Ella was our first real acquaintance with Sri Lanka. I don’t count the arrival at the airport in Colombo and the short first night in Negombo. In the preparations of the trip in Sri Lanka I already read that a lot of travelers like Ella. It is characterised as a relaxed town. After my visit to Ella I can only confirm this. Though the village attracts a lot of backpackers and other tourist groups, Ella still feels tranquil. And what also struck us, was how green Ella is! Maybe this was because our previous destination was northern India, but we had the feeling we were constantly surrounded by green rolling hills. Let me show you how we spent our two days in Ella.
Uphill Little Adam’s Peak
One of the top things to do in Ella is climbing the Little Adam’s Peak, the little brother of the holy mountain Adam’s Peak near the village of Nuwara Eliya. Almost every tourist hikes up Little Adam’s Peak. It is fairly easy hike which does not take too long (less than a hour). At the top you have a beautiful panorama over the green mountain area of Ella. I really adored this view. Is this hike too easy for you and are you looking for a challenge? Then hiking up Ella Rock would be a good alternative. This is a mountain on the other side of Little Adam’s Peak. The paths here are a bit more difficult and it will take a couple of hours to reach the top. Personally, I did not do this hike, because one hike was more than enough for me.
Waiting for the train at Demodara Bridge
Ella is surrounded by hills, so almost all the sights require a bit of an effort. This was also the case with my favorite sight of Ella, the picturesque Demodara Nine Arch Bridge. This railway bridge connects Ella with the neighbouring village Demodara. To get to the viewpoint there is a path leading down the hills of Ella along tea plantations and fruit trees. Together with a guide I took this path. Along the way he told me all about the many fruit trees. We arrived at a little hut from where we had a perfect view over the bridge. Another popular viewpoint is down on the bridge just before the tunnel. Good to know: the train only passes once per hour, so you have to time your visit. Otherwise you might have to wait for a long time.
Under the spell of tea: visiting a tea factory
A stay in Ella is not complete without a visit to a tea factory. We visited the Newburgh Tea Factory (producer of Finlays tea) and we joined a short tour of the factory. This factory only produces green tea. We saw how the leaves were selected, rolled and dried to make the perfect tea. In the tasting room we concluded our visit with a cup of green tea. In all honesty, this tour did not impress me much. The tour felt rushed and we only stayed in the factory itself. I would have loved to take a look on the tea plantation itself. Moreover, Sri Lanka is known for the Ceylon tea (black tea). Next time I would like to visit a Ceylon tea factory. I have read good reviews about the Halpewatte Tea Factory. Maybe next time!
Cooling down at the Ravana Waterfalls
On the way out (or in) Ella you can visit the Ravana waterfalls, named after king Ravana from the Indian legend Ramayana. According to this old epic, Ravana abducted princess Sita and hid here in a cave behind the fall. Today it is possible to visit this cave. Locals like to visit the waterfalls to cool down on hot days. Also tourist buses stop here often, because it is an easy stop along the main road of Ella. The group macaques definitely love all these tourists, because for them it means food. Watch out for these monkeys, because they might want to steal your food.
Besides these sights, there are more things to do and see in and around Ella. If I come back to Ella some day, these sights would definitely be on my list:
- The temples of Yudaganawa: big stupas with ancient paintings of Buddha on the inside
- The trainride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya (0r the other way around): described as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world!
- Buduruwagala temple: this is not your average temple, but it is a rock with seven carvings of Buddha statues.
Would you like to visit Ella?