Sounds like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean, doesn’t it? 🙂 World’s End is a hike in Sri Lanka’s Horton Plains National Park. It was, I think, my first ever hike (for fun)…at the tender age of 26 ……Wow! On reflection, that seems like a very late age to do my very first hike!
We were on our second trip to Sri Lanka, and my brothers and I (with a handy Lonely Planet book in our hands) were determined to see more of Sri Lanka than just Jaffna and Colombo. So we convinced our very reluctant parents that it was perfectly fine to venture out on an adventure!
1. Getting to World’s End
Nuwara Iliya is the closest town to Horton Plains. Getting from Nuwara Iliya to Hortons Plains is pretty easy, either catch a tuk tuk, or hire a van (if there’s a group of you). We went with a van as there were about five of us.
The park opens at 6 a.m., the earlier you get to the park the better! You can avoid the heat of Sri Lanka (although in the high country, it’s actually not that hot) and after about 11 a.m. the view from World’s End can be obstructed by clouds. It’s best to avoid April to September. Firstly, it’s the rainy season, and who wants to hike in the rain? Secondly, the view from Worlds End is often shrouded by mist during this period.
2. The hike
We started the hike not knowing what to expect. We had seen a few pictures in our trusty Lonely Planet book, but everyone knows pictures can easily lie. Still, we were very excited! My Uncle and Dad bravely and blindly volunteered to do this walk with us. They, of course, were under the impression that this would be a cruisey walk for an hour or two, and then everyone could go home for brunch.
The total round trip hike is 9.5 km: 4 km to Worlds End, 2 km to Bakers Falls and another 3.5 km back to the entrance. Although it is a long hike, it is a fairly easy one. Take lots of water because of the heat, and take some snacks. You can’t take plastic bags, so be prepared and take paper bags.
Once you get through the entrance, you can either go to the left or the right. To the left is World’s End and to the right is Bakers Falls, but as it is a loop you will hit both, whichever way you choose!
We went towards World’s End at the start, and there are some pictures below of the walk. As the ground can get quite muddy, don’t rock up on this hike with open-toed shoes (many of the locals of course did just that, and gave up quite quickly) you will have very muddy gross feet by the end of it!
The people we met along the hike who had actually made it to the end were well-prepared overseas and expat travellers. Some were obviously serious hikers with their hiking sticks, high tech clothing, water bladders and backpacks, and although older than us sprightly 20 year-olds (not including Dad and Uncle), they zoomed past us and put us to shame! There is nothing like a little fitness and being prepared for the environment to make any activity comfortable and fun! 🙂
First stop was “Mini World’s End” followed by the World’s End lookout. Both these lookouts are above the cloud line. When we finally made it to the top, there was a little cloud obstructing our view, but the view was still stunning and the sense of achievement of making it to this point for us first-time hikers was enormous.
There are some stunning photo opportunities here. For the brave-hearted it is possible to lie on the platform and edge out to take some photos looking directly down (as some of the hikers were doing). We Trip Avengers, although all for adventures and pushing boundaries, always take the view of safety first. Telephone coverage is sketchy in this area, and there aren’t really rangers wandering around ready to help you out if something happens, so we advise caution even when seeking the best photo!
Note: These photos do not do justice to the view or the atmosphere of World’s End.
The final stop was Bakers Falls, and this should not be missed! Don’t skip it just because you are tired and exhausted at this point. Plow through and get a view of the spectacular falls.
Along the walk, at some points it was unclear which way we needed to go to reach the next point, the paths at times were overgrown with grass and the signage was lacking. But this is truly what makes World’s End an adventure. If you start at 6 a.m., there is plenty of time to get lost and find your way back! I personally thought that this was the best part of our Sri Lankan trip. Sure, we had many highlights, but as far as experiences go, we went to World’s End and returned alive, excited and ready for our next adventure!
If you are travelling to Sri Lanka and planning an itinerary, this is definitely a worthy contender! To read about other great places to visit in Lanka, check out the posts below:
Happy Trip Avenging!