Nuwara Eliya with its tea plantation at Sri Lanka
After our adventure in Kandy with its sacred tooth of Buddha, we headed to Nuwara Eliya. We took the express train from Kandy to Nanu Oya station (the nearest station) for 160 rupees each 2nd class ticket (1 euro - for this trip, there is a 1st class but all tickets have been sold out). Again, no seats because the train was already there but luckily, we found free seats at the 3rd class.
Fortunately for us, the train was delayed because we arrived at 11h20, it scheduled to leave at 11h10 but it left at 11h30. The trip up to the hill makes the train runs slower, the landscape is quite beautiful crossing some waterfalls and different tea fields, particularly from Halton.
A lot of foreigners get down to the Halton station to go to Adam's Peak. Meanwhile that the train is reaching little by little our destination, the temperature is getting colder. We didn't predict this change so if you are reading my article, put a warm jacket in your bag if not, you will buy one once in the town like us for 500 rupees (3,10 euros).
After 4h, we arrived at 15h30, since from the station Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya is separated by 9 km, we took a tuk-tuk for 500 rupees (3,10 euros) after negotiating (for 700 rupees, you can get someone with a car). We reached our hotel at around 16h15.
Our hotel Hill View Bungalow (71, sant andrews road under bank - 45 euros per night) is up to the hill and it is not easy to find, our tuk-tuk went until the end of the road and we had to call the hotel for indications. Luckily, it was just at 1 minute and the owner was waiting outside for us (there is no sign or panel saying the name of the hotel).
A gentle woman owns this charming place, we got the Madona room with view on the city on the upper floor. The room is correct and the bathroom has a shower without a door (it is like an all-in-all bathroom) and the pressure of the water is very very low, not really a good condition to take a shower. The area is quite windy howling all the night and cold including the room but under the blanket, it feels good and warm. The television was not working (may be useful when it rains, for instance our Saturday afternoon) and the slow wifi has a WPA2 security (for instance the cell phone of my wife couldn't connect).
We went to the downtown to find a place to lunch since we didn't eat anything during our train trip. We went to the White Tea Pot Hotel & Restaurant ("hotel" means also "food place" - 37, lawson road) and we ordered a plate of chicken curry rice and beef rice with some starters and a bottle of water, all for 930 rupees (5.80 euros). It is more than enough food for 2.
Meanwhile walking in the town, we discovered 2 nice small markets. One is more vegetable called Central Market (new bazaar road) just near to the supermarket "Super K". And the other is more fruit (badulla road) just after the Golf Club and in front of the public library.
The hotel owner recommended us a guy. For 4000 rupees (25 euros), he drove us by car to some waterfalls and the Labookellie Tea Factory. We estimated that it was expensive and no way to negotiate so we decided to do it ourselves.
We went to see the Pedro Tea Estate Factory (closest than the other). To go there, we took the local bus at the central bus station. To not take the wrong one, we asked to the people. We paid 20 rupees each (0,15 euros) and we asked the
ticket guy to tell us when to get down. It was easy to find the factory and unfortunately, we arrived when a tour just started 2 minutes ago.
The tour costs 200 rupees each (1,30 euros) including a tea degustation, we waited something like 30 minutes until the group came back. May be because we were only 2, it was not the same guide, a girl was doing it explaing the tea processes going room by room and answering to our questions. To resume, they only do black tea here, the smaller leafs are the stronger and the bigger ones are the softer, the process of drying is done during the night. After about 10 minutes, it was finished and she asked us tips if we were happy with her tour. We gave 40 rupees (0,25 euros).
Before to leave the place, we took time to walk into the fields taking pictures of the workers and the tea trees.
After that, we decided to go to the Lovers Leap Waterfall, something like 30 minutes walking up the hill. To go there, we walked back to the main road and we took the one in front of us (direction to the tea manager bungalow). At a moment, we arrived to a crossroad and there is a sign saying left for the Leap Lovers Waterfall.
We arrived again to another crossroad, again straight (the middle one) until a small area where there is a foot track heading to the forest (we just kept walking straight) and some tuk-tuks parked here.
It ends into a shrine, just on the right side, there is a small track, and after few seconds, we spotted the waterfall.
To go back to the town, we took again the bus (just go back to the main road and you will see a bus stop), this time, we paid only 10 rupees each (0,07 euros). If you don’t want to wait for the bus, there are tuk-tuks waiting for customers.
Back to the town, we bought some local snacks to eat meanwhile we were looking a place with wifi. And at our great “hope”, none places have wifi. Some locals told us to go to the Milano restaurant, but employees told us no wifi. The employee of Victoria Park restaurant told us that the wifi is only available from Monday to Friday (no wifi during the weekend). So we decided to go back to our hotel but first, we visited the Buddhist temple (nothing interesting) and we bought some fruits.
To avoid any issues for tomorrow Sunday, we booked with the tuk-tuk who brought us back to the hotel, for 700 rupees (4,40 euros - this one has curtains to protect us against the rain and the wind), our trip to the train station of Nanu Oya because our next destination was Ella with its Ella Rock.