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Cultural Highlights 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

tailor-made itinerary

What does luxury mean to you?

Is it a chartered flight for aerial photographs or a trek up an unknown mountain with views over endless Sri Lankan rice paddies? Is it 5 stars of a small luxury boutique hotel or alfresco dining under a night sky of a million stars?


Trek up an unknown mountain


When we launched Ayu in the Wild many, many moons ago, we set out to redefine luxury travel in Sri Lanka. Our boundaries were the unusual and off beat. The authentic and life enriching. Connecting the inner you with our beautiful outdoors.

Connect with the beautiful outdoors


The luxury of cooking and tasting typical Sri Lankan sambols made in the home of a rural farming family after an incredible walk through their farm. A look into a whole new world you never knew existed.

Trek through a barely trodden path up a mountain with absolutely no one in sight, help out the mountain farmers to till the soil and then enjoy the most sumptuous meal ever. Local flavours, crisp air, just you up a mountain with simple farmers. You could even do a night of fly camping if that’s your style. Luxury outdoors!

The luxury outdoors of a humble sugar cane farmer


We do love the luxury of putting our feet up in some beautiful hotels that dot the landscapes of our island but just for a few nights try waking up to the sounds of the untouched wilderness. Camping deep inside one of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife parks, bathe in a river flowing with fresh water. The safari drives are as equally exciting as watching the wildlife that lap up the waters on the river bank. Luxury wildlife!

Luxury widlife

Get creative! Learn the colours of Sri Lanka while painting masks that are traditional to the island or be a part of Sri Lanka’s rhythm from its native dance to the beat of its drums. Get closer to the islands craft and livelihoods – from pottery to a household brass foundry to a cottage industry rubber factory. Luxury Experiential travel!

Up close and personal with a humble potter


A cottage industry rubber factory


Explore the island’s iconic cultural sites – Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Anuradhapura, with locals who will take you back in time thousands of years when Kings and their Kingdoms etched an indelible mark on our history. Luxury in the Cultural Triangle!


Enjoy Sri Lanka’s finest accommodation


Look beyond the thread count of luxury linen and scented baths. Immerse yourself with the people, places and experiences that makes Sri Lanka so unique. So authentic. So luxuriously real.

Why choosing a local tour operator matters


Wondering which tour operator to choose for your Sri Lanka holiday?
Here’s a close look at 7 reasons why choosing a local matters.

Locals can help you travel deeper. They have a deeper connection (quite literally) with remote, rural communities that often open doors to unique local experiences that others don’t even know exist.

The Brass foundry experience is so fun – a hidden gem we curated in a simple village

Your Little Black Book! An owner-run local company is like your own ‘little black-book’, where the team has the luxury to travel frequently, get to know the newest hotels, the newly opened backroads, routes that are off the guide books, latest treks and where the seasonal wildlife has moved. It can make such a difference to how your tour gets designed.

Companies run by locals can make experiences more meaningful as they (and their Guides) know the cultural nuances, those quirky traditions and deep rooted rituals and beliefs, inside out.

Play village games with rural kids of Sri Lanka

A dash of ‘oomph’ to your bespoke holiday in Sri Lanka : can only be tailor made by people who love the challenge of constantly innovating. When your holiday includes local immersive experiences that guests wouldn’t find by themselves, it can be so different to any other tailor-made tour of Sri Lanka.

Giving back 100% to Sri Lanka : Responsible local tour operators in Sri Lanka will always ensure that Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans benefit most from your tour. Ensure that 100% of what you pay stays right here in Sri Lanka as your tour should benefit the country’s economy. Always ask if the money you pay for your tour is transferred to an account in Sri Lanka or elsewhere in the world.

Encouraging simple rural village folk to make a living

Independent : Local tour operators not affiliated to any particular group of hotels can make unbiased recommendations choosing the most appropriate from among the best, the newest or the ones with great stay-pay offers to suite each guest.

