A trip to Sigiriya and Back of Beyond Dehigaha Ela

6am. Fall. Pettah.

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Travelling to Sigiriya became an amazing experience than we ever imagined it to be. At 6 one November morning, we were at Pettah, stomaching two fish buns for brekkie and sipping two cups of Nescafe from a small kade. As we walked to the bus stand, Zin became the clumsy old Zin, spilling Nescafe all over her clothes. Ten minutes later, we were in a TATA bus to Sigiriya, settling down for a five hours long journey. Amid the bus songs (contemporary Sri Lankan music) which reminded us of a late night kottu kade from distance, we still loved our bus ride. There’s something beautiful about early morning bus rides. Something fascinating when skies are gloomy and cold fresh air embrace your body as the bus passes through tiny kades and jungalows with so much beauty. You keep gazing at pink bougainvillea bordering tiny houses and think of your childhood bus rides with ma. You think of coming to Colombo for the first time at ‘99. You were just five and dada bought you ice-cream sweetened with saccharin and coloured in bold reds. You pass through small kades with kitul jaggery and aunties who sell corn (on the cob) to make a living. Your mind wanders. Your whole life flashes in front of you in one beautiful picture. A picture, so chaotic, a mess but beautiful as you sit next to your soulmate who’s watching his 3rd episode of ‘x’ TV show this morning.

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Somewhere in Galewela, bus stops for tea. After fifteen minutes, it starts the journey again. At eleven, we are in Dambulla. Forty minutes later after getting into a jam packed bus with locals and tourists, and passing through Ceylon’s most beautiful veggie farms and shrublands, we get down at Sigiriya. Hold on, now, that’s already three bus rides, six hours and we’ve not yet reached our destination. At the Sigiriya junction, we catch a tuk. After driving 8km through mini jungles, shrublands with creatures we cannot name and brinjal farms, we come to our destination, Back of Beyond Dehigaha Ela.

 Dehigaha-Ela-BoB-NatnZin (14).jpeg

Back of Beyond has two properties in Sigiriya, One, Pidurangala and the other, Dehigaha Ela. Dehigaha Ela is our kind of place. (Also read: Back of Beyond Pidurangala.) With three amazing tree houses and boulder cottages across the property and a small river-stream named “Dehigaha Ela” bordering one side of the property, we couldn’t name a better place to relax.

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Also read: Hike to Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Monkeys, wee birds, alligators and barks own this property and surely not you. So love them and cherish them while you are here. As soon as we entered, one uncle greeted us with a glass of lime juice. It sure is the best lime juice we’ve ever had in Sri Lanka. Freshly plucked village lime squeezed into one big glass. There are two uncles who work in the Dehigaha Ela property and we love them both. They cook such amazing local food with fresh ingredients from the villages in Sigiriya.

 Dehigaha-Ela-BoB-NatnZin (30).jpeg

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

We stayed in a beautiful tree house, the last one in one corner of the property, with so much space to relax and sleeps for four. The showers are open to the outside jungle. You are completely naked and in an open air washroom. Gazing to the wild in complete silence until a tiny mongoose does a peek-a-boo. If showering in open air chic washroom isn’t enough, here’s a lunch spread with rice and many curries made with fresh local ingredients. Dehigaha Ela turns into a natural pool here. And soon after our lunch, we head for a fish spa, letting little sucker fishes kiss our feet for the millionth time.

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Zin cackles as the tiny suckers tickle her while Nathan tries to take one funny photo. The nearest ATM is 12km away from the property. And it’s 40 minutes to the nearest supermarket. At evening, we meet Kasun. The manager of BoB Dehigaha Ela. Nathan chats with him for hours until we both decided to cycle. We race away until it sucks into our bones and tell, it’s enough, kids!

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

You can’t make a telephone call here. You can’t browse internet. The WiFi doesn’t work. You are out of the range. You are out of the (digital) civilization. You can’t browse Facebook to be jealous of your uncle’s daughter’s friend’s wedding. You can’t be jealous of the saree she wore for fifty some thousand. You can’t see it. Not the fat shaming, nor the skinny shaming on the internet.  You can’t get into pointless arguments where one uses slang to win a battle on Twitter.

But,

You can swing in a hammock here reading Tiny Beautiful Things. You can climb to their amazing tree house “Kon 2.” Climbing their itself is a little adventure. You can gaze at beautiful nothingness. You can sing along with wee birds and goof around with monkeys. You can let little suckers kiss your feet while you cackle endlessly. You can talk with the staff and hear amazing village stories. You can eat imbul kiribath for breakfast and sip lime juice at four in the evening. You can snuggle up in a blanket without AC. Nature itself is an air coolant here. You can read. Laugh. And cry in a jungle.

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

Dehigaha Ela BoB NatnZin

There’s so much to life beyond the internet. There’s love here. There’s peace. Serene. And happiness.

xx

NatnZin


We would like to thank Back of Beyond Sri Lanka for organizing our stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.

https://www.backofbeyond.lk/

https://www.instagram.com/backofbeyond_srilanka/

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We are Nathan and Zinara, documenting our experiences and stories for a lifestyle full of love and adventure. Currently based in Sri Lanka.

17 thoughts on “A trip to Sigiriya and Back of Beyond Dehigaha Ela

  1. The tree house you stayed in looked very beautiful and remote. I guess you need to have your food and money first, then you can relax. I need to get into a remote place away from the Internet for a few days. The journey out there looks fun too, I love overland travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s an on-site restaurant there so you don’t need to drive back to the town or anything! The menu consists of both Western and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.

      Like

  2. Never thought of visiting Sri Lanka before, but after reading this, I feel like going and do some hike too. The place looks so lovely especially the tree house. Very close to nature. And I love the idea that they don’t have internet and can’t even make a phone call! This is a good place to stay away from the toxic world of your job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your photos are so beautiful! And the property you’ve captured looks amazing. I think it’s a great bonus to not be able to be jealous of an uncle’s daughter’s friends wedding 😀 these remote sanctuaries are amazing for the soul. I’ve been to Sri Lanka once but missed Ceylon, and never really read up about Sigiriya. You’ve definitely given me some motivation to visit this beautiful place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh you should totally come back here and escape into this jungle paradise. It’s such a good place to enjoy life and forget those big fat weddings haha 😀

      Like

  4. What a sweet post it all made me smile! I actually really love going to places with no internet and far away from everything every once in a while. Its so relaxing to just switch off and this place looks like my kind of relaxation! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sounds so amazing. It’s a real hidden gem. We’ve never heard of this place, but we’d love to visit. Your treehouse was so dreamy. It was rustic and charming yet elegant and lovely too. And the setting was like a fantasy world of welcoming nature. Back of Beyond Dehigaha Ela is on our bucket list for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Everything about this place seems unique. The cute little tree house, open bathrooms, food, the way they cook food with firewood instead of gas, the lotus pond and the greenery.. I would definitely love to spend a few hours in such a place. I love the way you have framed your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

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