Hiking the Big Sri Lankan Outdoors

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You can never go wrong exploring a foreign land on foot, especially when you are surrounded by amazingly scenic nature. Hiking tops the list of my must-dos in Sri Lanka because the breathtaking beauty of the great outdoors never fails to overwhelm me.

 

Little Adam’s Peak

I wanted to do the pilgrimage climb to Adam’s Peak but unfortunately the season was not right so we settled for Little Adam’s Peak. It was a misty and gloomy afternoon but we were lucky enough to catch glimpses of the famed Ella Gap before it started pouring.

Admiring the view of Ella Gap after the hike up to Little Adam's Peak

Balancing on the edge of a outcrop at Little Adam's Peak

If it were not at the friendly insistence of these two locals, we would never have dared to venture down the steep slopes to this dangerous looking spot at the top. It was so surreal chatting to new found acquaintances in the dreamy mountain mist with the world at our feet.

Made new friends with the locals atop Little Adam's Peak

 

Horton Plains National Park

A unique high altitude plateau with stunning desolate landscapes. We took about 4 hours to complete the main circular trail, and the entire time I felt like I was in another world. The trek was relatively easy but the sun was harsh and unforgiving. We were defenseless traversing the vast open grasslands with no shelter. However, its sheer magical beauty was well worth the while.

Strange morning mist at Horton Plains National Park

Walking the trails of Horton Plains

Wild landscapes of Horton Plains

World's End at Horton Plains

Exotic flowers blooming at Horton Plains

Exploring the rugged landscapes at Horton Plains

Waterfall at Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

Hiking the trails at Horton Plains

 

Ella Rock

This was one of the most challenging but fulfilling climbs. We started off early morning with a pleasant walk on the train tracks that led out from the village of Ella. The terrain quickly grew steeper and more uneven. Though the entire route was not marked out, we successfully navigated our way to the top with a combination of some online research, advice from the local villagers and a logical sense of direction.

Walking along the train tracks enroute to Ella Rock

Climbing up through the forests to Ella Rock

The peaks of the surrounding mountains were shrouded in dense morning mist and I had a vague feeling I was somewhere above the clouds.

The view from the top of Ella Rock

Couple kissing after conquering Ella Rock

 

Ohiya

The Ohiya train station is a tiny deserted stop in the middle of nowhere. When we got off, we learned from a local lady that our guesthouse was a mere 15 minute walk away and so we began our trek unknowingly on one of the most isolated forested roads we ever encountered. After about 40 minutes of exhausting uphill trudging and unfounded worrying about getting lost, the forests shrank away to reveal sweeping views of the Lower Bray tea estate and surrounding mountain ranges of Horton Plains.

The views from our guesthouse in Ohiya

The dense cloud forest was such a spectacular sight that I momentarily forgot about my aching shoulders and weary feet.

Dense cloud forest at the Lower Bray Estate, Ohiya

Finally, we spotted our guesthouse nestled among the mountains. It is definitely one of the most isolated places I have stayed in so far. What an adventure just to get there!

Our guesthouse in Ohiya is nestled among the mountains

The best part of staying in the mountains is that the trek begins the moment you step out of the front door. We spent a few hours wandering around the surrounding rugged terrain with Brownie, a guide dog from the guesthouse who cleverly led us to the top and back down safely.

Hiking the mountains with our guide dog from the guesthouse

Exploring the mountains in Ohiya

With the exception of a small village nearby, there was no one else around. It literally felt as though the mountains belonged to us.

Admiring the views of the Lower Bray Estate in Sri Lanka

The sunset and endless horizon at Ohiya

 

Single Tree Hill

A trip to Sri Lanka will not be complete without visiting its famous Hill Country. We started our scenic train journey at Kandy and got off at Nuwara Eliya, a charming city nestled in the mountains with a strong English influence. There wasn’t much to see at the top as it was shrouded in really thick mist, but the views on the way up were superb.

Walking among the tea plantations

Thee view of the town from Single Tree Hill

 

Random tea plantations

From the main town of Nuwara Eliya, we took a leisurely hike up to the Pedro Tea Estate, winding through the local sights and sounds. The plan was to join a factory tour but it so happened that the factory was closed on the day we chose to visit, hence we ended up rambling about the plantation on our own. Afterwards, the staff were kind enough to offer us hot tea on their lovely verandah overlooking the estate. Perfect for the chilly weather!

The view of tea plantations from Pedro Tea Estate
Exploring the tea plantations at Nuwara Eliya

 

The southern beaches

There is no actual hiking here but exploring the beaches was really enjoyable. They were not crowded and the waters were crystal clear. Apparently there are many fantastic dive sites around the island, all teeming with marine life!

Random beach near Galle Fort

Clear waters of a random beach in Sri Lanka

Playing with the water at a beach in Sri Lanka

I guess that will have to wait for the next time…

Comments

  1. juliana fook

    i could feel the difference between your Sri Lanka travelogue’s and Iceland’s. Sri Lanka is more factual. You expressed your feelings more in your Iceland’s blog. Keep writing, who knows you may become a great travelogue blogger.

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