Sunrise from the top of a mountain

Adam’s Peak – Tips on Climbing This Beautiful Mountain

This post was last updated on June 26th, 2020 at 06:20 pm


Adam’s Peak is surrounded by beauty, located in the central part of Sri Lanka. This 2,243-meter high mountain has been an important pilgrimage destination for various people for over 1000 years. They say that the mountain contains a footprint of Buddha. A must-do is taking the trip to the top, even if you are not religious. It is a wonderful experience!

 

Adam’s Peak or Sri Pada

Sri Pada, that’s how Adam’s Peak is sometimes called. It is one of Sri Lanka’s most extraordinary natural sights. The mountain literally and figuratively stands out above the rest of the area. With 2,243 meters it is only the fifth-highest place in Sri Lanka, but the mountain has a magical appearance.

 

TIP – Adam’s Peak is a holy mountain, so behave respectfully when you’re there.

 

Who Got to Adam’s Peak First?

Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists have been coming here for centuries for various reasons. The original story is that Adam’s Peak is the first footprint on the earth of Adam, Buddha or Shiva, made at the request of the local god Saman.

 

Over the years, different people and different faiths have given different stories to it. The name Adam’s Peak stems from the fact that Muslims claimed that this is the mountain where Adam would have set foot on earth for the first time. Hindus, on the other hand, claimed that the footprint was made by Shiva.

 

View of a small village with a mountain in the background
The small village of Dalhousie with Adam’s Peak in the background

 

Climbing the 5,500 Steps of Adam’s Peak

Many travelers climb Adam’s Peak during their journey through Sri Lanka. The tour to the top of the mountain starts in the nearby village of Dalhousie. Along the way, you will come across a large standing Buddha.

 

The first few minutes you walk through beautiful tea plantations and ancient Buddhist shrines. We have listed a number of tips for climbing this mountain.

 

1. What is the Climb Like?

The climb is easy to do if you are somewhat fit. You do not have to train, it is not that high that it makes you suffer from altitude sickness and it is not super difficult. Most people without any experience eventually get to the top.

 

The first part of the climb is even fairly easy. After an hour/hour and a half, it gets a little bit more difficult. However, compared to the Gunung Rinjani or Bromo this one is a breeze!

 

TIP – Bring a jacket or sweater with you, it can get quite chilly at higher altitudes.

 

2. Hire a Guide?

It is possible, but it is certainly not a must. The route itself is very easy and certainly requires no guide. The only advantage of a guide is that you can get an explanation here and there about the route, the mountain, and its surroundings.

 

Along the way, you will come across various stalls where you can buy food and drinks for a few rupees. Of course, they also have delicious roti and a cup of tea. Keep in mind that snacks and water are a lot more expensive than in the village (Dalhousie). If possible, we recommend that you stock up on water and snacks in Dalhousie.

 

TIP – Bring enough change so that you can buy some food and drinks if necessary. Sellers often don’t have the change for “big” money.

 

Peace pagoda at the foot of Adam's Peak
Peace pagoda at the foot of Adam’s Peak

 

3. The Route and Times

The town of Dalhousie is the place where most travelers start their journey. The route to the top starts from here. Dalhousie is not a very special place and two days is enough to climb Adam’s Peak when you are here.

 

The first day you climb the mountain, the second day you give your legs some rest and then continue traveling. There is only one route that you can follow, so you cannot get lost. You simply have to follow the other travelers.

 

The Climb Up

You arrive in Dalhousie, book your ho(s)tel, buy some things and go to bed early! You have to get out at 2:00 a.m. to start the climb. You do this at night so that you can see the sunrise at the top.

 

Plan to reach the top around 5:00 a.m. Keep in mind that it is quite busy at the top.

 

TIP – Depending on your level of fitness it will take between 2 and 4 hours for your journey to the top.

 

The top of the mountain is really beautiful. You stand above the cloud cover that looks like a layer of cotton wool you can lie in. Slowly you see the sunrise. After you see the sun come up you go back down.

 

The way back takes about 1.5 hours. For the rest of your day, you can enjoy the scenery and give your sore legs some rest. You can also travel further on the same day.

 

Sunrise over the mountain range from the top of Adam's Peak
Trust us, the view looks even better for real!

 

Options in terms of accommodation

If you choose to spend the night in Dalhousie, you can do so at the following hostel, among other places;

 

  • Grand Adams Peak from US$22 per night and only 100 meters from Adam’s Peak. It’s that easy.

 

4. How to Get to Adam’s Peak

As said, Dalhousie is the place to start your journey. Most people take a train to Hatton and then a bus or tuk-tuk to Dalhousie. Hatton can be reached by train or bus from Colombo, Kandy, Ella, and other major places.

 

  • Hatton to Dalhousie by bus takes 2 hours and costs 75 rupees (US$0.45)
  • From Hatton to Dalhousie with a tuk-tuk takes 1 hour and costs 1,000 to 1,500 rupees (US$5.70 to $8.50)
  • Buses leave every 10 minutes and the ride is super beautiful!

 

5. Cost of Hiking on Adam’s Peak

That is the best thing of all. Access, or walking this hike, is completely free. And that is special because as a foreigner/tourist you have to pay the main price for most of Sri Lanka’s sights, but not here. Adam’s Peak is completely free!

 

TIP – There are monks on the way who ask for a donation. If you want to give them something you should take some change with you.

 

Blue glow coming from the mountain range during a sunrise on Adam's Peak
Another beautiful view of the blue glow morning sunrise

 

6. Best Time to Climb Adam’s Peak

You should actually climb Adam’s Peak at night so that you arrive at the summit in the morning before sunrise. In the morning you have the best views and the chance to spot the special fog that likes to hang out there.

 

Most pilgrims climb Adam’s Peak during the pilgrim season that starts on the Duruthu Poya day in December or January and runs until the Vesak Poya day in May. The views are also the best in this period.

 

Out of Season

If you want to climb the mountain out of season, keep in mind that many shops are closed along the way and that the paths are not lit at night. So you have to walk in the dark. In addition, the fog that makes the mountain so special is most beautiful in December and January.

 

View from a mountain with hanging fog in Adam's Peak
Some of that special morning fog viewed from Adam’s Peak

 

The Summit of Adam’s Peak

At the top of the mountain, you will find different buildings. The special ‘footprint’ may be disappointing at a first impression. It is a small, slightly out of shape, print painted in gold. Fortunately for the story, the real footprint is hidden in the ground.

 

After you have climbed to the top you will find two bells that pilgrims must ring for each time they have climbed the mountain. It is quite a climb but the spectacular view makes it all worth it.

 

A special feature is a shade that can hang around Adam’s Peak. This does not correspond to the actual shape of the top itself. Buddhists say that it is not the shadow of the mountain but a reflection of the “Triple Gem” (an equivalent of the Holy Trinity consisting of the Buddha, his teachings, and the community of Buddhist monks)

 

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