The end of the world

If you trek through the Horton Plains National Park in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, you can reach the end of the world. Just don’t be late!

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and has travelled the world full time since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

Updated:

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

To see the end of the world, you need to get up early. So it’s before dawn that I get up and go to find the jeep that will take me to Horton Plains National Park.

Walking deep into the park, I will find ‘The World’s End’, the high clifftop with a view all the way across this island country to the shore and beyond. But if you’re not there by about 9 o’clock in the morning, you will miss it.

Every day a huge blanket of mist folds over the vista and covers it for the rest of daylight hours.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

And so the jeeps and the tour buses arrive early in the morning, shortly after the sun rises. The road can only take you so far so the carpark fills up.

A deer or two eat grass and pose for photos but there’s not much to see from here. The trekkers – myself included – head for the start of the track.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

The World’s End is about halfway along a nine kilometre circular route through the park. I reach it in time, just before the mist takes over the sky.

High on a cliff, I look down, more than 1,200 metres to the bottom and no fence between me and air. A few clouds hang beneath me but they add to the majesty of this view, where mountains become highlands and then roll into fields that come to an abrupt end at the coast.

The ocean is 80 kilometres away but I can see it on the horizon.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

This is the main tourist attraction of Horton Plains National Park but it’s not nearly the most important thing here.

The park, along with the nearby Peak Wilderness Protected Area and the Knuckles Conservation Forest, make up a World Heritage Site called The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. It’s a unique ecosystem with abundant flora and fauna that’s been described as “a super biodiversity hotspot”.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

It’s all in the details, though.

Other than the Sri Lankan leopard (which is almost impossible to see here) most of the special species of flora and fauna are quite small – birds, lizards, flowers, herbs, and so on. It helps to know what you’re looking for or to walk slowly and take careful note of the details.

Some people walk the track with local guides – not because there’s any chance of getting lost but because the best of the park could be lost on them.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

That’s not to say the landscapes along the way are not worth the journey also.

It’s not the most spectacular World Heritage Site I have ever been to and, other than the cliff views, nothing figuratively took my breath away.

However, it’s a beautiful part of the country where forests, plains and water all merge together.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

I’ll leave you with some more photos of the wide vistas and the micro details that are on display at Horton Plains National Park on your way to the end of the world.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN NUWARA ELIYA

There are some beautiful places to base yourself for a few days up in the highlands of Sri Lanka.

BACKPACKER

If you’re looking for a hostel, I think the Laughing Leopard is your best option.

BUDGET

For a friendly homestay at a great price, have a look at Nuwara Eliya Homestay.

BOUTIQUE

One of the area’s nicest hotels is Jetwing St Andrews in a unique property.

LUXURY

And if you want stunning accommodation in a colonial mansion, have a look at Brockenhurst Bungalow.

Time Travel Turtle was a guest of Jetwing Hotels and Jetwing Travels but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

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This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

13 thoughts on “The end of the world”

    • Ha ha ha – I know what you mean. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to get up stupid early because apparently sunrise is the best time to see something. I guess I never regret it… but I tend to spend the rest of the day exhausted!! 🙂

      Reply
    • Yeah – a great trek and also a fairly easy one to do. Because you start so early, you’re back in the hotel by lunch and can do something else in the afternoon (if you’re not too tired!!)

      Reply
  1. In all of the places I have visited in Sri Lanka, Horton Plains is probably my favorite because of the such diversity this short hike gives you. I was wondering if you were able to hike up Kirigalpoththa and/or Thotupola. I am trying to plan an overnight trip to these peaks and keep getting different information on how it can be done.

    Reply
  2. Superb Post….! The pictures are stunning… Really liked it.. Thanks for Sharing.. I have been to Horton Plains so many time… but it still welcomes freshly… A must go place in Sri Lanka

    Reply
  3. Great post..! and breathtaking photos.. really amazing….the pictures are so realistic..really urges me to go there… You are really fortunate to experience this place in suitable climate and season… on my last visit i was caught with rain…It was scary….area is completely covered with fog and got dark….and freezing too..But it gave extra adventurous tasks to me..A great experience.

    Reply
  4. I’m a Muslim women .I cover my head ( I wear hejab) . When I visited the temples , they ask me either to take off my hejab or no way to enter. Though the hindo men are covering their heads allowed them to enter . What a segregation is that??
    What rule is that ???

    Reply
    • Hi, Im Shenal from Sri Lanka Known as “Lankan Backpacker” lankanbackpacker.com it is not a matter of covering the head as per the law of the country it is advised to not to cover the face in order to maintain the identity

      Reply

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