Sri Lanka, the island nation resembling a gleaming point towards the south of Indian mainland, offers plenty of nature’s dose of awesomeness to its travelers. With all the temples, monasteries, and historic structures, Sri Lanka thrives amidst the dominating presence of the lush landscapes. The tropical paradise enjoys a thick blanket of green and is often lauded by adventure seekers. Kandy in Central Sri Lanka enjoys the dominating presence of lofty land forms and mountain ranges, which makes trekking in Kandy a popular activity. Home to awesome tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest, Kandy must be on every nature seeker’s bucket list.
Kandy’s vast nature primarily comprises of Knuckles Mountain Range, Alagalla Mountain Range, and Wasgamuwa National Park and if you are really curious, there’s a lot of activities that can be pulled off, which includes trekking. Mountain biking, bird watching, and rafting are some of the other most popular things to do in the mountains and rain forest covered areas of Kandy. Here’s all you need to know about trekking in Kandy.
Best Time To Go For Trekking In Kandy
The outdoors in Kandy are mostly green due to rainfall from two separate monsoons. Kandy experiences widespread rain in October and November. But the best time to visit the mountains of Kandy would be between December to April. The weather is mostly dry and makes for a pleasant outdoors to go and explore the hills for an enthralling trekking experience.
Although, its summers in April, the temperatures are pleasant in the hilly areas which means you can experience the best of trekking in Kandy.
During the month of May to September, Sri Lanka experiences the Yala monsoon that brings rains to the south Kandy. At this time, sightseeing as well as trekking can get be extremely tricky.
2 Best Places To Go Trekking In Kandy
Though a major part of trekking and day hiking is done by the travelers in the Knuckle Mountains Range, there’s a lot more to be explored in Kandy. Alagalla Mountain Range is another vast land form that presents a challenging trail along with lush greenery and amazing biodiversity. Knuckles mountains being the largest in the region has plenty of trails running to the top.
1. Knuckles Mountain Range
Knuckles mountain range encompasses two major towns in Sri Lanka – Matale and Kandy. It can be more evident with the fact that Knuckles form a major portion of the central province in Sri Lanka. The UNESCO world heritage site is loaded with an array flora and fauna, and exciting trail endowed with waterfalls, rivers, and tropical forest.
There are quite a lot of trails in the Knuckles that have been deemed fit for trekking by the forest department. These trails boast of wonderful campsites and enormous nature that make trekking here a memorable incident. You can gain a maximum altitude of 1200 meters.
There are 2 popular trek routes inside Knuckles Mountain Range. They are as follows:
Hunasgiriya Route: A 31 km of the ride by road. As you take the A26 from Kandy on your way to the Knuckles, the imposing views would leave you overwhelmed. You would find yourself lost in the magical world all around created by mountains, valleys, lakes, and tea estates. The 12-km trek to the Knuckles is an enchanting one with a medium difficulty level. The entire trek also encompasses 3 km walk close to the Mini Worlds End.
There are plenty of birds, forests, and streams all around to enchant you. The trail is fairly flat as you near the Mini Worlds End, but it’s an up slope thereafter. You have to pay an entrance fee to enter the Knuckles. If you want to experience the remarkable nature of Sri Lanka and spend some moments free from
Trek length: 12 km
Total trek duration: 7 hours approximately
Rangala Route: If you are someone who loves challenges and like to tread extreme terrains, then Rangala route leading to the Knuckle top is perfect for you. The enchanting trail takes you through panoramic vistas comprising of lush green tea-estates, forests, and temple. Uneven as it is, the trail is mostly up slope and is difficult to climb. By the time this trail ends, there is a river along the trail that cascades into 5 different waterfalls.
The Rangala Trek also requires you to have wonderful walking shoes and a proper hat. The last leg of the trek is of around 4 km which takes you top to the waterfalls. This is one of the highlights of the trek and must not be missed by any nature seeker.
Trek length: 26 km
Total trek duration: 6-8 hours approximately
2. Alagalla Mountain Range
Alagalla mountain range mostly offers intermediate level trekking trail and is famed as a renowned hiking spot in Central Sri Lanka. However, getting to Alagalla Range must not be easy. With two points to enter the mountains, you can choose either depending upon the accessibility and distance from your stay.
The first one starts from Ihala Kotte railway station while the other one will be from Pilimathalawa via Poththapitiya. Both of these points are a mere 2-hour drive from Colombo. Ihala Kotte route is slightly difficult because of the kind of steep climbs it offers. You can gain a maximum altitude of 1150 meters.
There is one popular trek route within the Alagalla Mountain Ranges:
Alagalla Top Trek: The best way to summit Alagalla is starting the journey from Poththapitiya bus stand. The trail covers terrific greenery and tea estates en route making way for a lovely walk. You will come across tea factories, plantations, and a few supply water tanks in the village area. The trail enters thick jungles and makes you walk on the concrete trails before entering the Alagalla Peak which is visible from a distance.
