Walking in Sri Lanka can easily be built into your holiday in numerous ways with Expressions Holidays. Walking can be arranged to be the main focus of the holiday or just an event for a day or two.
There are walks in Sri Lanka to suit all preferences ranging from a leisurely meander with a naturalist to a steep climb up sacred Adam’s Peak Gentle, leisurely walks abound all around Sri Lanka, such as walking to a nearby village, waterfall, temple or archaeological site, around the beautifully landscaped Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya and Hakgala, or simply strolling around the grounds of your hotel. Several hotels offer in-house guided walks and nature trails with a resident Naturalist (notably the Jetwing hotels, Heritance hotels and Ceylon Tea Trails). Walking in the High Tea CountryThe ‘High Tea Country’ in the highlands is the coolest and most popular area in Sri Lanka for walking and trekking, set amidst stunning mountain scenery. Journeys will take you along intricate networks of well-worn paths, tracks and minor roads through mile upon mile of tea estates interspersed with tea factories, hillside villages and places of worship, market gardens, forests and waterfalls. Where to stay: Jetwing Warwick Gardens, Ceylon Tea Trails or hotels in Nuwara Eliya (Jetwing St Andrew's or The Hill Club).If you stay at Ceylon Tea Trails you can follow the trails of the planters of Ceylon, old and new, in the enchanting Bogawantalawa valley and by Castlereagh reservoir. Watch tea pluckers and visit a tea factory as you walk your way from one bungalow to another. Self-walk with the help of maps or take a guide along the marked trails. Mountain bikes are available for hire for those seeking a more challenging adventure (this is a land of steep hills and bumpy tracks).The mountains around Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela and Ella also provide excellent trekking opportunities. Horton Plains is a unique, desolate, windswept plateau 2,000 metres above sea level that plunges dramatically to valleys below. This national park provides a wonderful 9km circular walk that affords fine views from World’s End, along mostly flat terrain, though there are some rocky paths and a diversion down a steep slope can be made to see the picturesque Bakers Falls (highly energising in the rainy season). It is likely that you will see sambar deer, monkeys, lizards and endemic birds. A dawn start is advisable as the clouds roll in by mid-morning. Keen and fit walkers can continue on a further walk (or mountain bike ride) through estates to Bambarakanda Falls (15-26km depending on where you start/finish). Where to stay: .At 2,340 metres above sea level, Adam’s Peak – Sri Pada, is a conical-shaped mountain is the island’s fourth highest peak. It is also Sri Lanka’s most sacred mountain and a site of pilgrimage for over a thousand years. There is now a well-maintained set of over 4,500 steps that take you to the top. It is worth the steep climb to the top for the surreal atmosphere and the magnificent views (on a clear day) of the surrounding central highlands of Sri Lanka. As you follow the Sri Lankan pilgrims on their spiritual journey you will become inextricably entwined. The best weather for the ascent of Adam’s Peak is between December and April, the dry season, when there are fewer clouds and less humidity. It is advisable to walk up during the night ready to watch the sunrise at the summit and to walk down again before it gets too hot. The ascent takes about 3 hours, and the descent around 2 hours, depending on your fitness level and the number of people using the path. This is a demanding climb - you need to be fairly fit, and not suffer from vertigo! Where to stay: We recommend Ceylon Tea Trails which is about one hour’s drive to the point where you have to start walking for the ascent of Adam’s Peak. Walking in the warmer hills around KandyThe hills that rise around Kandy, provide a verdant green backdrop to the culturally rich city and some interesting walking routes, particularly Hantana mountain with its forest, tea plantations and tea museum. Where to stay: any of the hotels in the Kandy area, though Theva is very close by.Jetwing Hunas Falls is well set up for walking excursions in its surrounding hillsides and in the neighbouring Knuckles mountain range. Easy to hard treks of 1 hour to 3 days duration can be arranged and there is a resident naturalist at the hotel. The Knuckles Range is a rugged area of pristine wilderness with rare dwarf cloud forest and peaks rising to over 4,000 ft. Tracks and paths lead to isolated hamlets and it is home to an exceptional array of endemic animal and plant species. You can see both dry and wet zone forest, montane and pigmy forest as well as dry pathana plain, all in one mountain range. At one point, a sheer precipice drops down 1,500 ft to the valley below.Walking in rainforestSinharaja Rainforest is Sri Lanka’s only remaining virgin rainforest, its dense bio-diverse vegetation inhabited by many endemic species and around 95% of Sri Lanka’s endemic birds. Naturally, the rainforest is dark and wet with high humidity (90%), though some walking is along wide open tracks. Visitors walk along set paths within the reserve and a national park warden will accompany throughout. It is advisable to wear leech socks! Where to stay: It is feasible to visit Singharaja on a day excursion from the hotels along the south-west coast (allow 3 hours each way as the roads become bumpy track). In order to enjoy the rainforest in depth, cricket chorus and early morning birdsong, there is very basic accommodation near the park entrance, or small eco-lodges further out. For something different, stay in a luxury tented camp set up in the rainforest especially for you. Rainforest walks can also be enjoyed in the nature reserves of Hiyare, Kanneliya and Kottawe in the south-west, inland from Galle. Walking in the hot central plains The Cultural Triangle is, in theory, a fascinating area for walking with its natural and rural settings, ancient cities, rock fortress and temples. However, due to the hot daytime temperatures, it is advisable to do walking activities in the early mornings and late afternoons. Where to stay: Short nature trails can be enjoyed at all our selected hotels in the Cultural Triangle. Heritance Kandalama organises guided walks to Aligala Caves and an ancient village.Soft adventure, staying at one base in basic accommodation or campingFor those who are prepared to rough it and would like to spend 2 to 5 days doing soft adventure activities, we offer the option to stay in a mountainous area in the heart of Sri Lanka and use it as a base for trekking, canoeing and mountain biking. The region is a mix of dry patana grasslands and tropical forest, with reservoirs, rivers, waterfalls, paddy fields and rural villages. The activities can be tailored to suit your competency and fitness levels. Trekking options can involve a gentle 6km nature/village trail, Horton Plains, an ascent of Adam’s Peak, arduous 15 mile hikes to waterfalls and overnight treks. Canoeing is enjoyed on a reservoir whilst mountain biking can be on or off-road, amidst thick forest, tea plantations and by cooling waterfalls. Being active can pose its challenges in this tropical island; visitors need to take into account the heat and humidity, especially at the height of the day, as well as the profusion of insects and wildlife that might become hostile if disturbed.
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