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Primate Centre Lodge

Traveller (92)
Room & Suite (20)
Dining (2)

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About

4.5
#6 of 33 guest houses in Polonnaruwa
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Value
Built right at the edge of the Great Tank Parakrama, this beautiful bungalow can room 5families comfortably. One room sleeps 3-4 in the Hanuman Bungalow, 2each in Loris and people in 4rooms in the Main Building. You wake up to bird sounds and to macaque calls. Water birds would skim past you when you paddle the canoes in the water. It's fantastic holiday spot!! You benefit from our 40+ years of scientific study, and 18 years as expedition leaders. Different tours are tailored for families with children, retirees, students and professionals of the macaques we have been studying for the past 42years. This site is also relevant to scientists, students, educators, and anyone interested in primate biology, wildlife conservation and South Asian tropical biodiversity.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free breakfast
Bicycle rental
Canoeing
Books, DVDs, music for children
Children's television networks
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Car hire
Restaurant
Special diet menus
Hiking
Fishing
Baggage storage
Newspaper
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor furniture
Picnic area
Shared lounge / TV area
Sun loungers / beach chairs
Sun terrace
Express check-in / check-out
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
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Room features
Air conditioning
Housekeeping
Safe
Bottled water
Room types
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Family
Languages Spoken
English, German
89Reviews0Q+A10Room tips

Reviews
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Detailed Reviews
Caroline Neela wrote a review Feb 2020
Tiel, The Netherlands21 contributions6 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Situated alongside the lake an outbuilding provides a great escape into real nature. The caretaker also does guiding in the Polonnaruwa site where 3 kind of monkeys live. The many years of research already gave lots of information which the guide loves to share during 2 hours morning or sunset observations. The guesthouse food is prepared by the guides wife and is very good. The rooms are spatious and very clean. Last morning I did an optional boat ride to birds Island and I was so lucky to come close to swimming elephants as well. This place is a real treat.
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Wolfgang D, Owner at Primate Centre Lodge
Responded 10 Feb 2020
Thanks so much for sharing your experience Neela. It is always gratifying to note that our guest appreciate the knowledge about monkey lore that we’ve accumulated over many years of studying these wild animals and that we are able to pass on to you. I will tell our staff that you also appreciated their efforts in the kitchen and in keeping you comfortable in our small bright spot in nature.
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twitchywitch wrote a review Aug 2022
London, United Kingdom11 contributions12 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Absolutely the BEST way for small kids to experience 'boring old ruins' of ancient kingdoms is to bring them to life by walking through them with local monkeys. Accompanied by Primate Researcher Mr. Sunil from the Smithsonian Primate Reserach Center which has been studying these monkeys for 45+ years, this tour is much more than simply a social media selfie post opportunity! Both adults and kids learn so much. Mr. Sunil tailored his talk beautifully for the smaller kids ( who were obsessed with Monkey poop!) and showed us the incredible understanding that years of research have created between man and monkey. It's like having your very own Attenbrorugh experience! You realize just how amazing Mother Nature is. Even if you are not a monkey nut like me, I would strongly recommend this tour as a truly unique travel experience.
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Date of stay: August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mohan Amarasuriya wrote a review Jan 2020
Colombo, Sri Lanka27 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
What a view from the front yard. The lake (Parakrama reservoir), an island with thousands of birds, sometimes elephants. Things to do - Monkey tours, Lorris tours, Boat ride to the Island. Only 5 km to the Archeological site.
This morning three elephants were in the water 20 meters away from us. Then started swimming across the lake to the other side of the lake.
Very tidy and clean rooms and washrooms. Friendly staff and great food. Homely atmosphere.
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Maggie G wrote a review June 2015
Telford, England, United Kingdom11 contributions18 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Having longed to visit the Monkey camp, we were thrilled when we arrived on the 4th June 2015, and felt priviliged to be welcomed by Dr Wolfgang Dittus himself, Ukku, the cook immediately supplied us with welcome drinks before we were shown to our room. Dinner was so well presented, plentiful and very tasty and the Dr joined us and happily gave us the history of his profession and of the Monkey camp which was a joy, then invited us to watch a film of the monkey world before bedtime. Next morning we set off to have a guided tour of the monkey park by Sunil, His expertise of the monkeys was enlightening, even to naming some, he was extremely patient and enjoyed answering all our questions AND as there were so many baby monkeys, we were thrilled. More delicious food was to follow, before we revisited the monkeys again. Sad to have to leave the next morning, it was all over much too soon. So many thanks to the Dr and to Sunil and for being so well fed by Ukku.
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Date of stay: June 2015
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: We had no complaints about our room which was semi with the room next door, there was everything...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Judygoodies wrote a review Nov 2015
Sydney, Australia83 contributions39 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed 3 nights at the Primate Centre Lodge known to locals as " Monkey Camp " . Toque Macaques wander around the entrance and it's possible to do a monkey tour to Polonnarawu ruins with the research staff to learn more . We we thrilled to get our own screening of Monkey Kingdom and learn more about the social behaviour of the Toque macaques . If you love wildlife and birds then this place is for you . Accomodation is very comfortable and better than other ' basic ! rated in paces we've stayed elsewhere in Asia . Aircon, hot showers and plenty of space in our bungalow . We happened to be the only guests as it's just before tourist season We went night spotting bourselves and saw the Grey Loris ( we borrowed red light torch ) and the silent mouse dear. By day we saw many Indian Pittas, Pied magpie robin, squirrels and both types of mongoose to name a few . . It's an easy 1-2 km walk to the free section of ruins shady and beautiful in the early morning ( with mozzies ) and here we saw many Ringneck parrots ! Alexandrine parrots and the black named hare with a number of Spot billed Pelicans bobbing on the lagoon opposite . " Monkey camp " is a perfect location to visit the incredible Polonnarrawau ruins ( $25 USD ) more bird life and plenty of time to watch the antics of Toque Macaques as well as the Purple faced langurs . The staff at monkey camp were very helpful and it able to organise a driver to our next location as well as a jeep safari to Kadualla national park . The food was delicious and cooked by ' chef ' who had worked there for 37 years . We loved the Primate Centre and would happily return and recommend . It was one of our Sri Lankan highlights .
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Date of stay: November 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Wildlifewatcher wrote a review Nov 2015
Lyme Regis, United Kingdom598 contributions398 helpful votes
+1
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We choose to stay here because of its location by the lake as we love bird watching.

