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“The Borderlands Experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Borderlands

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Borderlands
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Hatton Road, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka   |  
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1 review
“The Borderlands Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

Well heres a first spending Xmas day on a raft floating down a Srilankan river care of the Borderlands troup who thankfully looked after us enabling us to survive and enjoy a Xmas dinner of BBQ later that day! We ate lunch the next day and watched an 8 foot water monitor lizard quietly walk by on the opposite bank having seen him earlier emerge from the river under our tent position. An amazing sight and view to wake up to with the beautiful river, mountains and forest and an unforgettable "Borderlands" experience with friendly service,good equipment, good food and altogether a guaranteed good time. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, February 18, 2014
Dear Nigelbxt,

We’re glad to hear you had a new Xmas experience (and survived it for the BBQ dinner)! Thank you for the review of you Xmas time at Borderlands and the high recommendation.

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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225 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
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Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2014

We stayed here with our 2 boys (aged 10 & 12) for one night and I was in 2 minds whether or not to book this adventure due to the fairly high costs. However, we were all not disappointed. The location is truly outstanding, overlooking the river, we saw a large water monitor and (not so easy to stomach) a huge Huntsman spider on the outside of our tent. I thought we would get eaten alive by mosquitos but despite the close proximity to the water that was not the case.

We arrived by midday to have a delicious lunch (the mildest Sri Lankan Food I have eaten and as we are not good with hot spicy foods, it was also the most delicious) before getting changed to do the rafting/canyoning.

We were then driven 7 km upriver, got a short but fun briefing before we all paddled like hell down the rapids. It was exhilarating despite the low water and a great experience. The staff are all extremely well trained and ensure that it's fun from start to finish! You then stop about 2/3rds of the way to walk uphill into the canyon part. When we got to the top we saw a 1.5m snake just perching perfectly on the waters' edge, before we jumped into a small but deep pool. Both kids and adults loved it alike. My boys went first on everything and even did a back-flip into the water from some of the higher points. You slide your way down the well worn rocks and the highest jump is probably 12-15 ft which was a challenge! The canyoning was our favourite activity, exhilarating, breath-taking and a laugh a minute! I would highly recommend it to anyone regardless of age.

We then got back into the boats and paddled our way down some more rapids. At the end, we threw each other into the river and I had a nice swim back to Borderlands.

In the evenings, they showed a kids film due to many families and it was just relaxing, sitting in the longhouse on cushions and having free wifi. Breakfast was a little bit on the light side, I didn't get any boiled eggs as they had all gone though I'm sure if I had asked they would have made some more.

All in all a truly memorable stay! My only slight issue is that it was by far the most expensive night we have paid for in Sri Lanka and that includes our stay in the 5 Star Taj Samudra in Colombo (much less fun though). Yet, I would still not hesitate to come here again and maybe save up for an additional night as the setting is truly beautiful and the staff are really fun to be around and clearly enjoy their work.

We also went Whale-watching with Borderlands on a private boat from Merissa but I will leave a separate review for this.

Well done guys, keep up the good work!

Room Tip: Get one facing the river
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, February 18, 2014
Dear Groovybaby18,

We’re happy to know your family enjoyed the time with us and you found the cost worthwhile. Thank you for all the detail and explanation of your stay, we love the description of canyoning as “exhilarating, breath-taking and a laugh a minute!” Thank you for reviewing the staff, food, activities and camp in detail. We hope to see you again in the future for a longer stay!

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

What can I say, this place was amazing. Not only was it incredibly scenic, the food was tasty, activities were awesome and the river huts were fantastic.

You actually sleep in a large tent, with built in beds, a fan, electricity and sockets with universal adapters. The tents are built onto large wooden frames overhanging the river, with a roof for cover. We had a huge balcony with been bags which we utilised to rest, read a book, watch the wildlife (Cute little chipmunks, and hornbills) and incredible views.

We did white water rafting, canyoning and abseiling, which are probably the best and most adventurous activities on offer, all of which were great fun. The abseiling gave a boost of adrenalin with a 70ft cliff. Especially if its your first time.

Toilets and showers are also spacious and pleasantly clean considering your 'glamping' in the jungle.

My only advice would be book a river cabin, only preferably a cabin thats on the lower side of the river as the balconies tend to be more spacious than those up stream.

Room Tip: My only advice would be book a river cabin, only preferably a cabin thats on the lower side of the r...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, February 18, 2014
Dear Gareth R,

We’re glad to hear you enjoyed your stay with us and thank you for your very flattering review. The details you include, especially the “boost of adrenalin with a 70ft cliff,” are fantastic. We hope to see you in the future for more adventure and adrenaline!

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

Its a really nice place managed by really nice guys. The place is well maintained and clean. The food is awesome and the tents overlooking the river is a really great place to stay. I would definitely recommend this place.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, February 18, 2014
Dear itsrada,

Thank you for your recommendation and review, we’re glad you had such a great stay. We hope to see you again in the future.

