Nuwara Eliya was the fourth stop on our Sri Lankan holiday. It was also one I was most looking forward to. Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of Sri Lanka and we wanted to see as much of the place’s beautiful landscape as possible so we ditched the car and instead took the train. It is also known for its much cooler climate as it is so much higher. What I didn’t understand what that this meant it was really, really cold and all I had packed were t-shirts and the flimsiest cardigan of all time.I am going to split this blog post into three sections, the first will be all about the train journey, the second about Nuwara Eliya, and the second will be about the World’s End Hike.
Taking the Train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
This train is one of the most popular in the world and when we were on the platform it was absolutely full of tourists. Most people book first class reserved seats well in advance but as we arrived in Kandy only the day before we hoped something would become available on the day of departure.
In the end we were lucky – we managed to not only get second class unreserved seats but also managed to get a seat in second class (thanks to the kindness of a Sri Lankan man) so both Sister and I rotated who sat and who stood for the four hour journey. We also decided to embrace Sri Lankan train travel by leaning out of the windows and doors respectively in order to get the best photos.
The journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya’s station – Nanu Oya – passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes. Tea plantations and green forestland passed by the window for hour after hour. Andwe took picture after picture. Just have a look at some of these.
I have heard stories about train travel in Asia so was really looking forward to this trip. The journey was exactly what I had expected and nothing like it at all. There were more tourists with their backpacks than I had expected but also locals singing Sri Lankan songs (I assume anyway – all I know for sure is that they weren’t singing in English, Gujarati, Hindi, or German) and the most delicious food being sold.
One of the differences between first class travel and second class travel was the absence of air conditioning. When in and near Kandy I really felt this loss but as we travelled to Nuwara Eliya it became less and less important as the air became cooler and cooler. When we reached Nuwara Eliya I was cold and this wasn’t something I expected to feel while In Sri Lanka. For one thing I hadn’t packed for it. And then, because we were in the hills and because it was monsoon season, it started to rain. And did I mention it was cold? Because it was cold.
We spent the day exploring the town, buying hoodies, and putting on all of our long sleeved clothes. There were some truly delicious restaurants in Nuwara Eliya which we enjoyed – hello Hoppers my new favourite food – before we had an early night. The World’s End Hike the next morning was going to be an early start for us (4.30am to be precise) and both of us wanted as much sleep as possible.
What a brilliant name! World’s End is located on the outskirts of Nuwara Eliya in the Horton plains National Park. The name refers to a sheer cliff with a drop of about 4,000 feet. But not only does the national park have this, it also has Small World’s End with a drop of ‘only’ 1,000 feet, and Baker’s Waterfall. To see all three sites you have to hike around 10km and initially I wanted to do it on the afternoon we arrived in Nuwara Eliya. However the point is to be able to see everything, including the Indian Ocean from World’s End and the best time to do that is early in the morning.
So after about an hour’s drive we reached there at just after six in the morning. The mistake we made was not buying tickets from the official place. We didn’t know this so drove past! Thankfully at the National park they were kind enough to let us buy tickets from there.
This hike made Nuwara Eliya one of my favourite stops. It was beautiful and the day was sunny and clear (if cold) and just walking and chatting with Sister and other tourists we passed was all kinds of perfect. It also goes without saying that the views from Small World’s End and World’s End were amazing and that Baker’s Fall was breath taking.
I recommend this hike so much. Yes you have to wake up early and yes it is cold but it is so worth is and you warm up very, very quickly.
After Nuwara Eliya our next stop was Hikkaduwa and the beach and you can read all about it in my next Travel Diary instalment!
Here are my previous instalments:
Travel Diaries – Sri Lanka: Sigiriya
Travel Diaries – Sri Lanka: Dambulla
Travel Diaries – Sri Lanka: Kandy