Hiking is one of my favorite leisure activities. For all my fellow hikers and trekkers, I am going to share a few of the best hiking spots in Sri Lanka that I personally enjoyed.
1) The “Worth It” Ella Rock
That is the title of an old pop song by the girl-band Fifth Harmony, released about a decade ago. And if you ask me, the title aptly fits a hiking trip to the Ella Rock in the small, quaint town of Ella. Many tourists and hikers are of the view that a trip to Ella Rock, though strenuous at some points, is totally ‘worth it’. (Those are the exact words you might find on travel blogs and forums). Ella Rock is also one of those tourist sites that have earned the “Certificate of Excellence” from the popular travel agency TripAdvisor. Don’t be anxious about the strain of the trekking journey though; if you are a tourist lover or a hiker, you must surely have a more than active physique to undertake this journey. And of course, once you reach the top, not a few awe-inspiring and breathtaking views await your attention. Visiting the hill before sunrise affords you the opportunity to enjoy serene natural beauty without the interference of salesmen and other tourists.
On average, the whole hiking trip to and from the Ella Rock could take around 4-6 hours. For in-depth details about the track in & around Ella Rock, I recommend you check out this very good blog devoted to Ella Rock: How to Hike Ella Rock Yourself
2) The other “Worth It” in Ella – Little Adam’s Peak
It is certainly unfitting for me to talk about Ella Rock whilst leaving out its a partner in the “Worth It” club, the Little Adam’s Peak. If one calls the hike to Ella Rock moderately challenging, then a hike to the Little Adam’s Peak is definitely a piece of cake. It hardly takes about 30-50 minutes to reach the summit.
Little Adam’s Peak is located very near the main Ella strip. If you know the popular hotel “Ella Flower Garden Resort”, you can find the trail from that hotel, leading to the Little Adam’s Peak. Whereas Ella Rock can sometimes get rainy and travelers there should take a raincoat or umbrella with them, Adam’s Peak is the opposite. It usually gets very hot during the later part of the day. Recommended visiting times: early morning or late evening. Go & take selfies, enjoy the spectacular and phenomenal scenic views, and make some memories!
3) At World’s End
World’s End is the name given to a very famous and oft frequented cliff in the Horton Plains National Park, in Ohiya. If you are visiting Nuwara Eliya or any nearby place, you should definitely take out time for the World’s End. Here again, we recommend that you visit it early morning before the mist buzzes in. The World’s End is a dangerous, steep cliff, marking the end of the Horton Plains National Park. You might be wondering “If it’s so dangerous, why would anyone visit it?”. Well, the answer to that is, because it’s also way more awesome and beautiful than it is dangerous. It is not only risky if you are taking little children along with you, in which case you should hold them firmly closed. The World’s End is also one of those travel sites that have been awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.
A word about the weather and the expense here are in order though. You should know that the cumulative travel cost, the entrance fee of the National Park and the implied donation to the voluntary guides is a bit expensive. Can’t give a specific figure, since the prices vary. And who knows, by the time you visit it, the costs might be similar to other places as well. As for the weather, it is quite unpredictable. At one moment it’s sunny, and the next moment, it could get chilly spontaneously. If you go there early morning, which I recommend that you do, take some snacks and raincoat with you as well.
4) Knuckles and Waterfalls
Waterfalls and mountain ranges! We love them, we are afraid of them. They give us the goosebumps and the adrenaline. They make our knuckles wobbly. And speaking of knuckles, Sri Lanka has many of those. The Knuckles Mountain Range derives its name from the fact that some of the mountains there are in the shape of knuckles (at least, they appear so from a few specific vantage points). The Knuckles Mountain Range also has the prized Certificate of Excellence to its name. Located in the Central Highlands in the town of Matale, these ranges are often visited by tourists visiting Kandy. The place is ideal for active adventure-seeking trekkers. The rich verdure, the striking landscapes, and the wildlife, this place offers an abundance of these. Plus, you get to experience the quaint village culture of highland Sri Lanka. This place is definitely recommended for all trek lovers.
5) Kirigalapoththa Hike
The Kirigalapoththa is a mountain range near the Horton Plains National Park and is worth mentioning while I’m at it. The famous Pedro Tea Plantation, located in Nuwara Eliya, is also nearby and you could give it a visit as well. Although the Kirigalapoththa Mountain Range isn’t as much frequented as compared to the first four places that I’ve mentioned it is worthy of mentioning in the list of top 5 hiking places though. Now, due to the lack of Internet signals there, I recommend that you download offline Google Maps to your smartphone (or just about any good maps). They will really help you navigate in and around the slightly confusing tracks, especially for a novice hiker. The hike is an average of 6 hours. One caveat here: the view, though amazing, is often not visible due to the mist and the moist weather. Here again, time your visit accordingly as I have repeatedly mentioned in previous sections as well. You might be lucky enough to view some animals here as well. Chances are you can come across Sambar deer, wild dogs (they don’t attack, don’t worry), the purple-faced “leaf monkey” (rarely) and leopards (these rarely too).