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Popham's Arboretum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Kandalama Road, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
+94 77 726 7951

The IFS-Popham Arboretum, Sri Lanka's only dry zone arboretum was...

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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 59 reviews
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  • 35
  • 8
    Very good
  • 5
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Nature walk

We arrived early afternoon and were greeted by Mr J Amarasinghe, the curator of the arboretum. He is an encyclopedia of knowledge about the plants and animals within this green... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 days ago
Hanoi, Vietnam
via mobile

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59 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 48: English reviews
Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

We arrived early afternoon and were greeted by Mr J Amarasinghe, the curator of the arboretum. He is an encyclopedia of knowledge about the plants and animals within this green and quiet haven. He gave us samples of leaves to taste or smell, and explained the medicinal properties of the flora. He knew which plants were endangered and which were... More 

1 Thank nyccouple2015
Level Contributor
60 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We spent an hour wandering the nature trail, viewing the birds and butterflies on the trail. In some of the outbuildings there are also several species of bats to view, including false vampire bats! We visited in the afternoon, but the best time to visit is apparently in the morning. You can also do a slow Loris safari at sunset... More 

Thank Matt W
Bedlington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
230 reviews
86 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Popham's Arboretum is a marvellous place to visit if you like proper nature and not packaged stuff more akin to a zoo or wildlife park. The staff are few but dedicated and because it has quiet times they are happy to engage at length with you. When I visited I heard about the background, the possible wildlife around and before... More 

Thank Roger N
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My partner and I spent a couple of hours at the Arboretum although could have spent longer. The manager Mr Jayantha Amerasinghe took us on a walk through the site and provided us with fascinating information about Popham, the site, history, plants and wildlife. If you are interested in nature then a visit is thoroughly recommended. The arboretum was just... More 

Thank paul b
Jayabuddhi, Manager at Popham's Arboretum, responded to this review

thank you very much More 

Bridgwater, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I only visited for an evening but could easily have stayed a few days. There is a lot of wildlife in a small area here, including some very rare and unusual stuff. The site is run by the very helpful Mr Jayantha Amarasinghe who will show you some photos and tell you about the site, before leading you on a... More 

Thank Aniket S
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2017

We visited Popham's Arboretum for a very special two hours at dusk. Mr Jayantha, the manager, is a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for this unique conservation project. He generously made time to guide us around, showing us medicinal trees and shrubs, birds, bats, moths and geckos. After dark, I was lucky indeed to see a slender loris, high up in... More 

Thank Nel D
Ragama, Sri Lanka
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2017

We made a stop at Sam Popham's Arboretum on our way to Habarana and we're so glad we included it in our itinerary. We started the trail at around 10 am and took around 1.5 hours to complete it. There are 4 different trails and we followed the one sign posted by the yellow tags. It was a beautiful walk... More 

Thank chai0404
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
92 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2017 via mobile

We took the 7pm night tour for spotting slow loris. The usual owner of the arboretum was away on vacation, so we had a friendly chap who helped to cover duties, but who was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about wildlife. The main guide was an elder who has been at the arboretum for more than 30 years. He searches for... More 

Thank Delakroix
Comrie, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 December 2016 via mobile

We spent a thoroughly interesting two hours with Jayantha, learning about the various indigenous trees and their uses, as well as learning something of the history of the arboretum. A real national treasure. This place is certainly worth a visit if you are interested in the natural world.

Thank dimcn2017
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 October 2016

Stayed overnight when passing through Dambulla. THe place is basic but clean. Complete value for money though as charge is just for Room. Meals can be arranged from places nearby. The caretaker was very helpful, and we managed to see three Slender Loris. In the morning time there are lots of birds that fly through. Place has unique and rustic... More 

Thank Dion M

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