Sri Lanka’s cool hill country, which offers a welcome antidote to the heat of the coast and low-lying plains. Situated amongst verdant tea plantations and at an elevation of 1,990 m, Nuwara Eliya is one of the highest and most attractive towns in Sri Lanka’s hill region. Built by English tea growers, it remained their favourite hill station during colonial times. Nuwara Eliya boasts the best golf course in Sri Lanka and is home to the impressive Hakgala Botanical Gardens, which you visit later today. After the dismal failure of Sri Lanka’s coffee crop in the mid 19th century, an Englishman called James Taylor in 1849 planted the first tea bushes in Kandy.
Unlike the diseased and doomed coffee crops, the tea crops took hold and today, Sri Lanka is the world’s third largest producer of tea. With a 20% share of global demand, Sri Lanka is also the world’s largest exporter of tea. Tea bushes grow from sea level to elevated slopes, but it is the tea grown above 1000m that offer the greatest character, aroma and flavour. Tea pickers can be spotted all over the lush green slopes around Nuwara Eliya and Kandy throughout the year.
Not far away is the Hakgala Botanical Garden, famous for its orchids and roses in the 10,000 species of plants and well worth a visit during your stay at Nuwara Eliya.