Sri Lanka Part 3/7. Moving on from the historical city of Sigiriya, we opted for 2 nights of “glamping” at the Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge, situated well over 3,500ft high up in a tea plantation in the Knuckles Range.
The luxury safari tents scattered around the ridge are imported from South Africa, and come equipped with modern toilet facilities, and even hot showers.
We arrived just in time for our afternoon cup of BOPF (broken orange pekoe fannings), a popular tea selection in the region. I love the special tea timer that allows you to accurately decide on the intensity of your tea – it’s so quaint.
That was followed by a very enjoyable dinner; the salad and appetisers buffet was excellent and offered up a nice surprise – deliciously crispy prawn tempura. I went with the main of pan-fried gammon steak with pineapple sauce which was tasty and gamey. Katherine and Alan had the Sri Lankan pittu with chicken curry, tomato & capsicum curry and the potato curry.
An interesting Sri Lankan dessert is the curd & trickle, a local yogurt with honey-like sauce derived from palm sugar. We love the little touches of the service – the tea comes with fresh jasmine flowers to add to taste, as you unwind by the fireplace.
The next morning, we lay in bed savouring the sunrise through the opened flaps of our tent.
Breakfast was served on the terrace overlooking the swimming pool that’s perched on the edge of the ridge, with a panoramic view of the tea plantation below – one of the most stunning I’ve encountered.
The breakfast items of Kiribath (coconut milk rice) and Lunu Miris (vegetable sambal) is almost like Nasi Lemak, except the rice is more mushy, in good way. The heavenly sambal is rendered fragrant with the sweet onions while the accompanying curries are more subtle than that served at dinner. And fresh baked items abound too, heralding a lovely start to the day.
We has a very nice hike up through the tea plantation to the Campbell Forest Waterfall guided by a qualified house botanist. Our hike was punctuated by loud burst of firecrackers as the Tamil tea pluckers celebrated Dewali.
The hike ends at the top of a waterfall that plunged deep into the valley, and where we had a simple packed-lunch while soaking our tired feet in the refreshingly cold and clear sparkling water.
Our aches from the hike were soothed by a massage (a rather oily affair I must say) at the Aryuvedic Spa that also serves up a panoramic view of the valley below.
The Madulkelle Eco & Tea Lodge would be my pick for the best overall experience in Sri Lanka this trip.
Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge
Madulkelle, Kandy, SSri Lanka
Phone: +94 (0) 813801052