Where is Ceylon Tea Trail Bungalows located?
The five Tea Trails bungalows lie nestled among the hills of the Bogawantalawa region in the Dimbula district in south central Sri Lanka. It is here that the crème de la crème of Ceylon teas – the fragrant and delicately flavoured “high growns” flourish. Bogawantalawa is known as “The Golden Valley” on account of its lush, vigorous tea bushes that produce full bodied to light, delicate and fragrant teas throughout the year.
This is perhaps the most famous region for Ceylon Tea and one of the first areas to be planted after tea took over from coffee in Ceylon in the 1870’s. The area covers the extensive western slopes of the tea planting districts. The five Tea Trails bungalows are located between 2 km and 15km from each other.
What sort of accommodation is available at Ceylon Tea Trail Bungalows?
Rooms are named after tea planters who lived in the bungalow. They offer a taste of colonial-era luxury with solid teak furnishings, antique touches and plush beds. Master Suites with a separate living room, Garden Suites with veranda’s to private gardens and Luxury Rooms of great character. A secluded Owner’s Cottage. Relax in immense four-poster beds, crisp white sheets. Twenty-seven elegant and charming rooms and suites decorated each in a unique style, ranging from neo-colonial to classic English.
A dedicated butler service will be available to you from dawn to dusk to ensure that no request is too much trouble. You are treated to traditional morning ‘Bed Tea’ to start the day in style.
Complimentary shuttle service and luggage handling is provided for you when transferring between bungalows.
What Activities are available at Ceylon Tea Trail Bungalows?
The complementary guided tour of Dilmah Tea’s Dunkeld Tea Factory is the quintessential tea experience in Sri Lanka. The experiences are carefully curated to offer an authentic, intimate and exploratory journey into the heart, soul, history, and gastronomy of this magical island.
They also offer activities with healthy doses of fun, adventure and pampering, along with a holistic wellness offering for you to escape your urban life and soothe mind, body and soul.
A selection of engaging activities for families – with a special selection for kids – are on hand as well, to round out the perfect getaway.
- The Essential Tea Experience - The guided tour of the Dunkeld Tea Factory is the quintessential tea experience in Sri Lanka. Our resident Tea Planter passionately delves into all aspects of tea in just the right amount of detail.
- Tea Planter's Picnic Lunch - In the early days of the tea industry, before motorised travel came to its assistance, tea planters conducted field inspections across a vast area of tea fields and forest, either on foot or horseback.
- Private Tea Tasting with Bernard Holsinger - An interactive and guided experience where you will taste and learn to identify (and appreciate!) the unique flavour profiles that give different teas their distinction. Bernard is the resident tea planter at Tea Trails and brings with him a wealth of experience, complemented with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek wit.
- Tea Infused Dinner - Bringing together the subtle influences of the flavours of tea (not to mention the health benefit), the Tea Infused Dinner is a signature culinary experience unique to Tea Trails. Teas grown in various areas of Sri Lanka have distinctly different flavour profiles, and each lends a different effect to types of ingredients and methods of preparation.
- Adam’s Peak Climb - The climb takes approximately three and a half hours (the way is paved with steps) and the trail is flanked by the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary – one of Sri Lanka’s highest protected forest reserves. Views from the top are stunning, especially early morning as the warmth of dawn lights up the country in an endless vista of forests, valleys, mountains and lakes.
- Guided Nature Experiences - A collection of forest reserves and national parks in the hill country make for interesting excursions for the nature-lover. Horton Plains National Park comprises of montane grassland and cloud forest and is home to many endemic species of both flora and fauna.
- Research Station for Leopard and Climate Change at Dunkeld - You are encouraged to visit the research station located next to Dunkeld tea factory and learn about these fascinating, elusive, threatened cats, their habits and the conservation efforts we are supporting.
- Kayaking on Castlereagh Lake - Enjoy magnificent views of tea-carpeted mountains as you paddle along the Castlereagh Lake in hi-spec kayaks. Mornings are the most beautiful as the weather is often fairer and the sun breaks through to gleam over the glassy water, and the foreboding mountains surrounding the lake emerge from the thinning mist.
- Scenic Walks and Hikes - The five bungalows features walking trails between them, many of which present stunning views. The trails snake through beautifully manicured tea gardens, tranquil patches of forest and jungle, and pass streams and mini waterfalls.
- Mountain Biking - Ceylon Tea Trails has opened up a world of adventure and discovery in the Bogawantalawa Valley at an altitude of over 1500 meters. The unspoiled beauty of the surrounding valleys and hills are a great biking experience.
- Tennis - Play Tennis at Tientsin Bungalow’s clay court, reminiscent of British planters having an afternoon game after a hard morning in the fields and factory.
- In-Room Spa Treatments and Luxury Baths - A variety of spa treatments and luxury baths await the tired traveller in the privacy and comfort of your room.
- Heritage City Excursions – Kandy - The day trip to Kandy is in the company of a Tea Trails resident naturalist and the first stop is at Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. A picnic lunch in the gardens ensues followed by a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. You also have the option of making part of the commute by train and the train ride is one of the most scenic as it winds its way along lush green mountains with vistas across valleys below.
- Heritage City Excursions – Nuwara Eliya - Nuwara Eliya is where old-world English colonial influence meets an evolving city striving to define a new identity, with old symbols of British Heritage standing strong. One of these is the “Hill Club” – a castle-like private resort that was once a bastion of leisure and lifestyle or the elite. You are welcome for a brief tour and a spot of tea on the lawn.
- White Water Rafting – Kitulgala - After coming off the slopes of Adam's Peak, the clear waters of the Kelani River wind their way through the Hill Country of Sri Lanka before emptying into the Indian Ocean. Your adventure starts at a beautiful nature base in Kitulgala about 1.5 hours from Ceylon Tea Trails.
Does Ceylon Tea Trail Bungalows cater for families with young children?
Children of all ages are welcome. They have a collection of yummy, interactive and immersive culinary experiences for kids with a local twist, tailored for various age levels. Kids enjoy making the local favourite “coconut and treacle pancakes”, or coconut and cinnamon cookies. For older kids, more complex items such as the classic Sri Lankan “Chocolate Biscuit Putting” is a fun challenge with a local touch.
When is the best time to visit Ceylon Tea Trail Bungalows?
The Tea Trails bungalows are in the hill country, at an elevation 4,000 feet. The mountain climes are cool, the air is refreshing, the views are disarming and the vibe would soothe the soul of the most driven workaholic.
The following festivals are marked as important dates in the religious calendar of the predominantly Hindu tea estate community and celebrated with prayers, rituals & devotional songs which at times would not be in harmony with the otherwise calm & serene tranquillity of the hills. The temples in proximity to the bungalows will be celebrating these festivals, as such the sound associated with the rituals & prayers carrying over to the bungalows is a distinct possibility.
Key festival periods are; Thai Pongal which takes place from 13th to 17th January, Maha Siva Rathiri which falls in late February to early March, Sinhala/Tamil New Year which takes place between 12th to 15th April, Mayday on 1st of May, Deepavali from mid-October to early-November and Christmas falling on 25th December each year.
What should you pack?
Raincoats are provided but a pashmina will be invaluable for cooler evenings. No need for wellies: in the tropics, the free bathroom flip-flops can substitute. A sketchpad for recording the ravishing vistas won't go amiss.