Anuradhapura, Ancient Cities, Sri Lanka
At a Glance
Set amidst 58 acres of lush woodland, paddy fields and the Ulagalla reservoir in Anuradhapura
The original walawwa was built in 1885 and has been renovated to house the resort’s reception area
Ulagalla is a peaceful setting that is ideal for nature lovers and offers several adventurous activities ranging from horse riding and kayaking to birdwatching
Ulagalla’s kitchen is open 24 hours and guests are free to order their meals at any time of day
Villas are dotted around the estate and there is a 2-bedroom option ideal for families
Bicycles are provided for guests to get around the property
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East, while the dry season is from May to September. The North and East are comparatively dry, with around 1000mm of rain annually. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island. Out-of-season travel has its advantages – not only do the crowds go away but many airfares and accommodation prices drop right down. Nor does it rain all the time during the low season.
To start planning your vacation to Ulagalla
Set in the north of the Cultural Triangle, Ulagalla lets you escape to another era, and immerse yourself in culture, history and nature at this enchanting sanctuary where new villas have been combined with a beautifully restored wallawwa.
Ulagalla is a unique wallawwa which has been lovingly restored to its original stature, developed and furnished to retain its own distinctive character. Historically this beautiful property has been the home of many a chieftain whose area of rule extended from Ulagalla in Rajarata to Padaviya in the northern province. Explore the Cultural Triangle from this wonderful base, taking day trips to visit Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Dambulla.
Bordering two ancient reservoirs, Ulagalla comprises 20 private and serene villas inspired by historic architecture, all spread over 58 acres. Overlooking either the reservoir or working paddy fields, each villa consists of a floor area of 800 sq. feet, which includes a separate living area. The villas are furnished with elegance and comfort while combining state-of-the-art amenities and each villa offers a tranquil courtyard with its own private plunge pool.
With a strong eco-concept, guests can get around by electric car or use one of the resort's complimentary bikes. In the morning, cycle past the lush green paddies to the main wallawwa where a delicious fresh breakfast awaits. In keeping with the resort's green ethos, an a la carte menu is available throughout the day, with all dishes using fresh organic produce picked from the vegetable garden. Ulagalla's team of highly qualified chefs created delicious, authentic cuisine and guests can even learn to cook a Sri Lankan curry using traditional clay pots as part of a morning cooking lesson.
To keep busy during your stay there are not only plenty of fabulous local sites to explore, but also a myriad of facilities and activities in the resort to keep all members of the family busy. Laze by the 30m fresh water swimming pool, head to the Ayurvedic spa, enjoy horse riding, archery and kayaking to name a few. The only serious problem at Ulagalla is fitting everything in.
Ulagalla offers 20 detached villas with private plunge pools, scattered over 58 acres of Sri Lanka’s finest rural landscape. The villas are grouped in pairs, with one 2-bedroom Nikkawawa Villa which has a pool three times the size of the other plunge pools. Two of the villas have baths but no plunge pool. Villas with disabled access are also available.
Children are welcome to come and stay at Ulagalla and there are plenty of activities for older children.
Facilities at Ulagalla include a fully equipped gym, pool, sauna, archery stations, canoeing, kayaking and horseback riding.
Dining at Ulagalla is a fabulous experience. What makes it special is that you can completely tailor make it to your preferences, from where you want to eat to what you want to eat. Fresh ingredients are used to create delicious dishes. The majority of the vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown in the hotel's own garden giving the cuisine plenty of flavor.
Complimentary activities at the hotel include use of the pool table, board games, carrom and playing cards. Activities at an additional cost include kayaking, horse riding, bicycling, nature trails, flora and fauna tours with a naturalist and archery.
Back at the resort, there is a spa with two open-air, private therapy rooms, offering Balinese or Thai massages, as well as traditional Sri Lankan Ayurvedic treatments. There is also a gym and a large outdoor central swimming pool.
Sophie Jones (Staff)
Ulagalla has a great location in the center of the cultural triangle and the property feels intimate whilst also offering lots of privacy which I think is a really hard line to balance. The rooms are enormous offering plenty of space and a really luxurious feel. Also loved that all the staff were incredibly friendly and charming, made the stay even more special.
