There is no better way to explore the scenic hillside of Sri Lanka than hopping on board a train. As you pass by the verdant hills, lush tea terraces and stunning cascades, do not forget to stop by and take in the beauty and serenity of the surroundings.
The Train Ride
Journeying across the hillside of Sri Lanka on a train ride is an absolute pleasure. Some Kandy hotels like the cosy Amaya Hills are located within proximity to the train station, so hopping on board the train is hassle-free. As you embark on this spectacular train ride, do not forget to stop and explore the beautiful Haputale, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and many more.
Surrounded by cloud forests and leafy tea terraces, the quaint town of Haputale gives a glimpse of the local village life. Here you can escape the hubbub of the city and relish the tranquillity of the hillside. Some of the most delightful things to do as you while away in this serene locality include hiking up to the Lipton’s seat, exploring the Adisham Bungalow and trekking through the Thangamale Bird Sanctuary.
An hour-long train ride away from Haputale, Ella is a hidden gem for the modern-day adventurer. Teeming with stunning tea terraces and misty mountain trails, no trip to this small town is complete without stopping by the famous Nine Arches Bridge and taking a hike to the panoramic little Adam’s peak.
Traversing the Train Tracks
As dangerous as it may sound, walking along the train tracks surrounded by sweeping mountains and lush greenery is a dream come true. Start your walk from the Ella railway station and pass through the long tunnels and bridges until you come across the towering Nine Arches bridge. It will surely be a 30-minute-long scenic walk that you will never forget.
Udawattakele is a forest haven found on the outskirts of Kandy and is a refuge for all manner of unique and fascinating wildlife. This wilderness also contains the ruins of a bygone era, making this refuge quite the treat to explore!
Most Kandy hotels found close to Udawattakele – for example, the Cinnamon Citadel Kandy– will make mention of all the wonderful wildlife you’re likely to see when visiting the forest. Some of the notable species found here include the elusive fishing cat – one of only four species of wild cat found in Sri Lanka – and the rowdy toque macaque.
A Bird Lover’s Paradise
Now, when it comes to wildlife, the avifauna is without a doubt Udawattakele’s main attraction. If you’re at all into birdwatching, a trip here is a no-brainer. Many exotic bird varieties are found in this forest haven, including the rare Layard’s parakeet and the nocturnal brown fishing owl.
Ancient Kandyan Ruins
Deep in the forest, you’ll find the remnants of the fallen Kingdom of Kandy – a call-back to the glory days of proud kings and Sri Lankan royalty. Some of the more important ruins include the Royal Pond and Lady Horton’s Road.
Exploring Buddhist Hermitages
Dotted around the forest are a series of ancient caves that were once used by Buddhist monks as a refuge to rest and meditate in. The most notable of these is the Senkada Cave, which is thought to have been used by a lone hermit once – now you’ll find that it has been reclaimed by the forest’s denizens!
Travellers to the hill country of Sri Lanka can base themselves at Kandy hotelspreferably one of the Aitken Spence Hotels, some of the finest hotels Sri Lanka has to offer. An ancient forest reserve on a hill-ridge in Kandy, Udawattakele Sanctuary is popularly known for its avifauna. Visitors can also explore small trees, shrubs and plant species such as lianas. Be sure to keep an eye out for small and medium size mammals inhabiting this oasis of calm. Created back in 1856 as a forest reserve, the sanctuary is a popular attraction among tourists. Home to a variety of fauna and flora, the forest has a great recreational and educational value.