Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka – My Healing Experience at The Plantation Villa

By Kach Umandap - Howe July 26th, 2021 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Best Luxury Hotels, Destination, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

Let me share with you my Ayurveda healing experience at the Plantation Villa in Sri Lanka. Their amazing service and healthy delicious meals made my trip memorable and relaxing.

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

I first visited Sri Lanka in 2011 and now 10 years later, I’m back in Sri Lanka! This time I’ll be exploring their Ayurveda healing in one of the best retreats in the country – The Plantation Villa. My trip here now is special since I’m not just here to visit popular sites but also to strengthen my self-healing. That, with the help of Ayurveda treatment in which I will discuss more below.

About Plantation Villa

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

One of the homes of traditional Ayurvedic treatments, yoga, mindfulness, and fitness activities, the Plantation Villa is owned by Ishara and is located in Kalutara in Sri Lanka. It is not just a villa but also a place of comfort, a place where you can get the chance to reboot your mind and body.

The Plantation Villa is set in more than 30 acres of prime Sri Lankan rainforest. It is a combination of natural, rustic charm with modern facilities. It is also located more than 50 miles from the main airport but it offers airport pickup for guests’ convenience. 

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

The villa also offers 24-hour service and free wifi. And with their traditional Ayurvedic Treatments alongside other healing power of nature and ancient indigenous Sri Lankan medicine, your stay will absolutely be unforgettable. To prove this, I will share with you my own personal experience with Plantation Villa. From my arrival until I leave, their hospitality is something you will always look forward to!

Why is Plantation Villa the Best Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka?

Talking about yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda Massage, then you should look for Plantation Villa when you arrive in Sri Lanka. Here are the reasons why I think that this place is the best Ayurveda retreat in Sri Lanka.

The Amenities

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

The Villa has charming bungalows and treatment rooms and areas where you can join the treatments and other meditations. Not only that but they also have a peaceful restaurant and an outdoor pool. Since the villa is surrounded by nature, you can find yourself in a place full of tranquility and calm which helps you regain the energy you lost in the busy city. 

The Meals

The meditation and massage you will experience are not only based on treatments but also on the food you will consume. At Plantation Villa, meals are prepared according to Ayurvedic guidelines to ensure the health of the body and mind. All thanks to the chef, Padma, most of the food here is nutritionally balanced and came from the villa’s own organic garden! Yes, you guess it right! The food is mainly vegan!

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

Medical Practices

The medical practices such as mindfulness classes at the villa are led by a team of global leaders in the fields of yoga and meditation, from the west and the east. The resident teachers perform yoga classes every day that’s suitable for those at every level of practice, along with meditation sessions. 

A Loose Schedule

At Plantation Villa, they have a loose daily timetable that you can follow if you wish to have a routine and follow a range of activities that are offered while you’re at the property. These activities include:

  • walks in the plantation and paddy-field
  • seasonal fruit and vegetable picking
  • watching authentic rubber tapping
  • paddy field harvesting in season
  • Cookery demonstrations
  • meditation and talk

The talks usually revolve around yoga and Ayurveda philosophy. It tackles how you can improve your daily habits, incorporating Ayurveda into daily life and mindfulness. 

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

Ayurveda, also known as Ayurvedic Medicine, is a form of a healthy lifestyle that Indian people have used for over 5,000 years. It focuses on the prevention and treatment of illness through different practices like massage, meditation, yoga, dietary changes, and the use of herbal remedies.

It is also the oldest holistic or “whole body” healing system in the world. In short, it does not only treat a person’s physical ailment, but it also aims to change someone’s lifestyle to help improve health.

According to the Ayurveda beliefs, a person’s health and wellness depend on a fine balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Remember that the main goal of Ayurveda is not to fight disease but to promote good health. However, treatments may be adjusted toward specific health problems.

Moreover, Ayurveda is a holistic health treatment that focuses on balancing the 3 life forces called Doshas that are within your body – Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth).

  • Vata Dosha – It controls the muscle and joint movement, breathing, and heartbeat. It also controls anxiety, pain. fear, and other nervous system functions.
  • Pitta Dosha – Ayurveda believes that it controls bodily functions such as digestion, metabolism, intelligence, and skin color. It also rules the emotions of anger, hate, and jealousy.
  • Kapha Dosha – In Kapha Dosha, it is believed that it governs the physical structure of the body and the immune system. It controls emotions such as calmness, forgiveness, love, and greed.

With Ayurvedic Medicine, it is a belief that if Doshas are imbalanced, it results in illness.

Shirodhara

Shirodhara is one of the Ayurvedic approaches to help relieve stress. It came from two Sanskrit words “Shiro” meaning head, and “Dhara” meaning flow. In this technique, a liquid such as oil, milk, buttermilk, or water is used to pour into someone’s forehead. Shirodhara is usually combined with a body, scalp, or head massage.

Nasya Karma

Nasya Karma is a process in which nasal drops will be put into your both nostrils. This kind of treatment is beneficial for nasal congestion, allergies, sinusitis, headaches, migraine, rhinitis, and other nasal infections. Not only that but Nasya Karma is also believed to help cure musculoskeletal pathologies of the neck, shoulders, diseases of the eyes, ears, gums, and teeth.

