Horton Plains National Park, Kandy: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips
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Nature & Wildlife

Horton Plains National Park Tours & Activities

About Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains National Park is best known for its scenic panorama in Sri Lanka, delighting travel enthusiasts with gamut of exclusive plant and animal life. It is also one of the heritage sites in the world, stretching above the two lofty mountains Totapola and Kirigalpotta, which is a sight-to-behold.

Tourists from all over the world head for this national park, a highland-like structure with plains on one side and spectacular mountains and deep jungles on the other. All of it constitutes the Central Highlands of the island country Sri Lanka.  

You need to wake up very early in the morning to take in the beauty of this park before the clouds roll in to obscure the view. Make sure you are prepared to head for the park by 9 am, else, you will miss the scenic view because a thick blanket of morning mist enfolds Horton Plains for the rest of the day. 

Take a walk deep into this national park to discover World’s End, which is a towering cliff top offering a sweeping view of Sri Lanka towards the coast and also past the shoreline. You will discover numerous lakes, waterfalls, rocky hills, as well as the spectacular view of the ocean from this heritage site in Sri Lanka.

Besides, the scenic vista, Horton Plains National Park is covered with thick verdant forests boasting a variety of wild animals and numerous species of birds. The national park is an inimitable ecosystem with plentiful flora and fauna, which is why it’s hailed as a super biodiversity site of Sri Lanka.

How to Reach Horton Plains National Park



If you are contemplating reaching Horton Plains National Park from Kandy Airport, you can rent a car or hire a cab or taxi to reach your destination. The distance from the airport to the park is approximately 107.4 km and would take you around two hours by taxi or car. Traveling by car or taxi is also the quickest way to reach Horton Plains National Park from the airport.

Best Time to Visit Horton Plains National Park



The perfect time to visit Horton Plains National Park is the beginning of the year, particularly from January – March. The park remains covered with clouds and mist most times of the year, but not during the start of a year.

Therefore, if you want to get the best views, visit from January to March, the first three months of the year. The park also remains less crowded during this time of the year.

Make sure you head for the national park early in the morning and reach your destination by 9 am. Beyond that, misty weather will not give you the best viewing experience.

What Not to Miss at Horton Plains National Park



There are many activities to do in the park, a scenic paradise tucked away in the island country of Sri Lanka. These include: 

1. Hiking
It is the best activity of Horton Plains National Park, where the plateau-like land comes to an abrupt end and features a deep plunge of 4000 feet. Take in the beauty of Adam’s Peak on a sun-drenched while you are on your hiking adventure. The hike towards the World’s End is easy because you will find a circular trail without worrying about being lost in the way. The nine-kilometer fun trek will unleash the beauty and mystery of the highlands of Sri Lanka. 

2. Animal watching 
The park boasts of more than 150 species of wild animals and home to purple-faced langurs, wild boas, Sri Lanka’s super fowl, otter, red slender Loris, magpie, sambar deer, and Sri Lankan leopards.

You can spot a couple of endemic species and native to the jungles, including the rhino horn lizard, huge long-tailed squirrels, painted lip lizard, bear monkey, Toque monkey, barking deer, fishing cat, and stripe necked mongoose. You can take photos if you are fortunate enough to spot these elusive animals. 

3. Bird watching
The national park is a bird watcher’s paradise and so you can take a pair of binoculars to spot the Yellow-eared Bulbul, wood pigeon, dull-blue flycatcher, Spot-winged Thrush, Sri Lanka’s bush warbler, whistling thrush, brown-capped babbler,hill swallow, blackbird, hill munia, pied thrush, black eagle,Jerdon’s Baza,jungle fowl, and mountain Hawk-eagle. 

4. Witness the rich flora 
Horton Plains is worth a visit for its rich flora and biodiversity with five percent of the plant varieties endemic to the island country of Sri Lanka. Take in the beauty of the forest canopy growing to around 20 meters and dominated by the widespread Keena. 

You will tree ferns Maha Meewana dotting the jungle openings, while Nelu and Binara are endemic to this park and known for their striking blossoms. Take photos of Bivitiya, which is another stunningly beautiful flower in this region. 

