A Year in Green Tea and Tuk-Tuks
Samakanda, meaning Peaceful Hill, encompasses over 50 acres of biodiversity rainforest sanctuary, several acres of organic tea estate and edible tropical forest garden inspired by the principles of permaculture, plus two tastefully modernised traditional tea estate bungalows for guests.
Uniquely, our guests are able to enjoy a rainforest and tea estate experience, only 30 minutes from the Galle coast and just 15 minutes north of the Highway exit.
Come and hike the rainforest trails to the bordering river with rapids and bathing pools following the rains
Practice yoga and meditate under the sacred banyan tree, or amidst the surrounding grottoes, boulders and caves
Stroll amidst the abundance of the paddy fields, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices in the ‘edible forest garden’ that fills the Bowl
Visit the local rainforest reservations at Kottawa and Kanneliya, hiking to picnic spots by local waterfalls
Cook up a feast with your friends in our barbeque area and pizza ovens
Learn to cook traditional rice and curry, using our Samakanda organic red rice, exotic fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices
Set off on a mountain bike from Samakanda for the three hour ride to the beach through rainforest reservations, cinnamon estates, paddy fields and temples
Hike up the ridge to the highest point in the area, to glimpse views of Sinharaja rainforest to the north, or the Galle coast to the south, amidst habitat for rare Giant Squirrels, Purple faced Leaf Monkeys and nocturnal Porcupines and endangered Pangolins.
Relax in the Ambalama overlooking the Bowl and see how many species of bird you can spot from the 42 recently identified, including Malabar Pied Hornbills, Golden Orioles, Flycatchers, Kingfishers and Woodpeckers
“As you never just get one dish in Sri Lanka, we also had an aubergine and mustard pickle called brinjal moju, a cashew-nut curry, sambal and spiced rice, all washed down with an arak sour. But the jackfruit curry stood out: the sticky sweetness of the fruit was balanced by the sourness of the goraka, and together they cut through the creaminess of the coconut. It was a sensational dish.”
A Year in Green Tea and Tuk-Tuks
Samakanda was founded between 2005 and 2007 by the British writer and ecological campaigner Rory Spowers, who wrote about the project in his book A Year in Green Tea and Tuk-Tuks.
Rory’s aim was to create working examples of ‘sustainable lifestyle systems’ for small communities that could be replicated elsewhere.
Samakanda has been open to small numbers of guests since 2007 and in recent years Rory has been dividing his time between Sri Lanka and Europe, where he is now Creative Director of the Tyringham Initiative.
In the early 1990s, Rory was trained as a chef at London’s famous River Café restaurant and his passion for food and good quality organic produce has informed the project since inception.
If you are interested in the longer-term vision for Samakanda and the potential investment opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For Rory’s blog, please visit www.figtreediaries.com
Planter’s and The Bowl Bungalows
Sleeps up to six
The original 1920’s Planter’s Bungalow contains two double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, complete with four-poster beds and mosquito nets. One room boasts an Emperor size bed, over 7 feet square in size!
An additional four-poster single bed and day bed in the sitting room and dressing room are perfect for children, allowing for groups of up to six people. A mezzanine floor upstairs can also be used for basic additional bedding for children or a larger group.
The bungalow is on mains electricity, equipped with solar hot water, a small kitchen with fridge and twin gas hobs. The bathrooms, floors and kitchen surfaces are all polished white cement.
Although rarely needed, due to the almost constant cooling breezes on the Samakanda ridge, fans are provided for use during the hotter months.
The dining area behind the bungalow is equipped with traditional rice and curry kitchen, a barbeque area and a pizza oven. Guests are welcome to get involved and use whatever they wish during their stay.
Sleeps up to six
With stunning views over the cultivated ‘forest garden’ Bowl area and accessed by a separate entrance road from the main Planter’s Bungalow, the Bowl Bungalow has two double bedrooms with four poster beds and mosquito nets, plus an additional double bed in the living room for children or additional guests.
