Excursions


Boat ride in River Madu (Madu Ganga Wetlands)

Between Colombo and Koggala there exists a beautiful river called Madu Ganga in Balapitiya which offers a glimpse of how it has become a part of the life of the people in the area.

In the outset Madu Ganga is considered as Sri Lanka's second largest wetland consisting of 28 islands including two main islands providing shelter to 215 families.

Villagers say that many generations ago, the Madu Ganga flowed by peaceful villages. People had a very basic life style and everything was fulfilled through Madu Ganga by means of agriculture and fishing. Strangely despite the rapid development in the country most people living in and around the Madu Ganga still engage in traditional methods of catching fish such as use of yoth and other small nets. Shrimp farming is popular here. For that they make use of the traditional method of laying separators made out of bamboo. In the night the fishermen light kerosene lamps and place it in a trap box. According to fishermen the shrimp follow the light of the lamp and get trapped in the box. Today shrimp farming has become a good source of income, but is a dying profession in Madu Ganga.

Galle City and Dutch Fort ,Galle - Living world heritage city

The Fort, replete with unfolding ramparts and imposing bastions, is today much as it existed in Dutch times. Moreover, the ensuing centuries have barely diminished the picturesque, old-world character of the town within. The sleepy, romantically named streets reveal fine examples of Dutch colonial architecture - mostly gabled buildings typified by wide doorways with deep verandahs supported by round pillars.

Its first fortifications were made by Portuguese in 1588 and taken over by Dutch in 1640 and developed in to a much bigger & strengthen for and it became the administrative centre of Dutch in Ceylon.

In 1796 handed over to English but many significant changes were not done apart from the Lighthouse & The Anglican Church & the new entrance cut through the ramparts between the Moon & Sun Bastion in 1873.

The fort's state of preservation makes it one of the best of its kind to be found anywhere in the former Dutch colonies of the East. In 1988 this wonderful legacy was recognized by UNESCO with Galle's inclusion as a living monument in the World Heritage List.

Handunugoda Tea Factory

Handunugoda has now become a world famous destination for both travelers & connoisseurs of tea. This plantation has received acclaim as the only producers of White Tea - untouched by human hands in the whole world. Their plantation & Tea centre is also a very popular landmark for visitors to Sri Lanka, who wish to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of the workings of Tea – Rubber & Cinnamon Plantations. Their specialty is personal & dedicated service to those who visit them.

Plantation managers with years of experience conduct visitors round the estate. You are treated to complementary tea at the proprietor’s bungalow with a panoramic & soothing view. Bird life & wild life abounds on the plantation. It is truly an Eco sanctuary, with deep commitment to preserve the nature’s bounty. If you are a visitor to Sri Lanka you are in the land of the finest tea. Handunugoda is unique. They produce teas that are not produced anywhere else in the world. There is no better gift that you can give yourself or those back at home than Handunugoda tea. Their catalogue caters to every mood & temperament of the tea drinker. Teas to start you off in the morning, afternoon & evening liquors. Health teas – cinnamon tea – camellia tea & tulsi te. Ginger tea, with an assortment of health

HIYARE RESOVOIR

The Hiyare reservoir is a natural reservoir in the Galle district Sri Lanka. This reservoir is preserved lowland rain forest and its conservation is therefore of significance.a major source of drinking water to the city of Galle. The catchment zone of the reservoir consists of about 600 acres of a rather well.

Among the other life forms 5 endemic bird species, 6 endemic freshwater fish species and 2 endemic amphibian species have been recorded. Though the area is a strict forest reserve, poaching for wild boar, collection of endemic fish species for aquariums, collection of rare medicinal plants (eg. Wanaraja), ferns and bryophytes have been reported. In view of the reported high diversity and endemism of species in the catchments zone, a systematic analysis of the flora in the catchments zone of the reservoir was undertaken. The paper reports the floristic composition (including ferns, bryophytes, lichens etc) and structure of the forest and the socioeconomic impacts on its conservation.

