Trekking the Knuckles Mountain Range – Exploring Sri Lanka’s Hidden Gem

Tucked away in the heart of Sri Lanka’s central highlands, the Knuckles Mountain Range stands as a pristine wilderness waiting to be explored. Named for its resemblance to a clenched fist, this rugged and remote region offers adventurous trekkers the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, discover hidden waterfalls, and witness breathtaking panoramic views.

img via wikipedia commons

1. Getting Started:
Begin your trekking journey in the quaint village of Knuckles, one of the best places to visit in Kandy, located at the foothills of the mountain range. Here, you’ll find local guides and trekking companies offering a range of guided hikes and camping expeditions tailored to your preferences and fitness level. Make sure to stock up on essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent before setting out on your adventure.

2. Choose Your Trail:
The Knuckles Mountain Range is crisscrossed by a network of hiking trails that cater to trekkers of all skill levels, from leisurely day hikes to multi-day expeditions. Depending on your interests and fitness level, you can choose from a variety of trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, cascading waterfalls, and remote villages nestled amidst the mountains. Popular trails include the Knuckles Summit Trail, Mini World’s End Trail, and Deanston Mini World’s End Trail.

3. Discover Hidden Waterfalls:
One of the highlights of trekking in the Knuckles Mountain Range is the opportunity to discover hidden waterfalls tucked away in secluded corners of the forest. Trek through lush jungle trails, cross crystal-clear streams and navigate rocky terrain as you make your way to spectacular cascades such as Sera Ella, Pitawala Pathana Falls, and Mini World’s End Falls. Take a refreshing dip in the cool mountain waters or simply sit back and enjoy the tranquility of these natural wonders. You can find out more info about this natural wonder on websites like Kandy Escape.

4. Camp under the Stars:
For the ultimate wilderness experience, consider camping under the stars amidst the pristine beauty of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Set up camp at designated campsites along the trails or opt for a wild camping adventure in secluded clearings with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Fall asleep to the sound of rustling leaves and chirping crickets and wake up to the sight of mist-covered peaks bathed in the soft light of dawn.

5. Witness Breathtaking Views:
As you trek higher into the mountains, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape stretching as far as the eye can see. Marvel at the rugged beauty of the Knuckles Mountain Range, with its jagged peaks, verdant valleys, and dense forests blanketing the hillsides. Capture unforgettable photos of sunrise and sunset casting a golden glow over the mountains, painting the sky in shades of orange, pink, and purple.

Discover the Ancient Al Hoota Cave in Oman

Oman boasts a rich collection of historical and natural wonders, and the Al Hoota Cave stands out as a truly unique attraction. Delve into the depths of this ancient cavern and embark on a captivating adventure millions of years in the making!

Planning Your Expedition

Located in Al Hamra, at the foot of Oman’s majestic mountain, Jabal Shams, the Al Hoota Cave awaits exploration. You can easily plan an excursion here from Muscat, the capital city, where you can stay at properties of international hospitality brands such as Oman Hotels. The journey is roughly two hours and you can choose between travelling by bus, rented car or taxi. Alternatively, organised tours take care of transportation, allowing you to fully focus on the magic of the cave.

A Geological Marvel 

Al Hoota Cave is said to be over two million years old and is easily one of the most fascinating places to visit in Oman. It also holds the distinction of being the first and only show cave in the entire Arabian Peninsula. Stretching an impressive 4.5 km in length, only a manageable 500-metre section is accessible to visitors. This section, however, is enough to leave you awestruck by the natural processes, honed over millennia, that have sculpted the cave’s interior.

Gaze upwards at the awe-inspiring stalactites clinging to the ceiling, and marvel at the stalagmites reaching skyward from the cavern floor. To add to the sense of adventure, your exploration begins with a ride on the nation’s first electric train, transporting you from the visitor centre to this subterranean wonderland.

A Haven for Unique Wildlife

Al Hoota Cave
Image via Wikimedia Commons – Nur Çağlar, Gilindire mağarası, CC BY-SA 4.0

Beyond its geological marvels, Al Hoota Cave boasts a fascinating ecosystem, nurtured by its four serene lakes. The star residents here are undoubtedly the rare blind fish species called Garra Barreimiae. Known locally as ‘Bu Naseh,’ these remarkable creatures have adapted to their lightless environment, evolving to possess no sight at all. The cave’s diverse fauna also includes Arabian toads, mouse-tailed bats, water beetles, wadi racer snakes, scorpions and more.

Other Highlights that Await

Your Al Hoota Cave experience extends beyond the wonders hidden beneath the earth’s surface. The visitor centre houses a captivating exhibition of geological wonders including varied types of rocks and corals. Interactive displays unravel the story of the cave’s formation and the fascinating evolution of the blind fish. Animal exhibits provide further insights into the cave’s unique residents. After your exploration, browse the gift shop for a memento, or grab a delicious bite to eat at one of the on-site restaurants.

