Five things to do at Koggala Lake

Here at Tri, we’re lucky enough to call  one of Sri Lanka’s most serene and verdant corners home: Koggala Lake. Whilst offering the perfect space for relaxation and contemplation, we’re also just a hop-skip-and-jump from some of the country’s most renowned cultural sites and unique experiences. To help you experience the best our corner of the world has to offer, we’ve rounded up our top five local activities…

CINNAMON ISLAND

Did you know that 90% of the world’s highest-quality cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka? Our neighbouring Cinnamon Island produces some of the country’s finest export-quality cinnamon. We encourage all guests to hop into our dhoni and glide across Koggala Lake with our charming guide, Douglas. Visit the home of a local planter, and — over a fragrant mug of fresh cinnamon tea — learn the story of cinnamon from soil to stick. Watch as the fine layer of outer bark is gently scraped off, and the inner bark is expertly cut away from the wooden limb, before being rolled into the familiar cinnamon stick we see in spice shops today. And the wooden core? You’ll spot this adorning the outer walls of Tri’s villas and iconic water tower.

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Tri’s cinnamon-clad water tower

GALLE FORT

Often referred to as the cultural capital of the south thanks to its unique combination of beautifully crafted European architecture and South Asian traditions, Galle Fort is one of Sri Lanka’s not-so-hidden gems. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the seafront fort district is home to quaint paved streets, an abundance of gemstone and jewellery shops, and an array of cafes and restaurants serving up delicious local dishes. Be sure to visit Laksana for sparkling Ceylon sapphires and local favourite Poonie’s Kitchen for great salads, cakes and juices.

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Galle Fort. Image: Traveller.au

SEA TURTLE HATCHERY

There’s little more exciting than swimming the Sri Lankan waters and watching as a sea turtle paddles past, gently spraying water into the air as it dives down into the ocean depths. Sadly, these remarkable creatures are facing severe pressure on their population size due to a dangerous combination of light and sea pollution, unsustainable fishing practices and the consumption of turtle eggs. Koggala Sea Turtle Hatchery works towards the preservation of sea turtles, releasing turtles back into the ocean and educating locals around the value of safe fishing practices and the reduction of harmful pollutant use. A visit will offer an insight into the vital work they do, and you might even get the chance to release some turtles into the sea yourself.

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Image: Invite to Paradise

HANDUNUGODA TEA ESTATE

Alongside cinnamon, Sri Lanka is also renowned for another export: tea. Most tea plantations are situated in the soaring, mist-draped peaks of the central hill country, but the local low-country is also home to a variety of quality producers. Just a stone’s throw from Tri, Handunugoda Tea Estate specialises in the prized Virgin White Tea. Brewed from only the smallest and newest leaves, this delicate tea is an antioxidant powerhouse beloved in local medicine. The estate offers informative guided tours, explaining the journey of tea from leaf to cup. 25 varieties of tea are available in the on-site shop, meaning you can take a taste of Sri Lanka home with you.

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Handunugoda Tea Estate. Image: Tripnino

BEACHES

Just a short distance from Tri lies the spectacular south coast, where the jungle meets the sea; scattered with curving, golden sand beaches and crashing Indian Ocean waves. For active types, these beaches offer some the best surfing in the country, and our team are more than happy to arrange private lessons. For those wanting some more relaxing downtime, the tropical beaches also make the perfect spot for soaking up the sunshine and the easy-going atmosphere, toes in the sand and fresh coconut in hand.

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Unawatuna Beach. Image: Nerd Nomads

Five ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle

As the world grows ever-smaller and more interconnected, we’re all becoming increasingly aware of our impact upon it. The butterfly effect states that every flap of a butterfly’s wings can create a hurricane across the ocean; so every decision we make can ripple out to affect the planet we call home. Here at Tri we’re strong believers in looking after our little patch of blue and green; safeguarding the natural world for future generations. This doesn’t have to mean hardship and deprivation — here are five simple ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

1. EAT LOCALLY
Everyone knows that nothing tastes better than coconut water gulped from a coconut cut directly from the tree; or bananas, ripe and spotted, picked from the palm. Eating locally means enjoying food which is fresh, in season and packed with nutrients, and supporting your local farmers, whilst avoiding food miles and endless packaging. Win-win! The food concept at Tri is entirely designed around eating locally and enjoying the bounteous produce available in our lush corner of the Earth. When you’re back at home, why not try to eat with the seasons? There are few things tastier than a late-summer blackberry straight from the bush…

Credit: @xkflyaway

2. REDUCE SINGLE USE PLASTIC
Taking hundreds — even thousands — of years to break down, single-use plastics are clogging up waterways across the globe, causing environmental degradation, swirling ocean gyres and harm to wildlife the world over. The solution is simple: opt out. Here at Tri, we use our own filtered water in reusable glass bottles, and eschew plastic straws in favour of sustainable home-grown bamboo. Why not take your bamboo straw home with you? Opt out of plastic straws and enjoy a taste of tropical paradise with every sip!

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3. CUT DOWN ON YOUR MEAT INTAKE
Eating mindfully does not stop with the vegetable drawer. Tri’s menus focus primarily on locally-sourced plants, fish and seafood, to create delicious dishes with a true Sri Lankan flavour, avoiding more resource-intensive meats such as beef and lamb. It’s easy to maintain this sustainable living focus when you arrive back at home: just switch that steak for a fresh fillet of fish, or try to stick to plant based dishes for a few days each week. Simple!

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4. DITCH THE CAR
Turn off that engine: here at Tri we love getting out into nature. Co-founder Rob often starts his day with a cycle into work, or an early-morning hike through the lush greenery surrounding Koggala Lake. Ditching a gas-guzzling car for pedalling or hiking up and down hills will improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your legs and help to save the environment to boot.

Credit: Chris deLorenzo

5. SWITCH OFF
Reducing our electricity use is one of the simplest steps to living more sustainably. One of the things our guests love most about Tri is the ability to completely disconnect from the outside world. Switching off will not only reduce your electricity use, but give you a mental break from our fast-paced, never-stopping world. Use the time to enjoy a yoga class or get out into nature. Take a break, and just breathe.

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Image credits: @xkflyaway, Chris deLorenzo, Coke Bartrina