Discover your Nature: Finding Balance at Tri

Ayurveda — the ancient practice of cultivating true wellness through balance — has a long history in Sri Lanka. Tri’s co-founder Lara grew up in India, and Ayurveda has been part of her life ever since — even informing the process of personal practice optimization through Quantum Yoga.

We have spoken to Lara to get the low-down on Ayurveda, and how we can incorporate Ayurvedic principles into our everyday lives…

“Ayurveda is based on the idea of inner balance; realizing that everyone has different needs, and therefore there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health. A person’s prakriti or nature is defined by the inner distribution of the three doshas, or body-mind constitutions. One’s prakriti informs every aspect of our being, from skin type to activity levels and response to times of stress. In order to be free from dis-ease, healthy and happy, one needs to live in harmony with one’s nature.

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Image credit: Recess City

Slim, with dry skin, variable appetite and thirst, creative tendencies, a love of activity, good short-term memory, fast speech, brittle nails and a speedy pulse? That would reflect vata dosha dominance. Athletic build, with a love of cooler climates and spicy food, fast metabolism, competitive nature, passionate with a need to exercise for emotional balance? Sounds like a high pitta dosha. Tendency to hold weight, oily skin, dislikes humidity, loves heavy food, easy-going attitude and great at retaining memories? Here kapha dosha is dominant.

As humans, we are drawn to the things that reinforce our nature, but this results in greater imbalance and disharmony. Therefore, Ayurveda teaches us to moderate these desires and strive towards balance. I have a pitta-dominant nature, meaning I am fiery, active, athletic, forceful and at times hot-headed, and typically I enjoy coffee, spicy foods, passionate artistic expression and challenging workouts. However, I understand that I would find greater harmony through cooling, soothing and balancing my pitta nature.

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Image credit: Recess City

This knowledge inspired the creation of Quantum Yoga: an awareness that our yoga practice can either exacerbate or balance our prakriti. We use Ayurveda to assess each practitioner’s prakriti (personal dosha distribution) before offering sequences tailored not only to their ability level, but also their inner nature. Vata-regulation emphasises grounding, strengthening and stabilizing; pitta-regulation hones a more soothing, cooling and balancing approach; kapha-regulation energises, invigorates and stimulates.

We have also carried this over to inform many aspects of life at Tri, from our delicious Ayurvedic juices and smoothies at breakfast, to recommended activities and excursions, and choice of spa treatments and massage oil blends.

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Image credit: Recess City

We help our guests to find true inner balance — whether that means yoga and healing therapies, or boat rides and beetroot martinis at sunset — so they can return home feeling healthy, happy and inspired.”

Ocean giants: How to spot Whales, Turtles and Dolphins in Sri Lanka

Sitting a stone’s throw from the equator, within the warm and fertile waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is home to a mind-boggling diversity of marine wildlife. From tiny, colourful reef fish to magnificent cetaceans, there’s a whole underwater world to discover.

Oliver Sjostrom
Credit: Oliver Sjöström

Our local waters are famous for whale watching, with the opportunity to spot blue whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, fin whales, Bryde’s whales, bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins and much more. With such a wealth of marine wildlife, it’s important to ensure that any whale watching is operated through a responsible business.

Credit: Guille Pozzi
Credit: Guille Pozzi

Raja and the Whales is one such business — set up in 2008 by Raja Madushanka, a former fisherman who chose to dedicate his life to protecting the oceans. The company works alongside the Biosphere Foundation, the University of Rahuna and the International Fund for Animal Welfare on the Indian Ocean Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Project, collecting data to identify and protect local whale populations.

Credit: Iswanto Arif
Credit: Iswanto Arif

An alternative option for responsible whale watching leaves the oceans far below — taking to the skies in a whale watching seaplane instead. This offers a bird’s eye view of whales and dolphins splashing about below, whilst ensuring no disturbance of their behaviour.

Credit: Lachlan Dempsey
Credit: Lachlan Dempsey

Turtles are a little easier to spot on our shores: they nest on the southern coast beaches. There are many local turtle hatcheries looking after sick and injured turtles, as well as overseeing the safe hatching of new babies, and you can visit our local hatchery, Koggala Turtle Farm every day from 8am to 6pm. If you’re lucky, you could also happen upon a green turtle nesting on one of our local beaches if you visit at night.

