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Highlights of Sri Lanka

Highlights of Sri Lanka

Colours of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka – A photo blog

A Fort with colours, art and delicacies with the perfect concoction of a colonial and local touch. The Galle Fort is a must-see place on the island – even for a few hours, where a vibrant mix of Sinhalese, Muslims, Portuguese and Dutch settlers mingle harmoniously within the embrace of its colourful brick walls.


Through the colonial coat of arms enters the colourful tuk tuks. Bringing a bizarre clash of culture and colour.

The old gate to the Galle Fort


The old-world charm infused with modern day delicacies inside quirky restaurants.

Quirky restaurants


A colourful fusion of beadwork necklaces that can jazz up white cotton or linen – a staple dress code on our tropical island.

Bead-work that jazz up white cottons


Striking bags made out of recycled materials – bold statement pieces that show you care .

Bags made out of recycled materials


These remnants of a century unfolding a million stories are now displayed as attention seekers that invite you to meander through open doors to stores and cafes.

Remnants of a century


One off décor culturally exclusive to the Galle fort in style and colour.

Out of the box decor


Ceylon-stone jewellery – that distinct colour and sparkle from generations old stores that dot the Galle Fort.

Ceylon stone jewellery


Street cafes that double up as galleries bringing colour and character.

Street cafes that double up as galleries


Sri Lanka’s mask heritage. So old, so dramatic, so vibrant.

The mask heritage of Sri Lanka


Varied hues of shawls and scarves. A radiant shield from the tropical climate.

The varied hues of the tropical climate – Scarves and shawls


Countless tones which change with the passing hours and season. The Galle fort offers a rich and varied palette not in just material but in its hues at sunrise and sunsets, the ocean that surrounds the Fort walls and in the tones and shade of its people. So worth a visit!

Talk to Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka, for a guided tour of the Galle Fort

Highlights of Sri Lanka

Architectural Marvels of Sri Lanka

Discover the story of a nation’s brilliance with some unique architectural experiences on offer in Sri Lanka. From challenging irrigation systems devised by Kings, to novel monsoon architecture of a brilliant 20th century Sri Lankan architectural maestro. Here’s a Guide to just 5 of the best examples of architectural mastery Sri Lanka has nurtured throughout the years.

1    Yala National Park – challenging irrigation systems

Deers of Sri Lanka

Man made water tanks in Yala National Park, a haven during drought

Yala, the most visited wildlife destination in Sri Lanka, prior to National Park status was a farming land under the rule of a visionary Singhalese King during the 1st century BC. In the art of successful farming he built large tanks to store water, each tank filled by the spill waters of the one above it through superior irrigation skills in a time of manual labor and zero automation. Throughout the years, the jungle took over, making the king’s masterpiece a haven during the drought to the animals that call this luxuriant wildlife Sanctuary, home. Learn more fascinating facts on tour with the Natural History Guides of Ayu in the Wild.

2   The Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa

Cultural Triangle

Polonnaruwa Royal Palace

Central Air conditioning in the 11th century? This 7 storey palace was built to be several degrees cooler within it’s incredibly massive walls to beat the scorching heat of Polonnaruwa. King Parakramabahu 1 certainly was a master of Sri Lankan principles of architecture designing his Palace with 2m to 3m thick walls, a predominantly wooden structure and a Pagoda style roof with approximately a 1 to 2 feet gap between the upper and lower roofs. On a privately guided tour with Ayu in the Wild glean more insights into the layout, art and architecture of more paragons in Polonnaruwa.