Local touch for the global traveler : Bespoke experiential holidays curated by small locally owned companies where the team is well traveled – in Sri Lanka and globally,  can stay true to being completely local, but with those discernible professional touches loved by the global traveler.

Visit a sugar cane factory


We would love to share some wonderful personal experiences in this beautiful biodiversity hotspot coloured by roots that go thousands of years deep. To us, its home.


Warm regards,

Chamintha and Rajindra Jayasinghe
Founders and Chief Explorers
Ayu in the Wild Holidays


Birdwatching in Sri Lanka
Birding trip reports


An Ayu in the Wild Naturalist’s thoughts on bird watching – 12-15 Dec, 2017 in Udawalawe National Park, the Wetlands of Tissamaharama and Yala National Park

Asian Brown Flycatcher

I was on the lookout for our endemics. But, who would ever think an Asian Brown Flycatcher flitting around catching insects among rubber trees at a quarter to noon would get the cameras out?!

12 DECEMBER 2017 – Udawalawe National Park

It was their first time in Sri Lanka.

The road from Negombo to Udawalawe was a great introduction to the island with the cities, suburbs and rural villages all lined with lush green made lusher by the recent rains that lashed Sri Lanka. Rural women tapping rubber trees to extract latex was intriguing for these guests from the built up commercial hub of Singapore. It made them very excited for the island adventures that lay ahead.

The ETD for the safari at Udawalawe National Park was at 2.30 pm.

Just after we entered through the gates, the contact call of a Yellow-eyed Babbler alerted us and the short whistling notes that we first heard was the sign that it was not a Prinia.

Close by was a dead tree and on it, an uncommon breeding resident Black-winged Kite devouring a mouse, while its partner looked longingly at the meal of small prey.  Kites hover and Eagles don’t and my guests spent the next hour hoping to spot an Eagle to compare this unique behaviour of Raptors.

Black-winged Kite

Elephants never fail to excite guests. Today was no exception with a herd of around 6 feeding, leisurely. Even the solitary males were unperturbed. It was a great opportunity to explain how to identify between males and females by their body structure.

Elephants at Udawlawe National Park

The sun was casting a fabulous glow on the beautiful Udawalawe National Park and the sunbathing Buffaloes were loving it! Overhead, a flock of Rosy Starlings flew under clear skies and perched silently on a ‘Maila’ tree (Bauhinia racemosa) enjoying this warm weather open country they visit on their long winter migration season.

Sunbathing Buffalos

Comparing the footprints of Jackals and Jungle cats inside the Park was the perfect end to an evening that set the tone for three days of bird watching in Udawalawe and Yala – a lovely experience with this family from Singapore.


13 DECEMBER 2017 – Yala National Park

The morning’s visit to the Elephant transit home was rewarding, seeing the baby elephants being fed and fighting for more!

The guests were excited for their first visit to the famed Yala NP but couldn’t resist photographing the nomadic Sri Lankan gypsies setting up their mobile camp by a river and fortune telling around town.

Sri Lankan gypsies camping

The ‘Bat-Tree’ near the impressive Tissa Lake was another photo worthy moment.

Fruit Bats on “the bat tree”

On our way to Yala we stumbled upon the elusive Collared Scops Owl. What a terrific start to the day! Our Ayu in the Wild Logo, commonly known as the Indian Scops Owl, sleepily gazing from the hollow of a ‘Burutha’ (Chloroxyon swietenia) tree, probably after its days fill.

Collared Scops Owl

Sharp at 2.30 pm we entered the Yala NP. Have you ever heard the sound of clattering mandibles of a flock of Painted Storks fishing? Our guests said they’ve never heard such a racket, as they observed the communal feeding of these pink feather-backed Storks side by side with a flock of Eurasian Spoonbills.

Eurasian Spoonbills and Painted Storks fishing together

A Malabar Pied Hornbill’s presence was betrayed by the loud, shrill cackling call – the females could be identified by the white ring around the eyes.

