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Lipton’s Seat is one of the most talked-about things to do in Sri Lanka. But to be honest, I was a little skeptical of how amazed I would be!
I mean, there are so many different viewpoints in the cultural center of Sri Lanka such as Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock, and the famous World’s End. All these offer stunning views (and most of them of the surrounding tea plantations.)
After crossing off most of these viewpoints, Lipton’s Seat didn’t disappoint and became one of my favorites. Lipton’s Seat is a must-do and one of the most stunning places I visited in Sri Lanka.
Before seeing Lipton’s Seat for myself I was a little confused about not only the viewpoint but also the visit to the Dambatenne Tea Factory afterward.
So in this blog, I want to clear that all up and show you a few ways to spend your time at one of the best viewpoints in Sri Lanka!
Where is Lipton’s Seat?
Lipton’s Seat is located in the highlands of Sri Lanka 7km from the small tea plantation town of Dambatenne.
From Dambatenne town, there is a small road that winds its way up through the tea plantations to the viewpoint and every bus/tuk-tuk must take this road regardless of where you start from.
The town of Dambatenne is where the tea factory many visitors visit after Lipton’s Seat is located.
Getting to Lipton’s Seat
Lipton’s Seat is easy to add to your Sri Lanka itinerary. There are two main towns you can visit Lipton’s Seat from and they are Haputale and Ella.
Visiting Lipton Seat is one of the best things to do in Haputale. For this reason, I visited Lipton’s Seat from Haputale. From Haputale Lipton’s Seat is only a 30-minute tuk-tuk ride, making it the closest tourist town to Lipton Seat.
There are lots of tour options from Haputale but we found this awesome tour that costs $45 USD and includes breakfast at Lipton’s Seat. You can book that tour here.
The cost for a return trip in a tuk-tuk from Haputale to Lipton Seat is around 1500 rupees depending on your negotiating skills. This should include waiting for you at Lipton’s Seat, and at the tea factory in Dambatenne.
We have heard that the tuk-tuks only drop you at the entrance gate as it’s sometimes closed. If this happens you must walk the last 1.5km. This did not happen to us and at 6 am the gate was open.
You can also take the bus to Lipton’s Seat from Haputale. By bus, it takes over an hour to reach the viewpoint as you must change buses in Dambatenne.
The bus to the top only drops you at the entrance gate which is 1.5km from the viewpoint. You must walk from there!
The bus also doesn’t run until well after sunrise. I don’t know the exact time, but we saw the bus arrive at around 9 am in Dambatenne. Then you must catch the hourly bus to the entrance gate. The bus only costs 40 rupees for each trip.
You can mix up your journey with buses and tuk-tuks if you want. It is common for people to get a tuk-tuk to Lipton’s Seat and then walk to the tea factory and get the bus back.
Ella is filled with amazing things to see and do. So, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular towns in Sri Lanka.
From Ella, it’s common to visit Lipton’s Seat on a day tour/trip. Lipton’s Seat is around a1.5 hours drive from Ella, but by bus allow 2 hours. There is so much to do in Ella so it’s a great choice even if it is a little further from Lipton’s Seat.
There are lots of tours that run from Ella to Lipton’s Seat. Some involve hikes and include breakfast and others just an English-speaking guide and transport. Tours range from $12 to $150 USD. You can book your Lipton’s Seat tour from Ella here. There are lots of tours available and the great thing is you can leave reviews on this booking site so companies are more accountable!
A tuk-tuk from Ella will cost around 2,500 rupees for a return trip. This price varies a lot because of Ella’s touristic nature. The best option would be to get your guesthouse to organize this for you as they will know what you should pay and get you a fair rate.
You can get a bus from Ella. To do this catch the bus to Bandarawela (45 mins) and then switch buses to the bus to Dambatenne (30 mins). This will take around 1.5 hours. From Dambatenne follow the directions above.
You can also take the train to Haputale but this method is very time-consuming and not a great option.
Best Time to Visit: Lipton’s Seat at Sunrise
The best time to visit Lipton’s Seat is by far in the morning. The viewpoint is so beautiful at sunrise and I highly recommend getting up early to see it! I promise you won’t regret it.
That being said, you can visit Lipton’s Seat at any time of the day.
There is one catch though!
During the months of April to October, the area around Lipton’s Seat is subject to midday fog that completely ruins your view. This fog can also occur in other months, but in the morning, it is much less likely.
I visited Lipton’s Seat for sunrise in May and was lucky enough to get a clear day. That being said, during this time of year there will almost always be a small amount of fog. It’s kind of like a haze and you can see it in the photo above.
If you want to see the tea pickers then don’t visit on a Sunday as very few (if any) work that day. I visited on a Sunday and only saw a few tea workers most of whom were doing other duties. Also, there is no tea production in the tea factory on Monday.
Entrance Fees and Facilities
It costs 500 rupees per person to visit Lipton’s Seat. If you are driving your own tuk-tuk (like us) it costs another 100 rupees or 250 rupees to take a van or car.
