Tea Plantation, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Ahangama

Tea Plantation, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Ahangama

Check Tea Plantation, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Ahangama on the Sri Lanka map

Handunugoda Tea Estate is a family owned plantation in Tittagalla, Ahangama within the Southern Province, Sri Lanka. The estate is 150 acres (0.61 km2) in extent and comprises 75 acres (300,000 m2) of tea. The balance plantation is of rubber, cinnamon and coconut. There is a well equipped tea factory on the property. Most machines were made in the United Kingdom and are over 140 years old. The factory is a living and working museum. The estate is not a mass producer of tea. Handunugoda makes very small quantities of the choicest teas, winning international recognition. Handunugoda produces the famous 'Virgin White Tea', a tea untouched by hand which has attracted attention from tea enthusiasts all over the world. Malinga Herman Gunaratne is the sole proprietor with over 45 years experience in plantation management, originally for the British plantations in Sri Lanka and then for the state owned and managed plantations. Before becoming sole proprietor of Handunugoda Tea Estate he was the regional manager of over 100,000 acres (400 km2) of the best tea lands of the Island in the country's most prestigious plantation District of Nuwara Eliya. He has written three books. The Plantation Raj, For a Sovereign State, and The Tortured Island. The latter two books are in the 7th and 6th reprint respectively. The Ceylon Souchong, Ceylon Oolong, and Flowery Cammellia were awarded "Most Innovative Teas" at the Anuga Fair in Cologne, Germany.

Recommended review time for sightseeing: 1 h



Tourist reviews about Tea Plantation, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Ahangama

Great tour
Gatis V [TA], ,

Really great tour, explaining the tea making process from a to z, possibility to taste many kind of teas. Recommended for everyone.

Excellent tea plantation visit
KrishSL [TA], , Negombo, Sri Lanka

for the first time hear about virgin tea, as the guide explain they cut the first un open leaves by not touching it. so as he explain until end of the processes those leaves are not touch by human hands. guide explained lots of things about flora in the garden, also he show us black monkey at the first time we saw in sri lanka. after had a tea at the house on top corner of the garden, then experienced of a great factory explanation about the machines they have used. it is excellent.
after taste all type of teas they have we can decide what we need. that is a great service which we didn't see in other tea factory we visit on the way to nuwara eliya.

Informative trip for all ages
Liz c [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

We visited this tea plantation with kids age 5 upwards and all of us enjoyed the tour.It was hidden away and we drove through the beautiful Sri Lanka countryside to reach it. The guide managed to keep the children interested all the way around. Our kids were particularly interested in the rubber tree and how they harvested it. The guide then gave us tea and cakes at the plantation owners house. it was like stepping back in time.
The factory and museum were all equally fascinating and it was great to taste all the teas at the end.

Refreshly relaxed, educational and honest
Londonbor... [TA], , London

After a series of twists and turns along pot-holed roads we reached The Virgin White Tea Plantation, a beacon of serenity. Our guide was an extremely knowledgeable older gentleman whose passion for the flora and fauna was infectious. We were shown plants of coffee alongside white and black tea, peppercorns, trees of mangoes, jackfruit, cinammon, teak, mahogany and rubber. A live demonstration of the latex sap collection was fantastic. This part of the tour was followed by an equally as long tea and cake break, soundtracked with the history of the estate owners. Later we had a tour of the working factory to see the tea being produced. The tour ended with a tasting room filled with the 27 teas, there was absolutely no pressure to purchase anything. Small bags of tea were priced around 700RPS. I can't believe they do not charge for this tour, that there is no hard sell and that the staff are so happy to talk about tea. This place is a real gem; the practically overflowing tip box is testament to this.

Excellent Tour!
Emily8527... [TA], , Singapore, Singapore

We had a superb tour of the estate, factory and tasting room. It's a very peaceful, professional yet authentic place. Our guide, Mahendra, was very knowledgable and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit!

Very educational and inspiring re. tea's detoxifying properties!
James C [TA], , London, United Kingdom

A large group of us ranging from 2 to 50 years old visited the Handunugoda Tea Estate a few weeks ago. We had a great afternoon being shown around the estate, drinking tea and eating cake up on the hill, admiring the owner's former race horse and all the classic original giant British machinery still churning reliably away in the factory before descending to the tea museum where we sampled - and my wife went on to buy - practically every tea under the sun, as well as a colourful range of historic Ceylon postcards and posters. This is a serene and informative place, quite a winding road to get to it but one of the best outings in the South of Sri Lanka without a doubt. Highly recommended.

