After the whirlwind tour circling Sri Lanka, I set off on my own for a few days to visit a small eco-resort in the south. I’d read about Tri in Outside magazine early in 2016 and had kept the tab open in my browser ever since, just in case I ever made it to Koggala Lake. I think it’s even what inspired me to look into Sri Lanka as a destination. I wanted some quiet, simple days of relaxation after the very busy tour itinerary. I’m also working on a novel, so I brought my notes along and hoped the four days of beauty and solitude would provide a nice setting to do some writing.
You guys. This place is AMAZING. It doesn’t seem possible that it could be as gorgeous as the website makes it look (www.trilanka.com), but it is. I stayed in a lake view room with my own balcony, and every detail showed the care and commitment of the architects and designers. The staff was incredibly gracious and helpful, and the grounds were like an oasis of calm gently nestled into the natural surroundings. Breakfast and dinner were included, and each meal was multiple courses with a combination of Sri Lankan and Western dishes, all sourced as locally as possible. I definitely became one of those people who takes photos of my food. Best of all, I could literally watch the sun rise over the lake without getting out of bed. It was an introvert’s dream!
On my last night there, before beginning the arduous journey home, I sat on my balcony watching the moonlight shimmy across the lake’s rippling water and listening as birds and frogs and insects began singing their night songs. The palm fronds danced in the breeze, making a sound almost like rain drops. Off in the distance, probably on the other side of the lake, I could just barely hear the familiar strains of Für Elise, and I knew that somewhere, someone was buying baked goods from a musical tuk tuk.
That building is the living room, a shared space near the pool with fans, a bar, and plenty of seating. It’s usually open to the air, but the panels were lowered during a rainstorm just a bit earlier.
This strange parasitic tree whose name I can’t remember is quite common in Sri Lanka, but it still looks odd and slightly sinister, even when captured in a reflection pool.
Sri Lanka’s favorite dish, rice and curry. Chicken curry, banana flower curry, beetroot curry, aubergine (eggplant) curry, a variety of sambols and mango salad, and I can’t remember what’s with the papadoms in the last dish.
My delightful breakfast, with a bamboo Christmas tree for holiday cheer
Fresh fruit, homemade granola, and frozen curd (a bit like frozen yogurt) made up my favorite breakfast dish.
The dining room, opened during my stay. The back wall is open to the lake for either a beautiful view during the day or a chorus of birds and insects at night.
Evening in the living room, with the tree all aglow
Herbed butter on a little wooden raft!
This guy is showing us how to peel cinnamon bark on an island where three generations live together. The island was full of spice and fruit trees, and the children on the island paddle an outrigger to another island to attend school. When one of my British counterparts commented on how it must be so quiet and peaceful with no TV, the guy laughed and said, “Oh, we have satellite.” Ah yes. Of course.
Cinnamon bark, once peeled, is dried in the shade for two weeks before being crushed into powder.
This little guy was in my room some of the time. I think he eats bugs, so we worked out an understanding: he could stay, as long as he didn’t jump on me or run under my bare feet.
Filtered light in my room
My room had a living green roof and was set into the hillside.
Egg hoppers at Tri. They were fine, but honestly, the egg hoppers from the street vendor have my heart.
Another daily delight. Toast and pastries with homemade guava, pineapple, and papaya preserves.
I think I took a photo of this every morning. I’ll dream about it forever.
I looked forward to my daily coffee so much!
Sri Lanka needs no filter. This was my first sunrise at Tri, photographed from my balcony in my pajamas.
Infinity pool at sunset
Sorry honeymooners, I’d totally been hoping for a big rollicking thunderstorm while I was there. This rainstorm on the day I left, with just a few peals of thunder, would have to do,
All for me!!
I passed this flower every time I walked to my room.
The Tri grounds are like a magical fancy fairyland cut through the jungle.
From atop the Cinnamon Tower
Koggala Lake is the largest natural lake in Sri Lanka. It’s connected to the ocean, so it’s salty, and it also has crocodiles, so no swimming!
Sunset from the top of the Cinnamon Tower, which was an open seating area with a little mini fridge.
Reclaimed wood table in the seating area of the living room
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