Sri Lanka’s highest town, NUWARA ELIYA lies at the heart of the southern hill country, set amid a bowl of green mountains beneath the protective gaze of Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka’s tallest peak. Nuwara Eliya (pronounced, as one word, something like “Nyur-rel-iya”) was established by the British in the nineteenth century, and the town is often touted as Sri Lanka’s “Little England”, a quaint Victorian relic complete with municipal park, golf course, boating lake, a trio of fine old colonial hotels and frequent, very British, showers of rain.
WHAT TO DO IN NUWARA ELIYA?
- Walk around the city. You will notice colonial houses, including the Post Office.
- Stroll around Victoria Park, around Lake Gregory, a very nice place where lovers and families walk. Pedal boats, ice cream shops, bicycle …
- There is a Botanical Gardens, Hagglan, but it closes early. Moreover, it is very expensive for tourists.
- Visit a tea factory. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take photos in the tea factory.
- A full day excursion in Kitulgala for rafting. We took the bus and went back with a van, which allowed us to make stops on the way to take pictures of the stunning waterfalls Claire’s Falls and Fall Devon. The journey may seem short on the map, but you must not forget that we are in the mountains and time to browse each km is multiplied by two at least.
On the way to Ella, go through the Horton Plains National Park for a short hike rather easy to Worlds End, a beautiful mountain view. In fact, plan enough time as it is recommended to arrive before 9 am to 9:30 for the best view, unobstructed by clouds, but in addition you’ll want to stop all the time on the road for Nuwara Eliya because the landscapes are gorgeous !! You are not going to see many animals tough.
WHERE TO STAY IN NUWARA ELIYA?
We stayed at the King Fern Cottage. The place is very nice, in a sort of all-wood cottage in the middle of a beautiful vegetation and a log fire in the evening at the restaurant. You will find many French people, as is recommended in the Lonely Planet. However, we found the owner of the guesthouse quite unpleasant, especially when we said that we were traveling with a Sri Lankan friend… he told us that the locals were not usually allowed, and suddenly he became much less friendly. He advised us not to take a day-trip to Kithulagala for rafting because it was too far (even though it was quite feasible), and he was not very happy because we never ate in his restaurant (which cost much more than the small local restaurants in town). Later, on the internet, we noticed we were not the only ones who hadhad some problems with the owner. So yes for the setting but no for the sympathy.
WHERE TO EAT IN NUWARA ELIYA?
Eat in small restaurants downtown, it’s really cheap but expect that it is very spicy too!
For a sweet snack, go to the Adma Agro Fresh Strawberry Foods. The concept is quite original: everything is made from strawberries, and you will also find many milkshakes as pancakes or pizza … with strawberry !! Not joking.
We found a place on the internet that might be interesting for the experience: The Hill Club, which takes you back 100 years, where you have to dress in costume and dress and where the waiters are dressed in national costumes with long gloves in a splendid setting. However, it is really expensive compared to the usual price ($ 24 for the menu).
WHERE TO PARTY AT NUWARA ELIYA?
There is no point to party, it is very quiet at night. Avoid especially THE PUB, the only pub in town that is frequented by local men. We walked in and fell very uncomfortable. We directly left without even sitting there and we were followed by an old man who touched my ass.
HOW TO GO AFTER NUWARA ELIYA?
We totally recommend you the train ride from Kandy ! This is one of the highlights of our trip in Sri Lanka! Throughout the train ride, you will be surprised by breathtaking landscapes of tea plantations and you’ll have time to take beautiful pictures because the train is super slow. Take the train in Sri Lanka is an experience in itself, with the many hawkers who move from one train to another to sell you some snacks and drinks. It takes at least four hours for the journey. To reach Nuwara Eliya, you must stop at the Nanu Oya Station.