The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Sri Lanka’s hill country is a land of tea-laden hillsides, gurgling waterfalls, stirring mountains and clear hill-country air. Here, in temperatures akin to a beautiful English summer’s day, is wonderful walking country, a chance to experience Sri Lankan scenery at its finest and when the day is over to be sure, satisfied and weary, of a typically hospitable Sri Lankan welcome. Walk Sri Lanka is our most serious walking tour (the strollers among you should also check out our Nature Trek) and offers a chance to sample some of Sri Lanka’s most uplifting scenery on foot. Experienced guides are provided whenever necessary so that you can concentrate upon gazing at the scenery without worrying about the route. At the end of the day’s walk, you are transported by car or van to recover in carefully-selected guesthouse and hotels offering the chance to relax in comfort. Approximate trekking times indicated below will vary depending on individual fitness levels. We can tailor this walking journey according to your preferences, so feel free to ask for modifications.
Note: Weather considerations can apply when exploring the hill country. Trekking in the Knuckles Mountain Range is best avoided during the rainy season from November to mid-January. The months of July and August can also be pretty windy in the Knuckles. The Adam’s Peak climbing season begins in January and ends in April. We can suggest all the adjustments necessary.
Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, transfer to a convenient hotel close to the international airport. Relax and unwind after your flight, preparing yourself for the adventure ahead.
Transfer directly from the airport to the western foothills of the central highlands for your overnight stay in Kitulgala. Kitulgala is an area with tropical rainforests, winding rivers and an undulating terrain and owes its popularity to the Kelani River which offers exciting Grade 3 rapids for rafting. The calm sections of the river meander through jungle-clad mountains, low country tea and rubber plantations.
Today you begin your walking journey from Kitulgala to Laxapana. Cross the Kelani River by local catamaran and proceed to the northern edge of the rainforest where the trail leads up to the Seven Maidens Mountains through gardens, tea estates and sometimes along gravel roads. Stop at Laxapana water fall for a snack lunch. Travel by vehicle onto Dalhousie and check into the Slightly Chilled Yellow House overlooking the Kelani River and the magnificent Adam’s Peak Mountain. The surrounding forest reserve is home to numerous species of birds and butterflies - a nature lover’s dream.
(Walking distance 18 kms).
Rest on the following day amid beautiful mountain scenery for an all-night climb of Adam’s Peak. The sacred Adam’s Peak is visited by thousands of pilgrims from many faiths. 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. The hike up to the peak will take approximately 2.5 hours for a person of reasonable fitness levels.
(Walking distance 12 kms).
An option or an additional day-time walk before the Adam’s Peak climb is the walking trail through a tea plantation and tea factory, and Dalhousie’s rural villag
(Walking distance 5.8 kms).
In the morning, travel by vehicle to your next trail. You are heading for Lipton Seat located within the Dambetenna Tea Estate. The Trail climbs to 1900m and was a favorite look out point of Sir Thomas Lipton, the great tea pioneer, when surveying his vast tea plantation. Climb down through the Nayabeddha estate via another spectacular viewpoint. Visit the Dambetenna tea plantation and tea factory which is the longest tea factory in Sri Lanka. Here you will gain insight into the manufacturing process as well as an opportunity to taste and purchase the different grades of hill country tea.
(Walking distance 16 kms).
After breakfast, hike through tea plantations and rural villages to the Bambarakanda falls - the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. En-route, stop at a small and scenic waterfall in the forest for lunch and, if you wish, a swim. You will be picked up from Bambarakanda and transferred to Nuwara Eliya where you will stay the next three nights. The renowned hill-country location is the most important tea production hub of Sri Lanka, founded by Samuel Baker, the 19C explorer of the Nile. The mild climate made it a retreat for British civil servants and planters in colonial Ceylon.
(Walking distance 14 kms)
Start your trek from the hamlet of Idalgashinna, About three miles below Idalgashinna station, the southern slope of the range and surrounded by the Needwood Tea Plantation is an old abandoned fortress, the Kotugodella Fort, at an elevation of about 1200m. The Portuguese once attempted to use the Idalgashinna Pass to force a way into the Uva area. A few scattered stones and the semi-circular outlines of ancient bastions are the only reminders that such a majestic structure once stood there. Enjoy a relaxed 3-hour hike in the Horton Plains National Park with a visit to Bakers Falls and World’s End. The park is distinct in its utter solitude. You may not meet more than half a dozen people in a whole day. The wild expanse of Horton Plains, with a mixture of grasslands and forests including the last montane forest in the country, is the only National Park in Sri Lanka where visitors are allowed to roam around freely inside. Situated 7,000 feet above sea level, the walk to 'World's End' and "Little World's End" offers one of the finest views in Sri Lanka.
