The Wooden Gate

You sort of step into another world when you walk through the Wooden Gate. A much welcomed escape from the intensely hot, humid streets that never cease to stop hurrying in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. A thick and intricate canopy of trees, climbers and hanging ferns weave a jungle that surrounds the house and provides protection from the ever-glowing sun. You tread softly on the cool cobblestones beneath your feet, and your head ducks in between hanging vines and branches. In the middle, strong but humble, sits a rustic two story home; very artistic, complemented with hues of blue and orange.

Winding upstairs leads you into big open rooms, holding frames of old doorways, long removed to now create open, flowing spaces. You’re inside but you feel as though you’re a part of the second canopy in the jungle. Channa, the home owner and artist, walks you around the house where art covers the walls; giving you abstract portholes into Sri Lanka’s culture and history. His studio houses a small desk, a cupboard and a bookcase filled with books of art, species of plants and wildlife endemic to Sri Lanka, books on philosophy, natural medicines, yoga and more. Plants hang and observe outside his window.

Part of the downstairs, sits a spacious apartment which was ours for a number of days. It was only our second time using Airbnb, so we were still a little unsure of what to expect, but we were honestly blown away by the little oasis we had found; all for the price of a few beers back home. Our space was open and inviting. We had a little kitchen with everything we needed, an area to sit and read, and a space for me to work. Through the bedroom and bathroom, you flow through these beautiful doors into a secluded little courtyard. The natural world goes about its business in complete harmony with you.

Channa and his family were more than welcoming to us and went out of their way to ensure our stay was comfy and delicious. The mornings started with an amazing traditional breakfast ready for us when we woke, usually followed by a mini lesson of some exotic description taken by Channa, pulling out books for reference or taking our hands into the garden. The days were relaxed and the afternoons were spent working, playing music and doing art under the shady protection of the garden. Monkeys swung between branches as we sipped our sweet tea.

Staying at the Wooden Gate was a genuine ‘home away from home’ experience; we felt such a connection with the place, we ended up staying an extra week. Airbnb is definitely the warmer, more cultural and connected way for nowadays travellers. If you’re planning on travelling to Sri Lanka, I couldn’t recommend staying at the Wooden Gate more. Click here to check it out. Or if you're planning a trip anywhere in the world, or would like to start hosting guests, get involved! If you sign up via the button below, you’ll get $50 NZD travel credit for your first booking. Win.