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Ultimate guide to the Pekoe Trail Trekking

The Pekoe trail is a 300km trekking trail that travels through the central hills of Sri Lanka. The Peko Trail starting point is Hanthana that runs through the tea plantations and scenic slopes all the way to Nuwara Eliya.

The trail that is about 300km had been divided into 22 stages. Each section is about 12km and runs through the well-known areas such as Kandy, Hatton, Haputale, Ella and Nuwara Eliya. The Pekoe Trail trekking introduces you areas that had been hidden in these well-known destinations. The path runs through tarred roads and overgrown quarry lead cart. These roads re built during the British colonial time to transport tea from the vast estates to factories. Some of these routes are less touristic and with barely visible footpath that tea pluckers use as shortcuts through tea estates and forests.

Even though 22 treks through tea plantations sounds monotonous it is the essence of the walking in the Pekoe Trail. The each stage of the Pekoe Trail starts from a small town it runs through the tea estates that spreads to the zenith. Some of the stages of The Pekoe Trail will carry you through dense forests patches with tall trees and eucalyptus forests. Each and every stage of the Pekoe Trail offers you breathtaking views and time to time you will come across the shrines and hermitages. When you travel across the Pekoe Trail you will not meet anyone for hours. The most sounds you will hear will be sounds of gushing waterfalls babbling birds and the crying of serpent eagles that flies high in the sky. Sometimes you will hear faint sounds of temple bells and chimes from Hindu shrines that are built in the middle of the tea estates.

For the time being only the Pekoe Trail stage one is opened for the public but it near future other 21 routes will be opened for the public and will be mapped out most of them will be able to be walked.

1. How to plan your Pekoe Trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

When you are embarking on the Pekoe Trail is a good thing to know about each and every stage of the trek. There are fair number of trails that travel through the area and you can easily arrange a one day hike, two day hike or even more.

2. When will be the best time to go trekking on the Pekoe Trail

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

The Pekoe Trail trekking can be done throughout the year. From May to June and from September to December the surrounding hills gets a heavy rainfall. The considerable amount of rainfall does not mean that one cannot trek The Pekoe Trail during these months but you have to be extra cautious. During the rain the leeches comes out with and they are ready to cling on to anyone who passes them. To overcome the leeches’ problem you will have to use several rubbery “surveyours”. Apart from May to June and from September to December other months are dry but there will be occasional rainfalls during these months. If there is going to be heavy rain while you are on the trek the guiding team on the ground will compelled to cancel the trekking tour considering your safety.

3. How to pick the right trekking stages of Pekoe trail trekking tour for you

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

There are main bases in the hills that gives the trekker multiple trails to select from the Pekoe trail trekking. Kandy has two trekking trails from the pekoe trail. There are three trekking trails that starts from Nuwara Eliya and there are five trails starting from Haputale and Ella. Some of these trekking trails goes uphill and some of them goes downhill. Some of them goes up hill and come downhill. Most of the uphill treks are considered tough. These uphill trails can be made moderate or easy by altering start and end points.

4. How can you get to the Pekoe Trail?

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

The Pekoe Trail is deigned to be walked from point to point this enables you to do several segments from one base. After you get ready for the trek your chauffeur guide will take you to the starting point of the trek and from there onwards the trekking guide that is specialized for the trek will escort along the trail and eventually he will handover you to the Chauffeur at the endpoint. Always there will be a fair distance between the start point and end point considering the trails are bit far away from the urban areas. Always you will have to remember to strategize your location.

5. Places that you can get accommodate on the Pekoe Trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

There are a wide range of accommodation options available with its variety of styles and caliber. With these you can accommodate for a wide range of tourists with different budgets. When the Pekoe trail hike become more popular with time there will be more small guest houses and homestays that will become available. This will bring travel trade dollars to the places that there were none before.

There are few favorite places that are based around the Pekoe Trail

W15 Hanthana

A world of colonial charm that blends perfectly with its sublime surroundings of rolling tea plantations and emerald green forests. A beautifully restored bungalow, dating back to the days of the British Empire, sits amidst the lush vegetation. Hanthana is recognized as one of the Sri Lanka’s most picturesque regions and the panoramic view from our bungalow will not disappoint. W15 Hanthana is a great base for stage 01 and stage 02 and the trail 01 goes right in front of the accommodation.

Thotalagala Estate Bungalow

Thotalagala bungalow is surrounded by 20 acres of lawn and patana grass. From the edge of the lawn a sweeping vista greets the eye. Behind the bungalow and covering the Haputale hills lies 4000 hectares of tea stretching unto Lipton’s seat, 1500 feet above, and over onto the Bandarawela side of the mountain. This is a perfect place to avoid going up and down of the sweaty paths of Pekoe trails stage 13 and 14 and relax in comfort afterwards.

Amba Estate

Amba Estate is a working organic farm in the Uva Highlands of Sri Lanka. The farm is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Ella, perched in a small valley above the Ravana-Ella Waterfalls, with views of Ella Rock and Lipton Seat. Amab Estate is merely few kilometers away from Pekoe Trail Stage 15.

Roseland Cottages

Roseland cottages is a hidden gem with a gorgeous views overlooking a valley. It is just 30 minutes tuk ride form Ella. It is very secluded and peaceful and it’s very much away from the hustle and bustle of the town. It connects with Stages 15 and 16.

Hide Ella

Hide Ella is a unique and exceptional design that embraces into 60 degree slope in Ella Gap with breathtaking views. Hide Ella is a strategic base that is centrally located and perfect to do Pekoe Trail Stage 15, 16 and 17.

Nine Skies

is perched high above historic Demodara Railway Station and it is just 15 minutes from Ella. Nine Skies is a former home to the manager of the surrounding tea estate. Nine Skies is now an indulgent five bedroom boutique hotel marrying colonial architecture with contemporary interiors.

