A favourite spot in this area is the British hill station of Nuwara Eliya, which at 2,000 metres altitude enjoys a cool air of colonial sophistication, dating back to the 19th Century when the British were drawn to its addictively fresh (and familiar) climate. It retains some of its country town feel today, with gentlemen’s clubs, a race course and championship golf course - all clues to its British heritage. Visits to the working tea plantations of the area provide some fascinating journeys through hill scenery, such as Bandarawela, which is said to have the best air quality of anywhere in Sri Lanka.
Heading 28 kilometres south of Nuwara Eliya, you will reach another of Sri Lanka’s national parks, Horton Plains, whose grasslands and forest patches are home to leopards, monkeys, deer, mongoose, giant squirrels and small groups of elephant. The ‘World’s End’, where the plateau comes to a sheer 1000 metre drop with views over the western coastline, is the park’s most dramatic feature.
Active visitors to the area will be itching to scale majestic Adam’s Peak or ‘Sri Pada’ which translates as Sacred Footprint, supposedly left by the Buddha on his journey to paradise. This imposing summit looms over the region and the ascent can take up to five hours, despite this the commanding views from the top make it more than worth the exertion, and if you go during the pilgrim season, although busy, it can be a fascinating cultural experience to witness.
Getting to the area itself is a highly enjoyable experience, as you pass through tea terraces filled with colourful sari-clad tea pluckers.
The journey can be done via road, which takes about 3 hours if you drive south from Nuwara Eliya, or by rail.