We arrived in Ella after the scenic train ride from Kandy. We could start by saying that Ella is maybe the hotspot of European backpackers, but this would certainly not be fair. Ella has so much more to offer on its own! There is really something magical about this small village tucked in between high mountains and spread across the lush green hills. A village that has been in the dark for centuries until 1984 when it was finally brought into “light” with the electricity system being installed.
The walk to Nine Arches Bridge leads along the railway track
Our walk along the railway tracks of Ella
Walking the village and its surroundings
We mainly came here as an ending point of our Hill Country trip and because of the walking the nine bridges. Very quickly, we discovered Ella’s magic. The village, its buzz and commerce are mainly made in one road street that is colorful, vibrant, super energetic and dynamic. There is small local businesses on both sides of the road, traditional Ayurveda centers, cool bars, trendy restaurants offering a broad range of Sri Lankan and international food.
The food here is amazing! Apart from the typical Sri Lankan food you can easily find western dishes or delicious fusions between western and eastern flavors. There is a very young, cool and chilled mood around! The hoteliers and guests houses are spread through the adjacent mountains. Giving you the amazing chance to overlook the village from above and a very good night sleep. We decided to enjoy the cherry on top of the cake and get a traditional Ayurvedic treatment – it first felt unusual and strange but we very quickly we reached a real chilled mood.
Stunning green landscapes around Ella
Nine Arches Bridge
Ella is not only looked at as a hub for most adventures, for example hiking Adam’s Peak or Ella’s Rock, but also as a connecting point between the south and north of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, we had only booked a 1 night stay and already planned our safari in Yala. Otherwise, we would definitely had stayed for at least another night since there is much more to discover around, especially if you fancy hiking…
Where is it? Central Sri Lanka, 202 km from Sri Lanka, 130km from Kandy, 24.4 km Haputale
How to get there? By train, bus or private car. Due to the steep streets and mountains taking the tuk-tuk is difficult, unless you go to close places such as Haputale.
What is it famous for? Hiking in scenic landscapes, young scenery and trendy restaurants, tea Factories and plantations
What is good to know? Ella seats 1041 m above the sea, it’s humid and generally cooler than most places in Sri Lanka.
How long did we stay? For 1 night and 1 day at Ella Hide View. But honestly talking (and if time allows you) plan for at least 2 nights.
How did we get here? Ella was our arrival station coming from Kandy on the scenic train. Check more about the journey on Kandy to Ella – A train ride through heaven!
What tickets did we buy? None, all the activities were free. However, be aware that Ella the most or one of the most pricey places. Because of a crescent affluence of tourism during the last years, restaurants and bars offer a great choice and quality but make you pay for this.
Where did we go? We have done the scenic railway trails, Ayurveda treatments and some tea fields. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to climb any of the mountains and would extend our stay next time…
Where to stay?
Where we stayed:Ella Hide View – guesthouse close to the nature with great village and mountain view
Low budget suggestion:Isuru Homestay – guesthouse with nice view and nature
Mid budget suggestion:Ella Heritage – comfortable place with home feeling and great view
Nine Arches Bridge, buildt during the British Colonialism period, it is still in use by the Sri Lankan railway system. The walk along the tracks is free and proudly owns one of the best scenic and gasping views in Sri Lanka.
Hela Osu Suwapiyasa, great place for traditional aryuveda treatments to recover energies and revitalize.
Tea Fields, walking around its beautiful surroundings means stumble, naturally on a tea field.
What would we have loved to see as well?
Adam’s Peak, Mountain hiking, 5 to 7 hours needed, 2,243m at the peak, usually the hike starts in the middle of the night for sunrise views.
Little Adam’s Peak or Sister Mountain, 2 to 3 hours needed, 1,141 m at the peak, better done in early morning and often chosen for being less crowed and easier to climb
Ella’s Rock, a 4 hours climb (up and down) is known to hold the best views in Ella, including the ones on the way to the top
Rawana’s Cave and Waterfalls, believed to be the royal prison of princess Sita when hidden by King Rawana, located 2 km away from Ella and 1,370 m above sea level on hard and tough climbing paths
Where to eat?
Cafe Chill: beautiful setting, all wooden made, comfy and chill out 1st floor. International and Western food. Delicious food and good quality
Matey Hut: Great curry
Downtown Rotti Hut: Best place to grab a rotti
Where to drink?
Element Hiking Bar: nice, chilled bar in main street of Ella; young crowds
Ceylon Tea Factory: trendy places for great cocktails and food
Cafe Guru: chilled cafe for great drinks and some bites