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A guide to climbing Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak is in our opinion, the most picturesque, challenging, thrilling climb we have summited to date. The views from Sri Pada summit were incredible, especially at sunrise!

Adam's Peak

Adam’s peak and it’s religious values:

Adam’s Peak is a significant holy site to Buddhists, Hindus, some Muslims and Christians. At the triangular summit you will find a boulder with an indentation of a footprint. Buddhist legend holds that Buddha flew to Sri Lanka and left his left footprint on Sri Pada summit to indicate the importance of Sri Lanka. Sri Pada literally translates as “sacred footprint”. Buddha left footprints in all lands where his teachings would be shared and acknowledged.

Hindus believe that it is the footprint of Lord Shiva. Christian and Islamic traditions declare the footprint to be that of Adam, left when first setting foot on Earth after being cast out of paradise (the Garden of Eden), giving it the name “Adam’s Peak”.

We find it fascinating that this site has such an overwhelming religious presence across at least four different religions.

Adam's Peak

When to climb?

So we need to answer this question in two parts:

Firstly, you need to know that the annual pilgrimage for all locals starts on the first full moon in December or Unduvap Poya Day which is a public holiday and lasts until Vesak Poya Day, usually around May time. These dates are very significant to Buddhists and would be an amazing journey to join. During other months it is hard to climb the mountain due to very heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist.

This is when the climb will be very busy with locals ascending alongside you and monks for the pilgrimage. We climbed Adam’s Peak on the 11th December, a week before the pilgrimage started in 2021. This was perfect for us. There were enough tourists and locals climbing that we did not feel uncomfortable or alone at any point in the pitch darkness, but also quiet at points in order to take special photographs along our way.

Secondly, you must start early in the morning in order to reach the summit of Adam’s Peak for sunrise. Sunrise at the peak is a must! The views were simply sublime. We started at 02:30am from our hotel Mountain Villa Adam’s Peak which is super close to the starting point of the climb, a great place to stay, but we’ll delve into that later.

Depending on your capabilities the climb can take 2 hours 30 to 3 hours 30 minutes. It all depends on your personal fitness and strength. Allow yourself enough time so you’re not stressing to reach the summit in time. We enjoyed a tea and a coffee along the route which was a well deserved morning brew in the darkness. These are the sort of homemade shacks you’ll find on your ascent.

Tea break at Adam's peak
How hard is the climb to Adam’s Peak?

We are not the fittest but also not couch potatoes so the climb was tough but achievable, although our legs were like jelly for the next 3 days. We’re not going to lie to you, the climb up was hard. The descent down was in a very different way, even harder. Just remember you will have climbed 5500 steps up and now have to descend down the same way. Our knees were shot!

To be honest, it doesn’t matter how tough it is to climb, that feeling of reaching the summit is something you have to experience. They have a belief in Sri Lanka – that you have to have reached the summit at least once in your life. We feel very privileged to have joined that club. They also say that if you climb it twice you’re an idiot. This might give an indicator to its difficulty level.

What to wear?

We are so glad we read up about this prior to ascending Adam’s Peak. We found it slightly confusing why so many shops in the local village were selling wooly hats and gloves. Now we know! After the gruelling climb, your sweat leaves your clothing slightly moist which soon cools down. At the top we ended up wearing a fleece and waterproof over our original climbing clothes.

Tom & Mandy at sunrise

This is going to sound cringy but have you seen those zip off trousers? Tom wore them for the climb and they were brilliant, allowing flexibility and cooling for the climb and also some zip on legs for the summit! They won’t make the latest fashion magazine but they are awesome!

Make sure to take the following:
  • Fleece or something warm
  • Waterproof (Even if it isn’t raining, the mist rolls in fast!)
  • Hiking socks
  • Supporting trainers or walking boots (although every local wears flip flops to the top, god knows how.) 
  • A spare t shirt? (maybe to change out of your sweat soaked lower layer at the summit.)
  • A torch – this depends whether you’re in or out of season. The lights were not on for our route up and so a torch was completely necessary.
  • Water – although you will find some small shacks along the way selling some necessities, ensure you keep hydrated.

You don’t need to take a plank of wood like this man…

We saw so many people on our descent carrying planks of wood, paint cans, food, water and building materials. All to prepare for the pilgrimage a week later.

Is Adam’s Peak worth it?

Yes! Absolutely! There is no question about it! We would go as far as saying, you have to include this adventure into your trip in Sri Lanka any way you can.

Adam's Peak views

Where to stay?

The truth is there are tons of accommodation options if you just look on There are a couple of things to consider if you’re staying purely to summit Adam’s Peak:

  1. Proximity to the start of the climb
  2. Meals provided (Breakfast being provided after the climb felt like a luxury)

Our recommendation would be to stay at Mountain Villa Adam’s Peak CLICK HERE –  for the reasons above and more. Our hosts were amazing, so friendly and professional bringing us a pot of tea whenever we were in the hotel. They also gave us the torches which were imperative to our climb. The close location to the trail also made it easier for us to enjoy the peak at sunrise!

Adam's Peak at sunrise with Mandy

Check out some other places in Sri Lanka that we would recommend here!

Travelling Translated

Travelling Translated

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