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Tea Plantations

Melbourne, Australia
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603 posts
150 reviews
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Tea Plantations

We are trying to decide how to travel through the Tea Plantations snd Hill country in August. After spending a few nights in Kandy we were thinking of taking the train to Nuwara Eliya or all the way to Ella? Or would a driver be better?

I have been told Nuwara Eliya can be quite cold and not much to see so better to go straight to Ella.

Or would we better getting a car and driver and stopping off on the way and it will be quicker. Calling into Nuwara Eliya and then spending the night at Ella.

We are wanting to head down to the coast to Hikkaduwa from Ella. How long will this take and are we better to stop on the way somewhere? What sights are there to see. Unfortunately we won't be able to do too much walking/Hikes as have a child with us.

Just undecided and want to know what is everyone else doing in the hill country?

Many thanks

UK
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1. Re: Tea Plantations

Hi,

By road or rail,the trip from Kandy to Ella is beautiful.

A car is easier and you can stop off where ever you fancy just to wander around, admire the scenery or take photo,s.

Personally, I like the fist section of that trip by road. From Kandy to Newara Eliya.

If you do that , with a car you can stop off at the Ramboda Falls Hotel for a drinks break . From the restaurant terrace there the views are fabulous. Lush valleys, mountains and several water falls. One of which is right next to the grounds and there's a track you can walk down to get right to the base. Bathe in there if you want or just enjoy the water crashing down.

Just after that , there's a few tea plantations where you can get a free tour of the factory and see how the tea is transformed from a green leaf to the finished article you put in the tea pot.

I've toured a couple and enjoyed the Glen Loch Tea factory most. Perhaps because I was there when it was very quiet and had the manager give me a personal tour.

After the tea plantations, it's not far to Newara Eliya. So, a short lunch break in Newara Eliya and then get your driver to take you to Nanu Oya station.

Nanu Oya is the station a couple of kilometres outside of Newara Eliya which doesn't actually have a station of it's own.

Your driver would get train tickets for you, put you safely on the train and then be wating for you at Ella, if thats the place you decide on to stop.

Lots of the tour drivers do this and I think it's an excellent way to enjoy the experience of a mountain train ride without any of the hassles.

Kandy to Newara Eliya by road about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Plus any time you might stop off at various places.

Train from Newara Eliya, ( Nanu Oya ) to Ella , again about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

In Ella, you say you don't want much walking , but, you can stroll along the lanes towards Little Adams Peak, it' along a nice quiet lane through a pine forest. On the right, just after the trees stop, you'll see a small bungalow that sells plants and flowers.

Well,, the bungalow doesn't, but the people that live there do.

Next to that bungalow there's a gate. walk through the gate and you're into a tea plantation. Follow the track, it's easy walking, until you come to the last section which is about 150 metres, steeply up hill. You may or may not want to do that but if you have plenty of time it's not dificult.

The views from the top, looking down through Ella Gap are fantastic.

If you didn't want to do the last bit, the views from the tea plantation track are still excellent or, you could get yur driver, or a tuk tuk from the villae to take you , from the village to the foot of the flight of steps which take you right o the top.

Using the tuk tuk means all you'd climb would be a flight of steps and you'll be on top of a mountain.

Getting from Ella to Hikkaduwa. You can get a bus from Ella to Matara and from there to Hikkaduwa but buses can get very crowded and with all your luggage and a child, very dificult.

So, assuming that you have a car and driver for this part of the trip, roughly about 6 hours driving.

Once you've dropped down out of the mountains the scenery isn't very enthralling as you cross the southern dry zone plains. As you have the child with you, I'd recommend quite an early start, then break the trip for a long mid-day break. Maybe somewhere around Tangalle or Mirissa . Both have good guest houses ,right on the beach. Beaches are excellent and more or less empty so your child would be able to have a good lunch , paddle in the sea and generally play on the beach for an hour or two. Get some of the energy worked out before you finish the rest of the run to Hikkaduwa.

Your driver should know of plenty of places to stop on that run but if you want a couple of addresses and instructions let me know ad I can post them.

Rod.

2. Re: Tea Plantations

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Melbourne, Australia
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603 posts
150 reviews
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3. Re: Tea Plantations

Rod, thanks for all your help.

I think you have helped me decide to take the car and driver to Nuwara Eliya and then the train to Ella.

Newcastle, UK
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107 posts
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4. Re: Tea Plantations

Hi

Could anyone advise whether the train journey from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is scenic and what to except from it i.e. will it be packed with locals, or is this more for tourists

Thanks for your help

Karen

UK
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2,319 posts
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5. Re: Tea Plantations

Hi belford,

It's a local railway. It's also got to be as scenic as any rail anywhere.