Credit: Jeremy Bishop
Credit: Jeremy Bishop

Dolphins are perhaps our most visible oceanic residents, frequently spotted surfing the waves along the south coast and performing aerial acrobatics amongst the sea spray. Head down to the beach and watch the waves to catch a glimpse of local bottlenose dolphins — and look out for spinner dolphins, so called for the way they spin through the air!

Credit: Jeremy Bishop
Credit: Jeremy Bishop

Sunset sipping: The best sundowners in Sri Lanka

There are few more enjoyable parts to a holiday than settling down in the evening, drink in hand, to watch the sun dip below the horizon. We’re lucky enough to have a wealth of great local bars for sundown sipping, so here are a few of our very favourite little gems.

Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Credit: Galle Face Hotel
Credit: Galle Face Hotel

One of Colombo’s most iconic luxury hotels, the Galle Face Hotel has hosted generations of travellers since 1864. Head to the terrace by the pool to sip an icy G&T as the sun slips into the sea beyond.

Elephant Palace, Kabalana

Credit: Elephant Palace
Credit: Elephant Palace

One of our local spots, chic Elephant Palace is situated on beautiful Kabalana beach and is the perfect spot for sunset cocktails. Make like the locals, and dress in sunset-coloured silk kaftans from Galle Fort’s Mimimango for extra style points.

The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo

Kingsbury Hotel
Credit: Kingsbury Hotel

Ideal for celebratory drinks, the luxurious Kingsbury Hotel is situated between Galle Face Green, the World Trade Centre and the Dutch Hospital Precinct in Colombo. With a strict dress code — no shorts or sandals to be seen here — this is the one for special occasion sundowners.

Unawatuna Beach

Credit: Rowan Heuval
Credit: Rowan Heuval

One of Sri Lanka’s most famous beaches, Unawatuna is a wide, golden stretch of sand fringed with countless colourful beach bars. Following a tough surf session, this is just the place to rest aching limbs with your toes in the sand, and rehydrate in the most delicious way.

Tri’s Water Tower

Credit: Lulu Escapes
Credit: Lulu Escapes

Following a touch day of relaxing in the sunshine, restorative yoga classes, listening to the sounds of the jungle — and perhaps a midday excursion to Cinnamon Island for tea — there’s nowhere better for sundowners than our very own water tower. Located at the heart of the resort, the spiral staircase winds upwards to an open terrace, where you can enjoy an icy beer from our honesty bar, or call down for a spicy carrot martini from the bar. Settle in and watch the sky turn pink and violet — sheer bliss.

Sun, sea, sand: Southern Sri Lanka’s best beaches

From the verdant and mist-draped valleys and soaring waterfalls of the Tea Country to the spectacular temples and vast lakes of the Cultural Triangle, it’s all too easy to miss out on Sri Lanka’s beaches. These are no Maldivian powder-white sands; Sri Lankan beaches are wild and golden, boasting crashing waves, pounding surf and distant whales breaching above the turquoise seas — and all the more exciting for it. Tucked away on the serene shores of Koggala Lake, Tri is within easy reach of some of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka — here are some of our all-time favourites.

Unawatuna

Famously named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Unawatuna is a must-visit for any beach lover. Dotted with colourful guest houses and bars, this is one of the buzziest options on the coast, and offers brilliant scuba diving just off the shore.

Unawatuna

Kabalana

Just beyond Koggala, Kabalana is one of our closest beaches. The gently-shelving shoreline makes this a great spot for fans of open water swimming, whilst local surf break ‘The Rock’ is rapidly becoming one of the most popular spots on the island for braving the barrelling waves.

Kabalana Beach, Conde Nast Traveller
Credit: David Loftus for Conde Nast Traveller

Weligama

A long, wide stretch of golden sands and gentle waves, Weligama is perfectly located at the heart of the south coast surf scene, offering waves for all abilities. Fringed by palms and frequently passed by migrating whales, this picturesque beach is the ideal spot to while away an afternoon.

