Journey off the grid and delve deep into the Sri Lankan wilderness. The Path to Gal Oya is the ideal getaway for those looking to truly get away. The journey begins in the capital, Colombo, where a delightful pilgrimage awaits for architecture buffs and fans of renowned Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Among plenty of his works, known distinctly for their tropical modernist style, his residence ‘No. 11’ houses his personal collection of art and draws its visitors in to his daily inspirations.
Apart from having the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka, Gal Oya National Park also boasts significant Ayurvedic plants. A dip in the river after a hike through the jungle or some elephant sightings from a river safari, are some great ways to immerse yourself in and be among nature.
The beauty of Sri Lanka also lies in its diverse terrain. Notice the gradual change in scenery as you venture from the drier plains of Gal Oya to the lush mountains of Haputale, a town steeped in its colonial history of tea cultivation.
After the hills, the journey descends southwards to Tangalle, where some of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches are—and if you are lucky enough, you might witness sea turtles coming on to the beach at night to lay their eggs. Further west along the coastline is Galle Fort, where its charming narrow streets that separate buildings of old Dutch architecture will inspire some interesting and intimate walks.
These are a selection of lodges that we feel combine well for this journey. However we do also have a range of options to consider in each region, and can tailor them to you preference.
Located in the heart of Colombo, Maniumpathy is surrounded by art galleries, chic boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, leading shopping centers and national monuments. Formerly a home to five generations of a family originating in Jaffna, Maniumpathy has evolved at the hands of each generation.
The one place to better explore the rich wildlife of Gal Oya. Spread across 20 acres of private jungle, Gal Oya Lodge is a unique eco-lodge that offers unique expriences; which includes a walk with their Vedda neighbours, one of the last remaining communities of the forest-dwelling, indigenous people of Sri Lanka.
Located on Pitaratmalie Estate, part of the vast Agarapatana Plantation, the bungalow was built in the 19th century. Encircled by 20 acres of charming lawns and flower beds, Thotalagala still maintains the landscaping set out by an ardent British gardening enthusiast nearly two centuries ago. Thotalagala lies adjacent to Dambatenne, one of the only estates in the world that Sir Thomas Lipton planted himself. Lipton often resided in the bungalow when travelling around his estates, and no doubt enjoyed the magnificent view it offered of his flourishing plantation.
Coconut palms sway above the golden sand beach at Amanwella, a tranquil hideaway set in a cove on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Amanwella’s clean, serene lines frame the untamed landscape. Inspired by modernist Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, Suites are constructed from stone, timber and clay tiles of local origin. Each opens onto a private plunge pool.
Built in 1684, the historic edifice retains its heritage in every architectural and decorative detail. Polished teak floorboards date back to the building’s origins, and the interiors are decorated with antiques that span centuries. The windows look out over the 36-hectare hexagonal stone fort or the property's mature gardens. Set within its ramparts, Amangalla is an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.