Srilanka Culture

Polonnaruwa is a wonderful example of ancient construction technique

3   Heritance Kandalama Hotel – the masterpiece of Geoffrey Bawa

#heritancekandalama bound with the spirit of nature For more details visit:

A post shared by Heritance Hotels & Resorts (@heritancehotelsandresorts) on

Right there among the many ancient Sri Lankan Kings stands the 20th century brilliant mind – the ingenious Geoffrey Bawa the most famed architect of Sri Lanka. His modern day mastery at creating a harmonious relationship with the environment through monsoon architecture makes him Royalty in Sri Lanka’s architectural heritage. The Heritance Kandalama Hotel is an astonishing belvedere built into the rocky outcrop with no earth moving machinery used, blurs the distinction between the natural and the man-made with an ambience of luxury and sophistication. Kandalama Hotel is one of Ayu in the Wild’s top picks for luxury accommodation in the Cultural Triangle and an excellent base for visits to the Dambulla Cave Temples and a safari in Minneriya National Park.

4   Local Village Huts.

Local experiences Sri Lanka

A lovely example of a wattle and daub local house in Sri Lanka

Away from the beaten track and blessed with lakes, fertile soil, natural beauty and abundant wildlife live simple Sri Lankan folk: unpretentious, humble but functional. Their homes are models of vernacular architecture. Local village huts are built with adobe (wattle and daub) walls and roofs of woven coconut fronds ideal to tropical climates, these huts are built with a mechanism that absorbs the cool moisture at night and let it out during the day when its warm. Each one creatively built with an unwavering sensitivity to the environment. Visit these earthy havens with Ayu in the Wild and interact with local farmers and rural kids – an incredible experience on your tour of Sri Lanka.

5  Sigiriya Palace.

Sigiriya Srilanka

Sigiriya Lion Rock

A marvelous feat built through fear gave rise to an ancient skyscraper. Built on top of a 600-foot rock lies the palace ruins of a fugitive king. Along with a remarkable network of subterranean water channels made out of terracotta pipes and unplugged bubbling fountains amidst Asia’s oldest pleasure gardens. The phenomenal idea of converting each drop of rain to a symphony of water through gravity and pressure gave rise to one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. Privately guided tours by the Guides of Ayu in the Wild to the Lion Rock in Sigiriya is an awe inspiring lesson on architecture, fugitive Kings, battles and victories of the 5th Century.



Immerse yourself in the exquisite architecture all around this stunning island with our “Inner You –Outdoor Sri Lanka” Tours by Ayu in the Wild. Contact Email: or whatsapp us on +94 777 248 1100

Culture Srilanka
Highlights of Sri Lanka

The sheer brilliance of the ancient Kingdom of Polonnaruwa

If you find the architecture of the Pantheon in Italy intriguing, cycle through Polonnaruwa with Ayu in the Wild, for some incredible insights into the medieval Kings’ brilliance that turned an ancient capital into a magnificent World Heritage Site.

The royal palace in Polonnaruwa

Cycle to the kings seven storey palace with its intriguing drainage system and private pool. Learn from our guides how the King planned it to be built several degrees cooler.

Cycle around Polonnaruwa

Tour the King’s religious sites that are today, architectural marvels where ornamentation was the order of the day, and what manual labour achieved surpassed any brilliance of modern machinery. Here lies the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s Royal Kingdoms in a city of monasteries, domes reaching to the skies, the most elaborate moonstones on the island,  sculptures and carvings of Gods and Dwarfs.

Cultural triangle

Magnificent temples at Polonnaruwa that dominates this city of monasteries, after Anuradhapura fell into ruin

Explore the impressive ruins, in-scripted stone tablets that weighed tons and were brought from hundreds of kilometers away. Then there’s the meticulously carved statues of Gal Viharaya. Gigantic figures hewn from granite, testimony to the reign of the legendary King Parakrama Bahu.

Stone Inscriptions

Hewn out of granite rock, the Gal Viharaya houses gigantic figures, this one an incredible 46 feet

Get familiar with the 10th century teaching hospital. This ancient medical school within the “Alahana Pirivena” monastery conducted abdominal and chest cavity open surgeries with sterilized equipment.

While in awe with primitive surgery an Ayu in the Wild guide will tell you all about how the equipment was sterilized. The astonishing, ancient ayurvedic doctors also specialized in treating nerve issues. Patients were dipped into special baths filled with herbal oil.


