The hill country of Sri Lanka is an experience to behold, with its rolling tea gardens, misty hills, hiking havens, tall waterfalls, and best Ceylon tea. Here’s a lowdown on the best of the lot from a local’s point of view.
Time Stops in Peradeniya
Located close to the religious town of Kandy, Peradeniya is the gateway to Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands. The weather here is mild with warm climate in the summer time and cool climate during winters (mainly December and January). A must visit is the Royal Botanical Gardens that boast of over 4000 species of plants, including a 100-year old fig tree and local spices.
If you are heading to the hills, passing Kandy then you must make time to visit the Ceylon Tea Museum. Located in Hantana, approximately 3 km away from the Kandy, here you get to witness the great heritage of how your cuppa is made.
For those who love to hike, only two hours from Peradeniya lay Knuckles mountain range where you can go for long or short hikes; either way, you will encounter gushing waterfalls, lush tea gardens and virgin wilderness.
Top of Sri Lanka in Nuwara Eliya
A short and scenic 3-hour drive south of Peradeniya will land you in Nuwara Eliya, one of the Sri Lanka’s highest cities, also known as ‘Little England’ owing to many cottages from the colonial era.
Check out the World’s End in Horton Plains, which is basically a precipice that suddenly plunges 1050 meters to meet the lowlands below. Horton Plains is also a paradise for bird watchers and hiking lovers.
If you are a tea enthusiast do not miss out on visiting either Labookelle or Pedro Tea estates to have a first – hand knowledge of the making of the finest Ceylon teas. Sip on a cuppa while soaking in the uninterrupted views.
Surrounded by green hills are the majestic St. Clair’s waterfalls, the widest waterfall in the country. The beauty of St. Clair’s is the way a large volume of water flows dramatically over three flat rocks before reaching the pool below.
Other places of interest are Victoria Park, Lake Gregory, Ramboda Falls, Moon Plains, Hakgala Botanical garden etc.
Indulge Your Senses in Ella
Drive an hour or two southeast of Nuwara Eliya to arrive at the magical hill station of Ella. It is one of the best places to unwind with a nice balance of travellers from around the world and friendly locals. Be prepared to hike little or a lot around this small town to reach places of interest.
The hike to Ella Rock is difficult but gratifying as it takes you through a single gauge train track (which turns adventurous when you hear the train approaching), tea gardens and waterfalls to arrive at the summit to mind-blowing panoramic views. If you want an easier hike go for Little Adam’s Peak. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the top where you will be duly served with 360-degree views of the mountains playing with clouds.
If it leisurely walks you’re more into exploring the tea gardens might be more to your liking. Ella has some of the stunning tea gardens surrounded by higher mountains and here you will always see smiling tea pickers go about their business.
You can visit Lipton’s Seat from where you can see endless hills of Lipton Tea, Sri Lanka’s most famous tea. Depending upon which time of the year you are in Ella it can get quite sticky.
Take some time out to visit Damodara Nine Arches Bridge to see the postcard-perfect sight of the local train pass over a high bridge surrounded by green.
The best thing about travelling around Sri Lanka is that you can travel from the beach to the hill country within a few hours. If you decide to take Uber Intercity instead of trains and buses you will spend more time holidaying than figuring out logistics.
Make the best of the short trip by cutting on travel time with Uber Intercity.
Intercity travel in Sri Lanka is made so convenient now with Uber Intercity.