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Hikkaduwa where the impressive coral reef is on offer

Sea urchin

Cabbage Coral

The Hikkaduwa beach is situated 98 km from Colombo towards the south of Sri Lanka. This fun coastal town 14kms from Galle was the first in the 1960’s of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches to be discovered by tourists. Snorkelling and diving in the clear waters are the major past-time along this stretch and is the most environmentally friendly way to see the colourful fish that dart around. The coral sanctuary found on the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large shallow expanse of water enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi coloured corals, which is home to countless number of colourful fish.

Off the beach there is a collection of tiny islets surrounded by beautiful coral formations.

Plenty of beach front accommodation and a reputation as the second best surf spot in Sri Lanka by the international board-riding set are the reasons for many tourists to visit Hikkaduwa.

But today this area looks boring and one feels sad because of the drop of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. So people lost their jobs who are involved in boat services and hoteliers too.

Casis cornuta Tonna perdix Trumpet Shell- Hak bella

The beaches are fine, wide and swimming is safe here. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is still populated by exotic fish and sea turtles.

There are days that are favourable for an outing by boat. It was not so pleasant to go far by boat for us last week because the sea was rough that day.

Podabacia sp

Leptoria spp Brain Coral

We spent a few minutes treading water and waiting for our boat. We had to virtually jump into the boat when it came, as the lapping of the waves made things difficult!

Before you enter the boat, remember to keep your bags and cameras safe because it could be damaged by the sea water if the small waves suddenly come into the boat. When we were entering the boat it was wobbly and we couldn’t control our bodies for a few seconds. But I felt shake the boat on the sea because of the sea wave which was a nice experience unlike the boat ride on the river or the lagoon.

After a few minutes we saw many species of colourful fish and some kinds of corals.

It was also a special experience for me to see two large turtles swimming along while we went by boat. ( I had seen many turtles in the tanks before at Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery but this was the very first time that I saw the turtles live and in their splendour in the sea). If you go there you may also be lucky to see turtles like me on your boat safari to the corals.

Turtle

The boat was safe and six people can be accommodated. This glass bottomed boat has two fitting benches inside on the boat. While the boat goes on sea we could see corals and fish under the sea waves. But if you want to take some clear photographs you must take an underwater camera. Otherwise if you take photographs through the glass bottom on the boat from normal cameras, it will definitely not be clear.

“There are six varieties of corals that we can see on Hikkaduwa coral reef such as Stag Horn, Elk Horn, Cabbage, Brain, Table and Star coral. In addition to these corals we can also see some varieties of algae on this place such as Halimeda spp, Ulva spp, Padina spp and majorities are Caulerpa spp” said Ajith Jayasundara and Sarath Seneviratne who were accompanying me.

“On these corals we can see 113 varieties of fish and among them Irirathna (Bluestripe Snapper- Lutjanus kasmira), Rathna (Black Tail Snapper- Lutjanus fulvus), Panawa (Oval Butterfly Fish- Chaetodon klenii), Ruwal karaya (Longfin banner fish- Heniocus ocuminatus) are special” said Field Officer of Wild Life D.D.R. de Silva.

After a short distance southwards from the centre of the reef, it diminishes given rise to a wider sandy bottomed beach with good waves ideal for boat surfing and body surfing. You can always rent the necessary equipment needed for snorkelling and surfing. Hikkaduwa is an established tourist destination and surfing there is quite well known.

There are many shops selling Masks, Gems, Jewellery, Batik, Antiques and curios etc. along with several Buddhist replicas and items, all which add spice to life at Hikkaduwa.


Induruwa Beach Resort Ideal location for relaxation

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How satisfying it would be to gaze at the beautiful sunset is left to the discerning guest to experience on his or her own. The Beach Resort is the perfect place for relaxing and it provides a more friendly service to all the guests who come to the resort. Guests can take their meals experiencing nature, the sea breeze and the sound of the sea waves.

