8 Awesome Things to do in Ella, Concealed in the foggy Sri Lankan high country, among untainted green slopes and spouting cascades, lies Ella: one of this tear-molded island’s most engaging objections.
From scaling the exciting statures of Ella Rock, to looking at the supernatural Nine Arch Bridge for the absolute first time; remaining on the edge of the thundering Diyaluma Falls (the second tallest in the country), and twisting through the tea ranches and mountains gives the celebrated Kandy to Ella train; a considerable lot of our number one Sri Lankan experiences can be discovered here.
At its heart, Ella is a beguiling and laid back town ideal for unwinding, climbing and getting away from the singing temperatures of the southern coast.
It’s where Sri Lanka’s pilgrim legacy coincides with its rich Sinhalese and Tamil culture, and where bountiful characteristic encounters can be found close by copious social ones. Also, it’s where figuring out how to cook the flavorful Sri Lankan food is an outright should (NOM!).
We do need to caution you, that this once straightforward villa in the slopes has changed into a significant traveler stop since our first visit in 2016.
Filling in prevalence and in size has lead to various solid blemishes currently spotting each side of the town, which has removed a portion of the tranquil, provincial appeal that made the region so extraordinary.
In any case, there’s still such a great amount to see and do in Ella – in case you’re willing to go further than simply the touristy pretty sights and epic scenes.
After two visits to this lavish slope country town, we’ve assembled our rundown of the best activities in Ella, Sri Lanka; a town we feel ought to be immovably installed on your Sri Lankan agenda.
#1 RIDE ABOARD THE KANDY TO ELLA TRAIN
Hotter than the London Underground in a summer’s day, takes eight hours yet only costs £5. Sounds a little like hell, but trust us, the train ride from Kandy to Ella is the best thing you’ll do in Sri Lanka (read our complete guide to the Kandy to Ella train here — it also includes how to book and our insider travel tips).
Winding through misty forests, verdant tea plantations; over gushing waterfalls and streams, and past colourful towns and excitable locals, this is, in our opinion, the most picturesque train ride in the world. But it’s not just the scenery that makes this train ride so incredible. It’s also the vibe.
Every person you encounter seems to greet you with a genuine smile; groups of local boys play sing, dance and play drums; vendors rush through the train spruiking sweet chai and snacks, while tourists hang their heads out the windows to stare in amazement at the sheer beauty. Literally everyone is wide-eyed and happy, which in this day and age is hard to find.
The most scenic part of the journey is from Nanu Oya to Ella, through the dense forest of the Horton Plains national park, so we recommend getting the window seat or standing in between the doorways, and enjoying the views as they pass by.
When we first visited Sri Lanka is 2016, the Kandy to Ella train ride was yet to really hit the big time, however due to its currently popularity, you need to book your travel in advance (usually 1 – 2 days prior). The train may also be quite crowded, especially during peak season, so be warned you may need to push your way on.
Third class may be the cheapest option, and in our opinion it’s also the best as it allows you to sit/hang out of the doorways. You’ll also find it’s filled with friendly locals keen to help you enjoy your experience.
Details Briefly :-
Where | Ella Train Station, Ella
Cost | 2nd class: LKR 240 per person, 3rd class: LKR 175 per person
Kandy to Ella train times | Express trains depart Ella to Kandy – 0640 and 0924 (subject to change)
#2 ADMIRE ELLA’S FAMOUS NINE ARCH BRIDGE
It’s astounding to believe that an extension could drive sightseers in huge numbers to Ella, yet the Nine Arch Bridge, right external the town, has done exactly that.
The Nine Arch Bridge is flanked by verdant woodlands and tea estates, standing gladly across the valley underneath. On dim days, low cloud hangs in the valley, giving the entire region an irritable, mysterious feel.
Finished in 1921, the Nine Arch Bridge is fabricated altogether out of block, rock and concrete, with no metal utilized in its development – a designing accomplishment back then. Crossing 91 meters at a stature of 24 feet, the scaffold is on the acclaimed Kandy to Bandarawela (through Ella) train line, with trains passing around five times each day, contingent upon the always changing Sri Lankan train plan.
Despite the fact that train times are famously inconsistent in Sri Lanka, trains will in general pass the Nine Arch Bridge around the accompanying occasions: 9:30, 11:30, 15:30, 16:30, and 17:30 (read our complete guide here!).
There are numerous spots to see the extension from, with the most mainstream being from the genuine scaffold itself, and beneath from the tea ranch (this is private land, so if it’s not too much trouble, request authorization prior to entering).
