Israel-Sri Lanka ties with a direct flight

My recent taste of Sri Lanka has not only stirred up some happy childhood memories but also reignited my desire to visit this magnificent country.

By ANDREA SAMUELS

Published: SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 09:40

One of my earliest childhood memories is of preparing a school project about a country that we’d love to visit, which, for me, was Sri Lanka

Although life there seemed far removed from the Manchester Jewish bubble in which I lived, to me, Sri Lanka represented paradise.

I was fascinated by this teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean with its rich history, dating back 3,000 years, its tropical climate, and its wonderfully varied wildlife.

Sadly, the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka never arose. Not for me the globe-trotting gap year that many of my contemporaries enjoyed, during which a trip to Sri Lanka was the highlight. I watched with envy as they went off on their adventures, instead, having to make do with a postcard, which of course only heightened my desire to go there.

As the years wore on and I started work as a lawyer, before marrying and having children, travel became something that others enjoyed. I’d happily spend an hour or so in my lunch break, flicking through friends’ holiday snaps, but for me, that was the extent of it.

Having made aliyah some years ago, and settled on the shores of the Mediterranean in Netanya, my travel bug dissipated somewhat. But Sri Lanka always held a special place in my heart. This is why I was delighted to be included on the guest list for a dinner at the Sri Lanka Ambassador Nimal Bandara’s home in Herzliya a couple of weeks ago.

Sri Lanka’s history of ties with Israel

SRI LANKA has long enjoyed fruitful, productive relations with Israel, with its embassy being established in Tel Aviv in 2000.

Under an agreement between the two governments, Israel provides job opportunities for Sri Lankan caregivers of whom there are around 7,000 working in Israel at present. Conversely, Israel has given technical support to aid the establishment of a modern agricultural center in Sri Lanka. In addition, training opportunities for Sri Lankan government officials under MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development – have been proposed.

As a further sign of the strengthening of relations between the two countries, Arkia Airlines is scheduled to operate direct flights from Israel to Sri Lanka from October 31. Opening up this direct route between the two countries will, of course, further enhance this well-established relationship from all perspectives.

It will facilitate travel between the two countries for the thousands of Sri Lankan carers who work in Israel, and Israelis, well-known for their love of travel, especially around South Asia, will have easy, affordable, direct access to this beautiful country for the first time.

One of Sri Lanka’s most famous destinations to which surfers from all countries, including Israel, flock in their thousands, is Arugam Bay on the southeast coast of the island. Rated as one of the top 10 surf destinations in the world, Arugam Kudah, as it is known locally, has also hosted most of the international surfing competitions in Sri Lanka since 2004.

A number of Israeli organizations are also promoting surfing trips to this tropical island for people with special needs. 

As well as surfing, visitors to Sri Lanka will have the opportunity to experience firsthand some of the country’s rich cultural and historical values, including astrology, meditation, ayurveda (alternative medicine), dancing, painting, and more.

The highlight of any trip, however, will doubtless be the fabulous food, and those who keep kosher need not feel excluded. Kosher restaurants are available in Arugam Bay and the Gandara area.

HAPPILY, SOME of Sri Lanka’s finest cuisine was served to guests by the ambassador at his recent dinner. Thirty-two mouthwatering dishes – in all – graced the table, some of which were prepared by the ambassador himself. These delicious dishes included: chicken biryani; string hoppers (Idiyappam); kottu roti; coconut roti; mango curry; butter prawn curry; Pathola (snake gourd); Cancun devil curry; cashew curry; potato and green bean curry; coconut sambal; Moringa (drumstick) curry; potato curry with coconut cream; and chili chicken curry. 

DINNER AT the Sri Lankan ambassador’s residence: ‘It is important not only to cook the food but also to place it correctly on the table,’ says His Excellency Nimal Bandara.

Sweet treats, including caramel pudding and a selection of fruits, were also served after the meal.

This carefully arranged, beautiful array of dishes was a sight to behold. 

As the ambassador, who was on hand to assist his guests as they helped themselves to the food explained: “It is important not only to cook the food but also to place it correctly on the table, to prepare colorful and matching tablecloths, as well as to place the food according to the colors.”

This spectacle was not lost on my fellow guests, whose number included: Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce President Anat Bernstein-Reich; Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce vice president Ron Doron; Federation of Israel Chamber of Commerce’s Or Nehushtan; Michal Weiler-Tal, director of the South-East Asia Department, Foreign Affairs Ministry; Nadav Ben Yehuda, Nepal Embassy; Israel Airport Authorities director Shmuel Amsalem; and Inga Michaeli, travel writer. 

WHEN THE ambassador himself and the embassy staff aren’t busy preparing sumptuous dinners, they all work hard to support the thousands of Sri Lankans who live and work in Israel, often going over and above what is expected of them. Round-the-clock help is provided, including hospital visits, prison visits, participating in police interrogations and court hearings (translating), and so on.

One woman from the embassy, who works closely with the Sri Lankan community here in Israel, told me, “I was on a hospital visit not long ago and the doctor asked me who I was and where from. When I said the embassy, he stated: ‘This is the first time any embassy [worker] has visited a foreign worker.’”

