INSIDE SRI LANKA A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis. June 2014.

Rest-houses
For a taste (literally) of colonial Ceylon, I go to one of the few rest-houses that remain which are found in towns in the interior of the country. These were originally bungalows developed by the British colonial administration as a network of cheap accommodation and meals for travelling officials. They were usually built in superb locations, each within a day’s march or horse ride from one another.

 

The traditional rest-houses that remain today are government-owned, leased either to urban councils or private organisations. They have long had a reputation for genuine local food (rice and curry of course) and low-cost snacks (like devilled beef).…

See More

INSIDE SRI LANKA A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis

Christmas in Sri Lanka
Season’s Greetings! Sri Lankans love to party and happily join in the celebrations of the feasts or holy days of all religions. December 25 is a public, bank and mercantile holiday throughout Sri Lanka. Even though it is a Christian festival, the government sometimes regards Christmas Day as equivalent to a (dry) Poya (Full Moon) Day and bans the sale of alcohol then, so visitors need to make advance arrangements if planning a traditional Christmas wassail.

 
 

Since Sri Lanka is within six degrees of the Equator, Christmas Day is usually sunny and hot, making an unusual experience for visitors from the West accustomed to cold and even snow.…

See More

INSIDE SRI LANKA A – monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis

Colombo’s Bouqinistes

Paris may be famous for its bouquinistes, stalls selling second hand and antiquarian books lining the banks of the River Seine, but Colombo also has them. They don’t line the banks of the Beira Lake and tourists seldom find them but they are invaluable for the traveller. These wayside booksellers are to be found opposite the traffic island where D R Wijewardana Road meets T B Jayah Road, within walking distance from Maradana Railway Station.

 

They are extremely useful for travellers because they not only stock old books and guides about Sri Lanka and many other countries but have thousands of books that can be bought or even borrowed.…

See More

INSIDE SRI LANKA – A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis

Escape CHOGM

 

The CHOGM roadshow rolls into town from 10 to 17 November 2013. CHOGM is the acronym for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and 54 HOGs representing Commonwealth nations around the world, plus  10,000 delegates, spouses and entourage members, as well as participants in Commonwealth youth and business forums, will be taking over Colombo. The major hotels will be closed to outsiders so if you will be in Colombo then you could be forgiven for thinking CHOGM means Colombo Hotels Off Guest Menu.

 
 

Since there will also be conferences in Hikkaduwa and Hambantota, Sri Lanka might seem to be crowded.…

See More