Ever had one of those days where you wished you could just drop everything and head off somewhere quiet? We all have those moments every now and then. Last time I had one of those moments, I decided to go to Riverston. For those of you who don’t know, Riverston resides in the hill country in Sri Lanka, or to be more specific, in the Matale district.
A plan without a plan
While sudden trips can certainly be exciting, looking for locations at the last minute might not be a wise thing to do. Fortunately I already had a place in mind. But I still wasn’t sure how to get there and what to expect exactly. All I knew was that I had to get to Matale. So, as usual, I found a place to stay on booking.com and took the train first thing in the morning.
The train journey isn’t exactly scenic like the one on the Podi Menike, but its certainly a few hours shorter though. The ride will take you a little more than 4 hours from Colombo Fort to the Matale Railway Station. After landing in Matale, my plan was to take a little walk to the place I was to stay for the next few days. But I managed to hitch a ride with Shane, my would-be tenant, who for my luck had been in the vicinity.
ඉතින් මොකෝ මේ පැත්තේ? (what brings you to Matale?) was his first question. I told him that I came for a bit of sightseeing and that I was keen on making it to Riverston. He informed me that I can take the bus or he can give me a ride all the way there. Since I wasn’t really sure where to go exactly and the fact that I wasn’t really familiar with the area, I told Shane I wouldn’t mind going with him. So just like that we made plans and decided on starting things early next morning.
The morning after dark
We kicked things off at 8 in the morning. It might have taken us about 30 – 40 minutes until we reached our first destination, Bambara Kiri Ella. This is probably one of the best hidden gems in Matale. Following a few 100m on the side of the main road, Bambara Kiri Ella is one of the most beautiful waterfalls one could see in these parts. The loud sound of the water hitting the rocks, the clear stream of blue, everything about it felt like meditation. It was one of those places where Aang would go to meditate to get into his avatar state.
The water is indeed tempting. But if you ever do make it here and think of taking a bath, just be careful. Dipping yourself here can turn dangerous if you’re not weary. Anyway, on with the journey.
Up the mountain
As we drove further away into the mountains, we stopped by what looked to be an abandoned route to an old Broadcasting Tower. The sign read VHF Station. This was apparently where the hike begins. With no second thought I started my ascent (literally of course).
One thing to note is that this isn’t particularly a challenging hike like the one you’d get with Great Western. In fact, I found it to be one of the easiest. But that didn’t make the views any less mesmerizing. Halfway through the climb you get a preview of what awaits at the top of the mountain.
The climb will probably take you around 30 – 40 minutes and in case you were wondering, yes, there’s a broadcasting tower at the top. Once you reach the top, you get to see some of those famous mountain views the Sri Lanka is best known for. But if you care for a better view, there’s a small detour you can take as you get to the top. You will end up near another tower, but with a slightly better scenery.
Meeting world’s end
Next on the list was another interesting location at Pitawala Pathana, or as the locals call it, Mini World’s End (how many of them does Sri Lanka have anyway?). Mini World’s End lies a bit further away from where the Riverston Mountains resides, near Pitawatala Pathana to be exact.
Unlike the earlier spot, the location is managed by the Environmental Ministry so there’s a Rs. 30 (~$0.20) entrance fee. Mini World’s End is actually a massive barren flat land rather than a mountain. We were told to follow the white spots marked in the ground as you might tend to get lost trying to navigate your way.
We knew we reached the end of our little walk when we saw the forestry down below. After all, it is called World’s End. While the walk itself will only take you a few minutes, the view is definitely worth taking a bit of time to enjoy.
Our trip didn’t end there. Last, but not least was another waterfall. Much like the first waterfall we visited, this was equally scenic. But the water was relatively far more calm. It was the perfect spot to take a dip in. Unfortunately I didn’t have a change of clothes so I was unable to actually enjoy the water.
Heading back home
With that, my spontaneous trip to Riverston came to an end. I was expecting an entire day to be spent but we actually finished everything at around 3.00 in the evening. Unfortunately that also meant I had to wait until next morning for the train back to Ragama (where I live).
All in all, the trip proved to be quite an interesting one. Particularly considering the fact that I spent 3 days without any means of technology. Although to be fair, I did have a camera with me. So, on a chilly Saturday morning I set off on the 6.40 AM Colombo train.
For those of you wondering, my entire trip cost me roughly around Rs. 7,500 for 3 days. This includes all food and travelling costs. So if you ever decide to make it to these parts, do make sure you have transportation sorted. That ends my Riverston journey. Until next time.