"Ulpotha remains for me the most beautiful spot in this whole complex world I am lucky enough to travel around" - Harper's Bazaar

Frequently Asked Questions

How to book?

Our preferred method of registration is online, which is very simple. You may do so in the Rates & Dates section of this website. Just click on the "Book" button and follow the instructions, or visit the "Booking" page from the Home menu.

Click on "Email – Ulpotha" at the bottom of each page to send us an email should you have booking questions.

Contact us during office hours (remember Sri Lanka is 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT) on +44 208 123 3603. Please have your travel information ready.

Usually we accept bookings until late before the Holiday starts. However, due to organisational reasons, we highly appreciate an early registration, at least 1 month before the first day of the Holiday. Thank you!

Ulpotha is open 7 months in the year (see Rates & Dates). The rest of the year we are closed to visitors as it goes back to being a self sustaining village.

Ulpotha is very much a traveller's experience rather than a tourist's, in the sense it's a place to immerse one's self in to allow its charms to slowly seep in. In other words, the longer the stay, the greater the benefit. Generally two weeks is best - coinciding with a particular Yoga teacher for example, though a week will confer many of the benefits of a longer stay.

Ideally your holiday should coincide with one of the Yoga holidays but this is not at all compulsory.

Prices & Payment

You can either pay by bank transfer, which is what we most prefer, or by Paypal, though the latter carries a 5% premium. You can ask us for further payment details by email.

$1,295 per week or $2,590 for two weeks throughout the time Ulpotha is open during the year, with the exception of Christmas and New Year when it costs $1,505 per week or $3,010 for two weeks

It includes accommodation, all meals, snacks, drinks, two Yoga classes a day, a one-on-one consultation with our resident Ayurveda doctor, one excursion per week's stay, a massage per week's stay, laundry service and the use of bicycles, steam bath, hot water bathing area and taxes.

Since gracious and priceless hospitality is what Ulpotha offers, tipping is not accepted and there are no additional service charges.

Not included are travel costs to and from Ulpotha, insurance, Ayurveda treatments that are not pre-booked, entrance fees to cultural sites, outside meals during excursions, single hut supplements, or any additional massages guests may wish to book with the respective therapists over and above the one that is included per week's stay - these cost US$60 per hour, subject to availability.

Yes, they are, though we would like parents to be mindful of other guests, given that Ulpotha is a place where people come to relax. There are no special facilities for children and they cannot be catered to separately.

Children from 6 to 16 can stay for 50% of the usual rate and 25% if they are under 6. Babies are discouraged simply because of issues of practicality.

All the huts at Ulpotha are allocated on a twin share basis and the price of accommodation is included in the Holiday cost.

Though there are no purpose-built single huts, you can pay a supplementary fee of $125 per night ($1,750 for two weeks) to have a hut to yourself. However this is subject to availability and not offered during Christmas and New Year times.

We will meet you at the airport and return you to the airport after your holiday. The cost per vehicle (maximum of 4 people) is approximately $100 each way.

The transfer cost and any other transportation fees should be paid in Ulpotha. Please email us should you wish to be collected or dropped off at a location in Sri Lanka other than the airport.

Yes, it is.

All meals, snacks and teas are included in the price of the Holiday.

Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation in Ulpotha is in elegantly crafted traditional wattle & daub huts open to nature. Each bed is equipped with an excellent mosquito net. Our huts can sleep either two or three people, so accommodation is on a shared basis.

All the huts at Ulpotha are allocated on a twin share basis. We will match you up as best we can with another guest. There are places for a maximum of 23 paying guests at any one time and no single huts are available.

All accommodations have shared showers and toilets, which are for the most part not ensuite.

Though there are no purpose-built single huts, you can pay a supplementary fee (see costs above) per week to have a hut to yourself. Please note that this is subject to availability and not offered during Christmas and New Year times.

All accommodations have shared showers and toilets.

No, Ulpotha is far from other hotels and does not cater to offsite visitors.

