The favourite pastime for visitors to Rangala House is TAKING IT EASY! The swimming pool is a year-round delight and you can lounge on the patio or snooze on the shady verandah.
The opportunities for glorious HILL WALKING are almost endless. You may prefer a gentle stroll or a more invigorating 3 hour walk – we can provide written directions and there is no need for a vehicle journey first… all walks start and finish at the front gate. The views are magnificent and the locals very friendly.
We can arrange a visit to the Duckwari TEA FACTORY (an easy twenty minute walk away, or 4 minutes in a vehicle). The manager has good English and will willingly show you round. It’s best to do this fairly early in the day, in order to see all the machinery operating. Some guests like to walk up at about 7.30 and then come back for breakfast. This factory is not geared up as a tourist ‘attraction’ and their only visitors are from Rangala House – so you will see the real thing! There is a small charge (Rs 200/- per person) for their staff fund. Their excellent BOPF tea is on sale.
BIRDWATCHERS at Rangala House will be richly rewarded. Even without leaving the premises, 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. A telescope and tripod are available for use on the verandah. (This has often been used for moon and planet watching and we even tracked down the Andromeda Nebula on one occasion! However, this is dependent on the weather and the moon phase.)
“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
A WORD ABOUT TREKKING
Hill-walking, as already described, should not be confused with arduous trekking which requires a whole day excursion (or even two days,with overnight under canvas). Trekkers need suitable boots, clothing & protection against leeches. This activity is not suitable for most tourists and should only be undertaken by experienced trekkers. It is a requirement to go with a qualified guide. Transport is required to go upcountry by another 45 minutes to the entrance to the Knuckles National Park. We require notice in advance in order to make the arrangements. Costs are around $85 per day including transport & entrance tickets).
Tip: Most guests who make enquiries about trekking actually prefer hill-walking, as described above!
Many guests find it interesting to stroll down the road to our local village, BOBEBILA. There you can visit a small handloom fabric factory or just drop in and have tea with one of the locals (we can make the arrangements). Our local Buddhist temple is worth a visit precisely because it is not a grand and impressive tourist attraction. Rather, it is a typical village temple, the spiritual and communal hub and much venerated by all. At Rangala House we support the temple in every way possible and have set up our own ‘Temple Fund’ * so that the monks are enabled to help any villagers who, for whatever reason, face particular hardship. In the same way, we support financially a tiny kindergarten school* which is run single-handedly in the village by a remarkable local lady on very limited resources. This school can also be visited. These simple visits can give an insight into rural Sri Lankan life which just isn’t possible on the conventional tourist trails. We only need a few hour’s notice to organise it for you and a member of our staff can come with you if you like.
(* We invite guests to contribute, if they wish, to these charitable funds which directly benefit our local community.)
The journey to KANDY takes an hour and fifteen 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, the Royal Botanical Gardens, a visit to the market, shopping for arts, crafts, gems, sarees etc, or a visit to RANGALA HOUSE ART GALLERY! ‘Short eats’ at one of the numerous street cafés can provide an excellent and quick lunchtime snack. For a more elegant lunch, as a break in a busy day, we recommend Villa Rosa – a beautiful small hotel in a wonderful location. If you haven’t seen it before, the early evening cultural show near the lakeside (dancing, drumming and fire walking) is well worth it.
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 has gained a reputation as one of the most attractive and well maintained golfing venues in South Asia . The new 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.
Tip: For those staying at Rangala House for 2 nights only, we recommend that you do not undertake any trips away during your stay. Sometimes tour operators give guests such a hectic schedule they never have time to unwind! If you only have one full day here, please stay put, have a walk, a swim, a local visit perhaps, but above all, RELAX!