Sri Lanka travel- visiting the hill town of Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
The mountainous interior of Sri Lanka, Hill Country, is full of mountains, picturesque towns, and hillside plantations where the country’s famous tea is grown. Among the largest towns in the Hill Country is Nuwara Eliya, considered the centre of the country’s tea industry. As a former British colonial hill station, Nuwara Eliya was a favorite holiday retreat for British officials, hence its wooden bungalows, a charming post office, and a horse-racing track that is still used today.

The town is a good base for visiting tea plantations and waterfalls in the nearby hills, as well as Horton Plains National Park (several hours away by car), where you can visit World’s End, a cliff edge with a massive drop of 4,000 feet. Nuwara Eliya itself features Single Tree Hill, and a small lake, as well as Pidurutalagala, the country’s tallest mountain.
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Hiking up Single Tree Hill, so called for a lone tree at the top (not actually true), provides great views of the town as well as the tea plantations on its slopes. It’s a relatively easy hike because most of it is along a small road which is not too steep. At the top, you can either go back down the way you came or clamber down not-so-clearly-marked trails through residential neighborhoods. Watch out you don’t accidentally trespass onto a tea plantation as I did!

To actually visit a large tea plantation, just go outside Nuwara Eliya to Pedro’s tea factory (3.5 km away). You can get a guided tour of the factory to see how they sort and process the tea, and then walk around the tea plantation outside the factory. Very conveniently, just opposite the road from Pedro’s is a trail that leads to Lover’s Leap waterfall, a 30m-high waterfall on a cliff. I took a tuktuk from town to Pedro’s, then after completing the hike, I took a local bus back to Nuwara Eliya.

How to get to Nuwara Eliya: Take a train to Nanu Oya station, then a tuktuk into town. If you want to be fancy, hire a local car and driver to take you from cities like Kandy or Colombo.
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
View from Single Hill Tree

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Great view while hiking up Single Tree Hill
Waterfall, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Lover’s Leap Waterfall
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Shops in town

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka  Workers on tea plantation, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka Tea pickers, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Top of Single Tree Hill. Clearly there is more than just one tree.
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Taking a different route down, I passed these residences
Tea factory, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Pedro’s tea factory
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Other tourists taking photos with the workers
Sri Lanka
Views from the train on my way to Nuwara Eliya (above and below)
Tea plantation, Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

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