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3 Days Tour From Colombo to Nuwara Eliya: Full Guided Adventure

Do you want to camp at the beautiful Horton Plains in Sri Lanka and travel around Nuwara Eliya? Let’s walk you through how to get permission and what you’ll see..

How we plan our 3 Days Tour From Colombo?

Setting out on a 3 days tour from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya was a thrill we couldn’t wait to experience. Our plan was a mix of discovery and excitement, taking us through the captivating Horton Plains, the cozy town of Nuwara Eliya, and the breathtaking St Clairs and Devon waterfalls. But the real excitement? Camping under the starry sky at Horton Plains.

How to book camping site at Horton Plains?

To secure our camping sites, we had to make a visit to the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Battaramulla. Unfortunately, the process isn’t online-friendly yet. While they offer online booking for bungalows, camping sites still require an in-person visit.

For bookings or inquiries, you can contact the Department of Wildlife Conservation at 0112 888 585.

Here’s the map location for your reference: Location


You are required to complete the form below. Only one person needs to undertake this process, and the ticket will be issued in their name for reserving the camping site.


Then, the following ticket will be issued for entry to the campsite.


There are three camping sites available, and we have selected camping site 1.


Camping site at Horton Plains

Camping Site 1

Camp 1 is the closest to the Wildlife Conservation Office and is a highly secluded area, completely isolated from the public. It features access to water from a running stream, providing added comfort and convenience. 


Camping Site 2

Camp 2 is situated along the pathway to the end of the world, making it less private due to constant foot traffic. However, its proximity to the chimney pool makes it an ideal location for washing or showering.


Camping Site 3

Camp 3 is positioned between Camps 1 and 2. While there is sufficient space to walk, it requires a stroll of approximately 100 meters to reach a convenient spot along the stream for washing or showering. Unlike Camp 1, this area is not sheltered by mountains, offering beautiful views of the surrounding nature, especially during the night and in the morning.


Rules and Regulations for Horton Plains Camping

  • Each camping site accommodates a maximum of 10 people.
  • Reserve your camping site in advance. 
  • Horton Plains camping site fee is 5750 LKR per site.
  • The campsite opens at 01 p.m., but make sure you get there before 4:00 p.m.
  • Remember to bring all the essentials you need.
  • Campfires are not allowed.
  • Due to the presence of wild animals in the area, it’s crucial to take precautions and ensure your own safety.
  • Depart the campsite before 10:00 a.m. the next day.

Day 01 - Get into Horton Plains from Colombo

All eight of us embarked on the journey from 3 days tour from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya by motorbike. We kicked off our adventure at 5 AM in Colombo, cruising through Avissawella, Ratnapura, and the Balangoda road until we reached Haputale.
It turned out to be one of the most memorable journeys we’ve had. Wanna know why? Well, when we booked our tickets and planned the trip to Horton Plains, there wasn’t a hint of rain in Sri Lanka. But, surprise! The day before our Horton Plains escapade, heavy rains started playing their part. Did we let that stop us? Not a chance. We packed up all our gear—camping tents, gas stoves, canned gas, camping lights, and all. And of course, we suited up in full-cover raincoats.

Bike ride to start 3 days tour from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka Footsteps Travel

Lucky for us, the first two hours of our ride were rain-free. After that, the weather decided to throw in some rain and mist. But it added an incredible twist to our experience. We spent some quality time enjoying the journey and capturing photos and videos amidst the misty weather.
From Haputale, we stocked up on additional essentials like thick polythene sheets, which would serve as ground mats inside the camping tent. We also grabbed some grub for our dinner and the next day’s breakfast. This was crucial because there were no proper places to buy necessities after Haputale, especially on our way to Horton Plains via the Ohiya road.
Our lunch break was at Olive’s City Center, and let me tell you, the food was nothing short of amazing. We opted for some classic Sri Lankan Rice and Curry before gearing up for the next leg of our journey through Haputale to Ohiya.


Tip: Avoid taking the turn here.
Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong path, costing us about an hour of our time. Despite the hiccup, our spirits remained high as we continued our adventure.

Haputale to Horton Plains through Ohiya

Thanks to the helpful village folks, we managed to find the correct path to Ohiya. From there, we continued our journey towards Horton Plains. The road was flanked by massive trees, which I believe were Pinus trees. They created a marvelous scene, and we couldn’t resist spending some time under their expansive branches. The beauty of the road was captivating, prompting us to capture the moment with some wonderful photos.

Tip: Always check with the villagers to ensure you’re on the right path.

