Spice Garden in Matale

Spice Garden in Matale

Visit a spice garden in Matale to see many different types of spices Sri Lanka is famous for. Just 25 km from the hill capital of Kandy, the Matale spice gardens are among the best on the island. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed. A processing and training unit has been set up in the area and farmers are grouped in a cooperative to ensure fair prices and you will also be able to purchase spices.
Gardens are open to visitors, a delightful place to stroll in fragrant greenery and learn about nutmeg, pepper vines, clove trees and curry, cinnamon and the precious cardamom, a relative of ginger. It grows in the shade of high jungle trees and can only be harvested by hand.
Visitors may buy spices, traditional remedies and cosmetics, taste a herbal brew and in some venues, enjoy the full flavors of Sri Lankan spices over lunch or an Ayurveda massage based on natural products from the garden.


Recommended review time for sightseeing: 1 h

Tourist reviews about Spice Garden in Matale

Interesting tour of garden with massage and fairly 'soft' sell of products...
aharwin [TA], , Huntingdon, United Kingdom

The tour of the gardens took perhaps about 20 minutes, then there was a 5 minute complementary (tip expected) massage. The products are available in the shop and we bought a couple of cheap items to show willing. Ok as an add on to a trip out to somewhere else.

Great place for a lunch stop
Thambili... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

The spice garden is fairly comprehensive, and there are guides who could speak many languages, i.e. German, Russian, Chinese.. the lunch option at Kamatha restaurant is quite authentic and great

Underwhelming experience
magicbull... [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom

Being a keen cook I was looking forward to this visit, and although the mini tour of the small selection of spice plants was interesting, it soon became apparent the main objective of the site is to sell you their products. The tour guide followed us around the shop and was very pushy. It's a shame as this has the potential to be a really interesting tourist experience based on Sri Lankan cookery and ayerveda rather than a hard sell. I'd happily pay an entrance fee for a more complete and authentic experience rather than being forced to tip/buy and feel uncomfortable.

very interesting visit, get to lean about herbs & spices
Suresh M [TA], , Bangkok, Thailand

you are in touch with Nature and get to learn so much about plants, spices & herbs , their in house guide, explains you about each tree, their fruits, benefits, etc.
most visitors would not have actually seen a cashew tree or a black pepper plant, which you get to see here and lear.
there is a store visit at the end of the tour, if you want to buy any of their remedy oils for various ailments, curry powders etc, but the good thing is there is no pressure on buying anything.

Avoid it, everything is overpriced, may not be authentic
Madhava M [TA], ,

As with any other tourist I was also advised by my guide to visit this garden. By default I don't believe in free tours of gardens. My belief got proved again. The garden representative was trying to push his items. Finally he got us into his stores. There I saw one item, sandal soap. I was amazed to see that there not because I had not seen sandal soap before. But because the soap they had keep was the soap `mysore sandal soap`, which is manufactured by government of Karnataka in Bangalore. I could clearly see the government seal on it since they had removed the soap from original box and kept in some transparent cover. Immediately that representative from the store snatched soap from my hand and told, anyway you would get sandal in your country as well. Worst part is he has put his store sticker on the product and trying to sell it by saying its organically processed and made in their factory. He was selling it for 750LKR while its price in India is 35INR. Totally cheating.

Tourist trap
Fernlicht [TA], , Singapore, Singapore

Bus drivers and the rest of the SL tourist mafia will supply this joint with victims.

The spice garden tour is "free" . It is very fast and pushy. Performed by a complete retard that is only looking forward to sell lots of useless and expensive stuff later.

Pricing is off the charts and they will make sure you buy some items.

AVOID at all cost.

Commerical But Interesting
Oldjack [TA], , Noosa Heads

It is very commercial but the garden walk and the explanation and viewing of the various spices and other plants was interesting particularly if you have not see these plants in the nature before. It is commercial and you will end up the shop and will probably buy some spices.