In keeping with the warm hospitality for which Sri Lanka is renowned, its embassy also has a warm, welcoming atmosphere – a place where visitors can pop in and help themselves to drinks and snacks. There’s even a designated kids’ corner that opened last week. This provides a child-friendly area where youngsters can read, draw, and paint, while their parents seek the help they need from the staff. Chocolate, sweets, and fruit are also available for whoever wants.

My recent taste of Sri Lanka has not only stirred up some happy childhood memories but also reignited my desire to visit this magnificent country.

As my good fortune would have it, my wish may soon be granted, thanks to His Excellency Nimal Bandara, who has invited me to join his party on the inaugural direct flight to Sri Lanka next month.

At long last, my childhood dream will become a reality.

The writer is a former lawyer from Manchester, England. She now lives in Israel where she works at The Jerusalem Post.

source:
https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-757091

‘Arugam Bay’ to be transformed

….. into high-income tourist destination

 President Ranil Wickremesinghe who toured Arugam Bay yesterday greets a tourist

  • President announces plans for 10-year strategic roadmap encompassing two distinct phases of development strategies aimed at positioning region as a premier travel and leisure hub
  • Urgent measures to address land title challenges for businesses

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced the swift implementation of a comprehensive plan to elevate the Arugam Bay tourist zone into a highly desirable destination for both local and international tourists, with the potential to generate substantial revenue.

The President emphasised the importance of meticulous planning in identifying areas that necessitate development, with the intention of executing these initiatives systematically. The President further highlighted the prospect of achieving significant income by promoting water sports such as water skiing, which holds popularity along the Arugam Bay coastline.

Wickremesinghe conveyed these rema-rks during a meeting held with key stakeholders in the tourism industry within the Ampara district. The gathering brought together Government officials and industry professionals, aimed at addressing pertinent challenges that have emerged within the tourism sector.

The President underscored that global reports predict tourism to contribute 10% of the global gross domestic product by the year 2035. He stressed that Sri Lanka should proactively prepare for this shift and highlighted the tourism sector’s potential to directly address the nation’s financial challenges.

Wickremesinghe also outlined a two-phase development plan for the tourism industry in the Eastern Province, with the ambitious goal of completing it within the next decade.

Furthermore, during his ongoing tour of the Eastern Province, President conducted an inspection of Arugam Bay and Peanut Farm beaches in the Ampara district. The President personally assessed the areas’ shortcomings and engaged in cordial conversations with the tourists present there.

Following the site visit, President Wickremesinghe engaged in discussions with the local business community to gain insights into the challenges faced within the tourism sector in the area. This comprehensive engagement reflects the President’s commitment to actively addressing the needs and potential of the Eastern Province’s tourism industry.

In the process of developing the Arugam Bay Coastline into a prominent tourist destination, a proposal was put forth to relocate the existing fishing port to an alternative location, equipped with necessary facilities for fishermen. This proposal was conveyed to the President by MP W.D. Weerasinghe. In response, the President emphasised the urgency of transforming this region into a dedicated tourism area while taking swift action on the proposal.

The President’s attention was also drawn to the challenges arising from the absence of permanent property deeds for business premises within the local tourism industry. President Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of promptly submitting a comprehensive report detailing these issues, with an expectation for viable solutions to be presented.

Another key concern addressed was the availability of drinking water for both business establishments and visiting tourists in the area. Recognizing that the construction of the proposed ‘Hada Oya’ drinking water project might take several more years, President Wickremesinghe directed officials to explore the installation of establishing water treatment plants at existing natural water sources, with assistance from the Navy to address these multifaceted challenges in the pursuit of transforming Arugam Bay as a premier tourist destination while ensuring the well-being of the local community and visiting tourists.

source:
https://www.ft.lk/front-page/Arugam-Bay

1. Go Surfing

Top Things To Do In Sri Lanka
This is an extract from a not-so-well informed Australian article.
They down under always call AbaY “”AraGUM””.
And don’t even know that we are on the EAST Coast 😉

2. Aragum Bay

On the west coast of Sri Lanka, there is a popular beach that offers bigger and better waves that is an awesome spot for surfing called Aragum Bay. This is where you’ll find a lot of surfers hanging out waiting to catch a wave. The season is different than Hikkaduwa’s however, so make sure to check when surfing on the west coast is popular.

Arugam Bay, with its perfect waves, became our favorite spot for surfing. Even as beginners, we enjoyed the thrill of riding the waves in this surfer’s paradise. But surfing is not all Arugam Bay offers. Its relaxed vibe and beautiful beaches make it a perfect getaway.

Make sure to explore the local cuisine and the nightlife of Arugam Bay. The delectable seafood, coupled with lively beach parties, made our stay unforgettable. If you’re seeking adventure or just wish to chill, Arugam Bay is an excellent choice.

source (full article):
https://theplanetd.com/best-things-to-do-in-sri-lanka/

How did this phone box end up in Arugam Bay?

AS MAXONIANS fight to save the town’s phone boxes, one iconic red kiosk has escaped the chop…by taking root in Sri Lanka!

AS MAXONIANS fight to save the town’s phone boxes, one iconic red kiosk has escaped the chop…by taking root in Sri Lanka!

Prestbury’s Tim Heath, 44, was on holiday when he stumbled across a “Whirley Road” kiosk, sitting on the south east coast of the Asian island nation – more than 5,000 miles from home.

