Tuesday started really early. We were on our way to Horton Plains National Park by 4.30 am. Getting up had several good reasons: 1. Even though the entrance to the park is only 30km away it is a small and not very well maintained road winding its way even higher into the mountain.
2. Like this we could see the sunrise on our way there. Once you’re up on the Plains it is supposed to be more difficult to see it because to the east there are some more hills that get in your way. But we stop somewhere about 5km from the entrance and could see it from there.
3. Even though we didn’t come with our big bus (it would never ever have gotten up till here) but in jeeps and at the beginning thought we might be one of the few early ones there were loads of people at the ticket booth when it opened at 6.30 am. By the way this also means that there is no need to be there earlier because you need to get you tickets and you don’t get them before 6.30am.
4. Even though it was freezing (ok, probably about 5-10℃) when we left early in the morning and I was really happy for the tip of bringing a knit hat which I wore for the first two hours, it gets hot once the sun is up. Over the trip I stripped down from top, long sleeve and sweat jacket to only long sleeve and this was actual still very warm but I kept it on as the sun was really burning (oh wonders at 2,400m) We all came back sunburned at some parts anyway. And on all exposed parts possible. I e.g. had sunscreen on my legs and face but at some point I moved my scarf up to my head but forgot to protect my neck so I was burned where my shirt hadn’t been. Also the shirt was a not completely long long sleeve so I ended up with a sunburn of about the last 7cm of my arm down to my hands. Unfortunately this also started the heaviest sun allergy reaction on my hands but well.
And here a few more tips other than just “Go there it is extremely beautiful!” The place is packed. Especially Chinese tourists can be a pain. But if you are more of a lonesome rider on trips like this, you can manage to get in between groups and have a quite walk every now and again. Saying that you should at least wear trainers to walk there. Some of the Chinese wore only ballerinas and some guides even only flip flops. But you need to climb over stones quite a bit in between so I would recommend sturdier shoes.
Ah and at the entrance they strip you off all things plastic. Even the logo wrapper thingy around your water bottle was taken. Stupid enough our hotel (as most others) packed our take away breakfast in layer after layer of plastic. Had we known that, we had at least tried to ask them to wrap it in paper or the like. But seeing what people just throw somewhere here it makes perfectly sense to take rubbish away from visitors before they can throw it into the beautiful nature.
The walk took us about 4 hours and afterwards we had a tea and donut as a rewar
tiny canteen at the parking lot at the entrance of the walk. Having gotten up so early we didn’t do much more that day except for exploring picturesque but rather boring Nuwara Eliya with its weird out of place English Victorian meet Sri Lankan woodwork meet Alpine Style buildings. We then settled in in our very nice hotel named Daffodils for an early night.