Climbing the Ambuluwawa Tower

Tucked away amidst the enchanting landscapes of Gampola, Sri Lanka, the Ambuluwawa Tower stands tall as an iconic attraction that offers visitors a mesmerizing experience amidst the country’s breathtaking natural beauty. Rising above the verdant hills, this architectural gem beckons travellers to embark on a journey of exploration, spiritual tranquillity, and panoramic views.

Kaushiru90, Ambuluwawa tower, CC BY-SA 4.0

A Towering Architectural Marvel

The Ambuluwawa Tower stands as a testament to architectural brilliance and cultural fusion. Its striking design blends elements from Sri Lankan, Thai, Chinese, and Indian architectural styles, creating a unique and captivating structure. The tower’s octagonal shape, ornate embellishments, and vibrant colours make it a visual delight that exudes a sense of grandeur and tranquillity.

Spiritual Serenity

At the heart of the Ambuluwawa Tower lies a serene Buddhist temple, providing visitors with a sanctuary for contemplation and spiritual connection. The temple’s intricate artwork, tranquil ambience, and soothing chants create an atmosphere of peace and inner reflection. Visitors can immerse themselves in the spiritual aura, offering a respite from the outside world.

Panoramic Vistas

Ascending the heights of the Ambuluwawa Tower rewards visitors with breathtaking panoramic views that stretch across the picturesque landscape. From the observation deck, one can marvel at the rolling hills, verdant tea plantations, and the lush beauty of Sri Lanka’s central region. The interplay of mist-cloaked mountains, cascading waterfalls, and the ever-changing light create a spectacle that leaves a lasting impression.

Nature’s Paradise

The Ambuluwawa Tower is nestled within the larger Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex, a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity. Exploring the complex offers an opportunity to witness the region’s diverse flora and fauna. Visitors can embark on guided walks, discover endemic plant species, and encounter a wide array of birdlife. The complex serves as a haven for nature enthusiasts, providing a chance to reconnect with the natural world.

An Eco-Conscious Haven

The Ambuluwawa Tower exemplifies Sri Lanka’s commitment to environmental conservation. The site incorporates sustainable practices, including rainwater harvesting, renewable energy generation, and waste management systems. By visiting the tower, visitors contribute to the preservation of Sri Lanka’s natural heritage and support eco-conscious initiatives that protect the delicate ecosystems.

Visiting Ambuluwawa Tower

A visit to the Ambuluwawa Tower is a journey filled with wonder and tranquillity. Exploring its levels, admiring the intricate architectural details, and soaking in the awe-inspiring views from the observation deck provide an unforgettable experience. Kandy bungalows in the area such as Hanthana Boutique Villa by Amaya are located just an hour’s drive away and prove to be the ideal base to be at if you are planning to visit the tower during your vacation.

Your Krabi Island vacation

There aren’t too many places on this beautiful planet Earth where you feel like you’re in heaven. Ever heard of Krabi Island?  It is a mystical paradise located on the Southern Coast of West Thailand where pristine blue waters are surrounded by glistening cliffs and lush forests – like Tolkein-level magical caves and beautiful scenery. If you feel like planning a vacation there, here are some of the fun things you can try.

Rock Climbing at Railay Beach

Railay Beach is the ideal destination for rock climbers. The towering limestone cliffs provide the best arena for anyone, even complete beginners. You can only reach Railay by boat, which you will have to plan for a little ahead of time. But there are plenty of boat services that shuttle tourists daily so it should be quite easy. If you’re not too keen on rock climbing, you can take in the magnificent sites and go for a walk along the scenic coastline.

Klong Thom hot springs

Located a one-hour ferry crossing away from hotels in Krabi such as SAii Phi Phi Island Village these hot springs are the best day trip you can take from your luxury resort. The hot springs here are famous among tourists and locals for their smooth, tub-like pools, soothing 35-42 C0 water rich in minerals. The pools are open for 12 hours every day and you’re charged a small entrance fee.

Bungee jumping

Embark on an exhilarating adventure as you embrace the thrilling leap from one of Thailand’s most astounding bungee jumping spots. Towering at an impressive height of 56 meters, the bungee jumping site in Krabi stands as the highest in the entire country and ranks as the fifth highest in all of Asia. Prepare to immerse yourself in the ultimate rush of adrenaline as you take a leap of faith into the abyss.

