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Gal Oya National Park

Buried deep in the middle-eastern wilderness of Sri Lanka, Gal Oya National Park has some of the most striking landscapes in the country. But thanks to its secluded location, it lies blissfully under the tourist radar and has remained almost entirely undeveloped to this day.

Wildlife thrives in this unspoiled idyll as it is home to a vast reservoir - the biggest on the island - evergreen forest and open savannas. We highly recommend taking a boat safari across the large lake to experience the environment in all its glory and keeping an eye out for Asian elephants swimming between the little islands - which really are incredible!

Nature lovers will also appreciate watching flocks of birds flitting around overhead and calling to one another, before dipping and diving down to perch on crooked trees among their nests, on 'Bird Island' (known locally as 'Kurulu Dupatha'). There are said to be more than 150 species of birds here and, if luck is on your side, you may be able to spot deer, wild boar, water buffaloes, crocodiles, leopards and even sloth bears wandering around this rugged terrain. 

Sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular here as they reflect off the mighty body of water and set the sky ablaze, while also emphasising the intricate and unusual shapes of the silhouetted trees. Soak in these views when enjoying a delicious picnic on the shore or atmospheric boulders and savour the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, a million miles away from busy life back home - just heaven.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Gal Oya Lodge is Ampersand’s top choice of hotel in this region. We guarantee that you will have a memorable stay here, for this luxurious property is one of our Top 10 Eco Retreats and offers an array of immersive experiences that mean you will see the national park at its finest.

Gal Oya National Park is roughly a three-hour drive east of Kandy and a three-hour drive north of Arugam Bay. Alternatively, two new airports have opened nearby making it much easier to fly there.

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