Discovering the Amazing Wildlife of Sri Lanka – Encounters in the Wild

One of Sri Lanka’s most captivating highlights is its exotic wildlife. Be it fearsome, feathery, menacing, majestic, stealthy or slithery, these diverse species each have their own unique character!

wildlife SriLanka | Img by: pen_ash via pixabay

Where to Go

The country’s national parks are great places to see local wildlife in their natural habitats. Yala and Minneriya are two of the most popular national parks and are included on excursions by tour operators like Silvertree Travel. Wilpattu, Udawalawe, Bundala and Wasgamuwa are a few of the other parks you can visit too.

Mammals

There are over 120 mammal species including leopards, elephants, sloth bears and toque macaques which can be spotted on adventure tours in Sri Lanka. The sambar deer, giant squirrel, wild boar and porcupine are a few of the other species here. Not to be forgotten are the marine mammals such as whales and dolphins that can be found in the surrounding Indian Ocean.

Birds

A birdwatcher’s paradise, Sri Lanka has recorded a little over 440 bird species. Amongst the endemic species are the Sri Lankan junglefowl, Sri Lanka spurfowl, Layard’s parakeet and yellow-fronted barbet. The island also attracts many migratory species like the lesser sand plover, blue-tailed bee-eater and greater flamingo.

Reptiles

When it comes to snakes one can find species such as the Indian cobra, Russell’s viper and sand boa. Reptile species don’t only include snakes though; mugger and saltwater crocodiles, five turtle species including the green turtle and olive ridley sea turtle, rough-horned and pygmy lizards and water monitors can be found here too.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Helpful and Amazing Shenzhen Facts for Travelers – A city filled with numerous wonders

Reviving from its past being a region of fishing towns 40 years back, Shenzhen is now the 7th biggest city in China and a major tourist destination. Read on to know more facts.

Shenzhen| Img by: SSDPenguin via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 3.0

The transformation over the years

Until Shenzhen received a special economic administrative status in 1980, it was just a region of swamps and fishing villages. In the late 1970’s it’s population increased by 19.5 million people and most of the villages got urbanized. Now it has become China’s 7th largest city in terms of urban area.

Splendid Cantonese cuisine

When you come to Shenzhen and don’t savour a popular Cantonese cuisine dish, then you have made a huge mistake. For instance, Dim Sum is the top pick for mid-day snacks and meals. If you like to eat like a local, try out a dish like congee which is a common breakfast food here. Also, don’t forget to entice your taste buds with a variety of flavoursome Chinese dishes.

China’s richest city

Shenzhen is known as Mainland China’s richest city with a per capita income of 26,000 USD but still, it couldn’t surpass Hong Kong. It is a hotspot among foreign buyers across the world as well. The city itself is filled with many top-notch accommodations like Somerset Grandview Shenzhen which features some of the leading furnished apartments in Shenzhen.

Theme parks

After mountains and beaches, tourists are mostly drawn for theme parks. Shenzhen is home to some to some of the best theme parks like Window of the World, China Folk Culture Village, Happy Valley, and Splendid China.

 

 

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

The Enchanting Sinharaja Rainforest in Sri Lanka – A Treasure of Nature

Featuring a rich biodiversity, the Sinharaja Rainforest is a true natural treasure home to a wealth of endemic flora and fauna. Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve the forest offers much to discover.

Getting There

Due to its vast size, Sinharaja can be reached from different directions; the Veddagala – Kudawa route passing Ratnapura en route to Kudawa is generally the most widely used. Another option is the Morningside Route also from Ratnapura or via Deniyaya. For convenience, it always helps to stay at a Sinharaja eco lodge in Sri Lanka, ideally by the fringes of the reserve.

Birdlife

The Sinharaja Rainforest is home to around 147 bird species, including 21endemic species; these include the Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Brown-capped Babbler and the Sri Lankan Junglefowl which are amongst the species you may see on birdwatching excursions offered by eco-friendly properties such as The Rainforest Ecolodge. Not to be missed is the chance to witness the ‘Mixed Species Feeding Bird Flocks’ featuring various bird species.

Other Wildlife

Eight endemic species of mammals have been recorded here including the torque macaque and the giant squirrel. Sinharaja also has a high number of butterfly species as well as amphibians and reptiles such as the Green Pit Viper.

Tree and Plant Life

Made up of tropical wet evergreen forest or tropical lowland rainforest, Sinharaja is a rich storehouse for plant and tree species; in fact, more than 60% of trees found here are endemic. Amongst the flora are many medicinal plants too, used in traditional medicine.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Early morning fishing excursions in Maldives – Experience of a life time

There are many things to do in Male Maldives while staying in a hotel like Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon – one of them is to go fishing. An early morning fishing excursion in Maldives will be an experience of a life time as the Maldivian waters are filled with many varieties of fish and underwater marine life.

