Next to water, tea is the most popular non-alcoholic drink in the world. There are millions who swear by its revitalising properties, aroma and the unbeatable satisfaction a cup of tea gives. Most of us who reach out for our favourite cup are not aware that there are over a thousand varieties of teas in the world. The top tea producing regions of the world are located in Asia. Let us travel for tea today.
Tea plantations with their undulating rows of greenery sprawled over gentle hills also make beautiful travel destinations. Many people are waking up to this fact and ‘tea tourism’ is fast gaining popularity. If you love your morning cuppa, and would love to holiday in tranquil, green surroundings, Travel for Tea. Read on to discover – Tea tourism in Asia.
China tops the list of tea producers in the world, accounting for around 35 per cent of tea produced in the world. Depending on the location and method of processing, tea in China can be categorised in five broad types – green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and post-fermented tea. Tea is the most popular drink in China with interesting ceremonies and etiquette attached to tea-drinking.
Some of the top tea-producing regions of China are Jiangbei, Jiangnan, southern China, south-west China, and the Yunnan province.
Tea Destinations to Visit: Yunnan Province, Hangzhou, Yellow Mountain, Chengdu.
Pick a Tour:
The Ancient Tea & Horse Caravan Road (WildChina)
This tour pays homage to an incredible, ancient journey when tea and horses were traded along a dangerous trail stretched across south-west China through Tibet and down into India. The trail was called the “Eternal Road”. The modern day version of the tea and horse caravan route originates in south-west China, heads north towards the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road to Shaxi and then to UNESCO World Heritage Site Lijiang and culminates in “Shangri-La”.
Seven Cups Tea Tour (Seven Cups)
Tour Highlights: Visit to Great Tang Dynasty Tribute Tea Museum and Purple Bamboo Shoot tea garden; visit An Ji, De Qing County (yellow tea), Yellow Mountain city, Qimen, Wuyi Mountain (wulong and black tea), Hangzhou.
4-Day the Essence Tour of Hangzhou (China Highlights)
Tour Highlights: The West Lake; Lingyin Temple, Six Harmonies Pagoda, Xixi National Wetland Park, Meijiawu Tea Village, Hu Qingyu Hall Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Museum, Former Residence of Hu Xueyan.
The second largest producer of tea in the world after China, India accounts for 20 per cent of the world’s tea production. India is also the world’s largest tea-drinking country. Tea was introduced in India by the British.
Top Tea Destinations: Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri Mountains, Munnar, Wayanad
Pick a Tour:
Assam: Located in north-eastern India, this hilly, rainy region is the largest tea-producing region of the world.
Aromas of Tea Tour – 5 Nights/6Days (Greener Pastures)
Tour Highlights: Stay in the Mancotta Tea Heritage Bungalow in Dibrugarh, the tea capital of India; tea factory visit; plucking your own tea leaves; tea-tasting tour; visiting local villages; cultural activities; explore Dibrugarh.
Stay at Banyan Grove heritage hotel, Gatoonga Tea Estate, Jorhat a 100 year old bungalow with lovely colonial décor and enjoy a lovely tea holiday.
Darjeeling: This lovely hill station in north-eastern India is famous for its aromatic, floral smelling teas.
The Tea Experience – half or full day tour (Glenburn Tea Estate)
Tour Highlights: Stay at the beautiful bungalows on the estate; audio-visual show on Glenburn history, stages of tea production; visit to tea gardens; learn about tea growing, plucking and care; picnic; visit to tea factory; tea tasting session.
Nilgiris: The Nilgiri Mountains in South India are famous for their aromatic teas, which have been growing here for over a hundred years.
Blue Mountains and High Tea Trip (Breakaway)
Tour Highlights: Travel for tea from Coimbatore to the tea growing hill station of Coonoor in the Nilgiris; stay at a charming home amidst tea plantation; Homedale tea factory tour with the host-planter as guide; local cheese-making visit; Wellington.
