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Gal Oya Lodge Review: Eco Escape in Sri Lanka

by Maria Belfort June 12, 2019

Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka ·

Direct flights from London with Sri Lankan Airlines. I flew with Qatar via Doha +351 21 002 9600 · Book Gal Oya

If you’re looking for a true nature escape, to let go of your phone for a day or two and take it all in without any other tourists, then this is the place for you. Keep reading my Gal Oya Lodge review and it may just convince you to get those tickets to Sri Lanka!

I will start by saying that over a 12 day holiday in Sri Lanka, our stay at Gal Oya Lodge was one of the highlights for me. As you approach the lodge you are welcomed by the peaceful pool surrounded by nature, with the National Park’s mountain’s as a backdrop. To the other side you have the lodge’s impressive two story main building – an architecturally beautiful structure, built entirely with local materials which make it feel right at home in the jungle.

The Gal Oya Lodge is located by the Gal Oya National Park, and although there is plenty of wildlife to be spotted, some of it can be very elusive, so i would recommend you visit expecting a spectacular nature lodge where you’ll get to really recharge your batteries, rather than a full-blown safari.

Gal Oya bungalows

The lodge has been beautifully designed and decorated, no detail spared. It offers 10 bungalows, with plenty of privacy as they’re spaced out through the jungle.

The bungalows are spacious and airy, and feel modern even without the presence of wifi, TV or A/C units. Each room has two fans (one in the bedroom, and another in the living space) and a gorgeous outside bathroom. If the natural wildlife that comes with being in nature is not your thing, then you should probably not stay here.

Is Gal Oya suitable for families?

In one word – absolutely! I think this is the perfect location for a relaxed family holiday, I would’ve easily stayed here for four or more nights with my seven year old. The lack of wi-fi and phone signal but may a struggle for older children though, but not having to deal with endless requests for screen alone would be a dream for me. But it’s about the escape, the nature and the many activities on offer here.

Gal Oya Lodge wildlife

What to do in Gal Oya Lodge: Experiences

The lodge isn’t short of options when it comes to experiences. I was only there for two days, so only got to try out two, but they were both some of the best things I experienced in Sri Lanka.

The lodge’s activities range from free experiences to paid safaris, so I would recommend a chat with your host when you arrive to see which one(s) will suit you best.

Monkey Mountain Walk/Hike (included in your stay)

Monkey mountain is a hike up the striking mountain that you can see from the lodge (picture below). You can either go up at sunrise or sundown, but we really loved going up first thing in the morning, when the weather was cooler and the world so very quiet. I’ve written about our time going up Monkey Mountain on a separate blog post if you’d like a read.

Gal Oya Lodge Monkey Mountain
Gal Oya Lodge Monkey Mountain

Gal Oya Lake Boat Safari (extra)

On our arrival day, we managed to squeeze in a late afternoon boat safari on the picturesque Gal Oya Lake. The two boats were waiting for our group, and as we hit the water we immediately saw a fantastic display from birds (it nearly made me a birdwatcher!) before spotting a family of swimming elephants on an island. As the elephants made their way to the water we headed for the island, were served some beautiful chai tea and cake and just watched the sun go down behind the elephants who were busy swimming – it didn’t quite seem real, and was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Oh, and the sky? Have a look below.

Gal Oya Lodge Boat Safari
Gal Oya Lodge Boat Safari
Gal Oya Lodge Boat Safari

So all in all, you can probably tell that I loved it here. In fact, I have already started planning a trip here with my son, and plan on staying for at least two nights so we have enough time to make the most of the lodge’s pool and the many activities.

If you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment below, or ping me an email – I’m always happy to help! Happy travels!

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