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Asia > South Asia > Sri Lanka > Central Province (Sri Lanka) > Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya

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Nuwara Eliya is a city in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. At 1,868 m (6,129 ft) altitude, its temperate climate gives the city a very different feel from other parts of the country.

Understand[edit]

Nuwara Eliya
Gold Club at Nuwara Eliya

It has earned the name 'Little England' owing to its colonial architecture.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Four times daily there is a train coming from Colombo or Kandy, and it then proceeds further to Badulla. The train's name is 'Udarata Menike', and the journey itself is spectacular.

There is actually no train station in Nuwara Eliya proper, the closest one is in Nanuoya, 6 km of Nuwara Eliya. There are plenty of tuk tuks and local buses waiting at the train station in Nanuoaya that go to the centre of Nuwara Eliya.

1 Nanuoya Train Station.

By bus[edit]

Buses can be taken from Colombo route #79, three times per day, six hours. Or from Kandy, every 20 minutes, 2,5-3 hours trip.

Be aware - road transport between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya is very slow. The journey will typically take five to six hours to cover the 180km. Traffic, poor weather or failing light can extend the time needed. Rail transport is about the same due to the old and meandering track.

2 Bus station.

Get around[edit]

Map of Nuwara Eliya

The town centre is small enough to walk around. To visit sites further afield, take a bus or hire a three-wheeler.

The same caveat applies to touring around the area as for getting there. Assume that you'll not exceed 20 kilometres per hour no matter what the mode of (ground) transport. So plan any excursions carefully, and don't assume that you can cover more than about 100 km in a day, including stops.

See[edit]

  • 1 Victoria Park. A pleasant place to spend an hour or so, with an astonishing variety of plants, ranging from tropical rain forest to English country garden. At the far southern end of it there is a 2 Victoria Museum which houses collection of old colonial era photos, entrance fee is included into Victoria Park's entrance ticket. 300 LKR.
  • 3 Lake Gregory (less than a mile from the centre of town). Large man made lake, along the edge is a beautiful park, with water sports (paddle boats, jet ski rides and cruises) as well as other recreational activities. Offers a splendid and peaceful environment for sightseeing and boating. Boats can be hired from the area. Entrance to the Lake Gregory park 200 LKR.
  • 4 Galway's Land National Park. A wildlife sanctuary on the edge of town which is great for bird watching. It's also the smallest Sri Lankan National Park and it's quite run down.
  • Within the town itself there are a number of interesting sights, including the 5 Nuwara Eliya Post Office, a tudor style two-storey red brick building; the Hill Club, a two- storey grey stone gentlemen's club; Nuwara Eliya Golf Course - remnants of the British Colonial era.
  • 6 The Lovers Leap waterfall.

Nearby[edit]

  • 7 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Peradeniya-Badulla-Chenkaladi Hwy (10 km southeast of the city). 7.30am-5.30pm. Large and impressive, just a short bus journey away. However, it's far smaller and less pretty than Botanical Garden in Kandy. Foreigners 1500 LKR.
  • 8 Pedro Tea Factory, +94 11 5 352225. 8am–11am, 2pm–4pm. Offers fascinating tours of a working tea factory. In the hills nearby there are paths through the tea plantations to wander along. 200 LKR which includes 30 minutes tour and a cup of tea.
  • The mountains in the central province of Sri Lanka and near to Nuwara Eliya are adorned with many picturesque waterfalls including Dunhinda Falls, Diyaluma Falls, Baker's Falls, St. Claire's Falls, Ravana Ella, Bambarakanda Ella, Aberdeen Falls, Laxapana Falls, and Bridal Falls.

Ramboda town[edit]

  • 9 Blue Field Tea Factory, +94 77 784 7847. 9AM–6:30PM. Short 5-15 minutes excursion which is followed by a complimentary cup of tea, generally guide asks for a donation in the end. Overall, the entire process looks much more as a preparation for buying overpriced teas in their shop than the educational event. Visitors can proceed later to the tea plantation fields, which has a remarkable view over the valley. Entrance free.
  • 10 Ramboda Falls. Big 108 meters high waterfall. 20 LKR.

