A Solo Traveller Sri Lankan Tea Story

Afternoon tea at Madulkelle

When you travel solo, taking time out to reflect on your day is one of the best parts of enjoying solo sojourns and for me, it was with a cup of fine Sri Lankan tea. It’s a big claim but it could be that Sri Lanka ‘does tea’ better than anyone.

Sri Lankan captivated all my senses.The wildlife was enthralling, the scenic beauty of their western coast, lined with palms, the friendliness of the people, the food impressed me no end, and the ancient culture abundant in the ‘golden triangle’, were just some of the fascinations of Sri Lanka. And, it was the long standing history of tea in Sri Lankan life that left me with a stand out memory. It was from my visit to the highlands of their ‘tea country’ staying at the very unique Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge that was something I never imagined.

Firstly, to get to the Tea and Eco Lodge it’s a winding but delightful journey up the narrow roads of the hills, with tea plantations adorning the hillsides. There’s a lushness in the highlands that was distinct from all the other parts of my journey. I also loved climbing into the highlands as I left behind some of the heat of the lower lying areas, arriving to a cooler, but lovely breeze.

Arriving to the lodge is a surprise. There’s the main lodge, a colonial style building nestled among the tea plantation and then lying below are your ‘safari style’ permanent tents where you lodge, with magnificent views to wake to in the morning. It’s not average camping experience. This is ‘superior glamping’ – specially designed high quality tarpaulin canvas tents with a front porch, with ‘out-of-this-world’ views, comfy beds, and full bathroom ensuite facilities.

Tea & Eco Lodge

When you are ready to dine, wander up from your lodging, through the tea plantation, past the pool and gardens, to the main building, and the dining experience is also a treat. It’s as though you could be stepping back to colonial times, and you can easily imagine the blend of colonial English ways with the Sri Lankan way of life.

Don’t miss the tea plantation factory tour when you stay at the Tea and Eco lodge and don’t leave without buying some of their tea. I went away with a few packets, but came home wishing I had more.

For many planning their Sri Lankan itinerary, undoubtedly you will consider a visit to Nuwara Eliya. It’s on the main tourist trail, and easily reached by a train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya station. It’s a town rich in colonial English history. It’s also renowned for The Grand Hotel and high tea at the hotel is a worthwhile experience, but my tip is don’t leave your tea experience to just this spot. Venture further, and plan a stay at Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge. If you like to take it easy this is the picture perfect spot but if you need some activity there’s a long list of special interest activities, like trekking and bird watching available from the lodge.



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About the author

Justine Waddington

Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 15 years of arranging travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.

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