Tourist’s guide to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka: mountains, waterfalls and tea plantations

What do you know about Sri Lanka? Even if you have been there but not visited Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is not completely open for you. Everyone who has been there, they say, is a completely different country, and even the climate on the tops of the mountains is completely different, almost Petersburg. But first things first.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya translated from Sinhala – “city of light”. It is located at an altitude of more than 1800 meters above sea level, and adorns the foot of the highest peak of Ceylon Pidurutalagal, or Mount Pedro. The main attractions of the urban surroundings are tea plantations, which are picturesquely spread with silky green carpets on the slopes of the mountains. It is they who are shown in every tea advertisement – I just can’t believe my eyes! Nuwara Eliya tea is strong, with an expressive aroma, but at the same time it is not bitter.

Air temperature in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

In addition to tea plantations and mountain landscapes, tourists are attracted by the mild climate, stunning valleys and meadows. The average annual temperature here is + 15–20 degrees, and during the year it varies by 2-3 degrees. The first of the foreigners this place was appreciated by the British. Even a century and a half ago, they regularly arranged for themselves the “April seasons” in Nuwara Eliya, fleeing the stuffiness of Colombo. Over time, the April trip to the mountains became a tradition, and even after the colonists left Ceylon, some locals continued this custom.

Lodges in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Today, most people who want to personally take a photo of Nuwara Eliya are Indian citizens. And although they also have many resorts in their homeland (remember at least Goa!), Wealthy Indians go on vacation to Sri Lanka. Firstly, due to the mild climate, and secondly, due to the relative purity of Nuwara Eliya and the lack of crowds, like almost everywhere in India. The locals themselves are friendly, but rarely leave their villages: they work hard and earn little, and if the extra rupee falls into their budget, they carry it to the bank and save it for children. Therefore, the majority of the population does not have thoughts about tourism. Here, the tourist is not treated as on the coast – they run up much less often with outstretched hands, and in general people are kinder.

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Transport issue

It is difficult and long to get to Nuwara Eliya, but the stunning views compensate for all the inconveniences. Nuwara Eliya has something to see. Mountain serpentines can exhaust even those who usually do not suffer from motion sickness. But on the way you can stop and enjoy one of the many wonderful waterfalls or admire the “tea” landscapes. The only airport with regular flights is in Colombo. Therefore, the “city of light” will have to go by car, bus or train.

Train

The railway station is located not in the city, but in one of its surrounding villages – Nanu Oia. From there to Nuwara Eliya is only eight kilometers, a bus ride takes less than half an hour. A ticket costs 25 Sri Lankan rupees. You can get to Nuwara either from Colombo (the journey will take about 7 hours) or from Kandy, from where you can go an hour less. But from Colombo there are 4 trains a day, and from Kandy – only one, and that at half past four in the morning.

Nanu Oia Station, Sri Lanka

Travel from Colombo costs about $ 2.5 (5 hours), and from Kandy about $ 1 (3.5 hours).

Train schedule from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya

The current train schedules to Nuwara Eliya from different Sri Lanka stations and ticket prices can be checked on the website of the Sri Lankan railway – www.railway.gov.lk.

In a train to Nuwara Eliya

All trains have tickets from 1 to 3 classes. We advise you to choose a comfortable first class or at least a second. In the third, a crowd is crowding the people, and they may rob or scold you (although many Russians are not used to this in public transport). A train ticket costs between $ 2.5 and $ 15. By the way, you can get acquainted with the mountain scenery of Sri Lanka right on the way, on a three-hour train journey along the route Nuwara Eliya – Ella. You will pass through the mountain passes, in the heart of tea plantations and impenetrable jungle.

Bus
Bus Station Nuwara Eliya

The bus station is located in the center of Nuwara Eliya. Buses from all over the country come here, and here you will always find the opportunity to travel in the direction you are interested in. The station is not very clean and does not seem safe. But if you can’t rent a car, and you want to explore the surroundings, you will come here anyway.

For long distances, it is still better to travel by train in Sri Lanka. The bus travels slowly, not more than 40 km / h. People are pushed all the way in the aisle, and the driver will turn on loud music at any time of the day. Lonely girls should refrain from night trips; Sri Lankans from small villages can be very persistent.

Car
Narrow roads of Sri Lanka

Car rental is quite expensive, and there aren’t as many cars on the roads as on the southwest coast. Mountain roads are narrow, continuous serpentines and cliffs. Plus greyhound bus drivers who ride as they want. You can arrange a trip with the locals in their car if you want to explore several attractions of Nuwara Eliya in one day. The price is no longer regulated, but you should expect about 4,000 rupees per day.

