Directly descended from Billy the Kid’s (unknown) father, the Hotel’s Ptolemaic goats, headed by Ponzi and Imelda, and their many (female) offspring offer unbounded petting and feeding opportunities. Sourcing and feeding them the delicious glericidia leaves they most favour is a joyful - if dangerously endless - activity. Best to dip in and out, urban chic style.
Elephants, up close
The Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage is an easy journey from us and although the centre attracts a very mixed press it is still a wonder to see so many elephants bathing at once. . The area abounds with cafes, restaurants and shops selling all things Elly, including dung paper. Foreign visitor ticket entry prices are (Adult) LKR 3000 and (Children) LKR 1500. Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car or coach.
Experience shopping as it used to be – an adventure undertaken by optimists avoiding malls. Head to Kandy Brassware Village to enjoy real craftsmen creating lovely shinny things. Stop off in downtown Kandy for Odel LUV SL for sarongs, scarves and souvenirs; and Selyn in Temple Square, Sri Lanka’s only fair-trade fabric company and maker of stunning textiles and linen gifts and clothes. A snack at the nearby Empire Café overlooking the Temple of the Tooth will prepare you for Sthree Craft Shop which sells quality craft items made by disabled or marginalized women, and then Waruna’s Antique Shop, probably the best antique shop on the island – stocked with authentic, unusual and beautiful objects, Waruna himself included. Prema Brothers Antique Store, next door, offers a more conventional selection. Thence home, via Kandy’s two best jewellers - Gamini Gems and Hemachandras. Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car, coach or tuk tuk.
A Perfect Cuppa
The Ceylon Tea Museum at Hantane, near Kandy is a tea geek’s wonderworld of ancient machinery, tea library, café, and shop. Lapping at its foundations are grounds landscaped with different varieties of teas. Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car, coach or tuk tuk.
Gardens & Graves
A 3 stop Excursion: Spice Gardens, Botanical Gardens and War Graves. Built on a royal medieval site, Peradeniya’s Botanical Gardens were set up in 1821 to introduce coffee and cinnamon to the island. Within 20 years they began their transformation into one of Asia’s finest gardens – with tree so broad it would take a class of kids to hug them, ancient avenues of drunken Cook's Pine, Palmyra, Royal and Cabbage Palms, Double Coconuts and groves and hidden dells aplenty. Take a picnic lunch to help you savor the tranquility of the place. During the World War II Kandy was the Head Quarters of South East Asian Command and a short distance from the Gardens is the moving Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, burial ground of men from seven nation who died then. Also nearby is the New Ranweli Spice Garden where you can see a range of species being grown. Entry tickets for the Botanical Gardens are around Rs 2000 (adult) and Rs 1000 (child). Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car, coach or tuk tuk.
The Temple of the Tooth
Located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth is one of the holiest Buddhist sites worldwide. If you time your visit to around 5pm you can also enjoy the Kandyan dancing that occurs before the 6pm puja ceremony. The complex also includes a Museum. Tucked behind the temple is the British Garrison Cemetery. From 1817, the cemetery accommodated a range of permanent lodgers some of whom arrived after being trampled by elephant, impaled by a stick when dismounting a horse, or having a house collapse on them. Opposite the temple is the old Queens Hotel, whose bar is good for recovery; and around the area are bazaars, souvenir shops and a popular shopping mall with several good bookshop. Admission prices to the Temple can vary from around $10/person to $16 as part of a guided tour. Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car, coach or tuk tuk.
Our 3 miniature schnauzers, Archibald, Bianca Castifore and Cocoa are available for dog therapy sessions, cuddling, training and walking.
A Walkabout in Manju’s Ancestral Village
Manju, our butler, comes from Pallekumbura, a tiny, typical paddy village on the estate’s edge. His family home compound is off the beaten track, children play, buffalo wallow; birds call in the surrounding tangle of fruit and spice trees. Take tea under mango trees with his sisters and see how typical Sri Lankans live and work. Drop in on his village Temple, a calm and beautiful complex of bo trees, shrines, stupa, playgrounds, Buddhist frescos and statues; a museum, a rather lovely dog and trained ornamental fish. We charge Rs 750 for this of which Rs 150 goes to Manju for the transport; Rs 150 to his family for the tea, Rs 150 to the temple and the balance goes into the Staff Fund.
Take a picnic lunch to the Udawatta Kale Reserve, once private reserve of the Kandyan Kings, now home to 80 bird & 460 plant species. Start early and enjoy the gentle walk through this forest overlooking Kandy. Entry tickets are around Rs 500 / person. Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car, coach or tuk tuk.
A Trip Around Goethe
“Be he a king or a peasant,” said the great Goethe, “he is happiest who finds peace at home”. With a library of 3,000 books & 1,000 DVDs, games, walls of art, an infinity pool to surrender to, sun pods & sun loungers to philosophise from, masseurs & yoga teachers on call and butlers ready to fortify you with marvellous treats, we recommend that in so lovely as space as The Flame Tree Estate & Hotel, the perfect path to peace is doing more in doing less.
A Jungle Walk, with Waving
A guided walk with Map or Hotel butler out of the estate, through the jungle and the overgrown plantations of our neighbours, down through our cinnamon plantation, and along the little roads and hamlets (where the waving comes in) to loop back to the Estate entrance, with a small Goodie Bag to enjoy the views by.
A Gentle Estate Walk
A walk within the estate, visiting the Kitchen Garden, Nurseries, Rubber and Clove Terraces, the Goats, Chickens, Guinea Fowl and the Staff Kitchen a building recently constructed using ancient, imperilled house building methods so green as to leave Extinction Rebellion gasping with delight.
Unlike the West, the shops in our nearby town Galagedera are thriving– not closing or going online. Banks, temples, shops & cafes bustle. Here you can buy, at very local prices, the things that ordinary people buy – sarongs & saris, fresh spices & essential oils, medicines, or even commission a photograph at the Wedding Studio. Walk the high street and find the beautiful ordinary.
Fortresses, Frescos & Caves
A two-stop excursion to Sigiriya and the Caves of Dambulla. Described as the 8th Wonder of the World, Sigiriya’s Royal Rock Fortress is actually a wide-ranging royal site with traces of gardens, advanced water engineering, frescos, statues and of course the mighty Rock Fortress. Despite a somewhat family-unfriendly past (it was home of King Dhatusena, who usurped his father’s throne by walling him up alive but was in turn driven to suicide by his half-brother) it is a beautiful place with stunning views. In nearby Dambulla is a complex of massive caves inhabited from as early as the 7th BC and covered in most breath-taking Buddhist frescos, some dating back to the 1st century BC. Foreign visitor ticket prices are (Adult) LKR 3000 and (Children) LKR 1500. Contact the Hotel Office to arrange return transport by car, or coach.