6. Supplies and essential gear for your Pekoe Trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

  • A good pair of shoes that is built for trekking
  • Cap or a hat is essential because in the higher altitudes you can get direct sunrays even you are in the cool climates of the Hills.
  • Sunglasses and Sun cream is advised because you have to avoid direct sunrays that can harm your eyes and skin.
  • Raincoat is also advised because there will be sudden downpours when you are in the hill country even in the dry season.
  • Pack some water bottles because an average adult will need 2liters of water per trail.
  • Insect repellent will come in handy.
  • You will be supplied with leech socks by your host related to the situation.

7. Experience of the Pekoe trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

  • Pekoe Trail has 22 Trails and they are scheduled from Hanthana to Pedro
  • The Shortest Trail is 8.75Km/5.44 mi
  • The Longest Trail is 17.19km/10.68mi
  • Average Trail is about: 13.39km/8.32mi
  • Combined Trails is about: 294.59/183.005mi

8. Scenic highlights of the Pekoe Trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

Below mentioned are some of the scenic highlights that you will meet during the Pekoe Trail

  • Uragala Mountain range
  • Dumbara Valley
  • Loolecondera Estate
  • Taylor’s Seat
  • Chariot path
  • Adam’s Peak
  • Idalgashinna
  • Horton Plains
  • St. Catherine’s Seat
  • Ella Gap
  • Nine Arched Bridge
  • Pedro Tea Estate

9. The traditions and culture of the Pekoe Trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

The Pekoe Trail allows you to interact with the local communities and understand them and their traditions. This is apart from the Pekoe Trail being one of the most scenic beautiful trails. Most of the local communities are from the South India where their ancestors brought from India to work in the plantations in the British Era.

These migrant people are Tamil by the ethnicity and they are interspersed with Sinhala communities in different regions. While you are trekking along the Pekoe Trail what you will notice is the sense of spirituality. Sometimes you will walk for several hours with seeing anyone. Once in a while you will come across a Hindu Shrine with silk scarves and gold trimmings tied to an old tress with a trident secured to the ground. There you will find fresh flowers that has been offered to the deity and oil lamp with the flames that dances in the cool wind. While you travel closer to the towns you will find Hindu Kovils and Buddhist Temples and time to time a mosque or two. There is a small shrine little above the Pekoe trail stage 01 with a Cross, Buddha statue and a Trident all standing under one small shelter. While trekking in the Pekoe Trail you may find it’s new as a concept many of these paths are well over a century old. They were laid out by British to transport tea from various plantation to the factories. Most of the landmarks from the Pekoe Trail dates back to the colonial period and from the tea industry.

As you travel through the stages of the Pekoe Trail you can discover the history of the tea. You will visit the legendary home of the first tea planter James Taylor and the first tea plantation field No.07 Looleconders estate. You can visit old tea factories, British tea bungalows muster sheds, carriage roads, the remnants of old pulley systems, plus the bridges and railroads that transported the tea so laboriously plucked and processed.

10. Communities that you will meet on the Pekoe Trail trekking tour

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

Every time when you sip a cup of tea you will remember the emerald tea gardens you must know there are people who sweat in the plantations that are just taken as the decorative elements in the tea covered slopes. Hiking the Pekoe trail means going past the veneer and helping travelers to understand the daily amount of work that a tea plucker have to do. This allows you to meaningfully interact with them. This allows you to walkthrough their villages that are often hidden within the estates. The paths in the Pekoe trail are two way street that gives trekkers an opportunity to experience a more holistic tea experience. This also allows tourist dollars to seep into communities that will benefit from this infusion. This will allow local communities to see something beyond that they wouldn’t haven’t seen before introducing the Pekoe Trail.

11. Things you should know before hiking the Pekoe Trail

June 06, 2023 | by Krishan

Trekking in the Pekoe trail means that you are going to spend long hours in the nature. Most of these treks of the Pekoe Trail vary from 21/2 hours to 6 hours. This depends of the trail and your level of fitness. You will have to get thorough understanding of the stage of the trek and this will make sure that you are ready for the challenges of trail that you are going to face for the day. For the Pekoe trail you will need a good and durable pair of shoes that is suitable for trekking. This shoes must withstand the rugged terrains on the other hand the slippery grounds.

Apart from these you should bring a hat and sunglasses to avoid the sunrays and you must remember to bring a sunscreen. The next absolute thing to remember is the water you must drink plenty of water during the trek to avoid your self-getting dehydrated. Expert advice is to carry 2 liters of water bottles with you for the every trek. We advise you to be on the safe side pack a raincoat with you because the weather sometimes can be unpredictable. If you have any medical condition you should inform your host in advance and you must bring any medications that you use with you. We advise you to pack some cereal bars or chocolate bars if you have low blood glucose level.

You will be provide with light snacks and refreshments by your host along the way where you can enjoy them in a scenic spot. Your host will provide dry bags to keep your phones safe and leech socks to keep away the leeches. Keep in mind to carry only the essentials like a small amount of money, your camera to take pictures and a power bank. Avoid carrying jewelry or any other valuables.

Your host will advise you to not to proceed with the trek if it is raining heavily and same applies if it has been a heavy downpour for consecutive days. This is due to the fact of some of the dirt tracks on the trails can be washed away or being slippery to stand on. Another advice is not to tackle the trails alone because there are long stretches where you may not meet anyone for several hours. And there not might be signal for your mobiles. In these circumstances if you accidentally fall and sprains your ankle or knee and if you cannot move there should be someone to aid you or backtrack. Therefor we have taken care to send every client with well-trained guides whom are capable of taking care and taking necessary actions for the client in an emergency. These guides speak local language and know local first aid when it come necessary.

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