Fishing in Maldives

 

Fishing in Maldives| Img by: Shine2705 via Pixabay

Many of the anglers aspire to go fishing in clear warm waters around hundreds of islands with varieties fish inhabiting the channels in between islands to feed on nutrients brought from the Indian Ocean. Watch as they bring in their daily catch or even take part in these fishing excursions if you are interested in such activities.
Types of fishing excursions available

Shore fishing

These methods use live bait in shallow waters that involve the use of braided lines, wading into shallow waters. There are hundred varieties of fish found here like, reef fish, small Grouper, Bone fish, Jack, Snapper fish and even small Barracuda.

Big Game Fishing Jigging/Popping

This type is used mainly for large fish like Tuna, big Barracuda Red Bass and giant Trevally that generally put up a big fight. These are early morning off shore day excursions, which can land in big fish such as Marin, Dorado, Sailfish and Wahoo. Heavy duty fishing gear is essential for this kind of fishing and the best way to enjoy game fishing is to cast the line from a boat at a fishing spot.

 

 

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

 

 

Witnessing the Beauty of Khareef – Enchanting Experiences in Salalah

A time when Mother Nature breathes new life into the surrounding landscapes, Khareef is the name given to the monsoon season in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and Salalah in particular. Here are some must visit places during this time (later part of July to the start of September).

Ayn Gharziz

A perfect spot for a refreshing swim during Khareef, Ayn Gharziz features an idyllic natural pool. Easy to reach from well-placed Salalah hotels, this area is also home to waterfalls and offers beautiful backdrops in which to have a picnic too.

Jebel Ittin

Another well-known picnic spot, Jebel Ittin is an enchanting destination to visit especially during Khareef. Within 25 minutes from Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, this area also offers some wonderful views and easy access to many local restaurants.

Sahalnoot Valley and Spring

The rainy season makes visiting this area with its picturesque spring particularly popular for friends and family. It provides plenty of opportunities for rewarding hikes and sharing BBQ meals together.

Mughsail Beach

The white sandy shores of Mughsail Beach are a captivating sight during Khareef (and any other time of the year!) and it has become a popular picnic spot too. One of the highlights during this time is the chance to see the full force of the area’s blowholes with the water reaching to heights of around 20 metres.

 

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Saving the Arabian Oryx from extinction! – A story of coming back home

The Arabian Oryx a species of antelope indigenous to the middle east has been under threat of extinction since the early 1900s. By the 1960s it was believed that the last existing two separate populations of oryxes found in the middle east were diminishing and would go extinct within the next couple of years.

 

Operation Oryx

A captive breeding programme name Operation Oryx was initiated within the next couple of years with funding from the WWF and the technical support of the Phoenix Zoo and the Flora and Fauna International. A “World herd” of oryxes donated by the different middle eastern and north African nations were taken to the Phoenix Zoo. A reintroduction programme was later initiated to bring in the oryx back to the MENA region.

United Arab Emirates

Just beyond Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort which is one of Anantara’s two Abu Dhabi beach resorts, is the Sir Bani Yas island reserves where a heard of over 400 oryxes now roam free. The island is a sanctuary to most species found in the emirate.

Oman

By 1980 the number of Arabian oryxes bred in captivity was reintroduced to Oman. A population which was once 450 individual species have now, unfortunately, dropped to a staggering number of 65 oryxes due to oil drilling activity and illegal poaching.

Saudi Arabia

After several failed attempts of reintroduction, Saudi Arabia has now been successful in hosting a free-ranging heard within the Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area a fenced reserve of 866 square miles.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

The Paradise of Wildlife in Sri Lanka – Make the best of the Sri Lankan wilderness

Both trodden and untrodden paths of jungles in Sri Lanka hold an abundance of adventure and intrigue. Despite its small size, the country boasts a wide variety of wildlife. Do read on!

Image by Patty Ho Uploaded on Wikimedia Commons by Lkcl_it, Yala National Park (Sri Lanka 2012), CC BY 2.0

Yala National Park

If you want to spot a Sri Lankan leopard, there will be no better place than the Yala National Park! Don’t get excited as you get closer to view a leopard on a tree or stalking its next prey! Sloth bears, elephants, and many other creatures can be experienced up close. This dry zone park is just one of the rustic wildlife reserves Cinnamon Nature Trails and other leading tour operators in Sri Lanka cover.

Sinharaja Forest

Staying true to its name, the Sinharaja Forest which means the ‘Lion Kingdom’ is an important biodiversity hotspot in the country. In 1988, this forest became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its exceptional geological features. It is home to more than 50% of endemic species including mammals, butterflies as well as many kinds of insects and reptiles.

Minneriya National Park

A park that is always covered in most popular Sri Lanka wildlife tours, Minneriya is best known for its large population of migratory elephants. The park is also home to diverse species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even fish. The surroundings too are quite beautiful with dense shrubberies and vast grassy plans.

