Tea House to Tree House: Where to Stay in Sri Lanka

Not long into my search for accommodations in Sri Lanka, it was evident that Airbnb would be our best option.  Two particular listings spoke to me & soon we were booked to stay in a private tea plantation in the Central Province & a tree house just outside of Yala National Park.  Here’s a little more about the journey to & stay in each place!

Ramboda Villa


Getting there:  From our hotel in Colombo, we spent about an hour trying to hunt down a driver willing to bring us to Ramboda.  Once we finally secured a ride, he picked us up & unbeknownst to the two blondes in the backseat, we ended up spending the next 7-8 hours praying for our survival.  Driving in Sri Lanka is down right frightening.  There were points when I thought it would be best if I was blindfolded for the duration of the ride, but alas we finally arrived at our tea plantation oasis in the late afternoon.


The Place:  We found it to be true to the photos displayed online, but were a bit taken back by the live-in caretakers.  They were lovely and prepared us two delicious meals, catered to our requests for enough wine to fill up a bath tub wine & also taxiing us around as we searched for an ATM that would allow us to withdraw funds.  We just didn’t expect to be staying in the house with other people.

Queen of the Castle



Objects in the rearview mirror

The Highlights:



This adorable little pup that trailed our tuk-tuk for miles!  (note:  he seemed to be the resident dog at the Villa and was well cared for.  We think he just likes a quick tuk-tuk ride!)



The Lowlights:

Getting there.  This video says it all.

Leaving there.  A very expensive, long ride to our next destination.

Ever eat noodles from a cardboard box…
using straws as makeshift chop sticks?











Should you stay here?:  Sure!  If you are in the area and have a bit more time than us, it’s a lovely place to call home for a few days!

Kumbuck River Tree House


Getting there:  Buckle up!  You are in for a REAL ADVENTURE.  This little gem can only be compared to finding a needle in a haystack.  Without a doubt, you will not be able to find this place without a native Sri Lankan behind the wheel.  And even then we still got lost.  We had been warned that there were often elephants blocking the entrance road, which sounded both insane & incredible.  While we didn’t encounter this road block, we did reach a point in which our car hire could no longer traverse the dirt/ rocky road any further.  We were advised to park, stay put and wait for a tuk-tuk to pick us up to bring us the rest of the way.  Several hours past sundown, we finally arrived at our remote tree house.  So remote, in fact, our driver also hunkered down for the night on site as well.

tuk-tuk rescue by moonlight

The Place:  Such a unique structure!!  This two story tree house, had a large living/sleeping area, complete with a floor to ceiling window overlooking the river below.  The top floor, which was open air, was used for dining.  Unfortunately at the hour we arrived, mosquitos had overtaken the dining area, so we opted to have dinner inside.  The food was AMAZING; the best dishes we had in all of Asia.  We were lucky enough to enjoy breakfast on the top floor & the food was again SO, SO delicious.


The Highlights:


just a little humid.

The Staff & grounds were both wonderful.  Such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, complete with a beautiful setting!




The Lowlights:

Getting there. As you may have noticed, getting around in Sri Lanka, can be rather frustrating but the silver lining was seeing some very unique roadblocks!


Elephant crossing
Elephant crossing

Should you stay here?:  YES!!  Just make sure to stay for at least two nights to make the journey worth it!


If you are looking for unique accommodations in Sri Lanka, have ample time & a mid-range budget, you should totally check out these Airbnbs!


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  1. Maggie

    December 5, 2016 at 2:48 am

    What an amazing experience! I absolutely love tree houses and this one looks amazing once you find it! And how cool it must have been to see elephants in the road.

  2. neha

    December 5, 2016 at 3:49 am

    You had a great experience. That tree house is simply adorable. I would love to stay here on my visit to sri lanka

  3. The Travel Ninjas

    December 5, 2016 at 4:27 am

    What a great experience to share Sri Lanka with your best friend. Even the lowlights were pretty awesome. The elephant traffic jam was such a humorous delay.

