Tea & Hill Country
Moving inland, Sri Lanka’s mesmerising beauty truly lies in the central regions of the island, where rainforests carpet towering peaks, undulating tea plantations monopolise the horizon, vast wilderness areas protect a National Geographic-worthy roll call of wildlife and ancient cities rise up in all their historical and cultural glory. Our favourite inland spot is the calm-inducing Hill Country. Lovely laidback Kandy lies at its heart, featuring old temples, vibrant local life, brightly robed monks and pottering pilgrims.
Further south is the tea stronghold of Nuwara Eliya, a place that has kept its colonial hill station roots from the 19th century British rule. This region is also home to the towering Adams Peak, known by many religions for the Sri Pada (sacred footprint) of Adam when he fell to earth from heaven – or so the story goes!
A guided tour of a tea factory should be high on your list when visiting the Tea Country.
Your host, a local tea planter has huge knowledge of the country and history of the tea and a guided tour is an enlightening experience. You will learn how the whole process of tea production before it reaches your cuppa!
Get on board the Vintage local train which is how the British used to travel during the Colonial times in the late 1800’s. You will have reserved seats for you and witness the beautiful ride along forests, villages, waterfalls and tea estates and the train journeys to the sleepy town amidst the hills. Travel over the famous Nine Arch Bridge on your way to Ella.
Adam’s Peak is a climb for the more adventurous traveller. Adam’s Peak or Sri Pada is also known as the ‘Butterfly Mountain’ elevated 7359 feet high it is a stunning tall conical mountain.
Adam’s Peak is sacred to all four religious groups in Sri Lanka, the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and the Christians. You can climb during the day but a night climb is highly recommended due to the cool nightly air, oil lamp lights but also the amazing sunrises you could experience. It is a fairly rigorous climb and to do the entire excursion it can take up to 8-10 hours. It is not for the faint hearted.
The lookout is one of Sri Lanka's most impressive viewpoints. The Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton used to survey his burgeoning empire from here, and today it's said you can see across emerald hills and tea estates to no fewer than seven different provinces. To hike to the lookout, take the signed narrow paved road from the Dambatenne Tea Factory and climb about 8km through lush tea plantations. Look forward to the company of Tamil tea pluckers going off to work as you walk uphill.
Horton Plains is a national park in the highlands of the island. 2000 meters above sea level among the second and third tallest mountains in Sri Lanka – Kirigalpotta and Totapola. This is the only National Park in Sri Lanka where visitors are allowed to walk on their own on the designated tracks. Other than the gorgeous weather, flora and fauna of Horton Plains, one of the most popular activity is the hike trail covering the mini worlds end point, great worlds end point and Bakers Falls.
Cycling through the tea country is a great way to take in the amazing views of the countryside.
After breakfast head out on your bike and start your ride along a largely flat and downhill route. Cycle past tea estates winding around lakes and enjoy the stunning views of the country side. Stop off at stunning waterfalls for a swim and a picnic lunch before heading back for your uphill climb or call your hotel for a lift back up the mountains!
White water rafting is a new popular experience when in the Tea Country. It is a fantastic activity for the whole family and for those with an adventurous spirit will find it an exhilarating experience.
The Kitulagala River is perfect for white water rafting or kayaking with grade 2 and 3 rapids you can tackle the rapids and then glide through the calmer waters taking in the most amazing views from the river.
Where to stay in Tea & Hill Country
Best time to visit Tea & Hill Country
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