamliner 1Thomson Airways now flies their new luxury Boeing 787 Dreamliner weekly to Colombo Sri Lanka from Stockholm in Sweden and Helsinki in Finland.

These are both direct non stop flight of 10 hours and Premium Class are also available.

These flights are a real show to Thomson Tui’s committment to Sri Lanka as they are an addition to the direct service from London Gatwick.

Seats are sold on the aircraft as part of package holidays or seat only.

What’s different about Dreamliner?

thomson dreamliner cabinBigger Windows
The windows on a 787 Dreamliner are about 30% bigger than those on your average plane. What’s more, when you’re ready to sleep, you can dim them at the touch of a button.

Room Overhead
Even at its lowest point, the Dreamliner cabin is over 6-foot high, so there’s a real sense of space.

More Oxygen
You’ll leave the plane feeling fresher when you fly on the Dreamliner. This is because its cabin pressure allows more oxygen to be absorbed into your blood.

Mood Lighting
Your body clock is more in tune wherever you’re heading on the Dreamliner, as the plane features a high-spec mood lighting system that can mimic things like dawn and dusk.

A Quieter Flight
The Dreamliner generates 60 per cent less noise than standard planes during take-off and
landing. It’ll be quieter in the air, too.

Quality Time
You can indulge in some proper ‘me’ time on the Dreamliner. It’s kitted out with state-of-the-art seatback TVs – and you can even plug your camera into them.

More fuel-efficient
Thanks to its composite structure and revolutionary engines, the plane is more fuel-efficient and emits less CO2 – about 20 per cent less carbon on a flight from Britain to America.

A bigger reach
The 787 Dreamliner can fly about 8,000 miles without stopping, which means it can go direct to destinations other planes can’t reach.

thomson 787 dreamliner cabinUpgrade to Premium Club :

For a bigger luggage allowance and seats with a bigger recline and a 38-inch pitch. You’ll also get priority check in and boarding, security fast track and UK airport lounge access, plus luxury extras like a Rituals cosmetics kit, a bigger TV screen, and a complimentary drink before you fly. And if you’re on a night flight, they’ll supply a duvet and pillow, too.


To check out these flights and others to Sri Lanka and beyond click HERE

Sri Lankan Tea Sector in Crisis

ACTIVITY-tea-pluckingSri Lankan Tea Sector in Crisis

The Sri Lankan tea sector is going through rough times. The tea plantations were nationalised in the 1970’s in an effort to run the estates under one umbrella. but with failing output, they were offered back via public auctions in 1992. Various conglomerates such as Keell’s, Aitken Spence and Hayleys saw an opportunity to vertical integrate tea production for sale and became major share holders of some of the estates on offer. Now tea estates in private hands go under the name of Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) which now own 93% of all tea estates in the country. There are currently 20 RPCs and 3 government controlled tea estates.

Under private management, productivity increased but still is much less than other tea producing countries. For example the average yield in Sri Lanka is 1,700 tons per hectare, whereas in Kenya and India they manage to have a yield of over 2,000 tons per hectare.

Besides increased costs in transport and fertilizer, increased labour costs have been a major concern. Union officials are demanding protection of workers’ rights, insisting on higher wages. The daily wage of a worker is currently 620 rs, and the trade union wants this to be increased to 1,000 rps per day. One of the major factors is that workers pay is currently based on presence – turning up for work, as opposed to being based on productivity. A change to a productivity system is requested by management but then other non tea picking duties such as weed control, tea bush maintenance, transport and packing have also to be taken into account.

Regional Plantation Companies

The RPCs have also been accused of not investing in their estates, and asset stripping. Evidence of this is that some tea bushes are over 100 yrs old, whose tea production are a lot less than younger ones.. It is beleived that 2% of the land should be planted with new plants every year to maintain a good rate of production with a view to looking at the future.

RPCs have also been accused of a failure to invest in other types of industries to compliment tea, such as farming and other crops. Responsible for education and health services of their labour, there is also a belief that young workers should be able to progress through a management system thereby giving an incentive for the youth to want to be employed in the sector.