5. Hang around with your friends and family at Farr Inn
It is the most sought-after hunting lodge and the best meeting point for trekkers. The place served as a beautiful lodge for decorated British officials of the bygone days, but now it functions as a café as well as a visitor center. Enjoy steaming cups of coffee and tidbits with your loved ones here before you start trekking. 

You will also find a small souvenir store adjacent to this café, where you can look up books on the national park and its rich history.

Places to visit around Horton Plains National Park



There are a couple of places to explore around Horton Plains National Park. They are:

1. Bambarakanda Falls 
Be mesmerized when you get to view the 800-meter deep plunge from World’s End, which is an escarpment in this national park. Take delight in the splendid views of the neighboring tea gardens, misty, lush green mountains, and the structures around the World’s End. 

You can visit Bambarakanda Falls, which is just an hour from the national park with your family and friends. The fall is the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka and looks splendid full of gushing water during the monsoon months. 
The fall drops from a height of 263 meters and is a sight-to-behold, especially its spectacular view from the vantage point that you can reach from the short hiking trail. 

2. Baker’s Falls
It is a fall approx 20 meters in height, the misty, frothy water of the fall provides the best opportunity to take some beautiful photos. You can pose before Baker’s Falls to take a group selfie with abundant plant life surrounding this place. 

3. Ravana Falls 
You can visit this beautiful waterfall, just two hours from Horton Plains National Park. Climb above a couple of rocks to reach closer to the impressive Ravana Falls and take some wonderful photographs of the largest waterfall of Sri Lanka. 

If you happen to visit Horton Plains National Park during the monsoon, you can see the waterfall full of life, resembling the areca flower with drooping petals. If you love splashing in the water, then this fall is your best bet for taking a refreshing swim,  but be careful because the rocks are quite slippery here.

The waterfall is named after Sri Lankan King Ravana from the epic Ramayana. According to legends, Ravana kidnapped Lord Rama’s wife and hid her in the caves at the back of this waterfall.

Other Essential Information About Horton Plains National Park



Location:

Horton Plains National Park is seated in Sri Lanka and a conserved area in the Central Highlands of this island country. 

Entry fee:
The entry fee for the locals is 30 INR for a day visit but 60 INR if you are looking for an overnight visit.  Again, the entry fee is 1,150 INR and 2,090 INR for foreign tourists for a day and overnight visit respectively. The entry fee is more if you are not a local and need to shell out vehicle fees up to 500 INR, which makes the trip to Horton Plain National Park quite expensive. 

Timings:
The opening hours are from 6 am in the morning to 6 pm in the evening. 

Facilities and safety:
Before you enter Horton Plains National Park, ensure that you use the washrooms close to the entrance because it’s the sole facility available in the park. The place also has paper bags in case you want them. Avoid carrying plastic because you’ll not be allowed to take plastic bags inside the park. 

There are many places to take some splendid photos but watch out near the edges. There have numerous horror tales and accidents near the cliff edge. Therefore, take the required precautions before taking photos. 

Distance from Kandy Airport:
The distance from Kandy Airport to the park is 107.4 km if you take the road through A5 and B512.

Geography of the Horton Plains



The Horton Plains is seated on the southern plateau of Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands as well as a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO. Horton Plains consists of three major portions, the Horton Plains National Park, the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, as well as the Knuckles Conservation Forest. 

The place receives abundant rainfall at a height of 2100 to 2300 meters and as far as temperature is concerned, it fluctuates. The temperature can rise as much as 27 degrees Celsius during the day and dip at five degrees or even to one degree Celsius, giving you the chills. 

Due to cloud cover over the deep forest, the thick mist frequently shrouds the sunlight leaving no sun rays reaching the plant life. The Horton Plains is also known for its reddish-yellow podzolic soil, thus giving rise to some of the endemic species of this place. 

The national park features the Archean age rocks comprised of Khondalites, granite gneisses, and Charnockites, prevalent right from the Precambrian period. All of these make the Horton plains and its physical features extremely appealing and significant for the visitors and travel enthusiasts.