This building is also connected to mains electricity, solar hot water and equipped with a large kitchen and gas cooking hobs. The shared bathroom, the floors and the kitchen surfaces are also polished white cement.
The spring on the ridge above also feeds an outdoor shower through a bamboo pipe, hidden within a circle of vegetation and perfect for cooling off after a hike.
“It is difficult to put into words the magic of Samakanda. We shall never forget the views across the valley as long as we live and have enjoyed countless hours watching the birds”
“Samakanda blew us away! What an AMAZING place! The food prepared by Karunalatha was beyond delicious”
“What a magical mountain – I feel so grateful to have experienced it”
“I’ve really enjoyed exploring and marvelling at the design of the farm. It’s a remarkable place and long may it continue. What it represents is so precious and valuable in an age where we treat our earth so badly.”
“We had a fabulous stay at Samakanda. The food and hospitality were amazing, the perfect way to end our holiday in Sri Lanka.”
|Accommodation||Season||Date||Price pp pn full board|
|Planter’s Bungalow||Peak Season||20 Dec – 5 Jan||11,000 LKR|
|Planter’s Bungalow||High Season||6 Jan – 15 Apr|
1 Jul – 31 Aug
|Planter’s Bungalow||Low Season||16 Apr – Jun 30|
1 Sep – 19 Dec
|The Bowl Bungalow||Peak Season||20 Dec – 5 Jan||9,000 LKR|
|The Bowl Bungalow||High Season||6 Jan – 15 Apr|
1 Jul – 31 Aug
|The Bowl Bungalow||Low Season||16 Apr – Jun 30|
1 Sep – 19 Dec
NB: Please note that if we receive enquiries for a room when the other room in a bungalow is already occupied, there will either be an additional charge of 2,000 LKR per night per person to maintain full occupancy of the bungalow, or a 2,000 LKR per person per night discount for sharing.
Traditional local dishes & pizza oven
“The best jak-fruit curry and sambol I have eaten in Sri Lanka”
“Some of the best rocket I have ever eaten”
Throughout your stay, you will be looked after by the delightful Karunalatha, who oversees the cleaning of both bungalows, does the laundry and cooks a fabulous rice and curry, frequently described by guests as the best they have eaten in the whole country.
Breakfast and dinner might include traditional dishes such as ‘string hoppers’, ‘pol roti’ and ‘pittu’, or omelettes, fruit, buffalo curd, and kittul syrup from the estate, plus coffee or Samakanda tea.
Lunch is usually vegetarian rice and curry, using Samakanda produce as much as possible – acquaint yourself with traditional local delicacies such as kankun water spinach, snake gourd, bitter gourd, jak fruit, wing bean and lotus root. Chicken, fish and shellfish curries can also be requested in advance and at additional market rates.
Guests are welcome to bring their own wine and spirits, plus any additional imported foods that are hard to find in local villages. Anil, the night watcher, is always on hand to call for a tuk-tuk, or run to the local shops on his motorbike for beer or other essential supplies.
Anil also rolls the thinnest pizza crust in Sri Lanka and will happily fire the clay ovens behind either bungalow for a minimum group of four people and an additional charge of 500 LKR per person.
Guests are welcome to get involved, or choose their preference of toppings, such as anchovies, capers, olives and chilli, or if you are lucky, even some local mozzarella and Samakanda basil.
How to get in touch
For all bookings, please email Yvette at email@example.com or call Chandra on +94 77 754 7935.
Discounts available for longer stays and group bookings.
The main drive up to Samakanda and the Planter’s Bungalow is situated at Akaluhena Junction, on the right side of a right hand bend, just after the 20km post on the Udugama Road, approximately 13kms and 15mins drive north of the new Galle highway exit.
The alternative entrance and access to the Bowl Bungalow is 300 metres further, on the right side of a sharp left hand bend and up a concrete track.
Both roads may need some care in cars with low ground clearance and after big rains.