Trekking Horton Plains, Sri Lanka. To World’s End (and back again)

World's End, Sri Lanka
WORLD’S END, SRI LANKA

World’s End in Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful and varied treks you will stumble across in this incredible country. Arriving at day break in the early morning mist and spotting deer grazing silently in the long grass, you will feel as though you have stepped into a different country.

World’s End in Horton Plains is a trek that is more accessible than some, due to the well maintained paths and it’s slightly less strenuous hill walking. If you are considering missing out this hike then consider again, it really does have something for everyone.

What is Horton Plains National Park?

The 9km looped track through the beautiful Horton Plains national park takes you to a stunning viewpoint named World’s End. You can see where it got its name when you reach the 4000 foot high precipice. The plains themselves are home to a huge array of wildlife, including samba deer, many birds and even leopards! Though you will be lucky to spot these elusive creatures (or perhaps lucky not to, as you will be on foot!)

Trekking Horton Plains-World's end, Sri Lanka view
THE VIEW FROM WORLD’S END, SRI LANKA

How much do I need to budget?

This wasn’t a cheap trip. We got a car from Nuwara Eliya which cost us £20 (to spread the cost you could find other travellers wanting to do the same trip).

The entrance fee was pretty confusing-they charge for the vehicle based on size, extra for tax, and goodness knows what else. It was a hectic paying system that seemed to involve the drivers running from one ticket office to another in a mad mess that we didn’t really understand.

In total for two, including transport to World’s End, Sri Lanka, our trip cost nearly £80.

Although I didn’t regret doing the trek (the views were stunning and different to other places we visited in Sri Lanka), I would have thought twice had I been aware of the extortionate fees before we left.

If you want to see everything this country has to offer, then suck it up and pay the fees. If you are on a very tight budget then there are plenty of treks in this country that are free (check them out here), so you can save your money for something different like the ancient temple of Sigiriya or a whale watching trip.

How to get to World’s End, Sri Lanka

If you are leaving from Ella or Nuwara Eliya you will want to book a car or a tuk tuk for early in the morning, preferably about an hour and a half before sunrise.

The car we booked cost us £20 from Nuwara Eliya and easily fit two passengers plus our luggage (take it with you if you plan on catching the train straight to Ella). The driver will wait for you to finish the trek and take you on to the nearest train station for your trip on wards.

If you want to save money then try asking around in the town you are staying in. World’s End, Sri Lanka, is a popular place to head to from Nuwara Eliya and Ella and it is likely that you will find other couples or solo travellers to share a car with and split the costs.

Another way to save a bit of money on transport would be to stay in a closer town such as Haputale. See my post on Lipton’s Seat in Haputale to find out a little more about the town and options for places to stay.

Where to stay

World’s End, Sri Lanka is set in a national park and there is no accommodation there. There are several hotels nearby if you wanted to to gain an extra hour or two in bed in the morning, but they are in the middle of nowhere! Try World’s End Lodge Resorts for basic accommodation with stunning views.

A more common option is to stay in a neighbouring town and travel in. If you are starting from Nuwara Eliya then I can highly recommend a stay at Charlie’s Place, detailed in my blog here. There are numerous other hotel and guest house options here, and there is something for all budgets. We enjoyed the peacefulness of our stay slightly outside the main town, and we enjoyed feeling a little more like one of the locals!

Again, Ella is a popular tourist town and there are many options for places to stay, many of which have stunning views out in the countryside. You can read my post here to find out a little more about the town and some options of places to stay.

What to expect on the Horton Plains, World’s End trek

Trekking Horton Plains-red clay scenery
ONE OF THE MANY DIFFERENT LANDSCAPES

The road up to Horton Plains is steep and winding. There are places to stop off for some sunrise photography and the views alone are worth the early start.

There is a bit of a dance at the ticket office, with some hectic running around and some confused looking tourists, but once you’re through all is calm and serenely quiet. We were greeted by the sight of deers grazing, completely unfazed by the admiring tourists.

Trekking Horton Plains-a deer grazing
SPOTTING DEER IN HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK

Tip: Be prepared for the entrance gate by not packing any plastic. We loved these strict eco-friendly rules and hope it helps to keep the area safe from littering. If you forget, they have paper bags ready and will confiscate your plastics.

The trek to World’s End forms a loop of the national park, taking in the best sights along the way. We headed the opposite way to the crowds which meant that we had the first half of our walk to ourselves. There is no need to take a guide as the route is very clearly marked and most of the time it is relatively easy walking, with only a few scrambles and steeper paths.

World’s End, Sri Lanka

World’s End is about half way along the route. The unprotected cliff edge falls a sharp 4000 feet down and the view stretches for miles. You must get here early before it is completely covered by cloud.

Trekking Horton Plains-world's end, Sri Lanka.  A girl looking out over the  mountain view.
THE END OF THE WORLD

There are numerous places to get great photos but be careful near the edge. There are plenty of horror stories accompanying this cliff and you must take the usual safety precautions.

Other sights along the way

On the trek you will pass through numerous different habitats. Take a pair of binoculars if you are a keen birdwatcher. Ours came in handy when we spotted a giant squirrel in a nearby tree!

Trekking Horton Plains-a giant squirrel
GIANT SQUIRREL

Don’t miss Bakers Falls, a pretty waterfall and a welcome relief from the sun. There is a smaller viewpoint aptly named ‘Mini World’s End’ which is also beautiful.

Things to know

Leave about 3-4 hours for the trek, including stops for photographs.

There is a small fee for the toilets so bring change.

There’s a little museum at the entrance/exit which is worth a look if you have time.

It’s worth keeping the noise down as you walk around the national park as you’ll have more chance of spotting the wildlife. This was tricky as the day went on and the paths became more crowded.

Trekking Horton Plains-a landscape view of horton plains
HORTON PLAINS NATION PARK TREK

What to bring on your visit to World’s End, Sri Lanka

  • Plenty of water is a must-especially as the day heats up
  • Suncream/hat
  • Snacks
  • A jumper for the cold early start
  • Remember no plastic. Plastic water bottles are allowed but they will strip off plastic labels or plastic from around the cap
  • Camera/binoculars

Thanks for reading, we hope you have an amazing visit and that this guide has helped you to prepare. Spot something we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

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