Sri Lanka, in general, is considered to be this tropical island with lots and lots of trees, an amazing beach in most parts of the country and also, the idea of adventure doesn't fall far from the tree. But, being a Sri Lankan with a busy schedule and limited time to truly enjoy a holiday, I guess all of us find this country needs more stuff and activities in it. Belihul Oya to the rescue, I repeat, Belihul Oya to the rescue...
We all know that there's a town called Belihul Oya and people say that's amazing. But, until recently, I hadn't been to this so-called amazing place. Thanks to the team at The Glenrock, I was invited to Belihul Oya - Ihala Galagama (further from the town) for an overnight stay.
The drive from Colombo is only less than 6hrs. The quickest route would be through the E1 Expressway --> Gelanigama --> Ratnapura --> Belihul Oya. Google for Glenrock Hotel and you can easily get the directions on the Google maps.
The road conditions are very solid - except for the part from Belihul Oya town to the Glenrock Hotel. Not worry, there' s a separate vehicle park for the hotel and the staff from Glenrock uses a 4x4 Jeep to take you to the hotel.
Pahanthuda Falls aka Galagama falls
Yes, I agree with you. Even I couldn't believe that a place as beautiful as this was ever in Sri Lanka. A few kilometers away from Belihul Oya is the Pahanthuda falls.
Pahanthuda (පහන්තුඩ) is the wick you find in a small clay lamp that are regularly seen at temples. The pool of water resembles a clay lamp and the waterfall looks like a wick. Hence, the name Pahanthuda was used to this beautiful waterfall.
The path to the waterfall is a bit adventurous as well. First, you have to walk a few hundred meters on a cement road with average tiles here and there. Later, a walk up the stream and also a hike up a mound before coming to the Pahanthuda falls.
Ha Gala (Rabbit Rock)
Belihul Oya is a mountaneous area. It's like an invitation to a All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet. Everywhere you turn, you can see a mountain in your view.
One such interesting mountain range is the Ha Gala. In Sinhala, this translates to Rabbit Rock. The reason is obvious, the mountain is the home for rabbits. The villagers hunt for rabbits in this mountain area and hence the name Rabbit rock - Ha Gala has been set up.
This trek is best done in the morning because as you are aware, trekking in mountains during the afternoons are difficult because of the mist and maybe the heat too. The trek starts from around 5KMs away from the Glenrock hotel and the first part is through a tea plantation. Passing the Tea plantation, you get to a several mountain tops that has many interesting viewpoints. The mist actually works pretty facinatingly. For one second you could see a whole wide area and in an instant, you can see the cloud-like mist covering all your view like a smoke mirror.
The hike to the top of Ha Gala takes around 2hrs, with a few stops to rest because the elevation is high and of course because we are not used to trekking all the way up...
On the peak is a flat land, perfect for a camping setup on a starry night. In fact, when we came to the top, we met a gang who had camped the night before and were wrapping-up the tents and their belongings.
Up top, the view is spectacular. The amazing scenery of seeing the distant mountains and the village from a far is breathtaking. Having our breakfast on the top, enjoying the cool winds and the heat from the rising sun, we made the time on top worthwhile with a giant photo operation. Of course the peak area is fantastic for photography.
A swim in the waters
By now you have a pretty good idea about the adventures of the Belihul Oya area. Wrapping up the post, I would like to mention another cool activity - a dip in the waters. The cold-waters of the Belihul Oya area are a thrill to begin with.
The clean waters that run through the Belihul Oya streams are quite cold - but with the water gushing over the rocks and and sand, it's an asbolute fun to have a bath in.
I would gladly recommend The Glenrock - one of the most service-oriented hotels in Belihul Oya if you are planning for an overnight in the area.
The Glenrock, Belihul Oya
Check their TripAdvisor feedback! It's real proof to the amazing service levels they provide to all the guests.