When people say that Sri Lanka is beautiful, you should know that is an understatement. I’ve been on quite a few Much Better Adventures, so I knew this trip would be great, but it totally exceeded expectations.

The Ultimate Adventure Through Sri Lanka | Much Better Adventures
Join an active, small group trip to hike, cycle, surf and do yoga through Sri Lanka’s jungles, rural villages, wildlife reserves, and tropical beaches.

Our first hike was at sunset. We were all a little skeptical about that, after the heavens opened up and there was a torrential downpour - not to mention full cloud cover. Nonetheless, we tackled the steady climb up Pidurangala Rock.

The top section was a scramble, especially for a short person like me, but we were welcomed by an epic view of Sigiriya Rock. The views were amazing, with luscious green landscapes for miles and we had a break in the clouds just in time for sunset.

The following day we visited Sigiriya itself. A very early start was needed this to beat the heat. We cycled our way to the start point, before a sweaty climb up 1200 steps to get to the top. We were again welcomed by panoramic views of  jungle and learnt about the history of the Lion Rock, which was formerly a palace.

I savoured every moment – utter peace and tranquility with just the sound of falling water.

The drive to the next location was a little long but nothing an elephant sighting couldn't fix, and it was so worth the journey. On arrival an oversized tractor drove us off road into the middle of nowhere, it was intriguing to say the least but I was quite excited to see where we would be staying – the literal definition of 'off the beaten path'.

It felt very surreal walking into the place we would stay for the next two nights – Wild Glamping Gal Oya. We were surrounded by mountains, the sounds of nature and it was utter bliss: camping, but done in style.

It was the literal definition of 'off the beaten path'...

The following morning was another early start, but the sunrise was just beautiful to wake up to. Today’s hike was with the indigenous Vedda people who guided and navigated us through dense jungle into Gal Oya National Park.

The terrain was tough, with towering trees, rocks to scramble over and lots of streams complete with leeches, not to mention the abundance of flora and fauna in the area. However, what made the day special was spotting a wild elephant in the distance, that was an experience I’ll never forget.

The next day we took to the water and spent a couple of hours on Senanayake Samudra Reservoir to catch glimpses of wildlife. There were plenty of birds, buffalo and lizards to look out for before setting off on our journey to Kandy.

In the evening we had a yoga session in the treetops to find our zen and to relax our tired muscles. I’m not usually one for yoga, however being in the jungle with just the sound of nature was incredibly relaxing. I slept like a baby that night.

Birds flying above a rock and reservoir in Sri Lanka.
Senanayake Samudra Reservoir. Photo: Nisha Chandegra

After fuelling up on breakfast we set off for a gentle hike through the village wandering amongst different types of fruit and spice trees. We built up quite a sweat since we were blessed with gorgeous blue skies, so it was only right that our hike ended at waterfall. It was so refreshing taking a dip in the water, even if the fish were nibbling at our feet.

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Having at lunch by the waterfall with no-one else there but us was amazing. I loved the fact that we were in our own little bubble and could actually enjoy our surroundings without any crowds.

The following day was one I was most excited for - the train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. I'd heard great things about this journey, however, it really didn’t prepare me for the reality of it. When people say pictures do not do it justice, they really mean it. I was in awe. The views were truly breathtaking. I didn’t even notice the time on this four-to-five hour journey. I just stood by the door of the train and watched the rolling hills of the tea plantations, an unforgettable experience. I could never get bored of those views.

It was certainly cooler up in Nuwara Eliya and we felt it at our 5am wake up call, but it was also nice to have a little relief from the heat. Today's hike was in the Horton Plains National Park where we were doing a section of the Pekoe Trail. First we had to take a drive up into the plateau where our hike began – the morning mist looked very eerie but we came across some very majestic sambar (the Sri Lankan deer).

A sambar stag stands in the mist among grassy plains.
A Sri Lankan sambar in the mist. Photo: Nisha Chandegra

After having our breakfast – making sure all remnants and wrappers were packed away to dispose of, to protect the environment – we began the hike. As we walked across a plateau with open grasslands, it felt a lot easier than the previous days, however the views were still incredible. A viewpoint called World's End did not disappoint, with clear skies we were able to see for miles!

We next made our way down to a waterfall, although we couldn’t swim in this one, it was still refreshing having the falling water spray on us. We spotted a few colourful lizards on the way, but not the elusive leopard.

A rocky waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation in Sri Lanka.
Waterfall in Horton Plains. Photo: Nisha Chandegra

At the end of the loop we had tuk tuks waiting to take us down for lunch, however this journey turned hairy. The heavens opened up with cold, torrential rain, as the poor drivers had to navigate down steep roads in this weather. We held on for dear life, but our driver managed well.

After a spot of lunch, thankfully the skies cleared up and we were back on our feet as we hiked to our guesthouse in the mountains, nestled within the tea plantations. The only way to reach it was by foot so we were cut off from the world, again in our own little bubble, surrounded by the sounds of nature and lush greenery – it really was something special.

Mountainous views across the tea plantations of Sri Lanka.
Mountain views. Photo: Nisha Chandegra

We continued hiking the Pekoe Trail the following morning as we headed back down the mountain. It was quite something being so close to the tea plantations we had seen from the train, it all looked so very surreal. We managed to get a glimpse of the Devil's Staircase too – unfortunately we weren’t able to hike on it the previous day because of the rain.

It was a scorcher of a day and thankfully we were heading to a waterfall to cool off. Upon stepping in, it took my breath away as the water was so cold, but it was refreshing. I was the first to arrive so I had the whole waterfall to myself before the rest of the gang got there, I felt very spoilt and I savoured every moment of it – utter peace and tranquility with just the sound of falling water.

The drive to Talalla was a long one and we reached there at nightfall. We were all rather hungry so we settled in for the night – although some frogs in our room had something to say about it. Although the next morning offered a leisurely rise, I still woke up at 6am and took a walk along the beach. The sound of crashing waves as the sun was coming up was a perfect start to the morning, even though I didn’t like the reality of the trip coming to an end. The beach was so clear and pristine.

Our surfing instructors picked us up after breakfast to take us to a beginners' beach to learn how to surf. We started off on the sand before making our way into the sea. They made it look so easy but I can safely say it was not.

I think I must have drank half the Indian Ocean attempting to stand up on the board, but the instructors were very patient with us and made sure we were safe. It was much more fun than I anticipated, but I don’t think I stood for longer than 30 seconds. A yoga session afterwards was the perfect end, to relax our tired muscles.

The Ultimate Adventure Through Sri Lanka | Much Better Adventures
Join an active, small group trip to hike, cycle, surf and do yoga through Sri Lanka’s jungles, rural villages, wildlife reserves, and tropical beaches.

An all round adventure in Sri Lanka, this is probably one of my favourite trips I’ve done with Much Better Adventures. It really is off the beaten path, and with nature, wildlife, remote stays, hiking, surfing... what more could you want?

Inspired? Check out our Ultimate Adventure Through Sri Lanka.