Malabar Pied Hornbill

A Black-naped Hare may not be the exciting sight, a hare giving birth to its litter was a definite tick on my checklist. Wishing her well, we left the park as the sun bowed out for the day.

Hare giving birth to a litter of two


14 DECEMBER 2017 – Wetlands of Tissamaharama and Yala National Park

I love these wetland bird watching walks.

A female Purple-rumped Sunbird looked ready to lay its eggs in a nest hanging from an ‘Andara’ (Dichrostachys cinerea) tree. A few minutes later, a distressed call from the male confirmed this.

Purple-rumped Sunbird in its nest

A flock of Oriental White-eyes were seen feeding on nectar but unfortunately took flight as I rustled some leaves. An alarm call of a palm squirrel distracted me and revealed a Shikra probing over for its lunch.

Oriental White eye


On our second safari inside Yala, the sound of a gentle whistling took us to see not one but two pairs of Lesser Whistling-ducks swimming around a water hole.

A noble doe scaring off a Crested Hawk-eagle to save a frog was quite the spectacle for our guests!

Crested Hawk – Eagle

We decide to be detectives for the day and followed the newly etched cone shaped bird prints on the sand of the beautiful Common Hoopoe and eventually the track led us to one of my favourite birds.

Common Hoopoe

The evening was exciting. A false alarm by an overzealous Deer about an imaginary lurking predator set off an entire herd of Spotted Deer on a frenzied dash. A few water holes away about 15 full grown buffalos emerged from the muddy waters paying absolutely no heed to the submerged crocodile who eyed them and wisely, moved on to something its own size.

Will keep you posted when I’m next out amongst the Birds.

Senior Naturalist –  Ayu in the Wild



FAQs about Bird Watching tours with Ayu in the Wild

  • Are the Naturalists experienced?
    • Both our main bird watching Guides have traversed the length and breadth of the island and are experienced in field and scientific research.
  • Can we speak with the Guides before booking a tour?
    • Yes, we could arrange it at a convenient time for our Guides and for you – as they are mostly on the field and not in office.
  • Is it a private tour or a group?
    • Almost all of our bird watching tours are private tours but we can organise a small group tour too. Our ratio is 1 bird watching leader to a maximum of 6-8 pax.
  • What’s included into the tour cost?
    • An English speaking experienced Naturalist to lead the tour
    • Accommodation and meals as noted on an itinerary
    • Entrance tickets to National Parks
    • Cost of safari jeeps
    • Private luxury vehicle with an English speaking Chauffeur
    • A comprehensive bird check list for each guest. 
  • On the Road
    • You will be in a comfortable luxury Vehicle (Van/Car/SUV) and your English speaking chauffeur and your Guide will coordinate everything for you
  • Food
    • All accommodation can cater to varying food allergies or special requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free). You don’t need to eat curries at every meal!
  • Insects, Malaria and Vaccinations
    • Sri Lanka is malaria free. We do recommend that you consult your usual GP or Travel Clinic for up to date information on vaccinations required. Use a repellent containing 20%-30% DEET to prevent mosquito bites. Citronella Oil is a great natural remedy for preventing mosquito bites but ensure you are not allergic to it.
  • Beyond birding
    • Well the Rough Guides has described us as a tour operator that can get you under the skin of the island. With our wide network of local contacts and curated authentic local interactions, we call them our ‘immersive luxury’ experiences.
what to do in Sri Lanka

Top 10 things to do in Sri Lanka

  1. Those train rides are something else!

    Epic train rides in Sri Lanka

Reach the unreachable with an epic train journey through misty mountains, majestic waterfalls, spooky tunnels and tea swathed mountains. Be awed by the 9 arches bridge in Ella or the humble tea plucker gazing at you closer to Kandy. Or opt for the coastal route where the rhythm of the train merges with the wafting breeze of this Indian Ocean island.

  1. Visit the ancient rock citadel of Sigiriya.

Bloomberg’s latest wonder of the world is nothing short of a skyscraper. Hike up the face of the Lion Rock to see the remains of a 14th century rock palace, climb down marveling the complex irrigation and construction.

