You’re watching Vagabrothers, and this is Sri Lanka. I’m Alex. I’m Marko, and we’re the Vagabrothers- brothers, vagabonds, and your go-to guides for travel tips, inspiration, and vlogs on YouTube. In this series, we’re discovering the best of Sri Lanka: ancient cities, stunning nature, rich culture, and delicious food. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the channel. Right now are in Kandy in Sri Lanka, and we are heading to Nuwara Eliya on one of the world’s most scenic train rides. This train goes through the hill country, which is where they grow all the tea from Sri Lanka. It’s supposed to be extremely beautiful, and our train’s about the board. Let’s go. Alright ladies and gentlemen, the journey begins. It’s going to take us about three and a half or four hours to climb from around 500 meters here in Kandy to nearly 1,800 meters in Nuwara Eliya. We’re going to be climbing up higher into tea country, into the hill country. It’s going to be green. It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be twisty and turn-y, and it’s going to be an adventure. We’re getting farther into the highlands, and the scenery is just beautiful. There’re just beautiful jungle hills, and during colonial times the British converted these hills into some of the most productive and high-quality tea growing regions in the world. This train was built to export the tea from the mountains to the coast, and to this day Ceylon tea is still famous worldwide, although the train is now more for tourists and is a pretty good deal. An unreserved ticket in third class, which this is third class, is only 100 rupees, which is like 75 cents, and you can reserve your seats like these ones for five dollars. It’s a great deal. It takes about four hours. For now all you got to do is kick back, relax, and enjoy the view. We’re finally starting to get up into the countryside. Scenery’ s changing; the cities are getting a little more spaced out. Starting to see some big rolling hills. But the one thing that has remained constant through the entire journey is the noise. It’s a loud rickety rackety train, but it’s extremely scenic, and it’s super cool. We’re stopped here in the middle of the hills. It’s super cool to see how many people have their legs and arms sticking out the front of the train. We’re here in the back… that is the caboose, and we get the whole view. When the train curves you see the entire length of the train, everyone hanging out. It’s really cool. I mean, this definitely was created for business purposes to just export tea all around the world. Really cool to see how it’s been…. basically become a tourist train, which is a great experience in itself. Okay, we have arrived in Nuwara Eliya. Climbed well over a thousand meters on this train ride. We’re going in. Wow After a super fun train ride, we have arrived to Nuwara Eliya. Oh my gosh. What a refreshing relief. The temperature is incredible. It’s super pleasant, very lush, and we have a fun afternoon planned. So stick around. We have just arrived to our destination Nuwara Eliya, also known as “Little England” as you can tell with the red post box and post office. To find out why there is a replica British village at the foot of Sri Lanka’s largest mountain, we’re going to head just outside of town. You may be wondering why we’re in such a palatial setting. That’s because in the late 1800s, this was actually a governor’s home. It was a vacation home, and it was a social club. There was a golf course built. Then later on it was converted into a hotel. But nowadays, it’s the best place to come to sample the rich diversity of tea from Sri Lanka, not to mention pick out one of a little bit of afternoon high tea. They do it right. We’ve had sweet; we’ve had savory. We’ve had these beautiful teas; We got an oolong tea, which is like a fermented tea. It’s famous from this part of Sri Lanka. It’s famous all around the world. We got a light and a dark black tea. Could have got the rose tea. I got the rose and French vanilla tea, which I really like because it has a bit of floral and then also sweet, which is a really good combination. It’s delicious. Funny fact: Lipton, as in Lipton’s Iced Tea, was started right here. Lipton was a guy who in the 1800’s started a tea plantation. I think he was from Glasgow, originally. He came here and just started making tea, and tea’s a huge industry. Now it employs a million people in Sri Lanka, and it accounts for 4% of all the entire island is dedicated making tea. That’s a lot of tea. Again, cheers to tea. Nuwara Eliaya was made famous by tea. This is the tea region in Sri Lanka. It’s the home of Ceylon tea. We’ve come to Pedro Estates, and we’re going to learn a little bit more about tea culture and production here in central Sri Lanka. We are at the Pedro Estates in Nuwara Eliya, one of the prime properties on Ellis Plantation. It is situated about six thousand eight hundred meters above the mean sea level. It’s one of the best tea plantations in Sri Lanka. Here in Budra state we have tea around 668 Here we produce around eight hundred and thirty thousand kilos. Well, it is super cool to come here and to see where tea comes from, especially having been in Taiwan and China where the oolong teas from Sri Lanka, the ones that are grown on this estate, are highly prized. Obviously, it’s difficult work to get the tea from the tree to your cup, and the people who are responsible for picking the tea are actually a number of women who are descendants from the original Tamil laborers that were brought here from southern India during British colonial times over 150 years ago. They are paid by weight and each person gathers about 20 kilos of tea by hand every single day. So to learn how the process is done, we’re going to meet up with a local guide who’s going to show us how to pick Ceylon tea. This is the ideal leaf. This is the way to pick like two leaves and a bud. Sometimes we can go for like this picking also, see? Two leaves and a bud and now the leaf falls. And this is the hard leaf. See? It’s a dark green. This is normally (one) we are not picking. It falls down and becomes fertilizer. All right, so right now we are getting attired . We’re going to be picking tea. Across. And the stick above the leaf is only where to pluck it Like two leaves and a bud or three leaves. Okay, three leaf and then like this? Yeah – two leaves and a bud like that. What’s the bud? This is the bud. How do I know it’s going to land in there? Actually, it’s another leaf before it’s looked bud. Four and a half kilograms fresh leaf become one kilo of black tea. 2.5 gram for one cup of tea. We need minimum like 10 gram leaves. We come to 4 and 5 gram like that. There’s no 10 gram leaf. They don’t think about that when you’re having a cup of tea, how much effort goes into it. People just drink tea like…. if you buy something at the supermarket, you’re not thinking about how much work goes into it. But this is really… but now we will. I definitely…it would take me a very long time to get my daily quota. But I think it’s also like…. the skill is knowing which ones you can pick because right now every single one I’m looking at, I’m like…. ay? When they started, the workers can’t do that much fast, but they get a experience. Sometimes some ladies can pluck more than 18 kilos. 20 -25 kilos also they can pluck. And this is a traditional job, right? Traditional job. How many generations of people? Maybe three, four generations. Wow. Like your mother and your mother before? Just popped inside the factory just to get a little bit better of an idea how tea is processed once it’s picked. This is a huge factory. It’s obviously been around for a while, but the machines still work. Everything still functions. It’s really cool just to see how many different stages tea goes through before it ends up in your cup. Well, it’s been excellent day exploring the highlands, the tea, the train. Everything was really cool. What a beautiful place, beautiful views. Nuwara Eliya, definitely the coolest both temperature wise and vibe wise, in my opinion, place that we’ve been so far on the trip. But taking the train from Kandy up through the rolling hills, then getting to try the tea and to understand where it comes from and understand the process and meeting the people who are picking it and making it. Just a really, really cool experience overall and definitely one of the highlights so far on the trip. So stay tuned. Tomorrow, we’re going to go down to Ella, which is like the back packing center of Sri Lanka. Should be really cool. We’re getting more into the hills and the jungles out here in Sri Lanka So stay tuned for that. It’ll be nature vibes, hiking, exploration. If you enjoyed this video, you know what to do: big thumbs- up, share it with your travel buddies, you haven’t already. Please subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications so you don’t miss out on any vlogs. And in the meantime, stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll see you guys on the road. Peace.