Sri Lanka Adventure, a morning hike through Horton Plains National Park

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Click here to read previous post: The cheapest train ride to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy. 

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The cottage owner organised a private transfer to the Horton Plains National Park, also known as World’s End.

World’s End is a sheer cliff, with a drop of about 1,200 meters. It is one of the most visited national park and a key tourist attraction in Nuwara Eliya District. 1 km away from the main cliff is a smaller cliff with a 300 meters drop, colloquially known as Mini World’s End.

The guest house host advised us to start the journey no later than 6am to get the best and most pleasant walk in the site.  It usually takes approximately 1 hour drive from Nuwara Eliya town and to complete the whole loop in the park would take at least 4 hours. Due to its altitude, the mountain scenery will be covered by mist after 11am.

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Window view from the cottage at 5am.

Do you know?

It can get really cold in the early hours in Nuwara Eliya due to its altitude, and up in the Horton Plains National Park it can get even colder. You should bring a jumper with you if you decide to visit Nuwara Eliya and to do the mountain hike in the morning.  

As soon as I stepped off the van outside the gate of Horton Plains National Park, I had to borrow our driver’s jacket as I just couldn’t deal with the cold. Then, as soon as we started walking, I realised that wearing sandals may not have been the best choice either.. There is a visitor center sits right by the gate.

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Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres is biodiverse and many species found here are endemic to the region. There was an amazing sunrise viewing point near the main entrance where we also stopped for a few minutes.  

The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers: the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. The plains’ vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest and includes many endemic woody plants. The sheer precipice of World’s End and Baker’s Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.

There were other hikers started off same time as us. The main entry road split in 2 ways after couple of hundred meters from the gate. We walked with a slow pace and when we got to the fork point, everyone else seemed to have vanished and all went very quiet and peaceful. There was a sign written with attraction sights names that sits in between the fork point, we didn’t realise the entire hiking site is in a loop shape so you would come back to the starting point. Our adventure started towards the attraction that says the shortest distance on the board until we realised all attractions are on the loop so we wouldn’t get lost in the park.

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The hike was relatively easy and pleasant. The weather was clear with light wind. It was around 10 degrees when we started our loop and it climbed quickly to 25 degrees celsius by around 10am.

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We spent almost 5 hours following the loop inside the park. There were great panoramic view spots and the green mountain scenery was just unforgettable.

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By the time we returned to Nuwara Eliya, it was just a little passed 1pm. We went to see the Gregory Lake. Gregory Lake is a reservoir in heart of the tea country hill city. It was constructed during the period of British Governor Sir William Gregory in 1873. We met our neighbour from the guest house who spent most of the morning around the lake. We greeted and caught up a little with what we’d done so far.

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Gregory Lake

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Post office in Nuwara Eliya

We spent most of the afternoon strolling around the town and the surrounding area on a tuk tuk. We then rolled on to our next destination – Ella! My town!

Continue to read Sri Lanka Adventure, another scenic train journey to my town, Ella

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