Ceylon tea, grown on the island now called Sri Lanka, is one of the world’s most enjoyable brews. Tea production is a fascinating subject, and many tea plantations in Sri Lanka offer accommodation to visitors with an interest in the process. A visit to one of Sri Lanka’s tea producing areas can be a highly original travel experience and an exciting one for tea lovers.
In the center of the southern part of Sri Lanka, high mountains loom above the coastal plains. These cool and rainy central highlands offer the perfect climate for cultivation of quality tea, and also for the enjoyment of a visit to the tropics. Sri Lankan tea production may be roughly divided into high grown and low grown tea producers, each turning out delightful and distinctive teas. Visitors may wish to travel to one or the other or both in order to tour historic Sri Lankan tea operations.
High Grown Tea Plantations
Nuwara Eliya is a plateau lying high above the coastal plain whose teas have unique flavors that allude to the cypresses and wild mints of the province. A number of plantations in the area offer tour experiences to interested visitors. The Pedro Tea Estate, for instance, offers half-hour tours. Local hotels organize trips to the facility, or visitors may make their own travel arrangements. Near the old capital of Kandy is the Tea Museum, a renovated factory filled with the apparatus of tea production through the ages. A visit there will give visitors invaluable insight about life on tea plantations in Sri Lanka.
Low Grown Tea Operations
Lowland tea plantations in Sri Lanka (http://www.sodhatravel.com/SriLanka.php) have a particular climate that gives the tea grown there a distinctive taste. The Handunugoda estate near Tittagalla in the southern province is a working museum that produces not only tea but cinnamon, rubber and coconut. About 40 minutes from the southern city of Galle, the plantation encourages guests to visit the facility and to partake of refreshments before and after.
For visitors seeking a more intense experience in tea country, some plantations offer luxury accommodation. Charming cottages abound, as do plantation homes renovated into hotels. A stay on a tea plantation can provide a low-key, relaxing break in a unique environment.
Tours of Multiple Plantations
Visitors who wish to see more than one of the tea plantations in Sri Lanka may be interested in a package tour. Some operators offer visits to plantations in each of the country’s tea producing regions. Other tours focus on one area.
Tea Cultivation and Processing
In Sri Lanka, tea is planted according to the contour method in undulating rows that wind away across the hills. The unique feature of Sri Lankan tea cultivation is its use of manual labor, predominantly female Tamil workers. Visitors to tea plantations in Sri Lanka will come to appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into the production of premium teas. The process of drying and oxidizing the tea takes place in on-site factories that can be seen during a plantation tour.
Getting to Sri Lanka
While it is possible to fly directly to Sri Lanka, the number of carriers who service the island nation and the schedules each provides may make this proposition somewhat inconvenient. Visitors may find it more convenient to travel to India, where connections are better, and then travel to Sri Lanka by other means or by a local carrier in order to experience tea plantations.