Chamintha and Rajindra Jayasinghe of award-winning luxury experience makers Ayu in the Wild open up about just why having access to Sri Lanka’s local community gives them the edge travellers are looking for.
We were born, bred and have lived in Sri Lanka all our lives, so we know our beautiful little island inside-out and have made connections with fascinating locals – our friends, in fact – people who we are now proud to call our ‘guides’. Over our lifetimes, we have built a remarkable black book of contacts, which allows us to bring an immersive, slow-travel experience to everything we do, even if people are only here for a week.
We have access to poets, chefs, pilots, farmers, artists, conservationists and architects, all of whom give up their precious time and local knowledge to help us build on what we do, hand-picked to align with the needs and passions of our guests. Through them, we can prepare degustation dinners in remote beauty spots, trek wild jungle with farmers who passionately explain the local landscapes and flora with stories of their childhoods; or taste tea in the private residences of some of the best producers in the world. These grassroots experiences don’t compromise our dedication to exceptional luxury travel either. Our network of hoteliers, private homeowners, national park guides and yacht companies means that we can access the very best in luxury that Sri Lanka has to offer, particularly in the North, a region that many tour operators won’t have on their books. We provide our guests with an armoury of experiences so that they can discover the island’s secrets by themselves, at their own pace. Itinerary setting is a thing of the past; unearthing magic through the words and voices of locals is the future.
We unveil the stories of artisan craft; our naturalist’s passion for endangered wildlife; the unedited dreams of a jungle farmer and the mysteries of the Cultural Triangle as it has been passed down from generation to generation. We can point out the cicadas and birds singing in the trees surrounding eco-lodges, we can show guests a very different side to touring our beautiful country.
No two journeys with us are ever the same; we plan each with meticulous care to ensure guests can prioritise firing up their imaginations and creating moments of joy during their stay.
We’re also proud that our travellers can rest assured that they are touring sustainably too. In fact, we’re committed to it. We run a ‘Classrooms in the Wild’ project, which funds English teaching in a rural school. Our Sustainable Travel Sri Lanka initiative brings together the most ethical local ventures and travel innovators with a shared vision to sustain local economies in a circular way and educate locals and visitors alike as to why they need to protect the wonders of our island for future generations.
We have a deep love for our country and we’re so happy to be able to share it, to take guests by the hand and show it off. We have explored and experienced every single inch of it, whenever we could take a break from our previous careers in finance and law.
And we continue to do so, to live and breathe our proudly independent, 100% Sri Lankan travel business. We feel that we at Ayu in the Wild embody the true spirit of what it means to be a travel insider – a family-run enterprise (there are just four of us, plus three dogs), built from the ground up, in a land where the sky’s the limit.