Hi There! There is a 15-day tour of Sri Lanka covering the tea trade,
tea industry, tea gardens, beach resorts, cultural sites, temples,
safari, shopping and afternoon tea. Accompanied by my dad, Lalith
Paranavitana President Empire Tea Services USA and former Tea Estate Manager and Director of the Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation.
Details are below. Please contact me if you are interested in joining!
Jan 4 Evening - Chicago or other connection to London.
Jan 5 London to Colombo, Sri Lanka on Sri Lankan Airlines (regarded as one of
Asia’s most hospitable airlines).
Jan 6 Arrive at Colombo airport early morning to be met by a representative of
the tour operator, who will also be the English speaking guide for the
entire tour. Immediate transfer to Galle Face hotel, Colombo.
http://www.gallefacehotel.com a legacy of Sri Lanka’s colonial heritage.
Situated in the business district of Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka and
overlooking the Indian Ocean on the west coast. Enjoy a sumptuous High
Tea at the hotel. Relax in the hotel, Swim in the pool, take a walk along
the beach. Dinner and night at the Galle Face Hotel.
Jan 7 After an early breakfast leave for the Colombo Tea Auctions held at the
Chamber of Commerce, accompanied by a senior broker from John Keells
Ltd. http://www.pureceylontea.com/auctions.htm Lunch sponsored by
John Keells Ltd. Afternoon – Tea tasting conducted by a senior tea taster
of John Keells Ltd at their Corporate office (Tea Department). Late
afternoon – shopping/relaxing. Dinner and Night at the Galle Face Hotel.
Jan 8 Leave for Ratnapura (breakfast en route) to visit Cicilian tea estate, a low
elevation tea estate producing orthodox teas. Lunch hosted by the Owner
of Vithanakande Estate. Afternoon – visit the factory and learn about tea
manufacture. Return to Galle Face hotel for dinner and night.
Jan 9 After an early breakfast leave for the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala to
see river bathing and bottle feeding of baby elephants.
http://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=43 Proceed to
Habarana . Dinner and overnight accommodation at the Chaaya Habarana
Village (4 star hotel) A pristine location overlooking a lake.
Jan 10 Early risers can watch rare species of birds and other fauna and flora close
to the lake. After breakfast proceed to Sigiriya and climb the rock fortress.
http://sigiriya.org/gallery.htm A former kingdom built on top of a
gigantic rock. Climb to the top to see some of the earliest known Frescoes
etched into the rock 2000 years ago, and enjoy a panoramic view. Return
to the hotel for Lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing or
having a swim. Dinner and night at Chaaya Habarana Village.
Jan 11 After breakfast proceed to Kandy the last bastion of the pre colonial era.
http://www.galenfrysinger.com/tooth_temple.htm En route see a spice
garden. Lunch at the Queens Hotel. Afternoon - see the sights of Kandy
(2500 feet above sea level) and the beautiful lake and also visit the sacred
temple of the tooth relic, where it is believed, that the tooth of the Buddha
is enshrined http://www.sacred-destinations.com/sri-lanka/kandy-templeof-
the-tooth.htm Late evening, witness a cultural dance performance.
Dinner and night at the Amaya Hills Hotel (4 star).
Jan 12 After breakfast visit the tea museum at Hantane to get a glimpse of the
history of Ceylon tea http://www.pureceylontea.com/teamuseum.htm
Proceed to Nuwara Eliya http://www.nuwaraeliya.org/about.html (4800
feet above sea level) which is also called little England. En route traverse
the beautiful hill country and see the magnificent mountains, waterfalls,
breathtaking vistas and the endless carpets of lush green tea gardens. View
Nuwara Eliya estate, the former estate managed by Lalith Guy
Paranavitana. Late lunch at the Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya,
http://www.tangerinehotels.com/thegrandhotel a colonial style building
with manicured lawns and flower gardens. Afternoon – Golf anyone? An
18 hole golf course is the backdrop to the hotel. The Nuwara Eliya Golf
Club http://www.negolf.lk offers everything you need plus caddies to
carry your bags at very reasonable prices. A stroll round the golf course
and the park is another option. Dinner and overnight at the Grand Hotel.
