Must do in Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka: a visit to the tea plantations!

Nuwara Eliya is located in the mountains of Sri Lanka. Due to its high location and fresh climate, this is the perfect environment for growing tea. You will find huge tea plantations and tea houses here. A must when you visit Nuwara Eliya it’s a must to find out and learn more about the tea process. The best way to do is, is by visiting one of these tea plantations. In this blog, I will tell you more about our visit to the tea plantations in Sri Lanka and I give you tips about doing a tea tour!Sri Lanka Tea yards

The tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya

It rains when we hop into the tuk-tuk. Our driver takes us to two different tea plantations today, the first is about 30 kilometres away from Nuwara Eliya. Driving through the rolling landscape, it stops raining and a little bit of sun breaks through. The tea fields are somewhat reminiscent of the champagne region in France. Large letters indicate which house the plantation in question belongs to. Most of the houses have a typical British of Scottish name.Tea blaadjes

Tour at the Tea Bush teahouse factory

Our first stop is the tea house Tea Bush. Here guide Hansi, a cheerful Sri Lankan lady, shows us around the factory. We get to see the tea process at work; how the green tea leaves end up in drinkable tea through various steps of withering (drying), rolling, fermentation, oxidizing, drying again, followed by sorting and bulk packing. Tea Bush tea is not for sale under its own name in stores or supermarkets, a so-called white label product. All tea is brought in large bags to an auction house in Colombo or London where it is sold to tea houses that brand and sell it for example in the supermarket.

Did you know that: tea was introduced in Sri Lanka in 1867 by a young Scotsman James Taylor. At that time, coffee was grown on most plantations. When the coffee trees were destroyed by the fungus, tea became the preferred crop.Tea factory hall

Did you know that: professional tea tasters always taste the tea standing?

After the interesting tour, it’s time to taste. We taste nine different teas, including silver tea, golden tea and English breakfast tea. Golden tea, made from a different plant than green or black tea, is my favourite. It is somewhat sweeter and less strong than black tea. While the tea is being cleared, Ries and I walk to the balcony of the tasting room. A beautiful view of the Ramboda waterfalls awaits us. Besides, we see a building next to the factory that has the same view. This is Hotel Oak Ray where you can wake up with this beautiful view.

Tea Bush tea factory and museum
PBC Wwy Ramboda
Tour is free (although a tip or purchase in the tea shop is appreciated)
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hotel present: Hotel Oak RayTasting different kinds of tea

Tea tasting with a view 2Ramboda waterfall

Once back in the tuk-tuk, our driver asks if we want to see the Ramboda waterfall. Well, we don’t say no to that. And so a few minutes later we are at the foot of a beautiful waterfall of over 100 meters high. In Sri Lanka, you will find many waterfalls, one even more beautiful than the other. This is definitely worth it.Waterfall Nuware Eliya-2

Strawberry farm Adma Argo

The strawberry farm Adma Argo is a shortstop, but certainly, one that I recommend to everyone. This is the only strawberry farm in all of Sri Lanka and you can buy all kinds of products made from strawberries here. We choose strawberry juice and sincerely, we have never had such a delicious drink! So highly recommended! You can also eat strawberry desserts, jam or pancakes here.Strawberry juice

The last stop: Damro tea plantations

Our last stop is the Damro tea house. The nice thing about this plantation is that you can walk through the tea fields here. So you can see the tea leaves from up close. The tea plantation looks a bit more commercial, it is large and there are many tourists. But also here you can do a free tour and taste some tea. Around half-past one in the afternoon we are back in our hotel and we had a very nice morning!DAMRO Tea Estate

Is your next stop Kandy? Read about this place in our travel guide!

Practical information about our tour of tea plantations.

This tour of tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya is not an official tour, but an activity that many people do. We just asked at our hotel (Blandford Bungalow) whether one can arrange a tuk-tuk that will take us to some tea plantations. And that is arranged immediately. We paid Rs2000 for the tuk-tuk driver, converted 10 euros. The tea plantations are free, just like the tea tastings. The waterfall is also free. In total, we were 3.5 hours on the road. You can certainly do this yourself by scooter but keep in mind the rain. The weather is changing rapidly here in the mountains.Tuktuk

Also nice in Nuwara Eliya: a high tea

No, we haven’t had enough tea yet, so we decide to do a high tea once back in Nuwara Eliya. This takes place in the very chic The Grand hotel, a place that is reminiscent of an English country house, with a beautiful front garden, a wide driveway and beautiful decor.

We are a bit wary in advance that a high tea in such a fancy place might not fit our budget. But it’s not bad at all. High tea costs just Rs1800 (around 9 euros). This includes as much tea (and coffee or chocolate) as you want and three different “courses” of delicious finger food are served on an etagère.

Did you know that: high tea is actually the wrong term. “High tea” was drunk by the poor population in the 19th century during lunch. High stood for noon (12), a high figure. Richer people, who did not work in the afternoon, had “low tea” (referring to the time, around three o’clock). So what we do is actually called “low tea”, but that does not sound great from a marketing perspective. And that is why we say “high tea” today.High tea company

Tea and a set of snacks

Together with Canadian friends we met on the train, we enjoy the delicious tea and snacks. The tea is served in a French press, with a special cover to keep it warm. I try the green tea, the oolong tea and the cinnamon tea. All three are very tasty. With the first tea, we eat fresh snacks (sushi, vegetable rolls etc), then we take the salty snacks from the etagère. We finish with sweet pastries. A very nice afternoon and a perfect way to experience Nuwara Eliya, known as little England!

High tea at the hotel The Grand
Daily from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Price: Rs 1800 or with champagne Rs 3200Grand hotel teagardens of the grand hotel

Will you also travel towards Sigiriya (Lion Rock)? Click here for our travel guide on this place!

Practical information about a visit to Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is located in the mountains of Sri Lanka, centrally on the island. The city is very different from the rest of Sri Lanka. Founded by the English, as a place where the English settlers went on holiday to hunt. You can still see a lot of English influence here. You will find an old post office, beautiful golf courses and houses that seem to come straight from London.

How long will you stay in Nuwara Eliya?

If you plan to visit Nuwara Eliya for the tea plantations, then you will only need two days to see Nuwara Eliya. However, if you also want to visit the Horton Plains from Nuwara Eliya (to climb World’s End, a mountain) or take a (night) hike to Adam’s Peak, you will need more time. In that case, I advise you to stay three to four nights.Nuwara Eliya

Read more about Ella and the train ride from Kandy to Ella in this travel guide on Ella.

Where do you sleep in Nuwara Eliya?

Nuwara Eliya has several nice hotels, mostly in the English style. The prices are generally slightly higher than in the rest of Sri Lanka, but it is still affordable. Below you will find some nice budget guesthouses and more luxurious hotels that we can recommend.

Uyou Guesthouse

Uyou Nuwara eliya

This brightly coloured guesthouse has wonderful beds and lovely staff. It is also in a very nice location, just next to the famous Grand hotel. From €21 per night (2 people).

Book now!

Nuwara Eliya Hills Rest €€

Nuwara Eliya Hills rest

This great hotel is known for the great breakfast! The rooms are large with a nice view. You sleep here from € 41 per night (a room with 2 people).

Book now!

The Grand Hotel €€€€

The grand Nuwara Eliya

This beautiful hotel with wide driveway and several restaurants is really chic. Everything is in the English style and there is a swimming pool. From €180 per night (2 people).

Book now!

Click here for our free Sri Lanka hotel guide!

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