Tea Plantation, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Ahangama

Tea Plantation, Handunugoda Tea Estate, Ahangama

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

it was just an amazing tour
schroems [TA], , Aarau, Switzerland

i guess we had the best tourguide, speaking 7 languages :-) he showed us the faboulus plantation. it was very interesting and we were able to taste, touch, look and listen. the plantation is extremely well maintained and it's far away from mass tourism handling. it's so interesting to see all the ingredients such as cinnamon and lemon grass growing inbetween the tea. they also show you the whole way from green leaves to ready-to-use tea. at the end you can taste all different teas they offer on the plantation. it's highly recommendable! takes you about 1 hour - perfectly spent time!

Interesting but rushed
Yaminohit... [TA], , Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

It was raining on the day we visited the estate and this may have contributed to the slightly rushed pace of the tour.

We were greeted, on arrival, by an umbrella wielding guide who then proceeded to whisk us round the outside area. He was very knowledgeable, and pointed out many things of interest, but didn't really give us time to enjoy the sights. Also, at one point he did subtly request a tip. You are specifically requested by management not to tip the guides and to report such behavior. Obviously we didn't report him but was a little disappointing, nonetheless, and something to watch out for.

The hot tea and cake part of the tour was lovely. Really great tea, made on site, and served in a beautiful and tranquil seating area, overlooking a gorgeous tropical garden.

The factory tour is also reasonably brief but very interesting and impressive. Our guide for this section was also very knowledgeable and proud of the factory. And rightly so-the machinery, still in use and in good condition, is over a hundred years old. It's great seeing the tea making process from start to finish and leads nicely into the tasting session.

The tasting session is held in the shop, with a view to trying before you buy. There's a short informative film, and then you're given a clean spoon and glass, a description of all the teas and you're free to taste test as you please. There are over twenty teas to try, including the virgin white tea and the famous 'suicide blend'.

The purchasable teas are, understandably, expensive for the most part, however there a few reasonable ones and you aren't made to feel pressured into buying anything.

Short but enjoyable tour, and as it's entirely free and quite interesting, I'd definitely recommend if you're in the area.

Tea plantation
simon_svk [TA], , Malacky, Slovakia

I was here with my girlfriend. It was very infromative trip, because we saw how grow tea, cinnamon, black pepper, caoutchouc, papaya, ... We received a good pice of cake and it is possible to buy here some gifts. Of course very good tea too.

Tea Plantation Tour
Holly A [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The ride is very nice from Galle in a tuk tuk to get to the plantation, stopping along the way for a coconut juice and bananas. The tea estate tour was an amazing place to visit, especially for someone like me who had never been on a tea plantation before. We got to see so many types of trees, plants, herb and flowers along the way. We took a short walk to the estate where we were served a cup of tea and has a square of cake. After the tour we were taken to the factory to see the processing of the tea that was fantastic and still being done on machines that are more than 145 years old! The tea store was a bit expensive, but you are allowed to taste more than 30 types of teas that are sold. I would recommend to sneak upstairs to see the great paintings and photographs on the walls and there is a great photo opp from the top floor of the plantation. We very much enjoyed and bought a few teas as well as left a donation.

Wonderful and extraordinarily interesting
DanishGir... [TA], , Farum, Denmark

Wonderful experience of seeing the plantation. They Crow everything there including cinnamon, Black pepper, rubber trees, coffee and many other. It is a truly beautiful place and i enjoyed a great Tour including a beautiful cup of tea and a peace of cake at the tea House on the erstate. The Tour on the factory was really quiet extraordinary as the machines are 145 years old and in perfect working condition. One machine is made by the Company who made the titanic. The tea is extremely good and all are very freshly made. Nice shop allows for great buys and bringing the taste of ceylon back home. Well worth a visit.

Charming and interesting place to visit
Pixie_dot [TA], , Hertfordshire

The Handunugoda Tea Estate is unusual in the area being a tea plantation rather than just a tea factory (most of the plantations are quite a distance away). It is well worth a visit - you will be taken on a short walk through the beautiful plantation and shown not only tea plants but other interesting crops too. The walk takes you to the plantation owners bungalow where you will be served tea and cake on the lovely verandah overlooking the gardens, with beautiful views and echoing to the sound of birdsong. You will also visit the tea factory with its fascinating old machinery and then to the "Tea Museum" where you can taste all sorts of teas and of course purchase some. There is absolutely no pressure to buy though and you are left to peacefully browse. I'm a confirmed coffee drinker and even I thought this was a really charming place to visit - it would have seemed wrong to visit Sri Lanka and not gain some experience of tea - this is the perfect place to do that.

