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|Year and Month||March, 2011|
|Number of Days||3 days (two nights)|
|Crew||3 (between 25-29 years of age)|
|Accommodation||Morningside Forest Bungalow
|Transport||Public Transport- Bus service|
|Activities||Misty rain forests, Relaxing, Wildlife, Photography|
|Weather||Afternoon showers (about 1 hour from 4.15 – 5.15 pm)|
|Route||Colombo -> Rathnapura -> Rakwana -> Kadamuduna -> Suriyakanda -> Morningside and return on the same route|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
# If you really want relax and isolate from the world, this is a good place, because no hand phone signal available.
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread
A 3 day visit to southwestern part of Sinharaja, called morningside due to its weather is always feels like morning
Harsha and myself (iro)(left Colombo around 6.00 am by a CTB bus to Ambilipitiya (through low level road – Try to use bus through low level since it is 10 Kms shorter than high level).
We reached Rathnapura at about 8.20 am and met Kavinda (other member of the group). Then we had our breakfast and we bought some rice. kavinda already bought other stuff for cooking.
We missed 9.30 bus to Deniyaya, so we got into Rakwana bus at 9.50am. (Rakwana buses are very frequent, once every 20 minutes or so). Once we reached Rakwana we were able to catch 9.30 bus we missed. We got off from the bus from Kadamuduna, since we want to go Suriyakanda peak, where Rupawahini, ITN and Telecom tower are located. You don’t need permission to go up there. You can observe some distance from the peak. It is 4 km up to the peak from the Kadamuduna. Normally three wheeler would cost around Rs.250 up and down.
We met good person who worked for telecom and part time driving a three wheeler called Wijesiri. We hired him up to the peak and on the way we went to “Sinharaja Aranyaya” temple. They are building a big statue of lord Buddha. From that point you could observe Rakwana town, which is difficult to observe from Suriyakanda peak.
Then came back to Kadamuduna and travelled few hundred meters towards Rakwana to reach nice simple restaurant as we were guided by Mr.Wijesiri. There we had our lunch. Then we travelled to starting point of our hike. On the way we came to Suriyakanda town. There was a nice cooperative shop.
There are 2 roads to enter the Morningside forest bungalow. Check the google earth .kmz file attached above. The official route is about 2 Kms from Suriyakanda town. Alternate route through Morningside estate is about 7Kms from Suriyakanda town. We choose official track to Bungalow, which is by far the most beautiful track.
At about 3.20pm, we came to the starting point of our hike. There was a name plate mentioned 7Kms to Morningside Bungalow. We gave Rs.1000 Mr. Wijesiri to full journey from Kadamuduna, Suriyakanda peak, Sinharaja Aranyaya, restaurant and finally to starting point. (He asked for less, but we gave 1000 since we felt it was worthy than that- even he worked as our guide also at sometimes – He is a nice person, if you can hire him).
After all preparations we started our hike around 3.20 pm. Track was a relatively easy one to hike and it could be easily tackled by any 4wd vehicle. Only tricky thing is navigation. There aren’t any road marks to the way to forest bungalow. Because there roads to tea estate also.
From first major Y junction, turn to right, i.e. ascending road. Other road will descend to tea estate.
Then there was a L bend to right (6°25’31.91″N, 80°36’47.13″E) you can identify this place easily since there was house near the bend. There was a short cut (foot path) which can save you 300m. But it was a 30m 45degree climb.
After those junctions the road was heavenly. In this section you have to tackle little gradient, the road is beautiful and misty. This is the last place you can make a phone call.
If weather is dry you may encounter little resistance from leeches. But if it rains, they will be there in thousands. My two friends ignored this fact purposely and paid a big penalty.
Finally there was a T junction ( 6°24’28.03″N, 80°36’37.35″E) to tackle with.
Since I was wearing leech socks, I was hardly intact by leeches. I found only 2 leeches in my belly near hip belt of the pack. But nearly few dozens of them were found outside of my boots and leech socks. But no one was able to break through my defense.
Once we arrived at bungalow time is around 6.20pm. We had to knock the door of the bungalow to open the doors. Only one bungalow keeper was available at that time. He seems to be bit unfriendly.
Day2 – March 19
Second day we planned to observe Duwili fall. But we were told that this track has very popular for its high density of leeches. Since my friends were not equipped with leech socks, we had to give it up. So we planned to relax full day.
There are few shallow streams available to bath.
Site A– Site is located only about 50ft away from bungalow through a foot path. Shallow and little flow of water. But this area could get muddy. Not very pleasing place to bath.
Site B – Is located on the way between T junction and bungalow. Not very pleasant place.
Site C – This little waterfall is located left of the road to Morningside estate. Not much water available, but seems to be ok under the circumstances.
In the afternoon bungalow keepers switched. Second one named Thilakasiri seems to be nice person and he had more than 15 years of experience according to himself. He had good knowledge about this area.
Afternoon we spent time by reading books, discussing with bungalow keeper and just relaxing.
Day3 – March 20
Morning time is relatively misty. Kavinda took nice photos.
We left the bungalow at about 9am. We decided to alternate route to the main road. So we hiked through Morningside estate. This is motorable road. But there are 2 issues with this.
1. Bad road condition
2. Road is normally closed, prior permission from tea estate is required to open the gate.
But you could hike through it without issue. Also motorbikes are also using this road (They use the gap between gate and column)
We reached the road at about 11 am. After 2 hours we arrived to Ratnapura.
#Bungalow – Located in nice place. Built in 1987, if my memory is correct. They got solar power 12V supply, but it is not possible to charge your batteries. Toilets are just ok. There are 2 rooms consisting bunk beds (6 beds and 4 beds). Beds aren’t in very good shape. They look ancient and curved mattresses.
Two bungalow keepers. First one lacked knowledge about area. The second one, Thilakasiri, was friendly knowledgeable
# Leech socks – Must wear these with some sort of ankle boots. Specially after a rain or wet conditions leeches is a real problem. If you plan to pay a visit to Duwil fall or to rain forest you must wear these.
#Rain Cover – Smart accessory when you are in rainy season or rain forest. This will keep your pack dry.
# Bus time table – Provided by Ratnapura depot
Ratnapura – Deniyaya
7.45am, 8.40am (Private), 9.30am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.45pm, 4.05pm
Telephone of Rathnapura depot – 0452222281