14 Best Things to do in Haputale, Sri Lanka
Haputale is a small town situated in the beautiful mountains in Sri Lanka, around an hour’s drive from Ella. Haputale, Sri Lanka is commonly referred to as little Ella because of its very similar landscape but a rather quieter and less touristic atmosphere.
However, there is one other thing that makes Haputale so worth visiting, and that’s the fact it’s actually closer than Ella to some of the best things to do in the area.
Despite being a small town, there are actually a ton of awesome things to do in Haputale, Sri Lanka.
For this reason, we recommend making a stop in Haputale and checking out a few or all the things below!
1. Lipton Seat for sunrise
|Location:||45-minute drive from Haputale|
|Cost:||100 rupees per person and 50 rupees for the tuk-tuk |
|Rating:||5/5 – A must-do activity while in Haputale!|
The best time to visit the viewpoint is in the morning with sunrise being the most spectacular.
We left our hotel in a tuk-tuk at 5 am sharp and made it to the top before 6 am. This was the perfect time to get there before sunrise and enjoy this stunning view. At the top, there is a small café where we had a breakfast of samosas and roti with tea. This cost 650 rupees.
Entrance to Lipton Seat is 100 rupees per person and 50 rupees for the tuk-tuk.
The cost of a hiring a tuk-tuk for transport from Haputale should be around 1500 rupees for a round trip (including waiting for you at the tea factory) or 900 rupees for one way.
If you get the tuk-tuk one way you can catch a local bus from the front of the Dambatenne Tea factory for 50 rupees back to Haputale (this won’t save you much though).
You can also get the bus to and from Lipton Seat which is much cheaper than a tuk-tuk, however, the first bus doesn’t run until around 8:30 am and only drops you at the Tea Factory. From there you must get a seconded bus that runs every hour that takes you to the entrance gate 1.5km from the top.
In the months between April and October, it is essential to visit Lipton Seat in the early morning as during that time of year the area is subject to midday fog that tends to hang around for the rest of the day.
We found this awesome sunrise tour that includes transport to Lipton Seat with a guide and breakfast for only $11 USD.
2. Walk the tea fields from Lipton Seat to Dambatenne Tea Factory
|Location:||Lipton Seat, 45-minute drive from Haputale|
|Rating||4/5 – A beautiful and easy downhill walk.|
Once you have finished taking in the views of Lipton Seat you have the option to either take your tuk-tuk down to the tea factory or walk. The walk to the factory is around 6km with shortcuts and is very picturesque.
Along the way, you will wander the tea fields and be able to see some of the tea pickers at work. It’s a great way to see the tea fields and enjoy the cool mornings in Haputale!
We had our own tuk-tuk (that we drove around the entire country), so instead, we opted to drive and just stop at lots of places along the way in order to see the tea fields. This was also just as beautiful and much less strenuous at 7 am!
The tea factory is located at the bottom of the tea field and any one of the tea pickers or workers at Lipton Seat can point you in the right direction. You will also drive past it on your way up to Lipton Seat.
3. Dambatenne Tea Factory tour
|Location:||30-minute drive from Haputale, on the way to Lipton Seat|
|Cost:||250 rupees per person|
|Rating:||4/5 – Really interesting short tour well worth doing.|
At the Dambatenne Tea Factory, you can take a tour of the factory and learn how black tea is made. The tour of the factory takes around 30 minutes and you get to see the entire process of making tea before it gets sold to large buyers such as Lipton.
The tour costs 250 rupees and tours run as soon as someone has arrived between 8 am to 5 pm. In my opinion, the tour is very interesting and really well worth checking out if you haven’t been to a tea factory before.
At the end of the tour, there is an option to buy some “rare” tea. This cost 3,800 rupees and comes in very fancy packaging. We opted not to buy it though and instead bought tea for a souvenir from a smaller vendor in town.
4. Visit Sri Lanka’s tallest waterfall – Bambarakanda Falls
|Location:||40-minute drive from Haputale|
|Cost:||150 rupees per person|
|Rating:||3/5 – Huge waterfall but not the best place for swimming|
Bambarakanda Falls is Sri Lanka’s tallest waterfall at a height of 263m (863ft). The waterfall is located around 17km from Haputale and is easily accessible by tuk-tuk or taxi.
At the waterfall, you can swim if the weather permits but if not, it’s still a beautiful place to visit.
One of the things I loved most was the surrounding pine forest and deep valleys. These made for some amazing views and walking among the tall pines was really nice!
You used to be able to climb to the top of the waterfall but it is now closed for safety reasons.
