Tea is a national obsession in Sri Lanka and here where it is grown is a great spot to visit on your travels. Sri Lankan tea is famous the world over and when in the country you should head to the Hill Country and visit tea factories and plantations. It’s just marvellous! Head to Haputale which houses the impressive Dambatenne Tea Factory, built and created by Thomas Lipton who came from Scotland and made it his base over one hundred years ago. You can get a tour of the factory up in the hills!
The Dambatenne Tea Factory is actually up in the mountains at Haputale and hard to get to. If you are an avid tea drinker, I assure you however that it is worth the trip!
How to get to Dambatenne Tea Factory
Getting to the Dambatenne Tea Factory is tricky for tourists. Up in the mountains and valleys there is no rail system here. The bus system does run, but the roads are so narrow you are better off finding a local driver. Get a local driver to take you and save the hassle! He will know what he is doing! 
How much does visiting Dambatenne Tea Factory cost?
The entrance fee is a simple 250 Rupees, payable in cash only at the front door. You may have to wait until one of the workers is available to take you round. It’s not busy at all – despite being a great place to visit and one of my travel highlights, this is still well off the normal traveller’s trail – worth getting out to.
What length of time is a tour of Dambatenne Tea Factory?
It can be split into three parts and takes about 20 – 25 minutes, here are the three parts:
1. First of all you visit a room upstairs where the tea has just arrived in from the mountains. Here the tea leaves are put into machines ready for the process.
2. Secondly you are in a large room downstairs to watch the process of the tea being refined before it is heated at the end.
3. Finally the tea is heated, later cooled and put into large bags ready to be shipped worldwide!
You can’t take photos inside during parts 2 and 3 which is fine as it’s their system. The staff will all be working hard in the background so it’s important to respect that. The opening hours of the tours seemed to be 9-5 but double check before you visit.
What other things are there on the tour?
The tour is fast and will be over in a flash but it’s still really worth doing. There is no shop to sit and have a tea though which I found incredible – I wanted a cup! There isn’t even a souvenir shop but you can buy packets of Dambatenne Tea to take away with you, which I did. The only real souvenir.
To buy a packet of Dambatenne tea is 300 Rupees. The more expensive tea for sale is Simondou which costs a ridiculous 1,100 Rupees. You might actually be better buying them in the towns and villages in markets.
What other things can you do in the area nearby?
It’s such a mountainous region so there are four other things to do which is best done with a driver:
1. Marvel at the epic mountain views
2. Walk at leisure round the endless tea plantations on the hills
3. Stop at a cafe for a cup of tea with a view
4. Go to the town of Haputale which has hotels, shops, an ATM and markets
I was just trying to see if the post could be stretched out any more and extra details added, but basically like I said, it’s a short and basic tour and that’s really all there is to it. If you have any questions on it, do leave a comment below or get in touch. They don’t even have their own website, despite the enormity of their production, and for once I’m not even going to bother linking to a site about it!
I’m heading to get a cup of tea…a lifestyle of travel!