Meet and Interact with the Locals of Yala

This is our most popular activity perhaps because it involves no special effort or perhaps because it includes a chance to meet our village neighbours and interact with them, and even learn how to cook local vegetables. Our guests either ride bicycles, go by catamaran, or walk around the lake shore to visit a small village in the wilderness where a farmer and his wife welcome visitors to their clay-mud-wall and coconut-thatch-roof kitchen.

Twice a year, in September to March (the Maha season) and May to August (the Yala season) you can witness farmers preparing the wilderness for cultivation before the rains come. This is called Chena farming and involves cutting the undergrowth and burning it to clear the land. Branches are also used to make thick thorny fences to keep wild animals from rooting up the crops.

After the land is cleared, it is ploughed either by buffalo or by hand to prepare it for sowing seeds. Farmers build a makeshift wooden watch tower on each plot which they use for shelter as they guard their crops at night and to scare away elephants. At harvest time, you can see sweet corn being roasted and enjoy it as the villagers do; peanuts are also grown in this area and they are delicious to eat freshly boiled.

You will also have a chance to watch a simple meal being made and can join in its preparation (our guide will translate). According to the season, you could learn how to cook jackfruit, manioc and to make milk rice and pol sambol (a grated coconut and chilli relish). If you like, you could even bathe at the homestead’s well.

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