For anyone looking to sidestep their fellow visitors and experience the island’s wilder side, the Knuckles, northeast of Kandy, is the region to head for. Named after the resemblance of its high ridges – with their 34 prominent peaks – to giant fists, the area is the least developed part of Sri Lanka, with only 40 farming villages scattered across its lush, rugged mountainsides. Boar, spotted deer, giant squirrel, purple-faced leaf monkeys and porcupine are commonly spotted, and there are around 200 species of bird present, among them many endemics.
The area’s trails offer some great trekking routes, which you can tackle as half- or full-day trips, accompanied by our fully qualified local guides. Bat caves, waterfalls, hidden wild swimming spots and, of course, the mountaintops themselves offer a varied choice of targets for hikes. The best periods are March–April and June–August.