Interesting and informative
Ruisenor... [TA], , Voronezh, Russia

The visit of the Garden was a part of our three days tour.
The Garden has really wide selection of plants. There was a short excursion to show different plans and their use. I knew some facts I hadn't known before and my son of 9 years old was really interested in all that plants and explanations.
We also were given to try very tasty cacao and tea.
There was kind of short lecture about herbal treatment and their use. But you can skip it if you are not interested.
There is also small shop that is a bit overpriced. But if you are looking for something specific, the shop and its stuff can be really helpful. We bought cacao and we enjoy it a lot.
So, the visit was interested and informative. We are glad we went there !!

Interesting BUT
johnhp702 [TA], , Derby, United Kingdom

Interesting while you are walking around the garden with you guide looking at the different plants and he explains what they are but then to be taken inside and told all again about the medical illnesses that they can treat and shown how they are packaged is a bit much. You then visit the shop with your "guide" and it is pointed out again what medical illnesses they cure, hard sell or what.

Interesting, but can be expensive
Ramiras [TA], , Stavanger, Norway

Nice garden with great instructor and a chance to see and smell lots of spices. Followed by classroom style lecture and massage.
Be careful of purchasing in the shop afterwards, much higher prices than markets elsewhere.

For those who have not seen spice and herb plants in Real
Gerard A [TA], , KAndy

This place is one of the best places to see a collection of spice and herb plants. The staff is friendly and there are staff members who can speak different languages and will explain about spices herbs and how they are used.
During the spice garden tour now they demonstrate how the herbs and the medicines and the oils are used by giving a head massage using a bit of oil ( very Relaxing ).
And during the end of the tour the staff will take you to show the showroom of their products ( spices, oils...). They sell good products too, before buying you should know it is a tourist attraction and you can find some items bit cheaper at some Ayurveda shops and supermarkets.
But don't miss the chance enjoy the free spice garden tour and if you are not buying anything it is good to tip the guide of this place.

Pleasant touristy activity
lovesun34 [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

This is one of those things you do because you're tourist. I will say that our experience was a positive one at Ranweli Spice garden. It helped that our guide knew we were from Australia and weren't allowed to bring certain products back home.
The walk through the garden was pleasant enough, the demonstration was short and there was no pressure, we of course, then had the short massage, and wandered to the shop. We bought two things, I would have been happy with one but sometimes it is easier to indulge the teenager. There was no real pressure to buy. We followed the customary tipping routine, 300 rupees to the masseuse and 500 to our guide.
I encourage anyone that goes to remember it is a tourist spot and if you're concerned by the tipping just do the conversation, I've paid a lot more to take an elevator to a viewing platform in New York and it keeps a bunch of people employed. If you go knowing what it is and go with the flow it you'll be fine.

interesting and friendly
rapr725 [TA], , Bristol, United Kingdom

our driver took us here on our way from Dambulla to Sigiriya although he got a bit annoyed because we spent so long at the spice gardens. It was interesting and was followed by a lovely neck massage. All free but they ask for tips and take you to their shop which is great, selling aloe vera etc.

Great to see such a variety of spices in a small area.
Mausy35 [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

My friend and I really enjoyed the short & windy walk through this compact garden that contains so much of what makes Sri Lankan food and Ayurvedic Remedies unique. Of course, the tipping is essential but the guides and masseurs were very pleasant so it felt ok to tip at this place.

Amazing discover
mississip... [TA], , Brescia, Italy

We visit the Spice Garden and learn about the spice and the real ayurvedic medicine..
Very interesting.. The doctor gives us a lot of advices about be use of spices even also for our wellness health.
We also bought some creams and oils really good and healthy for the body..

A not so good lunch
JulzMP [TA], , Mauritius

This is not the place I wanted to stop but I suspect our driver got a commission… I told him to stop at Euphoria - based on the reviews here on trip advisor - but i travel with 2 small kids and I forgot to double check when we stopped; after it was too late. We arrived late, after a big crowd. The buffet food was coldish, the ham in the kids sandwich not fresh and it took 30min to make.

