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3 Days Authentic Cooking Holiday in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Culinary Vacation

Discover the flavors and culture of Sri Lanka through its diverse and delicious vacation and learn about the traditional Sri Lankan delicacies. Take the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of rural Weerawila, learn local culinary secrets with expert chefs at Saraii Village, dine out in a farmer's home, take tour around the great waters of Tissa, and learn about the cuisine of the locals here, all in this culinary vacation.


  • Local cooking lessons
  • Street food tour around the lake
  • Visit local fish and farmer's market
  • Visit Yala National Park Safari
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • All daily meals


3 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Saraii Village is one of the most sought after Weerawila hotels nestled inside a private estate in the middle of the dry zone. At Saraii Village, the grounds have large green trees that are rare in the dry zone, which is known for its biting heat and lack of shade cover. Today, Saraii Village's garden is a haven for all visitors and that includes the birds, squirrels, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.

Saraii Village is home to a total of over 1,600 trees. They include endemic hardwood trees like teak, mahogany, halmilla, ebony, burutha, sooriyamara, kaya, margosa, and other species were planted along with different types of fruit trees, mango, oranges, passion fruit, pomegranate, and papaya. A key difference from the animals you spot in the wet lands is their color or the lack of it.

Most of Saraii Village's residents, except for the birds, take on shades of brown, black, and grey in keeping with their arid surroundings. Some chameleons take a vivid orange and red. Many small mammals, such as squirrels and birds, especially peacocks from the area, visit Saraii Village thanks to the abundance of trees and fruits.

The lakes and tanks around Saraii Village are home to hundreds of birds and winter migrants. Also, in the larger lakes you are bound to spot other amazing bird species. It is in close proximity to the most prominent water resources in the area, which attracts a considerable number of animals during the dry season. The most common animal of the area is the feral Buffalo.

The mud chalets are designed in line with true Sri Lankan rural homes, which means an open-air concept. Saraii Village is the best place to escape the sizzling heat, thanks to the cool cover of a man-made mini canopy of over 1,000 trees. You will enjoy a truly rustic stay with the feel of a private home in the wilds thrown in. All rooms at Saraii Village have free Wi-Fi, extra beds, a lounge, fresh linen, free natural toiletries, tea and coffee, room service, a private bathroom, and luggage storage.

The lounge spaces are uniquely Sri Lankan in their design, which means you can expect open spaces and not air conditioned rooms, mosquito nets and not poisonous repellants, a rustic collection of furniture, a comfy range of cushions, and mattresses and mats to sleep, chill, and lay on.

Deluxe mud chalet

The deluxe mud chalets are small and beautiful, nestled under the tree house suites. The cozy couple of deluxe mud chalets are perfect for those romantic escapes. Colorful and comfortable, each of the deluxe mud chalets are well-appointed with some creative niches and fittings and are lovingly crafted with some artistic nooks that add detailed authenticity to each chalet.

Deluxe tree house

The deluxe tree house is easily the coziest tree house at Saraii Village. Built for a maximum of three persons, this is a true hideout in the leaves. Each deluxe tree house at Saraii Village has a little survival box from binoculars, a cool box, and first aid kit. The deluxe three houses are perfect to look out of your tree house hideout with your morning tea or coffee, seated on the cushions spread out on the floor of your tree house.

Mud chalet suites

The mud chalet suites are large and spacious with bigger than king-size beds and are perfect for visitors wanting to stay grounded. The mud chalet suites are cozily placed for comfort. One faces the rising sun and is surrounded by garden patches of organic fruits and vegetables. The other is tucked away in the corner of the man-made forest.

The mud chalet is private and spacious with a fan for additional cooling and mosquito nets. The cushioned outer porches of each suite at the eco lodge, allows guests to put their heels up and just enjoy the surroundings or catch up on some reading. The original mud chalets are unique in how they are built with the use of the age-old practice of mud walls that literally breathe. The walls absorb the cold and moisture at night, which help keep the interior cool during the heat of the day.

Superior mud chalet

The superior mud chalet stands apart and alone, but is best placed for privacy, comfort, and simple relaxation. It is lovingly designed with antique doors and windows and has its own private bathroom. The superior mud chalet is a home by itself for couples wishing to just stay in and enjoy the peace and quiet or for the lazy guest looking for a quiet read, a comfortable bed, and breakfast in bed.

The spacious area of the superior mud chalet also makes it perfect for groups of friends wishing to spend their holiday time together. The chalet has its own collection of board games, books, and a great collection of tea and coffee that will keep you up for those late night conversations.