History, Tea tasting, A nice walk and Lovely People
NikPRaman [TA], , Chennai (Madras), India

We visited this Ancient Tea Estate as part of our Resort's City tour.
Long drive from where we stayed but totally worth it.
Get here before the day gets too hot since there is a nice long walk in the beginning.
With this walk there is a lot of history attached.
I do not want to spoil your trip so will not give too many details.
Also included is a factory visit and then the amazing tea tasting.
10 on 10 for them. Hats off.

must visit
Ranesh J [TA], , Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

Interesting place to visit if you love ceylon tea. The manager was quite nice to show the process and the history of the place. They serve you with a nice cup of oolong tea and a piece of lovely chocolate cake. After that Mr. Mannikkam takes you to show the process of making tea. Finally visitors get a chance of sipping/tasting more then 20 verities of tea.

Tea farm with 140years history
Jakub G [TA], , Ostrava, Czech Republic

Great excursion for everybody, you will get tour what you never visited and the infromation from the old guy is also very interesting.I thought that I knew almost everything about tea but this tour fill me up to 100%.Very interesting with so nice people.They are selling to all over the world. Best for me is Saphire Oolong tea and virgin white tea.

Kris B [TA], , Aylesford, United Kingdom

The Handunugoda Tea Plantation is about much more than tea.
The guides are multi-lingual and able to explain in detail about all aspects of the tea making process, specifically they produce the Virgin tea that uses the very young leaves from the tea plant.
You are treated to a detailed demonstration that includes working machines that have been used for over 145 years and are still used daily. The tea and cake are enjoyable plus the tea tasting includes about 30 varieties and you are not rushed or pressured at any stage.
Additionally there are rubber trees that are producing rubber extract, Teak and Mahogany trees, cinnamon and lemongrass plants and wonderful flora and fauna to take in as you are guided around.
There are teas and related-products to buy in the shop but everything else is free.
We took a tuk tuk from Bentota to Handunugoda (Dennis Tours) and it was well worth it. A day out to Handunugoda provides lots of photo opportunities and places to visit en-route and is a lot more fun than a taxi!

Worth the visit.
John C [TA], , Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

This made an enjoyable and interesting hour or two. We had a brief tour of a small area of the estate, tea and (very nice!) chocolate cake before being shown round the small factory. We learnt much more about the process here than we did at the big Mackwoods estate in Nuwara Eliya. We tasted different tea varieties and made a modest purchase. The teas are quite expensive but there was no pressure to buy. We were based near Galle and driving ourselves round and it was easy to find once we located the right turning. By the way, don't believe all the horror stories about self-driving in Sri Lanka. We has no problems at all, including driving through Kandy and Colombo - the roads were generally good although you do need a good navigator as signs are difficult to spot, and reasonable nerves when surrounded on all sides by tuk tuks.

Great Free Tour
Cameron R [TA], ,

We were escorted around the plantation by an extremely knowledgeable man who shared the process of making tea. We were served tea and cake and had the opportunity to sample all the local teas made at the estate. The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. As a non tea drinker I was sceptical, however if in the area it is an absolute must visit venue

Great place and no hassle
Dtraub01 [TA], ,

The drive up is as magical as the place itself. Our tour guide knew everything about the tea, and the herbs they grow in the beautiful gardens. After a nice cup of tea with a lovely treat we left for the factory. After the factory we went into the shop. Really nice as you can taste all the different flavours of tea the have. When we bought some tea, and wanted to tip the tour guide he declined and asked to make a donation in the pot. Which is divided under all the employees. Absolutely worth going to !

Beautiful tour and excellent tea
Johann123... [TA], , Prague, Czech Republic

You will get a very interesting tour for free trough the estate and the production of tea. It ends with a tea testing and the opportunity to buy some of the excellent teas, but there is never the feeling that you have to be forced to buy anything.

Informative and super fun experience
Jen-JMelb [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

We enjoyed the Tuk Tuk journey to find this tea plantation from our base in Weligama. The gentleman who toured us around was informative and well paced. We had a complimentary cup of tea (and my husband and the Tuk Tuk driver had cake). The tea tasting of the many types of tea was a highlight. It was free and we purchased some very good quality tea in the shop.