No, these holidays are perfect for singles! Ulpotha is also great if you come with friends or as a couple but the overwhelming majority of our guests come alone.

People are surprised to discover that the huts are spacious and airy and that sharing with someone is actually very pleasant and improbably welcome. The unusual jungle noises can be a bit strange and it's quite reassuring to have a companion sharing your space. In any case - you will find that you don't really spend much time in your hut.

No, all the paths, accommodations and living/eating spaces are lit by candles and lamps.

However sufficient solar powered electricity is available within Ulpotha exclusively for charging mobiles, smartphones and cameras but not tablets and computers. Arrangements can be made on occasion to send the latter to the neighboring village to be charged.

There is no wifi. This is not the disaster one might expect it to be! In fact we can say from experience that perhaps one of the greatest benefits Ulpotha offers is enforced disconnection. There aren't many places left in the world that give you an excuse to not be available, except a quirky village in the jungle. This is in itself a huge liberation.

However, for those unable to cut this particular umbilical cord, there is digital reception sufficient to allow smartphone activity.

The food at Ulpotha is simply delicious and very healthy. It is almost entirely vegan, naturally wheat free, with an abundance of fresh vegetables, organic red rice and tropical fruit freshly picked largely from Ulpotha's gardens. A visit to Ulpotha is a good opportunity to detoxify your system without fuss.

Special diets cannot be catered for but it is fairly easy to pick and choose, depending on your taste, from the many dishes served at each meal.

If there is anything that you feel that you simply can't do without (coffee, a gin tonic, chocolate and the like) - we suggest you bring it with you.

As we have no electricity, all food is cooked fresh for each meal on open fires.

Breakfast is served from approximately 7am to 11am and consists of herbal teas, fresh fruit, fresh coconut water, herbal rice porridge and a Sri Lankan breakfast cake.

Lunch served around midday is the main meal of the day and consists of a wide array of Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, salads, Ulpotha Heritage rice, fruits, curd, juice and herbal tea.

Dinner is served after dusk and consists of an array of salads, Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, juice, fruit and herbal tea.

Following popular demand, we have published a cookbook of some of the most favourite recipes of dishes served at Ulpotha, A Kitchen in Paradise. More information can be found here.

Holiday Information

Naturally, this is your holiday and none of the activities in Ulpotha are mandatory. However to reap the full benefit of your stay we encourage you to do both the Yoga and, if you wish, also try one of our Ayurveda detox programs.

Mornings begin with a light tea/snack, your Yoga class, breakfast and then you are free to either have a massage, treat yourself to an Ayurveda detox (see available packages on our Rates & dates page), swim in the lake or simply relax in a swing bed.

Lunch is served at noon and is time to catch up with your fellow travellers and play a game of chess or backgammon.

After lunch you are free to do as you please – go on a bike ride, explore the lakes by boat, read in a swing bed, sunbathe, snooze, etc.

Before the sun goes down, grab a snack and a tea and go to the evening Yoga session, which sometimes takes place out of the Yoga Shala, under the trees or up a mountain.

Dinner is served after the evening yoga session and then you are free to linger and chat or head back to your hut for a full night's rest.

There always seems something to do if you want to, yet many people discover that the magic of Ulpotha is about finding enjoyment in simply being. Often guests take loads of books and only read a few pages!

Your day can be filled with twice-daily Yoga classes, treatments, excursions or walks to special sites surrounding Ulpotha. There are always many interesting people to chat to. However, if you want to be alone - it's easy to find a peaceful spot, like a hammock or a tree house.

Very little! Once you are in Ulpotha everything is included. Around $100 would be plenty for fees at ancient sites and donations at temples.

Bring more if you intend on buying souvenirs, having extra massages, etc as there are no cash machines available at Ulpotha or in the surrounding villages.

Sri Lankan Rupees are best bought at Colombo airport and they are open at all times of the day and night - the exchange rate is roughly Rs 125 to the US dollar, Rs 165 to the Euro and Rs 200 to the British Pound.

Yes, there is a basic laundry service available.