Try finger-licking local foods

Indulge your taste buds with an array of culinary delights when visiting Krabi. This vibrant destination offers not only an abundance of mouthwatering barbecued delicacies but also a unique twist on skewered treats that come in whimsical Angry Birds shapes. Prepare to embark on a delightful culinary adventure as you explore the diverse range of offerings.

Take a plunge into the nightlife

Nightlife in Krabi
Image via Wikimedia Commons – Ilya Plekhanov, Thai barbecue, CC BY-SA 3.0

There are so many trendy bars, clubs and beach parties happening all over Krabi. You’ll come across many spots that serve up amazing street food delights too. You can check out Phi Phi Island Resort Deals and find out more about places that have in-house bars and other events to enhance your holiday experience!


Nature’s Hidden Gems: Hiking Trails Around Kandy 

Situated in the Central Province, surrounded by the Knuckles and Hunnasgiriya mountain ranges, Kandy enjoys a colder climate, making it the ideal trail for hiking enthusiasts.

Mutukeliyawa View Point

If you have gone through the list of all the things to do in Kandy, you may be looking to step out of your comfort zone. However, it is understood that not everyone considers hiking for hours at an end fun. Thus, this hike is ideal for novices, as it can be completed in under 3 hours.

Hantana to Galaha

If you are looking to burn some calories after a hearty breakfast at a property such as Hotel Topaz, then consider embarking on the first stage of the Pekoe trail. This is another easy trail that is ideal for newcomers. This hike starts at the Ceylon tea museum at the Hantana estate, which is a must-visit.


While this is a popular hiking trail, it is more suitable for experienced hikers as the final steps of the journey involve a steep slope that is difficult to navigate.


Image via Wikimedia Commons – DaemonX, Pettigala LK, CC BY-SA 4.0

This hike is open to anyone as it is relatively easy, and offers a breathtaking view. From the top, you would be able to observe both the Victoria reservoir and the Knuckles mountain range, which is absolutely worth the 1-kilometre hike.

Amazing Things to Do in Surat Thani

Surat Thani, located in Southern Thailand, is a city that is often overlooked by travellers. However, this city is a hidden gem that is full of amazing things to do and see. Surat Thani is known for its natural beauty, delicious food, and cultural attractions.

khao-sok-national-park | img by wallpaper flare

Explore Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is one of the most beautiful and biodiverse places in Thailand. This park is home to lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, and exotic wildlife. For travellers who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Khao Sok National Park is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature. You can take a guided trek through the jungle, go on a canoe trip down the Sok River, or take a boat ride on Cheow Lan Lake.

Take a Boat Trip to Koh Samui

Koh Samui is an idyllic island that is located just a short boat ride from Surat Thani. This island is known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and resorts like SAii Koh Samui Choengmon. Travellers can take a day trip to Koh Samui to relax and recharge after a long week of work. You can enjoy water activities like snorkelling and kayaking or simply lounge on the beach and soak up the sun. Also, if you want to stay on the island overnight, you can benefit from the many Koh Samui hotel deals on offer.

Visit Surat Thani City Pillar Shrine

The Surat Thani City Pillar Shrine is a sacred site that is dedicated to the city’s guardian spirits. This shrine is one of the oldest and most significant religious sites in the region. You can explore the shrine’s beautiful architecture and learn about the city’s history and culture. This is a must-visit destination for travellers who want to immerse themselves in the local culture.

Try the Local Cuisine

Surat Thani is known for its delicious and unique cuisine. You can try traditional dishes like Khao Tom Pla, a soup made with rice, fish, and herbs, or Kua Kling, a spicy stir-fry dish. For those who want to try something more adventurous, there is also a variety of street food available.

A Beach Worth a Visit – The Ton Sai Beach of Ao Nang

Thailand is nature’s utopia for adventurers and globetrotters. This South Asian country has been blessed with magnificent beaches, tropical foliage and ancient ruins from the days of yore. Among its many popular beaches lies Ton Sai Beach in the resort town of Ao Nang.

The Path to the Beach

The Ton Sai beach is reachable from most Ao Nang beach hotels. Whether it is by land or sea, make sure to pay a visit to this refreshing shoreline during your vacation at Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort. From the Krabi bus station, the beach is reachable by taxi or tuk-tuk. However, if your journey takes place from the airport or the Ao Nang Pier, a shuttle or a longtail boat must be taken, respectively.

Rocking Adventures

The Ao Nang beach is not only dedicated to pleasing one’s eyes with its breathtaking views of an endless ocean and the far horizon. During a visit, guests can explore some thrilling adventures like rock climbing to add some flavour to their Thai vacation. Amateur climbers and experts can engage in a session of excitement through various schools and companies dedicated to this activity.

