Romantic Ceylon Tea Adventures
Sri Lanka is a great holiday destination for companionable adventures, family vacations and of course, romantic getaways. From beachside retreats to secluded mountain excursions, there’s something for every kind of couple. One expedition that you and your partner can enjoy together is following the trail of the country’s claim to fame: its amazing tea!
The island of Sri Lanka features acres upon acres of lush tea-covered hills, from the heights of Nuwara Eliya to the lowlands of the south. A whopping 4.5 percent of the nation’s populace relies on tea plantations for their livelihood, and the export of the beverage is a massive part of the island’s growing economy. Every stop on your journey – whether it’s tea-related or not – is bound to have you sipping on a warm cup of the nation’s finest. If you’re hoping for a romantic guide to exploring this tea-growing island, you’ve come to the right place!
The Dreamy Plantations of Nuwara Eliya
The types of tea produced in Sri Lanka varies with the elevation and climate that it was grown in. In Nuwara Eliya, tea plantations are located on lush green mountains at elevations of more than 6,000 feet above sea level, with temperatures that can go below 5 degrees Celsius. This means that tea plants grow slowly and produce much smaller leaves than if they were grown in warmer climates. However, the flavours of Nuwara Eliya teas are much more delicate to taste, and are some of the finest teas in the country. There are many plantations in the area, including popular estates such as the Bluefield Tea Factory and Pedro Tea Estate. Your tour of these factories will show you how the plucked leaves are separated with the help of large machines – some of which are more than a hundred years old – and the process that they go through to become the country’s favourite beverage.
Nuwara Eliya is great for couples, with a misty mountain atmosphere that makes it perfect for long romantic walks and cuddles in front of a fireplace. If you arrive by train, you’ll be able to pass by some absolutely stunning scenery that is unrivalled anywhere else in the world. There are waterfalls in the area that can visit add a sense of adventure to your romantic getaway, such as Laxapana Falls, the 8th-highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. You could also try Horton Plains National Park, which is about an hour’s drive outside of Nuwara Eliya, but definitely worth the visit for the trek up to the stunning World’s End.
The Exotic Hills of Kandy
Teas produced in Kandy are known for their rich flavours, with the plants being grown at altitudes of between 2,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level. This yields tea leaves that are larger than those grown in Nuwara Eliya, and that can be brewed to produce stronger flavours. Higher quality tea leaves are produced in the first part of the year, between January and March, when the area experiences cooler and dryer weather. Ceylon Estate Teas and the Kadugannawa Tea Factory are just some of the tea estates that you can visit here.
When you’re not exploring a tea factory, you can spend the night at the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Kingdom of Kandy. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is necessary viewing during your stay – just make sure that the two of you are dressed modestly, with your arms and legs respectfully covered. If you’d like a more romantic outing, you could always visit the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens, a landscaped garden with long avenues that are lined with huge trees and that’s perfect for slow strolls with your partner.
The Balmy Coasts of the South
Most of the imagery of Sri Lanka’s tea plantations paints a picture of gorgeous hills and mountains covered with lush green. However, tea is also grown in the island’s Southern Province at an elevation of around 2,000 feet above sea level, enjoying plenty of warm sunny weather. These low-grown teas tend to yield larger leaves that produce much stronger flavours than the teas of the hill country.
One such tea estate that you could visit during your tour of the south coast is the Handunugoda Tea Estate, which is located close to major beach towns like Mirissa and Unawatuna. It’s a great way to take a break from the waves and experience a major part of Sri Lankan culture.