We checked out quite early on day three, considering that we had pestered our guide, and driver to take us to Nuwara Eliya, and Galle. Both were not on the original itinerary of our “tour”. He was awesome, and polite enough to accommodate our requests for no extra charge at all. Again, something that set the tone, and the mood for the road-trip to come.
Newara Eliya - High Up, Near The Lake.
The Most Awesomest Road Trip In Sri Lanka
By far the most scenic road I’ve ever been on, yet. It took us about 3.5 hours to reach Nuwara Eliya from Kandy; inclusive of stops, etc. Once we started to, and kept on climbing up to Nuwara Eliya, the scenes kept changing; each landscape seemed beautiful enough for me to ask our host, and driver to stop the car, and let me shoot. Unfortunately, he’s strict when it comes to keeping time. But, in his defense, he did stop over a number of times for me to be able to capture beautiful settings, and landscapes. Another thing of note would be that at almost every turn, we saw waterfalls; some small, some large - all beautiful.
On The Way To Nuwara Eliya - Waterfalls At, Almost, Every Turn.
At some point during our climb, the hills, and slopes around us started to transform into tea plantations. More often than not, most of them were filled with people plucking, and cultivating tea leaves. The air was different, and the scenery did make you more lazy, slouchy, and more relaxed.
On The Way To Nuwara Eliya - Panorama From A Cafe & Lodge On The Road, In The Middle Of Nowhere.
I would definitely recommend a road trip here, and if you ride, get a hog, and just go.
Nuwara Eliya is situated about 6000ft (~2000mts) above sea-level. Nuwara Eliya literally means “city on the plain” or “city on the table land”. There are about 300 tea production companies nestled within, and around this town. Naturally so, it’s the most important location for tea production in the island country. Here’s a trivia - Nuwara Eliya was founded by Samuel Baker. He discovered Lake Albert, and was the explorer of the Nile. Nuwara Eliya was founded in 1846, as an agricultural settlement, and as a mountain health-resort by Samuel Baker. Here’s another trivia - Nuwara Eliya is also known as Little England. Yes, that’s because of Samuel Baker, and his health-resort. Which, I think, is now a bank.
On The Way To Nuwara Eliya - Tree Plantations.
Weather wise, Nuwara Eliya is the coolest place in Sri Lanka, with temperatures dropping to about 15C during the winter months. However, it does get warm fast due to the tropical setting of the country. The town is located in the shadow of the Pidurutalagala - the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
On The Way To Nuwara Eliya - Different Scenes, Everywhere.
It’s an entirely different experience, reaching Nuwara Eliya by road. And, because of what I felt while on this small road trip from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, and then onwards to Yala National Park, I made up my mind to head back to Sri Lanka some day, for covering the entire island country by road. The traffic is minimal, the road sense of the people is much, much better than back home, and the roads are…therapeutic, if I may.
Nuwara Eliya - Racecourse & Lake Closeup.
I’ve also heard from locals, and some others that the train ride to Nuwara Eliya is also as mesmerizing as the drive. Although I wasn’t able to try that out, maybe you can?
Reaching Nuwara Eliya
Once we reached Nuwara Eliya, we were all starving. We decided to head to a vegetarian restaurant, the only one in town. It was a different experience. I was lucky enough to meet, and interact with a sweet lady, who was the only Sinhalese host in a restaurant full of Tamils. Incase you are not aware, about 30% of the population of Sri Lanka comprises of Tamils, and the rest are Sinhalese. Two languages are spoken, apart from different versions of English - Sinhalese being the official language of the country, and of course Tamil being the other.
Nuwara Eliya - Streets Of A Town.
Once lunch was over, we drove around town, and were lucky enough to see this beautiful place. It even has a horse racing circuit, that at 2000 mts above sea level. There’s an awesome lake, where you can boat amongst the clouds, and within the mist. Magical, to say the least.
As I mentioned somewhere above, Nuwara Eliya is definitely a stop that you should be adding to your Sri Lankan itenary.
Nuwara Eliya: Some More Photos
Getting Out Of Nuwara Eliya, Again, Is An Experience In Itself.
Young Lady Here In This Photo Is The Only Sinhalese Serving Host, In A Hotel Full Of Tamils.(I loved her smile!)
Local Grub, Everywhere In Sri Lanka Includes Curry & Rice In Varied Forms.
South Indian Food - The Other Local Sri Lankan Grub.
On The Way To Nuwara Eliya - Stopping Over At A Tea / Snack Stall In The Middle Of Nowhere, Close To A Waterfall. (Had some Sri Lankan tea here, with some Sri Lankan jaggery)
On The Way To Nuwara Eliya - Another Waterfall.