We set off bright and early from Nuwara Eliya, arriving at Horton's Plains National Park at about 730am to begin the trek to World's End and Baker's Falls. Though it was cold and drizzly (bring along a good weatherproof/water proof jacket), it had a completely otherworldly feel that was amazing-- we felt transported to a totally different time and place altogether. Mist hung heavy over the short yellow shrubbery, the landscape was dotted with mesmerisingly stark Tim Burton-esque trees, while other parts of the walk were lush with tropical rainforest and Lord of the Rings type rolling green hills. Completely stunning. Barely 10 minutes into the trek, we even came face to face with a gentle Samba deer. Our guide also told us leopards were known to be roaming in the park- but they're very rare and pose little danger to humans.
The walk to World's End, a dramatic cliff face shrouded in clouds (you really feel like you're at the end of the world) is relatively easy. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to World's End itself. Regular walkers with average fitness should be able to handle the trail with no problem. When we were there, there was another group with kids on the hike too! The path is well marked out and well-maintained. The entrance fee was quite expensive (3000 rupees) but I felt it was worth it because the park was super well-maintained and very effectively balanced conservation efforts and the respect for nature with the need to cater to tourism. I.e. you dont have to worry about flashy signboards or coffee joints in the park itself.
Some people complain about clouds shrouding the view at World's End, but I think the clouds are the differentiating factor. You have no idea of how high up you actually are, which is completely thrilling. When you look down off the cliff, the clouds shift and re-shape, and you can catch glimpses of the valley below--Way more exciting than if it was just another run of the mill viewing point.
The walk to Baker's falls takes another half an hour or so. The falls are quite peaceful, worth a look.
All in all, the entire hike (there and back) took about 3 hours. If you are looking for a totally different experience of Sri Lanka, this is totally worth the trip.
My entire trip, including this visit to Horton's Plains, was organised by easily the best guide we ever had- Mr Sam Samarakoon (http://www.samarakoon.com/). He picked us up from the airport himself, customised the entire trip according to our preferences, and brought us on completely local experiences. The trip was perfectly comfortable (air-conditioned car, English guide, great hotels), and never once did we feel like we were being taken for a ride. I can personally vouch for his honesty, reliability and service attitude. Even when his relative Anura (another wonderful wonderful guide) took over on the second half of our tour, Sam constantly called to check on how we were doing. His prices are very reasonable as well. Sam and Anura made our visit to Sri Lanka one of the best trips we've been on, and we'll definitely go back again thanks to them.
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