Sri Lanka Motorcycle Ride to World’s End

In the town of Kandy I discovered two things. First that cheap multi-day motorcycle rentals were available (without an International Drivers License) and that there was a place nearby called World’s End. So we put 1 and 2 together to do a motorcycle ride to World’s End.

Hill Country Motorcycle Ride

After a few days in Kandy we decided to rent a motorcycle and explore the Hill Country. Rather than ride around aimlessly we set the fabled World’s End as our objective. This is an Easy ActivityWe were told that World’s End is a sheer escarpment located on the Horton Plains and that it could only be reached with a guide and via a 4-wheel drive vehicle. My feelings were that a motorbike can always go where 4-wheel drives can and who needed a guide when you had a good map?

Our Route Map



cost range

Total Cost Range of this Activity is: $$

Details:

4 Day Motorbike Rental: Private rental $20 per day (plus $10 deliver to Kandy & $10 pickup) Per day (excluding fuel) 250cc
Motorbike fuel ($10 per day)
4 nights rooms
4 days x 3 meal a day pp

$80
$40
$120
$120

Total

$360

2010 prices

We set out on a sunny day with a map and a plan to stay on the tiny rural roads (as preached in the novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). All roads in Sri Lanka are actually rural and there are no highways (by Western standards exist), but at least on the winding rural routes we would have the road to ourselves most of the time while the main roads are all plied by countless honking buses and passing cars. The choice turned out to be wonderful. The roads we chose never went in a straight line for more than a few hundred meters and continuously climbed and fell as they wound their way from tea plantation to valley floor and then repeated the sequence. However, this approach did have its drawbacks. At no time did we actually know where we were.

Day
Daily Ride km
Total Ride km
Motorbike Ride Details
Day 1
158
158
Day 2
81
239
Day 3
141
380
Day 4
100
480

The few signs that existed were in Sri Lankan or were simply the names of the plantations, none of which were on our English map. The locals were of no help either. Few spoke English and even fewer had an idea of destinations outside of their valley. By the end of the first day we were forced to turn around and double back to the last junction we passed in order to head out towards the main road and a city for the night.


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On day two we tried to use the main road to catch up on some of the previous day’s lost time. Initially it seemed like a good idea, but very soon we ran into major construction, which seemed fun on a motorbike for a while. But as the hours passed it dawned on us that the entire route was under major construction. And then it began to rain in earnest. We spent the rest of the day on muddy, curving, climbing, falling, and slipper roads. By the end of the day we had reached the tiny tourist village of Ella, our original destination of the previous day.

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Photos

The third day looked promising, but rains were forecast for the afternoon. We set out early in fog and overcast skies when we climbed to the top of the numerous hills. By mid-afternoon we reached the crest of the last hills that overlooked the Horton Plains and had to make a choice. We could turn to our west and follow a very long tiny track back into the clouds or continue down into the sunshine of the valley and then turn back into the hills closer to our objective. The sunshine won and we coasted down the long and winding road into sunshine. However, as on the previous days, we were never actually sure where we were. There were few road signs, none in English and the only turn-offs were to private tea plantations. After much confusion we located a Sri Lankan who spoke English and seemed sure of his directions. He pointed out that World’s End was just on the other side of the hills but the turn off to reach it was a tiny lane much further back (we must have passed) and that it was not sign posted. He also informed us that once on the track we would need to ask the locals for specific locations in Sri Lankan since no one would know of the place by the English name of World’s End. Once again we thought about our options. We could double back and hunt for the turn-off and then our objective or we could simply head into the hills following the many tea plantation roads and aim for it by feel. Naturally I chose to follow my internal compass rather than logic.

By late afternoon we had reached a lookout above the valley and it was clear that we were lost. At this stage we opted to give up on World’s End and continue to Adam’s Peak for a simple pilgrimage. Perhaps the end of the world was a place better left for sailors.

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Accommodation in Sri Lanka

Accommodation Rating *=sucks **=OK ***=Very Good
City/Location
Name of Guest House
Rating

Price Per Night

Colombo
Mrs Marie Barbana Settupathy’s (Bahbalapitiya)
**
2500R – $25
Sigiriya
Green Palace, remote private part of package
**
Ruins Package
Kandy
Gem Inn II (outside of center)
**
1200R – $12
Kandy
Lakshmi GH (central with wifi)
***
1500-1700R – $15-$17
Nuwara Eliya
Hunting Cottage (on main rd edge of center)
*
1200R – $12
Trincolmalee
French Garden – Uppuveli (on beach)
*
1000R – $10
Ella
Soorya GH
**
1000R – $10
Adam’s Peak
Green House
**
800R – $8
Galle
Mrs Wijenayake’s GH
**
1000R – $10
Tangalla
King Fisher GH (on beach)
*
800R – $8
Tangalla
Sandhika GH (off beach but family run)
**
800R – $8
Tangalla
Breeze GH (on beach family run)
***
800R – $8
Unawatuna
Homestay -family front room
*
500R – $5
Negombo
Sunnyside GH (off beach outside center)
**
$1500R – $15

Business Cards & Contacts in Sri Lanka

Surathura Spice Gardens No 3
Athula Delpearachchi, Managing Director
Thotagamuwa, Palapathwala, Matale
94.66.222.4522
94.77.559.7417
surathura_herbs@yahoo.com
salcatel@yahoo.com

Gem Inn-II
102/90 Hewaheta Rd, Talwatta, Kandy
2.5 km from Tooth Temple
081.222.04239
weeraabey_1936@yahoo.com

Lakshmi Guest House, Plam Garden 2
Gopal Kanna Fathima, Mgr
Siththi Fathima, Cook
57/1/1 Saranankara Rd, Kandy
94 (0) 81.222.2154
94 (0) 81.223.3903
www.lakshmipg2.lkguide.lk
maliktsl@yahoo.com

Hotel Shalini, (opposite the water tower)
41/388 Harichandra Mawatha, Anuradhapura
94.25.222.2425
info@hotelshalini.lk
www.hotelshalini.lk

Place to stay Thailand, Koh Pha ngan

High Life Haad Yao
Suratthani 84280, Thailand
077.349.114

Place in Rome

Hotel Des Artistes
via Villafranca 20
Roma (3-4 blocks east of Termini)
+39.064.454.365
info@hoteldesartistes.com
www.hoteldesartestes.com

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