Nuwara Elyia itself does not offer that much, but its location is unique. It is located in the highlands of Sri Lanka right in the middle of countless tea plantations. It is also the starting point to take the train to Ella for those who are not travelling with their own rental car. And this brings us to our recommendation for the three best things to do in Nuwara Elyia.
Take the train to Ella
The landscape is stunning and you can legally train surf. But we couldn’t take this option and did a return ride from Ella instead.
Learn everything there is to know about Tea
Sri Lanka is famous for its tea and those tea leaves love the weather conditions in its highlands. There they produce black tea, green tea and white tea and surprisingly they are all harvested from the same plant.
On our way from Kandy to Nuwara Elyia we visited the Rothschild Tea Centre where we not only tasted several different teas but also had the chance to walk through its endless tea fields. Further on our trip we visited the Blue Field Tea Factory. There a fantastically motivated guide gave us a tour through the tea factory and explained to us how the three different teas are made.
Green Tea: Here the process only takes about six hours. After picking the leaves they get boiled, steamed and dried.
Black Tea: For this kind of tea it’s all about drying. The tea leaves dry for about two days and during this process they react with the oxygen of the air and produce caffeine.
White Tea: For the white tea only the youngest and most precious tea leaves are used. To produce the brand Silver tips the drying process takes 15 days and for the Golden tips even 21 days.
Learn about all the other plants at the Botanical Garden
In case you are not that much into hiking and rain but still love nature, then you should probably do as we did and skip hiking in Horton Plains NP and visit the Hakgala Botanical Garden instead. Although 12 USD entrance is a bit pricy, the garden itself is stunning and you could easily spend a day there. It does not only contain all relevant plants Sri Lanka has to offer, but also a huge variety of plants from all over the world. There is a marvelous rose garden, a mystical fern garden and a rocky stone garden. There are orchids and trees, flowers and succulents to name only a few of its attractions.