Jungle Tide is 11km from the centre of Kandy and the journey takes about 40 minutes. The last 3km of road is bumpy and you will probably need to hire a vehicle and driver (we can recommend drivers if needed). Getting there is part of the magic! Driving at walking pace you get to see Sri Lankan rural life at close quarters – tea pluckers, kids playing cricket, local temples, peering into the roadside jungle to spot birds – and spectacular mountain views. Unlike most guest houses we provide driver accommodation within the price. Vehicles can be parked next to the house. For the more adventurous, there is a local bus service from Kandy to the village about 1km from Jungle Tide. For solo travellers or couples with minimal baggage a three wheeler is another option.
Jungle Tide is about four hours by road or rail from Colombo or (by road only) from the airport.
Three guest bedrooms (one family, one double and one twin) are arranged in one wing of the bungalow, each being 12ft wide by 13ft 4in to 14ft 6in, plus attached shower/toilet room. Each bedroom opens onto the wide front verandah with magnificent views towards the Knuckles Range. One bedroom also has side windows with a view across to the inland cliff of Oorogalla (Pig Rock).
We have two folding single beds which can be put in any of the rooms for a small extra charge, and there is a cot available free of charge.
A large living/dining room connects this wing with the fourth bedroom (16ft by 13ft plus bathroom). The pantry/kitchen, equipped to highest western standards, is also in this area of the house. A smaller wing contains the staff kitchen, laundry room, store room, staff accommodation and a drivers’ room for up to two drivers.
From December 2015 we will have a further en-suite Family Chalet located away from the house, in the gardens near to the swimming pool, with a double and two bunk beds.
Guests have the option of taking their meals on their private verandahs or using the dining room. The table will seat up to ten people. Eating on the verandahs is lovely but insects can be a problem in the evenings at some times of the year.
Rani and Martin cook excellent Sri Lankan food and will make it very mild if you don’t like spicy dishes. Western and other food is available at the restaurant of a nearby hotel if you prefer non-Sri Lankan food or just want to have a change – but do look at what guests have said about Rani’s amazing cooking before you decide!
The site is on two levels, with the house and lawned gardens at the top and a steep bank dividing this from the larger garden area below. There are steps down the bank to the lower gardens and these can also be accessed by a road branching off the road to the house.
The land was formerly part of the tea estate. We have a stream which runs through the garden then forms the boundary of the land and which has been dammed to create a shady pool for cooling off in. The gardens around the house are full of flowers. Lower down there are fruit trees and ornamental shrubs.
However lovely the plants are, it is the wildlife, and especially the birds, which make Jungle Tide so special. Dozens of bird species can be seen, from tiny sunbirds to eagles. The best time is from around 4pm to dusk – just sit on the verandah and watch. We have provided binoculars and bird-recognition books for guests to use. Monkeys visit almost every day. Although to gardeners they are a pest (they eat absolutely everything) their antics are undeniably amusing. We also frequently see mongooses and various lizards in the top gardens. There are also many different kinds of butterfly including some really giant ones.
If you’re feeling brave you might want to venture down to the lower gardens at night (take a strong torch and stout stick) and you may see wild boar or, just possibly, a porcupine. Even if you don’t, on a clear night the stars are spectacular as there is no light pollution.
There is a 12m x 6m pool in the lower gardens with an adjacent pavilion for changing and showering, and shade to relax. We plan to build a barbecue in this area in 2016.
Guests who book the whole house have the option of self-catering instead of bed and breakfast. Or you can mix and match, cooking for yourselves some days and paying Martin and Rani to prepare meals on the other days provided you give them enough notice. The house has a kitchen fully equipped to western standards. It is possible to purchase the ingredients for almost any kind of meal in Kandy, at the market and in supermarkets. Supermarkets are more expensive but as far as meat and fish are concerned probably a safer bet unless you know what you are buying. You will also probably need to use a supermarket to buy such things as pasta or cheese, as well as drinks of all kinds. Kandy market is brilliant for fruit and vegetables as well as spices.
It is possible to buy many essential foods in the local village; ask Martin for advice on this.
The icing on the cake
One of the things that we think is special about Jungle Tide is the variety of little extras provided free to guests.
Driver accommodation is free. This is increasingly rare in Sri Lanka and many places have no driver accommodation, so this is a big plus.
Children under five are free.
There is free Wi-Fi in the house. Ask Martin about using this.
Tea, coffee, sugar, UHT milk, drinking water and ice are provided free of charge. If you want fresh milk you will need to buy this yourselves in Kandy.
If you are staying a minimum of three nights your laundry will be done free of charge – in other hotels this will cost you a lot. Just give Rani and Martin enough notice (36 hours minimum).
We have provided some games for the use of guests and a CD player with iPod and MP3 docking facilities, plus several CDs. There are also binoculars and reference books on wildlife etc. and some novels. Guests are welcome to take novels (but not other books) with them to finish reading after they leave Jungle Tide, but if you could also leave behind a book you have finished reading that would be appreciated.
As our testimonials confirm, Martin and Rani are very special people and will go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable or to help you sort out any problems. In particular, if he is not too busy Martin will take you on a walking tour of the village and introduce you to various people including the baker, local shopkeepers and the school teachers and children.
If you book well in advance, before your stay we will be very happy to advise about your wider holiday plans, travel times, or other questions you may have. We can also recommend drivers, some other places to stay elsewhere in the island, and some guides (we are steadily increasing our own knowledge here).