Yoga

There's a wide variety on offer throughout each of the seasons. Please refer to the Rates & Dates to find out what is on offer during the time you hope to visit. Alternatively, if you are after a particular kind of Yoga, check out our schedule and plan your holiday accordingly.

The teachers at Ulpotha cater to all levels of experience and ability. Just go at your own pace and remember that it's a holiday after all!

No, not at all - if you don't feel like going to Yoga classes, that's absolutely fine. Everything is optional and you do as much or as little as you like!

Generally there are two classes - a longer one of about 1 ½ to 2 hours in the morning and a lighter one in the afternoon. The times of the classes vary and are set according the wishes of those practising.

Though a limited number of Yoga mats are available, it's recommended that you bring your own. Ulpotha provides wooden blocks, belts, small flat cushions and bolsters in the Yoga Shala.

Ayurveda

You can pre-book a package of either 5 days, a week, 10 or 12 days, or 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Prices range from $300 to $1,600. Our Ayurveda page is very informative - the best thing to do is go through it to look for any particular information you might be after. In particular, check out 'What You Can Expect...'

Treatments will typically last for about two hours each day and can be scheduled either in the morning or in the afternoon. The rest of the day will be free for you to hang out and do other things, including Yoga.

The five-day treatment would be the minimum for any kind of lingering effect.

The healthier a guest is, the greater the opportunity for flexibility. However, if there is a specific ailment, then the options for flexibility are less if a meaningful result is what is required.

Essentially, Ayurveda tries to either increase the healthiness and balance of someone who is healthy and has no specific health issue (prevention), or tries to relieve a specific health problem (cure). If someone is healthy, then the treatments will be more as described above. If someone has a specific health problem, then the chances are greater that their treatment may be different. It may consist of more oral remedies or focus on particular types of therapies (for example, if you have a back ache, your treatments will use more specific types of oleation therapies, where oil applications and body rubs of different kinds will be used to deliver localized relief together with appropriate oral medicines).

Massage

A wide variety of therapies are available at Ulpotha through the seasons, though the ones on offer at any particular time depend on the therapists visiting Ulpotha at a given time (stays range anywhere from a month to three months). There are always two therapists present - refer to the Rates and Dates to see who will be there when you hope to visit. Please keep in mind that, if you are undergoing an Ayurveda programme, the doctor may advise you not to have any massage therapies that may interfere with your treatment.

You will be booked in for one free massage for each full week's stay. If you want more, these can be arranged with the individual therapists at the rate of $60 per hour.

Travelling to Ulpotha

It's very much off the beaten track in the heart of Sri Lanka by a lakeside at the foot of the Galgiriyawa mountains. Geographically, it's literally in the middle of the country on a North-South axis and slightly to the West on an East-West one. In travel time it's about 1 hour's drive North from Kurunegala, or 2 hours Northwest from Kandy, and 3 hours Northeast from the airport.

You fly into Sri Lanka's primary international airport, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) (also known as Katunayake International Airport, Negombo International Airport and Colombo International Airport), which is an hour North of the main city of Colombo and three hours to the Southwest of Ulpotha. Direct flights with Sri Lankan Airlines take about 10 hours from Europe. Please be aware that departure from Europe tends to be the day before arrival and start of the holiday due to time difference and journey time.

In order to ensure the best prices on flights we recommend that you book early. We recommend Paradise Travel for flight bookings: dash@paradisetravel.co.uk; tel: 44 7887 608553 or 44 20 8434 0411.

Though located in London, UK, they are very efficient at finding the best available flight options into Sri Lanka, wherever you might be travelling from. In addition, they block book seats on some of the more popular holidays at lower prices.

As of the middle of 2009, the entire island has been at peace. Anyone travelling to Sri Lanka now is perfectly safe, as they would be travelling to any other holiday destination. The country has always been a safe place to travel in general and Sri Lankans are very welcoming to visitors from overseas.

As of January 1st 2012 all foreign nationals arriving in Sri Lanka for holiday or business are required to present a visa on arrival. This can be obtained through your travel agent when booking your ticket or online at www.eta.gov.lk However, there is a facility available to purchase a visa on arrival at an incremental fee of $10 per visa.

