One of Asia's most extraordinary ecotourism projects came into being at the place where elephant paths crossed, Shiva's son had a shrine built and a prince fled with his legendarily beautiful but poor lover. Rebuilt as a traditional farming village, Ulpotha lies in the middle of former Ceylon's deepest jungle next to a small lake, surrounded by seven hills in which ascetics and shamans still meditate in their caves.
But Ulpotha is by no means withdrawn. The Ayurveda treatments in the eco lodge, a treasure trove of centuries-old remedies, are considered an insiders tip. With neither electricity nor mobile-phone reception, Ulpotha luxury consists in making contact with nature: ambling between hibiscus plants along the sandy paths to the lake, observing how lizards stretch out in the sun, swimming among the water lilies or taking a stroll in the surrounding hills at sunset.