The spice garden is located on the other side of the road; a little walk where you can see cinnamon, coffee and other spices. The kids loved the garden smelling all the different plants. We didn't really have time for the demonstration or the foot massage and I must say that we were not pressured in to it at all. The shop is big with lots of products. We bought a cream that is nice, but a bit expensive really…

all this a bit of a tourist trap...

Now i can't compare with all the other places on the road and there is a lot of competition going on - but i wouldn't stop here another time.

Nothing special, but ok
Geo_Rox_1... [TA], , Bristol, England

We stopped here and had a short tour. The guide knew what he was talking about, or certainly gave that impression. My advice would be to avoid the massage (yet another excuse to try and sell you something). The spice tea was nice though. There is, inevitably, a shop at the end where you can buy certain spices. The guide will expect a tip.

Håkon K [TA], ,

We had a superb experience at the botanic gardens. Our guide was an educated herbalist and really knew, seemingly, what he was talking about. The whole tour is free, which includes massages, but one is expected to pay a commodation. Overall we paid 2000rp in tips and bought some items. Truly a great place to visit.

Some items are quite unique!
Fatima199... [TA], ,

There are quite a few items that are worth it, don't buy the red chillies/pepper/cinnamon as they're like every other place. However items like: Tooth Powder, Bees Honey and red local fragrance are like no other. Definitely buy them as you won't find that type anywhere else. The staff can be persuasive on other things but dint listen to them as you might end off by buying too much.

Interesting tour with a 'shop at the end'
Russ_Hore [TA], , Pattingham, United Kingdom

We visited Ranwell as part of a larger trip around Sri Lanka. The visit started with a 30 minute tour around the gardens where it was very interesting to see where our spices come from. We then were taken into a shaded area and shown all the products they sell. No real 'hard sell'. We were then offered a massage which was nice and relaxing.
You then 'exit through the shop'. We were not hassled and we did buy some after sun cream which was well worth it for the rest of the trip.
Worth a visit but expect to buy something.

A standard tourist trap - but still enjoyable
John L [TA], , Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

You get an interesting, albeit relatively short, tour of the various spice plants and then you suddenly find yourself being offered a massage, followed by being ushered round a shop. There isn't really any pressure and it's all rather pleasurable (especially the neck massage), so you just go with the flow, buy a couple of products and leave, slightly better informed and marginally poorer, having tipped the guide and the masseur. But, overall, it's an experience and I've had far worse on the tourist trail. Certainly, there are establishments in the neighbourhood who do the same thing, but far worse.

Don't buy anything
timberdud... [TA], , Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Definitely worth a visit and just give the guide a good tip and politely decline the "free" massage and sales patter.

Overpowering !
puchka [TA], , Bengaluru (Bangalore), India

On our way to Dambulla the driver stopped at this spice garden where all the herbal and medical plants are grown and Ayurvedic products sold at their outlet. The tour of the garden was exceptional with a guide accompanying to explain the benefits of each plant and the products derived. Apart from the usual spices, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper, we saw sandal wood trees, cocoa pods, special varieties of pineapple. At the end of the tour the guide showed us the various products applying a little of each for testing. Found a herbal hair removing cream hich really worked wonders with spot on results. A spices tea as offers to all tourists that was so full of flavour that we just could not resist he temptation to make a purchase. Overall a nice experience that should not be missed when travelling g on this route. Prices were steep so don't fall for all the sales talk. Be judicious about makiing the right purchases.

Interesting but overpriced
Meis A [TA], , London, United Kingdom

All the spice gardens offer the same. It's interesting to learn about the different trees and plans that produce some of the spices we use but I don't recommend anyone to buy any spices in their shops as they are way overpriced. What you pay in the spice garden for 300 you'll get for 50 in the supermarket!

