The trip between Kandy and Nuwaraeliya is about 3-4 hours by train. We purchased third class tickets which were quite comfortable, and helped a lot with the saving rupees. We reserved our ticket in advance meaning that we were in the reserved carriage which was quite empty. It also meant that we had to pay a lot more for our ticket. 800LKR for the two of us. The train station for Nuwaraeliya is located in Nanu Oya which is about 7kms from Nuwaraeliya. From the train station you can either take a local bus straight into town or go for the tuk tuk which should cost anywhere between 400 and 500LKR. 

Nuwaraeliya is referred as "little England", upon arriving we quickly realised why. Not only is it a lot cooler than other parts of Sri Lanka, the architecture and gardening is distinctly English. The white cottage country homes are surrounded by gorgeous cottage gardens of bright pink, blues and purples and the mountainous region makes it simply delightful. The town is also Sri Lankas "racing capital", so naturally there are horses roaming throughout the town. Locals also offer horseback rides as a tourism angle, but the horses don't appear to be quite happy or looked after. Another dark side of the animal tourism industry. 

After having quite an unpleasant night trying to find accommodation in Kandy, we decided to book a room for Nuwaraeliya in advance. We ended up staying at the Hill View Guesthouse just a short walk from the city centre. We cannot recommend this place highly enough! We felt right at home as soon as we arrived. Our room was of a decent size, the shower had hot water, we had a t.v in the room for when we felt like doing nothing and our choice of breakfast was included. The breakfast was made by the lovely housekeeper, who's smile is brighter than the sun, and he even gave us a free lesson on preparing our favourite Sri Lankan dishes. 

On our first day we strolled around town. The city centre is very pleasant and quite small. It is lined with shops that sell knock off (yet surprisingly good quality) outdoor gear. It also has a supermarket with the only soy milk we have seen in Sri Lanka! After dinner at a local restaurant we returned to our guesthouse. Em went to the main part of the house in search of the owner and the wifi password. A few minutes later I came looking for her and found her sitting on the couch in the owners section of the house using the internet. Apparently the wifi struggles in our room due to the distance between the modem and the room. It also had very thick concrete walls which made it more difficult for a signal to reach our bed. As we were sitting, Gobi, the owner, had some tea made for us. We then started talking about life at home and found out that he had studied a business degree in England. That explained his incredible English speaking skills and use of the word 'epic' in conversation. We joined him for some Arrack whiskey, homemade chutney with rotti and wade - a Sri Lankan snack sold on the side of the road for next to nothing. After some food and alcohol we were feeling very tired and we retired to bed. 

The next day we took a walk to lovers leap waterfall. The walk was about 4kms from our guesthouse and was very pleasant. Not only did we get a chance to mingle with locals on the streets, but we were also gifted with beautiful scenery of tea plantations and, of course, the waterfall. Once there, we took some photos, had a rest and started making our way down through the tea plantation back to the winding road that took us through a small community and onto the main road. Both being trained in outdoor education, we of course tried taking a new path that we thought would lead to the main road. In actual fact it didn't. And we had to double back through the tea plantation to find the actual path. Whilst exploring the waterfall we met some wonderful school girls who were on a school excursion. We spoke, laughed and took some photos. Going between the questions of "What is your name?", "how are you?", "Where are you from?". We also took a bazillion photos with the happy little humans. 

The town also features The Grand Hotel. A beautifully constructed hotel that is absolutely stunning. Gobi works there and invited us to have a look when we were there. The ambiance inside is incredible. The interior is classic and sleek and the service is impeccable. Their beautiful restaurant also does surprisingly cheap meals, considering the establishment. If you can afford it, a night there looks beautiful. 

Ultimately, Nuwaraeliya is a beautiful town if you want to relax for a couple of days. You can walk to waterfalls, bike ride or hike rough tea plantations and even venture to Horton Plains national Park. 


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Budget travel advice from the lousiest beatniks that wander on this land.