Weligama

Mirissa

Vibrant and colourful, bohemian Mirissa is one of the most popular local beaches. Dotted with surf shacks and beach bars serving up fresh thambili king coconuts, the sound of music drifting on the breeze, there is a huge amount to discover on this much-loved local beach.

Mirissa

 Hiruketiya

Further to the east, Hiruketiya is a small collection of coves and bays dotting the coastline towards Dickwella. A little further from tourist hotspot Galle Fort, these beaches have retained their undiscovered vibe — perfect for stretching out, coconut in hand, and doing not much at all.

Hiruketiya

Rekkawa

The easternmost beach in our selection, Rekawwa is around halfway between Tri and leopard hotspot Yala National Park. Fusing wild, boulder-strewn beaches with crashing waves and swaying palms at precarious angles, this seemingly endless sandy beach offers a slice of pure, unspoilt escapism.

Rekkawa

The impact of Yoga on your Mind

With the essence of wellbeing and concept of inner journey ever present at Tri, we hope that each and every guest will leave with a calmer mind, more nourished body and lifted spirits. We’re proud to pioneer the Quantum Yoga approach, a powerful platform that offers individualised and dynamic self-healing through yoga, breath and meditation. Its approach is holistic, leaning on the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, and combining this with the modern insight of Quantum Physics.

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The Health Benefits of Quantum Yoga

Quantum Physics has proven that any activity, when done with a heightened level of awareness, bears a greater transformative potential. Just by being more conscious, our cells vibrate with increased healing intention. Combine this with the therapeutic practice of yoga, and we have the ability to rewire our minds for the better.

Yoga at Tri Lanka

Sanctuary of peace

Patanjali’s definition of yoga in the Yoga Sutras of the 3rd century CE is “Yogash Citta Vritti Nirodha”, literally translated as “Yoga is the stopping of the thoughts turning around in your mind.” A calming and grounding practice, yoga disconnects us from the constant hum-drum of daily stresses and offers us a true sanctuary of peace.

Increased serotonin levels

A true Quantum yogi masters the harmonisation of breath and movement, and the concentration required to fully do so can lead to a meditative or trance-like state, welcoming increased serotonin levels and in turn feelings of positivity and happiness.

 Appreciation of the now

 As a practice that promotes a conscious and loving interaction between the body and mind, yoga allows us to be grounded in the present moment, promoting an increased awareness of self, a connection to the world around us and an appreciation of the now.

 Physical benefits

 Moving beyond our spiritual and mental wellbeing, the benefits of yoga extend to our physical bodies too. The practice offers a plethora of benefits, including improved motor skills and coordination, increased energy levels, flexibility and strength, better posture, greater muscle tone and agility.

 

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Wish you were here: The five best views in Sri Lanka

We’re lucky to live in such a diverse and varied country, boasting an endless variety of spectacular sights. If you can tear yourself away from our lakeside panoramas, there are a wealth of views to behold. From the highest mountain peaks to long, golden beaches, here is our round-up of the best Sri Lankan views…

Sigiriya at sunrise

Wikimedia

Located in the heart of the cultural triangle, surrounded by towering peaks and vast lakes, Sigiriya is renowned as one of the most beautiful spots in Sri Lanka. The towering ‘Lion’s Rock’ is an icon of Sri Lanka and a place of pilgrimage for locals and travellers alike. The best views come at sunrise, but this means the path to the top is often busy. Our suggestion? Head to neighbouring Pidurangala rock. This little-known peak is often empty, and offers spectacular views of Sigiriya Fortress without the crowds.

Nuwara Eliya from the train

Credit: Salt in our Hair
Credit: Salt in our Hair

The train ride through Sri Lanka’s lush and mountainous hill country is renowned as one of the world’s most spectacular rides. Journeying through tea fields, past waterfalls and colourful villages, the train snakes its way from the coast all the way to the verdant central region. The most picturesque stretch goes through Nuwara Eliya, with clear days offering views right down to the south coast. Grab a ‘short eat’ of crisp vadai fritters at the station, settle into your seat and drink in the views…

Adam’s Peak / Sri Pada

Abbeyman2002
Credit: Flicker / Abbeyman2002

A sacred place for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike, Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak is a uniquely symmetrical mountain located in central Sri Lanka, known for a sacred footprint found within a rock formation near the summit. For the most breathtaking Sri Lanka view, climb the mountain in the pre-dawn darkness, and arrive at the peak in time to watch the sun rise behind you, casting a distinctive triangular shadow on the clouds lining the valley below.

