Sri lanka Study Tour 2019
Dates: 6 to 19 April 2019
Mapping a new path through drumming, dancing and food…
After five tours to our island, Kanchana and I thought it’s time we changed things up and introduced you to some other aspects of Sri Lankan life and culture.
We’ve decided to change the location of the 2019 tour and stay the first week in Vavuniya, a town in the Northern Province and then go down South to the town of Ahangama for the second week of the tour. Since a number of you have been repeat offenders coming with us several times, we thought that it was time to offer you a different experience to enjoy.
For those of you who will be first time visitors these locations will provide you with new cultural experiences as well as a relaxing holiday.
We’ve made these changes for a couple of reasons.
As you know Sri Lanka has two main ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and Tamils. So far on previous tours we have experienced the culture of the Sinhalese people only. In 2019 we’d like to introduce you to Tamil culture as well, hence our decision to go up North for the first week.
We have also been considering how the tours can contribute financially and otherwise to the local community and local projects. One way was to find a community organization that could benefit from our patronage by providing us with good quality accommodation and food so that this money would end up in the community rather than in the coffers of a multinational hotel chain or similar. We investigated several options and locations around the country and found one that will suit all our requirements.
Sevalanka is such an organization and their facilities in the District of Vavuniya is the place we have chosen for the first week of the tour.
VavuniyaWe are going to spend the first week of the tour (Sun April 7th – Sat April 13th) just outside the town of Vavuniya in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. We will be staying at Seva Village Rest run by Sevalanka.
Sevalanka works with local communities around the Island in development work. The organization in Vavuniya has been involved in working with communities affected by the recent civil war in Sri Lanka (Which finished in 2009). It focuses on projects helping the local communities transition from rehabilitation to sustainable development.
Sevalanka will be providing us with accommodation and food and the artists will be drawn from the local communities. Our patronage will help finance some of these projects.
Vavuniya is mainly a Tamil area and we have hired musicians and dancers to demonstrate and teach us the drums and dances of the Tamil people. The drums demonstrated will be the Thavil (used in Hindu Temples) Mridhangham (looks like the Kandyan drum) and Tabla. The dance styles are related to the Karnatic style of dancing that originated in Southern India.
The Afrolankan drumming sessions on Djembes will also continue as on previous tours.
We visited Seva Village Rest in the week before the 2018 tour. It is set in natural bushland and is also an organic farm. The accommodation is clean and comfortable and the rooms have air conditioning and fans but no hot water. This may not be an issue as the temperature is around 28-30 degrees, as you know. There is a pool and plenty of trees and shade. Seva Rest hosts many International NGO’s providing them with facilities for meetings and conferences .
The town of Vavuniya is about ten minutes away by Tuk Tuk and you can walk there as well. The nearest beaches are on the East Coast about 2 hours away or North on the Mannar Peninsular also about the same distance away. The town of Jaffna, which is the capital of the North and the cultural centre of the Tamil people, is about 3 hours away. The largest and oldest national park Wilpattu is 1½ hrs or 110km away.
The food is delicious (Yes… we’ve had a personal tasting and it is similar to the food down South but with quite a few different flavours that may be new to you. The spice factor can be modified to cater to your preference). There are a large number of vegetarian options but meat will also be on the menu. Apart from Rice and Curry you can try Thosai, Vadai, Idli and Pittu all eaten with curries in place of the rice.
Sabesh who runs the place is also happy to help facilitate more interaction with the local community. He is particularly keen for people to volunteer their time and expertise to help the community. We are hoping some of you might spend a free afternoon doing this.
Ahangama (Sun April 14th – Friday April 19th)We will leave Vavuniya on Sunday 14th April and travel by air-conditioned bus to the town of Ahangama in the South. This will be a long bus trip but you will be able to experience the changing scenery as we drive from the drier North skirting the Hill country and then to the South. We will stop for lunch on the way.
Ahangama is a beachside town located South of Ambalangoda about 20 km past Galle and close to popular beaches like Unawatuna and Mirissa.
We have found a place that is even more ideal then our old favourite Dreambeach/Juce Hotel in Ambalangoda where we have stayed on previous tours. Located on a surf beach, the accommodation will be in villas set in beautiful large gardens where we will run the drumming and dance.
The standard of accommodation is superior to that of Juce Hotel and is more towards the 4 Star standard. The food will be similar to previous tours and your favourite teacher Bandara will join us for this second leg where we will learn a new Sinhalese dance. I’m sure this second week of the tour will bring back memories of past tours but will also be a different experience with new places to explore and a different location and atmosphere.
As usual we will be on the look out for any local rituals to take you to. The tour will finish on the Friday night with a Sri Lankan style party featuring a “Papare’ band. Great for dancing and celebrating.
Come with us in Sri Lanka in 2019…
We are making these changes in the hope that those of you who have been on previous tours you will join us once again in 2019 to experience something familiar yet different to your previous experience in Sri Lanka.
We are now taking expressions of interest and bookings so that we can go ahead with planning and booking the accommodation and transport.
We have tried to keep the costs down to the similar levels to past years. The costs are the same as last year;
The duration of the tour is still 14 days but we have changed things by providing you with a night’s accommodation on arrival and cutting short the extra night at the end of the tour, as most people seem to return earlier and not stay the night after the end of tour party.
We are booking accommodation in Negombo (10 mins from the airport) for the night of Sat 6th April. You can choose to arrive either on the Sat 6th or Sun 7th. As in previous years if you arrive early morning on the Sun 7th you can still check in to the hotel and get a few hours sleep before we leave by bus for Vavuniya at around noon or early afternoon.
We have also been investigating other flight options and there is a Malaysian Airlines flight that arrives in Colombo mid morning on the Saturday, which gives you more time for a sleep before we leave.
(We can discuss these details and flight options and airport transfers later depending on bookings and numbers. A group booking is a possibility depending on the costs of flights and your personal preference).
Program (14 nights)
Hope you can join us. If you want to discuss this further please call Ray on 0403198223 or email email@example.com
Hear what the participants think about the tour...
The tour will be based in the northern rural town of Vavuniya for the first week and then we will travel down south to the coastal town of Ahangama where we will spend the final week right on the iconic sandy beaches.
It is also close to the historic Dutch Fort of Galle and not far from the amazing beach of Unawatuna.
2019 Rate is $1,970AUD twin share
This includes lessons, three delicious meals per day accommodation and cultural performances. The participants must book and pay for their own air fares.
To express your interest for the 2019 tour please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org