The favourite pastime for visitors to Rangala House is TAKING IT EASY. The swimming pool (solar heated) is a year-round delight and you can lounge on the patio or snooze on the shady verandah. The tea estate at the back of the house offers delightful strolls or longer walks, as you wish. The views are glorious and the locals very friendly. The Duckwari tea factory (a gentle twenty minute walk away) is not geared for tour parties but they will willingly show you round.
EXCURSIONS of various sorts can be arranged for you. For example, you may like to visit Deenstone Park and 'Mini World's End' (delightful walk and views) or perhaps take a 4X4 up to Corbett's Gap for the views across the Knuckles to the North. There are plenty of other enjoyable day trips. For example, we could drive you to Kandy by a scenic mountain route (about 2 hours - stupendous views). On the way, we could stop for lunch or tea with friends, a British couple who have made a beautiful home on a wooded hillside.
BIRDWATCHERS at Rangala House will be richly rewarded. Even without leaving the verandah, numerous species can be seen and the Knuckles region itself is famous for the richness of its bird life. There is detailed information on the Flora & Fauna page.
“Absolutely brilliant - a little bit of heaven on earth. Lovely hillside walks in the morning - relaxing on the verandah and in the garden during the afternoon. Excellent for bird watching. Lovely meals and evenings.”
DG - Portishead, England
For those who take their WALKING seriously, there are numerous options offering glorious hill-walking. The staff will gladly take you to convenient starting points further up the mountain or pick you up elsewhere at the end of the day. Local guides can be found, though this needs to be fixed up in advance. (Dedicated walkers will already know about the importance of appropriate footwear - socks and walking boots. In the forest reservation, the leeches can be tiresome and an encounter with a snake or scorpion, while highly unlikely, must be considered.)
The journey to KANDY takes an hour and twenty minutes. For those who have not already done the 'sights', a day could include the world famous Temple of the Tooth, a stroll by the lake, a visit to the market, shopping for arts, crafts, gems, sarees etc, lunch at one of the big hotels (or perhaps short eats at a roadside café), a walk around Uddawattakelle (Kandy's own small wildlife forest) or a trip to see elephants being washed. If you haven't seen it before, the early evening cultural show near the lakeside (dancing, drumming and fire walking) is well worth it. There is also ample opportunity for shopping and we can take you to reliable retailers, whatever your preference - batik, gems and jewellery, handicraft, spices, etc.
VICTORIA GOLF COURSE is just 45 minutes away from Rangala House. It is worth a visit even if you are not a golfer, for the setting is superb - glorious, green, palm-dotted fairways next to the lovely Victoria Lake, with a backdrop of mountains beyond. The course is of international standard and is gaining a reputation as one of the most attractive and well maintained courses in South Asia . The clubhouse is a very pleasant spot for a drink and lunch. Sam Gunaratne (co-director at Rangala House) is a member of VGC and will be delighted to organise all your golfing requirements.
The emphasis at Rangala House is on personal attention to your particular wishes. Perhaps you have an interest in classical oriental music or dance - a private performance could be arranged for you. Likewise, if you would like to learn more about gemstones, batik, antiques or local art, experts can be contacted who will be able to teach, inform or demonstrate. (For these services, a charge would have to be made and the management will appreciate information about any specialist interests in advance.)
While the management cannot accept liability for any accident or injury sustained by guests, every effort is made to make your stay at Rangala House a happy, healthy and safe experience. Please read our information about your well-being.
FOOD AND DRINK
Sri Lanka is an attractive destination for those who enjoy a varied cuisine. The quality of the fresh food available locally is exceptional. This includes not only the many exciting and (for non-local visitors) unfamiliar Asian vegetables and curry leaves but also superb potatoes, carrots, leeks, beans, beetroot, tomatoes, aubergines, etc etc. In addition, excellent fresh chicken, fillet beef, pork and fish including seer, shark, cuttlefish and prawns can all be found. Delicious curries and sambals, with samba, basmati or red rice are the locals' choice and there is also great scope for western-style eating. Pasta of all kinds is readily available. The fresh bread is very good indeed. The white loaves come daily from the local bakery just down the road while wholemeal and granary comes from a supplier in Kandy. Sri Lankans have a sweet tooth and there is never a shortage of desserts, the best known being watalapan (nearest equivalent egg flan/caramel) and buffalo curd - both flavoured with the excellent kittul syrup made locally. There is tropical fruit available in abundance and mango, banana, papaya, avocado, etc - often from our own trees - generally accompany every meal. We have a modest vegetable garden at Rangala House which also provides for our fresh herb requirements, including basil, rocket, mint, oregano, rosemary and so on. And our hens ensure a steady supply of free range eggs.
Our resident chef, Sebastian, is very experienced both in Sri Lankan and international cooking. One recent guest (an expat who has lived in Colombo for more than three years) was quite clear in her opinion that Rangala House has 'the best hotel food in Sri Lanka'! Perhaps it was the lemon soufflé, or the prawn/avocado/quail egg appetiser that hit the spot so successfully - or maybe the outstanding array of Sri Lankan curries which he regularly produces. We do not offer a printed menu as such. Rather, we discuss guests' individual preferences in advance and prepare your meals precisely to order. The emphasis is always on using the best quality of local fresh produce.
There is no café or bar in the local village, but there is never a shortage of good things to drink at the house, whatever your taste may be. Fresh fruit juices or king coconut water are always available, as are Coke, Sprite, etc and the excellent local ginger beer. Sri Lankan beers (e.g. 'Lion' or 'Three Coins') are very palatable medium strength lagers. The local spirit liquor is arrack (distilled from coconut), which comes in various qualities, the best of which are very acceptable either solo or as the basis for many tropical cocktails. The local gin serves very well in mixers, as does the local white rum. Imported whiskies etc are all available but are naturally much pricier. The range of wines available in Kandy is growing all the time and includes imports from Australia , France , South Africa , Chile and California.
All travel guides / books on Sri Lanka provide information regarding the weather, so that the pattern of two monsoons in the year is well known to travellers. There are two reasons for treating the standard advice with a pinch of salt, however. First, weather patterns here have been irregular and unpredictable in recent years, as they have been everywhere else. Second, Hill Country weather is, by its nature, changeable so that showers are to be expected from time to time even during the 'dry' season and fine days, likewise, are quite frequent even during monsoons. In general, the standard advice is still fairly reliable and, for the time being, the pricing policy at Rangala House is based on the usual 'high season' (November to March) and 'low season' (April to October). Recently, October and November have been wetter than usual while April and May have been fair. Whether this establishes a trend for the future it is hard to say, however. At the altitude of 3000ft (1000M), Rangala House seldom sees the temperature drop below 19°C and the night minimum is more usually around 21°C. In the shade, the daily maximum is comfortably cooler than in the lowlands - typically about 29°C. In general, the weather is noticeably fresher than in Kandy and very much more pleasant than in Colombo.
Rangala House is an environmentally friendly organization. Domestic water is provided from the hillside stream, which also supplies the swimming pool, so that no demands are made on the local mains water supply, though the house does have a mains connection as back up. The hot water is solar heated and, as far as possible, modern low-energy lighting is used, ensuring again that the local electricity supply is not burdened. The use of chemicals in the swimming pool is kept to the absolute minimum. Garbage is recycled or disposed of responsibly.