Unawatuna at Sunset

Pixabay

One of Sri Lanka’s best-loved beaches, Unawatuna is a long, palm-fringed stretch of golden sand and crashing waves running along the island’s southern tip. Surfers and sun-worshippers flock to the beaches by day, but we think the best views come at sunset, when the sky is stained gold and pink. Relax on the sand, coconut in hand and watch the sun set over the sea with nothing between you and Antarctica.

Koggala Lake from Tri’s water tower      

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Credit: Chandler Borries

Perhaps we’re a little biased, but we think that one of the best views on the island can be found right on our doorstep. Follow the spiralling path from the pool, up past the library and yoga shala to the water tower. Climb the spiralling stair case to the very top, to find our hidden little viewing platform. As the sun sets below the trees, this is our very favourite spot to relax, sip an ice-cold beer from the honesty bar and listen to the sounds of nature at dusk.

Where are your favourite views in Sri Lanka? Let us know in the comments below.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is all around at Tri, from the sweet scent that lingers from the wood that adorns our villas and suites, to the bark freshly cut from the tree that makes its mark in our aromatic curries and fragrant dahl. For centuries, cinnamon has been used in Ayurvedic practices to harmonise the doshas, particularly good for balancing Vata and pacifying Kapha.

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More recently, the spice has been widely acknowledged for its health benefits, helping to improve everything from heart health to brain function. Here are five reasons why cinnamon’s bark is as powerful as its bite:

1. CINNAMON IS A GREAT SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS

Cinnamon is jam-packed full of antioxidants – substances that protect us from free radicals (essentially, the things that cause nasty diseases). Foods high in antioxidants are associated with a whole range of health benefits, including improved heart health, better immune systems and lower risk of infection. More antioxidants = happier bodies.

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Credit: Sara Melotti

2. CINNAMON CAN LOWER CHOLESTEROL

We’re constantly warned of the dangers of high cholesterol, but with different types of cholesterol in different foods, it can be confusing to know what we’re ‘allowed’ to eat. Cinnamon helps to raise the levels of HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol) in our bodies, which in turn helps remove LDL, aka ‘bad’ cholesterol. Lower LDL means improved heart health, and likely a lower risk of heart disease.

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Credit: Sara Melotti

3. CINNAMON CAN HELP TO TREAT TYPE 2 DIABETES

Cinnamon has been floated as helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as it has the ability to reduce blood pressure and have a positive effect on blood markers for those suffering from the condition. Its sweet, vibrant flavour also means it can be used as a natural sweetener in many dishes, reducing daily sugar intake.

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Credit: Sara Melotti

4. CINNAMON HAS NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC, ANTI-VIRAL & ANTI-FUNGAL PROPERTIES

As cinnamon is a natural antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent, it can be used to fight a whole range of day-to-day nasties. Next time you feel a common cold coming on, hold off on the Lemsip and reach for a bottle of cinnamon oil to rub onto your pressure points, instead.

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Credit: Sara Melotti

5. CINNAMON CAN BE USED TO IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION

Studies have shown that one of the benefits of cinnamon’s antioxidant properties is that it can help defend the brain against neurological disorders, particularly helpful in improving motor function for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

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Credit: Sara Melotti

Take a trip with us to Cinnamon Island for the full experience from tree to tea.

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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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.

Wikipedia

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.

Credit: Pixabay

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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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.

Credit: Josh Kempinaire
Credit: Josh Kempinaire

Welcome to Koggala Lake

Koggala Lake near Koggala in Sri Lanka is a freshwater lagoon which sits 9.8 feet (3 metres) above the sea level near the south coast of Sri Lanka.