Wonderful afternoon!
SarahTavo... [TA], , Doha, Qatar

I'm really pleased we took the time to visit this Virgin White Tea plantation. It was in a beautifully scenic location and we started with a free guided tour. It was so interesting, really informative and educational. The children loved it and had lots of questions. It was really intriguing to see the old machinery, which they still use, made by the same company that supplied parts for the Titanic! We then went for tea tasting, which we all loved, and decided on a few purchases of some exceptional teas that were new to us! The whole visit was very enlightening and pleasurable and the friendly people at the plantation make it a must-do excursion!

What an experience!
EarlyReti... [TA], , Princeton, New Jersey

One of our friends in Sri Lanka suggested visiting the Handunugoda Tea Estate, and we followed his suggestion.

We were greeted by The General Manager of the Property Mr. David Manickam, who gave us unforgettable tour of the plantation, explained how they cultivate the famous Virgin White Tea, how the tea is produced, packaged, etc. The cup of Sapphire Oolong and then a Rainforest tea accompanied by the delicious homemade chocolate cake was the delightful break during the hot day.

Then we visited the museum and tasted all teas produced in the Estate, including the Virgin White Tea. What an experience! The visit to the Tea Estate can’t be completed without the purchase of the Virgin White Tea!

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Handunugoda Tea Estate! It is free learning experience!

Very interesting
Emanuela... [TA], , Bucharest, Romania

I would have never thought that a visit to a tea plantation can be so interesting. I really enjoyed my visit there.
The tea factory itself is, as written on a plate, is a working, living museum. I was fascinated by the old machines (over 145 years old!), and the whole process was described with lots of details by the guide (Chris?). After a week, I visited another tea plantation, so I could see the difference. The experience at Handunugoda Tea Estate was much better.
Beside the museum-like factory (that was similar to the other one I have seen), here I have also visited the plantation, I have been shown different types of trees and plants (rubber tree, mahogany, ebony, bread tree, sugar cane, pepper...), and I also had two complimentary cups of tea and a cake on a very nice porch. Also, the tea shop was very nice: 27 types of tea to taste and/or buy.
Very pleasant and interesting visit!

Great experience.
smallspen... [TA], , Weston-super-Mare

This place didn't appear in my guidebooks but it popped up on a website about Koggala where I was staying. I'd previously had a negative experience of a tea estate in the highlands, much too touristy, so this estate was a breath of fresh air - literally, with the stunning scenery! The guide who took us round spoke excellent English and explained the history of the plantation with interesting anecdotes about the owner's family. After looking at the growing tea, we went to the owner's colonial-style elegant bungalow for a very polite tea and cake on the terrace, facing lovely gardens and a beautiful view.. This was followed by a visit to the factory, not actually working at the time unfortunately, but everything was well explained and it was fascinating to see the very old machinery, still in use. The tour ended in a beautifully arranged shop/museum, where we had a chance to taste 24 different teas! These were all on sale but the prices put me off, although the rarity of this type of tea made it well worth buying for conoisseurs. The whole experience lasted nearly 2 hours, yet was absolutely free! There was a box for donations, but no demands for payment at all. I would definitely recommend Hanungoda as an attraction worth visiting, even if you are staying quite a distance away, as it was so different from other money-seeking attractions I've visited.

Worth well visiting!
aflora87 [TA], ,

This place, hidden inland of Galle, is a place you must see! It is the only tea estate that close to the beach and produces the famous white virgin tea. The owner is the author of the well known book ' The suicide club' and the suicide blend is also available with a hint of whiskey. Very friendly and welcoming guides will show you around. The fabric is fascinating with its old machines (made by the same manufacturer as the Titanic). At the end you will have a tea tasting which is lovely!

A Hidden Gem . . .
JJno41 [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Stumbled upon this place by chance after reading a tiny note about it in a guide book. We have visited the the plantations of the highlands and although the views and quantity of tea here are not as jaw dropping, the actual tour itself puts Hapatules tea factory to shame. This place is what I was hoping for in the highlands.