We were surprised that it did not have a view of the lake from the communal areas and rooms as we got the impression that it had from the photos, however that was our mistake. We carried the chairs from our room to the gap in the hedge (not that easy to do) and sat there to bird watch during the heat of the day.

The room exceeded our expectations and the shower worked exceptionally well. The mosquito net (which was necessary as there were several insects that bit around) was difficult to use and could be improved. You are in the woods so the welcoming cockroaches goes with the territory though it was a shame that one of them was in the bed.

We enjoyed meeting everyone and it was very nice to be shown the Disney film on the first evening. The evening meal was terrible and by far the worst meal we had while in Sri Lanka. Even the person that worked there that eat with us commented on how tough the chicken was. We eat out the other 2 evenings. The breakfast was little better and the person serving it really should have a wash.

The trip to the island to see the birds was one of the highlights of the holiday and we highly recommend it.

The birds on and above the lake are fantastic and we even show the magnificent Grey-headed Fish Eagle which we understand is endangered.
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Date of stay: October 2015
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Langkapura wrote a review Sept 2015
Winterswijk Henxel, The Netherlands589 contributions51 helpful votes
+1
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The Primate Center is run by dr. Wolfgang Dittus who works for the Smithsonian Institute. He has been studying primates in Sri Lanka for more than 40 years. This is the longest primate study ever in history!

He was the advisor for Disneys movie “The Monkey Kingdom”. You can go early morning with his staff to the historical city of Polonnaruwa, where most of this movie has been shot. In Polonnaruwa you will see the stars of the movie, Macaque monkeys. Because this monkeys have been studied for generations, they are not afraid of the staff from dr. Dittus. An amazing experience!

You can also do a Lori (small fury night animal) safari or a boat safari to the bird islands in the nearby lake which holds thousands of birds. The tours and excursions are not for free of course, it’s a lot of work and cost a lot of time for the staff.

The hotel is small with only 11 rooms. Rooms are simple, but very clean, have good beds and airco. Bathroom is clean, has a normal shower and a rain shower.

The food is good, made by a very experienced cook who knows a lot of different meals, Sri Lankan and Western.

So this not a luxury hotel, but it’s at a beautiful location and it has all the basics you need. It’s very close to Polonarruwa. And it will be one of your highlights if you do the monkey tour!

Our opinion: We like nature and wildlife, so highly recommended.
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Date of stay: September 2015
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: There are two houses which also have rooms. This could be a better choice then the rooms in the...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
AlbertusMinimus wrote a review Sept 2017
London, United Kingdom9 contributions5 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We spent six weeks in Sri Lanka through July and August, staying in places ranging from five-star hotels to rather-too-basic homestays, but now, looking back, the Primate Centre Lodge (which we can't stop calling the Monkey House!) was the single best place we stayed. We were there for a week, which gives a good opportunity to see a place, and in that time we learned that the staff are lovely - with particular thanks to Sunil - the setting is unbeatable (on the shores of Polonnaruwa tank, blessed with amazing views, a cooling breeze and amazing wildlife right on your doorstep), and the location is perfect for visiting the many sites of the king's land (the tourist board insists on calling it the Cultural Triangle, but the old name is much more evocative).