Udvartana Body Scrub

Udvartana Body Scrub is one of the massage therapies that follow Ayurvedic wisdom. It involves massage therapy such as a body scrub called “Ubtan”, which is a traditional Indian paste that combines natural herbs and grains. The scrub helps tone and stimulate the system of your body. It also helps improve fat and fluid metabolism. 

Kati Vasti

Kati Vasti is another Ayurvedic treatment that focuses on muscle aches and tensed joints of the back. It is performed using heat and oil to soothe Vata dosha. Kati Vasti also helps to treat inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the back area.

My Stay at The Plantation Villa

Day 1 – Arrival

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

Finally, I arrived at my next destination after the Maldives – Sri Lanka! This is already my second time here but hey, I’m the new me so consider this a new experience. Lol! This time, I will be staying at the Plantation Villa, a place of tranquility in the city of Kalutara, Sri Lanka.

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

The moment I stepped into the property, the peacefulness and calmness already welcomed me. The area is in the middle of a rainforest making you closer to nature. Guys, this is the real definition of an escape to the business of the city! 

Earlier today, I had an Ayurveda Doctor Consultation for my upcoming treatments in a few days that would hopefully heal my health issues naturally / holistically that I’ve been figuring out since last year and some complications after my last surgery. Yay! So excited!

Ayurveda Retreat in Sri Lanka My Experience at The Plantation Villa

I also had a private yoga consultation session with Bernardo, the Brazilian resident Yoga & Meditation teacher. He asked me questions on why I was on the villa and what kind of yoga poses I’m interested in and struggling to do. Then he created a yoga flow for me that I could use when I get home. The wisdom talk with Bernardo was really interesting too.

At first, I thought that I’ll just be spending my whole day reading books but I ended up having a really good Ayurveda treatment that will surely help me fall asleep like a baby later!

Day 2 – Ayurveda Massage

On my first morning, I had a walk in the villa. I was able to explore more about the property and its amenities. Seeing the whole place and the nature that surrounds it, walking already feels like therapy.  

I also met three furry friends! Spotty and Blackie the 2 dogs, and Brownie the cat! Haha! Another way to release stress for me. Indeed animals can be one of the best therapy.

During lunch, I had a delicious and nutritious meal. This made me ready for my next schedule which is the Ayurveda Massage. Yey! This massage includes Shirodhara, body, and foot massage, and a relaxing steam bath. 

They told me that Shirodhara is a type of Ayurvedic healing technique. It’s a type of treatment where they will be pouring a liquid onto your forehead. This liquid is usually oil, milk, buttermilk, or water. And what’s the benefit of this? It soothes the hypothalamus and regulates the activity of the pituitary gland. For this reason, it helps treat conditions like insomnia.

Not only that but it also helps improve our blood circulation by stimulating numerous vital points all around the head! No doubt I felt so good after this treatment. Since Shirodhara is usually combined with a body, head, or scalp massage, you will surely have a very great result! In that 45 minutes treatment, I feel like floating as it is so good!

In the afternoon, I attended a personalized yoga session with Bernardo before we had our dinner. Then after a delicious meal in the evening, the Plantation Villa organized a wisdom talk with Ishara who owns the property.

As I mentioned above, it’s been a very mind-opening talk about what is “Happiness” esp. after Ishara was sharing her personal journey from surviving cancer, getting in Buddhism, meditation and yoga. She’s very inspiring and I can’t wait to return there and just listen to her on how she survived everything and now finally having a more peaceful and grounded life. This is another good way to end the day before I sleep. 

Day 3 – Meditation

After falling asleep like a baby last night, the day for another meditation came. In the morning, I had meditation and Ayurvedic consultation first before starting another treatment. 

I did Udvartana Body Scrub and Kati Vasti at noon. The Udvartana they did was so relaxing! Its main purpose is to break down toxins and help skin tone which I really need as well! The massage was for whole 90 minutes so it was totally worth it! 

Kati Vasti, on the other hand, another treatment that we did was really good for my back! You know, with all the travels I did, working, and the stress, back pain is really unavoidable. This treatment really helped my back feel much better. 

After doing Ayurveda treatments, it’s now time for a steam bath. Doing a steam bath at the Plantation Villa is one of the best things to do here. This is actually advisable to do after massage therapies. They told me that a steam bath offers a lot of benefits such as improving circulation, lowers blood pressure, burns calories (I need this! haha), loosens stiff joints, reduces stress, and a lot more! Who would have thought that my stay here will be as beneficial as this?

However, aside from doing meditation and yoga, the Plantation Villa also offers a cookery class which I also did in the afternoon! They will teach you how to cook and prepare a healthy and delicious meal that would help you with your self-treatment. It was indeed a fun experience as I’m not really familiar with cooking vegan food!

Later that afternoon, I had another yoga lesson, but this time I did it alone. The Udvatana Body Scrub, Kati Vasti, Steam Bath, and the yoga that I did the whole day were all therapeutic. 