Kanneliya Rain Forest

Kanneliya Rain Forest is the second remnant rain water forest in Sri Lanka covering 18,000 - 20,000 acres. It represents the lowland rain forests in Sri Lanka and some of the trees which are tallest in Sri Lanka such as Dipterocarpus Zelanicus and Diterocarpus Zelanica (Hora) too prevail there.

What is striking about the interior of the forest is that it has a cathedral effect which means that the vast interior is buttressed with the tall trees which compares with the high roof which has the semblance of a cathedral.

You will be guided in a 2 hour walk in the forest with a resident naturalist in the forest showing the most exclusive hot spots of the nature including the Water Fall braking down in to seven steps making a misty surround & a singing noise that brake the peacefulness of the forest.

KOTTAWA RESERVE

The most famous piece of undisturbed rainforest in Sri Lanka is the Sinharaja Biosphere Reserve’s neighbour Kottawa Rainforest and Arboretum. It is much smaller than Sinharaja measuring only 1,800ha in extent. You get a great experience of a rainforest environment under the huge trees forming such a compact canopy above, walking along in a comparative gloom to the bright sunshine many metres above.

You’ll see a great variety of plant life, from the fungus on the giant tree trunks, to the mossy, damp leaf-litter hiding lizards and frogs, within a wet zone habitat that these creatures thrive in. The trees are marked along the pathways so you can identify each one. Butterflies flutter past you and many brightly coloured birds that you can hear twittering in the trees come to lighten the gloom. Many are endemic to Sri Lanka such as the Grey Hornbill (Tockus griseus). As far as mammals go, you may catch glimpses of the Sri Lanka Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macroura) and Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (Tachypithecus vetulus).

Martin Wickremasinghe Folk Museum

Step in to the House of Sri Lanka’s greatest novelist Martin Wickramasinghe , established to a folk museum complex, surrounded by a restored ecosystem planted with hundreds of varieties of Indigenous trees and shrubs in which bird life abounds. Have an in detail look of Southern Sri Lankan Culture influenced by Portuguese, Dutch & finally English who were ruling the country for 300 years.

The museum principally consists of five sections: Martin Wickramasinghe's ancestral house occupies a central piece in the seven-acre Folk Museum which depicts the life, the trades and tools that had been used by the villagers towards the tail end of the 18th century, the Samadhi, where his ashes have been interred, the Museum of Folk Culture and the restored eco-environment.

The museum is a fascinating collection of artifacts from ancient to modern times featuring Buddhist artifacts and portrays the development of rural technology in agriculture, agro industry, fishing, pottery, metal crafts and various artifacts from folk dances and religious ceremonies. The museum offers visitors a rare insight into Sri Lankan folk culture.

Mirissa Water Sports Centre

Mirissa Water Sports Center is based in Mirissa harbour, a beautiful and quiet fishing village in the South of Sri Lanka. Mirissa is reported to have the prettiest beach on the South coast with clean sand, calm water and safe swimming. It is 40 minutes away from Galle on the southern tip of the island.

Mirissa Water Sports is located on the Eastern side of Weligama bay, one of the most beautiful bays in Sri Lanka, famous for its white sand and the coconut palms which fringe the beach. The bay is protected by natural coral reef which makes it excellent for snorkeling, diving and sailing. Many surfers come to the bay as there are some exciting surfing spots in this area.

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

See baby jumbos wondering around their cramped foster home or bottle fed and bathed by their human foster fathers at Pinnawela, about 200Km from Galle towards Kandy is the home to some 60 or more elephant orphans. A place you will really enjoy and never forget.

When you walk into the grounds you are greeted by the magical sight of elephants roaming free over grassland fringed with palm and coconut trees. The serene and gentle creatures are happy to be approached and you can actually walk among them without fear of getting squashed, their inquiring trunks reaching out to investigate you in reciprocal curiosity. Handlers are present, but they interfere very little and they seem to be on good terms with the animals, each known by their name.

