Forget what TLC sang about, you should always go chasing waterfalls, in Sri Lanka, in particular. A weekend spent doing just that was exactly what the doctor ordered. And where better to base ourselves than at a hotel with its own private waterfall?
Set in the mountainous region of the island, Koslanda is a small village nestled between green peaks of jungle. Roughly 4 hours away from Colombo, there aren’t many hotels/resorts here; except for this beautiful one we found.
80 acres of wilderness and manicured gardens punctuated by beautifully designed spaces made me feel like I walked into a filtered-Instagram post. We were greeted with vibrant flower garlands, fresh juice and cold towels in the ‘ambalama’ – a much needed soft corner to stretch and rest in after a long car ride from Colombo.
Since we arrived 2+ hours before check-in, we decided to order lunch to satisfy our not-so-rumbling bellies. After a long friendly chat with the resort manager, and getting our bearings in order, we feasted on a pizza before being shown to our room.
By 2pm, we made our way to our first accommodation for the first night – The Forest Pavilions. The second night would be at the Luxury Villa Suites. With no doors or windows; the room was a canvas of drooping white thick curtains and chiffon fabric faintly blowing in the wind. The thick canvas curtains around the room were enough to block out light and keep the insects out. The net and canopy over the bed helped us sleep in peace without the company of creepy crawlies.
Except for a few random insects, and a friendly frog in the bathroom at night (whom I managed to have a discussion with and we both agreed its best we stay in our territories for the night), there were no ghastly geckos anywhere, so I was in luck.
The Private Waterfall
Hidden about 35-40 minutes from the rooms and main building, the private waterfall was a hop, skip and a trek away through leech infested territories of Living Heritage Koslanda.
Keep in mind NOT to stop for a break or breather during the hike, as the pesky leeches will grab on instantly to your soul or anything else they can find. LUCKILY, guests are given leech socks to wear before the trek. Absurd-looking things, but they served its purpose.
Before we left, we coated our feet and shoes in Dettol and Siddhalepa as a double preventative measure – you can never be too protected against leeches! So the trick is to keep moving until you reach the falls.
There are 2-3 paths along the trail. The first path takes you to the top of the falls and further down to the second area, you’ll find a pool where it’s safe to wade and swim in. The second area had a large boulder to scale and abseil from (with the assistance of a large metal chain).
The water was cold and the small fish were at bay as we found a fitting, almost comfortable spot to enjoy a glass (or three) of wine. Deciding to head back before the sunset, to avoid crossing paths with snakes or other animals, we trekked back after about 2.5 hours at the waterfall.
Our first night of chasing waterfalls in Sri Lanka and we already conquered the our first cascade!
Cocktails and Dinner
A sweet surprise hosted by the resort – complimentary cocktails before dinner. Careem (the manager) told us stories of elephants visiting the property, Winter (the VIP guide), their organic farm which has cows too – and more as we enjoyed a cocktail (or three) before dinner.
The cocktails were made with local arrack and fresh ingredients. They tasted absolutely divine – so you can only imagine why we just couldn’t stop at one! Accompanying the cocktails was a serving of potato croquettes – which I helped myself to quite a few of. And when dinner arrived, fair to say – I could barely wolf my food down, despite the arduous trek in the early evening to the private waterfall.
After one too many cocktails, we trudged back to our tree house. We managed to ensure all insects stayed outdoors and all humans stayed tucked safely under the protection of the net and canvas curtains.
A Day at Living Heritage
On our second day at Living Heritage, we moved into the Luxury Villa Suites and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the amabalamas, playing games, drinking wine and swimming in their beautiful infinity pool. The second night ensued with more cocktails too – but since we had an early morning adventure ahead of us, we decided to head in earlier.
The Luxury Villa Suite was definitely my favourite type of accommodation at the resort. Designed in a traditional, Sri Lankan style with a courtyard, vintage furnishings, a large canopy bed – there was just so much space and quiet corners to settle down in; not to mention the plunge pool!
On our last day in Koslanda, we started our morning with a scenic breakfast of eggs, fruits and local rotti. Shortly after, we started our trek to Diyaluma Waterfalls – part two of chasing waterfalls in Sri Lanka.
Directions – Turn left at the road from the resort. Walk straight, past the flower shop, until you see a makeshift banner that says ‘Diyaluma Waterfalls shortcut’.
The route to get to the base itself; which is identifiable by the large carpark and a few local vendors takes about 15 minutes from Heritage Koslanda. As you start your trek up hill, there’ll be a million paths that leads to the falls. It’s best to trust your judgement and gut and follow a route; Google Maps barely works up here. From flat pathways to clambering onto roots and tree trunks so you wouldn’t fall off the edge; the terrain changes quite a bit until you’re at the summit.
Diyaluma waterfalls is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka – so you can imagine just how long and arduous (slightly exaggerated) the hike is.
After what seemed like 100 years, we finally heard the soft rumble of water gushing – and voila we made it! We were at the most iconic spot in the area and better yet, had the waterfall all to ourselves since we visited on a Monday morning!
The water was icy, but the view was gorgeous. After a while, we met a local vendor who told us about another waterfall about 5 minutes away. So, we packed up and continued our conquest for the next waterfall!
Poonagla Estate Natural Pool
From Diyaluma, a 5-minute walk along the stream and guided by doggos, we found our last waterfall for the day. With a larger natural pool to swim in, and large rocks to get to the base of the falls; this was definitely my most favourite. The water was shallow (with plenty of fish) and was perfect for swimming. Chasing waterfalls in Sri Lanka – part 3 – complete!
As it was nearing our check-out time at the resort, and we noticed dark storm clouds rolling in, we decided to make our way back down. The descent was much faster and I think we got back to the base in 15 minutes, and another 10 minutes later we were back at the resort!
Au Revoir Living Heritage Koslanda
Before we left, Careem gave us a tour around; where nearly everything’s grown within their resort; talk about self-sustaining!
Him and Winter gave us a warm farewell – where I even got a vibrant flower bouquet; gathered from their gardens.
With a late checkout, we gathered all our belongings and sore legs and headed out by 3pm – with Ella and more hiking to look forward to! More on that in the next post.