Gal Oya Lodge is a rustic eco-retreat set amidst a 20-acre private forest, edged by Gal Oya National Park and the Senanayake Samudraya - one of Sri Lanka’s largest lakes. Spot wild elephants roaming in the jungle or swimming across the lake to get to a nearby island. The property is comprised of several eco-friendly bungalows and villas, constructed using locally sourced materials, and is the sister property of Palagama Beach Resort in Kalpitiya. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, Gal Oya Lodge is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking tranquillity.
The interiors are decorated with furniture made by the village craftsmen. There are ten bungalows and villas spread across the 20-acre private forest, set well apart to ensure complete privacy. They have polished cement floors, timber walls, roofs thatched with Illuk grass and floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows to allow spectacular views of the wilderness and mountain backdrop. High roofs and overhead fans help to keep the rooms cool and airy, and the interiors are decorated with furniture made by the village craftsmen. All rooms have electricity and an ensuite bathroom with solar-powered h/w shower. In-room facilities include umbrellas, traditional games and playing cards.
Bungalows (800 sq. ft): There are seven bungalows, each consisting of a bedroom furnished with a king-sized four-poster bed and a living room with a private veranda. The ensuite bathrooms have twin vanities and indoor/outdoor showers. Up to three adults or two adults and two children can be accommodated in the bungalows.
Villa 1: This spacious two-bedroom villa is positioned at the highest point of the property and has spectacular mountain and jungle views. Each of the bedrooms opens out to a private veranda that runs round to the living room. One bedroom is furnished with a king-sized four-poster bed, the other with two singles. Villa 1 can be booked by the room or as a whole and can accommodate up to four guests.
Villa 2: This one-bedroom villa provides much privacy and has jungle and mountain views. The bedroom is furnished with a king-sized bed.
The main lodge houses the open-sided restaurant and bar, where traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry and Western cuisine is served. Meals are prepared with fresh seafood, meats, and organic vegetables from their own gardens or purchased from the villagers. There are also options for those with special dietary requirements and the option of taking a Sri Lankan cooking course. Other facilities include a library, a swimming pool, a naturalised garden with wild flowers, a butterfly garden and an organic herb and vegetable garden. They also have a Land Rover Defender jeep for safaris and a Heli-pad.
Why we like it
Sleep in a 20-acre private forest in an eco lodge in one of Sri Lanka's lesser known national parks freed from wi-fi, a/c and the trappings of modern life.
This quiet lodge takes environmental responsibility seriously and does much to ensure guests contribute to preserving the nature around them as much as possible. With up to 30% self-sufficiency for fruit and veg, a no-plastic water bottle policy and several responsible initiatives, Gal Oya Lodge is an ideal place for those keen to keep a low carbon footprint.
Gal Oya Lodge is a tranquil eco-retreat alongside Gal Oya National Park. Ampara is in Sri Lanka's central south-east, an undiscovered area away from the usual tourist trail.
Location: Gal Oya, East Coast
Style: Eco Retreat
No. of Rooms: 11
Key Features: 20-acre forest setting; wildlife; private chalets; no a/c