He said: “I thought it was unusual to see a red phone box over there, and when I looked inside it got even stranger – I could see it was from Macclesfield and I couldn’t believe it!”

Looking Tardis-like and a tad incongruous on the sun-drenched beaches of Arugam Bay, the kiosk’s poster revealed it had been taken from Whirley Road, near Beaumont Avenue.

But if BT carry out their threat to remove 15 Silk Town kiosks, it’s unlikely they will share such a sunny fate because this box was flown out by hotel owner Dr Fred Miller for a £10 bet. And it’s uncertain if he was the real winner as it cost him a cool £15,000 in post and packaging to complete the 5,418 mile journey.

Dr Miller, originally from the Isle of Man, revealed he had embarked on a mission to ship two traditional boxes to Sri Lanka in 1987 after a drunken night at the East Coast resort.

He said: “I was working for the Ministry of Defense in Hong Kong where I’d lived since 1977 and I had a hotel in Arugam Bay.

“For all those years we didn’t have communication and one night we were on the beach, talking about how beautiful it was, and how nice it would be to call home.

“So I said to my friends – I think we can organise that.”

Spurred on by the £10 incentive, Fred then arranged for a military operation to fly the two phone boxes – one from Silk Town and another from Buxton bought at auction in Manchester for £200 – over to Hong Kong and airlifted by helicopter to the hotel.

He said: “It was a stupid bet and we were drunk.

“But we treated it as an army exercise and told people it was a very important delivery in order to have it delivered – I had to pay off a lot of people to get it here.”

The telephone boxes arrived at Siam View hotel in Arugam bay within ten days of making the decision.

Fred said: “It arrived within ten days then we put our own sophisticated telephone system in and called home.”

And the Macclesfield kiosk has proven it is made of stern stuff as it survived the devastating Tsunami of 2004.

Fred said: “The Stockport box was destroyed in the Tsunami but your Macclesfield one survived! The water was about 35ft above it at one point and it got a bit damaged, but we’ve repaired it now.”

DO YOU know of any other Macclesfield landmarks that have ended up in any strange and remote places? If so contact our newsdesk on 01625 424445 or e-mail macclesfieldexpress@menwn.co.uk .

WS

By

Rhiannon McDowall

  • 00:00, 30 JUL 2008
  • UPDATED19:33, 8 APR 2013

source:
https://www.macclesfield-live.co.uk/news/local-news/how-town-phone-box-end-2533610#amp-readmore-target


SL being promoted as wedding destination

……..venue among US and Canadian citizens

Plans in place to hold Hippie Festival next year in Arugam Bay

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

US- based and Sri Lankan owned AJ Events & Productions and Ceylon Creative Studios have taken the initiative to promote Sri Lanka as a wedding destination venue for US and Canadian citizens, which would bring a considerable amount of foreign reserves into the country, their Founding Director, Global Operations Keith Bates said.

“Sri Lanka is an ideal summer wedding destination for Americans and Canadians, especially for Sri Lankan expatriates in the USA and Canada. Above US $ 100,000 could be earned from a wedding, which is a three- night pack that includes airfare, accommodation, reception and other related matters. So far we have received several inquiries, including some from US citizens, Bates told The Island Financial Review.

Bates added: “We will be launching our US office for that purpose in New York and we are already being supported by Sri Lanka Tourism and other related entities.

“We are moving to a new stage of promoting Sri Lanka as a Destination Wedding Venue for USA and Canada. Ceylon Creative Studios’ wedding brand is growing in New York, Los Angeles, the Mid-West and Canada. We are also experienced in Destination Wedding video productions.

“Our team comprises Oshi Perera – Director Admin & Finance / Business Partner AJ Events & Productions, Reshan Hangiligedara – Founder / Cinematographer / Photographer / Retouch-Artist Ceylon Creative Studios NYC, USA, Eshani Santiago – Makeup Artist / Operations & Creative Producer Ceylon Creative Studios NYC, USA and Georgio Malouf – Ceylon Creative Studios NYC, USA.

“Apart from that, for the first time in South Asia, a Hippie Festival will be organized in Arugam Bay next year and such an event would generate a huge amount of foreign reserves for the country.

“The Hippie concept is increasing in popularity throughout the world and per year more than 1000 Hippies visit Sri Lanka. These Hippies also bring considerable sums of foreign currency into Sri Lanka and for this event we are expecting more than 3000 Hippies, including their spouses.

“This event would attract the European region as well and we are preparing to add value and more glamour to this event by arranging to provide maximum enjoyment for our guests.

“At present we are in the process of collecting data on the number of rooms available and other requirements and the government, especially Sri Lanka Tourism, is also assisting us.

“Ceylon Creative Studios is a premium creative production studio headquartered in the USA, that specializes in crafting cinematic visuals that tell captivating stories.

“The company’s expertise lies in our adaptability and our pursuit of quality, using cutting-edge technology, like Synthasia and Chat GPT, for brainstorming, scripting, and ideation.

“At Ceylon Creative Studios, we pride ourselves on our strong team leadership and quality control measures. Ensuring every project meets our exacting standards, we provide rich, immersive experiences that resonate with audiences and leave a lasting impression.”

source:
https://island.lk/sl-being-promoted-as-wedding-destination-venue-among-us-and-canadian-citizens/

Hippie festival at Arugam Bay

For the first time in South Asia, a Hippie festival organised by USA based and Sri Lankan owned AJ Events & Productions and Ceylon Creative Studios will be held in Arugam Bay next year.



