Discovering the Pekoe Trail 01. Hanthana Sri Lanka
It is an early morning start from Colombo and we reach Kandy in time for a hearty breakfast, before we embark on the Pekoe Trail.
As an avid hiker and determined to make the most of my 60s, I can’t resist the opportunity to explore this much talked about 300-kilometer Pekoe Trail and document my experience on Mihipedia. The trail is broken up into 22 stages, and today I will tackle Trail 01, from Hanthana to Galaha. My aim is to walk all 22 stages eventually.
Trail 01 starts from Hanthana, near the Ceylon Tea Museum and will ultimately take me to Galaha, 12.8kms away.
The day is warm and is forecasted to get hot. We set off, carrying three days’ worth of clothes in our backpacks, water bottles are topped up and lots of biscuits to munch on along the way.
I have the All Trails app in hand and that will help navigate our way across this trail.
We pass the Sandagiri Maha Seya, a temple which claims to showcase the largest stupa of its kind in Kandy. Today, there are crowds of children, with their parents, making their way to the temple to collect school supplies distributed by donors.
. The stupa looks pretty impressive from across the valley.
The heat of the day is slowing our pace despite the shade of the tall trees that line the gravelly roads of the Hanthana Tea Estate, one of the oldest and largest tea plantations in Sri Lanka.
Besides, we must stop and chat up anyone and everyone who crosses our paths!
We stop to hug trees, pose with trees, sit on trees and because time is at large. As such it is taking us longer than the estimated time of 3 hrs and a bit. In all, it took us more than five hours! But who’s counting!
Hours into our hike, determined to finish this trail, we find ourselves traversing through tea plantations, offering stunning views.
We pass the mountain façade that was the backdrop to the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
After leaving the tea estate, the trail takes us through small villages and communities, all of them curious to see the three of us traipsing past. We stop to chat. Again. And again!
We reach the highest point of the trail at an elevation of 1,008 meters. We have climbed 383 meters in total. In this heat, it feels like much more!
At the descend towards Galaha, there is a statue of Buddha sitting majestically atop of this massive rock. I’m not sure if the inscriptions on the rock are ancient or not.
The hike ends in the small town of Galaha, where we are invited to rest and eat ice cream with a local family. Their hospitality is typical of local communities, always wanting to make visitors feel at home. This is what the Pekoe Trail is about…enjoying every moment and making friends along the way.
Overall, Stage 01 of the Pekoe Trail is a beautiful and rewarding hike that takes us through some of Sri Lanka’s most stunning scenery. Was it difficult? Not really. But the heat of the day was tiring.
Tomorrow, we do Trail 02.
Good to know:
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes and take plenty of water and snacks. A hiking pole will add to the ease.
- Stop and patronize the local shops along the way. Support local communities as much as possible.
- We stay at the Sky Lodge Kandy. Sumith, the manager and his staff are very hospitable and the food, the pool and the views are amazing. A 15 minute tuk ride will get you there.
And of course, be sure to send me a message via Mihipedia.lk for more tips and recommendations on the Pekoe Trail.
Interesting trek and more interested now to follow this trail and see all these beautiful and scenic locations. Anymore insights or historical significance to this area post the coffee plantation era in the 1850’s and the first Tea plantations?
Trail two blog is out.
Wonderful Hemanthi. Enjoyed reading the Orange pekoe trail. That’s an amazing walk you have done. The photos are beautiful. Can’t wait to read your next episode.