  1. Cycle ride through crumbled ancient civilizations

    The ancient library found in Polonnaruwa

Way before Machu Pichu are some curious and amazing Stupas, rock carved Buddha statues and University Complexes that housed thousands. Pedal through these historic world heritage sites and learn tales of the past with Ayu in the Wild’s knowledgeable guides.

  1. Trek the misty paths by foot

At the heart of the hill country feel the cold breeze, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the distant sound of a lapping stream, watch the creation of clouds with mist around you and find a trekking adventure tackling the steep moss laden steps of the mountain.

  1. Explore the wild island that’s only just over three times the size of Kruger National Park.

    Leopard at Yala national park

Easily one of the best Biodiversity Hotspots in South Asia, here’s an island where you can safari to learn about (and photograph) a myriad of wildlife from Lichens to Leopards. Trek with our Edu-Guides to see the beauty and richness of the fauna and flora at Horton Plains or enjoy a wonderful bird watching holiday. An island that’s one of the best for safaris in Asia with the many blocks of Yala National Park being billed as best game parks outside of Africa.

  1. Canoeing, Sailing or White-water rafting.

Water adventures that take you off road! Canoe gently along a river, sail in Mirissa, Paasikuda or Trincomalee or go white water rafting along the adventure packed Kitulagala area. The beauty of this islands 103 rivers and 1340 Km coastline will awe you.

  1. Chill out or go snorkeling at the tropical beaches

    Whale watching on a private yacht

Stop dreaming of spending a day by the beach and come to Sri Lanka the Island that has a beach at every end! Just do nothing or pack it all in; snorkeling, sailing, whale watching on a yacht, surfing, deep sea diving or even Ship wreck diving!

  1. Real camping deep inside a national park

Experience authentic African-styled wildlife camping. Private safari camps with full on service team in the midst of the National Park, where you are the first out on safari to spot leopards, elephants and bears. Nothing like it!

  1. Take a closer look into Sri Lanka’s traditional lifestyles

    Pottery by a local artisan

Join Ayu in the Wild to get insider access into the authentic Sri Lankan lifestyle. Meet local artisans who create wonderful things from brass and clay in their tiny villages homes. Cook-like-the-locals, enjoy a homestay, sit down to a meal with a farming family, walk through spice estates, taste the many tastes of Ceylon Tea. Oh, the list is endless!

  1. Witness the largest Asian Elephant gathering in the world

    Elephants at Asia’s largest gathering

    Witness the largest annual gathering of the Asian elephant. Ayu in the Wild’s insightful guides will tell you all about their behavior, how moms and babies interact and why they meet here on the banks of the beautiful Minneriya tank. This spectacle has put Sri Lanka on the map as one of the top safari vacations in Asia.



    Contact Ayu in the Wild holidays to add on more unique experiences or talk to us about our best tours to Sri Lanka!


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


Natural History Holidays

Natural history holidays that are so different

Sri Lanka, is where history stumbled upon nature.

A tiny Indian Ocean island, so naturally enticing, that it’s vastitude enfolds you. From the deep blue cetacean rich oceans, to the wildlife rich emerald forests and lakes mirroring fireball sunsets, Sri Lanka is the doorway to every hue of nature you could possibly imagine.

beautiful sunsets in srilanka

Fireball Sunsets

Take a journey of true discovery through some stunning Natural History Holidays that lets you rekindle an inborn connection with nature. Where a safari is not about ticking off a species list but about knowing a land called Sri Lanka, where 2500 years ago a nation was born of Kings and Royalty.

5.30 Am #Mihintale

A post shared by Otara Gunewardene (@otaradel) on

Learn how in Mihintale, just east of Anuradhapura, the implored preaching of a Buddhist Monk convinced a King in 247 BC  to renounce the pleasures of animal hunting and designate the surrounding jungles as the world’s oldest designated wildlife sanctuary, where all creatures enjoyed the right to life.

