Adam's Peak, the place where Adam first set foot on earth, also known as Sri Pada Mountain. It's a holy mountain for Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians.
You can climb to the top throughout the year. The most popular months are during the pilgrimage season from the full moon in December to the full moon in April. Regarding the weather, it's the drier season. The pilgrims walk the paved and steep trail during the night to be at the top for the sunset. You may see young and even very old people 80 years and older doing the strenuous climb. The way down with all these steps is way worse. Of course, it is an experience, but be aware loudspeakers are along the trail and switched on in the late afternoon. It can be heavily crowded in the night. The sunset is spectacular if it's not cloudy or misty. However, you may be stuck, queue, can't get to the top, and even have to return due to the many visitors and pilgrims. It's up to you if you want to witness the spectacle or if you prefer to climb up during the day and being back in the evening.
Top Tip for the Climb
Check the weather forecast before you decide to travel to Adam's Peak. Rain and thick clouds can spoil your experience!
Weather and Crowds
- January to April are the driest months, however, showers can occur. It's also the busiest time to climb Sri Pada. You may even won't reach the top due to the many pilgrims. Nights temps on the mountain are cool throughout the year. Expect one digit night temps from January to March. Day temps are almost around 20°c. The path up to the top is less busy during the day. However, it's a hot climb up to the top due to the high humidity and sunshine at daytime.
- May to December are the wettest months. Monsoons are likely to happen from May to August. May to November you don't experience any crowds. The chance for rain is much higher, but it can be nice as well. The temple is not open on the top of Adam's Peak in the monsoon season. The trail is pretty slippery during rain and take precaution for leeches. Bring torches and a headlight, because the steps are not lighted. It becomes busy at full moon in December when the pilgrimage season starts.
Sri Lanka home of the Ceylon Tea and former British crown colony between 1802 and 1948. James Taylor from Scotland planted the first tea estate in Sri Lanka in 1867.
If visiting Sri Lanka; don't miss the tea plantations in higher elevation. To watch the tea pickers harvesting the leaves you need to get up early. They start working with cool and pleasant temps at sunrise before it is getting too hot for them to work.
Climate / Weather
Nuwara Eliya has a mild climate without a real "dry" season. From December to February/March nights are cold and even frost can occur, but it warms up during the day. The driest months are February and March. Heavy precipitation occurs from October to December.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Very busy from mid-April on due to the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. In April it is essential to book many months in advance. Hotel prices increase a lot.
Horton Plains was declared as a National park in 1988 and World Heritage Site since 2010.
It's often discussed if it is worth to pay the high entrance fee to Horton Plains and hike to World's End. The hike itself is not outstanding, but the cloud forest with its inhabitants is. It's a unique hotspot for endemic species which you may watch here only at an altitude of 2000 meters and above. Continue reading to get all necessary information for this World Heritage Site.
The very best time of the year for visiting Horton Plains is from January to March very early in the morning. Early for two reasons; to dodge the crowds and for a spectacular view of World's End. You already need to leave Nuwara Elya at dawn. It's quite difficult to get here independent. It takes roughly 1 1/2 hours to get to the entrance. If you arrive early, you may spot samba deer. Their numbers increased in the last years. At the entrance, your bag may get controlled by rangers or security for plastic. The park is well protected and therefore very clean without rubbish along the trail. Try to be at the popular outlook before 9 am. Clouds and mist spoil the view frequently.
It's a circular trail. If you arrive a little late at Horton Plains walk to the left first. Direction left leads you faster to the World's End. Anyhow, don't come here in a rush otherwise you won't spot some of the endemic lizards like the rhino-horned lizard.
Rain occurs throughout the year, but there is less precipitation in the "dry" season from January to March. April is still a little drier. There is a big difference in the amount of rainfall. The highlands on lower elevation have an annual rainfall of more than 2000 mm while around World's End and the cloud forest on a higher elevation the amount is more than 5000 mm each year. The cloud forest is mistier during the rainy season especially from May to July. Usually the annual day temp is below 20°C due to the high elevation. Weather can change quickly, and it can get chilly within minutes. Bring a jacket for the evening. Expect one digit temps in the night.
World's End is a very popular and moderate hike also for the Sri Lankan people; the reason weekends are busier. Other trails in the park are not crowded. You have these trails almost for yourself. From 10 am onwards, it gets crowded.
Where to Stay in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya has an immense variety of accommodations. We'd chosen the old colonial style Jetwing St. Andrew's. The breakfast and dinner were delicious. Ask for the renovated rooms. Anyhow, it's difficult to recommend one of the many hotels. Check out the 30 Best Budget and Luxury Hotels in Nuwara Eliya. There is much precipitation in this area. We got told that some of the hotels may have an issue with this high amount of rain. It can happen that rooms smell. Check out the guests' feedback before booking.