Nuwara Eliya is an extremely picturesque city in Sri Lanka. The region in and around this city is mountainous and most of these mountains are used to grow Ceylon tea. It’s also resort town, and is a popular destination for foreigners and Sri Lankans alike.
Nuwara Eliyah still retains a good bit of pre-independence feel. There are buildings, such as the post office and the Queen’s Cottage, that have Dutch and English roots. Nuwara Eliyah is also known for horse riding, which you can see during a drive or walk through the city. If you have half a day or a day to spend in Nuwara Eliya, you can visit Victoria Park and the town square. Because we were short on time due to our driver getting incredibly lost for hours, we were unable to see more of the area.
Teas growing higher up in the mountains are make for higher quality teas, and because of that, any real estate in that region that’s higher in elevation, is worth more than land situated lower in elevation.
Hours: 9AM – 6PM, with last tour at least 15 minutes before closing.
Time for tours: Tours last around 15 to 20 minutes. Visitors have to meet at a designated point where the tea factory’s tour guide starts the tour.
Bluefield has tours around their facilities. Even if you’re not a fan of tea, seeing the entire process from the tea leaf picking (not part of the tour usually) to the leaf drying is pretty interesting, such as learning why typical black Ceylon tea turns orange. They talk about the other types of teas that they create, ranging from the inexpensive black teas to the silver teas that are at least USD 100 per gram.
There are actually many tea factories around Nuwara Eliya, but I recommend Bluefield because they have better tours, professional and friendly people, and complimentary tea sample (I know this because I had gone to a different tea factory - Mackwoods - before coming here). The tours include the machines running the processes that they describe and they are more knowledgeable and patient. They also have complimentary tea tasting (and a cafeteria, in case you want to have lunch or dinner).
Verdict: Worth it, if you go to the right factory (see reviews for more information), which is why I recommend Bluefield. Whichever tea factory you do go to, make sure that you can see the machines that are used in the tea leaves processing running, even on holidays.
You can visit Adam’s Peak and Little Adam’s Peak if you have time and if you like hiking. Adam’s Peak is a mountain that takes a few hours to hike. It has religious significance to Buddhists and Hindus, and local Christians and Muslims, and as such visits to the sacred mountain are considered pilgrimages.
Little Adam’s Peak doesn’t really take quite that long. It does offer stunning views, along with a small Buddha statue and local tea tasting opportunities.