- Secluded location on edge of national park
- Very ecofriendly
- Great for wildlife spotting
Situated right on the edge of the Gal Oya National Park, this secluded ecolodge is ideal for nature enthusiasts. It’s off the beaten track and tucked away in a part of the park that’s serene and undisturbed, yet at the same time bustling with wildlife. Designed to make guests feel at one with nature, the ecolodges are constructed from a range of natural materials and are set in a mountainous area that affords breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
Guests stay in rustic wooden bungalows that are spread out across the lodge’s grounds. They’re designed to seamlessly blend in with the surrounding scenery and thanks to their floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, they allow guests to enjoy gorgeous views whenever they want. Each bungalow has a bedroom with a comfortable king size bed, as well as a private living area and a bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers, not to mention double sinks. The tables and chairs found in the bungalows have been handcrafted by local villagers using traditional techniques. As well as the bungalows, there’s a larger villa that’s aimed at families or couples wanting a bit more space to themselves. It sits on the highest point of the grounds and each of its two bedrooms has its own wraparound veranda.
Gal Oya National Park is the main catchment area for Sri Lanka’s largest reservoir, Senanayake Samudraya, and is known for its herd of elephants that can be seen throughout the year. It’s one of the least visited of Sri Lanka’s national parks and is among the best preserved. One of the park’s many highlights is the boat safari, which takes visitors among a number of small forested islands that are popular with birds and elephants, who can often be seen swimming in the surrounding waters. While staying at Gal Oya Lodge, there are lots of activities for guests to take advantage of, such as park hikes, riverside picnics, birdwatching walks, bicycle tours and jungle drives - all of these are led by knowledgeable guides who will tell guests all about the area and its many resident animals.
The ecolodge’s restaurant serves both Sri Lankan and western dishes, with meals freshly prepared using locally sourced ingredients. Those interested in picking up some cooking tips can meet the chef for some cooking courses. As well as a restaurant, the ecolodge has a bar and an outdoor swimming pool that’s open year-round.
Those who are travelling with children should consider booking the villa as it’s more convenient and has more space. Because the ecolodge is set within a national park with wildlife roaming freely, it’s suggested that parents keep an eye on their young ones at all times. Children of all ages are welcome here.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
Driver-guide: Very punctual, except for pick up for airport when he was delayed by >30 mins due to road closures. Vehicle very clean and well maintained- plenty of water and supplies of clothing for religious sites, tissues, postcards etc. Very good at understanding what level of conversation we wanted. Happy to stop for paracetamol, supermarket etc. Took us to signal box at railway since we were early (which was very interesting)
The Walawwa: Lovely place to arrive at and get a bit of rest. Great pool, lovely rooms and food etc. Peaceful oasis so close to town.
Wilpattu Camp: Wonderful food- really enjoyed trying lots of new things in excellent surroundings.Felt like the place had not been visited much recently (which I don’t think it had due to the terrorist attacks) so our safari guide had been brought up from another park and did not know the park too well- it worked out well though and we saw all the animals we hoped to see so no complaints on that front. We did feel that we should have been told about extra things we could have done- when we commented on the great food on final day we were told that they could have done a cookery demo for us, but it was too late at that point. It worked well for us but clients should probably know that they are likely to have multiple wildlife in their tents (eg frogs)- didn’t bother us at all, but others it might do. We were given a questionnaire to fill in at the end whilst all the staff were standing around, which wasn’t ideal as you felt a bit of pressure! Felt really well looked after here!
Water Gardens Sigiriya: Beautiful suites with plunge pools- quiet and peaceful with lovely big swimming pool. Food good
Jungle Beach: Beautiful location on beach. Rooms good. Food a bit limited I would have liked a bit more variety ideally.
Camellia House: Lovely location- beautiful views. Food OK but service below average- our food orders were wrong a couple of times and even pre-ordered food was delayed. Tea factory tour was only an hour and that was the main reason to be here. It was interesting but quite brief seeing it was the main attraction according to our itinerary. Also, we were taken there in a minibus which didn’t have seatbelts on all seats and was quite smelly- not up to the standard of the usual transportation. Rooms were described as having panoramic views- one did have amazing views but the other one definitely didn’t.
Galle Face: Lovely old hotel- but it did have some problems (leaking ceiling and ‘smuts’ coming out of air conditioning.) Weather very bad (spectacular storms). It was a shame the street food tour couldn’t take place but totally understandable given the weather, however we enjoyed our dinner here and free drinks/canopes!). Good choice at breakfast.
Pippa R reviewing Sri Lanka Highlights - Classic on 30 September 2019
Once again you organised a really good holiday for us.
If there was one criticism it was that there were too many flights. I don’t know whether you could do Bangkok first, Chiang Mai, then fly down South?
Your drivers and Guides - all really good. The variety of transport on the tours in Bangkok and Chiang Mai; we all loved.
Tamarind Village - Our room was a bit of a squeeze, with the 3 of us and 3 big suitcases.
Lisu Lodge- I enjoyed our time here. Going forward I would suggest only 1 night or they need to have some more activities. I liked how we ate on the floor, the food was really good. Staff very friendly. We liked the cycling, tea plantation, trekking and white water rafting.
Riva Surya- good location.
Elephant Hills- we loved looking after the elephants, the lake was also a really good experience. The guides were informative and looked after us well. The resort locations and tents were perfect.
Santiburi - amazing; we upgraded to a beach bungalow which was fantastic. The hotel is in a stunning location, the facilities and the service was impeccable. Sam has some private Thai boxing lessons, which he loved. We had cookery lessons and used the paddle boards. A perfect end to quite a busy holiday.
Natasha L reviewing Thailand Family Adventure on 24 September 2019