Next stop on our wish list was Royal Botanic Garden. It’s located in Peradeniya, which is about 5.5 km to the west of the city of Kandy. Once again prices for tourists were the same as for locals… only multiplied by ten. But this time I can tell you without hesitation that it was worth every penny!
Can’t say that I am an experienced Botanic garden wanderer. I have visited only one Botanic garden in my life before I came to Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, let me assure you that I know what I am talking about, when I say that this place is AWESOME!!! And it’s definitely on my Top 10 of best things/places I’ve seen/ been to in Sri Lanka.
First of all, it’s huge. 147 acres (60 hectares) huge. It has over 4000 species of plants, including over 200 species of palms. One of the most interesting is Double coconut palm (originally from the Seychelles):
The spice garden includes wide variety of spices, amongst which is cinnamon – main spice exported from Sri Lanka, pepper, bay leaf, cardamom and nutmeg. Some of the oldest nutmeg trees were planted in 1840.
This incredible giant is Agathis robusta, also known as Queensland kauri pine or smooth-barked kauri:
I’ve never seen anything like it before. And looking at it I’ve remembered how my Middle school English teacher used to tell to the class about a place (can’t remember where exactly) where trees were so big, that people were building living spaces inside them. Don’t know whether it’s true but the story stuck in my head.
Royal Botanic garden is also well known for its exotic beauties collection – orchids:
Flower garden is situated next to the Orchid house:
If you decide to visit Royal Botanic Gardens, you should keep in mind that it’s really big, and it will take quite some time (half a day easily) to see all of it. Unfortunately, we had a time limit and we couldn’t stay as long as we wanted. But even though we spent only 2-2.5 hours there, we managed to see quite many things.
Other “must see” on our list was a tea plantation. I am a huge tea fan, tea lover and a tea drinker, and of course I was familiar with famous Ceylon tea. And for me personally, to be in Sri Lanka and not to visit tea plantation… it’s like going to Rome with no intention to see the majestic Colosseum. It’s just wrong.
Since we had no idea which tea plantation to choose, our driver took us to Glenloch:
We were offered a free excursion. Our guide took us to Glenloch factory where we were shown and told how things are working there.
Excursion was great! We could see the process of tea making with our own eyes.
And we have learned many interesting things. For example: did you know that tea collector (usually women) should collect 18 to 20 kg of tea per day (!). That’s right, one person should handpick 18-20 kilos of tea leaves in one day! That’s hell of job! Don’t know about you but I have never thought about how does the tea end up in my tea shelf. Sure, you just go to the store and buy it. Nothing complicated about that. But have you ever thought about the whole process? Because I haven’t. At least till I visited this tea factory.
Other thing that I didn’t know about was that white, green and black tea leaves are coming from the same tea bush. Don’t know why but I’ve always assumed that they came from three different plants.
Our excursion ended up with tea tasting. We tried different kinds of Glenloch tea: green, white and black (The Golden flush). My absolute favorite was white one. It has light and delicate taste, and it lacks the “grassy” flavor (comparing to green tea). Describing it in one word – super-delicious!
After degustation we checked their gift shop where we bought some tea for my collection.
Overall, I am very happy that we visited Glenloch tea heaven. And I can definitely recommend this place for you guys.
To be continued…
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