January 2023 Hike around Horton Plains National Park

Hiking at Horton Plains National Park is one of our favourite places which is within reaching distance of GlenMyu Estate. My wife and I have been three times with friends at different times of the year. It’s great to have such a wonderful landscape close to where we live. This is a summary of our experience of our hike around Horton Plains National Park in January 2023.

We would have completed a lot more hikes since moving to GlenMyu Estate however we were hampered by the building of the house, landscaping of the land and Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis.

Fortunately the country is in a better position now and we can get petrol regularly which enables us to travel a bit more.

My oldest friend visited Sri Lanka for the first time since our wedding some seven years ago. It was great to have him at the estate to show him what we have created and understand why we live on this paradise island.

We had some guests whilst he was here and he could see how we love having more people enjoying the house and estate.

Stay at GlenMyu Estate when visiting Horton Plains National Park

We are listed on Booking.com and Airbnb

Our hike around Horton Plains National Park.

It was also important to show my friend what marvellous sights and places of interest are close to GlenMyu Estate.
Before coming over I had given him a few places that I really wanted for him to see and Horton Plains was one of them.

The weather had not been kind during his holiday (however he still managed to get sunburnt at our pool) so we had to time our hike.
The weather looked okay in Viharaghalla and Beragala. However, it can change a lot when you get to Horton Plains which is a much higher elevation that GlenMyu (2,100 metres compared to 990 metres).

It took around 1 hour 15 minutes to get to the park and a light drizzle of rain was waiting for us there.

The entry price has gone up!

It has been while since I have been to Horton Plains and I last remember the entry fee to be around 5,000 rupees.
Since the financial crisis and the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee prices have changed in the country.
The price we paid in January 2023 was as follows:
Sri Lankan Rupees
1 Foreign Adult    8,833.75
Other fee             150.00
Service Charge    3,533.50
VAT                 1,900.00
Total                  14,417.25

This is around US$40/Euro€37/GBP£32

I don’t know whether the Service Charge is fixed for multiple adults.

If you are converting from US$, £ Sterling of € Euros it probably still is a reasonable price for such a wondrous place to visit. 

You will need to check the price when you visit as I have no doubt that there will be further increases. 

Also, we paid in cash and I don’t think that they have credit card facilities available there.

Pricing Update - March 2023

Two of our guests visited Horton Plains National Park in March 2023.

They kindly provided a copy of their ticket giving a breakdown of the entry fee.

The cost for two Foreign Adults and additional fees was Sri Lankan Rupees 23,890.50.

The cost breakdown in Sri Lankan Rupees was as follows:

2 x Foreign Adults     16,900

JOCOV???                    300

Service Charge         3,360

VAT                       3,109.50

Total                23,830.50

Here is a copy of an entry ticket for May 2023 which is a slightly lower price.

Meeting a Samba Deer

After parking the car we had a small bite of breakfast that my wife had thoughtfully prepared for us. We normally provide a takeaway packed breakfast for our guests when they visit Horton Plains so that they have some early sustain to start their hike.

We met a Samba Deer in the car park who was very interested in what we had to eat and no doubt is used to visitors. Of course, we didn’t share our food however the deers antlers did bump my head as he got a bit too close.
As these are wild animals you need to keep your distance.

A drizzly start to our hike around Horton Plains.

There was a light dusting of rain as we started the hike and we both used rain jackets. The temperature was around 16 degrees celsius and with a slight wind it was a little chilly.

Clockwise or Anti Clockwise?

As you start the hike you have a choice in what direction you tackle the 11 kilometre hike.
To the left is a harder start and to the right is a little bit easier.

Taking the left you see the main sights in this order
Mini Worlds End
Greater Worlds End
Bakers Falls

Taking the right hand track reverses this order.

There, of course, is plenty of other things to see on the way with the variety of flora and fauna that awaits you.

I have been both ways and always take the left track for the following reasons:

I prefer the easier walk at the end of the hike.
There is a better chance of seeing the views at Mini Worlds End and Greater Worlds End earlier as it is more likely to cloud over later in the day.

However there were lots of people going anticlockwise around so the choice is yours!

A change in weather

It was not long after we started that we had to remove our jackets as the weather improved and we were in sunshine.
It was interesting seeing the clouds blowing through the hills.

Put your sunscreen on!

Although there may be cloud cover you can easily get sunburnt at Horton Plains. We have had guests that have suffered a little by not taking precautions. Suntan lotion and hats are recommended for the walk (and a rain jacket).

Read the Information Boards

There are lots of information boards on the walk which give you information about the geography, flora and fauna that you will see. Some plants, birds and insects are either endemic to Sri Lanka or too Horton Plains itself.

A tough start to our hike at Horton Plains

Initially the walk is quite easy however you will come across some rougher patches which are more tricky. You will need to be careful climbing down through this red coloured rock.

Mini Worlds End

We approached Mini Worlds End and there was a short opening in the clouds where you could get an idea of the 270 metre drop to the bottom of the precipice.
There were other people enjoying the view (and the rest) and we had a short chat about there experience in Sri Lanka.

We spent a bit of time there catching our breath and the view.

On the way to Greater Worlds End

The walk to Greater World End was not as difficult.
We saw some beautiful scenes and cloud formations on the way.

Got there but no view!

This is the reason why we recommend guests to go early to Horton Plains. You are more likely to get a good view of the precipices from both Mini Worlds End and Greater Worlds End if you do.

We caught a small glimpse of some of the 1,200 metre drop below Greater Worlds End but it was not clear enough to get a really good view. Well, I guess we will have to go again!

On to Bakers Falls

The hike to Bakers Falls was lovely and not too difficult. However, if you are not primed for hiking it can be quite tiring.

There are steps down to Bakers Falls and the scene at the bottom is worth it.

There is a beautiful cascade of water coming down the wide rocks creates wonderful patterns.

One of the local Sri Lankans was disappointed with the amount of water coming down the fall however we were very happy. We sat for some time enjoying the cool spray and movement of the water.

Completing the Circle of our Horton Plains Hike

After some rest at Bakers Falls we continued our walk towards our original entry point. It is X km and does takes some time. We were in no rush so we enjoyed the scenery as we went on our way and spoke to some fellow travellers.

Success- we made the hike at Horton Plains

Back to the starting point generated a feeling of achievement and we had some refreshments when we got back to the car.

There is a small shop where you can get drinks and Sri Lankan snacks however we had some leftover cake and Cinnamon Tea in a flask waiting for us.

The road home

It was a good feeling driving the car out of the National Park and we could see some more Samba Deer in the distance foraging in the fields.
Leaving the park and climbing down through the cooling forest before reaching Oyiha was enjoyable and was the start of our way home to GlenMyu Estate.

Would I recommend hiking Horton Plains National Park?

Although the price of entry has increased I still think that it is a fantastic experience.

The park is a UNESCO Heritage site and is a unique area in Sri Lanka.
It is well maintained by the park staff and they were working on improving some pathways when I last visited.

The flora changes throughout the year and I still plan to visit at different times to get the full experience of Horton Plains.

If you are fit enough to do the hike I would certainly recommend it. I would consider it as a great experience to do when staying at GlenMyu Estate or other hotels within reaching distance of the park.

Upper Diyaluma Waterfall - an alternative

We also recommend our guests to visit Upper Diyaluma Waterfall which is only a 40 minute drive from GlenMyu Estate. The hike is a lot less arduous however it is beautiful going from pool to pool as you walk down the spectacular scenery.
You can read more about our trip to Upper Diyaluma Waterfall at this link.

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