Browsing Tag


Responsible tourism

The Best Beaches of Sri Lanka need your help – the “Plastic Footprint” movement!

If you could avoid using 40 plastic water bottles on a 10-day tour of Sri Lanka, would you?


In 2018, we made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of plastics used on our tours – part of our big plans to become one of Sri Lanka’s most responsible tour operator! (We think it’s a big step made in the right direction and worth shouting about, so do bear with us).

Think reusable bottles!


We now request our guests to bring their own reusable water bottles or supply them one, from our own stocks. So if you are booking your Sri Lanka Itinerary with Ayu in the Wild, please do remember to pack one reusable water bottle per person.

If plastic is not disposed responsibly and recycled, the 103 rivers that flow across our beautiful island carries it all onto the Instagram worthy beaches of Sri Lanka.

Reusable bottles can make a difference….

Booked your tour to Sri Lanka? Here’s how you can help save our beaches


Will you help save hundreds of species harmed by ocean plastic and be a champion for the plastic footprint movement?



Contact Email: or whatsapp us on +94 777 248 1100

Responsible tourism

Sri Lanka tours with a purpose – Classrooms in the Wild

Off the beaten track and into Classrooms in the Wild. Join Ayu in the Wilds attempt to educate rural children to become future conservationists. It’s about how these kids can play a major role in building a sustainable livelihood for them and the communities they live in.


Kids enjoying a game of cricket with our guests

Our initial efforts have paid off, and these Cricket and Soccer crazy barefoot kids have moved on from playing with deflated soccer balls and remnants of farm tools to playing cricket with actual bats and balls, while interacting with our guests have given them incredible confidence in using simple English words during their games.

Photo time! Kids from Singapore and the UK posing with rural kids

Here’s how your tours helped give back to these rural kids in Sri Lanka as part of our ‘Classrooms in the Wild’ outreach initiative.

An Ayu in the Wild guide opened their eyes with fabulous insights into how important Elephants are to preserving habitats and how these amazingly intelligent animals must cohabitate with humans in rural Sri Lanka. It helped the kids understand the ‘Human-Elephant’ conflict that rages around their rural farmlands from a different point of view.

Ayu in the Wild guides presentation on the importance of elephants

We believe travel is a truly life changing experience. Taking the kids on their first ever safari (although they live just a few miles away from the famous Minneriya National Park) made them realize the importance of conservation. That wilderness habitats are essential to keep elephants away from their parent’s farms. That, elephant babies need safe habitats to thrive.

Kids on safari to understand elephants and their behavior

The Gathering helped the kids understand the nuances of wild elephant behavior and how these National Parks with large herds of elephants can bring in incredible tourism revenue to the country only if the safaris are done in a responsible manner. We live in hope that someday these kids will also become strong advocates of banning elephant back safari rides which are promoted by many adults in their communities

Kids enjoying themselves on safari.

Many rural kids in Sri Lanka do not have access to good English education – and this stifles their future. With poor access to the internet, no access to English newspapers and a library that was broken into by rogue elephants, these kids stand very little chance of improving their English language skills. Except, during the weekly English class done by the Village Headman voluntarily and when interacting with foreign guests. A visit to a rural village, packed with fun and games with these primary school kids from the village, is an experience our guests truly never forget! Nor do the kids.

Guests playing games with the kids

English books that our guests have so generously given have been a great teaching resource to the voluntary teacher and to these adamant learners to explore the language. If you ever join our tours – do please consider bringing English Language Teaching Resources (eg: flash cards etc). It would really help. Ayu in the Wild does not encourage any cash donations.

Guests helping the kids read and learn

A touching gesture by one of our guest families, Jo and Chris Harrison, who went that extra mile to compile these beautiful photo books of their unforgettable times playing with the rural children. No doubt, the photobooks will be leafed through by the entire village for years to come! Thank you Jo and Chris!

Photo book – an incredible gesture done by our guests as a gift to the rural school kids.

The world is big and full of possibilities. Our latest endeavor is to show these kids the world beyond what they know, exposing them to more career opportunities.

Presentation by Cinnamon lodge on career options within the hotel

Ayu in the Wild hosted a day of fun, inspiration and career guidance for these kids – partnering with the staff of Cinnamon Lodge Habarana to give the kids their first EVER glimpse inside a 5 star Hotel.  The kids spent a day interacting with the Hotel’s staff from Chef’s to Naturalists to Service staff – some, from the vicinity of the kid’s village homes. The hands on experience into how a 5 star kitchen operates was the hit of the day  – especially when they tasted their own pasta creation, learnt how to thicken a sauce and saw the wonderful potential of making chillie ice-cream! It truly inspired the kids to think beyond their farms and rural lifestyles and realise that they too could aspire to careers in the tourism industry – if only, they strove to improve their English language skills!

