Tea tasting  in the he Handunugoda Tea Estate and Tea Museum.

© martin SC photo/Shutterstock

Handunugoda Tea Estate

Top choice in The South

This exquisite tea plantation in the hills above Koggala offers (free) highly informative tours of the estate. You'll sample and learn how they produce over 25 varieties of tea here, including the fabled Virgin White tea, a delicate brew made from the tiniest and newest leaves. Where the average large plantation worker will pick 23kg of black tea in a day, the workers here manage but 150 grams of virgin white leaves. It's 6km inland from the coastal highway; signposted from the 131km post.

Handunugoda is owned by Herman Gunaratne, one of the legends of the island's tea industry. Be sure to pick up a copy of Gunaratne's autobiography, The Suicide Club: A Virgin Tea Planter's Journey, which is a remarkably entertaining and insightful read about his life, tea and Sri Lanka, from the waning days of the British Raj to today.

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