Sri Lanka Part 5/7. One of the highlights of this region is hiking. We diligently set out at 5am to hike at Horton Plains National Park; the chef was kind enough to wake up at 4am to make use tea and prepare a packed lunch for us.
At an altitude of 2140m, it consists of over 3,000 hectares of Montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystem. We saw deers roaming around too. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
There large number of endemic flora and fauna species, along with birds, purpled-face monkeys (we didn’t spot any) the deers (we saw a few on route, and a whole herd as we exited the park) lining the rugged trail.
The rolling hills are picturesque, reminding me somewhat of the hikes I’d done in New Zealand and Tasmania, and are decorated by running brooks of clear mountain water.
Mid-way through the circular trail, we could hear the increasing roar of water, and as we ended our descent to the falls, we gaped with amazement at the majestic Bakers Falls. The cascading cool water mist offered a welcome respite from our strenuous trek down.
On the southern edge is the famous World’s End, an escarpment that drops a sheer 900 meters, but it was blanketed by mist when we got there. Early this year, a Dutch tourist felled off the edge but miraculously survived the fall and was rescued.
We were ravenous after the 5 hour hike, and stopped in Nuwara Eliya for lunch at the Grand Indian restaurant at an annexe of the iconic Grand Hotel – Indian food for a change.
The food was very good; the mutton gosht and mutton briyani were the best, the meat flavourful and tender; delicious with the garlic naan and pratha. Indian cuisine is much richer (more coconut milk and ghee) than Sri Lankan food. Our guide told us this place is very popular.
We made a brief stop at the heritage Tea factory on the way back to the hotel, a high end hotel converted from a tea factory, a place full of history. There was a tea tasting session but it was fully booked so we ordered a variety of teas and shared. A nice pit stop to unwind from our long day.