Sunrise Trek: Liptons Seat to Dambatenne Tea Factory

One of the highlights of our trip to Sri Lanka was visiting Lipton’s Seat and it’s surrounding tea plantation. Lipton’s Seat is where Sir Thomas Lipton, founder of Lipton teas, was said to look over his vast tea plantation fields. Having seen these fields ourselves, it’s not hard to see why. On a clear day you can see all the way to the coastline from this vantage point.

Dambatenne Tea Factory is just a 7 – 8km trek away through these beautiful fields. Combine these activities together and they make a great half day trip from Haputale or Ella.

Getting to Lipton’s Seat in time for sunrise

The restaurant at the observation platform. Above it is the smaller observation platform

In order to arrive before sunrise you’ll need to arrange tuk tuk transportation beforehand.

From Haputale: Around 45 Minutes
From Ella: Around 1.5 Hours

It’s also possible to catch the train from Ella to Haputale in the morning and then take a local bus to Dambatenne Tea Factory and begin the trek upwards. The benefit of catching the tuk tuk is being taken right to the entrance and getting to walk downhill.

It’s advisable to arrive as early as possible as the area becomes quite foggy by midday. To be fair, we had quite a foggy view even at sunrise (but it was still spectacular!).

Round trip cost from Haputale: 1,500 rupees

Lipton’s Seat Viewpoint

Statue of Sir Thomas Lipton and hot tea from the viewpoint restaurant

Lipton’s Seat has quite a large observation platform and there is a restaurant there where you can have tea, coffee and breakfast. Behind the restaurant there is also a small observation platform where you get an even higher view. Definitely check out both.

In addition to these there is a lovely statue of Sir Thomas Lipton himself, where you can pose for a photo next to him with a freshly brewed cup of Lipton tea.

Entrance Cost: 100 rupees per person & 50 rupees for tuk tuk

Trekking to Dambatenne Tea Factory

Landscapes of the area

From Lipton’s Seat, you can organise to have your driver meet you at Dambatenne Tea Factory whilst you walk down through the beautiful tea fields. We really loved walking through this area. There was hardly anyone around, just the occasional friendly local.

The walk is around 7 – 8kms and will take you around 1 to 1.5 hours depending on your pace. It’s quite fast as it’s all downhill. There are opportunities to take shortcuts at parts but definitely check with locals first if it’s the correct way. If you stick to the road the path is quite straight forward, but veering off can lead you to overgrown pathways and dead ends.

Housing and facilities for the tea factory workers and a tea picker beginning their mornings work

We learnt this the hard way whilst following Google Maps. The pathway disappeared under the overgrowth and we kept walking until we ran into 2 older Sri Lankan women. They immediately told us to turn back and walk the other way. They also imitated what I imagined to be a wild boar, implying that we will be eaten by an animal if we keep going! Our imagination was likely running wild but we were quick to take their advice.

They ended up leading us to a shortcut that was hidden just over a waterfall. You wouldn’t be able to find it unless you knew where to look. Be wary of the direction you are going and you’ll have a fantastic time. Better safe than sorry.

Dambatenne Tea Factory

Dambatenne Tea Factory entrance

When you arrive to Dambatenne Tea Factory you have the option to take a tour. We skipped it as we had already seen one at Damro Tea Factory. We were also tired from the early start and all the walking!

Photos aren’t allowed during the tour, otherwise we have read that it’s quite an informative one.