New Delhi: Tea, tea, tea! Most people can’t get enough of this soothing brew. On May 21st, International Tea Day celebrates the cultural and economic significance of tea around the world, emphasizing how much joy and comfort this beverage can bring.
Booking.com commemorates the occasion by compiling a list of five tea-themed destinations from around the world. With 44 percent of Indian travellers eager to try the best places for food and drink on their next trip, International Tea Day is the ideal excuse to visit historic and scenic locations.
Tea is a global phenomenon, and every country, from Argentina to Malaysia, has its own way of drinking it. Discover the exciting destinations behind the drinks, from the rich flavourful tea leaves of Darjeeling to the vibrant mint leaves of Morocco.
The West Bengal district of Darjeeling is known for its abundance of tea gardens, with over 80 stretching across acres of land. The emerald-green Darjeeling Tea Garden, located in the foothills of the mountains, produces tea with such an intense aroma and spicy flavour that it’s often referred to as the ‘champagne of teas.’ When not admiring the majestic Khangchendzonga, the world’s third highest peak, visitors can visit Buddhist monasteries and ride the 140-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Where to stay: The blissful hill resort Mayfair Darjeeling, with spectacular views overlooking the valley, is a tranquil spot with easy access to the Darjeeling Tea Garden. Classic Indian rooms exude old world charm and elegance with carved wooden furnishings and colourful prints. The hotel features a spa, state-of-the-art gym, pool and tea boutique. Wake up to birdsong and spend the day exploring the stunning tea gardens.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
English breakfast tea is a British tradition that has evolved over time to include a variety of brews such as decaf and gold standard. Harrogate is home to one of the UK’s most popular Yorkshire tea brands, which blends tea leaves from Assam and East Africa to create unique, flavorful combinations. Visit York and enjoy a delightful Afternoon Tea Boat Cruise along the picturesque River Ouse, where visitors will learn about the city’s mediaeval history. York Minster, one of the world’s largest and most beautiful Gothic cathedrals, is a must-see.
Where to stay: The Chapel Boutique Bed and Breakfast, situated in the heart of the town, is ideally located near local sites including the Harrogate Turkish Baths, Royal Hall Theatre and Royal Pump Room Museum as well as the famous Bettys Café Tea Rooms, serving delicious afternoon teas in Harrogate since 1919. The unique grade II listed chapel conversion boasts luxe rooms with an eccentric and eclectic mix of styles. Following a day of sightseeing and tea tasting, relax on the large balcony overlooking the lush gardens.
Morocco’s favourite beverage is refreshing mint tea. Various blends are produced throughout the country, but the vibrant mint leaves from the picturesque hilltop city of Meknes are said to be the best. A UNESCO-listed ancient medina, meander around the old town to find everything from specialist souks selling beautiful crafts and textiles to teahouses in hidden courtyards and even the occasional donkey strolling around.
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Meknes at the impressive Riad Mama H&K. Traditionally decorated with the authentic architecture of Morocco including hand-carved wood and geometric tiles, the hotel also features a pretty outdoor terrace. Discover local dishes from tangines to seafood in all their richness and variety at the on-site restaurant or relax by the fireplace with a soothing mint tea.
The herbal tea Yerba Mate is Argentina’s national drink, and is enjoyed for its energy-boosting qualities. It is said to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the joy of chocolate. The leaves are grown in the lush rainforests of Misiones, a northeastern province known for its red earth and papaya fields. The Iguaz National Park is located in Misiones and is home to the magical Iguaz Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, where visitors can see bright-billed toucans and colourful butterflies.
Where to stay: Self-catering bungalows Cabanas Doralia in the city of Obera feature a well-equipped kitchen, BBQ terrace, outdoor pool and exquisite garden views. The comfortable accommodation is located near La Ruta Del Te, an Argentinian tea house where travellers can learn from fourth generation tea producers and try Yerba Mate sweetened with agave and served with pastries for an afternoon treat.
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
The Cameron Highlands, steeped in rich tea-making traditions, is famous for its impressive emerald tea estates and breathtaking mountain views. The Bharat Tea Estate is home to some of the world’s most popular tea brands, including Cameroon Valley, which draws flavour inspiration from Sri Lanka and South India. Visitors can quench their thirst with a special high tea at the estate’s Tea House before exploring the lush hilly terrain with moss-covered trees, rich wildlife, and exotic plants.
Where to stay: Located a short drive away from the Bharat Tea Estate is Heahtitude, a kitsch vintage guest house with modern amenities. Visitors can enjoy activities around the Cameron Highlands, including hiking and cycling in the Mossy Forest, where Rafflesia, the biggest flowers in the world, can be found. Between trekking and tea culture, it’s easy to unwind in the evenings on the beautiful riverside terrace.