Nuwara Eliya Things to Do
Tucked away in the hill country of the Ceylon region of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is a place of tea, rushing rivers and waterfalls, and throwbacks to the British Empire. It is sometimes even referred to as “Little England” because of the country clubs and racing tracks that were built here, this former home-away-from-home for British colonials. If you need a cosmopolitan vacation this won’t be your speed, but if you’re in it for good views, some time outside, and high quality tea – this is the place for you. Take the train in for a scenic start to your trip.
The tea plantations are numerous and some of the houses are very pretty and have gardens to visit. All of the equipment that is used on the tea plantations is the old British equipment. This may be surprising, but it is now tradition and by law the equipment cannot be modernized, so Ceylon tea will always be produced the old British colonial way. The educational tour is usually free, but it is polite to give a small tip to the guide. Tea plantations to visit are the Bluefields Tea Estate and Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre. Mackwoods was founded in 1841 and manages 27,000 acres of tea and rubber plantations today. At both estates you can both taste and buy tea.
There are plenty of good hikes around Nuwara Eliya, including Lovers Leap and Horten Plains. But there are so many paths and waterfalls that it is often best to just ask the locals for advice. A hike to the Ramboda falls will take you to the Ramboda Falls Hotel, where you’ll stroll through the hotel to reach the waterfall. A round trip to World’s End and Baker’s Fall, meanwhile, will take you about four hours on foot. Avoid traveling at night because the area experiences heavy mist almost every evening, dropping visibility to about 100 feet.
Hakagla Botanical Gardens
Also good for a hike, the botanical gardens are situated 10 kilometers southeast of Nuwara Eliya at the foot of Hakgala Rock. They were originally established in 1860 as an experimental plantation of cinchona trees, from which quinine is derived. Today the gardens cover 27 hectares. They are divided into sections: roses, ferns, orchids, and more. Sections are separated by pathways and lawns.
The Hill Club
A members-only club with its own racetrack, the Hill Club is one of the obvious remnants of the British Empire. Visitors can apply for temporary membership to use of the facilities, but you must follow the rules of the club, which include a dress code.
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