Glendale Plantation Stays
Highlights: Stay in the charming Runneymede Guest Houses in the Glendale tea estate; tea factory visit; trekking, local sightseeing.
The world’s fourth largest producer of tea, Sri Lanka is famous for its high quality tea. Tea production was first introduced by the British. It is one of the major sources of foreign exchange today. The humid and cool climate of the central highlands of Sri Lanka with abundant rainfall is perfect for tea growing. Over one million people are employed in this industry today.
In a country where more than 4 per cent of the land is covered with tea estates, there are many beautiful tea holiday destinations. The main tea growing regions are Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, Uda Pussellawa, Uva Province and Southern Province. Well known teas include the Ceylon black tea, white tea and green teas.
Top Tea Destinations: Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Hatton&Dickoya, Morawaka, Tea Museum.
Pick a Tour:
Luxury Holidays (Tea Trails)
Tea Trails, located in the Ceylon tea region of Sri Lanka, is the world’s first bungalow tea resort. Rubbing shoulders with the World Heritage Central Highlands, the tea heart-land of Sri Lanka, this region is 1250 m above sea-level. With any of the four lovely colonial bungalows as your base, you can explore the tea country. Tea Trail excursions include visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kandy (which houses the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic); Nuwara Eliya or “Little England” (do not miss the 117-year old golf course); Adam’s Peak and visits to tea estates, tea factory. You can also learn a lot about tea growing and manufacturing.
Through the Misty Mountains (Best of Lanka), 2 nights – 3 days
This lovely trail covers a rain forest trek, a walk along a colonial railway line used for tea transportation, tea plucking, overnight stay in a remote tea estate with delicious local cuisine.
In a country where tea has been cultivated for over 2000 years, tea is more than just a drink. It is a way of life. Tea is served at all occasions and increases bonhomie. Vietnam is the fifth largest tea producer in the world. Famous Vietnamese teas include the specialty Shan Tuyet, sencha, fannings grade teas and lotus or jasmine flavoured green tea. Look out for the national Cheviet trademark on Vietnamese teas.
Major tea growing regions are the highlands region (Lam Dong), northwest region (Son La), Vietbac (Ha Giang), northeast region (Quang Ninh), northern midlands (Thai Nguyen) and north central region (Thanh Hoa).
Top Tea Destinations: Dalat (capital of Lam Dong), Thai Nguyen (Royal tea house), Bau Loc, Buon Ma Thuot.
Pick a tour
Tea Plantations, Dalat (City Pass)
Tour Highlights: Cau Dat tea plantation and tea factory; visit the tea plantations and learn all about tea making
Tea and Coffee Tour (Dalat Trip)
Tour Highlights: Cau Dat tea plantation and tea factory tour, French Quarter, Arabica coffee plantations, Tigers’ Den Waterfall, Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Dalat Winery, Old Railway Station.
Indonesia is another primary tea producing country of the world with the Dutch introducing tea trade here. Black tea is the main product here. Most of Indonesian teas are exported and used for blending. The climate and soil in Indonesia is different from other countries with regard to tea growing. Adaptations have been made to the hot and humid climate of this country and light, aromatic teas are successfully being produced here.
The main tea growing regions include West Java (70 per cent of the countries tea production), Central Java and North Sumatra.
Top Tea Destinations: Bandung, Gunung Mas Tea Estate (Puncak), Kayu Aro Tea Plantation (Jambi), Wonosobo.
Pick a Tour:
This beautiful tea plantation is a good spot for a short tea holiday. You can go on a tea plantation tour, tea factory tour, relax in the home stay in the plantation. Nearby attractions include the Indonesian Flower Garden, Puncak Pass and the Bogor Botanical Garden.
There are some ethereally beautiful places to visit in Asia for tea lovers. Mountain mists, rolling valleys, peace and beauty of nature all topped up with a steaming cup of lovely, aromatic tea. Head to any of these ‘tea destinations’ of Asia and take a real tea-break.