Charlie Loughlin (Staff)
Ulagalla has a perfect location to explore the Cultural Triangle with both Anuradhapura and Sigiriya rock only an hour's drive from the resort. All the private villas are nestled into the forestry keeping you close to the natural setting you came for and giving great views of the canopy to spot the resident monkeys that call this place home. After you have relaxed by the impressive pool, keep yourself busy and active with the variety of activities Ulagalla offers onsite. From archery to cooking classes there is something for everyone.
Jack Mace (Staff)
Ulagalla was hard to fault. It's a beautiful 150 year old building which has been restored to make an amazing property. The impressive pool area is huge and marks the central point of the hotel, make sure you put aside a few hours to relaxing by it. The accommodation is made up of 20 individual villas which are dotted around the 50 acres of land the resort sits on. Each villa has a lovely bedroom, a separate living area (which can accommodate extra beds) and most have private pools. The grounds are awesome and definitely worth exploring. They're full of trees, plants, lakes, wildlife and there is many spots to enjoy a peaceful moment. A pack of characterful monkeys roam the gardens and provide entertainment throughout your stay too! All in all it's a superb property which is well worth visiting when you are in the cultural triangle.
Scarlett Richard (Staff)
An amazing and truly unique boutique hotel nestled within 58 acres of lush vegetation accessible by dirt track or helicopter. At the center the150-year-old mansion makes up the main reception, restaurant and lobby and dotted around the lush green paddies are individually standing cabanas which offer total privacy and relaxation where the majority have their own plunge pool. The area is beautiful and full of wildlife. Lots of birds, water buffalo, monkeys, rabbits and land monitor lizards to name a few. People come here to relax and unwind and explore the outdoors and ancient city. I would stay here for at least 3 nights as the place has so much to offer and its warm and friendly service will make it hard to leave.
Rikki Poynton (Staff)
Ulagalla offers guests comfortable accommodation within a beautiful setting in the north of the cultural triangle and in easy reach of the ancient capital of Anuradhapura. Ideal for families as there are plenty of activities for everyone; from archery, horse-riding and cycling to nature walks and exploring the organic farm.
Sarika Sharma (Staff)
An amazing and truly unique boutique hotel nestled within 58 acres of lush vegetation accessible by dirt track or helicopter. At the center the?150-year-old mansion makes up the main reception, restaurant and lobby and dotted around the lush green paddies are individually standing cabanas which offer total privacy and relaxation where the majority have their own plunge pool. The area is beautiful and full of wildlife. Lots of birds, water buffalo, monkeys, rabbits and land monitor lizards to name a few. People come here to relax and unwind and explore the outdoors and ancient city. I would stay here for at least 3 nights as the place has so much to offer and its warm and friendly service will make it hard to leave.
Amber Hopkins (Staff)
Ulagalla is the ideal property for couples and families alike who are looking for a retreat where they have the option of some great activities should they wish do them, from horse riding and village cycling tours, to cookery classes and archery. Set amongst 58 acres of lush grounds, including rice paddy fields and an organic garden, you certainly feel as though you've escaped and won't want to leave any time soon.
Clare Monro (Staff)
The rooms - set in chalets dotted around the estate - are very luxurious each with their own plunge pool. The service is really good, but it wasn't the best food I had during my stay in Sri Lanka - although certainly not bad! The choice of activities is great, although guests should be aware that they are chargeable.
Susie Reynolds (Staff)
Were so pleased we found this one! Further from Dambulla toward Anuradhapura, signed from the road in Singhalese only, Ulagalla is set over 58 acres of land and working paddy fields. The central Wallawwa is a lovingly restored colonial residence, home to the bar and restaurant, with plenty of original touches making it very special indeed. The chalets, scattered over the land are well appointed modern villas with spacious sitting rooms and bedrooms so ideal for families. Huge windows afford great views to the goings on of the estate, and the bedrooms feature very pretty colonial furniture. The sitting rooms in contrast are more modern with contemporary sofas and a huge flat screen TV. The food is excellent and the staff have been very well trained to look after you very well. There are some great excursions available both on and off site and I was pleased to see that the horses (two 15hands or so) were in excellent condition. As with most opportunities to ride abroad, they wont give you opportunity to let loose and gallop, but for beginners, especially children, this is a great feature. It is a little further from Dambulla, Sigiriya and Pollonnaruwa, but closer to Anuradhapura, and is an excellent options for both families and couples looking for a luxurious stop in the Cultural Triangle.
