Extremes Of Lanka
Giles came to Sri Lanka in 1996 to flee the rat race in London and change his lifestyle for something a little less stressful.
For six years he managed this very successfully by doing very little indeed apart from travelling to all parts of the island and helping to set up Ulpotha Village, a small but highly successful Yoga and Ayurveda retreat in the foothills of the Galgiriyawa Mountain Range.
Since then he has been involved in many tourism and property related projects in most of the south, west and east of the island, including restaurants in Colombo and new dolphin watching ‘hotspot’ Alankuda Beach on the Kalpitiya spit.
Giles lives in Colombo with his wife, Anthe and their gorgeous daughter, Zindzi.
An Interview with Giles
Why did you come to Sri Lanka?
For a change of lifestyle. I had friends living here who I had visited before and decided this was the place for me.
What makes Sri Lanka unique?
Its diversity; the fact that a short drive will take you through such totally different environments.
Three absolute Sri Lankan musts?
Kataragama Perahera on the last night, dolphin watching in Kalpitiya, exploring Ritigalla Mountain.
Upcott to Maskeliya Reservoir through acres of lush green tea.
Pelmadulla, near Ratnapura over the mountains to Deniyaya. Stunning!
Paragliding in the Knuckles Range.
Murunga or drumsticks – the green, bean-like fruit of the horseradish tree. Simply delicious in a curry!
Fresh Woodapple Juice.
The little Ayurveda shop in Gaspar, Pettah.
The expansive Suriya Suite at Aditya, Ratgama.
Geoffrey Bawa’s masterpiece at Bentota, Lunuganga.
Best time of the year?
Any Poya (full moon day) as you can get around Colombo without traffic and at night you can enjoy the full moon.
Kataragama or Udappuwa, a coastal village in the Puttalam District.
On the south and west – Talalla, Seenimodera, Mawella, Alankuda and the spit past Kalpitiya. On the east – Panama Lagoon, Pottuvil Point, Peanut Farm, Kalkudah and the south end of Nilaveli.
Is there a soundtrack to your Sri Lanka journey?
The Kaffirs – descendents of African slaves brought over by the Dutch colonialists to Puttalam. Make sure you experience their vigorous baila (drumming and dancing) for yourself!
Essential qualities for travelling in Sri Lanka?
Tolerance and patience go a long way.
If you get to the Kataragama Festival, make sure you listen to the Muslims chanting; Rent a bike to go around Polonnaruwa – don’t walk; Take a train – the journey from Hatton to Badulla is breathtaking.
Vital word or phrase?
Engage with the people.