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Experiences with a Boutique Ayurvedic Retreat in Sri Lanka

With all there is to see and do in Sri Lanka and all the obstacles in our way, we were glad that we went with a boutique Ayurvedic retreat. We weren’t greeted at the gate, like the Egypt trip, so we had a moment to experience the Sri Lankan chaos on our own. We couldn’t read any of the airport signs, but we followed the crowd to customs. There we could read the signs threatening draconian punishment for drug possession but could only guess about the rest of the penal code. After walking past the in-airport appliance store, we met our driver, who took us through the brutal traffic to our remote jungle retreat.

Once we were on the property, our decompression started in earnest. We ate healing herbs gathered from the retreat’s garden, had an ayurvedic consultation, and practiced mindfulness. It was a transitional time where Ed was leaving a job he held for 20-years, but even those stresses melted away at the retreat, and we felt at least a decade younger in our minds and bodies. If you ever need total relaxation and recentering, it’s when everything you own is on a shipping truck heading to a new home that you’ve never seen.

The day trips and conversation introduced us to a side of Sri Lanka that we never saw again after leaving the retreat. With the retreat’s information and guidance, we saw Sri Lanka from a local’s perspective and avoided the tourist mill.

After the retreat, we stayed over at Hikkaduwa and experienced the typical tourist tropes. For example, the Ayurvedic ‘herb garden’ was only interested in selling ‘cures’ and the best restaurant in town was a burger shop run by Australian ex-pats.

It’s hard to say which was worse, going to the turtle hatchery where they passed around a live sea turtle or the way overpriced ‘moonstone mine’ where I doubt they mined anything in the last 20-years but still paid guys to stay in the pit and speak to the busloads of tourists. We experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of Hikkaduwa, but even the best parts couldn’t compare to our boutique adventures with the Ayurvedic resort.

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