Anuradhapura Ancient City
Anuradhapura dates from the sixth century BC and is one of Buddhism's holiest sites, containing the 2,200 year old Sri Maha Bodhi tree, grown from a cutting of the Indian tree beneath which Buddha found Enlightenment.
Anuradhapura Cycling Tour
This bicycle tour of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, brings you to the stupas of Ruwanweliseya, Abayagirl, Jethavana and Samadhi Buddha statue.
Dambulla Buddhist Caves
Dambulla is an ancient historical site set on a large granite outcrop. The caves at Dambulla are famous for their temples and have been repainted several times in the 11th, 12th and 18th centuries with secular and Buddhist scenes.
Dambulla Cave Temples
Visit the Dambulla Cave Temples, conveniently located between Sigiriya and Kandy making them easy to reach and explore.
Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise
Take a spectacular hot air ballon ride at sunrise, with beautiful views of Sigiriya Rock and surrounding countryside.
Jeep Safari at Yala National Park
Enjoy a jeep safari to Yala National Park, the most famous National Park in Sri Lanka.
Kandy Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, Kandy, is renowned for its wide variety of plant species
and beautiful flowers. Of particular note is the collection of a variety of orchids.
Minneriya National Park
The amazing Minneriya National Park is renowned for its elephant populations and beautiful scenery. Enjoy a safari drive in search of the Asian elephant, a highlight for many during their tour through this fascinating teardrop isle.
Polonnaruwa - Meet the Monkeys
Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and the monkeys that occupy the area. These impressive ruins have been carefully preserved and have attracted groups of three diurnal primates. Get up close with these cheeky animals and learn about their behaviour.
Polonnaruwa Ancient City
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa dates from the 10th century AD. Originally planned as an expression and statement of imperial power, the city was eventually abandoned in 1288. Many of the remains are still in excellent condition.
Polonnaruwa Half-Day tour
Visit Polonnaruwa, part of the ancient cities of Sri Lanka.
Safari in Wilpattu National Park
Head into Wilpattu National Park for a morning or evening safari to marvel at the range of wildlife.
Safari Jeep to Minneriya National Park
Enjoy a jeep safari to Minneriya Nataional Park , famous for its wild elephants.
The Sigiriya rock rises majestically from the jungle floor. It is famous for its ‘mirror wall’, so called because of its highly polished surface. Half-way up there are galleries with frescoes in brilliant tempera. Sigirya dates from the 5th century AD.
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.
Ulagalla - Horse Riding
Ulagalla is home to two beautiful horses. During your stay at this fabulous resort, why not spend some time getting to know them and go riding around the estate and the surrounding area.
Ulagalla - Organic Garden Tour & Cookery Demonstration
Enjoy a guided tour of the organic herb and vegetable garden during your stay at Ulagalla. Here you can pick ingredients for lunch, and then help prepare a traditional Sri Lankan lunch using this fresh produce and an array of spices.
Visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the most famous heritage site in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Kotugoda, Cultural Triangle, Hill Country & Maldives
from $6800 pp 11 nights
- One of the best twin country itineraries offering a perfect mix between culture, nature and beach
- Baros is a stunning Maldivian island and only allowed for over 12 year olds, making it the perfect couples getaway
- Stay at fantastic boutique hotels in Sri Lanka that are located in idyllic settings and have a beautiful design as well as charming staff – the perfect combination
Ultimate Sri Lanka
Kotugoda, Ancient Cities, Kandy, Hatton, Yala & Tangalle
from $7700 pp 14 nights
- The ultimate Sri Lankan adventure, staying at the best hotels and traveling in style between them
- Set off by bike around Anuradhapura, one of the islands ancient capitals and awe at the ruins of ancient civilizations
Location & directions
Anuradhapura, Ancient Cities, Sri Lanka
Ulagalla Resort is ideally located in the hamlet of Tirappane, 40 km north of the Dambulla- Anuradhapura road. Anuradhapura is 20 km from the property and it is extremely convenient to access a wide range of historic sites from Ulagalla.
- 24/7 concierge service
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- Award-winning tour operator