Popham's Arboretum

Popham's Arboretum, Dambulla: Address, Phone Number, Popham's Arboretum Reviews: 4.5/5

Popham's Arboretum
4.5
About
The IFS-Popham Arboretum, Sri Lanka's only dry zone arboretum was established over five decades ago on 7.5 acres of thorny scrub jungle and abandoned 'Chena' land in Dambulla which is in the geographical center of our island, where history and culture merge amidst a natural landscape of water and mountains. The arboretum is not only about trees. There and many species of Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Spiders and Mammals including Bats that can be seen within the premises.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
161 reviews
Excellent
109
Very good
28
Average
13
Poor
5
Terrible
6

Graeme
20 contributions
Jan 2022 • Couples
We visited the reserve for an evening walk to find loris. The guide firstly told us how the park was developed, very informative, then we set off to find the loris with 2 guides. On route we managed to see a snake, deer and eventually loris, how the guide spotted the little creature is incredible, years of experience I guess. This was a different adventure but well worth it.
Definitely recommend this place
Written January 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

rafiki88
Melbourne, Australia101 contributions
Feb 2020
This is an amazing conservation project, interesting for anyone interested in nature and the environment. Our time was limited, but I would have liked to have had a couple of hours there. It was really enjoyable experience. In addition to the wonderful plants and trees, the house there is if interest. It was designed by the well known architect, Geoffery Bawa.

We were taken around (whistle stop tour as we were short of time) by the manager Jayanthe Amerasinghe and saw a lot in a short time. Mr Amerasinghe is an extremely knowledgable horticulturalist, engaging and enthusiastic. We learnt a lot about uses of the local trees and plants for medicines or herbs. The whole place is a great example of supported regeneration of the native vegetation. (university students spend time there conducting research and supporting the work).

Much recommend a visit here, preferably with a couple of hours to spare. You can also arrange to go on a night walk, and possibly see Slow Loris amongst other animals. (sounds great!). There is a suggested small donation (1000 SL rupees, about US$7) to help with the conservation work. Well worth it.
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Inosh Perera
Colombo, Sri Lanka176 contributions
Apr 2021
This is a must-visit place around Dambulla for nature lovers. Many different animals inside a relatively small space. However, the yellow route we took, took around 1hour to walk. There are many places around to snap a nice photo. The caretaker is very informative. You can give a donation of your choice to help maintain the place
Written April 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pavel from 2HungryWanderers.com
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia79 contributions
Aug 2020
After being asked for a 1000 LKR donation per person we decided to skip the arboretum. They called it a donation, but when it is mandatory it should be called an entrance ticket, there is no voluntary element. The park looked nice, but paying $20 for a 2-hour walk in the forest is too much.

I'm all in for supporting nice causes with a donation, but this is not the way to ask for money. Donation is voluntary, the amount decided by the person giving the money. Demanding a fixed price for something cannot be called a donation.
Written August 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sandya-and-Erik
Colombo, Sri Lanka76,485 contributions
Feb 2022
Well the daytime walk for us was worth the Rs 1000 (USD5), but as we're not naturalists and more used to botanical gardens it was on the edge. By being deliberately as natural and basic as possible, with just pathways cut (with signage) and only some main trees near the entrance having nameplates, it's a heaven for naturalists. Not too much interesting for normal tourists.
As the paths are a bit rough (esp. the crossings of the small stream) and not easy to walk even by daytime, and we don't own cameras with good night shots, we skipped the option of an evening tour for Loris and Pangolin.
Written February 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lisa P
Diepenbeek, Belgium4 contributions
Jan 2022 • Couples
We loved our visit to Popham's arboretum! We arrived in the late afternoon and explored the arboretum during daytime (we saw some giant squirrel, monitor lizard and birds) and did an evening safari after. The park is really beautiful, informative and easy to walk. Mr Poorna and Mr Chanaka were really passionate and helped us spot four loris and a mouse deer. We're happy we went here during our stay in Dambulla/Sigiriya.
Written January 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rhi_lc
Petersfield, UK50 contributions
Mar 2020 • Family
Called the mobile number to arrange the visit. We arrived and went into a little office area where the gentleman explained how the place started up etc. We were given a torch and off we went. If there's a few of you I'd advise taking your own torches or phones.
We went for a walk in the woods with 2 guides. They are very good at spotting the loris. Managed to find one but it was too quick for us to see. We then wandered around for a good hour and a bit, we only saw a deer. But the owner didnt accept any money as we didn't see anything which was kind. He just asked for us to tip his assistant.
A nice little adventure but I think you have to be lucky to see the loris
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

dingledangler
Bristol, UK1 contribution
Jan 2020 • Couples
Went on the night time walk and had an amazing time. More than happy to recommend our guide, Poorna Tharaka, who was friendly, knowledgeable, and charismatic, with a sixth sense for spotting wildlife in the dark!

Saw six (six!) Slow Loris, as well as a family of spotted deer, a false vampire bat, and a beautiful firefly display. Highly recommended, you feel much closer to nature than you do on a Jeep Safari.
Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lorenz Gabriel B
10 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
A friend recommended this beautiful hidden jungle-garden. We walked there for more than an hour and saw so many different trees and bird. For architects it‘s very nice to see the main building by the famous Geoffrey Bawa.
Written March 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

NickandTammy009
69 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
We phoned the manager to arrange the night walk. It was very quick and easy to setup the tour. The two guides were absolutely brilliant! We saw four Loris and a mouse deer in 1.5 hours. A truly magical experience. Thank you!
Written February 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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