Kumbuk River Resort – Buttala, Sri Lanka - Atlas Obscura
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Buttala, Sri Lanka

Kumbuk River Resort

Spend the night inside a two-story elephant villa. 

After 26 years of civil war, the government of Sri Lanka finally defeated rebels and restored control over the island in 2009. Since that time, Sri Lanka has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and has worked to bring in more visitors through eco-tourism. One of the hottest new spots for eco-tourism in the nation is the Kumbuk River Resort.

Billed as an eco-preserve, the resort lets tourists rent out the entire 14-acre plot, and stay in the world’s largest elephant. Not exactly a live elephant, but a 2-story thatched elephant-shaped villa. Resembling a jungle-dwelling trojan horse, the elephant villa even has modern amenities; living room, bathroom and plunge pool.

From the location, visitors can explore the surrounding landscape and see real elephants during the day and rest in the belly of the beast at night. To preserve the environment of the resort, no more than 12 guests may stay at the resort at one time.