After breakfast, we’ll go on a tour that introduces us to the rapidly changing face of Colombo. This capital city is seeing fast development, especially after the end of the three-decade-long Sri Lankan Civil War that rocked much of the north. Almost overnight, skyscrapers have taken the place of old buildings, but some neighborhoods still retain its old-world charm.
We’ll visit a hundred-year-old clock tower and several British-built colonial structures. We’ll also stop by Pettah Bazaar to feel its frenetic energy and maybe do a little window-shopping. We’ll continue to a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple, residential areas where you find some stately homes, the Colombo museum, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (which was a gift from the People's Republic of China, the new Parliament and the Dutch Museum.
After we’ve wandered down the most interesting city streets, we’ll settle in for our 5-hour drive to Adam’s Peak, a sacred mountain and pilgrimage site in Central Sri Lanka. After checking in to our hotel located in the mountain’s surrounding forest reserve, it’s best to get some sleep to prepare for our nighttime climb of Adam’s Peak (2,243 m).
We’ll rise at around 3 a.m. for our sunrise assault on Adam’s Peak (this hike is only possible from December to April). Thousands of pilgrims trek Adam’s Peak every year to visit the sacred rock known as Sri Pada, or ‘sacred footprint’. This rock formation that measures roughly 2 meters long is revered by many world religions: Buddhists believe the formation to be the footprint of the Buddha, Hindus believe it is the footprint of Shiva, and Muslims and Christians believe it is the footprint of Adam or Saint Thomas.
It will take roughly 2.5 hours to summit the mountain. As you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views as the sun rises. The surrounding forest is home to numerous species of birds and butterflies—a nature lover’s dream.