Hill Country, Sri Lanka
This romantic region’s chocolate-box hill stations were founded on the success of the Ceylon planters, whose legendary hedonistic lifestyle is still evident in names such as Kew or Glencairn, impeccable racecourses, golf links, polo fields, and the whiff of wild mint and White Mischief in the air. Active types flock here for sublime trekking, cycling and whitewater rafting, or to climb epic holy mountain Adam's Peak. Tea estates offer more chilled-out thrills if you'd rather just kick back on the veranda with an elegant brew.
And, if it's in-depth exploring you're after:
See our Sri Lanka itineraries
Areas in Hill Country
When to go
If you’re serious about a pilgrimage up magical mountain Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), time your visit for the dry season, which runs from December to April. Avoid June and July if you’re afraid of showers. Generally, Sri Lanka has more than enough sun to be a year-round destination – there’s always a monsoon-free patch of coast to be found.
PlanesIt's a three- to four-hour drive to Hill Country from capital Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (www.airport.lk). Sri Lankan Airlines (www.srilankan.aero) is the only carrier that flies direct to Colombo from Sydney and selected European destinations. One-stop operators include Emirates (www.emirates.com), Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeair.com) and Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com). Ask your hotel to arrange a transfer for you.
TrainsWhen booking the InterCity Express from Colombo (+94 (0)11 243 4215/243 2908) ask for a second-class ticket to Hatton. ‘First Class Observation’ coaches are antiquated and a dodgem-car ride. Tickets are cheap as chips in either. We recommend buying an extra seat for luggage space.
AutomobilesFour wheels are the simplest way to reach the Hill Country. Drivers are easy to locate or Hayleys (www.hayleys.com) can arrange tours and transport around the country. For a reliable local driver with good English and no brothers with gem shops, try Babu (+94 (0)77 679 9546) or Sada (+94 (0)77 766 4410).
TaxisHave your hotel order one for you as they're generally not found on the street. If you fancy a bit of shake, rattle and roll, tuk tuks (auto-rickshaws) are rife.