Stunning Sri Lanka: A Tour of Tea Plantations (PHOTOS)

Sri Lankan tea broker Dinal Fernando tastes teas at the privately-run Asia Siyaka Commodity Brokers’ office in Colombo on Oct. 8, 2008, which conducts the world’s biggest tea auction. Sri Lanka is the world’s second biggest exporter of tea. (Ishara S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
The world’s biggest tea drinkers are found in Turkey and Ireland, but one of the world’s biggest tea producers is hidden off the southern coast of India. For a foreign and fragrant vacation, consider visiting the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. With a warm climate, a number of tropical forests, and fields upon fields of tea, coffee, coconuts and cinnamon, it’s no surprise Sri Lanka is sometimes called “the nation of smiling people.”

Sri Lanka is the third largest exporter of tea in the world, reported CNN, just behind Kenya and China. To produce such vast quantities of tea leaves, the deforested parts of the countryside are covered tea plantations that have recently started opening up to tourists. The plant used to make Ceylon tea was introduced by British colonists in the 19th century and since then has overtaken the country as one of the major exports, says the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

British newspaper The Telegraph suggests visiting Bogawantalawa, Sri Lanka’s “Golden Valley of Tea.” Travelers are treated to a tour of the tea factor, walks through plantations, green tea baths and plenty of cups of tea.

Other tour opportunities include visiting the Halpewatte Tea Factory in the region of Uva or going on the five day Tea Trails tour, which takes tourists across the countryside and even for a visit to an elephant orphanage in Pinnawela, writes The Culture Trip.

If you like your tea ethically produced, considering looking for family-run hotels and local businesses, suggests the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice.

Whether you take your tea hot with a bit of lemon or iced and syrupy sweet, tea drinkers of all varieties will love experiencing the sprawling tea plantations of Sri Lanka.

[Via The Weather Channel]

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