Rural kids enjoying a game at the Hotel after an insider’s look into a 5 star Kitchen

“Classrooms in the Wild is just in it’s infancy! Yet, it’s been one of our most fulfilling achievements as owners of Ayu in the Wild. Each year, we try to inspire these rural kids with some unique experience that will give them a new perspective of our world”

Chamintha and Rajindra Jayasinghe
Owners – Ayu in the Wild


Rural kids  after their first ever 5 star experience hosted by Ayu in the Wild and supported by the staff of Cinnamon Lodge Habarana

Someday, we hope these children can become advocates to help natural habitats survive, and influence more regulated and responsible tourism which will be the catalyst to sustainable livelihoods within their rural communities. The Junior Ranger Holidays are part of our efforts to raise funds for our goal.



Join Ayu in the Wild Holidays on an experiential holiday, that truly gives back.

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

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


Birdwatching in Sri Lanka

Best places for bird watching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a wonderful destination for bird watching with an incredible 33 species of endemic birds and 441 species of birds recorded on the island!

Sinharaja Rainforest

  • Our Naturalists would not miss an opportunity to linger longer in this beautiful rain forest. It is the last remaining virgin rain-forest in the island where, a day out on safari can yield 29 of the island’s 33 endemic birds. 

Singharaja forestBlue Magpie – The Bird Wave, a mixed species feeding flock can be observed between November to March inside Sinharaja

What can you see inside Sinharaja?
Some of the noteworthy species could include: the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Ceylon Spurfowl and Junglefowl, Ceylon Woodpigeon, Red-Faced Malkoha, Green-Billed Coucal, Chestnut-Winged Cuckoo, Serendib Scops-Owl, Chestnut-Backed Owlet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, many species of Eagles including; Rufous-Bellied Eagle, Shikra, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle and Mountain Hawk-Eagle; Yellow-Browed Bulbul, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Spot-Winged Ground Thrush, Ceylon Scaly Thrush, Ceylon Rufous Babbler, Ashy-Headed Laughing Thrush, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Paradise Fly catcher, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White-Faced Starling, Ceylon Hill-Myna and more

Horton Plains National Park and the Kitulgala Forests 

  • If ticking off the 33 endemics of Sri Lanka is on your bucket list, then these are two must visit birding hot spots in Sri Lanka.

Birding can be wonderful along the borders of Sanctuaries and Rainforests

What can you see inside Horton Plains and Kitulgala?
Waking up before dawn can certainly reward you with sightings of the Yellow-eared Bulbul, Ceylon Scimitar-babbler, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, and Sri Lanka White-eye to name a few in the Horton Plains cloud forests, Sri Lanka’s most visited National Park. In Kitulgala, across the famed river is a lush rain forest which is home to the Chestnut-backed Owlet and Serendib Scops Owl, while you may also spot the two species of Barbets: Yellow-fronted Barbet and Ceylon Small Barbet, and Green-billed Coucal, Layard’s Parakeet, and the Ceylon Rufous Babbler.

RAMSAR Sites of Mannar and Bundala National Parks 

  • Sri Lanka Migrant hotspots where hundreds of winter migrants arrive for feeding during October until April. Mannar is a great location to photograph Flamingos, Water birds and Shorebirds and is a less frequently visited spot on the main birding routes.


Sri Lanka


What can you see inside Bundala?
A morning safari in Bundala is one of the highlights of any birding tour in Sri Lanka. Sandpipers and Plovers abound among Crocodiles and migrant shorebirds. Curlew Sandpipers, Wood Sandpipers and Common sandpipers, Pacific Golden Plovers, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers mingle in the marshes and lakes with Common Redshanks, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Black Bitterns and Yellow Bitterns.

Kumana, Yala, Wilpattu and Uda Walawe National Parks and Sigiriya Sanctuary:

  • A walk around these National Parks is almost as good as a safari inside them for spotting migrants as well as endemic birds of Sri Lanka. Most of our tours with specialist Naturalists would include treks in the borders surrounding these birding hot spots.
Sri Lanka bird watching

Brown Fish Owl

Enquire about private birding tours from Ayu in the Wild Holidays. Email: or WhatsApp us on +94 777 248 1100

Best beaches in Sri Lanka
Best beaches in Sri Lanka

Beach-time Sri Lanka – secret warm weather getaways!

