A morning cup of tea is something that many of us take for granted: how often do you find yourself dunking a tea bag into a mug of hot water without giving much thought to its origins? However, there’s a good chance your brew comes from Sri Lanka, the world’s fourth largest tea producer. Introduced by the British in 1867, tea drinking still remains an important part of Sri Lanka’s culture and Sri Lankans drink on average three cups per day.
A tailor made holiday to Sri Lanka provides the opportunity to visit a tea plantation to learn first-hand about Sri Lanka’s 150-year-old tea industry, whilst seeking out the best brew on the island. Tea plantation countryside is one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic regions with gently rolling hills carpeted with a green patchwork forested quilt of tea bushes. The landscape is often dotted with colourful sari-clad tea-pickers, their deft fingers plucking the young leaves and tossing them into baskets slung across their backs.
Many of Sri Lanka’s best-known estates decorate the countryside around the town of Nuwara Eliya, once a British summer retreat and today, a bustling town in the heart of hill country. Not far from Nuwara Eliya lie the lesser known towns of Ella, Haputale and Koslanda. Time seems to move at a much slower pace in these small towns which all offer spectacular views, scenic walks and soft treks through tea estates and hill-side villages.
To fully immerse yourself into the culture and history of tea in Sri Lanka, stay in a British built luxuriously converted colonial bungalow on the grounds of a plantation. Here you can enjoy the elegant lifestyle of the Victorian tea planters whilst exploring some of the oldest tea factories in Sri Lanka.
You will gain an insight into the various processes involved in the journey of tea from leaf to cup, taste the different varieties and learn about the art of tea blending from an expert. Enjoy a walk through the tea fields following the trails of the planters of old Ceylon, followed by that all important cup of tea in the beautifully manicured gardens of your bungalow. It is fascinating to visit a tea-leaf factory and view the manufacturing processes using machines that were first introduced over a century ago and which are still in use today.
The best way to combine a luxury holiday to Sri Lanka with an exploration of its tea plantations is to stay at Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka’s first Relais & Chateaux resort. Tea Trails consists of four luxurious colonial era tea planters’ bungalows, connected by walking trails through stunning tea gardens. Each bungalow is different, with a unique character and history attached to it. Follow the historic tea trail from one bungalow to the next, spending a night or more at each one or, just relax, enjoying lazy days in just one.
The cooler altitude of Sri Lanka’s hill country makes it not only perfect for exploring on foot but also by train or jeep, allowing you to fully engage with your ever-changing surroundings. The train journey from Kandy to Nanu Oya is a particularly relaxing way to take in the dramatic scenery. For the more active, soft treks or mountain-bike rides through remote villages are an option.
Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for a family holiday and itineraries we recommend include Sri Lanka with Children: Tea, Beach & Elephants, and Sri Lanka Sojourn which includes a stay at Ceylon Tea Trails. Alternatively, we can create a tailor-made holiday to Sri Lanka including the hill country, tea plantations and more. Please contact Corinthian Travel for further details.