oasis in the jungle - Arika Villa
After three days of sightseeing in the middle of the jungle, we are now heading to Weligama Bay, at the very south tip of Sri Lanka. The road to Colombo meanders through these endless green forests, lined by small detached houses and other buildings. It's a long drive with crazy local traffic rules, we had to get used to. The last three days were an exciting mix of climbing and walking through ancient sites, enjoying history and nature in never-seen-before dimensions. In order to follow our own schedule we had booked accommodation in the vicinity of the most famous ancient sites and national parks and hired a local driver for daily trips. We highly recommend this for everyone who wants to get a real taste of the country and Sri Lankan culture.
Sightseeing at 35 degrees can be exhausting. Therefore selecting the right hotel to relax and charge batteries, is very essential. As a nice hotel near Dambulla, we recommend the "Arika Villa". Just 500m off the main road the venue is located right in the middle of the jungle. The surroundings of the hotel look like as if Mowgli and Baloo will show up at any moment.
The two-storey building is a mix of modern hotel comfort and Sri Lankan traditional architecture. The ten very spacious rooms are accessible from a shade-giving courtyard that has a pool and just enough area to hang out, rest and relax. There is free Wi-Fi and the mobile has coverage. A small restaurant serves a variety of homemade food that gets most of its ingredients from a small vegetable garden behind the building. A place the host takes very good care of. The staff is very friendly and always helpful when it comes to organizing our daily trips and program. The hotel is a real oasis in the middle of the jungle.
Fondest memories bring a smile on my face. Waking up at sunrise, sitting on the balcony, looking at this green impenetrable forest and breathing its fresh air. While we enjoy a cup of Ceylon tea, the jungle makes us listen to its strange exotic voices. We enjoy the sound of hundreds of birds mixed with the "guu-guu-gaa-gaas" of the monkeys sitting in the trees just meters away. We try to guess the animals behind some of the funniest noises. Each sunrise we become one with the nature around us and we understand why these local people are so happy and healthy.