Jim's Farm Villas is ideally situated in the heart of the Cultural Triangle within easy reach of Sri Lanka's leading UNESCO World Heritage sites which are a must-see for most visitors. We can recommend and hire excellent local driver-guides using our own good quality cars or minibus for your day tours from the farm, or we can help you and your personal driver to plan each day’s itinerary so that you make the most of your stay in the Cultural Triangle. Here are some suggestions:
1. Sigiriya and Dambulla
Considered by many in Sri Lanka to be the “eighth wonder of the world”, Sigiriya is a twelfth-century summer palace built atop the famous Lion Rock by one of Sri Lanka’s powerful kings. The Rock Temples at Dambulla, unchanged for 2,000 years, are a major site of Buddhist pilgrimage, crowned by the largest Buddha on the island. The National Art Museum provides a fascinating insight into the development of Sri Lankan art and design. A visit to the bustling, multicoloured Dambulla vegetable market late in the afternoon is not to be missed - 40 minutes’ drive north from Jim’s Farm
2. Polonnaruwa and Minneriya National Park
Enjoy a cycle or taxi ride around the extensive and peaceful ruins of thirteenth century Polonnaruwa, one of the major ancient capital cities in the heart of Sri Lanka. En route, visit a local wood craft shop and return via Minneriya National Park or Habarana Eco Park to see Sri Lanka’s largest herd of wild elephants grazing in the late afternoon sun by the huge Tank (man-made lake) - 90 minutes’ drive east from Jim’s Farm
3. Matale and Kandy
Visit some of Sri Lanka’s most amazing Buddhist and Hindu temples in Matale, including the historically important Aluvihare Rock Temple; it was here that Buddhist texts were first written down in Sri Lanka, so paving the way for the Sinhalese alphabet. Then on to the Botanical Gardens in Kandy with its broad avenues and rare plants. Plus seats at the unique early evening Kandyan Dance display, and finally a visit to the stunning world-famous Temple of the Tooth at sundown - 60 minutes’ drive south from Jim’s Farm
4. Anuradhapura plus Aukuna
Anuradhapura is the jewel in the crown, the largest of the ancient cities, which remains a major centre for Sri Lankan Buddhism. See the Buddha’s bodhi tree, brought here 2,500 years ago from India, one of the oldest living things on earth. En route visit the Aukuna, the largest standing Buddha carved from a single piece of rock -- Two hours’ drive north-west from Jim’s Farm
5. Tea District
Nearby Matale is home to some of the best tea estates in Sri Lanka. We can arrange visits to see the daily tea picking and weighing in, followed by lunch at a traditional estate bungalow, then on to a nearby tea factory to see the tea processing and enjoy a tea tasting session. Combine with a spice garden tour on your return - One hour's drive south-east from Jim’s Farm
Other local attractions include: Ehelepola temple in our village where the Chief Monk can explain the principles of Buddhist practice and philosophy;
Kawatayamuna Buddhist temple, with its famous wall paintings; Wahakotte Catholic Church, foremost in Sri Lanka; Nalanda Gedige and Menikdena, two hidden ancient sites and Popham's Arboretum in Dambulla, the leading collection of indigenous trees, home of the rare loris, best seen at dusk.
6. Local/Family Activities
- Sri Lankan Cookery Demonstration - Join our Chefs as they show you how to prepare Sri Lankan rice and curry dishes from seasonal fruits, spices and vegetables. Help to prepare the coconut and spices essential to Sri Lankan cuisine. Then enjoy your own Sri Lankan Rice and Curry lunch with your party, eating in the traditional Sri Lankan style.
- Maps are available for local walks or short tuk-tuk rides; local sites include:
- Paldeniya RajaTemple, 2 kms from Jim's Farm; easy walk or tuk-tuk ride.
Claims to be the original Buddhist Temple where the first Buddhist scripts were written - hence the first ever Sinhala texts - before the scripts were transferred to the Aluvihare Temple in Matale for safer storage. The site is also the ancient home of the Prince of Ehelepola, who fought against the Kandyan King's capitulation to British colonialists. You can see the Prince's House, the beautiful Temple and the old Prison.
As a national hero, the young prince is revered for his bravery and is commemorated by a golden statue in the village.
- Visit our local Buddhist temple - learn about the practice of Sri Lankan Buddhism and receive a blessing from the resident Monk
- Buddhist Seminary, home to two Buddhist nuns, in a beautiful paddyfield setting, again in Paldeniya, an ancient local village. Also visit the British Colonial Court, the new Court building and the adjacent Doctor's surgery and pharmacy.
- Go shopping in our local town of Pallepola, 1.5kms from Jim's Farm. Visit the Buddhist College in the heart of the town; supermarket, ATMs, cafe, pharmacy, doctor's surgery, newsagent, locally-made handloom products are all available.
- Find out how to process coconuts for cooking, making oil and brushes in a nearby village!
- Enjoy a fabulous Ayurvedic treatment or consultation in our Bamboo Spa at Mango Villa with our resident Ayurvedic Doctor, Ranjith.
- Cycling - 4 bikes plus helmets available on the farm free of charge
- Table-tennis, volleyball and badminton available at Hilltop
- Pool table and table football at Mango
- Golf - The Victoria Golf Club in Kandy has one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in Asia
- Walking in the Knuckles Range - natural springs/lakes for bathing - we can arrange a guide for your trek plus transport and picnic.
- Bird-watching; more than 102 species have been spotted here on the Farm and in adjoining paddy fields, including wild peacocks and eagles. You can join our tours at 6.30am or 6.00pm daily.
- Swimming in our beautiful Hilltop Pool
- Local Spice Garden visit to learn about ayurvedic practice and massage
- Haggling with the Matale spice traders - amazing value v Western prices!
- EcoPark or Minneriya National Park for elephants and wildlife
Please let us know if you have any questions about Jim's Farm Villas