I write this as I sit out on my private balcony overlooking a sea of tea plantations, listening to the stream trickling below and sipping on some hot tea from a pot that seems bottomless (but seriously, it’s the biggest tea pot I have ever seen, it’s amazing). You are most likely reading this because you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka and either have an adventurous bone or two in your body or can just really appreciate natures goodness. Adams Peak, commonly referred to as Sri Pada i.e. the Sacred Footprint is a 2243m high mountain in the Newara Eliya District in the hill country of Sri Lanka. It has been the site of pilgrimage for more than 1000 years but is very quickly turning into an itinerary must do for nature lovers.
When should I climb Adams Peak?
There are two very distinct seasons for climbing Adams Peak with the high season starting on poya day in December and finishing up in May and the off season spanning from May to December. I did the climb in the off season and like all things, there was a big list of pro’s and con’s and I am honestly still undecided on how I feel about them. To put it simply, if you climb Adam’s Peak in high season expect hundreds upon hundreds of people but a higher probability of seeing the sun rise and gorgeous weather.
In the off season, you can expect to walk the whole distance with barely a soul in sight at the risk of a lower chance of seeing the sunrise. I think it’s important to note that if you do decide to do Adam’s Peak during the off season that you go with little expectations to see the sun rise and go more for the journey and serenity. Sure it was a little underwhelming when we reached the top and came to the realisation that we wouldn’t be seeing any sort of sun rise but the walk back down made it all worth it.
Where should I stay?
Nallathanniya is a small village just a 10 minute walk to the starting point of Adams Peak, making it the most convenient location to stay for the hike. There would have to be at least 50 different accommodation options but I couldn’t recommend to stay at Queens Ark highly enough. At the moment, there are only two rooms, one accommodating for four people and the other for six people. Although, there are plans to extend the accommodation to at least 10 rooms over the next few years. The rooms are spacious, extremely clean and have stunning views looking out over the flowing stream below.
What makes Queens Ark so special though is the hospitality and the food- I could not fault it. Nimale arranged everything for us, from food packs to take on the walk to transfers to our next destination. I usually love trying out different restaurants when I am in a new place, but we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to eat at Queens Ark because the food was just so tasty. We had both breakfasts and dinners there. We were never short of food as there was always a huge selection of curries to try as well as a big bowl of rice AND you have the option for seconds, yes please. It was definitely the best way to be introduced to the Sri Lankan cuisine.
How do I get to Adam’s Peak?
Adams Peak is only really accessible by car or tuk-tuk. The best way to go about getting here is to make your way to Hatton first and then hop in a tuk-tuk to take you the rest of the way. We came from Colombo and I will admit that we had a few troubles getting on the right bus. Although once you are on it, it’s super easy, direct and is such an awesome way to see how the locals get around.
When you are at the Colombo bus station you need to hop on bus 18 for Hatton. Don’t be fooled by the locals telling you to get on another bus or that you need to drive away from the bus station to get on a quicker bus. This is a scam to get your money. The busses leave Colombo on every hour and the journey to Hatton takes approximately 5 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. The tuk-tuk journey from Hatton to Adams Peak takes about an hour, so all up you can expect to be travelling for around 6 to 7 hours depending on how well you time the bus departure.
Cost: 166 Rupees for the bus and 1500 Rupees for the tuk-tuk (Total: 1660 Sri Lankan Rupee’s which converts to around $14). We probably could have got the price down for the tuk-tuk but we just wanted to get to there with no hassles, so 1500 it was).
What should I bring?
- Runners/hiking shoes
- Torch – iPhone works well if you have a waterproof case to protect it from the weather.
- Plenty of water – I would say 1.5L per person is adequate
- Money – to make a small donation at the start of the walk in return for a blessing.
- Towel to sit down on when you get to the top so you don’t get your bottom wet
- Snacks – we took some banana’s and roasted almonds.
- If you want to get real serious, bring some tea in a thermost, especially if you go in the off season. We were so envious of all the people that were sipping on their tea at the top. It’s a good way to keep toasty when it’s chilly.
Is there anything else I need to know?
- The hike took us about 2 and a half hours, but we were absolutely smashing the steps and were wanting to get to the top as quickly as possible. Most people tend to do it in around 3 hours and have multiple breaks along the way. With the sun rising between 5:30am and 6am, you should aim to leave Maskeliya between 2am and 2:30am.
- You do need to be quite fit to conquer Adams Peak as there is 5000+ stairs just to get up there. If you have any joint problems I wouldn’t recommend going due to the steepness of the steps, you sure do feel it on the way down.
- Don’t stay for just the one night, you will regret it in the morning after you’ve finished your walk. The last thing you want to be doing is checking out and heading on to the next destination. Allow two nights so you can give your legs a well deserved rest and take in the beauty of the area, trust me, it’s worth it.
If you head up and get an awesome sunrise please do share it with me as I would love to see it in all of it’s glory.
All the love in the world,