Tick that bucket list of yours!
Stay at a tea plantation in Sri Lanka
One of the major highlights of a stay in Sri Lanka which is also an absolute must is stay at a tea plantation.
I am 100% a beach girl. However the fresh mountainous air, chilling breeze, the warmth of the sun on my skin and a freshly brewed cup of tea or a coffee in hand cuddled up on a sofa in the tea country is something I simply can’t resist.
My recent visit to Sri Lanka's tea country only revived this longing.
Those who are traveling for the first time, second, third or countless number of times - I hope you will continue to use up all possible opportunities to stay in the tea country at a tea plantation.
If not pack your bags head to Sri Lanka - Times Up!
For those who are traveling for the first time, you will come across the tea country in the middle part of your journey. Either between Kandy to the South coast or wise a versa with a few exceptions.
While there are many options for your accommodation, it is important to choose what you want by making sure that you don’t fall into a commercial trap of ‘a tea plantation visit’. We are not particularly fond of the highly commercial enterprises where most tourists are sent on a short visit to catch a glimpse of tea plantation and factories.
We are speaking of something a bit more extraordinary. How about a tea plantation stay.
5 favorite things about a tea plantation stay
1. You get to stay in a working tea plantation
How exciting is that. You get a real experience that you stay in a working tea plantation. The only work you have is to be pampered. Your accommodation is generally a restored planters bungalow. The restored bungalows are full of character and history. However some of them come with price tag, but they are fully worth. With butler service, gourmet food, timeless beauty and endless Gin & Tonics, high tea in the late afternoons, what more can you expect other than sheer indulgence
A minimum 2 nights is what I would recommend for your stay
Read more here about Nine Skies here
2. Take the scenic train ride
This is a great opportunity to take a scenic train ride in the hill country. Sri Lanka’s hill country train rides have over the years earned a great reputation as one of the most scenic train rides in Asia. The panoramic views of the mountains, the smiling people in the small villages and endless stretches of picturesque landscape are some of the contributing factors to this well earned reputation.
Depending on where you decide to stay, the train ride can go from anything between 3 hours to 8 hours. Sri Lankan trains are not the most comfortable to ride in for 8 hours unless you are backpacking or a hardcore train lover. For those who enjoy a train ride without too much of it, 3 hours is good timing. Choose between Kandy to Nanu Oya and Nanu Oya to Elle/ Bandarawela. So choose wisely to enjoy the ride.
The train tickets are not guaranteed so best to decide in advance and advise for purchase if you are traveling through a tour operator. If not Best Buy them online.
The reserved seats in the 2nd or 3rd classes are ideal for scenic viewing as you can open the windows for fresh air and photography. However if you prefer closed up compartment there is always the air-conditioned closed cabins.
Do note, that the washrooms are not the best, so be prepared. Do carry water and snacks if you are traveling for longer hours.
3. Visit a tea factory and walk amidst the tea gardens
This is a wonderful and a unique experience. I have visited a couple of these and never got tired of walking up and down the hill, watching the ladies plucking tender tea leaves so effortlessly and tirelessly with the fragrance of freshly snapped young tea leaves in the air, it feels so fresh.
Be ready with good walking shoes to do this, it is certainly not the ground for fancy shoes. Keep those glimmering sandals and stilettoes ( if you are a shoe addict) for the more stylish 5 course dinner at the Tea plantation. I would still wear something pretty and comfortable even then.
The tea factory is an amazing place. You will often wonder how such unsophisticated looking machinery can produce such fine teas!
I have to confess I prefer wine tasting to tea tasting!
4. Indulge in gourmet cuisine
Your stay in a luxury accommodation comes with indulgent gourmet cuisine. The servings are always three to five course western cuisine with the option of a Sri Lankan breakfast. Of course paired with some nice wines. What is really lovely is that meal times are not specific, you can ask for your meals to be served based on your preference.
There is G & T including many other options of drinks available throughout the day. Yes it is indulging & why not!
The afternoon high tea is definitely a highlight, make sure not to miss it. There is always bubbles accompanied with tea!
5. Embrace Leisure time
A tea plantation stay is all about taking things at a leisurely pace, there is no need to rush. Trust me you will be on your slowest mode ever, especially if your an A type, you may become completely unidentifiable.
Get a lovely book from the collection at the bungalow, anything from a romantic novel to Sri Lankan history to cuisine to architecture, there is something for everyone. Lie down by the pool or cuddle up near the fire place. Or just go for a dip in the pool. Or go for a leisurely hike up the mountains.
Few tips for preparation
- Tea country is a lot cooler and less humid, so make sure you have clothes to layer on, a light sweater, cardigan and even a light scarf is great especially during colder months ( colder months are generally November to February)
- Dinner is about dressing up and looking your best, so do carry something stylish, comfortable and elegant.
- Make sure you have plenty of leisure time to enjoy the luxuries that come with your accommodation. Try not to fill up with too many activities if you decide to stay for 2 nights.