Sigiriya Srilanka

Surrounded by nature in the heart of the Cultural Triangle

Be captivated in the dry zones of the Cultural Triangle with stories of battles and legend of Hanuman tales all entrenched amidst thick jungles. You will learn about a time, long, long ago when the tree was revered as the source of life, where leaves, roots, sap and boughs were the medicine, kitchen utensils and tools for everyday life akin to today’s modern science and technology.

Local interaction

Traditional kitchens where delicious curries are cooked in Sri Lanka

Accommodation that’s so unique

Stay where the silence of nature envelopes you in an incredible selection of Eco-Lodges in Sri Lanka, built respecting vernacular architecture which let the outdoors in, but with all the right comforts you need on holiday. Where coffee and me-time in the wilderness is all you yearn for.

Tree huts Sri Lanka

Natural History for kids

Show kids the fun and nostalgic way to admire the universe. Stargazing and outdoors under dusky skies with our Guides during that time of day where everything and everyone winds down. It will illuminate their tiny minds of the enormous picture nature created with a million worlds.

camping Sri Lanka

Monkeys at night

Can you be a with-nature kind of traveler?

Our Guides are special. Their love of the island and pride in their history make them such engaging hosts, able to convey with ease their intimate knowledge of whatever their specialty may be, be it wildlife, history, geography, ecology or conservation. To experience Sri Lanka with them is to truly travel with locals, who’s deep respect for the environment and enthusiasm to leave it untouched, is infectious.

We do not promote Elephant back safaris and elephant orphanages like in Pinnawela. We believe that intrusive safaris that get too close to animals and break every rule in our National Parks to chase after Leopards, is also wildlife crime. We’ve been incredibly humbled that our guests have concurred with us and been patient safari go-ers.

Ayu for Sri Lanka is our ethos where responsible travel comes first and we believe it’s a special kind of traveler that mirrors our ethos. Those who love to travel deeper with insightful itineraries and get insider access. After all, we are all voices for wilderness and for nature.


Enquire about Natural History Tours curated by Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka, for a chance to rekindle an inborn connection with our natural world. Far away from the world, as you know it. Email: or WhatsApp us on +94 777 248 1100

Local experiences Sri Lanka
Colombo City Walk

You’d Love this Curated Colombo City Walk!

How about a Colombo City Walk that takes you up close to the everyday lives of everyday Sri Lankans with just the right mix of foodie indulgence, history, local markets and even kite flying?

Colombo City Walk Sri Lanka

Local markets Colombo City Walk

Ayu in the Wild offers one of the best local experiences in Sri Lanka – a personally curated take on a Colombo City Walk with an acclaimed Sri Lankan Poetess or Artist who gives you a uniquely local glimpse with a global perspective, of how life in Sri Lanka has been influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British invaders.

SriLankan Street market

Sri Lankan food is a healthy choice with  vegetables of all the right colour palettes

A guide born and bred in Sri Lanka but well-traveled and with a cosmopolitan outlook can truly make a difference.

Street Walks Colombo SriLanka

Street Walks Colombo SriLanka

City Walks that are fun for kids!

Kites on Galle Face Green Colombo-Kids just love it!

Galle Face Colombo

Traveling with kids? What could be more boring for teenagers and pre-teen kids than a guided City Walk? Ayu in the Wild makes the sights, sounds and smells of Colombo’s vibrant streets come alive with stories of Alligators and Sailors! A fun engaging quiz tour, where families will go to about 6 locations with a guide, will be asked short quiz questions about that place or street and you just might win a prize!

A wonderful end to this guided tour of Colombo is the thrill of flying kites on Galle Face Green and some Al fresco dining with a special menu with kid’s mock-tails at the Dutch Hospital Precincts.

Things to see in Colombo

Dutch hospital Precinct

A unique Colombo
As you walk through streets that are home to Hindu Temples, Buddhist shrines, Muslim Mosques and Churches, you will walk through alleyways of Old Colombo, talk to cobblers, watchmakers and everyday Sri Lankans to experience how life, traditions and architecture in Sri Lanka have evolved.

