“…just being at Ulpotha is therapeutic”
The Guardian

The Ulpotha Experience
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Be Nurtured

If you are looking for an emotional, spiritual or physical reset, come stay at Ulpotha. You can walk barefoot in pristine nature and swim in the silky-smooth waters of our lotus ringed lake, far removed from stresses of the modern world. If a digital detox, the song of chirping birds and to sleep like a baby attract you, Ulpotha can offer you that and more.

Ulpotha exists in a world where it’s safe enough to live without fences or walls or doors or locks. You’ll be looked after by its gentle, traditional agricultural community, among whom you will be living in nature’s soft, age-old rhythms.

In what it offers, Ulpotha is both rare and real.

 

It is luxuriously posh, this lantern-lit retreat in the woods, and peaceful beyond expectation” – Huff Post

 




What's Included

First and foremost, what you get in Ulpotha is heartfelt and gracious hospitality from the Ulpotha community. As such, tipping is not accepted – though smiles are appreciated.

The all-inclusive price you pay also includes accommodation, all meals, snacks, drinks, two Yoga classes a day, a massage per week’s stay, guided forest walks, the organisation and transport for an excursion per week’s stay, all taxes as well as the use of bicycles, hot water bathing area and our laundry service.

Ayurveda treatments are optional and not included in the retreat price.



The Uniqueness of Ulpotha

There are very few places left in the world where you can feel safely ensconced in the bosom of nature, while removed from the many stresses and strains of modern life. Ulpotha is such a place. Located at the foot of the Galgiriyawa mountain, on the edge of a lotus ringed lake on one side and surrounded by emerald green paddy fields on the other, you encounter indescribable natural beauty and serenity.

By design there is no electricity in Ulpotha and life is lived by the rhythm of the day. Paths and accommodation are lit by lamps and lanterns, with the twinkling glow of firelight creating a captivating and romantic sense of times gone by.  

Flowing directly from the absence of electricity are the deep bonds frequently formed between guests, often like-minded and interesting individuals. This is perhaps because of a subconscious re-connection to humanity’s deeply rooted oral traditions  – when people gathered around a fire to exchange stories, histories and friendship. That Ulpotha has the atmosphere and feel of a welcoming home – rather than a hotel – with a slow-paced house party on the go, further enhances this very special experience.

Since the beautiful natural environment is present and immediate everywhere in Ulpotha, and in a form that is reassuringly safe and unthreatening, it allows guests the infinite pleasures and deep health benefits of reconnecting with nature. 

Ulpotha’s roots stretch far back in time and history and boast a rich tapestry of facts and myths, legend and lore. It has been variously the site of an eloping crown prince and an outcaste maiden, a pilgrimage site for travelling mendicants and buried treasures, lending it a special magical energy which you are invited to come and enjoy.



What Ulpotha is About

Ulpotha has no aspiration to be anything other than what it is – a lovely, playful but honouring folly. Ulpotha is there to be enjoyed as one wishes, and taken for what it is: an enchanting place that sprinkles its magic dust on those who pass through.

Ulpotha is in itself an integrated privately-run community that nurtures close ties to the surrounding villages. The best expression of how well integrated it is is demonstrated by the fact that it has safely existed for nearly 25 years without walls, gates, locks or security guards, protected as it is by the goodwill of everyone within and around it.

It is managed day to day by a committee of its own villagers which has six members, two of whom are permanent (one female and one male). The other four change annually with at least one being female. The founders, who are consulted by the committee as and when the committee requires, loosely oversee the big-picture building and investment decisions.

The free Ayurveda clinic run by Ulpotha for surrounding villagers is an example of giving back to the community. Apart from the clinic, Ulpotha supports local temples and shrines and engages in low-key community support to schools, hospitals, village-level charities, water management, etc.



What Others Say

The best way to get a sense of how you might experience Ulpotha is to read one or more of the following articles that offer diverse impressions from three different guests:


READ ALL REVIEWS


Your Food

The food in Ulpotha is almost entirely vegan, naturally gluten-free, with an abundance of fresh vegetables, organic red rice and tropical fruit. Based on traditional rice and curries from the area, no specific ‘Master Chef’ has had a hand in the cuisine. Instead the dishes served at Ulpotha have evolved over its 20 plus year existance by a simple process of elimination.

Ulpotha has been written about in culinary articles and is in the esteemed position of having a celebrated cookbook dedicated in its honour! 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. 

As we have no electricity, all food is freshly picked, un-refrigerated, and cooked in terracotta pots on open fires.



Your Shelter

There are 11 charming adobe guest huts in Ulpotha, all of which are built using traditional wattle and daub with comfortable beds, voluminous mosquito nets, cupboards, fresh water, towels and offer a sarong to wear and take home.

Open and airy by design, the huts offer you coziness and protection whilst being at one with nature. Each hut is hand painted twice a year using natural coloured clays. Much use has been made of clay, stone, wood, pottery and fabrics that reflect traditional village practices and aesthetics.

With one or two exceptions, Ulpotha adheres to the Sri Lankan village tradition of keeping toilet/loo spaces separate from living spaces. The enchanting showers are open to the stars and the toilets are comfortable and modern.

All the huts at Ulpotha are allocated on a twin share basis.



The Excursions

Ulpotha is situated in the oldest inhabited region of Sri Lanka, an area rich in archaeological attractions and natural beauty.

Each week either a half-day or full day excursion is organised for guests. Participation is optional and external costs are not included, though transportation is.

Guests are given a variety of options and one or two are chosen according to majority guest preference.



Nurturing Nature

The primary reason that Ulpotha is open for only part of the year is to protect its natural environment from excessive strain. For the same reason, guest numbers are restricted to 20 and our prices reflect the revenue needed to sustain this enchanting microcosm from year to year with the least possible environmental strain.

Ulpotha uses age-old organic and bio-dynamic farming methods to protect its flora and fauna and its spring-fed wells. No mechanised farming equipment is used. Everything is done by hand or with the help of buffaloes.

Almost all construction makes use of biodegradable materials. We are proud to say that, with the exception of stone works and the Walauwwa (the main house), the rest of Ulpotha will be seamlessly reclaimed by nature in a matter of months when Ulpotha comes to its inevitable end some day.



What's Included

First and foremost, what you get in Ulpotha is heartfelt and gracious hospitality from the Ulpotha community. As such, tipping is not accepted – though smiles are appreciated.

The all-inclusive price you pay also includes accommodation, all meals, snacks, drinks, two Yoga classes a day, a massage per week’s stay, guided forest walks, the organisation and transport for an excursion per week’s stay, all taxes as well as the use of bicycles, hot water bathing area and our laundry service.

Ayurveda treatments are optional and not included in the retreat price.



The Uniqueness of Ulpotha

There are very few places left in the world where you can feel safely ensconced in the bosom of nature, while removed from the many stresses and strains of modern life. Ulpotha is such a place. Located at the foot of the Galgiriyawa mountain, on the edge of a lotus ringed lake on one side and surrounded by emerald green paddy fields on the other, you encounter indescribable natural beauty and serenity.

By design there is no electricity in Ulpotha and life is lived by the rhythm of the day. Paths and accommodation are lit by lamps and lanterns, with the twinkling glow of firelight creating a captivating and romantic sense of times gone by.  

Flowing directly from the absence of electricity are the deep bonds frequently formed between guests, often like-minded and interesting individuals. This is perhaps because of a subconscious re-connection to humanity’s deeply rooted oral traditions  – when people gathered around a fire to exchange stories, histories and friendship. That Ulpotha has the atmosphere and feel of a welcoming home – rather than a hotel – with a slow-paced house party on the go, further enhances this very special experience.

Since the beautiful natural environment is present and immediate everywhere in Ulpotha, and in a form that is reassuringly safe and unthreatening, it allows guests the infinite pleasures and deep health benefits of reconnecting with nature. 

Ulpotha’s roots stretch far back in time and history and boast a rich tapestry of facts and myths, legend and lore. It has been variously the site of an eloping crown prince and an outcaste maiden, a pilgrimage site for travelling mendicants and buried treasures, lending it a special magical energy which you are invited to come and enjoy.



What Ulpotha is About

Ulpotha has no aspiration to be anything other than what it is – a lovely, playful but honouring folly. Ulpotha is there to be enjoyed as one wishes, and taken for what it is: an enchanting place that sprinkles its magic dust on those who pass through.

Ulpotha is in itself an integrated privately-run community that nurtures close ties to the surrounding villages. The best expression of how well integrated it is is demonstrated by the fact that it has safely existed for nearly 25 years without walls, gates, locks or security guards, protected as it is by the goodwill of everyone within and around it.

It is managed day to day by a committee of its own villagers which has six members, two of whom are permanent (one female and one male). The other four change annually with at least one being female. The founders, who are consulted by the committee as and when the committee requires, loosely oversee the big-picture building and investment decisions.

The free Ayurveda clinic run by Ulpotha for surrounding villagers is an example of giving back to the community. Apart from the clinic, Ulpotha supports local temples and shrines and engages in low-key community support to schools, hospitals, village-level charities, water management, etc.



What Others Say

The best way to get a sense of how you might experience Ulpotha is to read one or more of the following articles that offer diverse impressions from three different guests:


READ ALL REVIEWS


Your Food

The food in Ulpotha is almost entirely vegan, naturally gluten-free, with an abundance of fresh vegetables, organic red rice and tropical fruit. Based on traditional rice and curries from the area, no specific ‘Master Chef’ has had a hand in the cuisine. Instead the dishes served at Ulpotha have evolved over its 20 plus year existance by a simple process of elimination.

Ulpotha has been written about in culinary articles and is in the esteemed position of having a celebrated cookbook dedicated in its honour! 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. 

As we have no electricity, all food is freshly picked, un-refrigerated, and cooked in terracotta pots on open fires.



Your Shelter

There are 11 charming adobe guest huts in Ulpotha, all of which are built using traditional wattle and daub with comfortable beds, voluminous mosquito nets, cupboards, fresh water, towels and offer a sarong to wear and take home.

Open and airy by design, the huts offer you coziness and protection whilst being at one with nature. Each hut is hand painted twice a year using natural coloured clays. Much use has been made of clay, stone, wood, pottery and fabrics that reflect traditional village practices and aesthetics.

With one or two exceptions, Ulpotha adheres to the Sri Lankan village tradition of keeping toilet/loo spaces separate from living spaces. The enchanting showers are open to the stars and the toilets are comfortable and modern.

All the huts at Ulpotha are allocated on a twin share basis.



The Excursions

Ulpotha is situated in the oldest inhabited region of Sri Lanka, an area rich in archaeological attractions and natural beauty.

Each week either a half-day or full day excursion is organised for guests. Participation is optional and external costs are not included, though transportation is.

Guests are given a variety of options and one or two are chosen according to majority guest preference.



Nurturing Nature

The primary reason that Ulpotha is open for only part of the year is to protect its natural environment from excessive strain. For the same reason, guest numbers are restricted to 20 and our prices reflect the revenue needed to sustain this enchanting microcosm from year to year with the least possible environmental strain.

Ulpotha uses age-old organic and bio-dynamic farming methods to protect its flora and fauna and its spring-fed wells. No mechanised farming equipment is used. Everything is done by hand or with the help of buffaloes.

Almost all construction makes use of biodegradable materials. We are proud to say that, with the exception of stone works and the Walauwwa (the main house), the rest of Ulpotha will be seamlessly reclaimed by nature in a matter of months when Ulpotha comes to its inevitable end some day.



 

The above is a short summary of what Ulpotha is about. If you are
interested in the original story behind Ulpotha and everything that went
into making it what it is today, we invite you to read the whole tale here.