Dreaming of a warm weather getaway that is more than just sun and sand? Take a look at these secret (and not so secret) beaches in Sri Lanka and some fun things to do.

Paasikudah Sri Lanka

To us, the beaches of the east coast in Sri Lanka are unmatched. From Trincomalee to the endless and quiet beaches of Paasikudah – often referred to as Pasikuda or Passekudah by travelers, in the east coast of Sri Lanka are a wonderful inclusion into any Summer Holiday tour from May to September.

Where to stay:

whale watching sri lanka

Private Whale Watching safaris in a yacht in Sri Lanka is way more fun than traveling in crowded vessels. Ayu in the Wild offers privately guided safaris in Kalpitiya, Mirissa, Galle and Trincomalee. The yacht can be booked in Pasikuda too for a sunset cruise and overnight stays.

sunset sri lanka

Some of the best sunsets can be seen in December along the west coast in Sri Lanka like in Yala, Galle and Mirissa

seafood sri lanka

Sri Lanka is a great foodie destination with some of the best seafood in the world.

Maalu Maalu beach resort sri lanka

Beach resorts in Sri Lanka don’t come better than Maalu Maalu Paasikudah. Book our 3 day specials Send enquiry to Ayu in the Wild Holidays.

Things to do if you are heading to an east coast beach in Sri Lanka:

  • Explore the cultural Triangle, Royal Kingdoms and ancient ruins
  • Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
  • See wild Elephants in the Minneriya National Park, one of the largest gatherings of Elephants in the world
  • Explore the world heritage site of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital home to beautiful stupas and statues
  • Visit the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha.
  • Visit the Wilpattu National Park, safari in Sri Lanka’s largest and most beautiful National Parks.

To book Email to inquire about safaris and local excursions in srilanka

Things to avoid if you are heading to an east coast beach in Sri Lanka:

While most East coast beaches are relatively uncrowded compared to those in the southern coast, do try to avoid purchasing any items sold by beach vendors as it encourages unsolicited attention to tourists. Avoid touching corals when scuba diving.

jetwing era beach galle srilanka

There’s a lovely selection of beach Villas in Sri Lanka ideal for week long getaways. This one is from Jetwing in Galle Sri Lanka.

Things to do if you are heading to a south coast beach in Sri Lanka:

  • Stay inside the 17th century Galle Dutch Fort
  • Visit the Lunuganga, the fantastic landscaped gardens of Sri Lanka’s famed architect Geoffrey Bawa
  • Visit the Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most wildlife rich park
  • Visit the Sinharaja Rainforest or Kanneliya Forest to see some stunning birdlife of Sri Lanka
  • Go whale watching on a speed boat or yacht, one of the most responsible safaris in Sri Lanka

To book Email to inquire about safaris and local excursions in srilanka

Things to avoid if you are heading to a south coast beach in Sri Lanka:

Do not purchase any items sold by beach vendors as it encourages unsolicited attention to tourists. Avoid the touristy excursions promoted by Chauffeur Guides including, photographing Stilt Fishing and mask carving as you may be unnecessarily hassled for a contribution or purchase. Avoid the Yala National Park on weekends when its too crowded. Avoid whale watching on the modified fishing vessels that ply from the Mirissa Harbour as they are unregulated and harmful to whales. Avoid touching corals when scuba diving.

Blue whales and dolphins Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a great destination for Blue Whales and Dolphins. Take a private boating safari in Trincomalee, Kalpitiya or Mirissa with Ayu in the Wild Holidays.

kalpitiya srilanka

Kalpitiya is one of the secret warm weather getaways that most travelers to Sri Lanka miss. Its beaches are so, so secluded and the accommodation is varied – from air conditioned luxury beach tents to those oh so lovely thatched roofed cottages with just the right comforts. And you get to see super-pods of Dolphins and a host of marine life on private boat safaris from December to March.

maalu maalu paasikudah

(Photo by Maalu Maalu)

Its not only the night sky that sparkles on the beaches in Sri Lanka .

Dune dining sri lanka

(Photo Jetwing Hotels)

Dune dining quite literally ‘in’ and ‘on’ the beach in Sri Lanka is so romantic.

We have curated some wonderful beach villas, hotels and excursions that make up a complete Sri Lanka holiday. To book your Sri Lanka tour with beach stays that are interspersed with culture, wildlife great food and meeting locals, contact the Private Travel Designers at Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka for a Sri Lanka tailor made holiday just for you.

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.