The sylvan surroundings of Darjeeling are among the top ten most exotic locations around the world to have a cup of tea, according to a new guide by travel publisher Lonely Planet.
Tea lovers looking for a sociable drink are advised to take the six-day train from Moscow to Beijing, where Russian businessmen, Mongolian traders and Buddhist monks gather around hot water urns known as samovars to swap stories.
Other Asian tea experiences that make the top ten include the rare silver-needle tea that is only found on Junshan Island near the city of Yueyang in central China, and the plantations around the Indian town of Darjeeling at the foot of the Himalayas, where visitors can marvel at the "deep-green leafy profusion of tea cascading down the hillsides".
Those who prefer more luxurious surroundings should head to the tea houses of Uji in Japan where kimono-clad women serve drinks "with studied formality", the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.
"The ritual -- involving beautiful utensils, delicate pouring and effusive appreciation on your part -- is the only thing more important than the drink itself," according to the guide.
The deserts of North Africa are also recommended in the guide, which is included in the new book 1000 Ultimate Experiences.