It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. The orphanage was primarily designed to afford care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers. The baby elephants once cared for are released to the wilds when they reach a certain age.

The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when you will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see the elephants having their daily bath. Bathing time is sharp at 10.00am and 2.00pm. Feeding time is about an hour earlier.

Rhumassala

Under its Sanskrit name of Lanka, the island figures prominently in the epic poem known as the Ramayana, which, tradition says, was written around 2,000 years ago by the sage Valmiki.

According to the story The Sri Lankan king Ravana captured the princess Sita, the wife of prince Rama was transported to his capital in Lanka by his flying machine - a peacock powered sky chariot called the dandumonara.

In this very long story Rhumassala becomes a very important fact that during the battle of Rama & Ravana to win Princess Sita.

The monkey-general Hanumaan featured in a similar episode when Rama's brother Lakshman was wounded in battle. A medicinal herb was required to save his life and Hanuman was dispatched to the Himalayas to fetch it. However, by the time he arrived he had forgotten its description, so he brought back a fragment of the Himalayas containing many herbs twisted in his tail in the hope that among them might be the correct one. However, the mountain fragment slipped and fell while Hanuman was over Lanka, and it broke into three pieces. These landed in different locations, one of which was Ritigala, the second Hakgala and the third Even today the mountain reserves many endemic trees & bushes that quite unusual to the local area and the under the thick layer of soil the whole mount is formed by granite which you can see while driving through the On the top of the mount the brilliant white Peace Pagoda & the temple of the Monkey God Hanumaan reserve the best views of the setting sun & port city of Galle.

Shopping Trip

The traditional Sri Lankan shop, the kade or boutique (a corruption of a Portuguese word), examples are still plentiful in rural areas. The most basic are constructed of wooden boarding, with a window counter through which the proprietor conducts business.

Sri Lanka is known for its spices, its colorful textiles, its timeless antiquities and its marvelous jewelry. Walking along the walled fort area you come across some amazing shops and people selling exquisite stuff. A mind boggling collection of antiques which includes sofa sets, bed, cutlery, furnishing table and glassware. They restore old furniture as well make new one for you. You can have it shipped to any part of the world. While you walk along the main street make a note to step in to Dutch market occupied by fruit stales, flower arcades and just to remember the vegetable market is just a walking distance from there.

Sri Lanka’s wide variety of very attractive handicrafts can be found throughout the area in shops, street stalls and government-run stores housing traditional Sri Lankan masks carved from kaduru wood, paintings & batiks with intricate Sri Lankan motifs dyed into the wax-offset fabric. Jewellery fashioned from Sri Lanka's famous gems & moonstones.

Sri Lanka has long been famous for its crafts, particularly lace making and embroidery, much of which is centered on the Galle region in the south of the country. This has traditionally been a lace making area ever since the Portuguese introduced the skill in the 15th century, when royalty and the aristocracy adorned themselves with lace and embroidery as symbols of their wealth and power.

Handlooms with many up to date designs suitable for modern living, include shirting, saris, sarongs, toys and especially upholstery materials. Shopping in Galle is amazing even though you don't buy anything.

Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja is a lowland tropical rainforest of global importance showing certain affinities with the rainforests of South and North-East India, Indonesia and Malaysia. As a result of long isolation in the shelter of the central mountains of Sri Lanka, as well as being separated by oceans from other regional rainforests, Sinharaja displays high level of endemism in the composition of both its flora and fauna. As such it warrants special protection. Indeed, the bulk of Sri Lanka's remarkable bio-diversity is concentrated in rainforests such as Sinharaja, along with those of the Peak Wilderness and the Knuckles Range. 22,000 acres in extent, the Sinharaja Rainforest amounts to only 10 percent of the remaining forest cover of the wet zone of Sri Lanka. Saved from a government sponsored logging operation in the mid-1970s, the rainforest was recognized as an international Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978 and declared a national wilderness area in 1988. The protection of Sinharaja was further strengthened by the subsequent inclusion of the rainforest in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.