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Trekking in Sri Lanka – The Ones You Must Add To Your Bucketlist

Stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu.

The pearl of the Indian ocean”, “the teardrop of India”, “the isle of dharma”, “Ceylon” by Portuguese, “Taprobana” by ancient greek, “Serendip” by Persian, “Mummudi-Chola mandalam” during the Chola occupation in 990 – 1070 AD and finally present-day “Srilanka” is a multi-faceted island country that has a lot to offer than one can expect. With more than 2000 years of documented history, Srilanka has awed many different kingdoms, dynasties, and groups which have tried to conquer it and hence given it various names. 

The cultural history, beautifully serene beaches, tropical climate, enchanting landscapes, unique music, and all things collectively invite you to the island situated right in the middle of the Indian ocean. Popularly, it is known for its precious gems, world heritage train routes, food influenced by multiple cultures, stupas, and nature trail hikes. 

Yes, you heard it right – “Trail Hikes”!

A journey across the country would be incomplete without tuk-tuk rides and trains. Walking trails are as notable in Ceylon as much as the former modes of transport. A few trekking trails in Sri Lanka that you can not afford to miss while being here are: 

1. Ramboda Falls 

As one takes train rides across the well-connected railways, no tourist fails to include a visit to Nuwara Eliya on a train. The misty hills have a hidden, often overlooked jewel by the name Ramboda Falls. It is a 20 km drive from Nuwara Eliya to reach the falls, followed by a short trail hike. 

2. Bomburu Ella Falls 

Another short hike from Nuwara Eliya, the Bomburu Ella falls, consists of multiple falls sourced by a highland lake. It is the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The route to Bombura Ella is pretty much plain to sail.

3. Little Adams Peak

It is a relatively facile hike. It’s also a prominent hike among tourists. It is called the “Little” Adam’s peak as it is distinctly similar in shape to Adam’s peak. One usually covers the Nine Arches Bridge and the little Adams peak in a single hike. The path is easy to track as it is well marked with directions and two prominent landmarks: one being a white buddha and another is a resort. 

4. Adam’s Peak

Adam’s peak is the most popular trek in Sri Lanks among tourists and locals alike. It is also a place of worship. Also known as ‘Sri Pada’, which translates to footprint, Adam’s peak is known to have buddha’s footprint; Christians and Muslims believe it is Adam’s first footstep on earth after being exiled from Eden. The trail has around 6000 steps. Although there is no technical climbing, it takes about 2 to 4 hours to reach the top based on one’s fitness. 

5. Sigiriya and Pidurangala Rocks

When in Sigiriya, book accommodation close to Sigiriya and  Pidurangala rocks. Expect a short hike to both. Pidurangala rock is open all day, and my advice to you is to be an early riser and begin the  Pidurangala hike at 4 am. You will then reach the top shortly before Sunrise. Watching the sunrise from Pidurangala is a MUST DO.

A rest during the high sun, post the  Pidurangala hike is recommended to fuel up. Even though Sigiriya is open during the day, Plan the Unplanned recommends heading to Sigiriya post-lunch, i.e., at around 1 to 2 am. Explore the museum first, followed by the Hike up Sigiriya around 4 pm to 5 pm. This way, you can distribute your walks, breaks, and fueling up well, parallelly avoiding hot sun flashes.

6. Knuckles Range

As the name suggests, the knuckles “range” consists of 34 mystical mountains. The range has multiple stunning trails with several variations. Unlike most hikes in Srilanka, the Knuckles range is not a Do-It-Yourself trek. The heights vary from as low as 9000 m to 2000 m. One must seek a guide for directions and proper instructions. 

7. Mini World’s End

A famous cliff in Horton’s national park, the Mini World’s End, is 1km from Nuwara Eliya. A short and easily doable hike takes you across two cliffs along the trail. The edge of the cliff peeks over the famously known misty hills of Nuwara Eliya and Ella.

8. Horton’s National Park

A protected grassland on a plateau is known as Horton’s National Park. The park has some hiking trails to the world’s end, a waterfall, and a few more spots. One can spot a wide variety of flora and fauna while trail hiking the plains of Horton. It is ubiquitous to experience a sighting of wild Elephant herds in the National park. 

9. Upper Diyaluma Falls

Upper Diyaluma falls is the highest waterfall in Srilanka. It also offers multiple routes to reach up to the top of the falls. The top is dotted with numerous cascading round pools of running water, where several tourists love to dive in and swim.

Few pointers to keep in mind while trekking in Sri Lanka: 

  • Wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. If you further want to fit in the culture perfectly, adorn white shirts with skirts/dhotis. To beat the heat, you may choose to dress as you like it. Additionally, carry a Sarong to cover up as and when needed. 
  • You’ll come across a lot of Buddha statues of historical or religious significance. Always remember to never turn your back towards Buddha for whatsoever reason, including clicking pictures. It is considered a bad omen to do so by the locals. 
  • Always remember to wish the locals “Ayubowan” as a greeting, and engage yourself in enjoying local delicacies. Sri Lanka also has a wide variety of tropical fruits to offer, which are surprisingly more tasteful than sourced in several other countries. 

We, Plan the Unplanned, are a loved and popularly recommended travel organization. We make it easier for people from all over India and outside to shape their travel plans to various destinations. Trekking in Sri Lanka is much loved.

Want it all to be an inexpensive and hassle-free road trip? Book with us now! 

Want us to set you up with the trek?

When you trek with Plan the Unplanned, all your needs will be taken care of without you puddling around and getting confused. It is customary for the body to crave warmth and nourishment at such high altitudes, so on our treks, it will be ensured that you have a diet of high carbohydrates and proteins that will suffice you for some strenuous trekking.

Use this link to read our entire itinerary, inclusions, exclusions, and other information regarding our trekking to Sri Lanka. 

About the author

Supriya is currently based in Bangalore who loves the art of observing things. She wants to fill all her days with poetry and travel. Her works have been published in 2 books namely - The Fragrance of life and Ikigai. Her articles have also reached the audience through Women's Web, Asailor and Tripoto platform.

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