The Soul of Ceylon- A Secret Retreats journey -
This journey has been personally designed by Madushan, general manager of Gal Oya Lodge and planner of this itinerary.
Highlights of the Journey:
- Climb the Yapahuwa Rock Oldest City
- Bicycle Ride into remote village and discover the Paramakanda Temple & Night Walk
- Hike across wilderness Bush, Pygmee Mountain, Pin forest, Tea Plantation
- Walk within Seamlessly rural lifestyle surrounding, rustic atmosphere & meet its habitant in diverse region
- Jeep Birding & Wildlife Safari within Bundala National Park
- Beach Retreat
This journey will make you explore the deep culture, the wild nature of Sri Lanka, visit the essential and take the time to move slowly from one destination to another, in a circle around the Southern part of the island. Sri Lanka is nearly a circle around most of the Island and off the beaten tourist tracks. A great experience to admire some of the most beautiful sceneries the island can offer, enjoy gentle walks or cycling, birding, UNESCO sites, indigenous Vedda local tribes, rustic countryside and manicured tea plantations and to end the peaceful beach of Weligama...
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Your Journey Day by Day
based on 2 people traveling together and sharing the same room
During your day, you can choose your program:
- Grab a bike for a land tour around The Mudhouse (predominantly flat land) to places such as the Paramakanda temple and Tonigala rock (Stunning Scenery at its top). Many of the nearby villages and lakes can also be reached on the ride. At end of afternoon, chill at your mudhouse.
- Cooking lessons are possible in either the morning or afternoon, in order to prepare the meals for lunch or dinner. Much of the produce used is harvested fresh from the farm and delivered directly to the kitchen. You can discover how to prepare some of the delicious local recipes from scratch. With no electricity there is of course no fridge in the kitchen, which means all dishes are prepared fresh and not kept or preserved. Learning to cook the traditional way is both labour and time intensive but, we feel, is directly reflected in the flavour of the food.
- For an extra charge, you can also go for a 4x4 full day Jeep Safari in the heart of Wilpattu National Park: 8-10hrs of multiple dusty roads to search for wildlife: leopard, elephant, fox, jackal, buffalo, wild boar, crocodile, spotted deer, or multiple migrant birds like crescent serpent eagle, Malabar pied hornbill, Sri Lankan grey Hornbill, Sri Lankan jungle fowl, Alexandrine parakeet, grey heron…
By day end, enjoy a stunning sunset from your property and your last dinner served at any spot you wish around the Mudhouse.
By 4:00pm, you can take the direction of the un-famous and un-crowed Pidurangala Rock which is an overlooked gem offering giant reclining Buddha statue and a view over Sigiriya rock. After a climb of (many) steps the 360 degree scenery will be yours.
Back to rest and dinner.
- If you are a Birder, wake up to the sound of birdsong and set out to discover its origin. Depart for a morning bird watching walks, take you to lush tree groves, tranquil lakes and paddy fields surrounding the retreat, which resident and migratory bird species call home, or get to the Kalundewa Mountain, home to a number of bird species. Spot birds such as the elusive Brown Fish Owl and the colourful Green Tailed Bee Eater with the help of our resident naturalist as you explore the mountain slopes.
After breakfast, you will get back on the road (long drive of 6-7 hrs) to the lost & wild east of Sri Lanka and its astonishing Gal Oya National Park. Upon arrival at your lodge (around 5pm), check-in, and rest at the lodge or by the pool until dinner is ready.
4 options for today:
- Early wake, and leave at 6am with a resident naturalist for a bird walk at sunrise around the lodge, enjoying the abundant birdlife and beautiful surroundings. The walk offers a number of possible routes through the trees and around the nearby lake, to observe a wide range of bird species such as Kingfishers, Eagles, Kites and many aquatic birds. Return at the lodge for breakfast (around 8:30-9am)
- Early morning trek to the top of Monkey Mountain, especially for the adventurous early risers, a 1.5 hour uphill trek first thing in the morning is a must. Up top, dramatic 180 degree views over the large forested valley await. An early start allows you to watch the sun rise over the hills in the distance, observing the never ending jungle canopy below. Return to the lodge for breakfast around 8:30-9am.
- With extra charge: 10am, departure for a walk of discovery to a Vedda Tribe Village (1h30) - one of the last remaining communities of the Vedda – the forest-dwelling, indigenous people of Sri Lanka. The village Chief will lead through the jungle of his ancestors and share local nature as he brings the forest alive, explaining his tribe’s use of medicinal plants, ancient hunting grounds and cave dwellings.
- With extra charge: 12:30pm. Try a delicious picnic lunch in the National Park. Enjoy lunch next to the river, waterfall or overlooking one of the park’s many breathtaking views. Continue on a jeep ride and by foot for about 4hrs into the forgotten Nilgala section of Gal Oya National Park. Once protected by ancient royalty for the abundant medicinal plants and endemic birdlife, the park’s unique ecosystem is home to herds of elephants, wild boar, four species of deer, jackals, sloth bears, marsh mugger crocodiles and an array of rare exotic birds. Back to the lodge by sunset.
Breakfast at the lodge and check out.
By 11am, you will embark for 4-5hrs drive to the South Side of the Hill Country. Upon arrival at Haputale, we will take a local jeep 4x4 to reach your small remote mountain tea mansion (about 30 min drives) and its astonishing sceneries. After check in, rest and enjoy the view and the atmosphere. Dinner at the property.
All meals at the property.
After your safari, get back on the road for another 2-3hrs drive to your property located aside the Indian Ocean.
- Half Day Catamaran Whale Watching Sailing
- Full Day Sea Kayaking along Weligama Coastline
- Half Day or full Day Diving at Unawatuna
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The Soul of Ceylon
based on 2 people traveling together and sharing the same room
The total price includes:
9 nights at the 5 hotels
All meals mentioned in the program
All transfers and transportation with Private an English speaking driver guide throughout trip as specified
All activities as specified in program
Entrance, camera fees, and permits in all locations, including rangers and naturalists in the parks
he total price does not include:
VISA – Most countries need a visa for Sri Lanka (available online). Please make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your departure date.
Other meals that are not included in the program.
Drinks, personal expenses.
All optional activities (mentioned with extra charge)
Personal expenses (souvenirs, laundry etc.)
Tips for drivers and guides
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