Koggala itself is a small coastal town in Galle District in the Southern Province, Sri Lanka. Dotted with lots of mini islands, including Temple Island or Island Buddha Temple which has a Buddhist temple that is a magnet on poya (full moon) days. You can take a tour of the lake with our private dhoni and visit Cinnamon Island. Bordered by jungle and forest this is a landscape rich in wildlife.

LAND ON THE LAKE

A respected air-taxi service is operated by Cinnamon Air which offers daily scheduled flights to Koggala from Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo International Airport), and their white dual-engine DeHavilland Twin Otter lands right on the water. This air taxi treats passengers to a bird’s-eye view over Koggala and is an excellent gateway to Mirissa, Habaradu, Waweligama, Thalpe, Tangalle and Rekawa.

AN EXTRAORDINARY AIRPORT
Koggala Airport, the oldest in Sri Lanka, has its own interesting history stories to tell. Since the lake was used as a landing point for seaplanes when World War II was in its throes, a fixed water runway was built here and it became the largest flying-boat base in the eastern world. In June 1944, two Sunderlands (RAF flying boat patrol bombers) from Koggala were celebrated when they rescued wounded British Indian special forces from Burma. Next, Koggala played a part for the QEA/Imperial Airways route from London to Sydney. Because of the Japanese occupation of the Malay Peninsula they lost their crucial fuel stop-off point in Singapore and alternative route for Britain–Australia needed to be created at Koggala. A tarmac runway was developed for Air Ceylon after the war and this continued to be hub until 1978. As tranquil as Koggala is today, the current runway is still capable of servicing Sri Lanka Air Force planes.

 

The Flora and Fauna at Tri

Sri Lanka is well known to be a wildlife lover’s paradise – and you don’t have to stray from Tri to appreciate that. Nature is all around us, observes Rob Drummond.

Before we opened, as we were starting to landscape our grounds on Koggala Lake, we invited the Carbon Consulting Company to come and assess the biodiversity of Aladoowa. This was so we could get details about the flora and fauna here and so we could learn how best to enhance the biodiversity of our Sri Lankan eco retreat.

Biodiversity plays an important role in a hotel – from the food served to the materials used in the furniture and fittings – and we recognised that building a new luxury hotel can have a negative impact on our ecosystem, so we were determined to be as ecologically sensitive as possible. Our aim was to enrich the land by planting trees, introduce rare species of mangrove, increase the firefly population and to create a butterfly garden.

In January 2014 the CCC identified 97 species of fauna, five of which were endemic, 89 native and five migratory. This included 51 bird species – including the endangered blue-tailed bee-eater – 18 butterfly species, eight dragonfly species, three amphibian species, six reptile species and three mammal species…

Some of the characters you’ll see at our nature-loving Sri Lankan hotel:

BIRDS

Great hornbill (pictured) These magnificent yellow-beaked big-eyelashed black-and-white birds are best spotted in the morning as they flutter through the treetops. Males can live up to the age of 50. Listen for their loud, high-pitched calls and cackles.

Brown-headed barbet Listen for the loud monotonous call of these birds which live in pairs and feed on berries, fruits and insects. They much prefer village gardens and open greenery to dense forests.

Blue-tailed bee-eater You’ll spy these mostly in winter, when they can be seen plunging into the water to bath. They prey on flying insects such as bees, wasps, dragonflies and butterflies and can be spotted sallying out from the top of trees where they perch as flocks of usually less than ten birds.

Indian pond heron You can’t miss these poking out from paddy fields – they love marshy wetlands and places they can feed on fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects. They are solitary by day, and then roost with their birds of a feather by night.

Red-vented bulbul These cuties live in pairs in gardens and scrublands and are prolific breeders. Look out for their nests made up of little twigs and rootlets bound together by cobwebs.

Asian koel During Sinhala new year season keep your ears open for the mating call of the male bird as this is also the start of their breeding season.

Stork-billed kingfisher The largest of the kingfisher family, you’ll spot these fish-eaters in rivers, marshes, paddy fields, and lagoons.

Jerdon’s nightjar The big eyes are a clue this is a nocturnal bird. During the day, they lie silently on the ground, hidden by their plumage.