***************

Induruwa Beach Resort (IBR) is situated on a flat terrain and easily accessible by both tail and road. The Hotel, about two hours’ distance from Colombo city (68km) got underway in 1993, owned and managed by Ocean View Resorts, a subsidiary of Sri Lankan conglomerate Ceylon Shipping Lines. On the approach from Colombo to Matara the fully white building standing on the sea side on Galle Road

IBR is a star class hotel with 90 standard deluxe rooms, including six suites with their very own view of the sea and giving you the luxury of having a holiday with peaceful setting.

How satisfying it would be to gaze at the beautiful sunset is left to the discerning guest to experience on his or her own.

The Beach Resort is the perfect place for relaxing and it provides a more friendly service to all the guests who come to the resort. Guests can take their meals experiencing nature, the sea breeze and the sound of the sea waves.

The “Araliya” restaurant located in front of the beach offers food to your taste. The uniqueness of this resort is that all rooms are situated facing the sea, providing a generous view of the surroundings as well. It is just about 25m from rooms to the sea shore.

“The ‘Rain Bow’ is the conference hall a conference can be held without any disturbance (for 150 pax). IBR is also popular for weddings for a capacity 250 pax.

For entertainment IBR does not forget to provide games such as beach volleyball, billiards, Bouchiya (special German game), football, table tennis, water polo, gym, and an ayurveda centre also” said General Manager (Marketing), Ranjaka de Mel.

This resort is noted for company outings as well as family outings. “We have a very good demand from Russian, German, French and Indian visitors also. We invested over Rs.10 million and upgraded the resorts’ rooms last year.

Our concept is to provide facilities and more enjoyment to our guests,” said Resident Manager Upul Marambe.

Every night the hotel presents calypso, DJ music, magic show or cultural show for guests’ entertainment. Guests can also visit the Madu Ganga, Turtle Hatchery and Bevis Bawa’s Garden. Hikkaduwa corals are the excursion that they offer their guests.

Between the resorts’ building and the sea shore there is a circular shaped swimming pool with Jacuzzi. The kids’ pool could be observed from here for the concerned.

Authentic Western, Eastern, Chinese or any other food to suit any taste will be prepared by the experienced chefs to the fullest satisfaction of guests.

(GP)


True Paradise - Kalu's Hideaway

One will witness paradise that former renowned cricketer Romesh Kaluwitharana discovered earlier when they get to Kalu's Hideaway. As an avid traveller, Kalu always envisioned about having a little 'hideaway' comfortably nestled somewhere private and cosy. So he purchased nearly five acres of prime property in Udawalawe where a wonderful place for paradise could be created.

Kalu initially brainstormed the name of 'Ali Doorakada' but he thought it shouldn't be too confusing to would-be patrons thinking they'd be threat from the near-by elephants who make Udawalawe their home. Thereafter, Fantasy Holdings provided the umbrella to market 'Kalu's Hideaway' where other tour operators came on-board. Being quite close to the Udawalawe National Park, the home for many of these wild majestic animals, a breathtaking view of the herd can be seen from the bund of the Udawalawe Reservoir.

Kalu say, "In this area, many people don't believe in work so we had to educate and train them by giving them employment by building my bungalow". He said that motivating is the key to development.

Commencing in March 2007 with just four rooms, a lot of effort went into this architecturally-designed bungalow to give it a perfect design. When Kalu accidentally stumbled upon a stunning view above the roof, he built the master bedroom there. Kalu's Hideaway also has a swimming pool where the whole family can enjoy.

The nature-friendly atmosphere is evident because most of the cuisine is garden-grown and bread is baked in the oven which is tasty. Waking up in the morning to the music of the birds chirping as your alarm clock makes you feel like you've arrived home.

A serene lake like a natural pool is located further down and a camping place is also planned to get visitors to discover the atmosphere to the maximum while drinking the sights and sounds of the area.

Kalu mentions about the hospitality, "We should sell our culture in a good way so people around the world appreciate it".

