Sri Lanka – on our way up to Lipton’s Seat, the views are breathtakingly stunning. I had to tell the driver a couple of times to stop here and there so I can take some photographs. The emerald views seem endless as hills and mountains roll high and low.
Lipton’s Seat is, of course, the seat where Sir Thomas Lipton, used to sit (or maybe stand :D?) to survey his lush green tea estates.
Where is it? Take the train and get off at Haputale.
Hike. Yes, you can hike to the top. You can start from the paved road at Dambatenne Tea Factory. Remember that it’s an 8-kilometer hike – one way – and make sure you’ve got enough time to walk down.
Take a tuktuk or car. I hired a mini-van all the way up to the top because I don’t have enough time to hike that long. A tuktuk ride from Haputale town centre to Lipton’s Seat would cost you Rs2,500-3,000.
The Tea Pickers. Along the way, you’ll meet tea pickers who’d wave at you when they see you. The ones I met were away from the main road so I just had to observe them from afar. If you’re hiking, you might be able to strike up a conversation with them.
Best time to go up there. It was a very sunny day when we started driving up. But when we’re two kilometres away from Lipton’s Seat, it suddenly turned misty and chilly. Visibility was almost zero and it had an eerie feeling to it. We had to be really careful because the roads are narrow and one side is a cliff. Everyone I talked to seemed to agree that early morning is the best time to go.
The Mist. When we finally arrived at the top, we were surrounded by a thick mist. We literally couldn’t see the tea plantation. We stayed there for 30 minutes, waiting and hoping that the fog would go away. And it did – but only for 3 minutes! I took a lot of photos like a madman! 😀
It is, of course, possible to go around the country using public transport. But, you’ve got to be adventurous and can stand on the heat. And be patient, too. Trains are slow and most of the roads are winding and narrow, especially when you’re going to the Hill Country. If you have limited time in the country and want to see / experience more, say, 8-10 days, going a tour is more practical. You don’t have to plan for transports and hotel accommodation. Intrepid Travel offers various options for every kind of traveler.