Maria Ly, Climbing at Ton Sai Roof, Thailand, CC BY 2.0

Diving in the Deep Blue Ocean

Explore life under the sea as you visit the beautiful Ton Sai Beach. If your heart lies in aquatic adventures, head over to Railey Beach, located a mere 10 minutes away from Ton Sai Beach to sign up for a diving session that lets you witness the deep blue ocean, filled with vibrant marine life and beautiful corals; an underwater experience like no other.

Island Hopping

Island hopping is a must in Thailand. As you visit the pristine beach of Ton Sai, do not forget to hire a longtail boat that takes you island hopping. Some of the best islands to visit in the surrounding area of the beach are Chicken Island, Tub Island, Phanang Cave and Podah Island which sends you on a family-friendly cruise to cherish for a lifetime.

Why Kandy is Sri Lanka’s Cultural Capital

A popular day-trip destination for all, Kandy is not only home to the Temple of the Tooth but some of Sri Lanka’s top cultural highlights. Here’s why this hill station is deemed the cultural heart of the island.

Charles R. Benedict, Ceylon tea, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Temple of the Tooth

The main reason why Kandy is dubbed the cultural epicentre of Sri Lanka is that it is where the Temple of the Tooth is located. The sacred dental remains of Lord Buddha are contained within this iconic shrine, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site decades ago.

Historic Kandy Lake

Although most visitors know that enjoying a boat ride on Kandy Lake is one of the top things to do in Kandy, few are aware of the legacy of this manmade body of water. Having been the execution site for many Sri Lankan nobles during British colonial rule, Kandy Lake is most infamously connected with the beheading of local hero Madduma Bandara and his family.

Tea Country

Whether you are based at the Hunas Falls Hotel Kandy or any other rest, a tour of the tea estates and factories surrounding the city will illustrate how it is a prime tea-producing region in Sri Lanka. World-famous Ceylon Tea is linked with the plantations and colonial-era tea factories that still function today and form a part of the hillside’s tea country.

 Kandyan Dance and Drumming Heritage

As a dance tradition that differs significantly from the island’s southern dance school, Kandyan dance and drumming techniques date back centuries and have been preserved by local artists.


Set Off on a Hike to Knuckles

Renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Knuckles Mountain range has been famed for its human fist like appearance from certain angles. This magnificent gift of nature is located in the Kandy and Matale districts of Sri Lanka and is highly popular among hikers from all over the world.

Thusitha Jayasundara, Knuckles mountain range – Sri Lanka, CC BY-SA 4.0

How to Get to Knuckles

While several access points allow you to reach Knuckles, the most popular entrance is in Matale. However, this solely depends on where you are residing at. If you plan to travel to Kandy on a vacation, the access point will not be over a journey of an hour or two to Hunnasgiriya, once again, based on the route that you choose to take. However, do visit the Kandy Escapes website for a deeper insight on how to adapt and prepare for the weather conditions in Kandy, if you wish to enter Knuckles from a Kandy access point.

How to Climb Knuckles

While Knuckles’ popularity attracts many hikers, it is only advisable that you climb the mountain range if you carry a considerable level of experience in the art. However, a guide must accompany you, regardless of your level of hiking experience, in order to avoid getting lost. Therefore, a qualified guide will direct you through the paths that should be taken.

Grab a Bite on The Way

As you climb up one of Sri Lanka’s most difficult mountain trails, hunger will not be too far away. Being a protected reserve prevents hotels and resorts from opening up in the Knuckles and therefore, food is likely to become a luxury during the course of your hike. Stock up what you need in a backpack and grab a bite whenever hunger takes you over.

Other Attractions

While setting off on an adventurous hike is what Knuckles is known for, the areas surrounding this mountain range host plenty of other attractions for hikers and tourists. Deep into the forest lies Meemure, a rural village of picturesque views, Kandy, the sacred city of the Temple of the Tooth and the Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple in Matale.



Exploring Saudi Arabia’s Heet Cave

The Heet Cave in Saudi Arabia is a wonder that many people would never expect to even exist. This cave offers people a treat in the middle of the desert, and is filled with water to boot!

Image credit-Pixabay,CC0

Some background on the Heet Cave

The cave is believed to have been formed due to limestone dissolving through the anhydrite materials within the cave. For those looking to enter its domain, they must walk through a 20-metre-wide hole in the ground and across various crumbling rocks.If you are staying at the furnished apartments for rent such as the Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh be sure to make a trip to the cave!

How to get to the Heet Cave

The best way is to arrange transport to Al Heet and then make the rest of the journey along the dirt road.

Things to keep in mind

This is a natural wonder and as such, it is important to not leave any rubbish behind. Be sure to bring bags to take back any garbage.

Safety precautions

While the journey is fairly simple for an adult is it not recommended to bring a child along with you given the risk of falling and injury.