The original founder of Lipton tea, renowned for industrialising the marketing of tea, held Haputale and its surrounding hills in high esteem. Come to Lipton’s Seat and you can really see why.
Apology: we are really behind on these blogs, we have been super busy planning the next few months of our trip.
There aren’t enough times we can say how lovely our hotel was. One great feature was a lovely wrap around balcony with views on the surrounding hills where they served breakfast each morning. The food too was lovely. A mixture of European and Sri Lankan, the toast, the dhal and the roti were all perfectly prepared. So, very well stocked up on calories we made our way out.
Treacherous beautiful bus ride
Across from our hotel the bus stopped towards the Dambatenna tea station. Hopping on and paying a made up price, we took the one lane (if that) road up The steep and winding path to Dambatenna. This is one of the first places Mr Lipton invested on his arrival in the region. But the real treat was still to come. A long walk away.
Always in the midday heat
Having read online that the walk was 1km each way, we started to walk. I then came to the realisation that most people take the first 4km by tuk tuk. We therefore had a 10km round trip walk ahead of us. Starting at 11am we would be walking through the midday heat (classic us).
The walk is brilliant with bright blue skys above you, gorgeous green tea plantations in front of you and wide valleys surrounding you. Truly one of the nicest walks we have ever done. But it is hard and hot in the middle of the day in March, definitely not to be recommended, go early.
It is said that the place at the end of this walk was used by Mr Lipton to host parties and spend time relaxing. You can really see why! Although the fibreglass bench and statue of Lipton is pretty naff, that’s not really the main appeal. The views all around are of gorgeous green hills and some days you can see as far as the ocean (apparently). We stood for ages, making our way up to the elevated viewing point to admire and take photos. We were very thirsty and hungry by this point, and fortunately there was a tea house at the top.
We walked in and were quickly ushered to a seat by a lovely man, food and tea was set in front of us and we were able to enjoy eating with an amazing view for the second time in one day. He then ruined his “lovely” attribute by belching very aggressively in Jenny’s face!
We made our way down the 5km track, expecting to take the bus home and call it a night. However we remembered there was a tea factory that we could visit. It was 250 INR (~ £1) each and well worth it. We were not allowed to take in cameras, but he showed us the tea leaves drying, being ground, being laid out on the floor and left to ferment and then the drying and packing process. It was extremely interesting to see and to hear about all the different grades of tea. Of course he tried to sell some to us as well (we declined, we’re carrying enough stuff!)
Hurtle down from Lipton’s Seat
The bus down the hill was as thrilling as on the way. Though the gravity seemed to pull us down even faster and a few three point turns on hair pin bends next to sheer cliffs really raised my heart rate. Legs tired and skin a little pink, we retired back to our lovely hotel room.
Sri Lankan food, though delicious, is all quite similar; generally rice or roti heavy. This evening we went to a restaurant with european dishes, and I managed to order a sneaky spaghetti bolognese, which although delicious was a bit more like a chinese chow mein.
Tomorrow we will have to relax!
R & J