At the viewpoint, there is a small restaurant where you can purchase tea/coffee and other local Sri Lankan foods. The restaurant is not expensive and for 650 rupees ($4 USD) Bailey and I got a pot of tea, two roti, and two vegetable samosas.
There is a toilet at the restaurant and I am not certain but I would say the friendly staff at the restaurant would let you use it without a purchase. They were very friendly guys!
Visiting the Dambatenne Tea Factory after Lipton’s Seat
The most common thing visitors do and what we did, is visit the Dambatenne Tea Factory after Lipton’s Seat. At the factory, they do a tour in English and show you from plant to finished product how tea is processed.
After the tour, you have to option to buy some very overpriced (3600 rupees for 100g) but “rare” tea.
The tour of the factory costs 250 rupees per person and goes for around 30 minutes. You cannot take photos in the tea factory.
To get to the tea factory from Lipton’s Seat you have a few options.
Walking down to the tea factory from Lipton’s Seat is a great way to take in the amazing views. This is a 7km walk, however, you can shorten it a lot by walking through the tea fields. It is a beautiful walk and depending on the day, you’ll see lots of tea works picking tea.
You can, however, get lost so be sure to ask the guys at the restaurant for directions if you plan on taking a shortcut. Also in the rainy season (May to September) there are leaches in the tea fields so just be aware of that.
If you paid for a return trip from Haputale or Ella then you may as well get your tuk-tuk driver to wait from you at Lipton’s Seat and get a ride with him down to the tea factory and then back to your hotel.
On the road, you can still stop and enjoy the beautiful views without the long walk.
We did this and really enjoyed not having to walk as it was the hottest time of year in Sri Lanka.
You could walk to the entrance gate 1.5km from the top and catch the bus down. However, the bus won’t stop and the views you’ll see won’t be as amazing on the very bumpy ride.
Where to Stay near Lipton’s Seat
If you’re visiting Lipton’s Seat from Ella then there are a ton of awesome accommodation options available. I personally stayed at the Nice View Homestay and loved it but it was a little out of town.
Some great options in town are:
City Life Homestay – This place is right on the main street and has amazing reviews!
The Chillout Ella – If you want great views but also want to be close to all the restaurants and bars this is a great choice.
You can view every hotel in Ella here!
Haputale is a much smaller town than Ella and most people who stay in Haputale simply eat at their guest house. For this reason, its not as important to stay close to town.
Some great options are:
Il Villino – is a highly rated guest house with breathtaking views close to town. They include breakfast and serve home-cooked Sri Lankan food.
Nilowin Holiday Resort – these guys are situated a little out of town however they are a very highly rated hotel. Rooms are around $20 a night and include breakfast.
You can view all accommodation options in Haputale here!
Getting Around Sri Lanka
To visit all of the best places in Sri Lanka, you’re going to need a mode of transport. You have a few choices when it comes to getting around Sri Lanka:
Rent a Tuk-tuk
Easily the most popular (and most fun) way to travel around Sri Lanka. We actually rented a tuk-tuk on our trip and absolutely loved it! Tuk-tuks are easy to drive, cheap to rent, and the freedom that comes with your own wheels is unmatched.
If you do decide to rent a tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka, be sure to go with a reputable company that provides quality tuk-tuks, such as Tuktuk Rental (who we rented from.) These guys not only offer an amazing service, but their tuk-tuks are actually rented from local families, providing income for the local community.
If you decide to rent from Tuktuk Rental, be sure to use the coupon code ‘DEST‘ for 5% off!
For more info, read our blog: The Truth about Renting a Tuk-tuk in Sri Lanka.
Hire a Driver
If you’re only planning on going to a couple of destinations, then a private driver is not a bad idea. In the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle, your driver can take you to your next destination. All you have to do is sit back and relax!
You can hire highly-rated drivers in advance to pick you up right from the airport when you arrive in Sri Lanka. This driver will take you to your hotel in Mirissa, Galle, Bentota, or Unawatuna. Whereas, this driver will take you to Kandy.
Of course, every time you want to change destinations you will have to arrange for another driver (unless you book this driver who will drive you around for an entire week). Car transfer can easily be organized through your hotel.
Take Public Transport
This is a choice I only recommend for those on a very tight budget and with plenty of time. Public transport is everywhere in Sri Lanka in the form of public buses and trains. It is also very cheap, costing less than a couple of dollars per journey.
However, it isn’t the most comfortable way to travel. The buses don’t have air conditioning and neither do many train services. They can also be slow-moving, stopping every couple of minutes to pick up more passengers.
With that said, public transport is popular with budget backpackers, and it is mostly safe. This is one way to travel for those who want to get around as the locals do!
Thanks for reading!
I hope you enjoy Lipton’s Seat as much as I did. As always, if you have any questions or anything to add, please comment below
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