Real Traveler Experiences

Devil’s Staircase

LocationFrom Ohiya to Kalupahana Junction
DistanceTrek of 15 KMs of rough terrain & 9 KMs of road
TimeFrom 0500hrs to 1300hrs / 8 hrs

so what is?

The Devil’s Staircase is a famous 4×4 / Trekking and now a Cycling route from the small town of Ohiya to the Kalupahana Junction. Don’t worry, there’s no Devil sights or any supernatural things on this route. The tough terrain and the difficulty to get across has given this name and now being famous, people still call it the Devil’s Staircase.

getting to ohiya

We used the Night Mail Train from the Colombo Fort Railway station. The train leaves Colombo at 2000hrs (08.00 pm) and travels to Badulla.

The train ride is very interesting as the Train was packed with so many passengers, finding their way to Hatton (we traveling during the Sri Pada Season) and other passengers to their hometowns along the way. There were no seats vacant and even finding our way into the middle of the Train compartments was difficult.

ohiya onwards….

Getting off the Train at Ohiya was not that hard. Almost half the train passengers got off from Hatton to continue on their pilgrimage to the Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak).

At the Ohiya Railway station

Ohiya railway station is a small location compared to the railway stations in Colombo and the major cities. With 01 rest-room and no canteen open at 04.30 am, we start our journey to get to the Udaveriya Estate. Following the same road that leads to Horton Plains (for about 04 KMs) we walked up to the board that shows the by-road to the Udaveriya Estate.

more along the way

The views are so spectacular in any way we look. The cool climate helped us move through the rough terrain, keeping us refreshed throughout. With light snacks as our breakfast, we passed many mountains going up and down.

After around our 10th KM into the trail, we got to see locals,.Tamils (mostly) who are living in absolute poor conditions gave us their honest smiles and the kids who don’t speak any English or Sinhala were running all over the Tea estates and the roads. To me, it was not the best sight but actually makes anyone’s heart melt.

ending the devil’s staircase

After some hardcore trekking at the Devil’s Staircase (there’s no such Staircase in any route though), we got the flat roads that were used by many motorists. We also met some visitors trying to use their 4×4 to get to Ohiya on the Devil’s Staircase route.

At the far end of the trail, we got the amazing view of the Bambarakanda Waterfall. This is the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka with a height of 293m. In world-rankings, this is the 299th tallest waterfall.

With a ticket of LKR 50, you can get to the base of the waterfall. There’s a small platform where you can get some rest, a few beautiful clicks at the Tallest Waterfall in Sri Lanka.

finishing the devil’s staircase

Amazing Views of the Devil’s Staircase

Passing the Bambarakanda Falls, the road connects to the main road from Colombo – Ratnapura – Wellawaya – Batticaloa (A4). There was only 01 restaurant that had any lunch available. For a decent price of LKR 250.00 per lunch, we had some rice with chicken.

We got on to the main bus to Ratnapura and from Ratnapura to Colombo via Panadura. It was somewhat around 1900hrs (07.00 pm) when we got to Colombo.

final thoughts

The Devil’s Staircase is a beautiful trek and you get to experience nature, poverty of the tea plantation workers, Line-houses, humble smiles and amazing nature views all in one day.

Don’t forget to carry around 20 packets of biscuits for the kids. You’ll love the smiles they have when you share something with them.

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