Nature & Hill Country
Arguably, the most the famous city in the hill country, Nuwara Eliya appealed to the British that Colonised Sri Lanka so much that it is well known as “Little England”. The city is considered as one of best getaways for locals and tourists alike, to escape the hustle and bustle of Colombo life and to enjoy the nice cool weather. From the Haggala Botanical Gardens, the Pedro Tea Factory to Victoria Park, World’s End and more, Nuawara Eliya is your ultimate chill-pill.
One of the famous places to visit in Sri Lanka, Ella is encircled by the stunning hills of the central highlands, dotted with tea estates, tall trees of cloud forests and incredible natural scenery. It has a rural feel, but maintains an original, hippie kind of vibe that caters to thousands of tourists that visit during the season. This natural paradise becomes a party hotspot once dusk falls and is a great place let loose and have some fun.
A visit to the hills would not be complete without staying in Haputale. It is a superb destination to relax in the central part of Sri Lanka. Tea estates rule the area, where one can go for a walk for weeks without taking the same path twice. A visit to the Dambatenne Tea Factory, Lipton’s Seat and Adisham Monastery is a must. Additionally, Haputale is on top of a mountain range and so, the views are truly exceptional and not to be missed.
This is a 2,243-meter-tall pointed mountain that is popularly known as “Sri Pada” or “Sacred Footprint”, which is a 1.8-meter rock formation near the peak, which in Buddhist tradition is believed to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu culture that of Hanuman or Shiva and in some Islamic and Christian folklore, that of Adam.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
The most important forest reserve in the country and is the last sustainable area of major tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees in the reserve are endemic and many of them are considered extremely rare.
Knuckles Mountain Range
Knuckles also called the Dumbara mountain range looks like a clenched fist and hence it gets its name. This is a UNESCO world heritage site, with over 30% of all Sri Lankas endemic flora only found in these mountain forests. If you are an adventure junkie take a hike along some of the nature trails through the cloud-covered mountain forests with a professional guide, passing by flowing rivers and water falls and even stop off at a local village on the way. Take the time to enjoy a quick bathe in the tranquil waters of the rivers and waterfalls.
A village nestled in the central province of Sri Lanka, Kothmale is part of a mountainous area that the Sinhalese Kings left forested to create sufficient rainfall for rice farming in the valleys below. According to history, Prince Dutugamunu took refuge in Kothmale to escape the fury of his father, King Kavantissa. The location is also where the Kandyan Kings hid the sacred tooth relic at some stage during political insecurity.
Famous for being one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka, Kithulgala is a small town that comes alive in the first three months of the year. It is the white-water rafting capital of the country and is a popular destination for adventure based training programmes. On top of all these activities, Kithulgala is renowned for being the filming location of the Academy Award-winning movie, “Bridge on the River Kwai”, which was filmed on the Kelani River near the town.