The 'Hill Country' or 'Up Country' are terms broadly used to describe the mountainous regions of the centre of Sri Lanka. Covered with tea plantations and National Parks, these beautiful hills and mountains are home to some of the country's most unique and historic accommodation. The cool climate provides a beautiful contrast with the often scorching coastline.
The old British hill station of Nuwara Eliya is now a favourite retreat for locals looking to escape the heat of the lowlands. It's misty and rainy much of the year – but provides a strange and atmospheric step back into colonial history.
Here you'll find several historical tea planter's bungalows to stay in amidst working plantations, making your experience all the more special. A walk, a drive or a train journey through the incomparable scenery around Haputale, Ella and Bandarawela is a must.
If you're the adventurous type, you can climb 'Adam's Peak, the revered mountain which flings out a mystical shadow at dawn and has inspired all the major religions to claim it as their own. The overnight climb is an unforgettable adventure.
The region around Haputale, Bandarawella and Ella is colloquially known in Sri Lanka as the 'health triangle' due to the lovely fresh air found here. There are lovely walks around here, and as it is located on the very southern edge of the hills: when the cloud breaks, you often peak through to incredible views down to the plains below and even the sea 60km away as the crow flies.
A little further down the hill towards the south, you will find incredible wildlife and very few people at picturesque Belihul Oya.
In the lower hills, Kithugalla is carving out a reputation as the adventure capital of Sri Lanka. Previously best known as the film ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’, Kithugalla’s main draw is now white river rafting. The birding and walking in this area is also excellent.
Finally, the Sinharaja rainforest is one of Asia’s most important protected areas. A wonderful place for walking, casual observers will marvel at the diversity of reptile and bird life easily spotted with the help of enthusiastic guides. No nature enthusiast can miss this unique opportunity to see many rare and endemic species.
Our guide to Sri Lanka has more information.
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