Interesting but don't buy anything
Waseem T [TA], , Cairo, Egypt

A group of 6 of us had gone to the spice garden and it started off great. Our guide was very friendly, knowledgable and we were really interested in the information on the spices and the spice trade.

Then our guide offered us a "free" massage and started mentioning how we should tip the "boys" to show them how we are grateful for the service.We then went into the shop and got a pretty hard sell on all the products.

It was really interesting so I wouldn't avoid it, I would just be sure to keep in mind this is your standard tourist trap.

We thought we got away pretty safely till we calculated later that day that we ended up spending almost 100USD each between tips and pointless purchases.

Be careful.

worth the visit
chris g [TA], , Adelaide, Australia

Whilst we had been to other spice gardens, our travelling companions had not, so at their request we asked our wonderful driver/guide Prabaht to add in a visit on our way to Kandy. He very pleasantly obliged and so we called into Ranweli Spice Garden. There we obtained a bilingual guide (English/German) and off we went. The focus here is slightly different in that the emphasis is on the use of spice/herbs for health and well being. This was of great interest to our friends who are interested in "natural medicine". We had a most enjoyable tour full on information which culminated in a cup of delightful cardamom tea. We were then asked, girls first, to sit astride a couple of chairs and received a great neck and shoulder massage! What a bonus! The boys followed, with my husband announcing that it was his first ever massage. May I say it was very good, the masseuses are trained in Ayuveda massage and we all felt the benefit. The obligatory visit to the shop was no hardship as the prices were quite reasonable and part of the role of being a tourist. We also had lunch here at the restaurant and it is set in lovely gardens, open air, good toilets and a great lime juice. The lunch was buffet style which is very common in Sri Lanka but a lighter offering of sandwiches, salads or rice and noodle dishes were also on offer. We did the latter and it was most acceptable. Slightly out of the ordinary so if you are looking for a different slant on your spices, this could be the place for you.

Worth visiting
YTCHENG [TA], , Hong Kong, China

There was no charge for walking through the garden. We listened to the explanation thoroughly and found it very interesting. We learnt something about using the spicy species including pepper, ginger, cinnamon in the use of Sri Lanka medicine (Ayuveda). After the visit, you were led to the shop in buying gifts and recommend you on massage exercises but we refused. After all, the visit was still considered useful.

It's worth a visit
Stefano90... [TA], , Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Nearby Matale it is worth visiting this spice garden. The most interesting part is the visit of the garden where all kind of spices (cocoa, vanilla, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, ...) grow in their natural environment. The explanation was very clear and interesting, had some similar experiences in Southern India and Indonesia but somehow this visit was more "pedagogical". If you don't want to buy anything in the shop. just do it, Singalese people are not as "sticky" as others, they will smile at you even if you do not buy anything. If you're never been before in a Spice Garden, this place is for you!

Walk, don't buy
Olga-0910 [TA], ,

Depilation cream is real Veet cream - who uses it, will recognize the same smell. Unfortunately i understood it after i bought. Other - i think that prices much more higher then real. Nice guide in the Garden was very friendly and helpful, organized great interesting excursion for us, but we shouldn't have bought that all(((

Only if you have time
John H [TA], , Brisbane, Australia

This was just a stop on the way to another place and while it was interesting to see all the spices etc growing and hearing about what each is used for the tour ended with what was basically a sales pitch to buy the products produced there. We did however get a free shoulder massage which was nice. Barely worth a stop unless you are really interested in that sort of thing.

max h [TA], , Mumbai (Bombay), India

on the way to kandy our guide took us to a spice garden in matale,i just found out that ranvelli spice garden is on trip advisor too.its very unique and educational tour,with most of the spices that are grown in sri lanka,in the end we visited the shop as well the prices were bit high but i think the products are in good quality then the other local markets.worth visit

Tourist Trap
CuriousTr... [TA], , Cincinnati, Ohio

As part of a much broader visit to Sri Lanka, our group was taken to Ranweli Spice Garden for a tour of the spice garden and lunch in its restaurant. After a few minutes, it became clear that the "tour" was in fact more of an "infomercial" to build interest in the products that would be for sale. The brief garden tour concluded with all visitors sitting in chairs in an open circle having to listen to pitches for each of the products in the shop. Under the guise of an educational experience, this was simply a trap to sell to a captive audience. The claims for what the products would do were overstated and the prices inflated. And, the limited time available to our group created an artificial urgency to buy the products while we could.

