Gal Oya Lodge
Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka's National Parks, Sri Lanka
At a Glance
A 9-room wildlife lodge in Gal Oya national park, one of Sri Lanka's least visited parks
See the wildlife by boat safari, rather than from a car
The best place to see elephants swimming in Sri Lanka
The lodge fits in beautifully with its surroundings, with grass roofs and use of wood in the construction
Dramatic surroundings with a mountain backdrop and lush jungle
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island. The sea stays at around 27°C all year. Climatically speaking, the driest (and best) seasons in the Northeastern half of Sri Lanka are from May to August and for the west and south coasts, December to March.
To start planning your vacation to Gal Oya Lodge
Gal Oya Lodge is set on the outskirts of Gal Oya National Park towards Sri Lanka's east coast. Built from locally-sourced natural materials with furniture made by local craftsmen, the nine-bedroom lodge really gives guests a sense of its surroundings.
Built from local materials, including woods of teak and mara, and 'illuk' grass roofs, Gal Oya Lodge brings ecological luxury to Sri Lanka's little-visited Gal Oya National Park. With nine spacious bungalows, and a two-bedroom villa, this is the ideal accommodation option for guests looking to relax in a spectacular setting, while feeling secluded.
The bungalows measure 800 square foot in size, and have spacious bedrooms with king-size beds, as well as a sitting room and en-suite bathrooms including indoor and outdoor showers. The huge windows give the bungalows spectacular views, and they also have a private veranda. The two-bedroom villa is ideal for families or friends traveling together, with a spacious sitting room connecting the two bedrooms.
Enabling guests to get back to nature, Gal Oya Lodge is simple in design and amenities, and facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant with an a la carte menu and a bar. The lodge also has its own vegetable garden
Gal Oya National Park boasts Sri Lanka's largest inland body of water, the Senanayake Samudraya Lake, meaning that wildlife safaris can be taken by boat rather than solely by jeep, which is unique for a Sri Lankan national park. Covered by jungle, with a beautiful mountain backdrop, the scenery is breath-taking and the wildlife experience completely different to any other throughout the country. The national park is home to plenty of Asian elephants, which can be seen swimming in the lake; a marvelous spectacle. Among the species of animals that can be seen in the park are deer, water buffalo, Sri Lankan leopard and monkeys, as well as a whole host of birdlife.
Guests can also spend their time walking in the national park with a naturalist, going for picnics, or even meeting the Veddas, Sri Lanka's indegenous people. Please note due to the unique location in the heart of the jungle, Gal Oya does not have wifi nor mobile phone service, which we think really allows you to immerse in your incredible surroundings. However, due to this aspect of the property we recommend that you bring cash with you for your stay in case there are any connection issues for credit card machines.
Gal Oya Lodge has ten bedrooms in total, incorporating seven one-bedroom bungalows, and a two-bedroom villa which is perched above the lodge to give it spectacular views of the national park. The bungalows measure 800 square feet in total, and have bedrooms with king-sized beds, en suite bathrooms with twin sinks and indoor and outdoor showers, as well as a veranda. The two-bedroom villa has a 680-square foot sitting room connecting the bedrooms. The rooms have been built using natural materials and furniture has been created by local craftsmen.
Measuring 800 square feet, the bungalows have a spacious bedroom, a sitting room, an en suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower, and twin sinks, and a veranda.
The Two-bedroom Villa is perched above the lodge with spectacular views, and a 680-square foot sitting room connecting the two rooms which both have en suite bathrooms.
Children are more than welcome at the lodge and will love the wildlife experience here. Please be aware however there are no specific facilities for them.
Gal Oya Lodge has a restaurant with an a la carte menu and a bar. Please note that Gal Oya Lodge functions on a full board basis.
Safaris can be done by both jeep and boat from Gal Oya Lodge. The surrounding countryside is perfect for going for walks with one of the lodge's naturalists. The peaceful surroundings of the lodge also make it ideal for relaxing on your private veranda or by the swimming pool with a book, and perhaps doing some bird watching. Private meetings can also be arranged with the Veddas, the aboriginal people of Sri Lanka.
Charlie Loughlin (Staff)
Gal Oya Lodge offers a genuine off the beaten track experience in Sri Lanka. With ten individual bungalows scattered around the resort you will have plenty of privacy to relax and unwind and experience nature, especially from your open air bathroom. There is plenty to keep you busy here from the swimming pool with a great view over monkey mountain to bush walks where you can go bird watching. The main attraction is the boat ride out to a lake in the center of the national park where you have the chance to see herds of elephants and if you are really lucky you may even spot them swimming in the lake! After a day of adventure settle into the open air dining room for dinner, where you can enjoy a selection of local and western style dishes.
Jack Mace (Staff)
Gal Oya Lodge is a really special place which I absolutely loved! The team welcomed me with open arms and instantly felt at home. The setting of the lodge is incredible, you are immersed in the jungle and have the backdrop of the daunting Monkey Mountain (which you have to climb if you like being active). The pool area also benefits from these awesome views. The 10 villas are a great - they are made from local wood which really gives you a sense of where you are. They are dotted around the 20 acre plot which means you have lots of privacy. When you are there there's a whole host of activities on offer, All in all, its difficult to say anything but brilliant things about this fantastic lodge - when can I go back?