Do[edit]

  • Take a walk up through the tea plantations south-west of the town to the top of Single Tree Mountain for a splendid view over Nuwara Eliya. From the hill top you can walk north for a couple of kilometres along the ridgetop to a nearby village and get a tuc-tuc/three-wheeler or walk back to town.
  • Playing golf is also an option at 1 Nuwara Eliya Golf, along with heading to the 2 racecourses (the only proper ones you'll find in Sri Lanka). These are both traditions left over from the colonial era.
  • Take a train trip from Nanu Oya towards Kandy. For the colonial experience book a 1st class ticket in the observation car. For an authentic local experience book a 3rd class ticket and hang out of the door of the carriage.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • 1 De Silva Food. Possibly one of the best budget restaurants that takes care about hygiene and quality of the food. Extensive menu which mainly focuses on rice, noodle, burgers. Big portions. They also sell some sweets. 250-500 LKR per meal.
  • Milano Restaurant. Just next door to De Silva, similar food, prices and quality. Serves pizza and Chinese dishes as well.
  • 2 Adma Agro (at the far end of Lake Gregory). Serves only strawberry based dishes - using locally grown strawberries. Strawberry pancakes and pizzas - 400 LKR, strawberry drinks - 380-450 LKR.

Splurge[edit]

  • 3 St Andrews Hotel. Does a good buffet, described as a "fusion" of eastern and western tastes.
  • 4 The Hill Club. Is a special experience which will take you back almost 100 years. But you must dress for dinner. If you don't have a jacket and tie you can borrow from their collection. Food is excellent and served by waiters in national dress with white serving gloves.
  • 5 Grand Hotel. does a great high tea.
  • 6 Grand Indian, at the Grand Hotel. It is possibly the best place in Nuwara Eliya to get good traditional Indian food.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • [dead link] Mount View Cottage (is a small guesthouses with 4 rooms. Clean accommodation and is operated by honest people. They will arrange tours to Horton's Plains using the guesthouse's van for a reasonable amount of money (see section above). From 50/57$.

Splurge[edit]

  • Craig Bank, No: 48, Water Field Drive, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, +94 77 7005500. Situated just above Nuwara Eliya town, Is a villa set within magnificent gardens that overlook the golf course and rolling hills. Ideal for groups of families and friends who will love its privacy and secluded yet central location. Designed by a Frenchman, the villa's European styling blends perfectly with the property's colonial atmosphere which harks back to a former era. 660 $ per villa.
  • King Fern Cottage, 203/1A St Andrew's Drive, Nuwara Eliya, +94 77 358 6284. Welcoming budget guesthouse with a friendly owner, large sized rooms with comfortable beds and en-suite bathrooms.
  • Spring Acre, 495 (Situated just 5 minutes drive from Golf Course), +94 725 94 66 13. This tastefully furnished luxury holiday bungalow can accommodate up to 10 persons and has a breathtaking view of a tea estate and the Pidurutalagala mountain range. Over 250$.
  • Langdale by Amaya, Radalla, Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya, +94 52 4924959. Boutique resort. Escape to the cool mornings and crisp air of Randalla, a quaint hill station tucked in the mountain ranges of the central highlands. Over 250$.
  • 1 Scottish Planter Glendevon Bungalow, Kandapola Road, Ragala, +94 052 2265050, e-mail: . This bungalow built from quaint stone, and its interior was inspired by Scottish architecture. Offers a spa, dining, personal butlers, and an in-house library.

Go next[edit]

  • Badulla — final station on the railway road
  • Colombo — capital
  • Ella — beautiful mountains similar to Nuwara Eliya
  • Horton Plains and World's End offer fascinating walks though this temperate mountain environment, with an 800 m vertical drop to be found at World's End.
  • Kandy


This city travel guide to Nuwara Eliya is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.