Jan 13 After breakfast visit Pedro Estate. This factory also sells under another
famous name called ‘Lovers Leap’. Tea tasting at Pedro Factory will
include not only teas produced at the factory, but also teas produced in the
neighboring factories in the Nuwara Eliya region. Late lunch the Grand
Hotel. After lunch visit the Tea Research Institute in Talawakelle
(3 pm Appointment). http://www.tri.lk/archive.htm#tree for an afternoon
of scientific insights into tea cultivation and technology. You will meet the
scientists who contribute to the improvement of the industry with new
innovations. The estate managers will host you to dinner and overnight
stay in their ‘bungalows’. You will go back in time to the days of colonial
Ceylon and enjoy the lifestyle of the ‘tea planter’ of a bygone era. A visit
to the factory after dinner is recommended but is optional. Discuss with
Jan 14 Rise early and visit the factory accompanied by the manager (host).
Witness the last stages of overnight tea manufacture and taste the ‘tea
dhools’ fresh off the drier. You will receive a complimentary sample of
teas from that factory to take home. After a quick breakfast with the host
family, visit tea fields and see tea pluckers harvesting leaf and learn about
the other agricultural programs on the estate. Lunch with the Manager and
return to the Grand Hotel at 3 pm for transfer to Ella which is on the
Eastern side of the country. Dinner and overnight at the Ella Hotel.
Breakfast on the terrace with a spectacular view from 4000 feet elevation.
Jan 15 After breakfast leave for Yala descending 4000 feet along the
Ella/Wellawaya road, a very scenic and picturesque route. See the Ravana
water fall cascading down to the road from 300 feet. Lunch at the Yala
Village Hotel. http://www.johnkeellshotels.com/YalaVillage.htm
Afternoon Jeep Safari to the Yala National Park to see wild life in their
natural habitat http://www.pbase.com/dbehrens/yala This wild life
sanctuary is home to Elephants, Bears, Leopards, Deer, Wild Buffalo,
Crocodiles, Peacocks, and fascinating indigenous and migratory birds.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0rcCmlqSwU The terrain is varied
flat plains alternating with rocky outcrops. The vegetation ranges from
open plains to dense jungle. Water holes, small lakes and lagoons are in
abundance giving refuge to magnificent fauna and flora. The sanctuary
stretches to the sea as its eastern border. An experience of a lifetime! Late
dinner and overnight at the Yala Village Hotel.
Jan 16 Rest day at the Yala Village Hotel. Stroll along the beach, swim in the sea
or pool and relax in a hammock with a book. This place is truly laid back
Jan 17 After breakfast, leave for Galle, a former Dutch Fort. Lunch at the
Closenburgh Hotel http://www.closenburghotel.com a vestige of the
colonial era. After lunch drive along the scenic coastal highway to Bentota
Beach Hotel for the night. Enjoy the enchanting gardens and sandy beach
of this four star hotel. Have a swim in the sea or pool or visit the Spa
before dinner. www.johnkeellshotels.com/BentotaBeachHotelRooms.htm
Jan 18 Rise early and enjoy a swim in the ocean or pool, have breakfast and leave
for Colombo. Mt. Lavinia Hotel http://www.mountlaviniahotel.com is
situated on the famous Mt. Lavinia beach on the outskirts of Colombo
city. Lunch at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. Relax and enjoy the afternoon on
the beach or enjoy a swim in the pool on the terrace of this colonial style,
lavishly appointed hotel with a view of the bay and Colombo city in the
horizon. Some scenes in the movie ‘Bridge on the river Kwai’ was filmed
here, depicting the colonial command post of the British army. Go back in
time in this lavishly furnished hotel and feel pampered as a royal guest!
Farewell dinner hosted by Empire Tea Services. Overnight at the Mt.
Jan 19 Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel. Spend the whole day relaxing on
the beach or in the pool or take a walk and do some shopping. Leave for
the airport at 12.00 midnight for the return flight to Chicago via London.
Jan 20 PM arrive in Chicago.
The 2010 & 2012 tours were grand successes. The overwhelming appreciation shown by
the members have encouraged us to repeat this tea tour in January 2014. The tour was
described as a ‘trip of a lifetime’ by many members.
View videos on Sri Lanka –
Watch 3 clips from a previous tea tour.