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

We spend 3 nights at Borderlands with our two teenage children just before Christmas. It is an amazing location, literally on the river. Our tents sat on stilts overlooking the water and we woke every morning to the noise and views of the river and jungle - nothing else. We even had beanbags to sit on outside our tent, perched on our little verandah. But it was the activities that really made it: kayaking, rafting, trekking, canyoning. It was such great fun in the lovely warm sunshine and all the guys that work there like to have a laugh - especially by capsizing you so watch out for that!

Room Tip: Try to get a tent overlooking the river - I think most of them do.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
Dear Tracey C,

We’re happy to hear you and your family has such a fun time, and thank you for your lovely review! We love the description of waking up in camp in the morning with “the lovely warm sunshine,” and we’re glad to hear you had fun capsizing! We hope to see you and your family again in the future!

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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Cambridge
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2013

My boyfriend and I spent three nights at Borderlands during our trip around Sri Lanka and our stay with Borderlands was definitely the highlight. The location is just stunning- back in the UK I close my eyes and dream of waking up to the sound of the river and looking out at the beautiful view from our tent. On our first day we abseiled down a beautiful waterfall- it was just amazing! I'm not a great one for heights but with Ollie and Kandy guiding us down I felt totally safe and loved every minute! We also enjoyed kayaking, white water rafting and canyoning- we had a great time on all of the activities and we would definitely would recommend them all. The food served at the camp was great- just what you need after a long day of activities and the communal bar area is a lovely place to relax and enjoy a beer. Many things make Borderlands special but for us it was the guys at the camp who made the experience so fantastic- Roshan, Ollie, Chris, Kandy, Akila and all the staff are genuinely lovely guys who strive to make sure you have the best experience whilst being equipped with the knowledge to keep you safe at all times which is something you shouldn't take lightly in Sri Lanka- during our time at the coast we sadly saw the consequences of paying a cheap scuba diving company where staff didn't even have basic first aid training and it cost a man his life; so my advice- you get what you pay for- pay a bit more and go with a reputable company who will really look after you. It's also worth noting that Borderlands have a boat in Weligama where they offer whale watching tours- Roshan and Gwen organised this for us whilst we were at Borderlands and we fitted it in whilst we were at the coast. The boat was gorgeous- our very own private speed boat and lovely crew- we whizzed past the big, slow boats which were crammed with tourists (it took us 20 minutes to get to the whale watching area as opposed to the 2.5 hours on the other boats) and we had a great view of the whales, it was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend it! We already wish we were back at Borderlands and are definitely planning a return visit!!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
Dear Michaela T,

Wow! Thank you for such a flattering review, we’re thrilled to know you enjoyed both our base camp in Kithulgala and the whale watching in Weligama! Getting over your dislike of heights through abseil is impressive. Thank you for complimenting our staff, as well as the food and communal area and overall safety – which is our number one priority; we especially like the line, “all the staff are genuinely lovely guys who strive to make sure you have the best experience whilst being equipped with the knowledge to keep you safe at all times.” We’re glad to hear you enjoyed the kayaking, rafting and other activities, as well as getting extra time around the whales thanks to getting there early. We look forward to seeing you again for your return visit!

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

We stayed just one night, in a tent (with beds) right above the river. The rafting and canyoning were great fun and the camp manager Roshan was happy to get a bit more adventurous with my GF and I as we'd had experience before. Food was also a real highlight and of course the location (good tunes too!). Only negatives: it is a little expensive and they don't accept credit cards...

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BorderlandsL, Sales & Marketing at Borderlands, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
Dear LukeSteele,

We’re glad to hear you liked the activities and enjoyed the adventure with your previous experience! Thank you for your review and we like that the food was a real highlight. The price is due to our high international safety standards, so we trust you understand the price is worth it. We hope to see you again in the future!

Best wishes,
The Borderlands Team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Borderlands

Address: Hatton Road, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Kitulgala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Kitulgala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Borderlands offers comfortable riverfront accommodation, in 4 tents and 9 cabanas which are fully kitted with twin beds (which can be made into doubles) and have electricity throughout so guests can charge their laptops, phones and cameras. Each tent and cabana is located on a wooden platform with a private deck, with views overlooking the Kelani River and the surrounding mountains. All meals are served in The Long House, a great place to chill out at the end of the day. A full music system means guests can listen to their i-pods. Evening Movie Nights are offered, which is a great hit with kids. As well as offering accommodation Borderlands also runs our river rafting, canyoning and white water and flat water kayaking activities from our base camp, and offers the largest number of sit in and sit of top kayaks in Sri Lanka. Other activities include abseiling, hiking, and swimming. ... more   less 

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