A great tour guide, awesome teas!
Allison K [TA], ,

We really enjoyed the few hours we spent at this tea estate. It was a good 30 minutes away from Galle and half of it on back roads, but they boast producing the ancient Chinese method of virgin tea meaning it does not ever get handled by human hands and the process is painstakingly careful.
I am generally not a tea fan, but the teas I tried were very good with lots of variety. Their famous tea, Suicide Club, has such an interesting history! The tour guide was extremely knowledgable and we learned a ton from him. The machinery that is still used is ancient, but clearly seems to still do the trick!
Before our tour (which is all free) we were treated to a free cup of tea and piece of cake in their guest house up the hill. The area is beautiful and they even have a race horse on the premises!
I highly recommend this location, but seeing as we never visited any of the main tea plantations in the hill country, I can't compare to visiting those behemoths... we did drive by though.

Very informative guide and tea plantation with gorgeous location
joyouslif... [TA], , Singapore, Singapore

We very much enjoyed the guide showing us around at the tea estate who is a living encyclopaedia and speaks more than 7 languages. If you are in the Galle/Kahanda area, well worth a visit

MartinsAn... [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

We had a lovely tour on the tea estate, the guide was a lovely senior gentleman who could speak more than 7 languages and knew absolutely everything about tea and plants in general. We got complimentary cakes and tea tasting at the end. Left with a bag full of wonderful southern teas! Highly recommended!!

Informative visit, excellent teas!
PhillipP [TA], , Tring

We thoroughly enjoyed our free tour of the estate, which was very informative. However, the highlight for me was the vast selection of top quality and very tasty teas. If you like tea, you will be spoilt here. I highly recommend the Sapphire Oolong tea - don't leave without buying some. The shop accepts card payments as well as cash.

Great tea experience
DXB_Maple [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

While we were rushed during our visit due to grumpy toddlers, the tea plantation was very nice and what we heard from the tour was very good and informative. We had the owner of the plantation and he was full of interesting stories. The tea store was very well stocked and beautifully displayed with tasters.

Interesting trip
Kieron76 [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

we spent about 2 hours at the tea estate and had a pleasant time. tour of the plantation is informative and nice to have tea and cake half way through. tour of the small factory was good and nice to see 145 year old machines in use - my wife was happy to see they were made in Belfast. tour ends with the opportunity to taste teas in the shop but there is no hard sell and they also operate a central tip box so all tips are divided equally among the staff which is nice to see.

Upholding time honored traditions
Laille [TA], ,

Not only a tea plantation but also a working museum. We found our visit to the plantation informative and interesting, we were lucky enough to be guided by an amazing local and member of the family run business, Xavier. If your going to take the time to drive to the plantation do it the justice of spending an hour or so to really get an understanding or what takes place there. They not only grow tea, but rubber, cinnamon, pepper and other spices. We visited the tea rooms on top of the hill where the view is superb. It was interesting learning about the production process and the benefits of the different teas. Seeing the antique machinery in action was a marvel and an insight into the heritage and tradition of not only this plantation but tea making in general. The production factory is a working museum, that opens your eyes to the effort, hard work and love that go into creating tea, I now have a new appreciation of every cup I pour!

Fantastic Activity
Morgan W [TA], , Minneapolis, Minnesota

Could not recommend more highly. We got a personal tour by Xavier of the plantation, which consisted of not only tea but several spices and fruits. Sampled peppercorns right off the plant! Once the outside tour was complete, he showed us around the tea processing facility. Heavy machines from colonial times are still in use. The tour finishes with a tasting of around 50 teas, and an opportunity to purchase.

Sri Lanka has quite a few tourist traps - This is not one of them.

Fascinating and friendly
Grumpybro... [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This place is fascinating, made more interesting by the fact that it is a low altitude tea plantation. David, who showed us around, was very interesting and helpful. The fact that we were given tea and cake on the owner's terrace really showed how focussed they were in ensuring visitors had a good visit.

The fact that this place is the only one in Sri Lanka to produce white tea is an added bonus and the story behind it is very interesting.

The tour of the factory area followed by tea tasting was very informative.

Would certainly recommend this place if in the Galle area.

Lovely experience!
Piapilo [TA], ,

Such a lovely experience. Our guide was great and told us many interesting things. Loved seeing all these old machines and trying so many different teas. We didn't feel the pressure to tip or to buy anything (even tough we did ;) Also, the cake was delicious!