Streets of Colombo

The multitude of races and religions that call Colombo home lend to the street landscapes

Enjoy the city’s local markets, bakeries and street vendors. It certainly would be a shame not to taste how locals like their tea. Or be daring enough to try some achcharu. You certainly won’t walk these streets on your own!

Authentic SriLanka

Bread Oven from the past

Contact Ayu in the Wild – we connect the “Inner you to Outdoor Sri Lanka”.
Email: or WhatsApp us on +94 777 248 1100

Sri Lanka Cultural Celebrations
Cultural Festivals of SriLanka

04 Sri Lankan Cultural Celebrations You Must Not Miss

A fusion of people, ardent faiths, light and colour, touched with a strong belief in something mystical make four of Sri Lanka’s biggest cultural events a highlight of any tour. Travel deeper through an island steeped in 2000 years of tradition!

Festivals in Sri Lanka


This New Year festival is the grandest celebration on the island with almost each person in the country celebrating, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences. Marking the journey of the sun from Pisces to Aries and the end of the harvest season, Sri Lankans make it a point to fill the day with religious observances, traditional activities (done at auspicious or nekath times) and rural village communities come alive to with traditional games. The celebration also calls for some delicious and culturally significant food item such as milk rice, kevum and kokis. Keeping to our ethos of “Inner You. Outdoor Sri Lanka” Ayu In the Wild gives our guests one of the best local community interactions to celebrate Avurudu with rural locals in their homes.

Sri Lankan festivals

Traditional Food in Sri Lanka served during the New Year celebration

When: Usually celebrated from the 13th – 15th April annually.


Vesak is a festival brimming with fervent faith, lights and color. It commemorates the threefold Buddhist celebration of the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Lord Buddha. With soothing Buddhist chanting reverberating from every corner of the island it’s a sight to behold Buddhists clad in white offering flowers at temples, streets beautifully illuminated with intricately decorated lanterns and the massive “wesak thoran” (pandols) that are structures erected to depict traditional stories of the Buddha and his followers. A highlight are the many “dansal” (little pop up stalls) along the main roads where Sri Lankans gain merit by offering free food to passersby!

When: Usually falls during the 2nd week of May annually.

Temples and Wesak Sri Lanka


The rhythm of drums! The sinewy art of dance! The strains of music! A burst of magnificent culture! With caparisoned elephants swaying to the rhythm of the drummers and encircled by hundreds of dancers paving the way for the elegant lead Tusker carrying the sacred Tooth of the Buddha, starting and ending at the divine Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy a World Heritage Site. What a spectacle the annual Dalada or Kandy Perahera is for first time spectators. A wonderful experience on a trip to Sri Lanka during the Summer months of July or August.  Reserve vantage viewing points and accommodation with Ayu in the Wild.

When: Held in July or August for 10 days in Kandy


Annual Esala Dalada Perahera, Kandy

Caparisoned Elephants at the Kandy Perahera carrying the sacred tooth relic

Annual Kandy Perahera

Kandy Temple of the tooth


The two processions are about a month apart from each other and are usually held in Colombo during the night. Both events are cultural pageants of Colombo and commemorate significant religious and cultural milestones in Sri Lanka’s history. The collaboration of art, devotion, color and spirit is absolutely resplendent. A sight to behold, if you are travelling with kids.

Duruthu/ Navam Perahera

Fire Limbo Dancers

Time: Duruthu – January / Navam – February


Sri Lanka is home to a potpourri of races. A vibrant mix of culture, traditions and customs play a significant role among all Sri Lankans and give life to some vibrant festivals filled with local talent. Talk to Ayu in the Wild about tours that include the best seats to the biggest cultural celebrations in Sri Lanka, you will never forget.


Join us on an adventure to discover these cultural celebrations in Sri Lanka where we help connect the “Inner you to Outdoor Sri Lanka”. Email: or whatsapp us on +94 777 248 1100

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.