Keith Bates

The Founding Director Global Operations AJ Events & Productions and Ceylon Creative Studios NYC, USA, Keith Bates said that such an event would generate a huge amount of publicity among the global Hippie community drawing them to Sri Lanka in large numbers.

He said that Hippies are generally considered low spenders but by hosting this event they can get them in large numbers to come to one venue in Arugam Bay. “We hope to bring in international artists that attract their community and host a series of other entertainment events thereby attracting around 3,000 to Arugam Bay for a period of at least one week.”

“Together with my partners, Georgio Malouf, shani Santiago, Oshi Perera and Reshan Hangiligedara we hope to hosts a three-day music festival similar to ‘The Woodstock Music Festival’ held in Bethel, New York, which was attended by around 5,000 young people living the hippie lifestyle,” he said.

He also said that events of this nature also bring in global bands that move with the Hippie festival.

“We expect this ‘Hippie festival in Arugam Bay’ to generate around USD 15 million plus revenue to Sri Lanka and hope to make it an annual event.

Bates said he also met the officials of Sri Lanka Tourism Convention Bureau who were very supportive towards this event as this MICE segment was not promoted before.

“Next week we will meet the Arugam Bay Hoteliers and other decision makers and logistical providers to obtain their support and open up to make this event a win-win for them as well,” he said.

Bates said that they have also hosted many international events in Sri Lanka including the Commonwealth Law Ministers Summit. “We are also planning to host an international Surfing Championship in Arugam Bay next year.” –

Source:
https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2023/07/30/business/hippie-festival-arugam-bay

A Titanic / AbaY Connection

Titan’s Hamish Harding: A true friend of Sri Lanka

Quote (Extract):
Harding had expressed his interest in visiting the sacred Sri Pada mountain and Arugam Bay on the East Coast during his next visit to Sri Lanka along with his family.…”

BY FAUZ MOHAMED

News Features

9 July, 2023

On June 18, 58-year-old British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding lost his life in the Titan submersible implosion. He is one of the few people who had been to space (on board the Blue Origin, of Jeff Bezos’ space company) and also to the depths of the ocean. He was keen to become one of the few people who had witnessed the wreck of the ill-fated Titanic ocean liner with their own eyes. He was one of the five people who lost their lives in the Titan’s implosion at a depth of about 4 Km, close to the wreck of the Titanic which sank in 1912. Following his death several stories of his close connections to Sri Lanka have surfaced. Harding apparently loved Sri Lanka and had visited the island many times. This is yet another similar story.



Hamish Harding with family members after setting a Guinness world record

According to a long-time Sri Lankan friend of Harding, the billionaire had plans to invest in Sri Lanka and was expected to visit the country following his once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Titan submersible. The friend is Rangitha Herath, a Civil Engineer involved in many international projects as well as in Sri Lanka.

“As I recently returned to Sri Lanka, Hamish phoned me two months prior to his Titan trip and said he would visit Sri Lanka soon,” she said in a conversation with the Sunday Observer. According to Herath, Harding had visited her ancestral home in Kandy on one previous occasion as well.

Visiting Sri Pada mountain

She said Harding had expressed his interest in visiting the sacred Sri Pada mountain and Arugam Bay on the East Coast during his next visit to Sri Lanka along with his family.

According to Herath, their friendship which began in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) spanned over two decades. Harding provided much-needed knowledge on the construction of Helipads in major building sites in Dubai and met Herath often during these important meetings.

“He always appreciated my ability to overcome challenges as a woman in such a male-dominated field,” she said.

Herath recalled the exchange of knowledge between the two and the many useful discussions over the years. “He was generous with his professional knowledge and advice,” she said.

Herath said Harding had a deep interest in Buddhist philosophy and had started living according to such principles. Herath also said she gifted books on Buddhism to Harding several times which he had read keenly.

“In 2004 he launched a company called Action Aviation in Dubai. I tied a pirith thread on his hand and wished him well on that important milestone. His untimely demise is really devastating,” she said.

Orbit in Dubai

Herath said, Harding even facilitated and supported her interest in learning to pilot light aircraft and getting a Private Pilot’s licence (PPL). She said he had intended to launch a project called Orbit in Dubai and wanted her contribution to it as well.

According to Herath, Harding last visited Sri Lanka between June – July 2014. “He contacted me when he lost his wallet in Sri Lanka. I contacted the Aviation authorities and requested their support. Later, he informed me it was found and returned by a youth in Kurunegala. He praised the young man profusely” she said. This particular story was published in several local websites.

“In 2004, when the Indian Ocean tsunami happened on Boxing Day, Hamish was the first to call and inform me about it. I was in Dubai at the time. Hamish donated over seven containers of essential goods to Sri Lanka at the time to be distributed among those who were affected by the disaster in the Southern Province,” she said.

According to Herath, Harding was keen to invest in Sri Lanka and support its development. She said he loved Sri Lanka’s beauty and the tenacity and resilience of its citizens. “He believed Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans could do many great things,” she said.

“In 2019, a group of representatives from his company visited Sri Lanka as Hamish wanted to commence a Medivac (Medical Evacuation) project here. But it did not take off. Later he expressed his desire to commence a similar project based on the Port City. But it was unfortunately not to be,” she said while expressing her condolences to Harding’s family and close friends.

source:
http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2023/07/09/news-features/titan%E2%80%99s-hamish-harding-true-friend-sri-lanka

Top Destinations to Visit in June

As school is nearly out, the summer holiday season is just around the corner. June is an excellent time to book a break as it is often the last month to get away before peak summer season in many destinations, allowing travelers to avoid the crowds. Additionally, June is the month with the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, making it a great time for sunshine-filled days in many places around the world.

If you’re looking for great festivals, Glastonbury is a must-attend event. The world’s largest greenfield music festival takes place every June in 900 acres of countryside in England’s south-west. Running for more than five decades, Glastonbury attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers each year.

Sri Lanka’s original surfing hot spot, Arugam Bay, is perfect to visit in June as this is when the waves are at their best. It’s also the best time to go before the country’s beaches fill up with summertime tourists who typically flock to Sri Lanka during July and August.

Every June, Sweden celebrates its annual midsummer festival, one of the country’s biggest events. Coinciding with the longest day of the year, the occasion has long been considered a magical night for Swedes. Dalarna County, in central Sweden, is the place to go for the full experience, including revellers dressed in traditional folk costumes, dancing, garland-filled parades, and maypole raising.

For those who love wildlife, Tanzania is the perfect destination as you get the opportunity to witness the great migration of herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra in Serengeti National Park. Head to the park’s Western Corridor to see this natural wonder in all its glory. The daytime brings sunshine and temperatures averaging around a pleasant 25 degrees, although evenings are colder.

In Australia, the first taste of winter arrives this month, but Queensland is welcoming its dry season and lowest rainfall, making it a perfect time to swim and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, sail the Whitsundays, and enjoy the beach. As it is considered an off-season for international travellers, it’s also the right time to find deals on accommodations and flights, and to enjoy a visit that’s not filled with tourist-ridden coastlines.

In Iceland, summer has arrived, bringing with it the endless midnight sun, blooming fields of lupin, and warmer temperatures. Husavik, on the country’s northern edge, is the place to go for a summertime whale watching experience and to soak in a geothermal pool. Just don’t expect to go swimming, as the water temperature will still be hovering around a chilly 6 degrees.

Lastly, if you want to enjoy an outdoor adventure and experience nature at its best, Uganda is an excellent destination to try. The country has made a name for itself as one of the best places in the world to see mountain gorillas in their native habitats. June is the start of the country’s drier season, so it’s a good time to spot these majestic creatures at ease. Days are warm and dry, with only an occasional rain shower. It is also an excellent time of year for a visit to Lake Victoria if you want to experience it before the summer crowds arrive.

Credit: thenationalnews.com

Miss Tourism World for the first time

……Also Visiting Arugam Bay……

Officials at the press conference in Colombo. Pic: Nissanka Wijerathne

The Miss World Tourism 2023 will take place in Sri Lanka for the first time in July. The pageant is set to showcase the country’s scenic regions and tourism hotspots as 40 contestants from around the world will compete for the Miss World Tourism title.

The pageant will be launched on July 20 and take contestants to Sigiriya, Kandy, Arugam Bay,
Yala and Hikkaduwa, wrapping up on the 11th day for the main event at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre.

The participating countries are: Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Italy, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, London, Macedonia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, The Netherlands, the UAE, Ukraine and Zambia.

In an ambitious move to boost tourism and address neglected issues across Sri Lanka, the Miss World Tourism Sri Lanka pageant is set to captivate the nation’s attention. Departing from the traditional focus on superficial beauty, this groundbreaking pageant aims to harness the potential of its contestants to effect positive change in their home countries while promoting Sri Lanka’s tourism globally.

Under the innovative format, each country will send its finest representative to compete in the final stage of Miss World Tourism Sri Lanka. These nine winners will not only vie for the prestigious title but will also be entrusted with a significant responsibility. Their role will encompass the development and execution of a project tailored to address specific issues that have long been overlooked in their countries.

By emphasising purpose and social impact, the pageant organisers seek to foster a sense of dedication and responsibility among the contestants. Rather than merely aspiring to win a beauty title, these suitably qualified winners are encouraged to embrace the opportunity to make a tangible difference in their communities and elevate the standing of their provinces.

Throughout a considerable period of time, the crowned winners will dedicate themselves to their projects, demonstrating their personal growth, compassion, and the ability to effect positive change.

This approach not only showcases the contestants’ capabilities but also serves as a testament to their commitment to society and the nation as a whole. Beyond the glitz and glamour, Miss World Tourism Sri Lanka is a catalyst for promoting tourism in the country.

By leveraging the contestants’ influence, the pageant aims to enhance Sri Lanka’s global recognition as a premier tourist destination.

Through their participation and personal projects, these exceptional women will showcase the diverse attractions and unique cultural experiences that Sri Lanka has to offer, enticing travellers from all corners of the world.

The Miss World Tourism Sri Lanka pageant embodies a new era of beauty pageants, one that transcends traditional notions of beauty and empowers contestants to become agents of change.

With a focus on provincial development and a commitment to transforming neglected issues, this groundbreaking event aims to put Sri Lanka firmly on the global tourism map while leaving a lasting impact on the communities it touches.

AbaY’s Links & Groups

Arugam Bay is blessed by having many awesome, useful and highly specialized Groups, Pages and Social Media Platforms.
Indeed, this, the original Web Site (arugam.info) has been around far longer than any other Home Page on this island – dating back to end 1999. Only much later Government and Tourist Board pages appeared.

Below is a – non exclusive – list, with useful links and short descriptions.
To help you to find the precise Information you are looking for.

Do YOU wish to add your / other Links to this initial List?
Please send your submission to us!
And we will add suitable links at once.
write to:

arugam@arugam.com

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

Feel FREE to join. Any or all of them.
Look around and interact as you wish.

www.arugam.info
This mainly is an online History album now.
And this Old Page has documented all major local events since the beginning of the Century.
Use the page “Search” function if you are looking up any special topic of interest.

www.arugam.asia
www.arugam.com
(Both for now re-direct to arugam.info – but domains are available for development)
**********************************************************************

Social Media:
Traditional Websites are no longer relevant.
Because they a static, and social media is far more powerful and up to date.
Allowing input (Photos, Videos, Comments) from Guests and the wider Public.

On What’s App:
Arugam Info
The above is THE leading, oldest and very active WhatsApp Group
Giving you day-to-day General Information about AbaY relevant topics

Further useful Links:

  1. www.arugam.info          (web site)
  2. www.arugam.com         (web site)
  3. www.arugam.asia         (web site)
  4. www.stefan-loose.de    (web site)
  5. Footprint Travel-guides (web site)
  6. Arugam Surf                       (Facebook page)
  7. Arugam Bay                        (Facebook page)
  8. Arugam Bay Surf Club        (Facebook page)
  9. Arugam Bay Beer               (Facebook page)
  10. Lovely Arugam Bay            (Facebook page)
  11. Arugam Hostel YMCA        (Facebook pages)
  12. Old Arugam                        (Facebook page)
  13. Old Ceylon                          (Facebook page)
  14. Journey to the East           (Facebook Page)
  15. Siam View Projects           (Facebook Page)
  16. Living in the AbaY area     (Facebook Group)  
  17. AbaY Tourist Information   (Whatsapp Group)
  18. AbaY Restaurants              (Whatsapp Group)
  19. AbaT Transport                  (Whatsapp Group)
  20. AbaY Events                       (Whatsapp Group)
  21. AbaY Now                           (Whatsapp Group)
  22. AbaY Sports Club               (Whatsapp Group)
  23. AbaY Humor                       (Whatsapp Group)
  24. AbaY What’s On                 (Whatsapp Group)
  25. AbaY Food Court               (Whatsapp Group)
  26. AbaY Power, Gas               (Whatsapp Group)
  27. AbaY Community              (Whatsapp Group)
  28. Arugam                              (Twitter)
  29. Arugam                              (Instagram)
  30. Arugam                              (YouTube Channel)
  31. Arugam Surf                      (YouTube Channels)
  32. AbaY SriLanka                  (Instagram)
  33. Arugam Surf Club             (Instagram)
  34. Arugam Bay                      (TikTok)
  35. Arugam Bay                     (Printertest)
  36. Siam View Projects         (Facebook Page)
  37. Surf Point Apartments    (Facebook Page)
  38. http://www.facebook.com/groups/arugam (Latest 2023 Group for Opportunities)


Sri Lanka’s East Coast That Will Leave You Speechless

By Ruskin Brodkin On Apr 12, 2023

Planning on spending more than a day or two in Sri Lanka? Make time to head over to the island’s eastern seaboard.

Being on the opposite side of the island and a minimum of a 5-hour drive from both the commercial capital, Colombo and the island’s main international airport, the east coast destinations tend to be less crowded than those of the west and south coast at most times of the year.

And there’s plenty to see and do!

1. Experience the Splendour of Untouched Beaches

Since the east coast beaches see less footfall than the beaches on the west, southwest and south coasts, they give off more of a feeling of being untouched.

Beaches like those of Pasikuda and Kalkudah also give off a bit of a ‘Maldives’ vibe thanks to generous expanses of shallow, clear waters that are a delight to wade in.

Some of the popular east coast beaches that you can explore are:

  • Trincomalee Beach
  • Nilaveli Beach
  • Pasikuda
  • Arugam Bay

2. Get your Surf On

Arugam Bay is one of the best destinations for surfing in South Asia and the go-to spot for surfing in Sri Lanka.

There are waves of all kinds to be ridden there and it has developed into a popular east-coast beach with plenty of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants for travellers to choose from.

The best part is that when the monsoon hits the southwest coast, you can head east to Arugam Bay to experience perfect beach weather.

3. Go Dolphin & Whale Watching

Head out into the waters off the coast of Trincomalee for a chance to spot dolphins (mainly spinner dolphins) and whales fairly close to shore! 

Blue whales are some of the most commonly sighted species of whale and can be seen as close as just 30 minutes from the coastline by boat. Sperm whales frequent these waters too.

4. Enjoy Some Snorkelling

Trincomalee is known for great snorkelling spots like Swami Rock and Navy Island.

The former spot, Swami Rock,  is situated below Trincomalee’s oldest temple. When you snorkel here, you will come across statues of Hindu gods and the Buddha in addition to many varieties of tropical fish such as groupers and trumpetfish. 

The latter spot, Navy Island is a relatively shallow stretch of water where you will find a mix of hard and soft coral as well as tropical fish, octopus, eels and other marine life.

There are also great snorkelling spots near Nilaveli Beach (which is located about a 25-minute drive from Trincomalee).

5. Go WWII Shipwreck Diving

If you know how to scuba dive, then you’ll love Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Off the shores of the east coast, you’ll find wrecks of ships that sank during WWII when the Japanese attacked such as the British Sergeant (which sank off the coast of Kayankerni) and HMS Hermes (which sank off the coast of Batticaloa).

6. Safari at Minneriya National Park

If you’re staying at a beach town around the central part of the east coast,  such as Pasikuda, you can easily arrange a day trip to the Minneriya National Park. In addition to the coastal experiences and attractions, a wildlife safari at the park is one of the popular things to do in Pasikuda.

The park is located about a 2-hour drive inland and Pasikuda Resorts like Uga Bay will help you organise a wildlife safari.

Minneriya is most well known for the annual elephant gathering that takes place during the dry season (July to September), but it’s a good park to visit year-round if you’re interested in viewing all kinds of wildlife, including many endemic species.

7. Make a Day Trip to Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle

Similarly, if you’re based in an eastern coastal town such as Pasikuda or Trincomalee, you can plan a day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Cultural Triangle.

The ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress, for example, is about a 1 .75-hour drive away from Trincomalee and 2.5-hour drive from Pasikuda.

Ruskin Brodkin

Ruskin Brodkin writes for blackbirdnews.com. She is a graduate in journalism from the University of Maryland. Ruskin currently lives in Brooklyn, and she previously worked as a Television Producer on BBA International’s Squawk Box Europe. Ruskin has also been a movies reporter for Radio New Zealand.

source:
https://www.blackbirdnews.com/unleash-your-inner-explorer-7-must-try-experiences-on-sri-lankas-east-coast-that-will-leave-you-speechless/

Amazing AbaY

Arugam Bay is a true ALL-Year-Round Destination.

True, the resort is mainly known as S.E. Asia’s and Sri Lanka’s prime Surf Destination.
And indeed the waves are best April – November in the East of our island.

But there are a lot more things to do – even if you are not a Surfer!

In fact:
More and more visitors have discovered that winters are the BEST times to enjoy the
Mild, not hot – not Cool.
But there is a very Dry Climate in Arugam Bay = November -to- April.
AbaY = The Weather Wonder of Asia: 340 days Sunshine / year!
No other report can offer such an amazing weather pattern.

Furthermore:
The Best, the perhaps most popular Arugam Establishments remain OPEN all Year round.
And as such AbaY never has an “Off- Season”. The resort never shuts down as such.

contact: Ms. ANNIE +94 767335764
(Best via WhatsApp)

Credit for the article and the posters go to
Ms. Annie herewith (+94 767335764)

On The Bus(ses)

From The South to Arugam Bay

This article is written to clarify Public Transport options.
From the ”Deep” South (anywhere! – to remote AbaY)
We just offer this alternative to Travelers – it is NOT intended to compete with Taxi operators.
But this – once in a lifetime Journey – offers a Cheap, economical, environmentally friendly Thrill.
A unique chance of a life time, for travelers who prefer to spend saved cash directly within a Community.
And interact with day to day poor local travelers.

Stuck in (overpriced) Galle (Tuks charge up to Rs./ 500/km!)
– We searched the Internet:
And all sorts of strange results come up for this Connection (Galle to AbaY).
Quoting long journey times, difficult connections, weird rates, etc.
Apparently it is almost impossible, takes a day +++ and at least 13 hours.
NOT TRUE:

So:
We decided to put it to the test!

Departing at around 10am from Galle.
Main Bus Depot. Main Road – in this case on the Kataragama Bus.
We also could have chosen the Badulla Bus (via Wellawaya)
Or another one via Matara etc.
+ Points:
1.) Very reasonable (Rs./ 819)
2.) Very frequent services (every hour?)
3.) HUGE savings on Roller Coaster rides
4.) It for sure is Your thrill of a Life time = A really fatalistic ride of the Century

– Points
1.) Sardine Can experience (we got window seats – lucky for some)
2.) Far too many frequent stops all over the A2
3.) Loud Music (penetrating our own ear phones)

Next Bus:
Weerawila -to- Monaragala

+ Points:
1.) Very reasonable (Rs./ 406)
2.) Bus almost empty (Pick Your seat!)
3.) Pit Stop half way (Good Food & Drinks)
4.) Perfect Roads – great Countryside
5.) Much more civilised Drivers
6.) Donation based FREE Life Music (see below)


– Points:
1.) Goes round a LOOOOOONG way
2.) Via Wellawaya (nr. Ella) even
3.) That made the direct 60km ride into a near 200km sightseeing trip


The Last Bus:
Monaragala – to – Central Arugam Bay

+ Points:
1.) Incredibly Cheap (Rs./ 339 only)
2.) Leaves sharp on time (16:30 in our case)
3.) Super friendly, fair, helpful staff
4.) Clean Bus Station (with attached Liquor bar / shop)
5.) Bus continues to PANAMA via AbaY = At no extra costs
6.) That means they drop everyone off anywhere in Arugam Bay
7.) Saves Tuk Transfer from PottuVille to AbaY (Rs./ 1k)

Arrival in the Centre of Arugam Bay (at the m. Meena Bar / Siam View Bus Stop)
At around Sunset time:
Perfect for a first, cool drink in one of the leading Bars!