When we got there a guide greeted us and showed us around this beautiful Estate, showing us various cash crops ( rubber, pepper to name a few) and the tea, from how it's grown to how it's processed in the factory to make the finished product as we know it. Near the beginning, we sat and enjoyed a pot of tea and a small but tasty slice of chocolate cake. At the end of the tour you are treated to sample around 20 variations of tea including the Virgin White - the most expensive and exclusive tea in the world. Although this is a free tour and there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything, you still feel as though you should as the tea costs from 750rs up its still a pretty decent price for what you get in the way of the tour/ tea/ cake, let alone the product you purchase.
Also leave a small tip AT THE END OF THE TOUR, not half way in like your guide might suggest.

A fantastic & unique experience
courtneya... [TA], , Brisbane, Australia

This tour was one if the highlights of my trio to Sri Lanka. I loved the beauty of the plantation, and learning about 'virgin white tea' was also really cool. Our tour guide was very knowledgable and shared lots of stories and information, not just about tea, but also about the many other plants on the site. These included coffee, pepper and rubber plants. It was lively sitting up at the house amongst the flowers and being served some yummy cake while getting to try several different brews. I also loved the quick trip through the factory, giving an insight into the full production of tea. There is an opportunity at the end to try all brews, and purchase any you like. Beware the virgin white tea is extremely expensive! Highly recommend this tour to young and old!

Really lovely trip tied in with a Galle visit
SLTravels... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

A really great little tea tour and I’d recommend this to anyone. The guides give you a lovely tour and explain a variety of plants, not just the process in making virgin white tea. You sit down with some lovely brews and cake, take a tour of the factory and then sample about 20 different teas. It’s impossible not to buy a few bags of tea to take home.

A great way to spend an afternoon...
James L [TA], , London

We spent the afternoon at the Handunugoda Tea Estate on the 21st March and would recommend for anyone to visit here even if you aren't a fan of tea.
Our host David really looked after us and was highly knowledgeable on tea, the tea making process and the flora and fauna found on the estate.
Not only did we see and taste some fantastic tea (and also had some lovely chocolate cake) we also saw plenty of wildlife...black faced monkeys, parrots, peacock and black robins to name a few. The story behind the estate is also fascinating, read the Suicide Club book if you get a chance. A real life working museum and all of this for free.

So much fun, even for the kids
5India-na [TA], , Pune, Maharashtra, India

We visited the Handunugoda Tea Plantation and Factory on March 31, 2013. Our children are 13, 11 and 8 and we all enjoyed our time so much. We emailed the contact on their website as the info on tripadvisor was not helpful for finding the plantation, and the location on google was incorrect. The owner responded within a few hours and we set up transport from our hotel to the plantation and back. The driver was on time and very nice, and the SUV was also very nice. Upon arriving, we met the owner and learned about his family's ownership of the plantation and how they came to grow the virgin white tea. Herman is a really interesting guy and so open to visitors. We were then shown part of the grounds and the process of tea, rubber, cinnamon and pepper was explained along with a lot of other details about Sri Lanka and the grounds and plants there. We stopped for tea and cake at the house, and were able to sit and cool off for a bit. Then we went on to the factory and were taught the process of drying and packaging the tea. The museum was next, and was so much fun as we were able to taste all the teas that they produce and watch a short video about the process. Herman is also a best-selling author and his books are available in the museum shop. He even took the time to stop back and sign his books for us... he made us feel very welcome. The whole tour took about 2.5 hours door to door from our hotel. It is the perfect amout of time for a family with children and a perfect trip to get a 'taste' of Sri Lanka! The only thing we were charged for was the transport and we felt it was very reasonable, and of course our purchases in the shop. The tour and museum are free of charge!! Also, the bathroom facilities were very nice.

An interesting experience to see the whole process of making tea and taste the whole range
David A [TA], , Nottingham, United Kingdom

We were shown round and had explained the process of growing, harvesting and manufacturing tea. This included the special 'virgin white tea' which was made from the tiny shoots of the palnts cut by women dressed from head to toe in white and only from this plantation.

Then it was to the planters bungalow for two cups of tea plus cake.

Following this we walked down to the factory to see the manufacturing process. The vast majority of workers were female operating a mix of machines nearly 150 years old and modern ones grading the tea by colour.

Lastly the musem where they had a small exhibition plus all the 27 teas they make to taste and if you like buy. There was no hard sell but also no haggling as it was all fixed price.

An interesting experience to see the whole process of making tea and taste the whole range

Lovely experience
Clare M [TA], , Melbourne

This little tea plantation a short drive from Galle is a lovely outing. The guides give a great explanation on the tea process, as well as other interesting plants and their uses. They sit you down with some tea and cake and talk about the health benefits of the different teas, and then you can head to the little shop and sample more types before buying your own. A really interesting place to visit.

