The road up to Halgolla Plantation Home in Galagedara, Sri Lanka, is steep and unpaved, but holy moly—what a payoff. Located in the mid-country hills, about 45 minutes from tourist-swamped Kandy, the three-bedroom homestay is as remote as it is memorable. Senior hosts Emil and Arlene are funny, talkative, and curious. They dote on guests like long-lost grandchildren, quizzing them about their lives and feeding them until their buttons pop. Breakfast is included in the price of a room (from $60 USD/night), but you’ll want to stick around for lunch and dinner as well. The food is delicious and the conversation lively, often turning to Sri Lankan history, politics, and world affairs.
Wake up early to take a dip in the soaking pool, strike a yoga pose on the meditation rock, or join Emil for a guided hike around the property. He’ll point out unique herbs, jungle flowers, and rare birds. (Tip: If you go on a walkabout, wear long pants and hiking boots—lest you befriend a few leeches.)
Back at the house, Arlene and the staff will have laid out a lovely breakfast spread, including jams and jellies made with fruit harvested on the property. The rooms here are very simple but the company is terrific, as are the sunsets. Guests receive a goodie bag stuffed with homegrown nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla pods as a parting gift—a lovely souvenir from the warmest of hosts.
Galagedera, Kandy, Sri Lanka; +94-72-284-9770.