  4. Crazy Dutch Abroad

    December 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    WOW, an elephant on the road! What a great trip with all kinds of experiences from crowded roads with cows to the very remote (scary?) tree house. The bath tub of wine made me laugh, perfectly said. 🙂

  5. Anthony Jury

    December 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Oh don’t you just hate when elephant blocks the road, happens all the time, “yeah right.” It seems the challenge in Sri Lanka is certainly on the road and looks like there are some great drivers. Luckily your accommodation looked top notch and all seemed well in the end.

  6. Ashley Smith

    December 5, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    That drive sounds terrifying. I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve just had to close my eyes and hope for the best! Both of those places are amazing and those animals in the road are so funny.

  7. Christina

    December 6, 2016 at 3:35 am

    I am just starting to plan a Sri Lanka trip and hadn’t thought about AirBnBs. These both look like amazing places and the caretakers at the Ramboda house seemed very helpful. I am not sure about the driving, though. This is definitely something I have to get used to (and will need a lot of xanax) before going on our trip.

  8. Gokul Raj

    December 6, 2016 at 5:41 am

    The stay at Ramboda Villa must have been amazing. Looks like a classy place. And the weather forecasting stone. Those signs are something we need to consider seriously.

  9. Medhavi Davda

    December 6, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Wow, this looks like an excellent place to stay in Sri Lanka. The ambience, the rooms, the location is just so perfect. I loved the river side tree house, looks like an ideal pick

  10. Tracy

    December 6, 2016 at 6:56 am

    That weather forecast stone photo is the champion! Especially the last point burst me into laugh. Haha..Sri Lanka is one of the country I wish to visit one day. Hope my experience can be as great as yours – staying in the tree house my kind of thing I want to do. 🙂

  11. Lisa

    December 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing. I would love to stay there. It looks to be in a great location where you get to experience a little bit of everything. Wildlife, rivers, and beautiful countryside!

  12. Allison

    December 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    The villa looks amazing, particularly sunset over the pool. I would have been shocked as well to find caretakers in residence!

  13. Louiela

    December 9, 2016 at 6:10 am

    You remind me of my visit to Sri Lanka, but i wasn’t able to stay in that tree house. What an amazing experience, isn’t it? The one who made that stone forecasting weather is a genius 🙂
    What did you feel you’re on a car somewhere down the road with all those bulls?

  14. Stephanie Frias

    December 10, 2016 at 12:52 am

    This certainly sounds like quite the adventure. I think you ladies are brave..I would have been freaking out to drive for 7-8 hours, arriving in the dark…and then to realize that I had house mates! Wowza. Still sounds like a wonderful and unique experience, and I’m certain one that you will never forget!

  15. Agnes

    December 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Even though the driving takes a long time, the experience looks really special. I really love the last picture, when you stumbled on an elephant with a stork (?) on the road. And the places you stayed at look nice too. One of a kind experience.

  16. Aleks F.

    December 12, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Wow this looked so awesome!! We want to visit Sri Lanka and it looks like you guys really hit the jackpot with this Airbnb although the surprise other guests is funny! The house looked so beautiful and I loved hearing about your adventures throughout the surroundings. I have definitely heard stories about the driving through parts of there and the animals blocking the road and it’s so insane to imagine but must be pretty cool to experience. Btw love the impromptu chopsticks with the straws! Lol. Excited to hear more adventures!

  17. Agness of Fit Travelling

    February 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Sarah & Brigette the palace looks gorgeous, so does your photos! I am very glad that you had such a great time!

  18. Dee

    February 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I’m excited to find this post! I’ll be going in a few weeks! I love your pics and places you recommended to stay! The coll stone with the sign that tell the weather is very earthy and natural! It would be a good for a campsite or even my backyard! LOL Thanks for sharing these!

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