“Surviving’ World’s End Walk” is a bit of a stretch as it is hardly life threatening but the name draws you in doesn’t it? Here are some basic facts to get you started on one of the most popular hikes in Sri Lanka.
- Where is it?: Horton Plains National Park, 20 km south of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
- Cost: 3000 rupees p.p ($20 USD). A rip-off, yep. Bring cash.
- How to get there: Take a tuk-tuk for 2500 rupees LKR ($16 USD) or a car from 3500 LKR ($23 USD). 1 -1.5 hours from Nuwara Eliya.
- What time: The earlier the better. Especially if it is clear (although Jacob begs to differ). We left at 5 am and begun walking at 6:30 am.
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate. There are a few hills/steps but nothing too strenuous. All ages can walk this walk.
- How long does it take: 2.5 – 3 hours depending on how long you stop for.
- Rules: They don’t allow any plastic bags inside the National Park (great rule!). They will transfer your items over to paper bags so you can still bring in snacks etc. Apart from this, it’s common sense rules.
Our alarm went off at 4:40 am and we immediately groaned at the thought of getting out of bed. If it wasn’t for the sounds of chanting at the local Buddhist monastery, we may have able to fall right back asleep. Nevertheless, we got up, grabbed our packed breakfast (fried noodles at 5 am anyone?) and away we headed off in our tuk-tuk to the dark, cold, foggy morning.
Why do we do this to ourselves? *We must experience all a country has to offer* runs through our minds multiple times. Sleep and warmth can come later!
As we bumped along the windy roads to the entrance of the National Park, the light begins to surface. Unfortunately, so does the rain. Our driver assures us it will clear up and not to worry “the view will be perfect” he says, “very beautiful”. I love how proud they are of their country.
However, the weather in front of us wasn’t lying and there was definitely no sign of it clearing up anytime soon. Check out that fog! There was nothing else we could do about it so we carried on, bought our over-priced tickets and crossed our fingers.
We may not have been able to see far but out of the mist but we definitely saw this big fella. This gigantic sambar deer came right up to our tuk-tuk to welcome us into the park. Unfortunately, it was the only animal we saw but he was a beauty. Jacob fed him a banana and he chomped at it just a few centimetres away from us.
Which way to go? Left or right?
The World’s End path is circular which means it should be impossible to get lost unless of course you try and create your own path and then you’re on your own. On this particular day, almost everyone went right, but we took a left and found there were far fewer people walking this way. No matter which way you go, you will see the same views & attractions.
What do you see?
Throughout the 2.5 hour walk, we discovered Baker’s fall, Mini World’s End (270 m. (890 ft) and then the famous World’s End, a drop of 870 m (2800 ft.). As you can see from our pictures, we didn’t have much luck with the views, the weather only allowed us to only see a small glimmer of the tea fields and villages below. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the sea. Maybe next time.
Throughout the park, there are signs written in English explaining the surrounding flora & fauna so save your money there is really no need for a guide. If you’re lucky you may see more deer, a variety of birds and hopefully some sunshine!
Is this hike really worth it?
Unfortunately, due to the poor visibility we experienced, it’s hard to give an honest answer but we will say the over-priced entry is enough to deter anyone away, especially a backpacker. The money can be spent on free, shorter walks through the country such as Adam’s Peak, Ella’s Rock and Little Adam’s Peak (our favourite). We wouldn’t be rushing to do it again.
Whilst you’re in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya, also known as “Little England” is a colonial town in the hills of Sri Lanka with an interesting mix of British and Sri Lankan architecture. A lot of tourists skip over this town and head directly for Ella but we found the small town & it’s surroundings to be quite charming, especially the tea plantations. We’d never seen anything like it before.
The main street is lined with second-hand clothing stores, street food vendors, guest houses, one giant post office (see below) and a few restaurants.
Things to do
1/ Tea Plantations & Factories
Nuwara Eliya is considered to be the most important locations for tea production in Sri Lanka and this part of Sri Lanka’s hill country is just covered in tea. Everywhere. It was incredible to see the greenery that lines the mountains and the women that work 8 hour days hand picking the tea leaves for production. They fill their bags with 25kg of leaves and then deliver it to the trucks to be taken to the factories. Such hard work!
Did you know?
- White Tea (shown above) is the most expensive tea in Sri Lanka ($5 a cup) and has a variety of health benefits. We tried it once and it found the flavour non-existent. It tasted like watered down black tea.
- For every 1kg of tea, you need 5kg of tea leaves.
- Tea is the most consumed drink in the world (apart from water).
- Green Tea requires no fermentation.
- The whole process, from picking to packaging, takes 24 hours.
- The less processed the tea leaf, the greater the antioxidants. Meaning, green tea has more antioxidants than black tea, and white tea (the least processed of the teas) has the most antioxidants of all.
- All the different types of tea; white, black and green, all come from the same plant. It is how they are processed that differs.
We had the chance to stop by and try this hard labouring work for a total of 5 minutes. It is astonishing how they do this day in and day out but it was really cool to experience the work alongside them. Afterwards, we visited one of the most famous tea factories, Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Centre and learnt of the tea making process with a tour of the factory and free tea tasting. How that teabag gets into your cup is quite the process! Appreciate that tea next time you take a sip :). Cost – Free.
2/ High Tea at The Grand Hotel
If you feel like embracing the town of Nuwara Eliya with some old English Charm, head to High Tea at 3:30 pm at The Grand Hotel. We were given unlimited tea and fairly decent an arrangement of savoury and sweet treats. It was a nice escape from the streets as we sipped tea and pretended we were in London. Cost 1200 LKR ($8 USD) per person.
3/ Ramboda Falls
Ramboda falls are Sri Lanka’s 11th tallest waterfall at a height of 109m. We stopped by these falls on our way home from the tea plantation/factory but we were completely shattered from the day so we didn’t do a lot apart from stare at them. Whoops. You can walk along the top of the falls or enjoy a view from the bottom at a nearby hotel and restaurant. Cost: Free for 1 hour.
4/ Victoria Park
This park is located in the centre of town near the main bus stop. It is a decent size with many places to sit and relax along with a variety of different garden areas, a playground and small lakes. Cost 300 LKR ($2 USD) for foreigners and just 40 LKR for locals.
Where to stay in Nuwara Eliya
This town is continually growing with an assortment of accommodation options with home stays being the most apparent. Staying in a homestay feels so welcoming and warm, they’re always so friendly and most importantly, they cook the best meals. More often than not, better than the restaurants.
Our choice of accommodation in Nuwara Eliya was no exception and the food we ate here was some of the best on our trip. Run by a beautiful family The Train View Hotel is located a 5-minute walk from the train station Nanu Oya (the station in Nuwara Eliya) and a 10-minute tuk-tuk or bus ride from the main town. The rooms and bathrooms were clean, they helped us with arranging tours and train tickets, cooked us delicious meals and the wifi worked! As you can see, we’re very similar in height.
For more accommodation options, including in town, see here.
Our time in Nuwara Eliya was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Kandy and is a great for a stop over en route to Ella or Colombo (depending on which way you are travelling) but if you don’t have the time, it’s not the end of the world – or is it?
What did you think of Nuwara Eliya? Would you recommend visiting this town?
Married Days Survived: 745