A Sri Lankan Retreat

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

June 28th, 2013

Front Entrance 

As many of my readers will know, a few years ago I bought a property in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, where I can get far away from the big cities of Asia and spend my time riding horses in the countryside and having other adventures. However, I’ve always admired the attitude of migratory bird species, and Mongolia gets seriously cold in the winter – the last February got down to -40.  As I spend my time commuting across Asia from North to South – essentially from Beijing in North China to Chennai in South India and all points inbetween – it makes sense for me to have a South-East Asia base. I’ve been looking for some time, and have friends in Sri Lanka also. This last Chinese New Year I found the place I’ve been looking for – a 1927 old colonial bungalow just five minutes inland from Unawattuna and 15 minutes tuk-tuk journey from Fort Galle, the UNESCO world heritage site in the south. This means fabulous beaches and amazing sea food.

 I got lucky to some extent as I purchased the property from a Hungarian Princess who has lived there the past nine years and wanted to urgently relocate back to Budapest to be with her Grandchildren – leaving all the contents behind. As the woman is stylish that means I purchased the contents as well and can literally just move in. There’s little I need or want to change except upgrade the kitchen.  Prior to her ownership, a prominent Sri Lankan architect had renovated it from a derelict state and lived there for the previous five years. It’s been in its current condition for the past 15 years, with some small improvements and repairs.
Anyway, here are some shots to introduce my new Sri Lankan retreat to you – sitting in one acre of coconut plantation with mango, banana, jack fruit, pineapples, ginger and surrounded by Frangipani. Winters here and summers in Mongolia seem a great way for a migratory Chris to spend each year.

Rear Lounge

Rear Lounge & Pool At Night

Back Garden, Coconut, Banana and Pineapples

One of the three en-suite bedrooms

Interior Lounge


Back Garden Sunset 

Unawattuna Beach, Five Minutes Away

Local Seafood, fresh off the boat; anchovies, mackerel, red snapper, red bream, squid and tuna

Local Sri Lankan Mud Crabs. Probably the best crab in the world.

The deal has been done, and a few minor repairs and installations are being made – high speed wifi for example, and I shall move in September. Meanwhile, I have inherited a full-time watchman and gardener to keep it shipshape, and I shall have to both invest in a local Tuk-Tuk and get a drivers license for one too pootle around the local roads and do my shopping in Galle.

Chris and Next Automotive Purchase