The best tea experience, great history
Voezel [TA], , Muscat, Oman

Hidden away in a beautiful stretch of green, this plantation showcases all you need to know about tea and tea making. Beautiful old machinery, well maintained and a very hospitable reception. No push, no pressure, just enjoy the tea plantation and the friendly tour. The little tea shop offers beautiful teas, even some you may not have tried before. You can taste each tea at leisure.

worth to see
Kamil S [TA], , Stavanger, Norway

If you like tea- must see. My girlfriend and I enjoied it a lot. Very nice guide- an old man, talking very very slow, but he's very friendly, and has a grate knowledge not just about tea, but general. Estate is very nice, you can try different types of tea, and Virgin White tea.

Great experience!!
Gaurav A [TA], ,

Loved the drive to the estate through small winding roads and quaint villages. After parking we walked through the tea estate to the tea museum. The staff received us warmly and a guide took us on a small tour of the estate. He explained everything in a most knowledgeable and friendly way. The guide then took us to the tea estate owner's bungalow where we were given cake and tea, free of charge. We were taken to the tea museum where we watched a film on tea making and tasted different types of tea. There was no pressure to buy anything and the guide refused to accept any tips. We bought some nice cinnamon tea. It was a nice experience overall. Very much recommended.

Informative, free and worthy
hotelsvev... [TA], , Altamura, Italy

I've visited other tea plantations where you have to pay for the tour and they offer only a cup of tea.
Not here.
You get a tour of the estate, a guide who explains and shows you the tea processing from the beginning to the final product and, the best thing, you taste all types of tea, for free. Yes, and if you don't want to buy tea it's fine, nobody is going to push you into purchases.
If you want to visit a tea factory this is the best deal. Go to Nuwara Elia only for charming pictures in tea plantations but do not go for a paid tour, you'll get a lot more here.

FlyingMam... [TA], , Prague, Czech Republic

On a rainy day took a tuk tuk from Unawatuna to check out the estate. Free tour that shows 150 year old British machinery at work. Followed by a tour of the owners house with a free cake and tea! Woohooo!!! And finally a tasting of all the teas they produce. You are not pressured into buying anything but the tea was great and I picked up some tea. definitely worth a visit.

Victoriah... [TA], ,

This was one of the best things we did in Sri Lanka. You become used to being constantly hassled and cajoled into parting with your money, so to visit somewhere so peaceful and beautiful, and to be given it for free, with no obligation to buy anything, is a unique experience. The tour is very interesting, giving you a real understanding of the process of making tea. The free tea and cake on the veranda is shady and restful. There is a shop with dozens of free samples you can try. We didn't buy anything and there was no pressure to do so. A thoroughly enjoyable and commendable trip out.

Well worth the trip!
cadeauxet... [TA], , Fernandina Beach, Florida

We took a tuktuk from Unawatuna to visit the Handunugoda Tea Estate, and if memory serves me well, it took about 30 minutes to get there. Our tour was given by a clever and very knowledgeable man named, Xavier, who was extremely interesting and good fun. We not only learned about the very special "Virgin White Tea", but about other types of tea, cinnamon bark, rubber trees and pepper production. We were treated to a lovely cup of tea and chocolate cake in a most beautiful garden setting. We were given a tour of the factory where we learned about the drying, cutting, sorting and grading of the tea. And, when the tour is finished you can sample one or all of their teas and purchase them if you like. There is absolutely no pressure to buy. We did not see anything advertising the tea estate tours, but happened upon a review here on tripadvisor and we are so glad that we did. It really was one of the highlights of our trip to SriLanka. Later in our trip we visited and toured the large Mackwoods Tea Plantation. The tour there was nothing at all like the one at Handunugoda. Mackwoods is a gigantic producer that sells to brokers at auction. The tour itself is very short and impersonal. Handunugoda is a small operation and a labor of love, and it shows. And , if you are advised by anyone outside of the tea estate not to buy the tea, don't listen. If you are inclined to buy it, buy it. You will not likely have the chance to purchase this tea anywhere else later on, and you will have wished that you did. It is lovely tea.

