You don’t expect to nestle inland when you decide to head down south, but sometimes being away from the sea works. ‘Villa’ isn’t really the word for this hidden compact little house, but it had the idyllic and relaxed aura to merit the name. It’s a villa built inexplicably on well constructed stilts. Whatever the reason, the feeling of elevation is kind of magical, a very slight suspension amongst the trees that densely surround it. When you arrive you have a stone and earth stepway up a small hill, the white-walled and wooden structure greeting you through the branches.
The body of the house is made up of one main bedroom with a giant bed and its floaty mosquito net (this is vital). There is a small cement and stone bathroom, enclosed but made to feel outside with the pebble stone shower and big window.
You are also given a little kitchen of your own which seems to be present only for symmetry and less for utility. We had to ask for a tin of gas for the stove and utensils that weren’t plastic, but we managed to cook a big pot of veggies and fruit cocktails. That’s the thing about this place, its isolated, there isn’t much nearby or to do around, you’re given this small place and you have to make it your own.
One morning when we woke up, I blearily peered out the window to be greeted with the sight of a huge shaggy monkey. He had a bushy grey beard and looked every inch the patriarch of the rest of the family that was scrabbling about the trees. These monkeys weren’t the usual skinny rilewas or the grey langurs but larger, muscled with thick black fur. I looked them up when I returned; they are purple-faced langurs, in parts of the country known as the bear monkey. They are quite rare these days, having been pushed out of rapidly urbanising areas. So that surprise bit of wildlife was pretty cool, unfortunately I didn’t manage to snap a photo, it felt too much like a dream or a morning hallucination for documentation to take place. But here’s a shot from our friend Google:
The ‘wildlife’ is a plenty; The downside of inner southern locations is that it is a cesspool for lots of bities and nibblies that were a little too friendly. Which is just me trying to be cute about the TON of bugs that feasted on our flesh. Maybe if I make light of it will stop itching….. No? Okay back to scratching.
The staff were really great, with one main caretaker who remained invisible but you could just call him whenever you needed something and he would appear. He was very polite and friendly, even sent us a free tuk to get us from the Koggala railway station when we first arrived and organised a reasonable fare to get us to Unawatuna.
Breakfast was included with the price of the whole stay… score. It wasn’t anything spectacular, a stack of sandwiches, nice thick rotis, a minimalist fruit plate. More along the lines of basic sustenance to fill your tummy to begin the day, which is all you really need.
You’ll feel really relaxed and secluded in this villa, you’ll be left alone but also taken care of when you need it. You may get bored, but the outside world of water and sand and sun is easily accessible and you’ll still have your haven to return to.