Exploring Sri Lanka With Uga Escapes
Where ancient culture meets history, Sri Lanka is considered the ultimate destination to travel. From endless tropical beaches, lush green mountains, pure wildlife essence and scenic train rides, make this country one of the most beautiful in the world and by far, our favorite in Southeast Asia.
We planned this trip thoroughly, detail by detail, so we wouldn’t miss any experience, as it is a big country with so many wonders to see, feel and enjoy.
We were reached by Uga Escapes, a boutique hotel-chain in Sri Lanka that primes to persevere the countries cultural heritage, while offering the most memorable and luxury experiences to their guests. From their ethical and conscious approach, through environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, aiming to provide luxury and comfort, with a mix of contemporary facilities and tradition. Sri Lanka was always part of our travel dreams, so we embraced the challenge they proposed to us: escape to the pure and raw side of Sri Lanka.
During one week, we went from the hustle and bustle frenetic Colombo, the capital, heading to the wild side at Yala National Park and ending with a magical touch of ancient cultural heritage in the north part of the country. Ready to experience true wonders? Join us and let’s explore Sri Lanka , it is time to escape.
Colombo – The Residence
- The luxury boutique experience -
The main port of entry and exit in the country, Colombo is usually a pit stop for those who are starting their journey in Sri Lanka. Known as capital and one of the most developed cities, it can be perceived as metropolis, with nothing to see or experience. What if we tell you that it has much more to offer than you might think, would you believe? We were a little bit skeptical about visiting the capital, but The Residence soon cleared all doubts and made us instantly fall in love with the country. Why? Well, starting with their concept as a small luxury boutique hotel, where you can have all the comfort and lust of a 5-star resort, with the warm cosy feeling of being at home and belong to a family.
Built in the 19th Century by a wealthy barrister, Residence is a Victorian townhouse that once hosted governors, maharajas, nobility, and all the important people in the country and the world, and now it is one of the most sumptuous resorts in Colombo.
Our experience couldn’t be better and it was the perfect place to start our journey, immersing in culture and falling in love with the local cuisine, carefully prepared to attend our dietary needs. It was our favourite meals during our entire journey around Asia. Not only a place with exalted comfort and a prestigious restaurant, but also a nest of love, which suits us perfectly as a couple that loves to have their romantic time, even with some night swims by the main pool. It was the end of 2 magical nights in Colombo, wishing we could stay longer, but it’s now time to drive along the south coast for some exciting safari days!
Yala – Chena Huts
- The land of wild adventure & raw experiences -
Located in Yala National Park, Chena Huts offer the best of both worlds – a safari retreat with an escape gate to the beach. Yala is widely known by its safari experiences, mainly for the vast wildlife that lives in the park and for its main attraction, the leopard.
After a long drive, we arrived at Chena Huts and felt already the wild vibes running through our veins. The location couldn’t be better, the design was absolutely marvelous, but the best was yet to come, when we were lead to our room for the next nights. Hut number 3, the lucky number that has such a huge meaning for us, was the omen to an epic stay. Every hut was designed with detail and keeping the traditional safari architecture of the ancient huts, that local people built to keep themselves protected from wildlife. Our little paradise got our hearts and we didn’t intend to leave it, but we had to rush to our first safari experience in a National Park.
Although Yala is becoming very popular and busy nowadays, with hundreds of jeeps tracking animals around and anxious tourists who just want to see the leopard, it can ruin the experience of a safari, but gladly Chena’s Safari guides and drivers are well trained and really mindful of the living harmony we should have with all creatures. We didn’t see a leopard, but we did see a beautiful family of elephants, many birds, crocodiles, deers and buffaloes! What an adventure we had, beating the dusty track of the jungle, spotting marvelous beings along the way. The ride back to the camp was magical, under the warmest sunset, culminating with a cocktail at the beach, sharing our favorite memories from what we just had lived.
To perfectly end our day, we took a table by the beach, lit only by a single candle, enjoying a tasty vegan rice and curry and refreshing ourselves with a fresh juice, counting stars in the sky and just being present in that moment. We loved the wild moments we had at Chena Huts, but eagerly anxious to head to our finally destination and immerse in true Sri Lankan culture.
Anuradhapura – Ulagalla
- A secluded sanctuary -
Time to escape to the north, most specifically to the ancient village of Anuradhapura, where culture is most alive. Ulagalla is a vast property with many hectares of land, lush green forest and bathe by the lake, which facilities are remains of an old building, preserving the cultural heritage on site, offering all guests a portal to the real side of Sri Lanka finest elegance and aristocracy.
Light up a candle and ring the bell 3 times. This is the sacred ritual at the property, to ask for a healthy life and prosperity and let everyone know that a new member of the family has arrived. We were already feeling at home, as we love places that nurture ancient beliefs and keep an harmonious balance with the surroundings, just as Ulagalla does with the hosting private pool villas. Ours was faced to the rice paddies, where they grow their own rice and it made the perfect frame at sunset, with all the birds flying and whispering sounds of freedom.
Each one of us had a bicycle, so we could freely roam around the property and explore what it has to offer. A stable with beautiful horses, an organic garden that sources the kitchen with freshly grown vegetables, fruits and herbs, a few relaxing areas with hammocks and refreshing pool, ending the tour with a swim. On our last day we went to the lake on a kayak, an amazing moment we spent, paddling between water lilies and birds, watching the sun rising in the horizon. Ulagalla made the perfect end of a trip, as we could deeply relax, enjoy good food made with love, walk amongst ancient trees and sleep under a cricket symphony.
Our week with Uga comes to end, with a promise of coming back to experience other properties with different values. The door to the vibrant land remains open, and we can’t wait to escape through it again.