Haputale was a delightful accident.
Haputale happened because our other plans fell through. The AirBnB host we had booked in another town bailed with a quick “Sorry, I’m diving in the Maldives? So, like, um, no one is there to let you in. K’ Bye.” (I’m paraphrasing a little…).
Scrambling at the bus depot Jackson made some hasty plans to go to this tiny town to the East of the National Park called Haputale (Ha Pu Tah Leh).
It took us about 2.5 hours to get from Nuwara Eliya to Haputale by bus. We hopped a bus from N.E. to Bandarawela then a local bus the extra 25 min to Haputale.
Haputale sits on the edge of a mountain range that gives the viewer a chance to look out on creation itself. The views from the road that snake down toward the coast is absolutely stunning. It feels like the edge of the world is on one side, Haputale on the other.
Our accommodation, Hotel Nature Horizon, sits on the edge of one of these cliffs and affords the guest absolutely stunning views of the mountains that march off into the distance.
We had the view it all to ourselves, as the hotel was a 10-min drive from Haputale and felt like it was in the middle of nowhere.
I would recommend staying in this hotel for the views only. Otherwise, it’s not very clean and the food is pretty meh by Sri Lankan standards.
We agreed to pay the hosts’ son, Malith, to be our guide and get us to the park the following morning at 5am. As it so happened another couple from Melbourne, Claire and James, were staying in the room next to ours and we all got on like a house on fire, so we agreed to share the ride to the park.
It took about 1 hour 20 min to get to the entrance to Horton Plains. We left around 5:15am and Malith drove us through some seriously twisted roads. Near the top of one of the hills leading to the park, Malith pulled the car over and the four of us watched the sunrise. It was delightful.
No other tourists and no other people to be annoying. Nice.
Horton Plains is a gorgeous national park. I would HIGHLY recommend a trip there. It’s up in the mountains so it’s really not very hot, there is a lot of wind, and the views are stunning.
The main hike took our group of four about 2.5 hours to hike around. It is one large loop that takes the visitor through jungle, plains, and up to the edge of the world.
The entrance came to 3,000LKR each ($20USD) and we got a discount because we were in a group of 4. Malith explained that a ticket for one would come to about 4,200LKR, so it’s best to go as part of a small group to get a better ticket price.
Other than the annoying tourists (and there were a lot of them) at World’s End View Point, the park felt relatively empty and we could move at our own pace.
Claire and James asked if we could recommend Ella and after the visit to Haputale: no. Skip Ella and just stay in Haputale. It’s quiet, there are no tourists, the views are great, and you can see waterfalls on the side of the road! Why wait in line to see one in Ella?
Also: eat at Sunrise Restaurant in Haputale. The curry lunch special will run you about 450LKR (about $3USD) per person, which is a great price for some delicious food!