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From the one-and-only Tan Cuong green tea in Vietnam to the energy-boosting herbal tea of Argentina, discover the exciting destinations behind these teas.
Ah, tea. The comforting brew that most people can’t get enough of. International Tea Day on the 21st May celebrates the cultural and economic significance of tea across the globe, highlighting just how much joy and comfort this beverage can bring.
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Booking.com is marking the occasion with a round-up of six destinations for tea lovers around the world. With 60% of Vietnamese travellers keen to try the best places for food and drink on their next trip,* International Tea Day is the perfect excuse to travel to locations naturally steeped in history and beauty.
6 must-visit destinations around the world for travellers to dive into the historical and cultural values of tea:
Darjeeling, India – birthplace of the famous Darjeeling tea Harrogate, UK – the home of English Breakfast tea Meknes, Morocco – the land of refreshing mint tea Misiones, Argentina – home to the iconic Yerba Mate herbal tea Cameron Highlands, Malaysia – the land of Cameron Valley tea Thai Nguyen, Vietnam – land of the one-and-only Tan Cuong green tea
The Darjeeling district of West Bengal is known for its plethora of tea gardens, with over 80 stretching across acres of land. Located in the foothills of the mountains, the emerald-green Darjeeling Tea Garden produces tea with such an intense aroma and spicy flavour, it’s often referred to as the ‘champagne of teas.’ When visitors aren’t admiring the majestic Khangchendzonga, the world’s third highest mountain, they can visit Buddhist monasteries and take a ride on the 140-year-old stream Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Darjeeling, India @ GettyImages
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 staple, which has expanded over the years to include a variety of brews including decaf and gold standard. The quaint spa town of Harrogate is home to one of the UK’s most popular Yorkshire tea brands, where it blends tea leaves from Assam and East Africa to create unique combinations bursting with flavour. Take a trip to the nearby city of York and enjoy a delightful Afternoon Tea Boat Cruise along the picturesque River Ouse, where visitors will discover the city’s mediaeval history. Iconic sites include York Minster, one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
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 Cafe 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.
Refreshing mint tea is the national drink of choice in Morocco. Various blends are made across the country, but the vibrant mint leaves from the scenic hilltop city of Meknes are said to be the best. A UNESCO-stamped ancient medina, meander around the old town to discover everything from specialist souks selling beautiful crafts and textiles to teahouses in secret courtyards and even the odd 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.
Said to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the joy of chocolate, the herbal tea Yerba Mate is Argentina’s national drink, and enjoyed for its energy-boosting qualities. The leaves are grown in the rich rainforests of the northeastern province of Misiones, famed for its red earth and papaya fields. Within Misiones lies the Iguazu National Park, home to the magical Iguazu Falls – the world’s largest waterfall – where visitors can spot bright-billed toucans and colorful butterflies.
Where to stay: Self-catering bungalows Cabañas 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
Steeped in rich tea-making traditions, the Cameron Highlands is renowned for its impressive emerald tea estates and exquisite mountain views. The Bharat Tea Estate produces some of the world’s favourite tea labels including Cameroon Valley, which takes its flavour inspiration from Sri Lanka and South India. Visitors can quench their thirst at the estate’s Tea House with a special high tea, and wander through the lush hilly terrain with moss-covered trees, rich wildlife and exotic plants.
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia @ Getty Images
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.
Thai Nguyen, Vietnam
Steeped in impressive emerald tea estates and exquisite mountain views, the northern city of Thai Nguyen is renowned for its hundred years of aromatic tea cultivation. Among its various kinds of tea, Tan Cuong Tea grown in the Tan Cuong – Cong River area is the most famed and loved. With every sip, it leaves a deliciously bitter taste at the tip of the tongue, then slowly sweetens down the throat. Visitors can explore Thai Nguyen’s rich tea-growing tradition in Trai Cai and La Bang tea village, or deluxe tea plantations in Phuc Thuan, Thanh Cong and Song Cau. Wander through the lush hilly terrain with moss-covered trees to discover rich wildlife and exotic plants.
Tan Cuong tea farm in Thai Nguyen city of Vietnam
Where to stay: Levent Tam Dao is a lovely rustic guest house with modern amenities, located half an hour drive to the centre of Thai Nguyen. Visitors can enjoy activities around the highlands of Thai Nguyen and Vinh Phuc, including hiking and cycling in the forest, or visiting villages and tea houses. Between trekking and tea culture, it’s easy to unwind in the evenings on the beautiful mountain-view terrace.
For those inspired to discover the destinations behind their favourite teas, Booking.com is sharing Getaway Deals for travellers to use when booking their next trip. Discounts start at 15 percent and are valid for stays between 4 April until 30 September 2022. In addition, Booking.com is bringing the great value of its Genius program to even more customers by giving all account holders access to the program’s Level 1 benefits, with no minimum number of previous bookings to qualify, including access to exclusive 10% discounts at hundreds of thousands of participating properties around the world. All travellers have to do is download the Booking.com app, log in and look for the Genius logo to identify associated benefits, discounts and perks.