Just spent a few days in Haputale, a town about 1500m above sea level. We arrived there after another stunning rail journey through the Hill Country. We stayed at a place called White Monkey (Dias Rest), a guesthouse run by a family of 13, 3km uphill from the town. Our ‘room’ was a cottage with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. We had a floor to ceiling window at the foot of our bed.
The first day here we wandered into town and back then in the evening had dinner in the family home but not before being hand fed some birthday cake by one of the sons whose birthday it was that day. I assume it’s tradition here.
The second day we awoke early due to the massive window at the foot of our bed and paper thin curtains and made our way down the track to breakfast. After being overfed (as usual) we walked into town again to pick up some snacks for lunch and send postcards. It turns out it was market day so had a wander around. After walking back to the guesthouse we had a cup of tea followed by a mini-trek to the lookout point opposite our cottage called Eagle Point. There is apparently a path there but we found ourselves wading through plants and guessing directions most of the way so I’m not sure we found it. It was worth the stinging legs from all the thick grasses though. Amazing views but then everywhere here seems to have awesome vistas.
Leaving at 5am on the third day we caught a tuk tuk to Lipton’s Seat for breaking dawn. This was apparently where Sir Thomas Lipton sat to survey his tea empire back in the late 1800’s. It was beautiful up there, especially with the sunrise. After that we went for a tour of the Dambatenne tea factory, a working factory where the picked leaves from the surrounding plantations are brought and processed into tea for sale at the Colombo Tea Auction. It was fascinating to see the process from start to finish, taking less than 24 hours from freshly picked leaves to a cup of tea.
The waterfalls were the activity for day four. Viraj, one of the brothers from the guesthouse was our guide. Two buses, a tuk tuk and an hour walk brought us to the first plunge pool at the start of the falls. It was such a welcome relief to swim in cold water after the heat of the day. We spent a couple of hours there after which we walked down do the top of the 200m main falls. It was spectacular. We had to get down though, up one hill and down the next through a rubber tree plantation and by a rubber factory. Once we got to the base we were rewarded with a shower in the waterfalls under water falling 200m. A great day to cap off our stay in Haputale. A highlight definately was how welcoming the family at the guesthouse were. Eating breakfast and dinner every day in the family home and always making sure we were having the best time we could.
Now off to Tissamaharama by tuk tuk and two buses. There we hope to see some elephants, water buffalos, jackals, mongeese, crocodiles and if we’re lucky a leopard.