As I relive this experience in my head in attempts to document it down, I cannot describe to you how surreal it felt to be on top of Adam’s Peak; one of the most renowned pilgrimage sites in the world. If you ever make Sri Lanka as one of your future destinations, I would absolutely recommend that you add this into your list of adventure!
Also known as Sri Pada to the locals, Adam’s Peak is a significant religious landmark for Buddhists and Hindus as it is thought to house the sacred footprint of the Buddha or Lord Shiva. As a foreigner, the view atop Adam’s Peak at sunrise was said to be well-worth the climb of 5000 steps in the early hours of the morning, and that was enough to make me want to see it for myself.
I had a very flexible schedule while backpacking in Sri Lanka and only decided to head over the day before. There are many route options and different modes of transport to choose from; I took a 3 hour bus ride from Kandy to Hatton (100.00LKR/o.60USD) and then a 45 minute tuk-tuk ride (700LKR/4.50USD) to where I was staying. Grand Adam’s Peak is located right at the beginning of the walking trail; it’s a great hostel to check-in for an early rest, head up to catch the sunrise, have a hearty breakfast once you’re done and then check out after.
Grand Adam’s Peak
No 32/2 Adams Peak Road | Nuwaraeliya, Nallathanniya 22200, Sri Lanka
Approx 29.00USD per night
Now, I must admit, the idea of walking up 5000 steps to reach the peak can be quite daunting. I wouldn’t consider it to be challenging terrain as the footpath is well-maintained all the way to the top, but you’d definitely need to work on your stamina if you’d like to reach in time for the sunrise. An ideal time to start would be 2.00 or 2.30am, which gives you more than enough time to slowly make your way up for sunrise. It took me slightly under 3 hours to reach the top, including taking ample rest in between.
It was a pleasure to see the entire walking trail being well-illuminated throughout the night. You’d find that many local pilgrims and foreigners alike are on the same mission as you to reach the top, so it wouldn’t be a lonely journey for you if you’re on your own. There’s also many stalls along the way selling food and refreshments if you ever need a little boost on your way up.
As you gradually ascend, the stairs become steeper and while trying to catch your breath, you wonder when was it ever going to end. There were also a few times where I questioned my decision to climb up in the first place. Heh.
At the end though, nothing beats the feeling of finally reaching the top, and when hundreds of us patiently waited for that moment of dawn, we were gradually greeted by this beautiful sight:
Witnessing the first sun rays of the morning and the shadows of the hills and valleys in the vicinity was quite a sight to behold; it made everything about the climb worthwhile, including the ache in my knees and calves that lasted a few days after!
The walk down in the morning is also quite scenic, and now that you can see well ahead of you, you wonder at yourself for walking all that distance only a few hours ago! It also gets hot pretty quickly after sunrise, which is why having an early ascend is also a better option. On your way down, you can enjoy the view of the Peace Pagoda standing in the far distance.
Personally, I enjoyed the entire journey; it was rewarding and conditions were just perfect. Equip yourself with good walking shoes and warm clothing as it gets pretty chilly at the top while you wait in anticipation for sunrise. It may be a good idea to avoid the main pilgrimage month which is April if huge crowds are not your cup of tea.
After reading this, it’s now time for you to make your way there!