Bandarawela, Sri Lanka
Bandarawela, at 1,200m (4,000ft) above sea level, is a busy hill country town 192km by road from Colombo, renowned for the restorative value of its benign climate. Because of its location, southeast of Nuwara Eliya and west of Ella, the area benefits from both of Sri Lanka’s seasonal monsoons. The occasional rain keeps the hills, slopes and valleys green while the rest of the Uva breezes keeps sunny days from being oppressive. It’s an invigorating, spring-like climate; good for plants; good for people.
Bandarawela is at the heart of Uva tea country, a tea that has a special quality imparted by the caressing of seasonal breezes. The undulating landscape is dedicated to tea, bordered by wooded ravines, paddy fields and vegetable plots.
As a town that depends on its own industry for survival, not tourism, Bandarawela reflects authentic Sri Lankan country life. The population is mixed with a Buddhist temple, a Hindu kovil, a Catholic church and a Muslim mosque all within close proximity to each other in the centre of town. The pink-painted post office building has its roots in colonial days, as does the Cargills shopping centre opposite; even if it has become a supermarket it still has teak counters.
How to get to Bandarawela?
Bandarawela is on the up country line from Colombo to Badulla, served by three passenger trains a day, with 1st Class or Observation Saloon, and an overnight mail train.
From Colombo, Kandy or Nanu Oya, take a Badulla-bound train and get down at the Bandarawela Railway Station (after Haputale and Diyatalawa stations). Seats can be booked in advance in the comfort of air-conditioned luxury railway carriages operated by ExpoRail,(www.exporail.lk) and by the Rajadhani Express (www.rajadhani.lk) and also in 1st Class by Sri Lanka Railways bookable in advance from major railway stations. From Badulla and Ella, Colombo-bound trains stop at Bandarawela
The No 99 bus route from Colombo to Badulla passes through Bandarawela. There is also a direct bus service from Aluthgama (accessible from Galle) on the east coast to Bandarawela.
Bandarawela can be reached from the airport and Colombo by several routes, via Ratnapura and Haputale being the most convenient. Access is also possible from the deep south by the A2 from Galle and Hambantota; Bandarawela can also be reached from Kandy via Nuwara Eliya and Welimada on the A5.