Natural Mystic Sanctuary: Finding Bliss in Deniyaya
When we boarded the highway bus to Galle somewhere in May, we knew we were in for a long journey, something a little tedious but, so much fun. Listen sugarplum, this is not a blog post about the tedious journey we had. This is a blog post about the friendliest and the happiest place we’ve ever stayed. Yes, a place can be friendly, and happy, too. This is a place we could call home. A place that gave us all the warm fuzzies. (Also read: Sunset in Galle)
Natural Mystic Sanctuary is Sam and Karina’s home. And when you are there, it’s your home, too. Sam is a Brit. Karina is German. Together, they built this beautiful property in the vicinity of Sinharaja Rain Forest in Deniyaya. After taking 3 buses, a 15 minute tuk journey, crossing a river and walking 15 minute uphill, we’ve finally found our paradise. Just as we crossed the river, a friendly pooch joined us in our walk uphill. When we arrived, Karina and Sam were in Matara but after a few quick phone calls, Menaka and Kalu came to help us and arrange our room.
We had brought our lunch from Galle (noodles with fish curry from the Perera & Son’s outlet in Galle bus stand – to the date, it’s the best PnS we’ve ever been to and the noodles were yum). Menaka was so nice to pluck a few mangoes for our dessert. There are four kittens and two adorable doggos here, calling Natural Mystic Sanctuary their home. And soon, these little rascals were playing with us, and with each other. When Karina and Sam came back, they had brought us dinner: delicious kottu from a local kade.
The next day, we woke up to delicious homemade breakfast with all home-grown food. Tropical fruit, bread, egg omelette, homemade bitter-orange jam and tea. Our second day here is packed with a few activities. A three-minute walk away were beautiful little falls where you could take a dip as little feet-nibbling fishes give you a natural pedicure. We climbed up the falls to find where the falls began. The rocks were a little slippery but climbing up and down it was so much fun. We screamed out of happiness as we held onto rickety, moss-laden stones. We loved the falls so much that we came back again, later. The mini falls formed a natural bathing pool, tiny but filled with natural cold water as we dipped our toes into cold refreshing water and lied there for a long time. One minute in complete silence, the next, talking to each other and laughing about our past. There was never a time Zin’s seen Nathan happier. It was nothing but pure bliss. (Also read: Dear sugar plum)
Evening, we walked down to the mud house. There are infact two mud houses. One where Sam and Karina live, and the other, part of the Airbnb used for guests’ stay. The river stream flows past the mud-house and everywhere you turn, it’s a beautiful little garden with full-bloomed flowers, passion fruit, pineapple, plantain trees, jack-fruit trees and a lot more. Almost everything here is home-grown. They use solar-power here as hydro-power electricity hasn’t reached this part of Sri Lanka yet. This place is nothing but a beautiful little example of self-sufficient and sustainable living.
As Menaka wasn’t around, Karina made us delicious rice & curry for lunch. And we spent our evening hours playing with the kittens. Some of them were brought here from the streets. Those who were left alone without a home and injured. Karina and Sam do their best to look after these cuties and give them a shelter.
As we left Karina and Sam’s place the next day, we got homegrown bananas to take back to Colombo. These two are the most down-to-earth and the nicest hosts you’d come across. And if we were left with no 9-5 the next day, we would have happily stayed here a few more days. Or weeks.
There’s homegrown food here. There are friendly welcoming pooches. Sarcastic you-be-my-boss cats. There’s Sam. There’s Karina. The friendliest hosts one could ever find. There’s a natural bathing pool to take a dip. A river that flows past the property. A tiny stream of the Nilvala River to be exact. A mud house for you to stay. Another one in-the-making. There’s bliss here. There’s love.
Natural Mystic Sanctuary is a Airbnb run by Sam and Karina, situated in a small village in Deniyaya. It has a dorm-bed room (perfect for solo travelers or groups). Two double-bed rooms and a mud house. The rates per rooms/beds change according to the season so always check with them before you book. And there are doggos. And cats. These guys are beautiful friendly creatures but if you don’t like cats and doggos, this place is not for you (how sad for you to miss such a paradise-esque place).
Meals: Menaka is the chef here. But if she’s not around, Karina prepares you delicious meals, both local and Western. There’s a small menu where you could choose what you want. You can join with them to make pizzas, too. Keep in mind that everything here is vegetarian.
How to Get There:
Using public transportation from Colombo (via Galle): Take the highway bus to Galle from Maharagama. There are direct buses to Deniyaya from Galle. These aren’t frequent. They run every 2 hours or three hours. When you arrive in Galle, check for Deniyaya bus at the station. If it’s not available, take a bus to Akuressa. And then from Akuressa, take another bus to Deniyaya. The journey from Galle will take 3-4 hours. These are hilly roads, so if you’ve motion sickness, be prepared. You are entering the less spoilt beautiful countryside and the bus goes pass through mountains, endless forests, tea plantations and paddy-fields. There’s nothing not to love.
There’s a direct air-conditioned luxury bus from Colombo to Deniyaya but it only runs once a day. It starts from Colombo at 2.30 and reaches Deniyaya around 6.45pm. From Deniyaya it leaves at around 4.30am. Argh, we hate the timings. If you are fine with it, go for it!
From Matara: We didn’t take this route, but there are direct buses (not frequent) from Matara to Deniyaya and buses from Matara to Akuressa, too.
Private transportation: If you are driving your own vehicle, reach out to Sam and Karina and they’ll happily tell you where to leave your vehicle.
Keep in mind that after you reach Deniyaya town, there’s a 15 minute tuk drive to take (Karina and Sam can organize this for you for about Rs.300) and then you’ve to cross a river (by foot) and walk uphill about 15-20 minutes. If you are carrying heavy luggage, this will be a tad hard. The hosts can arrange you a 4WD vehicle if you need a vehicle to get to the property.
Natural Mystic Sanctuary is pet friendly so you can bring your doggo, kitten or crocodile (if you pet them) here. PS: We aren’t actually sure about bringing a pet crocodile to Sam and Karina’s house. But just in case, ask themselves (pun intended).
We would like to thank Natural Mystic Sanctuary for organizing our stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely our own.