Treetop Living

Treetop Living

1 March, 2016
Eco Luxe Lodge
Discover Sri Lanka from an alternative vantage point

Sri Lanka – with its complex past, abundant wildlife and rich culture – has a distinct and unique character that stays with visitors long after they leave. For travellers who want to maximize their Sri Lankan experience in a responsible, authentic way, there’s a special place that really is unmissable: Saraii Village eco resort near Yala National Park.
Saraii is a Hebrew word that means ‘essence,’ and at Saraii Village, the emphasis is on enabling guests to become completely immersed in the essence of Sri Lanka – with as minimal an impact on its environment as possible.
The nine accommodation units available at the village consist of four open-air tree houses and nine mud chalets made by the local community in the traditional way. Both bring you close to nature, with the exotic sounds of the jungle stirring your senses while you lay in the comfortable and spacious bed. Staying in the three-storey tree house, in particular, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and a wonderful vantage point from which to soak in spectacular Sri Lankan sunsets. The rooms are as enchanting in their design as they are simple, practical and sustainable. It’s Sri Lanka’s answer to glamping, but with a treetop twist!
Nestled among the garden’s thousands of trees, you find the al fresco central restaurant, which serves local and western cuisine. The options on the menu vary each night according to what’s growing in the garden at the time, and what’s fresh at the local market. The friendly staff are a delight to interact with, and are happy to chat with you about their background. Beer and wine is available here, as are board games and fellow explorers keen to share their adventures of the day.
Saraii Village is an excellent base from which to explore Yala National Park, to where educational safaris leave daily and include an informed and enthusiastic guide who will point out the exceptional flora and fauna that inhabit it. This park is famous for housing the largest concentration of leopards anywhere in the world, but these shy, secretive creatures are not huge fans of the spotlight – so you’re well advised to focus on the fascinating biodiversity of Yala in its entirety.
Safaris are just the beginning of the activities on offer here. The experiences offered to guests at Saraii are unique and community-based, including an organic Sri Lankan lunch at a local farm, palm weaving, and a mud pottery class. Temple excursions, lake kayaking and bird watching trips to the nearby wetlands are also popular, as are bicycle tours and barbeques by the lake.
Soon Saraii Village will be adding five more housing units and even a state-of-the art natural pool, where the water is purified through plant root systems. A market leader in green tourism in Sri Lanka, this property is an excellent option for the intrepid traveller who is tired of concrete, and wants something different – something real. As well as those who just fancy the idea of chilling in a treetop with a good read.

By: Alex Andersson


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