Backpacking in Sri Lanka

8th Jan 2014
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 1/7 by Riya Poojary
A spectacular view from Adam's Peak
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 2/7 by Riya Poojary
Tranquil routes of the small town of Ella
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 3/7 by Riya Poojary
Divinity in Horton Plains
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 4/7 by Riya Poojary
Much love in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 5/7 by Riya Poojary
Elephants bathing in the river
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 6/7 by Riya Poojary
The Temple of the Tooth
Photo of Backpacking in Sri Lanka 7/7 by Riya Poojary
Rail routes across the Hill Country

Sri Lanka is a display of an extraordinary blend of untainted nature, rich culture and fascinating diversity. It will charm you, allure you and tempt you in ways that you would want to extend your trip. This country offers an intimidating range of landscapes right from quaint bewitching beaches to chimerical misty hill country. From rugged paths leading to wildlife-rich jungles to daintily trimmed extensive tea plantations. That is why this place has something for everyone. This country has embraced art in all forms whether it is dance, music or visual arts. When you tour through Sri Lanka, you will stand as a witness to this. There is a huge place for celebrating festivals in the heart of every local you meet. So check the calendar before booking your tickets and try to be a part of at least one of these celebrations.

As a kid living in India, we all know about the existence of Sri Lanka thanks to all the Ramayana stories, serials and animated movies that we see. I was no different. However, it’s only when you travel there that you’re truly exposed to this multi-ethnic country that is full of pious souls and surviving tribes.

We started our trip from Kandy. The main reason to start the tour from here was to take the much read about train covering the hills. It is possibly the best way to travel in Sri Lanka. This exceptional journey covers dense tea plantations, magnificent waterfall and small villages in this single journey. We got down at Hatton for the breathtaking Adam’s Peak. Our next stop was Nuwara Eliya and the last stop was Ella.

There is no way you can return home without meeting the majestic elephants or exploring few mythology related caves or trekking up the hills to witness the earliest sunrays. After reading this trip, it won’t be difficult for you to see, why I’m enamored by this tropical jewel. And before you head home, don’t forget to pack your share of tea, cinnamon and rubies. This can be a perfect island vacation if you are willing to go backpacking.

You can take a bus (3 hours) or train from Colombo to Kandy. This cultural capital is situated in the center of Sri Lanka. You can visit the Victoria Dam, which is an arch dam and the tallest one in the country (400 feet). Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a humbling place and should be on your ‘must visit list’. The best time to visit is when they are being fed or taken to the river to bathe. This orphanage for wounded and abandoned elephants was started in 1975. You can head to the Temple of the Tooth or Sri Dalada Maligawa, one of the most holy shrines as it preserves a tooth relic of Lord Buddha. To view the casket in which the tooth is kept you should visit around 6.30 pm. The casket is only displayed twice a day. In the evening you can watch some cultural dance and mingle with the locals.

Photo of Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Riya Poojary

You can take a train departing from Kandy at 3.30 pm which will reach Hatton at around 7 pm. This leisurely journey through mist and breeze is my most memorable experience. The sight of silent villages, grey clouds, birds, waterfall, streams, dark tunnels, lush green trees is the best train ride I've had. After travelling in Mumbai locals each day I never thought I could be smitten by a slow train journey. But I was and how. Travel trip - Check the train timings if the schedule has been changed.

Photo of Train Ride from Kandy to Hatton by Riya Poojary

Evening is the perfect time to reach Hatton which is a 30.5 kms journey to Adam’s Peak (Siri Padaya Peak). It is known as Adam’s Peak as it is believed to be the place where Adam set his foot first on Earth after being evicted from heaven and also Sri Padaya Peak because the Sacred Footprint is said to be left by Lord Buddha. After relaxing for some time you can trek up the hills just around or after midnight. You can hire local guides to help you with the same. The trek takes average 3-4 hours. The sunrise over the Hill Country is the enchanting view due to which the trek will be worth. The illuminating view of sun along with the mist casting shadows on the slopes is spectacular. Travel tips - Stretch well before starting the trek. Carry warm clothes to prevent yourself from catching a cold after sweating during the trek as it will be chilly up there. This route is well lit only during the pilgrim season from December to May. If you are not visiting during this time, carry your own torch.

Photo of Adam's Peak, Nuwara Eliya, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Riya Poojary

We then headed to the scenic city of Nuwara Eliya which is 78 km away. This city is strikingly distinct from the rest of the county in its architecture. This place is best explored on foot. If you want to see a variety of plants then spending some time in Victoria Garden is ideal for you. You will find a few unusual building with a colonial era touch in the vicinity. A little further you have Horton Plains which was designed into a national park in 1988. Rivers Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe have their source here. Rivers, Baker's Falls, birds, variety of plants and animals make this place worth visiting. You can opt for guided walking safari.

Photo of Nuwara Eliya, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Riya Poojary

Ella will take you to the beautiful countryside that you always wanted to go for some peace and quiet. This is the best spot to end your trip and to interact with the locals while you stuff yourself with some typical Sri Lankan cuisine or walk through the tea plantations. There is a small Ravana Ella cave which is 2 kms away from Ella protected in the warmth of forest. It is said that this cave was used by Ravana to hide Sita when he had kidnapped her. You can spend some time at the waterfall near the caves.

Photo of Ella, Uva Province, Sri Lanka by Riya Poojary

Frequent Searches Leading To This Page:-

Best Sri Lanka tour packages with price, Sri Lanka tourism best time to visit, Sri Lanka tour package for couple, Top things to do in Sri Lanka, Weekend getaways near Sri Lanka