Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of the Central Province of Sri Lanka. With an altitude of 1,868 meters (6,128 feet), the city has an extremely picturesque landscape and a temperate, cool climate – the coolest area in Sri Lanka. Dan experienced some mild altitude sickness symptoms (random dizziness, loss of color in his face, etc.) when we first arrived at our homestay, but thankfully it wasn’t too bad and he quickly recovered. This area is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka and is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. In this guide to Nuwara Eliya, you’ll find some insight into our lodging, and things to do in the area!
After a slight hiccup with the first place we had booked, we decided to stay at the Zion homestay for two nights in order to see the local sights! The entire family is extremely nice and friendly and the wife provided us with delicious tea when we arrived. Our room was perfect and all of our meals were delicious and made with a lot of love. It was really nice to sit in the living room with the other guests and enjoy the home-cooked local cuisine together. There is also a cool little balcony to sit outside for the view as well! We highly recommend staying at Zion Homestay.
The train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya reveals absolutely stunning landscapes and shows just how much tea is grown in the region. We highly recommend taking the train, but beware – it gets super crowded. We decided to take a 3:30am train from Kandy and it began to get crowded as soon as we were getting closer to Nuwara Eliya.
Ramboda Falls – These were very beautiful and powerful waterfalls that you can get very close to. It is 109m tall and the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The easiest way to get to its by walking through the Ramboda Falls Hotel, take the elevator down, and walk through the restaurant area. There’s a path that takes you super close the waterfalls. You can’t go into the water so no need to bring your bathing suit! There’s also no entrance fee.
Damro Tea Factory – We headed to the Damro Tea Factory, pictured above, where we took a free tour of the factory. The guide explains the various steps in processing the tea leaves, an explanation of the various tea leaves they process and a cup of tea at the end. You can purchase tea from the store as well or buy them in the local market where it’s most likely cheaper.
Blue Fields Tea Factory – You can also visit Blue Fields for a free tea factory tour. We didn’t do a tour here but ended up having lunch here instead. We recommend either Damro or Blue Fields for your visit!
Horton Plains/World’s End – If you want to do some hiking during your time in Nuwara Eliya, you can wake up extra early for a sunrise hike at World’s End. The entrance fee for Horton Plains is pretty high (~$30 USD) and the weather conditions in the area were a bit rainy so we skipped this particular excursion. Make sure to research the weather conditions for your trip and see if you can fit this into your schedule! We’ve heard it’s definitely worth the trek!
There were also a few other stops (wood carving store, strawberry farm, etc.) but they weren’t overly exciting so not sure we would recommend them. You can easily organize a half-day tour with a tuk-tuk driver for a reasonable price. Make sure you get your negotiating skills ready.
MUST READ: ‘Top things to know before traveling to Sri Lanka’ blog post!
If you’re traveling anywhere in Asia, TripAdvisor is without a doubt the best place to check out the reviews. Dan’s TripAdvisor page has a more robust amount of reviews and pictures of our meal.
As mentioned above, we ate breakfast and dinner at our homestay for the two full days we were there. The rice and curry for dinner was amazing and they just kept bringing more food out despite us telling them we were full! They served us traditional Sri Lankan breakfast with naan, dhal and coconut chili and/or marinated onions. Fried eggs were a bonus on the second morning.
We did, however, make a quick stop at Edinburgh Tea Train once we got off the train for a cup of tea and some tea cake while taking in the beautiful scenic views. In addition, our tuk-tuk driver brought us to Bluefield Tea Factory during our half-day tour and we had a delicious buffet style lunch for around 1,000 LKR/$5.50 USD each. It was a little more expensive than we expected but we definitely made sure we got our money’s worth. We enjoyed some awesome fried chicken, curry meatballs and dhal and we finished it off with a plate or two of fresh papaya and flan.
Unfortunately, we don’t know of any volunteer opportunities in the Nuwara Eliya area. If you do, we would love to feature it on our page. Reach out to us via email at email@example.com or DM us on Instagram (@jetsetforgood).