Horton Plains National Park
- Location: Nuwara Eliya, Central province, Sri Lanka
- Reason to visit: World Heritage site; one of the most popular tourist destinations in Siri Lanka; a paradise for hikers
- Our ratings: ★★★★★
- Entrance fee: 2500Rs
- Opening Hours: 06:00 am-6:00 pm (Jan 01-Dec31, from Monday-Sunday)
- Recommended tour for you: 9 Days Amazing Sri Lanka Budget Tour
Horton Plains National Park is located in the Central Highlands Reserve of Sri Lanka, at an altitude of 2,100 to 2,300 meters above sea level. It is the birthplace of rivers such as Mahaweli River, Kelani River, and Walawe River. The Horton Plains established a nature reserve in 1969, a national park in 1988, and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
Horton Plains National Park is an important eco-tourism area and a world natural heritage in Sri Lanka. It is also the only national park in Sri Lanka that allows tourists to hike. The Horton Plains is a beautiful, quiet and peculiar place. It is at the foot of the second and third highest peaks in Sri Lanka. This altitude of 2100-2300 meters above sea level is an area rich in biodiversity. The grassland and cloud forest cover the source, and there are many kinds of wild animals, which are very suitable for hiking.
The Grassland and mountain forest alternate vegetation are very lush, including many unique woody plants. The vegetation in the park can be divided into two categories: cloud forest and mountain grassland, with rich biodiversity. The most common large mammal is a kind of sambar.
The Climate of Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Park has an average temperature of 13°C throughout the year, with a large temperature difference between day and night, which can reach 27°C during the day and as low as 5°C at night. The annual rainfall exceeds 2,000 mm (79 inches). The dry season is from January to March, and frost is common in February. The rainy season is mostly misty, which affects the length of time the plants receive sunlight.
The Horton Plains National Park is called the end of the world. The best time to visit is in the early morning, about 06:00 am - 10:00 am. At the end of the world, you can see the villages under the mountains, the tea gardens in the distance, and even the south coast. After morning time, clouds will come and your vision will be blocked soon. The temperature difference here is very large. You need to wear long trousers in the early morning and evening, but it is hot at noon. Don't forget to protect yourself from the sun. The sunniest season here is from January to March.
What to See at the Horton Plains National Park
The park is rich in plant resources, many of which are unique to Sri Lanka. Vegetation is divided into subtropical mountain evergreen forests and mountain grasslands. The most common large mammals are Sri Lanka sambars. Fishing cats and Eurasian otters feed on aquatic animals in the wetlands of the park. There are 21 species of birds unique to Sri Lanka.
The most famous scenic spots in the Horton Plains National Park is the end of the world. It is a cliff with a vertical drop of 870 meters, located on the southern boundary of the park. There is also a small cliff nearby with a vertical drop of 270 meters.
There is a circular trekking route in the national park, with a total length of about 9.5 kilometers. Tourists can only walk within the prescribed range according to the road signs. The full journey takes about 3-4 hours. Walk from the entrance to the end of the world is about 4 kilometers, then walk 2 kilometers to the Baker Falls, after that walk 3.5 kilometers back to the entrance.
How to get to the Horton Plains National Park
The visitor could rent a car to the Horton Plains National Park, and it is about a 1.5-hour drive from Nuwara Eliya, the charge is about 3500Rs, include the entrance ticket. Most hotels can arrange Tours of the Horton Plains National Park. The visitor could get more information when consulting the hotel reception for details.
♦ The temperature difference here is huge. It is relatively cold in the morning and evening. It's better to wear long trousers and comfortable sneakers. But by noon, it is hot in the park. It is necessary to wear sunscreen.
♦ The sunniest season here is from January to March. It is recommended to bring an umbrella or raincoat because it rains from time to time in the plains.
♦ Before entering the park, you must conduct a safety inspection. You cannot bring plastic products, chewing gum, lighters, cigarettes and other items. You can carry mineral water, and the staff will remove the plastic label on the mineral water. Other items need to be stored outside the scenic spot.
♦ The mobile phone cannot receive any signal in the park.