Traveled Dec, 2015
The town of Ella is THE place for backpackers to stay. Similarly, Nuwara Eliya is THE place for the package and luxury crowd. The village of Haputale is half way between, literally and figuratively.
Hapatale is situated in the center of lots of tea fields. Our guesthouse had this view the first morning:
There is a mosque as well as this cool Hindu temple.
On our first day, Carl and I met our friend Doug that was staying in the fancy place in town and we drove to Ella. We did the hike to the top of Little Adam’s Peak. This hike is very easy, but you can make it a little harder by scrambling to some of the viewpoint around the hill.
We stopped into a resort for a beer and to watch the lizards. They guide told us these where chameleons but I suspect they’re just lizards.
We stopped in town for a nice lunch in a very backpacker-y café and then were driven back to Hapatale as Doug and his driver were headed to the beach for a couple days.
Carl and I caught a moto taxi out to St. Benedict’s Monastery- Asisham. The gardens were lovely and you could tour a few rooms and buy tropical fruit jams made by the monks. There was an eerie fog over the Monastery, made for interesting scenery.
By the time we got back to town, the fog had lifted a bit so we went walking in the fields below ABC Guesthouse.
The next morning, we got up early to catch a tuk-tuk up to Lipton’s seat for the sunrise. This is one of the highest points in a large tea plantation and the site of Mr Lipton’s favorite view. The problem about the weather in this area is that the mornings are clear-ish or cloudy but by afternoon it’s either foggy, rainy, or both! But this morning we were lucky and got to see a sunrise and a rainbow.
There were only a few other groups up there for sunset and they all took their tuk-tuks back, but we walked down the hill thru the plantations and workers and small Tamil villages.
As you walk down, there are saying by Mr. Lipton painted on plaques.
Our final Haputale destination was the Dambatenne Tea Factory, a working tea production factory under the Lipton brand and a couple hours walk down the hill from Lipton’s Seat. To tour the facility, you pay $2 and you are required to wear booties, a lab coat, and a hairnet.
The tea process was interesting but the most interesting part is they just pile dried tea on the floor and sweep it into piles before it eventually gets bagged up. From the factory, you can ride the bus back to Haputale town with the factory workers.
Our next stop would be a national park on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Research said we’d have to take 3 different buses to get there so we decided to pay the owner of ABC guesthouse to drive there. He kindly stopped at the Ravana Ella Falls for a nice view and a cold drink.