When we think of Sri Lanka, we instantly envision sun-kissed beaches, waves lapping against sandy shores and cute coastal towns. Our mind certainly doesn't conjure an image of us sitting in a light sweater, sipping on piping hot chai in a lush mountain city, does it?Well, it should. Say hello to Nuwara Eliya – a proof of the versatility of Sri Lanka's unique terrain. Besides being one of the most important locations for tea production, this vibrant, bustling city is also a popular tourist haunt.
Why travel to Nuwara Eliya?
With its cool climate, lush landscape and natural beauty. Nuwara Eliya is an undoubted paradise for travellers. If you like nature you can go visit the many parks and botanical gardens it has to offer, visit serene Buddhist temples, explore the tea plantations, trek your way up to Lover's Leap waterfall or even go on a shopping tour!
Cuisines on offer
If you love food, Nuwara Eliya is a must-visit. Having a wide variety of vegetarian as well as non vegetarian options, this mountain town is an absolute paradise for foodies. From the insanely popular kottu (chopped roti mixed with vegetables, chicken and egg) to polos (Jackfruit curry), there is something for everyone. A great place for local food is Indian Summer Nuwara Eliya. Apart from authentic Sri Lankan cuisine you can also try out Queenswood Restaurant (Asian cuisine), Grand Thai (Thai cuisine) and Salmiya (Italian cuisine).
Getting a Sri Lankan Tourist Visa is super simple for Indians and the process is extremely efficient. You don't need to visit the embassy and can apply for the visa online. You will then be issued an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) within 45 minutes to 1 hour of your application! This allows you to enter the country for the next 30 days.
When to go
Weather at Nuwara Eliya is pleasant all year round with the average temperature hovering around 16 degree Celsius and the highest temperature hitting 30 degree Celsius. If you are looking forward to moderate climate, February to April is the best time to go. The Sinhalese New Year is also celebrated in the month of April, so this is a perfect time to visit if you wish to catch the vibrancy and festivities.
Since there is no direct connectivity from New Delhi to Nuwara Eliya, you have to first fly to Colombo. There are several direct and connecting flights from New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.
Train: You can reach Nuwara Eliya from Nanu Oya which falls on the Colombo-Kandy route. A second class ticket from Colombo costs about ₹100. Once you get off at the Nanu Oya station you can hire a cab or take a bus to Nuwara Eliya. The journey takes a total of 5-6 hours.
Road: You can also jump abroad a local bus from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya (which may take longer, as buses are usually slower) or hire a private cab. The travel time is around 5 to 5.5 hours.
Since Nuwara Eliya is a small town most places are within close proximity. You can easily hire a tuk-tuk to sight see and get around . A ride may cost you anywhere between ₹200 to ₹600 - it essentially depends on where you are headed. The rates are usually higher at night.
Flight from New Delhi to Colombo: ₹16,000
One-way ticket on local transport: ₹250
Taxi starting tariff: ₹50
Hotel stay in Nuwara Eliya: ₹3,000
A meal: ₹800 approx. (meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant)
Cost: ₹20,280 per night (breakfast included)
Cost: ₹1,350 per night (breakfast included)
For more hotel options in Nuwara Eliya go here.
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