Getting to the falls costs around 2000 rupees for a round trip in a tuk-tuk, however, they will really try to haggle you to 2500 rupees. It takes around 40 minutes to reach the falls from Haputale but the drive is very beautiful.
On the way back to Haputale you will pass the next three attractions so I recommend checking them out on your day trip.
5. Go tea tasting at the Stassen Organic Tea Farm
|Location:||20-minute drive from Haputale on the way to Bambarakanda|
|Cost:||Free tea tasting, buying tea to take home varies.|
|Rating:||3/5 – Perfect place to buy tea as a souvenir.|
Along the main highway around 5 km from town towards Beragala, you can visit the Stassen Organic Tea Farm. Stassen were the first producers of organic tea in Sri Lanka.
We were very keen on getting organic tea after we saw the workers spraying the tea fields with chemicals and then finding out the leaves are not washed before being produced and sold.
At the shop front, you can try lots of different styles of tea grown in the organic farm. Once you find one you like you can purchase a bag to take home with you as a souvenir. Prices for the tea range, however, they are very reasonable and won’t cost more than a few dollars.
You can find the location of Stassen Organic tea shop on Google Maps.
6. Visit the Golden Hill Tea Centre
|Location:||15-minute drive from Haputale on the way to Bambarakanda|
|Cost:||250 rupees for a delicious milkshake!|
|Rating:||4/5 – Treat yourself! (You know you want to!)|
Slightly closer to Haputale from the organic tea farm is the Golden Hill Tea Center. Now despite what the name suggests, this is not a place we recommend stopping for tea. Instead stop for the ice-cream, milkshakes and café desserts!
At the Green Hill Tea Center, they make their own delicious ice cream and make all their products with fresh milk. You can order a range of drinks and based on the ones we had, they were delicious! During the right time of year you can also get fresh strawberries which make the best strawberry milkshake I have ever had!
A milkshake here costs 250 rupees, coffee 200 rupees, and small food items start at 60 rupees. Overall it was a great stop and something we didn’t expect to find in Haputale!
7. Enjoy a drink at one of the roadside restaurants
|Location:||10-minute drive from Haputale, Sri Lanka|
|Cost:||The cost of a drink (70+ rupees)|
|Rating:||3/5 – Great way to enjoy the view and relax|
Along the road up to Haputale from Beragala, the views are stunning. On the drive in our out, you’ll find yourself staring out the window in awe. As you do, however, you may also notice a few cliffside restaurants offering stunning views. At these restaurants, you can stop and relax and take in those views with food or drink in hand.
We did this on our adventure to Bambarakanda Falls after completing the above three activities. It was a great way to end a big day of exploring. All up if you combine the above four things to do in Haputale, then a tuk-tuk is going to cost around 3000 rupees and take a half day.
*Please note that these prices are highly dependable on the driver, your negotiation skills and the time of year.
8. Day trip to Ella
|Location:||1-hour drive from Haputale|
|Cost:||Depends heavily on the tour length and transport used|
|Rating:||5/5 – Ella is a beautiful place to explore. I particularly loved |
The best thing about Haputale is many of the things people do in Ella are closer to Haputale. Although I recommend spending at least a night or two in Ella, for some travelers with limited time it could make more sense to day trip to Ella from Haputale.
Staying in Haputale and making a day trip to Ella means you will be closer to Lipton Seat and Horton Plains National Park saving you time on traveling to and from these attractions.
On a day trip from Haputale, you could visit famous attractions such as Little Adams Peak and the Nine Arches Bridge as well as make a stop at the Diyaluma Waterfall (mentioned below).
9. Take Sri Lankan Cooking class
|Location:||Right in Haputale!|
|Cost:||1,400-2,000 rupees per person|
|Rating:||5/5 – Sri Lankan cooking classes are the best!|
Sri Lankan food is amazing, to say the least, and one of the best ways to try some and learn more about it is by taking a cooking class! For me, a cooking class is a must in Sri Lanka as you can learn just how simple it is to make amazing homemade curries.
For 1400 rupees we got a 2-hour lesson into making 5 different vegetarian curries. The prices can range from 1400 to 2000 rupees depending on your meat choice and group size though.
A great place to do a cooking class in Haputale is the V Café. Otherwise, ask your guesthouse! Most guesthouses will offer a cooking class or be more than happy to show you and they are typically cheaper than commercially run restaurants and cooking classes!
10. Take the train from Haputale to Kandy or Ella
|Location:||Haputale train station in town|
|Cost:||130+ rupees per person depending on the class|
|Rating:||4/5 – Gorgeous scenery but can be a bit crowded with tourists|
From Haputale you can either take the train to Ella or Kandy depending on where you’re headed. Both destinations offer their own unique views and there is a good chance you have already enjoyed one journey.