Tea Plantations of Nuwara Eliya

The main feature of Sri Lanka is tea. Gastronomic tours are organized to introduce tea traditions. There are several tea plantations around the city, and factories nearby. There, local people, mainly women, work for a penny. Of course, factories are more like hangars and the equipment there is not high-tech, but the result is real aromatic tea.

Tea Factory Bluefield Tea Gardens
Tea Factory Bluefield Tea Gardens

Located on the way from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. Tourists are offered an excursion followed by a tea tasting. Those who arrived on their own, without a group, are greeted by a guide. Most likely, they will tell you that you will pay after the inspection as much as you see fit. To tell about all the stages of the collection and processing of tea leaves, it will take about thirty minutes.

At the Bluefield Tea Gardens Factory

The guide speaks good English. The old Bluefield equipment is run by girls, tormented by stuffiness and noise. Each room has its own temperature, the aromas of tea are in the air. The plantation itself is huge and picturesque. An observation deck hangs over a cliff. At the end of the tour you will be treated to free tea, but only one variety. To try all varieties, you will have to pay 80 rupees per cup. The prices for products at the factory are high, it will be more profitable to buy tea at the hotels in the city.

Tea Factory Damro (formerly Macwoods)

Tea at Nuwara Eliya is also made at Damro factory. Plantations go along the road, you can get to the factory by road. It offers a great view. In 2017, the Macwoods factory was bought and renamed. The famous inscription on the hill, the allusion to the letters “Macwoods” is dismantled, and in its place a new one is installed – Damro. There is a cafe and a shop.

Tea Factory Damro (Macwoods)

The tour is not very interesting, they tell what everyone already knows. There is a small museum. However, some remain dissatisfied with the fact that they are not allowed to walk around the territory, you can only admire the view from the observation deck. Tea is also more expensive than in shops in Kandy, but it is really delicious. Workers need to give some money so that they agree on the photo. Then the women begin to pose and communicate with tourists.

Pedro

Not far from Nuwara Eliya is the Pedro Tea Factory. Here the tour is paid, will cost 200 rupees. You can’t take photos of production (more precisely, you can only in one place – where the leaves are dried), but the tour is really interesting. The guide speaks with a slight accent, but the speech is clear. This explains the whole cycle of creating delicious tea. After – tea drinking on a wide terrace. They freely let walk on the plantation, you can even pick up leaves. However, the views are not as spectacular as those on more distant tea plantations. But you can get here yourself on a tuk-tuk.

Factory "Pedro" (Pedro Tea Factory)

Tea costs – as elsewhere in factories – more than the average market price in Sri Lanka. And with large purchases, they can also be weighted, so be careful, because in such places you really want to buy some tea.

You will be interested: Souvenirs and gifts from Sri Lanka – what to bring home .

Nuwara Eliya landmarks

Modern Nuwara Eliya is not only tea and wild mountain vacations. Now they have set up SPA and golf hotels. Developed at the resort and ecotourism. Guests often stop to enjoy the waterfalls of Bambarakanda, Diyalum and more modest water cascades.

Bambarakanda Waterfall

This is the largest and most popular waterfall in Sri Lanka. It is located in the Badullah Kalupahan area. The height of the cascade is more than 260 meters, and you can see it from afar. The chic view opens from the A4 highway. Five kilometers to go from the highway to the village, and then only on foot. Not long to go, about a kilometer, and you get to a wonderful lake. You can swim, the water is not very cold. Above the lake is a waterfall.

Bambarakanda Waterfall

Bambarakanda looks amazing against the background of centuries-old pines that surround it. To inspect the entire waterfall, you have to lift your head. The spray scatters several meters, the birds sing, the pine trees exude a heady aroma, and the birds fill their intricate trills …

It is best to come to the sights from March to May: it is during this period that the weather spoils. The rest of the time it rains almost constantly (especially in winter). In wet weather, the trails leading to Bambarakanda become slippery. Like all waterfalls in Nuwara Eliya.

Ramboda Waterfall
Ramboda Waterfall

Beautiful waterfall, not far from the road. If you are going to Nuwara Eliya or to a factory, stop by all means! The waterfall is not very deep but really high! From the path to Ramboda, excellent postcard photographs are obtained. There is a limiter that you can’t go further, but the national trail is still trodden down to the very mountain.