Unique visit!
MandyRoo2 [TA], , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

I enjoyed receiving a tour of the tea plantation. It was interesting and informative. Although Im not a real tea drinker I did enjoy the taste testing of the teas that were offered and made there. I bought a bunch as gifts! Makes great gifts :)

The Best Tea Plantation Experience
Bsomerton [TA], , Cheltenham

I have been travelling to Koggala on business for many years and had no idea until recently of this plantation. IIt is only some 5 km behind the town of Koggala. am so glad that we did get it to in the end.

The General Manager, David, is so enthusiastic about the plantation, the tea and rubber they produce and the wildlife around, you can not help but become completely drawn in. You will learn so much about the tea growing and making process including the famous Virgin White Tea.

You get a great tour of the small plantation before enjoying some of the tea and a piece of cake looking out over the hills and the plantation. Very satisfying.

Then on to the factory - a small affair still using the original 150 year old equipment but a very enjoyable experience. Of course there is then the opportunity to taste some 20 teas before buying if you want to.

A great way to spend a couple of hours.

well worth the visit
Lewis W [TA], , Cardiff, United Kingdom

we were told about this museum by another couple at the hotel,a bit surprised to find this so far south as we were stopping only at this location for our entire holiday. Decided we must go and see for ourselves,took us about twenty five minutes in tuk tuk from the Fortress,really informative visit for what we take to be a everyday commodity. After the tour we went to the museum shop,tasted some great teas and came away with a few packets including the delicious white tea,no charge for the tour but there is a large jar for donations at the pay counter which is well worth giving to for the time and effort they put into showing you around this amazing place.

Learn about tea
Jack S [TA], , Bath, United Kingdom

In two hours I learnt more about tea than in the 60 years of drinking it.
From growing it to treating it using the original methods and equipment and then tasting it. I'd never tried tea with cinnamon before - surprisingly lovely.
Thank you David for your hospitality and a great tour. Next time I look forward to spending time in the museum.

Must see Tea Plantation
PatriciaK... [TA], ,

This Virgin White Tea Plantation is a must see during your stay in Sri Lanka.
Even if you are not visiting the Hills area of Sri Lanka (Kandy & south which seems to be more well known areas for tea plantations), you will be very well served by visiting this small private tea plantation, about 45 min from Galle (if I am not mistaken). Both the plantation and its machinery is over 150yrs old which makes this visit so special. Make you way up to the Tea House and enjoy the view while sipping away at your virgin white tea !
On the way out, keep some time to stop in the boutique to purchase some products and make a volunteer donation for the tour.

A delightful visit
John T [TA], , Liverpool, United Kingdom

On visiting the estate we received a most charming and generous welcome by the manager Mr Manickam, who spent a good deal of time showing us the many interesting plants and animals on the estate (not least the tea!). My daughter uses a wheelchair, and although some of the paths are not optimal for her, with some assistance we were able to reach the estate house for some refreshing tea and cake. The tour also incuded the tea processing plant, which was fascinating in itself, and leaves you with a memory of the great smell of tea. There is a store which carries a wide range of the teas produced on the estate, some quite modestly priced, and some less so, but if you want some of the only virgin white tea in the world, that's not unreasonable.

I thoroughly enjoyed this visit and I wish everyone at the estate continued success.

Very interesting and so much fun
Martin S [TA], , Istanbul, Turkey

The obvious attraction here is the tea, rubber and cinnamon production, but the real excitement came when my eight year old daughter was allowed to try tea plucking her self. The patient and very kind manager of the estate got personally involved in showing her how to pick the right leaves and carry the basket on her back. It was one high light of our visit to Sri Lanka. Highly recommendable.

A fascinating couple of hours
GouldN [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

We never knew there was so much to learn about tea. Great duration, warm hospitality and the opportunity to buy some teas that you might otherwise never have know about (but with no obligation to buy).

A really enjoyable couple of hours!

virgin white tea
1LifeStan... [TA], , Colombo

The owner was the pioneer in manufacturing virgin white tea in Sri Lanka. He is also the author of several books, Suicide Club being one who is a must read! Spend 2 hours there to learn all about the manufacturing of low grown tea. I dont think there is an entrance fee, but its polite to buy some tea from the small tea shop there.

Fascinating Tea and people
WorkNPlay... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

We took a lot of interest in the lowland teas - the owner is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about teas and the history of the area. He is a published author on the transition from British colonial rule

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