The Best Glamping Sites in Sri Lanka

Many of Sri Lankas glampsites offer safari vibes and are set in stunning locations
Many of Sri Lanka's glampsites offer safari vibes and are set in stunning locations | Courtesy of Wild Coast Tented Lodge – All Inclusive / Expedia
Culture Trip Travel Team

Getting back to nature in Sri Lanka doesn’t mean having to rough it. At the country’s best glampsites, candle-lit beachside dinners, proper beds and wifi let you get all the joy from a night sleeping out in the wilds, without having to forgo creature comforts. Whether you fancy bedding down by a national park – with leopards snoozing in the distance – or within striking distance of a beautiful beach, this Indian Ocean stunner has a spot for you. Here are the best glamping sites in Sri Lanka.

1. Talalla Retreat

Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel

A yoga class at Talalla Retreat
Courtesy of Talalla Retreat / Expedia

Steps from the serene golden sands of Talalla Beach, on Sri Lanka’s southern tip, this resort combines hotel-style facilities with a breezy glamping vibe. Open-air, four-poster beds are surrounded in mosquito netting; while a cosy bamboo hut lets you unplug and listen to monkeys playing in the treetops. When you want to reconnect with reality, wifi is available in the restaurant – along with freshly landed fish from local fishermen and veg plucked from nearby markets.

2. Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge

Lodge, Glamping

Exterior of Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge overlooking Sri Lankan mountains
Courtesy of Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge / Expedia

When you bed down under canvas at Madulkelle, you’re doing it in style. The safari-style tents entice with their comfy beds, retro-style writing desks and warm lighting – and the view from your front ‘door’, across lush mountains and valleys, is spectacular. Wake to the sound of birds chirping in the trees above, then rise for dips in the infinity pool or for a wander around the organic vegetable garden. As you’d guess from the name, a visit to a local tea factory is an essential.

3. Kottawatta Village

Glamping, Safari Lodge

Exterior of Kottawatta Village with an outdoor pool
Courtesy of Kottawatta Village / Expedia

Udawalawe National Park – with its epic elephant sightings – is right on your doorstep at Kottawatta Village, so it’s a natural pick for wildlife enthusiasts. And the simple but comfy accommodation – a series of stand-alone lodges – channel safari vibes, right down to the mosquito nets that drape over the beds. Break up sightseeing with afternoons by the pool – a centrepiece of the village – or globe-trotting meals (think Chinese, European and, obviously, Sri Lankan) in the onsite restaurant.

4. Thamaravila Wilpattu-Luxury Tented Villa

Glamping, Luxury

A lounge in a tent with wooden floor and a painting at Thamaravila Wilpattu-Luxury Tented Villa
Courtesy of Thamaravila Wilpattu-Luxury Tented Villa / Expedia

Elephants, water buffalo, leopards – spotting the wildlife in Wilpattu National Park is a must when you’re in Sri Lanka, and this glam camp puts you just 15 minutes’ drive away from the action. Thatched-roof chalets, on stilts above the ground, give views to the surrounding wilds and lend treetop atmosphere; rather handily, they sleep between one and three people, so they suit everyone from solo explorers to families. One of the highlights? The epic brekkies: full of fresh tropical fruit, and served up after safari.

5. Makulu Safari Camping

Glamping, Luxury

Two deck chairs at Makulu Safari Camping overlook a river
Courtesy of Makulu Safari Camping / Expedia

Shaded by lush forest, and fringed by sugar cane farmland, this camp near animal-stuffed Udawalawe National Park lets you get up close and personal with Sri Lankan nature. From bed, you’ll look out to dense greenery and a waterway, perfect for fishing or kayaking. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife – there’s known to be the odd sighting on the river – and if you’re feeling tired after a day of exploring, indulge in a room-service feast.

6. Wild Trails Yala Safari Camp by Yoho

Glamping, Safari Lodge

A double room at Wild Trails Yala Safari Camp with wooden flooring
Courtesy of Wild Trails Yala Safari Camp / Expedia

From the tête-a-tête bonfire dinners to the cosy tented lodges with private bathrooms and seating areas, this safari camp in Sri Lanka’s southeast exudes romance; it’s a no-brainer for couples. Yala National Park, a huge swathe of grassland, forest and lagoon butting up against the Indian Ocean, is the main draw, but even when you’re not out animal-watching, you’ll be soaking up the local wildlife, listening to bird song ringing through the trees. The staff and guiding are both first-rate.

7. Camp Leopard – Yala Safari Glamping

Glamping, Safari Lodge

Two people eatinf lunch at a picnic table at Camp Leopard – Yala Safari Glamping
Courtesy of Camp Leopard – Yala Safari Glamping / Expedia

One of the benefits of a safari in Yala is that you can combine a morning of animal-watching – leopards, elephants, rare birds – with an afternoon spent lazing on the beach. Or, if you’re staying at Camp Leopard, a host of other activities, including Sri Lankan cookery sessions, swims in a jungle-lined river and dinners under the stars. Your wood-floored tent comes with a private veranda, where you can sip cups of morning tea while soaking up the jungle scenes before you.

8. Flameback Eco Lodge

Glamping, Safari Lodge

A. glamping tent at Flameback Eco Lodge overlooks a large lake
Courtesy of Flameback Eco Lodge / Expedia

The pool alone is epic – a mirrored infinity strip, overlooking misty hills beyond – but the location of Flameback Eco Lodge is perhaps its main selling point. Set on the banks of Weerawila Lake, home to hundreds of species of birds, it’s the place to join a serene boat ride to spot black-headed ibises or red-wattled lapwings. Return for a five-course fine-dining dinner at the edge of the waters, then bed down in one of seven safari tents, complete with candy-striped chairs and writing desks.

9. Jetwing Safari Camp

Glamping, Safari Lodge

A terrace at Jetwing Safari Camp (All Inclusive) with large ocean views
Courtesy of Jetwing Safari Camp (All Inclusive) / Expedia

It doesn’t get much closer to the coast than this plush safari camp – wander a few minutes through a lush grove of trees, and you’ll hit sandy beach and endless blue Indian Ocean. But it’s not only the sun-and-sea locale that will get you to unwind; the all-inclusive policy at Jetwing means that game drives, park fees, meals and drinks are all included, so you needn’t keep constant tabs on spending. Al fresco dining areas up the holiday feels.

10. Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Boutique Hotel, Eco-Lodge, Luxury

Exterior of Wild Coast Tented Lodge – All Inclusive with an outdoor pool
Courtesy of Wild Coast Tented Lodge – All Inclusive / Expedia

If you’re looking for a real splurge, look no further than this Relais & Châteaux tented lodge – they’ve pulled out all the stops with a meandering pool, ace spa and spacious, bubble-style tents outfitted with free-standing copper bathtubs. Great eating is a big focus – with a jungle afternoon tea, cookery classes, romantic duneside dining and gourmet cocktails in the Ten Tuskers Bar – so come hungry. Family-style rooms with a separate (but nearby) “urchin” tent for children gives everybody much-needed privacy.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Orana Velarde.

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