Most Popular Outdoor Activities To Try In Haputale
Haputale is the ideal place for a ‘nature-based’ holiday. The small town is burrowed deep in the hills of Sri Lanka; offering its travellers misty mountains, thick forests and a number of cascading waterfalls to visit. If you’re planning a holiday to Haputale with your family, there are quite a few things you can do from visiting the Thangamale Bird Sanctuary to trekking through Horton Plains National Park.
Thangamale Bird Sanctuary
One of the country’s lesser-known wildlife sanctuaries, Thangamale Bird Sanctuary is a wonderful attraction to visit with kids. The sanctuary takes up most of the Thangamale Mountain which is adorned with evergreen cloud forests. Thangamale is home to many species of endemic and migratory birds, such as the Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lankan Parrot, and the Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl. As you stroll around the sanctuary, enjoy the surrounding scenery where you can catch glimpses of other mountain ranges, including Pidurangala, Sri Lanka’s tallest mountain.
Tip – Some parts of the trail might require you to be a bit more cautious, as nature tries to take back control.
When to visit – The months from June to September are ideal for bird watching. Prepare to trek in the early mornings!
Horton Plains National Park
Horton Plains National Park is one of the only national parks in the highlands. The park has a 9.5km trail that loops around the park. Ideal for kids of all ages, the trek through the open plains is a fun experience for the whole family. As you trek through the park, you’ll come across the main highlights – World’s End and Baker’s Falls. Ensure to wear appropriate footwear as the trail could take approximately 2-3 hours!
Tip – Stay at a property in proximity to the park.
When to visit – Start your trek at 6am (as the park opens). After 10am, a thick blanket of mist will hinder your views.
Can’t get enough of hiking through trails? We’re not surprised! Here’s another one that will be a treat to your eyes – Lipton’s Seat. Named after one of the famous founding fathers of Ceylon Tea, Sir Thomas Lipton, this viewpoint even has a life size statue of him for you to sit next to and take pictures with! It’s believed that Lipton would marvel at his tea estates and the surroundings from this very spot! Walk in his shoes, or rather, sit in his spot, for a fun picture.
The best time to visit Lipton’s Seat is a little after sunrise as that is when visibility is at its best, and it’s less crowded too. However, if you can’t make it in time for sunrise, the view is still stunning and more dramatic with thick plumes of fog rolling over the hills. On your way back down from Lipton’s Seat, stopover at the Dambatenne Tea Factory, home to Lipton Ceylonta tea and learn about the intricate tea manufacturing process.
Interested in learning more about tea? Embark on a Ceylon Tea Adventure with your family too.
Tip – If you’re feeling peckish, enjoy some hot rotti and tea at the little cafe while enjoying the view!
When to visit – Make it in time to watch the sun rise between the mountain silhouettes.
Idalgashinna Railway Station
Idalgashinna Railway Station is a small train station constructed in 1893 during the colonial era in Sri Lanka. Nestled between the towering green hills west of Haputale and surrounded by vibrant green foliage, one of the best things about it, is its walking trail that runs along the tracks. The trail is 8km long, which should take you roughly 3 hours – depending on your family’s level of fitness!
For most of the trail, the rail line hugs the edge of the cliffs, offering you some stunning views of the surrounding hills during your trek. Between Idalgashinna and Ohiya railway stations, there are 14 tunnels- making it the highest number of tunnels between two railway stations in Sri Lanka. However, be cautious when walking on the tracks, especially with your kids.
Tip – Be cautious when walking on the rail tracks though – and keep your eyes peeled for oncoming trains!
When to visit – For the best views, start your hike at day break!