 



Frequently Asked Questions

Visiting Ulpotha
How does one book a holiday?

Our preferred method of registration is online, which is very simple. Just click on the Book Now button and follow the instructions.

Is Ulpotha open all year?

Ulpotha is open 7 months in the year. The rest of the year we are closed to visitors as it goes back to being a self-sustaining village. During the periods in which we are open, retreats are held every two weeks starting and finishing on Sundays.

What is the ideal length of time to spend at Ulpotha?

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 a two-week stay is best – coinciding with a particular Yoga retreat – though a week will confer many of the benefits of a longer stay.

Does my holiday need to coincide with one of the Yoga holidays?

Ideally your holiday should coincide with one of the Yoga retreats in order for you to get the best benefit from the yoga course that is being taught, but this is not at all compulsory.

Are children welcome?

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. Babies are discouraged simply because of issues of practicality.

Prices & Payment
How do I pay and when?

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.

 

If the start date of your retreat is more than 8 weeks away, a 40% non-refundable deposit is required within 5 days of booking confirmation to reserve your space, the balance payment is due 8 weeks prior to your arrival date at Ulpotha.

What will the holiday cost?

US $2,940 per person for each two week programme throughout the time Ulpotha is open during the year, with the exception of Christmas and New Year when it costs US $3,500 per person for two weeks. One week stays cost $1,470 and $1,750 per person respectively. Ayurveda treatments can be pre-booked at additional cost (see Ayurveda Treatments for costs).

What does the cost include?

It includes accommodation on a shared basis (sharing with someone of the same gender if coming alone), all meals, snacks, drinks, two Yoga classes a day (except on full day excursion and departure days when there is no yoga, there is morning yoga only on half day excursion day and evening yoga only on arrival days), transport for one excursion per week’s stay (half day in week one and full day in week two), a 1-hour massage from one of our visiting therapists per 7-night stay, laundry service and the use of bicycles, 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.

What other costs might I incur that are not included in the basic holiday cost?

Not included are travel costs to and from Ulpotha, insurance, Ayurveda treatments, entrance fees to cultural sites, outside meals during excursions, single hut supplements (subject to availability), or any additional massages guests may wish to book with the respective visiting therapists over and above the one that is included per week’s stay – these cost US $80 per hour, subject to availability.

What are the rates for children?

Children under 12 years old can come at 50% of the usual rate. However they do not qualify for the complimentary massage, nor can they attend the yoga classes. All other facilities in Ulpotha are available to them though please note that there are no special facilities for children.

How much does transportation between Ulpotha and the airport cost?

We will meet you at the airport and take you back to the airport after your holiday. The cost per vehicle (maximum of 2 people) is $90 for one person and $100 for two people, each way from and to the airport.

Please email us should you wish to be collected or dropped off at a location in Sri Lanka other than the airport and need to know the cost.

How much do meals cost?

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

Cancellation policy

Cancellation of your holiday, for whatever reason, should be notified to us in writing. Your 40% deposit payment is non-refundable.

The cancellation charges are as follows:

55 – 28 days before arrival date – 70% of total cost
27 days or less before arrival date – 100% of total cost

However, in the event you wish to re-book your holiday (date change) all funds paid except for the 40% non-refundable deposit will be available as a credit towards a future holiday to be booked within a year. The replacement holiday dates can include the Christmas and New Year period as well, but are subject to availability and at the rates applicable at that time.

We regret there may be no refunds on Ayurveda bookings, or to any changes made to the ongoing Ayurveda booking whilst at Ulpotha due to our limited capacity and high demand.

Accommodation & meals
What are the different accommodation options and prices?

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

I'm travelling alone, will I feel awkward?

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.

I’m not sure I want to share – can I pay to have my own hut?

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.