We will meet you at the airport and return you to the airport after your holiday. The cost per vehicle (maximum of 4 people) is approximately $100 each way. The transfer cost should be paid upon arrival in Ulpotha.

Please enquire should you wish to be collected or dropped off at a location in Sri Lanka other than the airport.

From the airport it takes about three hours. From Colombo it can take up to four hours.

Check in time is 12 noon and check out time is 10.30 am.

However we are quite flexible given the fact flight arrivals and departures are scattered through all hours of the day. We will always try to accommodate both arriving and departing guests at busy periods to the best of our ability and at no extra cost.

If your arrival or departure times are outside of our check in and check out times (keep in mind that Ulpotha is three hours away from the airport), and you want to be certain of your access to your hut at times convenient to you, then we recommend you pay for early check in or late check out.

For guaranteed check in prior to 12 noon a reservation needs to be made for the previous night at the full night rate. Similarly, for a guaranteed late check out to up to 6 pm, a 50% charge of applicable daily rate applies. For check out after 6pm, a full day's rate applies.

All early check-ins/late check-outs are subject to availability and on request basis.

Our emergency transportation numbers in case you experience delays or difficulties during your trip to Ulpotha or can’t find your pick up contact are:

Ajith: +94 (0) 77 370 5494
Ulpotha: +94 (0) 375 627 888
Colombo: +94 (0) 77 350 7088

Other General Information

Very little indeed. It’s best to leave valuables and smart clothes at home: virtually nobody wears them and termites may nibble them. The sarong you're given on arrival is ideal attire. Ulpotha also sells other sarongs in stunning colours if you want more.

Women need something arm-covering and leg-covering, for occasional cool evenings, and preferably in white or light colours, for visiting temples.

You might also need 'uphill shoes' for walks or reaching the mobile phone spot and clothes for cycling or walking.

Flip flops are useful as shoes are not worn in any of the huts or main house, and they are easier to slip on and off than lace ups.

Rain is rare but, when it comes, it deluges. Ulpotha has umbrellas but shoes that tolerate the wet are useful.

Ulpotha provides towels but a beach towel is useful too.

Other useful things are:

  • a good torch, a spare bulb and plenty of batteries
  • sunscreen and bathing costume
  • enough insect repellent and of course any regular medication
  • binoculars if you like to watch birds

      There are also some good books at Ulpotha to borrow if you want to travel light.

Recommended injections are a Tetanus booster and Hepatitis A. Your GP or travel centre may also recommend Malaria tablets. However Ulpotha is not a known malarial zone and if you intend to only visit Ulpotha and its surrounding regions then Malaria tablets are not necessary. This is however a very personal choice and it is up to the individual to make their own decisions on this matter. Please note that the East Pole Foundation cannot be held responsible for medical decisions or conditions.

For those in the UK wishing to choose alternative anti-malarial treatments, Ainsworths Homeopathic Pharmacy is a good quality supplier of Homeopathic remedies available by mail order, tel +44 (0)20 7935 5330 or from their London shop.

Cancellation

Cancellation of your holiday, for whatever reason, should be notified to us in writing. Please note that, when a cancellation is made less than 28 days from the start of a holiday and the full amount has been paid at such time, the 20% non-refundable deposit will be forfeited. However the balance will be available as a credit towards a future holiday to be booked within a year. The replacement holiday may not be booked during Christmas and New Year and will be subject to availability.

The normal cancellation charges are:

  • Up to 56 days before departure, loss of non-refundable deposit
  • 55 - 28 days before departure, 50% of total price
  • 27 days or less before departure, 100% of total price

Any more questions?

Do feel free to call or email us:

Email: reservations@ulpotha.com
Skype username: ulpothavillage
Tel: +44 (0)208 123 3603

Please be patient when calling the above number as the connection is routed through to us in Sri Lanka at no extra charge to yourself. Sri Lanka is 5 1/2 hours ahead of GMT.