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Sri Lanka Is The Next Great Wellness Destination

Here's why.

Having spent a large part of my working life researching wellness retreats and products, I decided it was time to venture further afield from the usual spots like Australia's Byron Beach and Bali. It was time to head to the land of serendipity—Sri Lanka.

With an emerging hype and whispers of unique retreats, I wanted to visit before the scene explodes.

I arrive on Poya, a public holiday that occurs every month on the full moon. I head straight for Colombo, an intriguing and fast-paced city with a fusion of Middle Eastern and European culture. Colombo's architecture lands firmly between Dutch and English colonial styles. We walk to the marina to see the best example of this style, the Galle Face Hotel.

Kylie Mitchell-Smith

Built in the late 1800s, the hotel has hosted many dignitaries and is best known for accommodating the writer Arthur C. Clark. It's a masterpiece of a building with decadent service and unbeatable food. I struggle to leave.

But I do because the Samadhi retreat is calling. To get there requires a six-hour train ride through the mountains of Ella, which I spend gazing out the window at some of the most picturesque mountains and tea plantations I've ever seen.

When we arrive in Kandy, we make a quick detour to a quirky antique store. There we meet Waruna, the owner of the retreat. Soon, our tuk-tuk is on its way.

Kylie Mitchell-Smith

From the moment you step through the impressive rock face entrance and old carved wooden doors you are transported into a rustic wellness setting that feels deliciously authentic. You know a hidden sanctuary awaits.

The detail is immaculate. Antiquities adorn every corner of the magnificent property. The buildings are beautifully designed, and aptly named painters room and textile house.

We swim in private waterfalls at the bottom of a lush gully and can't help wonder if the steep, long walk back to our abode is an intentional part of the wellness regime.

The welcome dinner is abundant in flavour, served buffet style and includes dahl, house made roti, coconut sambal, spicy mushroom soup, gotu kola with lemon and garlic and an array of traditional vegetarian and chicken curries.

Kylie Mitchell-Smith

Set up in traditional mud houses, the Ayurvedic treatments on offer include a shirodhara massage during which the technician gently pours hot oil through a copper funnel on your head to awaken your third eye and get your energy flowing.

There are options to suit all wellness needs in Sri Lanka, whether you practice yoga at the Prana Lounge in Colombo, head south to a surf retreat at Talalla beach or take one of the guided yoga retreats by 'Step through the Door' hosted by Australian local, Helen Langston.

The majority of the population is Buddhist, and the country is a spiritual land with vast mountain ranges, clean surf beaches and an abundance of tea plantations. The time is now for wellness in Sri Lanka.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things To Do In Sri Lanka

Kylie Mitchell-Smith