Matale, Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide 

Matale is the largest town of the Matale District of the Central Province of Sri Lanka.  It is located at the north of Kandy. It is located about 142 km away from Colombo. The city is home to some of the most historically and culturally significant landmarks in the island such as the Aluvihara Temple. The city has a tropical climate with a dry and wet season. The town has a mixed culture; the city centre has a majority of Sinhalese with a minority of Muslims and Tamils. The city is mainly an agricultural region. It is known for producing tea, spices, vegetables and rubber. The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee. The total population is around 400,000 people.

Getting There

The town has only one railway station. It is possible to get to Matale from Kandy and Colombo only. There are six trains daily between Matale and Kandy. Visitors can board the bus to Matale at the Pettah Bus stand, near the Colombo Fort station. Bus 593 runs from Kandy to Matale every 10 minutes.  From the airport, it is possible to get to Matale directly by hiring a taxi.

Getting Around

Like in the most Sri Lankan cities, the most convenient way to get around Matale is by tuk tuk also called three wheelers. Negotiating the price beforehand is recommended to avoid paying money than it is required. Visitors can also ask locals how much it is to get to the target destination to make sure the given price is accurate. Travelling by bus is also another option which is also affordable. The bus conductors and locals can help for the routes.

Top Attractions

Euphoria Spice and HerbalEuphoria Spice and HerbalMatale Heritage CentreMatale Heritage CentreRegent Spice and Herbal GardenSri Muthumariamman TempleThe Aluvihara TempleThe Aluvihara Temple

The Aluvihara Temple

It is a monastery that is carved into a series of caves. It is located between rocks that have fallen from a mountain valley above. According to a legend, a giant habited the region and used three rocks as a foundation for his cooking pot. The name of Aluvihara comes from “ash monastery” and it is in reference to the many ashes that were produced from the meals that the giant prepared. Some caves hold religious paintings and a stupa or two. It is located 3 km north of Matale. The first cave holds a 10 m reclining Buddha and lotus pattern murals on the ceiling. The other cave is dedicated to Buddhaghosa, the Indian scholar who is supposed to have spent several years here while working on the Tipitaka.  On the other hand, there is no clear evidence that he stayed at Aluvihara. After the second cave, the stairs continue to the summit where a dagoba is located. A seated golden Buddha is located to the west 150 m above the monastery. From Matale to Alluvihara, a tuk tuk journey will cost around Rs 500 return. The bus fare is Rs 10. Opening hours: 6:30 am – 6:30 pm.

Matale Heritage Centre

It is located two km north or Matale.  It is an arts and crafts centre inspired by the unique traditions of the region. There are top quality brass work, carpentry, embroidery, batik and many more arts and crafts. It occupies a compound of bungalows, workshops and gardens in a forest. There is also an eatery located there which does meals for groups. A three wheeler to get to the Matale Heritage Centre will cost about Rs 400 return. Opening hours: 9 am – 4pm from Monday to Saturday. Address: 33 Sir Richard Aluvihara Mawatha, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Sri Muthumariamman Temple

It is a Hindu Temple located between the rivers of Cauvery and Kollidam. According to a legend, a chieftain of Manalur, stood between two main rivers and begged a goddess to protect his residents from an intense monsoon flood. The flood receded and residents were protected. Hence, the temple was built as sign of gratitude. The entrance fee is Rs 200. Opening hours: 6 am – 1 pm, 4 – 8 pm.

Euphoria Spice and Herbal

It is located 15 km from Matale. It offers very detailed tours of its spice garden and there is a shop selling all kinds of creams, potions and lotions. Lunch and cooking classes are also offered. Booking in advance is recommended. Opening hours: 8:30 am – 4 pm. Address: Arunaloka Farm, Madawala Ulpatha, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Regent Spice and Herbal Garden

It is home to cocoa, jasmine, almond, margosa, sandalwood and more. The personnel in the garden also offer educational tours for visitors. There are also lessons on how to produce natural cosmetics by using natural ingredients. Address: 06, Kirigalpoththa, Palapathwela, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Restaurants

Bentota Bake House

It is located at the south end of the town. The bake house is the place for a wide range of short eats. It is a popular place and the food the fresh. Snacks start from Rs 100. Opening hours: 8 am – 8 pm. Address: 77/A Kandy Road, Matale, Sri Lanka.

