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 spots you can’t miss:
1. Trek in the Knuckles Mountain Range. The area east of Kandy remains a wilderness offering breath-taking scenery and top-class trekking without the crowds.
2. Cycle through the Hill Country. Enjoy the cool climate while riding through scenic tea plantations with magnificent views and old-fashioned colonial charm.
3. Climb Adam’s Peak. The soaring summit of Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike.
4. Bike through Lowland Forest. Ride through plantations of cinnamon, rubber, cashew nuts and bananas, and see giant Buddhas perched on top of jungly hills and secluded temples overlooking the rice paddies.
5. Canoe along the Ginganga River. Paddle along at your ease past amazing plants, flowers and wildlife along the banks of this beautiful river near Galle.
Waterfalls & Downpours
“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 still 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, a rake-thin, moustachioed fellow who lives in a nearby village. He’s carrying a spray-bottle of antiseptic, which from time to time he squirts onto my walking shoes. This is to stave off the many leeches that have made their home 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 of them 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 are literally walking through a cloud. Eerie and exhilarating.
With clouds, of course, come rain, and if yesterday’s afternoon downpour measured a 6 on a scale of intensity, today’s is a 9. It absolutely hammers down, and by the time we get back to our tents amidst the tea plantations, my boots are a pair of miniature swimming pools. But I’m having the time of my life.
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