Emerald dove  These birds love wooded gardens and plantations and are usually found on terra firma in pairs. Their nests are mostly in small trees or in the jungle and are not very high up.

Pompadour green-pigeon Endemic to Sri Lanka, but its fast-and-direct flight with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings are characteristic of pigeons in general.

White-breasted sea eagle Whether in Asia or Australia, these birds breed and hunt near water, since fish makes up half of their diet. They’re also opportunistic, and will tuck into carrion if it’s available.

Long-billed sunbird You can’t miss this little blue-headed curve-beaked bird endemic to peninsular India and Sri Lanka. It’s a sociable so-and-so, often found close to human settlements probably due to abundant of flowering plants which it feeds on the nectar of along with tiny insects, spiders and caterpillars. The nest is recognisable as a hanging pear-shaped structure with an entrance in the side.

Asian palm-swift These small birds spend much of their lifetime in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks. They drink on the wing, but roost on vertical cliffs or walls. Not unlike many luxury hotel guests, they’re slow risers in the mornings. They breed in southern Spain, Africa and then head northeastwards through southern Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

Black-rumped flameback Look out for these bright-red birds in forests and home gardens of lowlands and hills. They like to spend time as a twosome pairs and they graze on ants and insects inside tree barks. Their hopping movements around branches are quite unique.

ANIMALS AND AMPHIBIANS

Southern purple-faced langur This endangered long-tailed arboreal monkey endemic to Sri Lanka inhabits thick jungles and wooded gardens. Their tails are carried hanging down, not over their backs as how the grey langur struts its stuff. When it comes to mealtimes, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruits are on the menu.

Palm squirrel There are four subspecies of this critter that’s found all over Sri Lanka except in heavy jungles. Nuts, seeds, fruits, flowers, bark are their natural diet but they’ll happily seek out rice or bread us humans accidentally drop scraps of.

Common shrub frog Endemic to Sri Lanka, this little amphibian hangs out in tropical moist lowland forests, arable land, pastureland and gardens.

Garden lizard The harmless agamid lizard is arboreal and diurnal, and while usually seen on low shrubs and tree trunks waiting for its lunch of insects it’s often drawn to human habitations.

Green forest lizard Handsome and highly arboreal, found in both forest and anthropogenic habitats such as gardens and plantations, it has a very long tail and is considered the largest Calotes species in Sri Lanka. Various colours have been recorded for this species.

BUTTERFLIES AND BUGS

Variegated flutterer Easily mistaken for butterflies these fragile south-east Asian dragonflies don’t have a very strong flying skills. Give them some encouragement if you see them.

Blue pursuer You’ll spy these common dragonflies from the Mediterranean through southern and eastern Asia to Australia. Small weedy ponds and marshes are their favoured stomping ground. When it comes to flying, they’re fast and strong and they often prey on other dragonflies. (Watch your backs, variegated flutterers.)

Common jezebel A medium-sized butterfly it is found everywhere in southern Asia – in cities, villages, gardens, forests – just about anywhere which has trees to support the semi-parasitic mistletoe. The Jezebel often flies high up in the canopy and usually comes lower down only to feed on nectar in flowers.

Indian cupid A tiny little flutterby found in Australasia and Indomalaya you’ll even spot them in the highest elevations in the wet zone –throughout the year.

Chocolate soldier Commonly spotted in areas with thick vegetation or on either side of gravel roadsides and waste places. It clearly has a little wanderlust as it’s been known to join migratory flights.

Common sailer An all-weather year-round flier, especially where it’s dense with vegetation and lightly wooded. It has been known to follow migration paths towards south India.

Crimson rose They fly close to the ground and their flight is fast and straight. The male butterfly has a black-coloured upper side and his underside is a dull brownish black and his head and stomach are bright pink. The female is similar, but the sequence of are duller, with pale pink, and the top of their abdomen is black.

Tailed jay This mainly green-and-black tropical butterfly is more abundant in wet zones. It flies really fast and only pauses for a moment at each flower. If disturbed it zooms off vertically to considerable height before flying away.