Hike to Adam’s Peak / Sri Pada – the highlight of Sri Lanka travel


We have never been early morning risers, but when an adventure is ahead of us, everything gets another perspective. The alarm clock woke us up in the middle of the night – it was 3am! It will be a long day today, as we were heading to the top of the Adam’s Peak – one of the most important pilgrim places in Sri Lanka.

Adam’s Peak belongs to Buddhists, Catholics and Hindus

Adam’s Peak is an unusual combination of religions, but Adam’s Peak really belongs to all three religions. What connect these religions are actually mysterious footprints. Catholics say it belongs to Adam and that this is his first footprint when he was exile from the paradise. Hindus claim that the footprints are of Shiva God and Buddhists believe the footprints are no one else’s than Buddhas. The original name of Adam’s Peak is Sri Pada, meaning “The Holly Footprints”.

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

Hiking to Adam’s Peak is 1000 meters in altitude (Sri Lanka travel)

Five thousand steps to reach Adam’s Peak

It does not really matter to whom the footprints belong, as just climbing up to the top of the Adam’s peak will make you humble. There are more than 5000 steps towards the top and you have to beat 1000 meters of sea level, which stretch on 7 kilometers long path.

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

During the hike to Adam’s Peak, we also walk between tea plantations (Sri lanka travel)

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

The hike to Adam’s peak is steep and 7 kilometres long (Sri Lanka travel)

Praying strings and white clothes

Adam’s Peak has been a pilgrim’s place for more than one thousand years and is very important to people in Sri Lanka. Lots of people make the climb barefoot and that is not only because of poverty, but also to make the pilgrim walk harder and more meaningful. Most of them wear white clothes, which symbolize their purity. During the climb to the Adam’s Peak, they also drag a praying string.

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

Pilgrims drag praying strings during the hike to Adam’s Peak (Sri Lanka travel)

Birth or Death

You have two options to climb the Adam’s Peak – you can start at mid-day and wait at the top for the sunset (death) or you can start climbing during the night and reach the top for the sunrise (birth). We recommend reaching Adam’s Peak during the night as it is cooler and less humid. The good news is the whole path is lighted, but having a headlight would not hurt either.

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

Reaching Adam’s Peak means overcoming 5000 steps and the path is fully lighted (Sri Lana travel)

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

The best thing with the hike is reaching Adam’s Peak and waiting for the sunrise (Sri Lanka travel)

Pack your warm clothes

To reach Adam’s Peak, which is 2243 meter high, you have to overcome more than 5000 steps, but to make your step firm we would recommend closed shoes. We always travel with our hiking shoes and we were not sorry to have them with us for the hike. If you are traveling light and without a wind jacket and a fleece pullover, you can always buy some before the climb. There are many stands offering clothes, food and even souvenirs.

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

Waiting for the sunrise at the top of the Adam’s Peak (Sri Lanka travel)

Respect in locals eyes

Hiking to Adam’s Peak was the highlight of our Sri Lanka travel without a doubt. It is something we will remember forever; after all we had sore legs and muscle pains from the hike for several more days. But to put this aside, the hike was amazing also because of the pilgrims, who showed us clearly that our respect for their religion and culture brought us their respect too.

Adams Peak Sri Lanka, Sri pada Sri Lanka

Our hike to Adam’s Peak was the highlight of our Sri Lanka travel

Recommended accommodation: Slightly Chilled House


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  1. avatar

    I didn’t have any sleep the night before climbing Adams peak! I travelled hours by train and bus from Kandy, tried to nap in a restaurant at the base of Adams peak (but were told off) so started climbing at about 1am. Thankfully it all worked out in the end as I needed long breaks to catch my breath!
    The sunrise was amazing, like something out of national geographic!

    • avatar

      Adam’s Peak can be quite a challenge, but when reaching the TOP every step and sweat is well worth the effort. It is amazing there. But descending is a bit difficult again – our knees were shaking from all the steep steps. Anyway, we would do it all over again! 🙂

  2. avatar
    Beritan Tosun on

    Hey Nina, I’m going to travel to Sri Lanka in September. I would like to trek to Sri Pada. Did you do this with a guide or did you do it by yourself? If so, can you give me the name of the guide of travel agency? 🙂
    Thank you!

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