Haputale and Horton Plains National Park
Haputale Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
April 16th, 2010 – by: thesneets
After approximately half the distance it started raining heavily, and it didn't stop for the rest of the day, so when I got to Haputale in the late afternoon I just took a stroll around the (tiny) town, had something to eat, and retreated to the guest house with my eBook reader, which I really learned to love during the trip.
Err...anyway, back to Sri Lanka.. ;-)
Haputale is famous for its tea fields, and Sir Thomas Lipton himself came here to buy some plantations and factories, which turned out to become the starting point of his tea-empire. So there is definitely some history involved here. But even without that famous tea pioneer, the area has a lot to offer. Firstly there is the breathtaking scenery. Get out very early in the morning, drive up one of the roads leading to the main tea plantations, and with a little luck (= no mist), you will have a huge deep valley sitting in front of you as far as you can see.
Drive or walk even higher, until you reach "Lipton's Seat", a famous lookout point on top of the hills, and you will have a 360°-panorama over endless tea fields.
Haputale is one of those places that look seriously unimpressive when you first reach them, but get better and better the more you see. I would recommend it to everybody who travels through the highlands of Sri Lanka!
After a visit to the local Dambatenne tea factory (including a very knowledgeable guide showing me the process of tea-making), I went a few kilometers westwards to Sri Lankas tallest waterfalls, the Bambarakanda Falls. As I said, It was very rainy the day before, and starting to pour down again, so the falls were really in top shape. Which also meant that I was soaking wet after just walking past the bottom of the fall. I believe the local kids bathing there were quite amused to see me running around, trying to find a good spot for pictures while at the same time desperately trying to save my camera from sudden water-death.
The next day was going to be another highlight: Horton Plains National Park. Again, I started very early, because the Hortin Plains lies on top of a very deep valley. That means that as soon as the sun heats up the air in the lower areas, clowds build and raise to the plains, covering everything in thick mist.
The whole National Park is a very nice highland area with a vegetation that is quite uncommon for Sri Lanka. Lots of bushes, flat grasslands, and a large population of deer.
The most famous spot up here is World's End, a spectacular steep cliff dropping down over 1.000 meters into a valley. I spent almost an hour there just enjoying the view and taking pictures.
There is also the Baker's Falls, a quite low but wide waterfall, which I liked even more than the Bambarakanda Falls.
On my way back to Haputale I visited the Adisham Benedictine Monastery. Interesting to find something like that here. The building itself and the surrounding gardens were very nice, but the inside of the monastery (at least the part open to visitors) is not really a must-see.
The two days in Haputale were well spent, and visiting Horton Plains, though a little expensive, is worth every cent (20$ entry fee + transportation costs there and back again).
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