After enjoying the good restaurants and the perks of a small mountain city in Ella, we decided that it was time to head to another town in the highlands. Since we wanted to visit a tea plantation (the one in Ella was closed), we opted for the town Haputale and the nearby famous Lipton Tea Plantation.
We took the early morning train at 6:39 am from Ella to Haputale. The train only cost 50 RPS per person for a second class unreserved seat. Tip for breakfast if it’s not included in your room rate: order breakfast at the curd shop the night before! The curd shop normally opens at 6:30 but the lovley owner was so nice and had our ordered breakfast ready at 6:10. We happily took our packed breakfast and headed to the train station which was only a short five minute walk from our homestay (Little Heaven Homestay for 12€/double room, we totally recommend it!). The train was not even very much delayed which is unusual for Sri Lanka! The train ride to Haputale is only one hour. It was still chilly in the morning but the sun kept one warm.
Once in Haputale, we walked to our guesthouse (ABC guesthouse right in the town centre, we would also recommend it, it was 13€ the night for a triple room incl. breakfast).
Since Haputale is not frequently visited by tourists, we found ourselves surrounded by tuk tuk drivers who wanted to offer us a ride to the Lipton Plantation. We wanted to go there as soon as possible anyway so we bargained with one. He drove us to Lipton’s Seat for 800 RPS. The drive there is maybe a little bit more than 25 minutes with a tuk tuk. It’s a beautiful windy ride among fields of tea.
The entrance for Lipton’s Seat is 50 RPS (notice it is per SOUL, I’m not really sure what I should make of that…)
At the top, we had our packed breakfast from Ella, some black tea and milk tea and some short eats. The prices at top are very reasonable.
We made our way back to the tea factory by foot. A local boy followed us and obviously wanted to have some money but fortunately left as he knew that we wouldn’t give him money. The walk back to the tea factory took us more than an hour but we can recommend it. It is so scenic! We heard of people doing the walk UP the hill at 5 in the morning to see the sunrise! After we did the walk DOWN, we were glad that we didn’t walk up…
We did a short tour at the Lipton Tea factory (it is actually called Dambatenne Tea Factory) for 250 RPS per person. Don’t expect much of it, but it is nice to get to know the whole process of the tea production.
We took a local bus back to Haputale, which runs every 30 minutes directly in front of the factory and costs 30 RPS per person.
Back in Haputale, we visited one of the many bakeries in town, did a little bit of shopping and had dinner at the cheapest restaurant we visited in Sri Lanka. We had Kotthu Roti, 3 bakery items and milk tea for 600 RPS. The owners were also really nice! We had breakfast there the next day, as well as it is also conveniently located next to the train station.
Don’t expect restaurants catered for tourists in Haputale. We only found some bakeries and the small shop we had dinner in.
From Haputale, we took the train all the way down to Colombo. It was an eight hour journey but an enjoyable one. You’ll get to see Sri Lanka’s beautiful diversity.
We can reccomend anyone traveling the highlands of Sri Lanka to stay one night in Haputale. After touristy Ella, this is a pleasant change and won’t rip a hole in your travel budget.