Insider tips on Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka: How & when to climb it

Bring your best footwear and climb the sacred mountain "Sri Pada" and be rewarded with mesmerising views of the Hill Country. It's an important pilgrimage site for many Sri Lankans because of the sacred footprint at the top. Here's how to do it, when to do it, what to wear and what to expect. I, personally, cannot recommend this more. This was my favourite part of traveling Sri Lanka. It's 5200 steps and 2,243 meters that you'll never forget doing.

How to get there:

The easiest way to do it, is to take the train to Hatton. From Hatton you can take the bus if it's still going or share a cab with the big bunch of people who also wants to climb Adam's Peak. The town you're going to is Dalhouise. It is right at the foot of the mountain. Some climb from Ratnapura, however, this is more challenging and you'll be more on your own if things goes wrong.

When to climb Adam's Peak:

The best time to climb Adam's Peak is between January and May. Before the rain season, where it might be closed. Try to avoid peak times like weekends and holidays. During the full moon ("Poya") all the locals go up their, which means definitely avoid those!

The best time to climb is for sunrise. Start at the bottom at about 2-3 am if your fitness is okay. Maybe 1-2 am if you want longer breaks or more breaks or if there's going to be crowded. I went at 2.30 am in February and it was perfect. I had time for multiple tea breaks a small breakfast and I only waited 30 minutes at the top for the sun to rise. Enough time to freeze my butt off, but still not too bad! The sunrise is worth it though!

What to bring:

Wear layers! It's really cold in the hill country at 2am, but when you start climbing you'll start feeling the heat I promise. However, in 2,243 meters hight it's going to get pretty cold again! That's why layers are your best friend!

Here's a check list of what to bring:

  • Light (phone will do)

  • Water

  • A few snacks - you can also buy it on the way - there's lots of small shops and it's not more expensive than the city

  • Raincoat

  • First Aid - bring salt since I've heard there's lots of leeches, although I didn't experience it myself

  • Money - for the delicious tea, rotti, snacks and the bathroom breaks.


  • Hat

  • Long socks

What to expect:

The climb is mostly stairs. You'll start by following a path to a temple. There's monks here who wants you to give a donation - you don't have to. Then the stairs start. There's light all the way to the top and there's a toilet every twenty minute (bring some change for that). On the side of the road there's shops with tea, rotti and snacks. You can take a break and sit down for a while here or bring it with you.

When you get closer to the top, the path will become narrow and you'll only be able to stand two people next to each other. When you reach the top every one will try and stand to the right where the sun will come up. The sun rises at about 6.30am, however, the best views are on the other side after a few moments. This is where you want the good seats! When the sun rises, the shadow of the mountain will form a perfect shadow on the other side. It looks surreal and that is what's really magical!

There's a temple on the top. Here you can pay to see the sacred footprint if you want. Because the mountain is sacred, you'll have to remove your shoes when you arrive at the top and first take them back on when you are going down (hence the long socks - maybe even a spare pair for after).

On your way down you'll be rewarded with even more breathtaking views of the hill country. Views you'll never forget!



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