Nuwara Eliya hotels
Nuwara Eliya Rundown
Any town that serves as the heart of a prosperous and historic tea trade must be special. That Nuwara Eliya is and, indeed, so much more. The colonial resort par excellence in Sri Lanka ranks with the very best of the old hill station holdovers from the British Empire and still resonates with time warp charm. This is most evident in the genteel former members-only clubs that dot the district of 700,000 plus, from the Hill Club to Nuwara Eliya Golf Club.
Orange pekoe cultivation may be the old bread and butter of the Central Highlands but fresh of a UNESCO World Heritage nod in 2010, the lungs of Sri Lanka have come to define ecotourism in the country. Nuwara Eliya is a convenient and popular gateway to a lot of the most spectacular scenery on the island, from the summit of Pidurutalagala to Horton Plains National Park, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary to Knuckles Conservation Forest.
A famously mild climate makes the resort town a wonderful place to cool off from the hustle bustle of Colombo. Tea is still a powerful lure, of course, and most estates oblige the crowds with comprehensive tours of the premises. Other worthwhile points of interest include Hakgala Botanical Garden, Seetha Amman Temple amd Victoria Park.
Nuwara Eliya’s Top 10
10. Victoria Park is a lush public park and prime spot for bird-watchers.
5. Seetha Amman Temple is a marvelous Hindu shrine.
9. Heritance Tea Factory is a grand old landmark and the best hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
4. Nuwara Eliya Golf Club dates back to the late 19th century. An incomparable Hill Country colonial landmark.
8. Pidurutalagala Forest Reserve, home to the dominant mountain in Sri Lanka, is on the doorstep of Nuwara Eliya.
3. Pedro Tea Estate still produces tea much the same way it did well over a century ago.
7. The Hill Club is a time warp of a colonial private resort.
2. Hakgala Botanical Garden is one of only three botanical gardens in Sri Lanka and abuts Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve.
6. Single Tree Hill provides the best base for a stroll in Nuwara Eliya.
1. Horton Plains National Park is part of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nuwara Eliya History
- Post Office – Housed in the remains of British Colonial Era building in Nuwara Eliya.
- Seetha Amman Temple – Place where the Hinduism story of Ramayana took place.
- Oliphant Estate – China sent the first 30 tea plants to Sri Lanka to be planted by Mr Oliphant; now there are 100 acres.
- Nissangala Lena – Location of the King Keerthi Sri Nissanka fabled treasure and the holy ice river, Sita Gangula.
- Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple, Ramboda –The temple was built and dedicated to Hanuman.
Nuwara Eliya Art & Culture
- Pedro Tea Factory – Learn the entire process of making tea leaves and purchase the fresh products at the shop outside.
- Duruthu Perahera – Anniversary celebrating the Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka more than 2,500 years ago.
- Horse Races and Motor Racing – Throughout April, many horse-racing meetings and motor racing events happen in Nuwara Eliya.
- Ceylon Breweries – The brewery, started in 1884, is one of the finest on the island.
- Sinhalese New Year – During the month of April, usually on the 13th, the people pray for good health and harvest, play games and celebrate the New Year.
Nuwara Eliya Shopping
- Fruit Market – Purchase freshly picked fruits and vegetables from the countryside.
- New Bazaar St. Market – Clothing from the garment factories of Sri Lanka are sold at low prices in Nuwara Eliya.
- Hill’s Supermarket – Explore the aisles for local products to pair with your fresh fruit.
- St Clair’s Tea Centre – Try a cup of ceylon tea, then buy that and others at the tea shop for later.
- Macwood’s Tea Centre – You have the tea but none of the wares; this shop has the tools.
Nuwara Eliya Gay & Lesbian
- Grand Hotel – Restaurant serving mouthwatering breakfast buffets and evening meals.
- Lion Pub – Quiet, cheerful place with inexpensively priced beer that stays open until 11 pm.
- Pussellawa Resthouse – Located between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, the variety of curries with rice is enticing.
- Grand Indian Restaurant – The food is authentic in taste, look and presentation.
- Hill Club – High-end restaurant with an English dress code and staff to match.
Nuwara Eliya Outdoor
- Ramboda Ella – Sir Lanka’s 11th highest waterfall, divided into three sections; take a pathway for a top view of the falls.
- Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary – Amongst 57.8 hectares of green earth, rare foreign and local bird species perch on interesting tree species.
- Victoria Park of Nuwara Eliya – Exquisite, well-maintained park in Nuwara Eliya, known for the tranquil environment and bird watching.
- Horton Plains National Park – Spots of forest patches and grasslands with panoramic beauty any nature lover will call paradise.
- Hakgala Botanical Garden – World’s highest-situated botanic garden under the Hakgala Peak, elevated between 5,000 and 6,000 feet.
Nuwara Eliya Sport
- Play a little golf at Little England’s Nuwara Eliya Golf Club.
- View waterfalls as you hike the Pidurutalagala summit up to 7,000 feet.
- Plenty of soft and hard trails to trek at the stunning World’s End.
- Climb the Sri Pada peak to taken in a dramatic sunrise or the panoramic sight.
- Take a boat out onto Gregory Lake in Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya Events
Day trips to the remote corners of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, from the Peak Wilderness Protected Area to Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest, often set off from Nuwara Eliya.
Tea plantations in the area all offer tours of one kind or another.
The Sinhalese and Tamil New Year in April is a festive time in Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya Race Course holds various events throughout the year.
When To Go
Some hill resorts provide only brief respite from the tropical heat. Not so Nuwara Eliya, where the high altitude and temperate climate locks annual average temperatures in from 45°F (7°C) to 72°F (22°C).
A far cry from Colombo indeed and a docile, amenable base for outdoor treks through the Central Highland hills and national parks.
There is rain of course - a good 92 in (2,362 mm) worth over the course of the average year. The low precipitation period is from January to May.
Nuwara Eliya, like the rest of non-coastal Sri Lanka, can be a bit of a slog from Colombo by car. The 100 mi (160 km) journey takes 2.5 hours on paper but in practice, can take as long as 6 hours. Blame poor infrastructure, weather and traffic.
Rail transport is not more efficient but is more comfortable and scenic than a coach bus or car. A good swath of Sri Lanka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason and the train is the best way to see why. Visitors can ride the rails from Colombo to Nanu Oya (13.6 miles or 22 km from Nuwara Eliya, with ample bus access from the station), via Kandy or direct.
Nuwara Eliya is small and poses no problems for pedestrians. For short trips outside of town, a three-wheel taxi or bus serves very well.
Nuwara Eliya Information
Nuwara Eliya is a gem of a destination and without question, one of the most bucolic and gorgeous spots in South Asia. The central highlands district of Sri Lanka is home to over 700,000 people and grows, cultivates and exports some of the best tea in the world. Elegant plantations and lush geography lure countless tourists to this exquisite part of the island country every year.
Though only 165 km away, the town of Nuwara Eliya feels a world apart from Sri Lanka’s vibrant capital Colombo. The contiguous landscape is green, thick and profusely fertile. Pidurutalagala, or Mount Pedro, soars above Nuwara Eliya and provides a dramatic backdrop over the spectacular central highlands. The ultra prominent summit is the pinnacle of Sri Lanka and indeed, Nuwara Eliya is well above sea level. High altitude and a cool climate combine to make the area ideal for a wide variety of agriculture. Tea however, is the name of the game in Nuwara Eliya. Several world class plantations in the region produce some of the most famous, top grade teas for judicious connoisseurs from London to Los Angeles. Happily for tourists, most estates in Nuwara Eliya offer full-access tours. Other than tea plantations, worthwhile points of interest include the phenomenal Hakgala Botanical Garden, Hanuman Kovil Temple and Horton Plains National Park. The park has a remarkable array of wildlife, from giant squirrels to vast herds of Sambar deer, Old World monkeys to over twenty genera of endemic birds.
Attractions & Activities
- Hakgala Botanical Garden
- Archaeological Museum
- Lake Gregory
- Victoria Park
- Hanuman Kovil Temple
- Horton Plains National Park
- Tea Plantations
- Nuwara Eliya Road Race
Restaurant & Nightlife
- Grand Indian
- Hill Club
- King Prawn
- Tea Factory Hotel Restaurant
- Lion Pub
- Boathouse Restaurant
Nuwara Eliya has a temperate climate, with above average monsoon rainfall between June and October. Annual average temperatures range from 7°C to 22°C.
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