Ashburnham Estate is a delightful 1930’s Planters Bungalow set in the foothills of the Knuckles Mountains and surrounded by 100 acres of its own tea estate. The tea plantation tour is led by Mr Das, who has been manager of the estate for the last 25 years. He’s a really charming man and is able to give a really interesting insight into the history and current operations of the estate, as well as an overview of the tea industry in Sri Lanka.
You’ll get a chance to go and meet the tea pickers and watch them as they go about their daily work. You can also have a go at being a picker.
The tea picking ladies you’ll meet are very much locals and the majority of which are middle-upper age group with some pickers still working into their 70’s. The younger generation don’t seem interested in the work and the low wages. The low wages is a result of an island tea industry struggling amidst growing global competition. World tea prices are set beyond Sri Lankan control and the consequent economics of the industry mean tea picker wages here – set by the Government – are kept at what some would consider archaic levels.
As a result, Ashburnham Estate have created this activity as a way of providing an informative experience for guests and at the same time donating a large part of the tour charge, to go back to the pickers. From what we are told they’re very happy with this new setup and it’s a great way of everyone benefiting from tourism.
Bookings for guests of Ashburnham Estate only
The activity tends to be in the morning and last around 2 hours.
Tea picking experience with Mr. Das $15 per person / $5 per child under 16