As we traveled along the road, little did we realize we were actually heading towards the mountains. The road, carefully constructed, cleverly concealed the fact that it led to a mountainous terrain. Upon entering the Horton Plains area, we were strictly prohibited from hopping off our vehicles. The environmental system here is extremely sensitive, hosting a myriad of unique animal and tree species found exclusively in Horton Plains. It is our responsibility to tread with care and avoid causing harm.


Eventually, we reached the Horton Plains route. Along the way, we encountered various animal species, including the Sambar Deer. It’s important not to offer them any food and refrain from stopping or getting out of vehicles to take photos with them.

Camping at Horton Plains

Once we had our camping tickets sorted, we were all set—no need for additional ones. However, if you’re just visiting, remember to purchase your tickets at the Horton Plains entrance. To camp here, you can’t just decide on the spot. You need to buy tickets beforehand as mentioned above and make sure to bring everything you’ll need.


Tips to Camp at Horton Plains

Here’s a quick rundown of what you should know before camping at Horton Plains:

  • Bring all your camping essentials along with you.
  • A rainproof camping tent is a must, given the unpredictable rain in the area. Alternatively, pack rain covers or thick polythene to shield your tent if needed.
  • A gas stove is essential since campfires are a no-go in this area. Make sure to bring enough gas cans, especially as it can get quite cold, requiring extra fuel for cooking.
  • Pack warm clothes for the chilly nights; temperatures drop significantly.
  • Camping lights are a must, as campfires are not allowed.
  • Don’t forget essential food supplies.
  • Washroom facilities are available with squatting toilets.
  • Bring garbage bags to carry all your litter. Let’s keep the environment clean.

Camping Night at Horton Plains

It was a great time. The eight of us shared two camping tents and cooked dinner outside before it got dark to avoid rain. We had a lot of fun preparing the meal using our gas stove.

After a while, there was a bit of rain, so all eight of us gathered in one tent. We spent time together, had dinner, played cards, sang songs, and enjoyed some funny games. It made the evening even more enjoyable, despite the rain.


At around 11 PM, four of us decided to sleep in one tent, while the other four members went to their tent. Despite being in separate tents, we continued to talk, laugh, and share the good vibes. Around 4 AM, heavy rain started, and our tents and ground mats got wet. Unfortunately, the other tent even broke. Throughout the night, the rain persisted. While we prepared breakfast inside one tent, the other five members worked hard to secure the tent from the rain. It was a challenging moment at the time, but looking back, it has become a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Afterwards, we packed up our belongings, cleaned the camping area, and returned to the Horton Plains office area. We then had breakfast there.

Day 02 - Horton Plains to Nuwara Eliya

Finally, we said goodbye to Horton Plains and began our journey to Nuwara Eliya via the Pattipola road. We spent some quality time at the Pattipola photo location and then reached Simply Strawberries by Jagro Strawberry Farm Restaurant. This place is a must-visit for us whenever we are in Nuwara Eliya. Among the entire food menu, my favorite dish is the Jagro Mess. 


After enjoying our meal, we headed to our hotel Lake Side Villa for the night. We decided to stay there as the second day of our 3 days tour from Colombo. The hotel was fantastic, offering a panoramic view of the entire Nuwara Eliya town and the picturesque Gregory Lake. The owner, Uncle Gamunu, provided friendly service, allowing guests to either prepare their own meals or request meals from the hotel. The food served here was exceptionally delicious.


In the evening, we went shopping for warm clothes like sweaters and gloves. After that, we spent some time at Gregory Lake, cycling and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

The next day, our plan was to return to Colombo. Before leaving, we revisited Gregory Lake to engage in some water activities. Following that, we checked out from our hotel and began our journey back to Colombo.


Day 03 - Nuwara Eliya to Colombo

On our way, we were fortunate to catch sight of the Devon waterfall from the Devon Viewpoint and the St. Clair waterfall from the St. Clair Viewpoint. At the St. Clair Viewpoint, there’s a restaurant downstairs where you can enjoy the view of St. Clair Falls while refreshing yourself with a cup of tea or coffee.


At last, the 3 days tour from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya and camping adventure at Horton Plains were filled with memorable experiences. Despite the unexpected challenges like rain and a broken tent, we enjoyed the camaraderie, laughter, and delicious meals. Moving on to Nuwara Eliya, the scenic views from our hotel and the delightful time at Gregory Lake added to the charm of our trip. Exploring water activities, witnessing waterfalls along the journey, and relishing local cuisine made our return to Colombo a journey to remember. Overall, the trip was a perfect blend of nature, adventure, and good company.

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3 Days Tour From Colombo to Nuwara Eliya 2023 |