SOME REASONABLE QUESTIONS
We have two pricing options for Retreat accommodation:
1. Fixed - a fixed rate for exclusive use of the property
2. Variable - a base rate plus a per person rate
Food and activity costs are added per person to the accommodation costs.
Full rates details can be seen here.
What are your prices for Retreats at Rukgala?
How do we get to Rukgala and what transport options are there?
How long will it take and can you help with transport?
Driving times in Sri Lanka are longer than you'd imagine, from just looking at a map. The drive from central Colombo to Ruk can take up to 6 hours if traffic is bad. From the international airport, north of Colombo, the driving time is less - typically 3.5 - 4.5 hours.
If staying in Colombo guests may well prefer to take the train - a scenic journey of approx 2.5 hours from Colombo Fort to Kandy station. First class tickets can be booked in advance. The cost will be around $10 (USD) per ticket. Tickets do sell out so need to be booked early. The drive from Kandy station to Rukgala is around 1 hour and will cost around $40 for a car and approx. $70 for a van (normally for up to 8 people).
A great, if more expensive option, is to fly from Colombo to Kandy on the seaplane. You can see pricing and schedules with Cinnamon Air here.
Typically the seaplane lands near Kandy, at Polgolla - again just under an hour's drive from Rukgala. If you charter a plane, however (up to 8 people) the plane can land (for a small additional cost) on the lake at Victoria. From the landing site you're a 5 minute Tuk Tuk ride from Rukgala. The flight takes around 40 minutes.
We can of course help with booking cars, vans, trains, planes.
What activities/excursions can be arranged and how long do they take?
Do I need to book/pay for these in advance?
If not up already we'll soon have a full pricing list for the activities and excursions we can offer on our Exploring page. For now at least it gives details of the types of trips and activities available. We are happy to take payment for these when you are here but will require advance notice to arrange the Ashburnham Visit and the Knuckles hike.
If planning a group retreat and wanting to schedule excursions you should allow for:
Kandy day trip - realistically a whole day but could leave mid-morning after a class. Only an hour's drive each way but getting around Kandy can take time.
Ashburnham Tea Estate visit - again this is a whole day trip but you could aim to leave by 10, so allowing for a morning class. You could be back in time for an evening class by 6pm.
Knuckles hiking - currently we offer just a full day hike. To get into the Knuckles proper is a drive of 1-1.5 hours from Rukgala (though the mountains can be seen from Ruk!) so it makes sense to get full use of the day. You should aim to leave Rukgala by 8.30am and would likely get back by 7pm.
Shorter walks - there are, of course, many lovely walks to be done from Ruk itself. A walk along 'Coconut Ridge' is great in the early evening and takes an hour or two. Guests can walk to the temple and meditation caves at Bambaragala - again, this will take around 2 hours.
& THE SHALA
Do you have yoga mats, bolsters, cushions, blankets?
How big is the Shala?
Is there a sound system in the Shala?
Is the Shala open or closed?
We have a good range of yoga equipment, including yoga mats (currently 18), blocks (currently 24), meditation cushions (currently 9), yoga sheets/blankets (currently 29), straps (currently 12).
The Shala (to the nearest foot) is 36' by 22'. That is all clear open space.
We don't currently have an integrated sound system in the Shala. We use a mobile speaker (quite large and loud if needed) which works well.
The Shala is fully open-aired. On one side it comes close to a natural rock wall and is under shade most of the time so feels protected.
Can we swim, boat, paddle in the lake?
Absolutely! The lake level does go up and down throughout the year as water is channeled off for irrigation around the island. It's not possible to predict exactly where it'll be at any time but most likely it'll be highest after the rains in November/December and May/June. At time of writing (early July) we're looking out at a very full lake - pretty much right up to our treeline.
When the level drops there's more opportunity for lovely walks, bike-rides, bonfires and picnics so the water heading out is not a great loss.
The water is safe to swim in - we've no cr****les here!
We don't (at time of writing) have SUP-boards but hope to very soon. Please do ask on this. We have three kayaks and are working on building a large pontoon, great for chilling or perhaps using as a floating Shala.
How do payments work? Can we pay by card at the property?
If we pay by cash what currencies can we use? Is there an ATM near the property?
Can I pay with Paypal?
Do I have to pay a deposit?
We can take cash or card payments at the property. With card payments we do have to charge an additional 2.7% to cover the processing cost.
In cash we are happy to take payment in USD, EUR, GBP or LKR (Sri Lankan Rupees). The nearest ATM is in Digana - a 15-20 minute drive from Rukgala.
Unfortunately we cannot link Paypal to Sri Lankan bank accounts so we're unable to accept Paypal payments at this time.
Our payment terms are fully described on our rates sheets (here) but in summary we request:
- USD 1,000 to hold a booking after an initial period of 10 days (from sending you a quote)
- 25% of full accommodation cost paid 90 days before arrival
- remaining accommodation cost paid 30 days before arrival
Can we have laundry done at Rukgala?
Is there Wi-fi at the property?
Yes, we can do laundry for guests. We leave laundry baskets in the bedrooms and charge $12 for a full basket, $6 for half a basket.
There is Wi-fi in the public areas of the Main House. At time of writing the signal isn't strong enough to reach the bedrooms.