Bundala National Park

This park is well-known as a wildlife hotspot for aquatic bird life! The most impressive aspect of the park is its terrain made up of sand dunes, scrub jungle, salt pans, lagoons and long stretches of coastline.

 

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

The Adventure of Snorkelling – Discovering a Whole New World in the Maldives

 

From vibrant corals to a range of fish species including ethereal-like manta rays, the Maldives offers one of the best snorkelling destinations on the planet. Here’s your chance to enter this whole new “world”.

Best times for snorkelling

Snorkelling in Maldives can be pretty much enjoyed all year round while at your Maldives resort; however January to April is a particularly great time for this activity since the waters are clearer and the weather at its best. Do keep in mind that the weather from May to September can be less predictable.

In search of Nemo & Co.

Be it clownfish (Nemo!), bannerfish, powder blue tangs, fusiliers parrotfish, butterflyfish or hawksbill turtles, the ocean surrounding the Maldives offers much to see. Resorts the likes of Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort have reefs nearby providing the ideal chance to get up close to this marine life.

Underwater superstars

Of course, there are certain marine creatures that add to the excitement of a snorkelling adventure; graceful manta rays, unhurried whale sharks and stealthy blacktip reef sharks swimming in their natural habitats are sights that are certainly unforgettable.

Adding splashes of colour

Marine life aside, you can also look forward to seeing a stunningly vibrant array of corals on your snorkelling expeditions; staghorn, finger, brain and table corals are amongst the varieties that can be spotted here, each adding to the charm of this underwater spectacle.

 

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Nightlife in Makati Philippines – Fantastic Friday Nights

Friday nights are where you let loose from all the stress of the week and just have a little fun whether you are on holiday or not. If you are to spend those Friday nights with your friends in Makati, here are a few places you might find interesting.

Night at Makati | Image Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/84143999@N00">Vanessa David</a> from Makati, Philippines, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Manila_by_night.jpg">Manila by night</a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode" rel="license">CC BY 2.0</a>

Night at Makati | Image Credit: Vanessa David from Makati, Philippines, Manila by night, CC BY 2.0

A toast to sports

If you are the sports lover, hanging out on a Friday night with friends at Mulligan’s is the perfect place for you! The pub’s interior gives you the feel of the typical Irish gastropubs. The atmosphere here is quite lively as visitors gulp down their beers and cheer on their favourite teams. Enjoy Irish-American bites available on the menu.

Party hard at Black Market

If you are looking for a break from your calm and quiet atmosphere in your hotel in Makati, for instance, the likes of Berjaya Makati Hotel, head out to Black Market. Dance to the beats of the latest pop songs and a bit of base from the underground music as well. dance the night away, take a few minutes rest at the bar with unlimited drinks from 12 am to 3 am.

Dine fine at the Penthouse 8747

Even though it is Friday, you may not be up for a crazy night ahead. Well, then why not go out with your better half for an elegant dinner at the Penthouse 8747. The theme for the interior of this restaurant is from The Great Gatsby with a splendid view of Manila from the 22nd floor. Relish the fantastic cocktails and treat your tongue to a tasty dish with your partner.

Sway to the disco beat

If the current hits on the club playlist is not your cup of tea, simply walk into Strumms in Makati. There are several bands that will be performing with music from the 70s and 80s. It’s certain that your toes will not stop tapping and you will eventually end up on the dance floor bumping to the beats of the disco era.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Exploring the Religious Town of Kataragama – A Spiritual Experience…

The small town of Kataragama is one of the most venerated religious sites on the island of Sri Lanka, which people of all ethnicities flock to pay homage to.

Background

Kataragama embodies a sense of spiritual divinity and lays claim to historical relevance dating back to the 2nd century BC. The town’s most popular temple is the one dedicated to the Kataragama deity, a Hindu / Buddhist lord. It is believed that King Dutugamunu built the shrine for the deity to fulfil a vow made to him when he defeated, King Elehara.

Things to Do

While the town is peaceful, it undergoes a dramatic transformation when its time for the evening Pooja. Hundreds of devotees assemble on the site carrying platters of fresh fruits and garlands of scented flowers to seek blessings, and taking part in it would prove to be an unforgettable experience!

Festivities

If you ‘re planning on visiting the sacred town, choosing to do so in the month of July would be ideal as it will enable you to experience the Kataragama Festival. Rituals rooted in ancient traditions along with a colourful parade known as a Perehara which includes dances and acrobatics could be seen in all its glory.

How to Get There

Kataragama can be reached approximately in 5 hours from Colombo via the Southern Expressway. If you wish to stay for a few days, then there are many hotels in Kataragama, Sri Lanka including the likes of Mandara Rosen Kataragama to choose from.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+