Kalu's Hideaway is ideal for an escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life to relax in peace taking in the beauty of Mother Nature.


To boost sports tourism:

Sailing regatta from Colombo to Galle

A Sailing regatta from Colombo to Galle is set to be the next big thing on the international dinghy sailing calendar. This first time event is being held over three days and will see elite sailors from around the world entering the race that begins in Panadura on December 12th, continues down the coast and ends in Galle on December 14th.

The race includes two over night stops in Bentota and Hikkaduwa and will see the sailors battling for titles and positions as each days racing progresses.

The regatta has attracted over twenty competitive boats (forty entrants), which is a phenomenal number for a maiden race.

Set to sail for the first time off shore in Sri Lanka is the 2006 World GP14 Champion and 2007 UK National GP14 Champion - Richard Estaugh, who will be challenged by some of Sri Lanka's own dinghy sailing champions, former Asian Games Bronze Medallist Lalin Jirasinha, current 2008 Sri Lankan National GP14 Champion Devin Goonawardena, as well as the Navy's own 2008 Enterprise Class National Champion Janaka.

Local sailors have been flying the Sri Lankan flag high overseas recently with 14 sailors representing the CMYC in Wales UK at the 2008 World GP14 Championships. Devin Goonawardena and Jeremy Bolling gained 31st in the world rankings.

Organised by the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club (CMYC), the regatta is open to two dinghy classes; the GP14 class, and the Enterprise Class: both of which sail regularly on Bolgoda Lake, Moratuwa every weekend. Local entrants will hail from Sri Lanka's three top sailing Clubs - Ceylon Motor Yacht Club, Royal Ceylon Yacht Club (RCYC) and the Navy Sailing Club (NSC) and are sure to battle fiercely to make a name for themselves in the history books of this regatta.

The Regatta 2008 has received grateful assistance from over twenty hard working volunteers and is being organised within International Safety Standards and International Dinghy Class Rules.

Enormous support has been offered to the event with backing and assistance being offered by not only one of the main sailing clubs, the Navy Sailing Club, but also by Sri Lankan Tourism and the Sea Rescue Institution, not to mention the events main sponsor and name sake, Mobitel.


Hopper Night at Trans Asia

An auspicious day it is this Friday for it is none other than the last Friday of the month and time to welcome the month end with another hopper night at Trans Asia! What has now become a regular feature and quite popular amongst the young and the old, the team looks forward to welcoming those yearning for a local meal. It’s not only the fabulous feast the hotel boasts of, but also the soul refreshing live Calypso music to blend with the setting and the food. As a matter of fact, there is no other place in Colombo, like the ‘Hopper Night’ at Trans Asia.

This authentic traditional Sri Lankan evening comprises an elaborate buffet laden with typical Sri Lankan favourites, from spicy bites to the all time favourite, egg hoppers, plain hoppers, and milk hoppers.


At ‘The Bay Leaf’ this Christmas

Colombo’s finest Italian Restaurant - The Bay Leaf - takes on a festive air this Christmas and New Year season and opens its doors with an epicurean feast replete with all the trappings of good cheer.

The Christmas menu conjures up images of a gastronomic fantasy with its Lobster Bisque, Prawn Mousse, Chicken Liver Pate, Cheese wrapped Ham, Smoked Chicken Breast, Home Made Duck Ravioli, Roasted young Turkey stuffed with Chestnuts, Fresh Salmon rolled with sun-dried Tomato, Marinated Leg of Lamb, and of course, the traditional Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce.

The special New Year’s Eve menu offers diners a truly regal spread to choose from among a selection of international salads and appetizers, Oven Baked Lamb Rack with Pistachio Nuts and Herbs served with a Red Wine Sauce, Australian Beef Tenderloin grilled with Hollandaise Sauce, Pan-fried fresh Salmon with Champagne Zabaglione,

Saffron poached Rock Lobster with Ricotta Cannelloni and Lemon Tagliarini with Duck Ragu, etc.

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