Flora and Fauna at the Horton Plains National Park



1. Flora

The diverse vegetation comes under two distinct groups, the montane grasslands extending for about 2000 hectares of land and the subtropical montane evergreen jungles encircle 1160 hectares of this region. You will find numerous endemic plant varieties in the deep forests including herbaceous plants as well as tropical varieties like the endemic daffodil orchid.

The herbaceous plant species are Fragaria, Plantago, and Viola found in abundance in Horton Plains National Park. 

2. Fauna
As far as the animal life of the national park is concerned, it is amusing, copious, and diverse. There are at least 24 varieties of mammals like rusty-spotted cats, purple-faced langurs, wild boars, and Sri Lankan leopards. However, the commonly spotted animals are the Sambar Deer found in Horton Plains National Park. 

The park boasts of a combination of mixed varieties of fauna including nine reptile species, 87 bird species, as well as eight amphibian species. Horton Plains National Park is also popular for its elephants; though the species became extinct here post the 1940s. 

The national park is the favorite of bird lovers, home to a diverse 21 species including the dull-blue flycatcher, Sri Lankan magpie, Wood pigeon, Sri Lankan Spurfowl, Yellow-fronted Barbet, jungle fowl, Orange-billed babbler, and Sri Lankan white-eye.

The special mention is of the Sambar deer in Horton Plains National Park, the animals you can spot around the edges of wooded parts of the forest. If you are fortunate, you can notice the giant squirrels and shaggy bear-monkey and capture these animals in their various moods in your camera lens.

You may also notice animals such as the large herd elk, outlined against the lowland clouds that move past rhododendrons, a colorful flowering plant seen in Horton Plains National Park. You will also spot the rhino-horned lizard, which is an unusual and relic species of the forest. Take photos of a few lizards with preposterously, fluorescent green scales.

Tips for visiting Horton Plains National Park



There are a few things to remember before you visit Horton Plains National Park. These are: 

- Reach the park by 9 am to get the best scenic views. If you are late, the mist cover will ruin your viewing experience. 

- Make sure you have around three or four hours for the trekking adventure, which includes halts for taking pictures.

- Bring exact currency notes or small change like coins if you want to use the toilets near the entrance for a fee. 

- Do not forget to visit the museum close to the park entrance

- Do not speak loud or shout when walking around the park because you may scare off the wild animals. Keep silent if you want to spot animals and take photos. 

- Wear comfortable, strong walking shoes, sunhat, and shades. 

- Carry food, water, and sunscreen lotion.
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People Also Ask About Horton Plains National Park

  1. What is Horton Plains National Park famous for?

    Horton Plains National Park is famous for the World’s End, which is the major attraction of the place. World’s End is known for its 4000-foot high rock face or cliff precipice from where you get a spectacular view of the surroundings. You will find the nine-km looped path via this picturesque national park with a jaw-dropping view of World’s End. The trek towards World’s End is the best experience because of the splendid sights around. The trek to the World’s End is popular because it is more accessible because of its well-maintained pathways and less tiring hill walking. The plains are home to a gamut of wildlife including leopards, sambar deer grazing in the long grass, gigantic squirrels, and rhino horn lizards, a few notable animal species.
  2. Is there any option for Horton Plains National Park camping?

    Yes, there are options for camping at Horton Plains National Park. You will find three distinct spots for pitching a camp in this park that many nature lovers and backpackers prefer. Then, you will need to carry all your bags and luggage from the park’s entrance to the camping ground, unlike other campsites. Therefore, make sure you carry lightweight bags and pack as little as possible.
  3. How long is Horton Plains Trek?

    Horton Plains trek is a 9.5 km trek with halting spots to cover attractions like Baker’s Falls and World’s End. You will need three to five hours to complete the Horton Plains trek, based on how long you stop by at every vantage point or site of attraction. Therefore, make sure you have enough time to complete the trek.
  4. Are there trails to hike in the park?

    Yes, there are hiking trails at Horton Plains National Park. In fact, it is popular for hiking among adventure-seekers. The scenic trails around this national park could be explored individually or with the help of professional guides. Since there is no safari in the park, therefore, the place has managed to retain its natural magnificence even after several years.