Nuwara Eliya is known as the small England of Sri Lanka. This is because of the many old country houses that can still be found here. Now small England is a little too much honor for this picture, but a certain English atmosphere has it (maybe also because of the climate that is much rainier than other parts of Sri Lanka). It is often a lot cooler, and because of this, the region is perfect for growing tea. The city is surrounded by many beautiful tea plantations and has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained for a day or two.
This is how you get to Nuwara Eliya!
The most beautiful route to Nuwara Eliya is the train journey from Kandy. The journey from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy takes about 4 hours and has been named several times as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Not only tourists but also locals make a lot of use of the train in Sri Lanka. The route from Kandy to Ella is trendy and Nuwara, Eliya is halfway this train route.
Do you visit Sri Lanka during high season between December and March or during the summer holidays? Then try to buy your tickets a few days earlier because of the limited number of seats. You can purchase the tickets at the train station in Kandy. With a bit of bad luck, they will tell you there that the tickets are sold out. If you do not succeed then on the day, you can almost always arrange a ticket for the 2nd or 3rd class.
#MacroTravellerTips: Try to take an early train because the trains certainly do not always run on time. If you want to catch the train around 3 o’clock and this has 2 hours delay, then you miss the beautiful view because the sun in Sri Lanka is about 6 o’clock.
What is there to do in Nuwara Eliya?
Nuwara Eliya and the surrounding area have a few beautiful sights, and the town itself is a lovely place to hang out. Make especially a pleasant walk through the tea plantations and visit one of the many tea factories. Also, there are plenty of waterfalls and viewpoints in the area!
Visit the Tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya!
Nuwara Eliya is best known for its impressive tea plantations. You can best visit these places with a tuk-tuk. For 10$ (and often cheaper) you can arrange a day trip to the tea plantations, tea factories, viewpoints and a waterfall.
It takes about 45 minutes to reach the Ramboda waterfalls. On the way back you visit the tea plantations, stop several times at beautiful viewpoints and drink free tea at the tea factories. MacroTraveller can recommend the Bluefield Factory, Pedro Factory, and Bluefield Tea Gardens. You will be given a small tour through the plant where they show you how the whole process works. After the tour, you still have the opportunity to taste and buy the different types of tea. It is true that the tea here is often three times more expensive than in other places but they pack it nice, so you can take it as a gift for friends and family.
#MacroTravellerTips: Make sure you have small amounts of cash with you. Like several bills of 20 or 50 LKR. Every employee you photograph will ask you for money.
Chill around Gregory Lake!
Take some time to relax around Gregory Lake. People with boats and jet skis sail across the lake, and there are some good restaurants. You will also see many horses where you can ride a bit on payment.
Visit the Ramboda Waterfalls!
On the same route, you will encounter several waterfalls. The Ramboda Waterfall is right next to the road. Step into the clear water and climb to the different levels. Be careful. Some stones may be slippery.
The highlight of the area! In a climb and walk of about 2.5 hours, you reach the top of Ella Rock, and you can enjoy a magnificent view. The first part of the hike goes over the track, and then you have a steady climb. So take something to eat and drink. It is recommended to hire a guide because it is not always easy to choose the right paths.
The Ravana Falls!
This is a 100-meter high waterfall with a fifteen-minute drive from Ella. It is lovely to cool down here. At the bottom of the waterfall, you can swim in the ice-cold water where the locals are often washing. At the waterfall, you have several stalls with corn from the BBQ, souvenirs, fresh fruit and more.
At about an hour’s drive from Ella, you can find the Buduruwagala temple. You can reach the temple by bus or rent a scooter and make your road trip. Here is a huge rock where seven giant statues of Buddha were carved around the 10th century. There are few travelers here, so chances are that you have this place all to yourself. The ticket price is 300 LKR.