Overall the trail takes 2-3 hours to complete. And when you go there don’t forget to carry along energy boosters as well as a proper head cover for yourself. While trekking during summer months can look ideal because of bright conditions and perfect green cover around, there could be fewer water points for you. Therefore, try to carry sufficient water before you begin the trek.
At the Alagalla summit, you will find a small pinnacle that rests on the top of rocks. It is believed that local warriors used it as a watchtower during the war with Britishers. While climbing this won’t be a smart idea, you can always go for it keeping basic climbing tactics in mind. 1.5 km from the Alagalla top, you can spot a pagoda located towards the other end. if you plan to go camping at the top, you can do it here. Be wary of the wild animals here, especially the pigs.
The Pagoda is situated at the other end. So you have to go around the pinnacle and reach to the ridge. There you will find a small path which goes towards the jungle and you will have to walk around 1.5 Km to reach the other end. This is the area when you need to camp if you are planning to stay overnight on top of Alagalla. There are plenty of camping sites within the jungle. Be aware of wild pigs.
Trek length: 10 km (approximately)
Total trek duration: 4 hours approximately
Tips For Trekking
It might be difficult to grasp trekking at the first go. So, it becomes very important to take note of a few tips and tricks that will definitely prove helpful while you for trekking in Kandy. So, here are a few do’s and dont’s:
Do’s Of Trekking
- Plan your trip properly. Do not rely on one video or guide or friends for suggestions. Make sure that you are ready from all sides.
- It is highly advisable to go with a group and a guide. Going solo might lead to uncertain circumstances.
- Keep yourself hydrated as you never realize the quantity of water you lose during trekking.
- Take a break whenever you feel necessary. It’s adventure but it would turn sour if you won’t be able to enjoy properly.
- Do take trekking poles with you. They are really helpful in case of unnatural trail conditions.
- Try to keep a satellite phone with you. It is one of the best connectivity options during a trek.
- Make sure that you feel physically fit for trekking. The activity demands a lot of fitness from within. It would be best to consult a doctor.
- Keep a track on the weather conditions before trekking as it might play spoilsport.
- Always keep a First Aid Kit for minor injuries sustained during your trek.
Don’ts Of Trekking
- Be realistic and know your trek limits. It is highly advisable not to go higher if you do not wish to push. It’s fine, the opportunity will present later!
- Do not walk fast. Enthusiasm is key but it also might take a toll on your health during the trek.
- Make sure that you do not carry your regular sneakers for trekking. Keep trek shoes with spikes that maintain a strong grip strength.
- It is advisable to not punish your knees. Walk slowly on flat surfaces which increases your chances of walking for a longer time during the trek.
- If you feel like smoking and getting high would give you the thrill to trek, then don’t! It is only going to affect you negatively during a trek.
- In case you are a beginner, it is much better if you rent rather than buy expensive trekking equipment.
- Do not over-pack. Over stuffing is going to be extremely crucial while trekking and might impact negatively very soon.
Hidden in nature’s awesomeness, these trails make the best of trekking in Kandy! If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka anytime soon then this activity must be on your bucket list for trekking is the most appropriate way to behold Sri Lankan nature from close quarters.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Trekking In Kandy
Does Kandy offer any other recreational event other than trekking?
Yes, there are various recreational events can be experienced in Kandy. There are various adventure water sports available in Kandy.
Can we get a hotel or resort near trekking points in Kandy?
There are various options for accommodations near trekking points in Kandy. You can avail anything as per your choice or need.
Are there any scenic sightseeing options available in Kandy?
Some of the best sites for sightseeing are available in Kandy. You can visit for a scenic visual treat of waterfalls or mountain ranges. Specifically, waterfalls located amidst Knuckles mountain ranges are best for tourists.
Can we book the trekking package in advance before reaching Kandy?
Numerous travel planners and cumulative package providers give the facility of booking for adventure sports. It is quite beneficial and time-saving if you opt for this booking option.
In case of any hassles or mishappenings, whom should we contact?
You should make a note for some emergency contact numbers which can be used during the emergency. Other than that, you can contact local police also.
What are the different options for commuting in Kandy?
There is a good network of local buses in Kandy. You can opt for buses. Other than that, you can rent a vehicle or commute through taxi.
Is there any other currency we need after visiting Kandy?
Yes in Kandy you need to exchange your currency in Sri Lankan rupee. This can be availed by the different foreign exchange kiosks.
Which is the most preferable month for opting adventure sports in Kandy?
The best time to visit Kandy is between December and April. In these months the climate remains dry and preferable for opting different adventure sports here.
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