Alahana Pirivena monastery

Take a peek into an old shepherds cave that is now home to dozens of monkeys – the film locations for Disney’s Monkey kingdom. If you ever wondered if Polonnaruwa would be interesting for kids on holiday in Sri Lanka, there’s your answer. The entire cycle tour of Polonaruwa is like a guided tour of scenes off the movie! From an ancient human kingdom to a modern day monkey kingdom Ayu in the Wild Holidays makes sure Polonnaruwa is covered.

Castle rock film location of Disney s Monkey Kingdom


Explore Polonnaruwa and complete the cultural triangle on your family holiday with Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka, a responsible tour operator.

Sigiriya with kids
Highlights of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka – 7 tips to get you to the top and back!

Here are Ayu in the Wild’s 7 tips for climbing the ever famous Sigiriya Lion Rock, part of the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka!

Sigiriya SriLanka Steps

Sigiriya Sri Lanka


It’s 1236 steps to the top! Comfortable clothing and shoes or sandals with a good grip are a must! Even though you no longer need to be fleet footed to avoid boulders laid as enemy traps many centuries ago by the 5th century King.

Carry plenty of water with you! Ayu in the Wild always keeps a stack of bottled (iced) water in the vehicle as the water fountains set up 1500 years ago, do work, but are not for drinking off them!

Read about it’s history or better still trek in the company of our best guides in Sigiriya, so you get those little insider details of history, culture, the king’s guards and how the king found his way in the dark using glowing white quartz.

Guided Sigiriya

Guests explore Sigiriya



If you’re on a family holiday keep your kids interested with an Ayu in the Wild guide who will make them think of scenes off the Jungle Book as you weave through the maze of steps!

Best time to climb Sigiriya? Early morning treks are best (think 7 am starts!). It helps to avoid the harsh sun, the crowds and great for photography. It’s the best time to avoid any wasps too.

Leave about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs to climb to the top and back. With plenty of stops to catch your breath. Don’t miss the 5th century “Facebook” – the “mirror wall” and the unmissable views right at the top.

Apply sun block but watch your hats! The sun and wind play a ferocious game up there.

Exciting Sigiriya



Join us at Ayu in the Wild Holidays  with a tailor-made itinerary for a truly exceptional climb up the 1500 year old rock!

Take a look at our Guest reviews…Responsible Tour Operator


Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
Highlights of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka among the world’s 2.3%. A biodiversity hotspot!

Why did we choose to call our Blog ‘ the 40 Miles’?

A papal legate once said six centuries ago, that “From Ceylon to Paradise, according to Native Legend is forty miles, there may be heard the sound of fountains of Paradise.”
From the Handbook for the Ceylon Traveler – A Studio Times Publication

And so, the inspiration for our our new Blog, ‘The Forty Miles’. As a whole this tiny Indian Ocean Island 23,332 square miles to be precise, but let’s not digress!

What could he have meant? Is it the mountains that reach the clouds? The jungles that shroud the rivers? The sacred cities maybe? The reefs with its mysteries miles deep? When we first began to travel across Sri Lanka, decades before we even thought of something called Ayu in the Wild Holidays, we found that the outdoors on our beautiful island wove a kind of spell on us. It’s an island after all. In fact, the legendary Cricketer Sir Ian Botham has called it an Island Country with an enormous soul.

All islands have that something special. Something that draws you. But Sri Lanka is also one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots. A small band of select countries that make up just 2.3% of the earth’s surface. It has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including a Rain forest, a 432 Km long coastline with all year sunshine, is one of the best destinations outside Africa for Wildlife and it has a deep rooted multicultural heritage that goes back 2500 years. How lucky are we to call it home? It’s not surprising that Sri Lanka is billed by Telegraph Travel among the 20 destinations for 2015.

Some of our travel stories from the wilderness in Sri Lanka are already on our Blogger page (…did you also know our island is great for wildlife?)

‘Forty Miles’ will be an album about little stories from all over our island. Stories about people and places that we have come to know as only an insider can. And how you can discover Sri Lanka through our bespoke experiential holidays to create your own story with Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka.