It could be one of my favourite views in the world – certainly in Sri Lanka – the tea plantations at Kandy took my breath away.
The drive up is not for the faint hearted. I don’t think I’m particularly squeamish but a single lane road winding up the side of a mountain to 850m above sea level, sharp hairpin turns – all that was fine, until we came to a bus or truck coming the other way. There is not a lot of room there for two vehicles to manoeuvre around each other.
We stopped for lunch at Hunas Falls Hotel, owned by the Amaya hotel group. The hotel, again, is stunning; a little more run down perhaps but the gardens are spectacular.
There is even a golf course at this hotel – possibly one of the highest golf courses in Asia. The grounds are serene and it’s hard to imagine a more peaceful hotel in this part of the world.
We could have walked, but we chose to drive to the tea plantation. There are tea plants spread across the mountains all the way up, but our guide took us even higher and told us a bit about the history and how the tea leaves are picked.
This plantation was owned by the government and by the time we arrived the workers had finished for the day. But even if we had been there during the height of their working day, there are no tours here, no souvenir shop or processing plant to look through.
Literally all we did was look at the tea plants and it was glorious. The view was stunning and the tea plants so green. And it was refreshing knowing that no one was going to try and sell us anything at the end of it and not having to fight the other tourists to experience the views – though I really would have liked a cup of tea after all that talk of tea.
Just when I thought we had walked as high as we could, we walked slightly higher to see the Hunas Falls – a 125 foot waterfall that is meant to be quite spectacular. Unfortunately we were there during the dry season and so the falls, at least at the top, were little more than a dry bed.
Of course in an ironic twist it started raining while we were there, so while we didn’t get to photograph the full force of the waterfall, we were forced to photograph the views under the comfort of an umbrella!
Tip: We took a day trip to Kandy to see the tea fields but will be heading back to stay for the night. It took us about two hours to drive out to the tea fields.