Media digest: Sri Lanka explored, the best of what the papers say
Explore Sri Lanka like a local
The Huffington Post UK extols our wildlife, food and beaches—“Herds of serene elephants … golden palm-fringed sandy beaches … where scuba divers can explore underwater coral gardens”, while “rarely seen blue whales can be spotted on seafaring day trips in the south”.
Delicious foodwise, “don’t leave without tasting some spicy coconut sambal, rice noodle string hoppers (they’re usually served for breakfast or as an afternoon snack) and fish ambul thiyal”.
Last but not least, “getting up at the crack of dawn to visit the Yala National Park … home to the highest density of leopards in the world. Watch the sunrise over the scrubs and grassland and keep your eyes peeled for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles and regal crested serpent eagles”.
Hiking the Devil’s Staircase to heaven
Our own Sunday Times hikes the Devil’s Staircase, a 14 km route “famous for being a 4WD route with its craggy twists and turns earning its rather frightening name. It is a wonderful hike with breathtaking views of the Southern plains of Sri Lanka and the Bambarakanda falls, the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka”.
Dawn broke around 5.30 “with the sun’s rays glittering on the tree tops – a beautiful sight to behold”. “Gradually the human habitation lessened and it was a lovely walk with the green giants of Horton Plains towering over us.”
The report concludes: “It was around two in the afternoon when we boarded the Badulla bus, for a terrifying ride—flying well over 80 kmph and even overtaking other buses on the sharp bends! It was around 7 pm when we reached Colombo after a day of memorable adventure.”
Himalaya Airlines begins Kathmandu-Colombo flight
The Himalayan reports that Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal-China joint venture, has launched twice-weekly Kathmandu-Colombo direct flights after a break of 28 years.
The company said it was “an initiative to bring both cities closer and boost tourism, trade and investment opportunities between Nepal and Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal, WS Perera, and Secretary General of Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, Ajith D Perera, were among the first passengers.
Travel Secrets: Best Things to do in Sri Lanka
The Times of Oman reports that “the ancient Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka has far too much diversity to cover in a single long weekend … vast tea plantations … luxurious beaches … as well as an area in the central part of the country known as the Cultural Triangle”.
Driving from Negombo, “we pulled over, again and again, for steaming cobs of starchy corn cooked in salt water, then for sweet, milky tea, then again for fresh, thick rounds of roti served with spicy sambol for dipping. There were other shops, too, stacked high with earthen pots of fresh buffalo curd topped with a hearty drizzle of honey”.
At the Dambulla cave temple “we took in the breathtaking views … wandered through the five rooms, which contained lovely, well-preserved Sri Lankan art in the form of murals and sculptures. Though, I found the views of the lush countryside as awe-inspiring as the site itself”.
Sri Lanka cycling: monkeys, ancient ruins and fine teas
The Australian highlights an elephant safari on a recent cycling tour of Sri Lanka, and that “when you’re cycling around the island’s interior, a 3m-tall Elephas maximus — 5 tonnes of unpredictability — is not something you really want to encounter”.
“We’ve had an elephant-alert drill for what to do if we cross paths with one: stand stock still and avoiding meeting its eyes”. That’s when firecrackers come in handy. They “go off with a bang and, theoretically, scare the beast away…”
“I never did see a wild elephant, but being on a bike got us close to Sri Lanka’s local culture, even if that included the group of children waiting at the top of a pass with homemade bows and arrows, picking off the stragglers.”