Superior tree house

The superior tree house is located among Saraii Village's oldest tree houses with two floors providing room for three to four persons. The superior tree house is built on a sturdy old Palu tree. The tree house is 25 feet high and lives up to its name, known for giving its guests an immense feeling of safety high up in the leaves. Once you clamber up the ladder, you will discover why it is also a guest favorite.

The superior tree house is a popular choice of accommodation amongst eco lodges in Sri Lanka and is also great for groups who want to bunk down together and families with kids.

Tree house suites

The large tree house suites are Saraii Village’s newest addition to the collection of tree top experiences. The tree houses are large enough and laid out to house even eight guests. Each tree house suite comes with two floors with an extra-large bed and built-in bathroom upstairs and a large spacious lounge downstairs. The suites are perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway or for friends who travel in groups.


Day 1

  • Check-in
  • Lunch
  • Cooking lesson (two sweets)
  • Local market tour
  • Fish market tour
  • Dinner

Day 2

  • Breakfast
  • Cooking lesson (two dishes)
  • Farmers lunch
  • Bike tour
  • Cooking lesson (two drinks)
  • Street food by Tissa Lake
  • Dinner

Day 3

  • Yala safari
  • Check-out

Included excursions

For this retreat, you will be on your way to local market tour, Hambanthota fish market tour, and a street food tour by the Tissa Lake. You will also enjoy lunch at a farmer's home and for the last day, enjoy a Yala National Park Safari excursion.


This retreat will be held at the Saraii Village in Weerawila, Sri Lanka. Saraii Village is located in Weerawila, which is in a prime spot amongst other Tissamaharama hotels, not far from Tissamaharama and Kataragama. This area is famous for the beautiful lakes and ancient temples, and is known as Yala gates.

Nearby places:

  • Bundala National Park, 12 kilometers
  • Colombo, 250 kilometers
  • Kirinda Beach, 22 kilometers
  • Wirawila Bird Sanctuary, 1 kilometer


Every day at Saraii Village, they celebrate local food, local farming, and local culture by serving organic meals inspired by these connections. Each meal is prepared by local artisans who enjoy making the food more interesting and the meals more memorable. Food is a central part of life in Sri Lanka and their hotel in Tissamaharama makes it a point to celebrate the best of Sri Lankan cuisine when they plan the meals at Saraii Village.

Saraii Village don't boast of a vast menu, but they have some mouthwatering surprises on their homegrown menu (they grow their own vegetables, fruits, and greens) and they are proud of their resident artisan cooks who can rustle up a meal before you can say lunch. Expect authentic Sri Lankan meals at Saraii Village with an occasional diversion to a Western dish whenever a guest demands it.

Main meals

Don't expect a regular menu at Saraii Village, but expect surprises. They cook authentic Sri Lankan meals from a seasonal menu, which is decided by what is growing in their garden, what is selling at the local market, and what they can find for you locally.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be an abundant spread of local fruit, traditional Sri Lankan curries and salads, lots of bread and rice, and even a Western spread for those who don't favor their spicy cuisine. Speak to the manager about getting special meals done for your kids and they might surprise you.


The prize winner on their menu is the giant lake prawn that sits half way across your plate. A guest favorite for barbecue or savoury curry, the lake prawn is followed closely by their range of vegetarian dishes that would awe the most choosy vegan. A mouth-watering range of organic vegetables are matched by special range of greens, salads, and fruits, which are served at every meal. Sink your teeth into their juicy home grown papayas and tell them what you think.


Sri Lankans love to snack and at Saraii Village, they give all their guests the full range of their local snacking options. You can speak to the staff about getting your own sandwiches and salads or try out some more adventurous options, like bakery rolls, the famous malu paan or fish bun, the popular garlic infused potato snacks that make your mouth water, plus the coconut chilli salad they call the pol sambol that would make your eyes water too.


Drinks on demand might find you always sipping something tropically sweet, fruity, or even spicy at Saraii Village. While the kitchen is not short of its own list, you are welcome to share your own recipes for fresh fruit smoothies, tropical infusions, and of course, the tea and coffee. Telling them early will allow their staff to go find any seasonal ingredients in time for whizzing up your drinks and smoothies.

Things to do (optional)

Angler's potluck fishing

The local fisherman set out each morning to cast their nets or to check on their overnight bait. Your task will be to help them out, watch out for that giant lake prawn and the crocodiles that rise to catch an early snack on your fishing tours in Sri Lanka. If you already have your own fishing gear, then advice on the best spots from the locals is all you need. Set the hook, mend your line, watch your drift, and haul in your catch.