Ramboda is not as tall as Bambarakanda, only 106 meters, but looks tall. But this is a great place to stay on. The magical sound of the water and enchanting views will make you forget about time. To see the cascade better, you have to go down. But if you are planning to swim, be careful – there are slippery stones below, and the streams of water are quite strong.

The observation deck belongs to the nearby Ramboda Falls Hotel, which is picturesquely arranged right on the slope. The hotel by the way is not bad, it has a decent restaurant with a buffet.

Diyaluma
Diyalum Waterfall

A pretty waterfall 220 meters high. Its name translates as “fast flow of water.” And it’s true – a mountain river forms a cascade, so the jets fall with tremendous force. There is a legend about the waterfall. A girl from a poor family fell in love with a prince, but the young man’s father found out about their love and was angry. To save her lover from shame, the girl committed suicide. The prince brought her up the mountain and mourned her beloved for many days. The gods penetrated the grief of the guy and let the river of tears from the cliff – this is Diyaluma.

Temple of Sita (SitaTemple)
Temple of Sita

A place of tremendous energy in Sri Lanka. It is said that there is no more Hindu temple on the whole earth that would be built in honor of Sita. The temple is famous for the legend according to which on the stone by the stream you can see the traces of this god. The building itself is in poor condition, but services are regularly held twice a day. In general, there is an opinion that this temple is special, even tourists believe in it. You can enjoy chatting with the Brahmins, take pictures of Hanuman descending from the mountains.

As a rule, after visiting Nuwara Eliya, travelers head to the equally picturesque city of Ella. Why go there and what you can see is described in this article .

Where to live and what to eat?

Of course, in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, the sights are simply beautiful, but do not forget about basic things – where to stay and whether it is possible to eat local cuisine. As mentioned above, in recent years the town has become more modern, comfortable hotels and clubs have appeared in it. Nevertheless, still the lake, which is located in the middle of Nuwara Eliya, seems to divide the settlement in half: on the one hand, civilization, on the other – destroyed temples, shacks and people who live below the poverty line. With all this, finding a decent restaurant or cafe is easy.

Lunch at Indian Summer Restaurant

The cuisine is typical of Sri Lanka : rice with all its variations, vegetables, chicken, seafood. On average, you can dine for 3,000 rupees together. As an example, rice with chicken will cost about 900 rupees, with shrimp – 1200, with vegetables – 750. These are the prices of one of the best restaurants in Nuwara Eliya – “Indian Summer”. It is located on the shore. You can enjoy the view from the terrace.

If you search, you can find cheaper snacking options. If you ask the locals, they can tell you where you can dine three times cheaper. By the way, the portions here are generous, one can satisfy two girls at once.

There are also enough hotels, about three dozen. We list a few of the best.

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Heritance tea factory
Hotel Heritance Tea Factory

Located in the tea factory. Awesome hotel that hangs above the clouds. To feel the whole atmosphere, we advise you to take a room on the 3rd or 4th floor, if you have financial capabilities. The rooms and staff are perfect. The food is wonderful. Every morning you will open your eyes among the lush greenery and the sun, looking down upon the clouds. The price for a room for two adults is from $ 260 per day. You can find out more detailed information about the hotel and see the photo here .

Blackpool hotel
Hotel room Blackpool

Completed hotel taking into account Western traditions, a hotel located near the city. The rooms are spacious, with a fireplace, cozy and warm. On the table will be waiting for sweets for tea. Well-groomed territory, a huge breakfast room, a wide variety of exotic and not very dishes, excellent service. There is a channel in Russian. Prices – from $ 160 per day. For more information about the hotel and reviews, see here .

Stafford bungalow

Awesome place for unity with nature. An amazingly beautiful place is located a few kilometers from Nuwara Eliya. The old bungalows were repaired and brought to perfection. The bedrooms and other living spaces are luxurious. Every detail is thought out.

Stafford bungalow

The hotel has only four rooms, including one family room, which is great for conveniently accommodating a family of four. Around is a garden with magnificent blooming flowers. Price per day – from $ 300.

Guest rating – 9.4. See all accommodation details and prices here .

Great offers of accommodation in Nuwara Eliya.

There is no bad weather

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, is a place that must be visited by those who live impressions. Here you are waiting for real adventures, and not a boring beach holiday. You can easily burn your face and get wet to the skin. And if the sun shines promisingly in the morning, it almost certainly grows frosty in the evening – one must be prepared for this. But wherever you turn your head – sheer beauty. Stock up on nerves for a trip through exhausting serpentines and onward, to the mysterious and unimaginably beautiful city of the world!



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Nuwara Eliya