Having said that, it’s worth mentioning that in the over two decades Ulpotha has been welcoming guests, the vast majority have been travelling as singles and have as a result shared their accommodation. Almost all have found that having someone to share a hut with is a welcome experience given the unique nature of Ulpotha. Moreover, we try as far as possible to match hut mates in terms of age and language. Many have been the occasions when life-long friendships have arisen as a result of a stay in Ulpotha.

I understand the huts are open with no real walls and doors – is it safe?

It’s precisely because it is safe that the huts are designed as they are. This makes possible one of the highlights of Ulpotha: to be able to live and sleep safely ensconced in the bosom of nature. There aren’t many places left in the world where one can experience the wonders of being so connected to nature so safely. It’s unique and it’s magical.

What kind of food can I expect?

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 kitchen 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.

Will I be bored?

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.

Is there wifi and internet access?

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. Electricity is available within Ulpotha to charge mobiles, smartphones, torches and cameras but not battery or power packs, toothbrushes, tablets and computers. However, arrangements can be made to send the latter to the neighboring village to be charged and returned.

The Yoga
What kind of Yoga is offered at Ulpotha?

There’s a wide variety on offer throughout each of the seasons. Please refer to our Retreats page 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.

I've never done any Yoga before. Is this OK?

Our highly experienced instructors are fully qualified to teach all ages and all levels of experience and ability. If you are an absolute beginner, you will find it easier to slip into the first week of a retreat to ensure you benefit from the foundation teachings. Just go at your own pace and remember that it’s a holiday after all. And if you don’t feel like going to yoga classes, that’s absolutely fine too. Everything is optional and you can do as much or as little as you like.

How many Yoga classes are there per day?

Generally there are two classes – a longer one of about one and a half to two hours in the morning and a lighter one in the afternoon. The times of the classes vary and are set according the collective wishes of those practising.

Our yoga classes begin in the evening of the first Sunday of a retreat and end with the evening class on the final Saturday of the retreat, leaving you time to pack before departure on the Sunday at 10:30 am. There is no yoga on the afternoon of the half-day excursion (week one of the retreat), nor on the full day excursion during week two.

Do I need to bring my own Yoga mat?

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

The Ayurveda
What are the Ayurveda options?

You can pre-book a programme of either 3 days, 5 days, a week, 10 or 12 days, or 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Prices range from $200 to $1,600. Please note that our resident doctor, Dr. Srilal, prefers to leave a couple of days for the guests to acclimatise to their new environment and get over their jet lag before starting a treatment.

What does the day look like for someone who takes the Ayurveda package?

Treatments will typically last for about one to two hours each day and are scheduled either in the morning after yoga or in the afternoon after lunch. The rest of the day will be available to you to do other things, including Yoga. Refer to the description of the 7 day programme below for more detailed information.

What is the minimum length of treatment in order to receive a beneficial effect?

The 3 day Shanthusthi treatment would be the minimum for a discernible effect, though the 10 day Namskaraya would be ideal. For a proper Panchakarma treatment, the minimum is generally 3 weeks.

Can you give me a general overview of Ayurveda in Ulpotha?

The Ayurveda practiced in Ulpotha is gentle and unregimented and unlike any available anywhere else. The reason being that Ulpotha itself is uniquely conducive to the health of mind, body and spirit. It possesses healthy food, an environment free of almost all pollution – air, noise, digital and electromagnetic – and is surrounded by unsurpassed natural beauty, all of which contribute holistically to being therapeutic and beneficial to the Ayurveda notion of good health.

What does a 7 day Sanasuma treatment programme look like, as an example?

In the 7 day Sanasuma treatment, after your free consultation with our doctor, the Day 1 will consist of a full head and face and body massage oil application, called Abhyanga (a superficial tissue, or relaxing oil application that soothes the first layer of the body) followed by a herbal bath. Guests may also be given appropriate Ayurveda remedies to take, starting the first day for each day of their treatment – these Ayurveda remedies are meant to facilitate the treatments being received.

Day 2 may consist of intensive, deep tissue oil application that is meant to penetrate to the second layer of the body, which is called Angamarda Abhyanga, followed by a sauna or steam bath.