A&C Restaurant

The restaurant offers Sri Lankan meals. It is on the same turnoff as the Matale Heritage Centre. Main dishes change between Rs 600 – 1100. Opening hours: 11 am – 3 pm. Address: 3/5 Sir Richard Aluvihara Mawatha, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Where to Stay

Dad's Holiday HomeEstancia BungalowEstancia BungalowHotel Clover GrangeHotel Spring View LtdSenri Village MataleSenri Village MataleStrathisla Tea Estate Bungalow

Gammduwa Bungalow

The bed and breakfast features private rooms with balcony. The property has barbecue facilities and it offers massage services for guests. It is located 88 km away from Bandaranaike International Airport. The rooms come with a fan, a satellite TV, washing machine and electric kettle. Private bathroom comes with a shower and free toiletries. Address: Ranjanie Estate, Gammaduwa, Via Matale, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Dad’s Holiday Home

It is located 3.6 km from the Aluvihare Rock Cave Temple. Free Wi-Fi access is available at the guest house and free pick up from the Matale Railway and Bus Station is available. The rooms come with air conditioning, a private balcony and a seating area. Guests can enjoy the garden view from all the rooms. The guest house has barbecue facilities, a tour desk, luggage storage and a laundry service. The property offers free parking. Address: 91/9 I.D.H. Road, Kaludawela, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Strathisla Tea Estate Bungalow

The guest house features an outdoor swimming pool and barbecue facilities. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi at all areas of the property. The rooms come with a fan and fitted with wooden flooring. Guests can make travel arrangements and book tour excursions at the tour desk. Guests can also enjoy the view from the terrace. The in house restaurant serves local Sri Lankan and Western dishes. Address: 1 Kandenuwara Rd, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Estancia Bungalow

It is located 19 km from Kandy and 44 km from Dambulla. Guests can enjoy the terrace. Towels and bed linen are offered at Estancia Bungalow. There are also barbecue facilities. It is located 88 km from Bandaranaike Airport. Address: Wariyapola Estate Rubber Factory, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Hotel Spring View Ltd

The hotel features free Wi-Fi and a restaurant. It offers pet-friendly accommodation. The hotel has a barbecue and terrace. Guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site. Some rooms come with a seating area. Rooms come with a private bathroom and a flat screen TV. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property. Address: Aluvihara, Thotagamuwa, Matale, Sri Lanka.

Senri Village Matale

The bed and breakfast features free Wi-Fi and a barbecue. Guests can enjoy the on site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms come with air conditioning and a flat screen TV. Some rooms come with a seating area and include views of the mountains or garden. Every room has a private bathroom. There is a shared kitchen at the property.

Hotel Clover Grange

The hotel featured free Wi-Fi. It is located 20 km from Kandy. Guests can enjoy the on site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Some rooms come with a seating area. Rooms include a private bathroom.  It is located 88 km from Bandaranaike International Airport. Address: King Street, No 95, Matale.

Excursions

DambullaDambullaKandyKandyPinnawala Elephant OrphanagePinnawala Elephant OrphanageThe Temple of the ToothThe Temple of the Tooth

Kandy

Matale is located at the north of Kandy. Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka and it is also the second largest city that comes after Colombo.  Kandy is a peaceful town that holds the Sacred Tooth of Buddha. It is a sacred relic of the Buddhist faith. The Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth are the main sights for tourists and pilgrimages. From Matale, travellers can take train or bus to reach Kandy.

The Temple of the Tooth

The golden roofed temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic which is a tooth of Buddha. It is also considered as Sri Lanka’s most holy shrine. It is open from dawn to dusk. It is not possible to review the actual tooth itself, the casket which it is said that the tooth is inside is displayed twice a day. The room is heavily guarded. The best time to see the casket is around 18:30. It is recommended to make sure covering up knees with pants and everything on shoulders. The temple covers a large area and there are numerous temples and museums within the complex such as Alut Maligawa which is the three storey shrine hall displaying dozens of sitting Buddha donated by Thai devotees; 19th century Audience Hall which is at the north inside the compound and accessible only via the Temple of the Tooth; and World Buddhism Museum which is behind the main temple and containing lots of photos, models and displays illustrating Buddhism around the world.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

It is also located in Kandy. It was established in 1975 for being a home for wounded and abandoned elephants. The number of elephants increased during the years. Nowadays, it is home to the biggest captive herd of elephants in the world. The best time to visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is on their feeding or bathing time at the river. There are 70 semi-tame elephants roaming freely around.

Dambulla

Dambulla is located at the north of Matale and it is located around 54 km away from Matale. It is a city in Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is famous for the Golden Temple of Dambulla which dates back to the First Century BC. It has been the centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus for 22 centuries. It is Sri Lanka’s one of the most popular historic sites.