Conclusion:
There are Many, Many ways EAST.
All are awesome ways to travel.
Some trips are super Cheap – and create Memories of a life Time


AbaY Opportunities, Rents, Stalls, Shops

500 ++ New Members!
On our brand new Facebook Group already

10 More days to Go!

Before the start of AbaY’s Best ever High Season = 1st. April 2023

www.facebook.com/groups/arugam

Join us!
You must Act Quick – to be part of Arugam’s amazing progress

Balaji Ocean Hotel, Arugam Bay

Lankaila pumps in Rs. 160m, acquires sixth local hotel

Chairman Lankaila Dhakshitha Bogollagama exchanges the agreement with members of the Balaji Ocean Hotel, Arugam Bay

In addition to their recent acquirement of the iconic Peacock Hotel in Hambantota, this Singapore / Sri Lankan group has shown Full Confidence in remote Arugam Bay.
Being a true, All-Year-Round Tourist Destination.

Lankaila comprising a consortium of investors from Sri Lanka and Singapore made its sixth acquisition in the local hotel sector when they took an 80% controlling stake of Balaji Ocean Hotel, Arugam Bay pumping in over Rs. 160 million.

“We have already made investments of over USD 8 million for seven more such acquisitions so far,” said Chairman Lankaila, Dhakshitha Bogollagama. The Balaji acquisition mark their presence in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

“We have also allocated over USD 50 million to further invest in other hotels. These investments amply demonstrates the confidence the company has in the stability and tourism segment of Sri Lanka and we are looking at more Hotels to invest in collaboration with local investors.

“We have access to international funding, technology and believe in mutual synergy and cooperation to work with Sri Lankan companies together and to provide them with the funds, technology and international networks to grow,” he said.

Lankaila with their partner company Zeta which is the first in the world to provide a proprietary platform that integrates digital marketing to booking operations to finance will also help their assorted hotels to upgrade standards.

“This permits hotels to increase revenue through direct sales and digital marketing, and reduce costs through technology with a state of the art Hotel management system based out of Singapore,” Bogollagama said.

Ceybook.com is their own booking website which has its own payment gateway and one and only Sri Lankan Online Travel Agency (“OTA”) type booking platforms.

Ceybook is also a hotel cloud hotel management platform which can control hotels remotely which includes staff management, Guest check in, check out, accounting and all in one.

“They are also looking to provide similar operations, management and marketing support to other Hotels across Sri Lanka,” he said.

Their Digital Concierge service “DCS” will be the world’s first digital concierge service to all tourists into Sri Lanka. DCS will provide help and support to tourists on arrival, through their journey in Sri Lanka up to the point of departure.


Source:
https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2023/03/19/business/lankaila-pumps-rs-160m-acquires-sixth-local-hotel

Arugam Bay: Guide to Sri Lanka’s surfer’s paradise 

Written by Veidehi Gite

Feb 22, 2023, 02:41 pm

3 min read

Take a dip in the warm, inviting waters to experience the thrill of surfing

If you are ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime in Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is the perfect destination for you.This gorgeous coastal town offers an array of activities for exploration, relaxation, and fun.Take a dip in the surfing hotspots, sample some local cuisine, and unwind in the luxurious beach resorts on this white sandy beach.

Soak in the natural beauty

Located on the eastern coast of the country, Arugam Bay offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean, lush jungles, and a variety of wildlife.It is the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.Home to many traditional villages, it gives visitors a glimpse into the rich culture of the island.You can enjoy sitting in the sun on a leisurely afternoon.

Explore local culture and traditions

From the vibrant street markets to the spiritual temples and breathtaking sunset, Arugam Bay is the perfect place to immerse yourself to learn the Sri Lankan culture.You can explore the stunning beaches, visit the colorful markets and sample some of the local cuisines, or take a trip to one of the nearby temples and absorb the spiritual beliefs of the locals.

Take a dip in the surfing hotspots

This stunning beach is known for its world-class waves, perfect for all levels of surfing skills.Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned surfer, you’re sure to find a break that suits you.Arugam Bay’s magnificent views and crystal-clear waters make it the perfect place to indulge in surfing. Take a dip in the warm, inviting waters to experience the thrill of surfing.

Sample delicious Sri Lankan cuisine

From the famous string hoppers to the unique curries and rice dishes, you can sample them all in Arugam Bay.The ingredients are fresh, the flavors are bold and the recipes range from simple to complex.Whether you’re looking for a light breakfast or a filling dinner, Arugam Bay has something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed by the flavorful cuisine here.

Unwind in the luxurious beach resorts

You can enjoy breathtaking sunsets, crystal clear waters, and pristine white sand in Arugam Bay.Revel in the tropical atmosphere as you unwind in the luxurious beach resorts.You can take a stroll, indulge in water sports, or simply bask in the sun.From luxurious poolside villas to cozy beachside bungalows, resorts in Arugam Bay offer the perfect environment for a relaxing getaway.