If you are not a fan of fly-fishing, you can always cast a different kind of net. Throw nets or visi del are a popular form of fishing, you can either watch or participate. You may let the team cook up that fresh catch with a tantalizing array of southern spices. The regular accompaniment of manioc and pol sambol sprinkled with some homemade lime pickle is literally a hot favorite or you can also cook your own fish the way you like it as well.

Barbecue by the beach tour

At Saraii Village, you may have several activities to choose from before you enjoy your quiet night by the lake. You may go out for an evening boat ride and catch some fresh fish for the grill or stay ashore and prep the site until the crew makes a jolly landing. You can light up your site with a nice array of Saraii lanterns or ask for those extra cool solar lights from Saraii Village that are definitely smash, trod, and baby-proof.

Beach tour

Kirinda beach is near from Saraii Village and is easily one of the most attractive beaches in the southern coast. It is made famous for being the landing place of Queen Viharamaha Devi who is considered one of ancient Sri Lanka's great heroines.

Bike tour

Cycling is a popular mode of transport at the Sri Lankan village and although the bicycles you will find at Saraii Village maybe a little tougher looking than your average village cycle, the challenge will be to ride in the dry heat with only a warm breeze to cool you down. For those willing to explore, Saraii Village is a treasure trove of bike paths that run through local homes and fields, some of which has not been discovered yet.

While the main highway is probably the biggest safest main road, it is recommended to take a guide from the hotel for more scenic roads, which run through shrub jungles, paddy fields, and even around the Wirawila Lake.

Bird watching tour

Saraii Village is close to the Wirawila Bird Sanctuary, which is about one kilometer away, and the Bundala National Park. Both are well-known bird watching hotspots, making Saraii Village the perfect base to set out on Sri Lanka bird watching tours. Arm yourself with a set of binoculars and take a boat along the Wirawila Lake at dawn, which is the best time for observing bird life in the dry zone.

The Bundala Bird Sanctuary is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. It is home to over 197 species of birds like the greater flamingo that migrates in large flocks.

Chill and relax under the night sky

At Saraii Village, you may relax under a night sky without the sounds of traffic and the light pollution of the city, you may explore wide-open spaces without concrete and cables to block your view and just chill to the sounds of nature at its best.

Lake tour

Going out on a motor-less boat with just the swish of the oars is almost meditative early morning. Dawn is the perfect time to go across the Wirawila Lake just as the sun warms and sparkles on the water on one of the most memorable Sri Lanka eco tours that you will ever have. If the fishing tours prove too adventurous, you can always grab a paddle and help the local fishermen steer their boats who will be your cheerful coaches.

Early morning and late evenings are the best times to set out in a boat unless you fancy the dry heat and merciless sun, which even the local fishermen dare not weather.

Religious tour

You may appease the Gods or simply observe the rituals of the most elaborate religious procession on the island. It is a melting pot of colors, sounds, sights, and smells. You may take pictures or join the procession or do both. Katharagama is best known as a city of pilgrimage and one of multi-religious importance, the city becomes a teeming gathering place for thousands of devotees during the months of July and August when it hosts its annual procession.

The Pada Yatra ritual is a centuries-old pilgrimage on foot. Devotees walked for over three months from Jaffna to Kataragama re-enacting legends and myths along way, sleeping and living in the open, not knowing where their next meal would come from, and choosing self-denial to answer an intense spiritual calling.

While modern transport has changed the traditions, thousands still take part in the Pada Yatra and flock to the sacred jungle shrine of Kataragama to re-enact the same legends and rituals every year.

Other tours

You may also enjoy heritage tours to explore from temple caves to ancient monasteries, nature walks, and tours around the local organic farm.

What's included

  • All daily meals
  • 1 bike tour
  • 1 farmer's lunch
  • 1 fish market tour
  • 1 local market tour
  • 1 street food excursion
  • 1 Yala safari excursion
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 3 cooking lessons
  • Transportation to excursions

What's not included

  • Additional activities
  • Additional meals
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance

How to get there

Driving directions from Hambantota

  • Follow the A2 highway towards Wirawila Lake.
  • Just before you hit the lake, watch out for the Saraii signboard on your right.
  • If you have passed the lake, then you have missed Saraii Village.

Driving directions from Yala National Park

  • Continue on the Tissa-Palatupana Yala Road (B499).
  • Take a right turn to B422 on the Tissa Kirinda road until you reach a junction at the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Viharaya temple.
  • Take the left turn called Rubberwatte road that falls back onto the A2 highway with the Weerawila Domestic Airport (WRZ) on your left.
  • When you enter the A2 highway, take a right and go about 1.2 kilometers until you see the Saraii signboard on your right.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.

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Special discount

The following prices include a special discount of 10% for 2019 arrivals. To benefit, book on or before June 30, 2019.

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