The train journey is not just scenic and is also one of the cheapest ways to get from city to city. If you want a comfortable option, be sure to book a 1st class ticket. Tickets can be purchased on the day at the train station in Haputale.
11. Diyaluma Waterfall
|Location:||45-minute drove from Haputale|
|Cost:||Free (but transport to get there can be costly)|
|Rating:||4/5 – It’s awesome that you can swim in the top pools|
Diyaluma Waterfall is Sri Lanka’s second largest waterfall. This waterfall stands a whopping 220m high and is a beautiful place to visit.
One of the best things about this waterfall is you can still climb to the top and swim in one of the many upper pools. From the top, you also get stunning views of the area.
It’s very common for people to suggest visiting it from Ella, however, it is actually closer to Haputale. From Haputale it’s around a 45-minute drive in a tuk-tuk to the falls. Once you arrive its only s short walk to the bottom, however, to get to the top you’ll need to hike for 45 minutes.
At the falls many locals will try to make you pay for a guide. This is not necessary however for the price of $10 for a group it could be well worth it. A tuk-tuk to the falls will cost around 2500 rupees and all up this activity will take around half a day.
For more info on visiting Diyaluma Falls check out this great post by Walk My World.
12. Spot wild monkeys
|Location:||All around Haputale!|
|Rating:||4/5 – Monkeys are so funny to watch|
In Sri Lanka, you don’t have to visit a national park to see some amazing wildlife. One of the most common animals to see outside the national parks is monkeys and in Haputale there are tons of them!
We saw monkeys at a few places just outside of town towards Bambarakanda Falls. However, the most amazing place we saw them was at the Lipton Seat restaurant. From the dining area, the monkeys hang around the garden area in the morning hoping to steal some leftover food. We must have seen around 10 monkeys and got some great photos with amazing views as a backdrop.
The Lipton Seat restaurant is the only restaurant at the Lipton Seat viewpoint. The monkeys were most active at around 8 am and seemed to off wander off by 10 am. They are regular visitors to the restaurant so be sure the head there for tea to spot them!
13. Day trip to Horton Plains National Park
|Location:||1.5-hour drive to the famous World’s End hike|
|Cost:||4,000 approximate park entrance fee|
|Rating:||4/5 – Would give it a 5 but the high cost brings it down a star|
Horton Plains National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks. Many people visit Horton Plains National Park from Nuwara Eliya but you can actually reach the most popular hike the Worlds End from Haputale too.
Entrance to the park isn’t cheap and will set you back 4,000 rupees per person not to mention a tuk-tuk to the park and back costs around 3,000 rupees. It takes around 1.5 hours to drive the 34km to the start of the World’s End hike.
You can pre-book your Horton Plains National Park tour here. That includes entrance fees, transport and more.
14. Eat local curries at your guest house
|Location:||At any guesthouse in Haputale|
|Cost:||About 300-600 rupees per person|
|Rating:||5/5 – You can’t beat a delicious homecooked meal!|
The best curries I have had in Sri Lanka were at our guesthouse in Haputale. For only 800 rupees (for two) we got to try 6 different curries with rice and tea, and wow, it was delicious!
I would love to tell you every curry we tried however I couldn’t even pretend to remember the names of them. We did try a dahl curry, squash curry, mango curry, beetroot curry, and potato curry. On top of the curries, we also tried a salad and papadums.
After telling a few other travelers about this they stated that it was the same at their guest house and this seems to be the norm in Haputale – a place with very few restaurants.
Where to Stay in Haputale
There is not much to do in Haputale town and most guest houses offer lunch and dinner so it’s not necessary to stay in town. Instead, we recommend the places below that have amazing views of the area.
Il Villino is a very highly rated guest house with amazing views close to town. They include breakfast and serve amazing home cooked Sri Lankan food. Rooms are only around$ 12 usd a night.
Nilowin Holiday Resort is situated a little out of town however they’re one of the most highly rated hotels in Haputale. Rooms cost around $20 usd per night and include breakfast.
Akway Resort is a modern hotel located around 5 km from Haputale. Its views are amazing and the hotel is very luxurious!
Where we stayed
The guesthouse we stayed at was called New Eagle Best Inn. For $8 USD a night we got a private room and bathroom with breakfast included. Although cheap, it wasn’t the best place to stay. I would only recommend it to those on a budget and can handle a place that’s not very clean. That being said, they cooked some delicious meals!
Haputale isn’t the most popular place to visit in Sri Lanka, however, that’s what gives this small town its charm. It’s a locals place for a holiday and a great way to get amongst the culture and charm of Sri Lanka.
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May 8, 2019