A delightful side-trip
RobRoy88 [TA], , Edinburgh, Scotland

Travelling between Galle and Tangalla, we made a diversion to this wonderful tea estate, and were taken under the very broad wing of Mr David, the General Manager. He gave us a comprehensive tour of the area around the factory, and then the factory itself. On the way, we were given some Oolong tea and home-made chocolate cake, while Mr David proudly told us everything there is to know about tea, and most especially about the estate's pure virgin white tea: reputed to be highest of all teas in antioxidants. He answered all of our questions generously and thoroughly, and was courteous and extremely welcoming. We left feeling refreshed, better informed, and totally charmed.

beautiful tea plantation
Deb0rah12... [TA], , New York City, New York

We had a delightful visit here. We learned so much from our host David. We sampled over 20 types of tea and began to appreciate the differences in harvesting and production. Watching gloved women harvest the delicate Virgin White Tea was an experience.
The gardens and grounds on the plantation make for great stroll.
A surprise for us was seeing the processing of the tea using antique machines, themselves works of art

RhiTry [TA], , Denver, Colorado

This was one of my favorite activities on our journey. The tour is thorough and free. It includes the plantation and factory. You get a cup of tea and bit of cake halfway through. Rubber trees, a variety of teas and black pepper are just a few of the items grown here. The tasting room was fantastic. There was no pressure to buy (though I did buy a lot because it was all so good!) and a sign is posted asking you not to tip your tour guide but to put funds in a general bin if you liked your tour. They don't use pesticides so there are a lot of red ants about, watch for them, just keep moving and you will be fine.
Find them online at http://www.virginwhitetea.com/

Alex_Alpe... [TA], , Moscow, Russia

The tour was very relaxed and nice. You can try all types of tea and have a relaxing ceremony and talks about the history of the plantation. Then you can can come to the production area and see all the stages of the tea preparation. David does a great job explaining everything in a very interesting manner.

great tea plantation visit without the long drive to the hills!
ClareDXB [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

perfect add-on to other tours in the area. We combined our visit with a beach trip to Mirissa. Short enough not to bore our 8-year old son. Horse ride also available but we didn't opt for it in the end. Interesting and well-presented introduction to the process of making the virgin white tea and the other varieties of black and green tea, and of course a tasting at the end. Try the Suicide Blend! Nice gifts to purchase in the shop after sampling the numerous tea varieties. Lovely spot for photos. Feel lucky to have found this excursion which we found easily manageable by road from our base in Unawatuna.

Very enjoyable, informative and beautiful!
fweffwey [TA], , Montpellier, France

I'll have to agree with all the other people who speak so highly of this little excursion! No obligation to buy, no suggestion even to leave a tip in the tip box (but if you enjoy the tour and tasting as much as we did, it seems normal to leave a little something for the friendly and informative staff)

One piece of advice - if you have the slightest interest in the history of tea or information about this plantation's evolution, call ahead to ask for "Herman" (the owner) to take you around. The 'normal' guides were great, but Herman was had some awesome anecdotes and insight.

Taste of tea on your trip
KKamila [TA], ,

We enjoyed the trip to the tea plantation near Unawatuna, about 10 minutes by car from the beach. Free you can visit the factory processing of tea. The visit is accompanied by an engaging lecture with demonstration of tea processing. In conclusion, visitors can taste about 20 types of tea. Highly recommended.

Well worth a visit
pau1ph [TA], , Hong Kong, China

I'm not a particularly big tea drinker but I was curious to see a plantation and my girlfriend really wanted to buy some good Ceylon teas whilst we were visiting. It is quite a way from the main roads, but when we arrived we were met by a guide (Xavier) who first showed us the various tea leaves and rubber trees, before taking us up to a bungalow on the hill, where we were served some cake and a cup of their own tea.

Following this we walked down to the factory buildings, where we saw the entire process from drying the fresh leaves to bagging the finished products for shipping. At no point was money/tipping mentioned, which was a refreshing change from other attractions we had been to in Sri Lanka. When the factory tour was over it was suggested that we have a look in the shop, where we could buy the different varieties of teas they produce. All the different flavours were laid out for you to try, and we left with a few boxes of not inexpensive (about the same price as good quality tea in a US/European supermarket) teas. Others who didn't wish to buy anything were allowed to leave without hassle.

All in all it's well worth a visit. It is an interesting and well explained tour of the tea making process, and it was nice to be allowed to wander at your leisure without being given a hard sell. Plus, if you like tea, they have an endless list of varieties and all of it produced on the estate.

Best Tea plantation in Sri Lanka
annechop [TA], , sydney

Peaceful and no pressure to buy like most tea plantations in Sri Lanka. It is in the south not far from Galle and no where near the traditional tea areas visited by tourists. The owner is an author and has written a book The Suicide Club, a book about the heydays of tea production in Sri Lanka. Highly recommend a visit.

Well worth a vist.
Brian L [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Don't miss this excellent free tour with chance to sample and buy the tea at the end. You get to see the tea and rubber plantation the the leaf drying and tea making processes followed by a chance to sample the products and make a purchase.

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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