Day 3 will consist of a Shirodara oil application on the forehead and head.

Day 4 will consist of an inhalation therapy accompanied by a head and face oil application and a face steam.

Day 5 will be a Sarvangadara oil treatment (from a layman’s terms, this is a Shirodara but one for the whole body) followed by a steam bath.

Day 6 will be a full body oil application carried out using poultices made of special milk rice consisting of medicinal decoctions followed by a warm water bath.

Day 7 is an herbal facial treatment consisting of cleansing scrub, face steam, massage and herbal pack or for men, if preferred, a relaxing foot massage.

Massage Therapies from our Visiting Practitioners
What other therapies are available in Ulpotha?

A wide variety of therapies are available at Ulpotha throughout the seasons, though the two on offer at any particular time depend on the therapists visiting Ulpotha at that given time. There are always two visiting therapists present – refer to our Retreats link to see who will be there when you hope to visit.

How many massages can I have?

One free 1-hour massage is included for you for each 7-night stay. If you wish to book more, these can be arranged with the individual therapists at the rate of $80 per hour, subject to availability.

Travel
Where is Ulpotha located?

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 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.

Where do I fly to?

You fly into Sri Lanka’s primary international airport, Colombo Bandaranaike International airport, also known as the Kutuyanake 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 from Europe your departure tends to be the day before your arrival and start of the holiday due to time difference and journey time.

Will I need a Visa?

All Foreign nationals arriving in Sri Lanka for holiday or business will need a visa on arrival. This can be obtained through your travel agent when booking your ticket or online at www.eta.gov.lk

Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least 180 days before your date of entry into Sri Lanka otherwise you will be refused entry into the country.

How do I get to Ulpotha from the airport?

We will meet you at the airport and return you to the airport after your holiday. The cost of a taxi to Ulpotha from the Airport is USD-$90 on a single basis, and USD-$100 on a sharing basis (max 2 guests per booking/taxi), each way. If not prepaid, the transfer cost should be paid on arrival to Nirosha in Ulpotha. Please enquire should you wish to be collected or dropped off at a location in Sri Lanka other than the airport.

How much money will I need?

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, or having additional massages, etc. Sri Lankan Rupees are best bought at Colombo airport and they are open at all times of the day and night – at the time of writing the exchange rate was roughly Rs 175 to the US dollar, Rs 197 to an Euro and Rs 230 to a British Pound.

ATMs are widely available in towns and cities (though the nearest ones to Ulpotha are 45 minutes away).

What medical precautions do I need to take?

Please note that the East Pole Foundation cannot be held responsible for medical decisions or conditions. If you are taking medication, please bring it with you.

Recommended injections are a Tetanus booster and Hepatitis A. The World Health Organisation declared Sri Lanka malaria free in October 2012, so Malaria tablets are not necessary.

For comfort, it’s recommended you bring along some Lavender and Tea Tree Essential oils as these are useful for calming any bites that you might get during your stay.

What do I need to pack?

Very little indeed! Repeat guests leave valuables and smart clothes at home. The sarong you’re given on arrival makes a wonderfully cool and comfortable dress, or a kilt for either sex. Ulpotha also sells other sarongs in stunning colours.

During monsoon months (May, September and October) Ulpotha is closed to the public. The rest of the year sees mainly sunny skies, though November and December have occasional showers.

For yoga, we suggest light cotton tops and shorts or yoga leggings. Our in-house tailor sells light cotton fisherman’s pants and tops which are also ideal.

For visiting temples, women need something arm-covering and leg-covering, preferably in white or light colours. You might also need uphill shoes and clothes for walks or cycling. 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. Ulpotha provides towels but a beach towel is useful too.

Other useful things are: a good torch (preferably rechargeable), a hat, sunscreen, bathing costume and insect repellent, binoculars if you like to watch birds, and of course any regular medication.

There are also some good books at Ulpotha to borrow if you want to travel light, or you can also choose to load up and charge your Kindle before you come.

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