Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, so why not make the most of it and get outside your hotel room on your next holiday? Enjoy hikes, bike rides and enjoy the beautiful waterfalls of Sri Lanka.
5 Sri Lanka spots you shouldn’t miss
#1 Knuckles Mountain Range
The area east of Kandy is a wilderness offering breath-taking scenery and top-class trekking. And without the crowds! As you might suspect, the Knuckles Mountain Range takes its name from its knuckle-like appearance. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and well worth adding to any Sri Lanka itinerary. (Scroll down for the Knuckles experience of one TL team member.)
#2 Hill Country
Cycling through the Hill Country of the central south of Sri Lanka isa real highlight. You can enjoy the cool climate while riding through scenic tea plantations with magnificent views and old-fashioned colonial charm.
#3 Adam’s Peak
The soaring 2,243-metre summit of Adam’s Peak is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. Why? Because of the Sri Pada – a sacred “footprint”-shaped rock formation near the summit. According to Buddhist tradition, this stone is the footprint of Buddha.
#4 Lowland Forests
Ride through plantations of cinnamon, rubber, cashew nuts and bananas. See giant Buddhas perched on top of jungly hills and secluded temples overlooking the rice paddies.
#5 Gin Ganga River
A canoe trip along the Gin Ganga River near Galle is a memorable experience. Enjoy paddling past amazing plants, flowers and wildlife along the banks of this beautiful river.
A tale of waterfalls and downpours
Traveller: Shamus Sillar
“Today we’re walking to some waterfalls,” says Amal, the guide for my five-day hike in Sri Lanka’s Knuckles Mountain Range. He has cunningly omitted one important detail. we’re actually walking to the top of some waterfalls. So, while much of the 20km we’ll be covering for the day is relatively easy, a few sections are close to vertical.
As if to confirm there is a greater challenge in store, we’re joined by a second guide. Raja is a thin moustachioed fellow who lives in a nearby village. He’s carrying a spray-bottle of antiseptic, which he occasionally squirts onto my walking shoes. This is to stave off the many leeches that live in Knuckles. I’ve also been advised to wear a double layer of socks. The precautions mostly do the job, though one clever wriggler does find his way onto the back of my leg, drinking his fill before I realise what’s happening. Leeches have 32 brains, by the way, which is presumably why I’ve been outsmarted.
The aforementioned waterfalls are a series of three separate cascades, each one reached by a muddy scramble and ending in a swimmable waterhole. I wait until we’re at the last and highest before ditching my clothes and diving in.
We eat lunch while we’re there – a sardine curry, among other things – and thanks to the noise of pounding water and the stunning views of central Sri Lanka, it’s a memorable moment. Equally memorable is what awaits once we climb up and above the final waterfall. We’re now on a high, flat rock shelf known as a “cloud forest”. And we’re literally walking through a cloud. Eerie and exhilarating.
With clouds, of course, comes rain. And if yesterday’s afternoon downpour measured a 6 on a scale of intensity, today’s is a 9. It absolutely hammers down! By the time we get back to our tents amidst the tea plantations, my boots are miniature swimming pools. But I’m having the time of my life.
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