Day 4 – Departure

My last day at the Plantation Villa has arrived. My checkout is around 11 am but I still had the chance to do meditation in the morning before my healthy breakfast that they packed for us. The meditation helped me prepare for my next destination which is in Galle, Sri Lanka! 

To all the staff that helped me have the most relaxing stay in Sri Lanka, thank you so much! To Ishara, the owner of the Villa, Fatima, the cook who made all those healthy meals for me, Bernardo, the yoga teacher who helped me with all the meditation I needed, and to Dr. Erandi Gunathilaka, the chief doctor. This will not all be possible without you! Thank you so much!

My experience at the Plantation Villa was the most relaxing and healing I have had so far. With all the things that happened and still happening in my life now, I finally realized that self-healing, self-love, and self-care are the most important things in life. We tend to care for others so much that we usually forget about ourselves, but this time, I’m so glad that I can finally wake up every day saying “Me first”. So guys, especially those women who are experiencing the same things as me, the Plantation Villa is not just a place you can stay in while in Sri Lanka, it’s a magical and therapeutic place. I will surely go back!

Protocols Before Entering Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has stricter rules compared with other countries I’ve visited before I arrive here. However, the process will be smoother for as long as you have proper documents.

Upon arrival, I did a PCR test, and from the airport, I went straight to a certified safe and secure Level 1 hotel that I booked. What is this Level 1 hotel? In Sri Lanka, they have what they call ‘Safe and Secure’ Level 1 and Level 2 hotels. This helps them separate foreign tourists arriving in the country from the crowd. How? If you’re a tourist, you need to have a 14-day (2 weeks) stay at any Level 1 hotel (You can find and download the complete list of the L1 hotels here). You’re not really in quarantine since you can still use all the facilities at the hotel and you can still go to approved sites.

Requirements Prior to Boarding

You need to have a confirmed booking of your chosen L1 hotel before your arrival. Hotel booking could be made directly with the hotel or through a travel agency or OTA. No worries as you are still allowed to move within L1 hotels and use all facilities of the hotel. Another mandatory requirement is a COVID-19 local travel insurance cover for USD 12/person for a policy of USD 50,000 for a period of one month.

You will also need to pay for PCR tests (USD 40 per PCR test) depending on the number of days of your stay. Here’s a breakdown:

  • If your stay is 5 or more days, pay for 2 PCR tests, on arrival and exit PCR.
  • If your stay is less than 5 days, no exit PCR is required.
  • Children below 2 years are exempted from PCR testing. However, if the parents/guardians develop symptoms or result in positive PCR test reports children will need to undergo PCR tests.
  • Children between 2-12 years undergo only exit PCR tests.

Furthermore, don’t forget your negative PCR test done within 72 hours before boarding the flight. Using public transport is also prohibited in that 14-day period so airport transfers need to be arranged by either the respective Certified Safe & Secure L1 hotel or Certified Safe & Secure travel agent. Prepare your health declaration as well because it’s also one of the requirements. You can download it here.

Bio Bubble Protocol

In Sri Lanka, they have a Bio Bubble Protocol. In Bio Bubble, you can visit tourist sites as long as it is approved under this bubble. So yes, you can still go out of your L1 hotel.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is Plantation Villa?

Plantation Villa is located in Kalutara, Sri Lanka which is around 40 km from Colombo.

2. How To Get to Kalutara?

There are 4 ways to go to Kalutara from Colombo: train, bus, taxi, or car. However, due to the restrictions, tourists are not allowed to use public transport upon arrival so you will need to arrange airport transfers going to your L1 hotel.

3. Where can I book a reservation for Plantation Villa?

You can book at their official website or email them at [email protected] You can also visit booking.com.

4. Do we need a visa to enter Sri Lanka?

For Filipinos entering Sri Lanka, we must apply for a Sri Lanka ETA before departure.

Note from Sri Lanka tourism: All visas must be applied online through the Immigration ETA portal (www.eta.gov.lk). Before you apply for your visa, you need to have a confirmed hotel booking, pre-purchased PCR tests and a mandatory COVID-19 Insurance Cover paid for through your ‘Safe & Secure’ Level 1 hotel when making your booking. The hotel will issue a reference number which you need to include in your visa form under the section “contact details”. There you will be asked for ‘address in Sri Lanka’ under which you need to indicate your hotel name, address, and the reference number issued.

5. I am fully vaccinated, do I still need to follow the safety protocol?

Yes. Currently, there are no exceptions made for full-vaccinated travelers.

6. Can I change my L1 hotel within my 14-day period?

Yes, for as long as this hotel is also under the L1 hotels’ list.

7. I already finished my 14 days and 13 night stay at my L1 hotel, can I transfer to another hotel that’s not included on the L1 hotels’ list?

Yes. Once you finished this 14-day period, you can now transfer to other hotels of your choice.

8. Where can I find more details about the safety protocols in Sri Lanka?

You can visit their tourism official website for further details and information.

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Written by Kach Umandap - Howe

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 146 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.

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