Gal Oya Lodge, Gal Oya National Park

This eco-consious 10-room lodge sits close to crowd-free Gal Oya National Park. Located to the east of the island, amidst traditional Veddha settlements, this is Sri Lanka at its most raw and wild – a part of the country that feels untouched, real, and almost lost in time. Specialising in well curated experiences, which allow guests to enjoy jungle drives, observe elephants by boat, identify birds on guided walks, and observe a Veddha way of life, the hotel’s team of naturalist guides are excellent. This luxury hotel in Gal Oya is also a tranquil place for switching off since there is no WiFi or phone reception at all.

The lodge is entirely built from locally-sourced teak, granite, illuk grass and mara trees, and many of the honey-coloured beams are bound together with coconut fibre. The spacious freestanding bungalow rooms come with living areas, terraces and partly outdoor bathrooms with solar hot water. Open to the breeze and views, the lodge is eco-minded in respect of its surroundings, tropical climate, and resident wildlife.

Many of the guests that come here are keen nature lovers, and a stay here really complements a visit to a better-known national park such as Yala, Udawalawe or Wilpattu. Those interested in local culture and off-the-beaten track destinations also love it here, and it works very well as a languid stopover between the hills or Kandy and the east coast. The staff team are experienced and friendly, and food is homecooked using as much garden or locally grown produce as possible.

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