The RPCs on the other hand claim to have turned around tea estates under their control from loss making to profit making, have contributed to the government with payments of over Rs 7 billion through renewals of leases, and have already increased wages by 40%.

So whilst finger pointing seems to be the order of the day, with supposedly mismanagement and higher costs of labour and production, the main crisis is due to the fall in the price of tea. Tea has fallen about 66-67 rps per kg since 2014.

There is a levy that contributes to a tea fund for the marketing of the Ceylon Tea. Putting this to good use to recapture markets lost would be a good way to kick-start tea production as would a wage system based on productivity. That is not to say that this would solve all the problems, but may go to a long way to helping it.

The Sri Lankan Piggy Bank

the sril ankan piggy bankWhen it comes to saving, Sri Lankans have a lower saving rate than other Asian countries. Compare for example the Sri Lankan saving rate of 23%, compared to that of Singapore (53%), and of Malaysia (33%). India and the Philippines also have a higher saving rate of 31%.

Reasons for this could be the low average salary of say 20,000 to 30,000 rps (US138 to US207) per month. However it may be down to the fact that the civil war taught people to look at surviving through the day on a day by day basis where the immediate presence far outweighed thinking of the future. Given that the war ended in 2009, that is only a mere 9 years ago. It may take many more years, and perhaps the next generation to change that mindset.

One thing Sri Lankans do like to do though is party.

When it comes to eating out and drinking with friends, they love to spend to enjoy themselves. Indeed don’t be surprised if they ask you to join in their festivities. Their hospitality is like no other. Whilst this may reduce the savings of some, it must also mean that others are lining their pockets.

New Coffee Bar In Ella

Vinod & Krishan 4There’s a new coffee bar in town, in Ella Town. Located opposite Passara Road junction with Welliwaya Road, you can now get your coffee fix, American style. Or perhaps that should be Italian style, as the coffee brand used is “Lavazza”.

The hot coffees on offer are Espresso, Espresso Dopio, Caffé Americano, Cappuccino, Caffé Mocha, Café Latte, Flat White, Caramel Macchiato and there is Swiss Hot Chocolate too.

The cold versions are Iced CAffé Latte, Iced CAffé Mocha,Cookies N Coffee Shake, Irish Coffee Shake and Cold Brew.

Combine this with an array of soup, breakfast, waffles, sandwiches and pasta dishes, you can make a meal of it.

20160826_074510_resized

What’s also interesting is that there is a guitar there with a “Play Me” sign. And if playing a guitar isn’t your thing, you can always have a game of monopoly, chess or simply read a book. There’s also free wifi so that you can keep in tourch with your friends and family.

The coffee shop opens early morning from 6.30 am until 9 pm.

Shortage of Elephants For Perahera in Kandy

Elephants on Show in PeraheraElephants are often in the news these days. Afterall “Sri Lanka” and “elephants” go hand in hand. Indeed Sri Lanka has the highest density of population of elephants in Asia.

Fortunately the National Parks offer some protection, and the elephants can be seen in the National Parks of Yala, Lunugamvehera, Wilpattu, Minneriya (near Sigiriya), and Udawalawe. However some elephants can be found outisde these protected areas, which are mainly in the dry zones of the north, east and south east. These are all wild elephants in their natural habitat.

One sure way of seeing elephants is to attend the Perahera in Kandy. This is a festival where elephants are adorned and paraded down the streets along with brightly dressed musicians and dancers. The elephants used here are domesticated elephants.

The shortage of domesticated elephants is now of great concern, as the number of elephants available for this procession has been severely reduced. The government is proposing to confiscate any domesticated elephants through a court order in order to solve the shortage of domesticated elephants available for religious purposes. Of the 132 domesticated elephants available, 52 cannot take part.

The number of elephants available is also hindered by permit issues where 20 are currently under a court order.

This year the Perahera in Kandy takes place from 8th to 18th August. Probably with a reduced number of elephants compared to previous years.

HOLIDAY RENTALS IN KANDY AREA