Rikki Poynton (Staff)
Probably one of the most off-the-beaten-track locations of any of the park lodges in Sri Lanka, the rooms are beautifully finished, spacious and the food is particularly good. The highlight to any stay is definitely the boat safari where you can expect to see plenty of elephants on the banks of the lake.
Lucy Black (Staff)
Gal Oya Lodge is probably one of my favorite hotels in Sri Lanka. The atmosphere in the main building is just wonderful - really relaxed, natural and welcoming.
The villas are very comfortable. I must admit I am rather fond of air-conditioning, which they do not have, however despite my reservations, the over-head fan was actually more than adequate.
I like the outdoor bathrooms, and the showers are great, although it is worth being aware this does mean you might spot the odd creepy crawly, toad or bat whilst you're brushing your teeth! But I think this adds to the fun!
As it takes quite a long time to get here, I would recommend staying at least three nights. That means you can also make the most of the activities, as well as the safaris, such as nature walks.
Gal Oya Lodge - Boat Safari
Gal Oya National Park is home to Sri Lanka's largest inland body of water, the Senanayake Samudraya Lake. The jetty for the boat safari is a drive of about an hour from the lodge, but offers a unique experience unlike anything else in Sri Lanka.
Gal Oya Lodge - Climb Monkey Mountain
Enjoy this truly off-the-beaten track experience climbing Monkey Mountain. Located close to Gal Oya Lodge, this is the perfect experience for adventurous guests wishing to get outside. After a two-hour trek, you will be rewarded with outstanding views.
Gal Oya Lodge - Jeep Safari and Walk through Nilgala
As it is Sri Lanka's most untouched national park, Gal Oya is a fantastic location to see wildlife with very few other visitors. On this experience you will enjoy a jeep safari coupled with a walk through the unspoiled Nilgala section of the park.
Gal Oya Lodge - Monitoring Program
During your stay at Gal Oya Lodge, why not get involved in the lodge's monitoring program? Embark on evening walks with the lodge's expert naturalists who will teach you about the conservation efforts to monitor the resident animals that live there.
Gal Oya Lodge - Night Safari
During your stay at Gal Oya Lodge, head out on a night safari and discover the magic of this unspoiled landscape. At dusk, the different animals come out allowing you to see nocturnal animals and their behaviours.
Jeep Safari at Yala National Park
Enjoy a jeep safari to Yala National Park, the most famous National Park in Sri Lanka.
Temple of the Tooth
This evening you will visit The Temple of the Tooth. The stunning 17th-century Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) is believed to house the left upper canine tooth of the Lord Buddha himself.
Tour of Trincomalee
A visit to Trincomalee, also known as Trinco, will generally include a visit to Koneswaram Temple and Fort Frederick for a historical overview. This tour will also take in some of the lovely beaches in the area, including Uppuveli and Nilaveli.
Whale and Dolphin Excursion from Trincomalee
Go on whale and dolphin cruise in Trincomalee in the months of March to August.
Wilpattu Jeep Safari
Enjoy a jeep safari to Wilpattu National Park, the largest National Park in Sri Lanka.
Epic Sri Lanka
Colombo, Kandy, Gal Oya National Park, Hatton, Galle & Balapitya
from $4100 pp 13 nights
- Sri Lanka is an endless treasure trove of offerings and this trip ensures you explore the very best in style
- The cuisine in Sri Lanka is exceptional and with each area you visit you can enjoy an array of amazing dishes to tantalise the taste buds
- Featuring the best of Sri Lanka's boutique hotels, you will enjoy stays at sister properties The Fort Bazaar and Kumu Beach
Sri Lanka Safari
Kotuguda, Wilpattu, Sigiriya, Gal Oya National Park, Nuwara Eliya, Yala National Park & Galle
from $6300 pp 15 nights
- Get off-the-beaten track with this 15-night itinerary
- This trip takes in three of Sri Lanka's National Parks where you will have the opportunity to see some incredible wildlife
- With expert guiding throughout, this is a perfect trip for nature lovers
Sri Lanka Uncovered
Kotugoda, Anamaduwa, Pallepolla, Trincomalee, Gal Oya National Park, Kandy
from $3700 pp 13 nights
- An immersive tour taking you to explore the more hidden side of Sri Lanka, taking in some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes
- Plunge into the hidden experiences throughout this trip, from waterfalls and natural pools, temples and trekking, game drives and an abundance of Sri Lankan wildlife
- Stay in unique retreats throughout, from the rustic and unique Mudhouse, tranquil Jim’s Farm Villas and remote Jungle Beach
Location & directions
Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka's National Parks, Sri Lanka
Gal Oya Lodge is located close to Gal Oya National Park on Sri Lanka's central east coast, to the east of the hill country.
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