Trekking in the highlands

With multitude of roads winding through expanding mountains, lush green forests, paddy fields, parks and sleepy villages, Sri Lanka offers a plethora of opportunities to the keen hikers and trekkers. The highlands of Sri Lanka with virgin rain forests, sacred mountains, lush tea gardens and plains filled with rare birds and insects coupled with mild temperatures and welcoming smiles of the villagers provide the ideal setting to an unforgettable walking experience.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Nature, Outdoor Activity
  • Activity Level Strenuous
  • Group Size Medium Group
All about the Trekking in the highlands.

Take a demanding trek high in the mountain rainforests of the Knuckles Range, and see the valuable spice – cardamom – growing in the forest, catch sight of rare orchids and birds, and enjoy the exhilaration of exploring spots where few have been before. Traverse virtually unexplored country in the southeast, past the renowned Yala National Park where leopards prowl and elephants roam, past the bird-rich Muthurajawela wetlands and into a region where literally hundreds of ruined temples and maybe even cities lie awaiting discovery in the forests.

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  1. Day 1 Kithulgala

    Highlights: Sri Lanka on Feet

    Situated on the banks of Kelani river, Kithulgala is surrounded by wet zone rain forest. It was the location for the Academy Award Winning movie, ’The Bridge on the River Kwai’. Kithulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream.

    Walking from Kithulgala to Laxapana – Almost 16 kms

    Cross the Kelani River by a boat and continue to the northern edge of the rainforest where the trail leads up to the Seven Maidens Mountains through sleepy village gardens, tea estates and village roads.

  2. Day 2 Climb Adam's Peak

    The climb is nearly 12 kms to the top of the 2,243 m mountain and can take as long as three hours for an average person. The climb is possible from December to April and best attempted at night where you reach the mountain top to see the sunrise and the breathtaking views.

    Access to the mountain is possible by 6 trails: Ratnapura-Palabaddala, Hatton-Nallathanni, Kuruwita-Erathna, Murraywatte, Mookuwatte & Malimboda. The Nallathanni & Palabaddala routes are most favoured by the climbers, while the Kuruwita-Erathna trail is used less often.

    The Murraywatte, Mookuwatte and Malimboda routes are hardly used, but do intersect with the Palabaddala road midway through the ascent. The usual route taken by most pilgrims is ascent via Hatton and descent via Ratnapura as the Hatton trail is the steepest, it is also shorter than any of the other trails by nearly 5 kms.

  3. Day 3 Walking from Bogawanthalawa to Kalupahana

    Travel from Laxapana to Bogawanthalawa on wheels and plot a path through tea plantations, forest patches and gurgling rivers to the rural village of Kalupahana situated near Belihul-Oya.

  4. Day 4 Trail blaze in Haputale

    Travel to Haputale from Kalupahana in a vehicle. Haputale is situated in the tea-growing Southern Highlands in a land of lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls and was one of the favourite haunts of the tea millionaire Sir Thomas Lipton. Walk upto the Lipton Seat located within the Dambetenna Tea Estate. The Trail climbs to 1,900 m and was a favourite lookout of Sir Thomas Lipton, the great tea pioneer. Climb down through the Nayabeddha estate and drop by at the Dambetenna tea plantation and tea factory, the longest tea factory in the country.

    Train Ride from Haputale to Idalgashinna.

    The train ride goes through a picturesque path and provides a bird’s eye view of the scenery around.

  5. Day 5 Trekking from Idalgashinna to Horton Plains

    Once reaching Idalgashinna, commence the walk to Horton Plains. 4.5 kms below Idalgashinna station, on the southern slope of the range and surrounded by the Needwood Tea Plantation is the old abandoned Portuguese fortress, Kotugodella Fort. Only a few scattered stones and the semi-circular outlines of ancient bastions remain of the majestic structure once stood there.

    Horton Plains is one of the most isolated national parks in the country with few visitors and it is also only National Park in Sri Lanka where visitors are allowed to roam around freely inside.

    Situated at 7,000 feet above sea level, the walk to ”World’s End” and ”Little World’s End” within the park offers one of the finest views in Sri Lanka. The park is home to five endemic bird species that are found at this altitude including the Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Dull-Blue flycatcher, Yellow-eared Bulbul, the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush and the Sri Lanka Woodpigeon. Mammals include plenty of Sambar, the Slender Loris, Bear Monkey and an occasional Leopard.

  6. Day 6 Proceed to Nuwara Eliya from Horton Plains by vehicle

    Trek from Nuwara Eliya to the Single Tree Mountain or UdaRadella and Shanthipura – 8 kms

    The walk begins by climbing up Single Tree Mountain through tea plantations and Eucalyptus forests, before descending to the tea plantation of Shantipura. The walk continues to the lookout at UdaRadella which provides breathtaking views south to Adam’s Peak and north to the Kandyan hills. Walk back through Shantipura by a different route and get back to Nuwara Eliya.

  7. Day 7 Knuckles Range - Deanston Park

    Trek from Knuckles Range to the Deanston Park via Corbert’s Gap.

    The Knuckles mountain range named for its resemblance to a set of knuckles in a closed fist consists of five mountain peaks with the highest point at about 6,000 ft. above sea level and spans for 155 sq. kms. A wide variety of rare and endemic flora and fauna makes this wilderness a storehouse of rich biodiversity.

  8. Day 8 Head to Negombo

    Give your feet a respite and take a boat ride into the Muthurajawela Wetlands, rich in bird life and amphibians. Visit a fishing village and the early morning fish auction bustling with activity as the catamarans comes ashore with their bounty of fresh fish, prawns, crabs and lobster. Negombo by night also has a vibrant atmosphere with a scattering of bars and restaurants.

This is a sample itinerary to inspire your holiday – it can be tweaked in every way possible from the places you want to go to and number of days you spend in each, as well as hotels you stay in and activities you do. Get in touch with one of our experts by calling +91 98226 66560 and we will start creating your perfect trip.