(Walking distance 15 kms).
This is your final day in Nuwara Eliya and we propose a gentle return walk to top of Single Tree Hill. A small dirt road leads from the valley up through tea plantations all the way to the summit. If you wish you can continue on the ridge top above Nuwara Eliya, through tea plantations and Eucalyptus forests.
(Walking distance 10kms+)
Hop on board the train from Nuwara Eliya and enjoy one of the most glorious train journeys in the world, winding through spectacular mountain scenery until you reach Kandy - Sri Lanka's hill capital. Spend a night in the town.
Travel by vehicle to the Knuckles range of mountains where you will spend two nights at the Rangala House. Rangala House, situated on the edge of the Knuckles Mountain Range, is blessed with endless opportunities for walks which can be undertaken right from the hotel itself, without the need for any initial road transport. Take advantage of this on your arrival day. Rangala House guests are welcome to walk anywhere on the many estate paths and tracks. The tea fields themselves are very attractive, as are the woodlands and cardamom groves. The long views across the mountains are breath-taking. With pure mountain air and a profusion of wildlife this is again great walking country.
(Walking distance 12 kms)
Knuckles Conservation area is a famous destination offering jungle treks, mountain climbing and opportunities for overnight camping. Knowledge of the best trails is prized by our specialist guides who can be relied upon to know every twist and turn of this conservation area. The entrance is some 30 minutes by road up country from Rangala House. The Knuckles Mountain Range - so called because of its appearance resembles a set of knuckles in a closed fist, consists of five mountain peaks with the highest point about 6,000 ft above sea level and spans about 155 sq kms. A professional guide is essential and tickets must be obtained in advance from the Forestry Department. Trek through dense forests, along rivers and waterfalls, past tea plantation and terraced paddy fields, and along the way, visit some of the small rural village communities.
(Walking distance: As requested).
Today you head towards the North West coastal town of Negombo for your final night's stay at The Wallawwa, which is convenient for your flight home.
Nestled amongst acres of beautifully manicured gardens, this colonial manor house, or Wallawwa, is now a luxurious boutique hotel. This old and new concept provides guests with unrivalled setting and style just 15 minutes from the airport. 18 bedrooms, Asian fusion cuisine, Z spa and The Wallawwa’s swimming pool – all set amongst one of the finest private gardens in Sri Lanka.
Borderlands camping is based in Kitulgala, a riverside village that offers Sri Lanka’s best white-water rafting experience. Accommodation is in tents and wooden cabins on stilts and built right over the river.
Mandira Dickoya Bungalow is a refurbished colonial period planter’s bungalow that has been converted into an appealing four-bedroom guesthouse. Set over 4,000 ft above sea level, the bungalow is on an extensive tea plantation surrounded by picturesque mountains.
Living Heritage Koslanda is a stylish and tranquil boutique retreat with four villas set on an 80-acre estate on the fringes of the southern highlands.
St Andrew's Hotel is perched above Nuwara Eliya town centre adjoining the picturesque golf course. This stately Tudor-style colonial mansion has a stern exterior, but inside is a world of open fires and candlelit dinners.
Villa Rosa is a Red Dot favourite: an enchanting upmarket guest house which benefits from stunning views over the Mahaweli River and of the Knuckles Mountain Range beyond. This is Kandy at its most serene. No pool, but bags of atmosphere.
One of the island’s secret escapes, Rangala House is a converted tea estate bungalow in the Knuckles Mountain Range, which provides a majestic backdrop for this property. Rangala House faces the luminous, tea-covered hills of the Dukwari Estate and has a pool set amidst abundant tropical foliage and birdsong.
Red Dot selects only the best accommodation in Sri Lanka, in its particular price range. Please suggest which of the three categories might most appeal to you. (You can tick more than one box).
Would you like to sign up for the Red Dot Tours Newsletter ?