The accommodation is spacious, with large rooms and a useful sitting room space in the various lodges set in the grounds of the Monkey House. The food provided by the silent but wonderfully attentive cook is excellent, and excellent value, and we still treasure the sound and sight of a troop of macaques gambolling on the roof, flights of storks taking wing on the lake, and a huge water monitor lizard (six feet!) making its muscle bound way down the path outside our lodge.

I believe the lodge is only open to tourists in June, July and August, but if you are visiting then, this is a great place to stay.
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Date of stay: August 2017
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dana G wrote a review Aug 2017
Haifa, Israel41 contributions9 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed with our 4 children, and enjoyed more than just the hospitality of the Eco Lodge- we learned so much about the monkeys, and many other animals (Lorris, monitors, elephants, birds...). Our cottage with two rooms (A/C and ventilator, shower and toilet in each) was just fine, set in the forest, and meals in the central lobby were delicious!! Vatsala helped us with whatever we needed, and Wolfgang spent over an hour explaining about his primate research and answering all our questions.
The Monkey Tour in Polonaruwa ruins is a must!!! The guides are excellent, if you love wildlife, you will enjoy it. Our children and we enjoyed it immensely.
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Date of stay: August 2017Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Vatsala D, Guest Relations Manager at Primate Centre Lodge
Responded 8 May 2018
Dear Dana, first I would like to apologize for the lateness of the response to your lovely review of us. This seemed to have fallen off the grid. We are happy to receive your kind review and glad to hear you enjoyed your holiday with us. Do please let your family know we all think of them fondly, specially please let your daughters know that we managed to purchase those adult coloring books for my staff who was fascinated by them. Best wishes for your summer holidays this year.
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adrianmulton2010 wrote a review Oct 2016
Taunton, United Kingdom15 contributions21 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
During our holiday in Sri Lanka we were able to visit this little known organisation led by Dr. Wolfgang Dittus Zoologist.
What a wonderful find!! The guides one of whom has been an expert on monkeys for over 30 years shared his immense knowledge with us.
At the start of the visit guests are invited to watch a film produced by the Disney Studios on the Polonnaruwa monkeys which is both factual and entertaining.
One of the centres proud moments was a visit by Sir David Attenborough who was exceedingly complimentary about the project.
The centre is well worth making the effort to visit.
Accommodation is available although we did not avail ourselves on our visit.

Adrian and Jan Multon Taunton, Somerset October 2016
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Date of stay: October 2016Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
TaiwanChris wrote a tip Oct 2018
Taiwan13 contributions7 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
"Insist on a room with a mosquito net."
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Sarah P wrote a tip July 2016
5 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"I would choose the room called Seeta."
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Tharanga J wrote a tip Apr 2016
Colombo, Sri Lanka11 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"eco friendly extraordinary pleasant experience in polonnaruwa"
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Manuel d wrote a tip Mar 2016
El Dorado Hills, California257 contributions84 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
"Get a room with AC"
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Langkapura wrote a tip Sept 2015
Winterswijk Henxel, The Netherlands589 contributions51 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"There are two houses which also have rooms. This could be a better choice then the rooms in the main building."
Read full review
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LOCATION
Sri LankaNorth Central ProvincePolonnaruwa
NUMBER OF ROOMS
10
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PRIMATE CENTRE LODGE: Reviews (Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka) - Photos of Guesthouse - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Primate Centre Lodge
Which popular attractions are close to Primate Centre Lodge?
Nearby attractions include Gal Vihara (5.2 km), Polonnaruwa Vatadage (3.3 km), and Passikudah Beach (3.3 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Primate Centre Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and free parking.
What food & drink options are available at Primate Centre Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast and an on-site restaurant during their stay.
Is parking available at Primate Centre Lodge?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Primate Centre Lodge?
Conveniently located restaurants include Jaga Food, Rasa Bojun Gedara, and Priyamali Gedara.
Are pets allowed at Primate Centre Lodge?
Yes, pets are typically allowed, but it's always best to call ahead to confirm.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Primate Centre Lodge?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English and German.
Are there any historical sites close to Primate Centre Lodge?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Polonnaruwa (3.3 km), Lankathilaka Image House (4.9 km), and Sathmahal Prasada (3.3 km).