After returning from the south coast area of Sri Lanka, we enjoyed a few days rest in Negombo before setting off again, this time for central Sri Lanka, Kandy and the tea plantations. We knew it would get cooler but this was a welcome relief after the humidity in the south.
Kandy was such a busy city, it is in central Sri Lanka and at it's heart is the scenic Kandy Lake, it is famous for the Temple of the Tooth. Our driver took us up to the viewpoint where we could see down on the whole city and have lunch. In the afternoon we had a private tour of the Temple of the Tooth (organised by Paradiso Travels) - I would definitely recommend a private tour as there is so much to see and our guide was able to explain everything far better than we could have worked out ourselves, it took about an hour a half. It is very interesting and we learnt a lot more about Buddhism.- and some very wise quotes and stories.
In the afternoon we had a wander in Kandy city centre but to be honest we found it rather overwhelming and so busy. We did find the shops fascinating though - having only passed them as we travelled through the towns we were intrigued to see the old colonial era still very much in evidence in the old fashioned shop fittings and customer experience.
We stayed at another gorgeous boutique hotel, The Kandy House, it deserves a post all of it's own really - I wish we had been staying for two nights as one just wasn't long enough to really enjoy the gardens, the pool, the restaurant and the outdoor treatment space. It was an oasis of calm after the busy city.
After a totally delicious and healthy breakfast, we left the hotel as late as we could get away with the next morning to start our journey to the tea plantations. First of all we stopped off at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya.
I loved this trip through the hills and mountains, there was so much to see and the scenery was amazing. There were tea bushes everywhere, the plantations are all beautifully terraced and landscaped. And then we would catch sight of the tea pickers working hard in the plantations, this is a back breaking job for very little pay, mostly done by women, and the tradition has not changed since tea was originally grown in Sri Lanka.
In the afternoon we visited the Labookellie / Damro working tea factory, we had a tour of the factory and learnt how tea is picked and processed and packed ready for distribution.
BOP is English Breakfast Tea and it is sold as loose tea from the factory, it is not available in the UK under the Labookellie name - it will be bought by the big names in tea (i.e. Twinings) and packaged under their own brand but I will certainly be looking out for pure ceylon tea now I have tasted it and learnt more about the health benefits.
We then travelled through the tea plantations to our hotel - the Heritance Tea Factory, a former tea factory that had closed and been left empty for many years until it was spotted by a big hotelier and he set about buying it and converting it into a hotel - maintaining the outside as it was whilst keeping as much of the inner workings and machinery visible and in some cases still operating. They also have their own 'mini tea factory' where we were able to dress up in traditional dress and pick tea, we saw close-up how it is processed from leaf to tea leaves and then we took it home to try! Fantastic morning.
The next day we explored the Nuwara Eliya town and area which is known as 'Little England' as this is where the British settled when they came to Sri Lanka to start the tea plantations. There are some sights that are very British! Post boxes, houses with white picket fencing.. But the town itself was disappointing and we didn't stay long. We did have a very authentic and the best curry ever at The Grand Hotel though! (below outside post office and lunch at The Grand Hotel).
A trip to the train station at Nan Oya to pick up our tickets for the next day was eventful, the three of us managed to travel to Kandy on two tickets and thank goodness for our lovely driver Vicky who was there to help us (never travel around Sri Lanka without Vicky or your own Vicky)! But I will explain more about the train journey in my next post as along with the elephants it was up there as one of the best experiences of the trip - although my husband will disagree!
I loved this area. I loved the cooler climate, the fresh air, the charm. I love how everyone lives such a simple, basic life but are so happy, so friendly. From our hotel suite at The Heritance Tea Factory we could hear the music from the temple in the village echoing around the hills, we took a walk into the village and waved to the villagers in the fields, we laughed with the children as they played on the roads around the village. One father was out with his daughter and we stopped to say hello - a smile is an international language easily understood by all - we shook hands with him and his small daughter and he asked me to take his photograph. Another lasting memory of Sri Lanka. It was the simple things that made it so special.
This blog post has turned into a much longer one than I expected so if you made it to the end then thank you. I love recording my life for myself but I love sharing it with others in the hope that I can inspire someone or help you to put your own Sri Lanka itinerary together - don't hesitate, just go!
My next post will be part two as we travel back to Kandy by train ...
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and only a very small selection of photos and details of what we saw, if you want to find out more then please do message me or get in touch with Paradiso Travels in Sri Lanka.
Do take a look at my other posts about my Sri Lanka itinerary (slowly adding to them) where I go into more detail about what we did and share my thoughts:
Sri Lanka | Where shall I start?
Sri Lanka | Three Week Itinerary
Sri Lanka | South Coast, Whale Watching and Elephants
Sri Lanka| Kandy and the Tea Plantations
Train Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Negombo and Colombo
Helping good causes in Sri Lanka (Dogstar Foundation and Yawajeewa School)
29 really useful things you need to know when travelling to Sri Lanka
What to wear in Sri Lanka
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