When I returned home, I used the internet to look up the aloevera cream that I bought and found it available for less under the brand name Delicare. I wish I had not fallen for this trap and saved my money and luggage space for some more artistic and original souvenirs. (Would love to know if the larger tour companies and guides receive a % of the sales made when they bring groups there.)

Nice to have a walk, not to buy!
lau258 [TA], , Madrid

It took 10 to 15 min to visit the whole garden, have a seat and "try" some of the products in a nice and quite garden.
Obviously after the visit, there's a shop where i bought some hair renoval he had tested on my arm before... But when i got home and opened the bottle.. Its just veet cream (unmistakable smell)

Interesting place to see, hear and experience spices
David A [TA], , Nottingham, United Kingdom

we stopped here as part of our tour of Sri Lanka.

We were taken round the garden sand shown lots of spice and herb plants and had described to us their uses both in cooking and medicinally. Then we wee given a large cup of herbal tea plus had further explanantions of spices andtheir uses. This was followed by a free back and neck massage for us both.

Then it was down to the shop where you could buy thier products, tehre was no hard sell although prices were fixed so dont bother haggling!

it was a very informative and interesting visit and free.

Honeymoon 2011
Hassan F [TA], ,

When we went to Sri Lanka, we visited Matale City just to go to this lovely spice garden. We saw different spices which Sri Lanka is famous for, and we got just more of that because we were able to see how the spices are grown and the way the are pulled out and planted. We had lunch in the garden, a cup of spice tea (they gave us the recipe), I got a free massage with aloe vera cream, and then we were able to buy stuff. It was a great pleasure my advice just go there and see for your self.

JOHN B [TA], , Bremen, Germany

Fascinating visit lots of different spices and good explanations. There are good opportunities to buy spices

Interesting experience for food lovers
Karuna-Ma... [TA], , Sydney, Australia

We spent a short time at the Ranweli Spice Garden in Matale. There was a tour of the garden where you could conveniently see, touch and smell the spice plants. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. At the end of the tour you could buy spices as a souvenir if you wanted. There is no obligation to buy. I found it most interesting and educational as did my young sons who are aspiring chefs!

Camouflaged sales
JacobHeib... [TA], , Phuket, Thailand

The "guide" spend app. 10 mins. on walking through the garden and showing examples of herbs etc. and the finalized product they made.

The we were sat down to a lengthy introduction to their products and all the benefits they have. Needles to saym, we walked away without buying anything.

most interesting visit
PolmontDo... [TA], , POLMONT

visited with 4 adults & 4 youngsters. Well organised and talk well presented by local expert who took time to answer our questions and demonstrate products. Hands-on demonstrations were excellent with clear advice on the medicinal value of each item on the list. No hard selling with the result we felt pleased to buy quite a lot of items at the shop,
I wish Ranweli Spice best wishes for their future business.

Well worth a visit
Gordon C [TA], , australia

Its a nice shady garden ideal for a cooling break from the sun. The guide we had was very pleasant and informative about the various plants and their uses in medicine and in cookery. There is a shop attached but no hard sell involved. I bought some curry powders more as a souvenir than a search for a bargain. The curry powders actually turned out to be excellent and very good value as the quantity required in dishes is very small compared to other commercial spice blends. eg 2 teaspoons instead of 2 tablespoons. Also bought some balm that also turned out to be very effective on assorted ailments like insect bites and heat rash. A good value visit which was free but a dollar or two tip per person is welcomed and worth it.

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