All of the sections on this railway line are scenic. Colombo to Kandy, second half of that trip is good as the train climbs up into the mountains.

.

Kandy to Newara Eliya , also very good . The train climbing all the way to Newara Eliya, the highest town in Sri Lanka.

Newara Eliya to Ella, about 2 1/2 to 3 hour ride is amazing. Sounds silly but you can al,ost feel the relief in the trains engine as , after many hours of climbing, it gets to the downhill run from Newara Eliya to Ella. Amazing scenery everywhere you look, mountains, weater falls, high country eucalyptus forests, tea plantattions etc.

This trip through the hill country ,, the rail line follows the contour lines around the mountains, so it twists and turns. At one point the turn is so tight that you can be in the front compartment going one way and watch the rear end of the train still going in the opposite direction.

Last year, Sri Lanka took delivery of some new trains fromk China. ,, Great, until they found out that the new trains were unable to negoitiate the tight turns and twists in the hill country. Oops.

The trains can get crowded.. If you get the train from Kandy,or Peradeniya, then you're pretty sure of a seat. From Newara Eliya, a lot depends on the day .. Weekends it can get really busy.

Rod.

Newcastle, UK
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107 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Tea Plantations

Thanks for your swift response Rod. I am trying to put together an itinery for a short trip around the country whilst there (3 nights/4 days trip in the middle of a 2 week holiday) and would like to have a train journey in there somewhere. We are staying at Negombo and want to do the normal tourist sites.

Would it make sense if I was staying at the Ramboda Falls Hotel for the last night of my short trip to take the train from Nurwara Eliya to Ella, get my driver to pick me up there and then return to my hotel in Negombo or is there anything else I can see whilst in that area?

Karen

Belgium, Wisconsin
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249 posts
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7. Re: Tea Plantations

Hi Karen

That is worth to have a train trip from nuwaraeliya (actually from nauooya) to ella according to my experience that is most beautiful part of train journey in sri lanka which take 2-3 hours .

If you reserved observation compartment you get your own seat most passenger will be tourist if you travel during peak season price about 800 RS , 2nd class is quite comfortable will get over crowded specially in week ends and school holidays price will be 100-150 RS and 3rd class usually crowded .

Thanks,

ind

UK
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2,319 posts
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8. Re: Tea Plantations

Hi Karen,

I've never stayed at the Ramboda Falls hotel but have stopped off there many times for lunch or just a drink.

The hotel is in an fantastic position with views over mountains , valleys and several water falls. I reckon it'd be a great place to stop for a night.

You can walk ,from the restaurant terrace, down a track to the base of one big water fall. Also you can go across the road behind, and above the hotel to walk further up to more waterfall scenes.

When you continued next morning , towards Newara Eliya you can stop at one of the tea factories for a tour. There's one great spot on the road there, where the road zi zags up over the highest point. The local kids are usually there selling flowers to passing tourists and they'll amaze you as they race straight up or down the mountain side to try to catch you at every hairpin bend to seel you flowers.

Newara Eliya itself doesn't do much for me but it's ok for a lunch stop and a stroll around the markets. One each side of the road.

Your driver will know the railway station , it's a few kilometres out of Newara Eliya and is actually called, Nanu Oya.

In Ella, try to make some time there to walk in the tea plantations on the hill sides.

Walk down the main street in Ella. Near the bottom, there's a junction going left.

Take that junction, walk out of the village and follow the road, which is really like a country lane. Through a section of pine forest, then, as you start downhill, you'll see a bungalow on your right where they sell flowers and plants. beside the bungalow is a gated track. Follow that track, past the tea pickers houses, ( called The Lines ) to Little Adams Peak. It's not a dificult walk at all and the reward is the views down through the Ella gap and the surrounding mountains.

As Ind said, it's possible to book the 1st class observation car on some trains but seats in that compartment have to be booked for the whole trip. So, you are paying for travelling from Colombo to Badulla although you don'yt have to be on board the whole trip. If you'd booked seats on that train, you could get on at Nanu Oya and off at Ella.

Not always easy to book but you could ask your driver to try to book it , maybe while you're in Kandy.

Personally, I prefer second class. Travelling with local familes, buying snacks from the wadiwadiman, enjoying the occassional busker that gets on the train and basically, just travelling as the local people do.. Although, when the train,s crowded, the 1st class is better.

Rod.

Newcastle, UK
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107 posts
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9. Re: Tea Plantations

Thanks guys, much appreciated. I am trying to get my head round how long it takes to get from A - B and work out how much I can actually fit in.

This is a big help. Thanks again.

Karen

10. Re: Tea Plantations

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