However, as far as we might be concerned, the best perspectives are from a higher place, either looking from the timberlands encompassing the scaffold, or from one of the bistro stages in the encompassing slopes. Watching the train gradually advance across the extension is a superb sight.
Simply arrive right on time, as the Bridge and encompassing perspectives top off VERY rapidly!
Where | Nine Arches Bridge, Ella
Cost | FREE
Instructions to get to Nine Arch Bridge, Ella | You can get a tuk from Ella town to the Nine Arch Bridge for around LKR 200-300, which is the speediest and simplest choice.
Then again, you can stroll there by following the Ella – Passara Rd, turning left at Sri Kanaser Temple (where all the road food slows down are). Follow the signs, which will take you past various guesthouses until you show up at the Nine Arch Bridge.
#3 HIKE UP THE FAMOUS ELLA ROCK
For the individuals who look for marvelous perspectives wherever they go, the culmination of Ella rock, with its perspectives over Ella, Little Adam’s Peak, and Ella Gap, is one vantage point you would prefer not to pass up.
Beginning at the acclaimed Ella train station, you’ll follow the Ella to Kandy train line past numerous delightful cascades, spans, tea estates, and homes, prior to beginning your rising towards the Ella Rock highest point – ideally with a King Coconut close by for some additional energy. We certainly required it; the climb to the culmination under that savage sun is intense!
Once at the culmination, we delighted in the inconceivable perspectives for at any rate 60 minutes, chomping away on our vegan roti and some merited water.
The course to the highest point can be somewhat convoluted, notwithstanding in the event that you follow the plainly stamped ways and overlook the (occasionally purposely deceptive) promotes, you shouldn’t have an excessive number of issues (this inside and out post will assist you with getting). All up, the climb goes on around 2 hours round outing, yet make sure to pack sufficient water and bites to control your excursion.
Where | Ella Rock, Ella
Cost | FREE
#4 ADMIRE THE VIEWS OF ELLA GAP FROM LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK
In the event that an arduous climb in the sun doesn’t actually request yet you’re actually quick to get the legs going and investigate the Sri Lankan open country, the simpler climb up to Little Adam’s Peak is totally worth looking at.
Named after its correspondingly molded, yet far taller more seasoned sibling, Adam’s Peak, the Little Adam’s Peak climb requires around two-hours roundtrip from Ella town, and starts in the rich tea manors before gradually winding its way to the principal set of perspectives. From here, you’ll have 360-degree sees neglecting the goliath Ella Rock and Ella Gap towards Udawalawe National Park, ideal for photographs.
We’d prompt proceeding with the climb further down the edge, as the perspectives become more staggering and less occupied. The return course follows the opposite side of the mountain, sitting above the mind boggling 98 Acres resort before gradually advancing back to Ella.
Stop at the little wooden juice cabin on the return venture back to unwind and get a reviving ruler coconut.
We suggest climbing up during late evening and watching superb nightfall unfurl; and unquestionably educate against climbing during the center regarding the day as there’s little shade to stow away from the glaring sun – one of our most exceedingly terrible at any point travel consumes happened here!
Where | Little Adam’s Peak, Ella
Cost | FREE
#5 WITNESS THE BEAUTY OF DIYALUMA FALLS | BEST THINGS TO DO IN ELLA
Disregard what the pop melodies advise you, Sri Lanka’s second tallest cascade, Diyaluma Falls is noteworthy to the point that you totally need to pursue cascades here.
Falling from high in the Sri Lanka mountains, Diyaluma might be a little outside of what might be expected, however the epic perspectives and characteristic vastness pools make the 1.5-2-hour venture more than worth the exertion.
To get to Diyaluma, we bounced in a tuk from Ella to Poonagala, through quintessentially Sri Lankan tea ranches. Whenever we’d showed up in the little town of Poonagala, we set off climbing downhill through long, dry grass for around 30mins prior to getting our first look at the upper Diyaluma falls. A short walk further and there we were, remaining over a sheer 220m surge of water to the valley floor underneath.
It was astonishing.
Now we need to caution you that wellbeing boundaries don’t exist, so in case you’re thrill seeker (like Mark), and like to remain on the edge of pretty much anything, if it’s not too much trouble, be cautious.
Throughout the late spring months when the water levels have dropped, you can appreciate a reviving swim at the falls’ different common pools, remembering appropriate for the edge of the principle cascade. On the other hand, there are bigger, more secure pools at the upper Diyaluma falls, however once more, avoid potential risk prior to making a plunge.
There are two different ways to get to the highest point of Diyaluma falls – either climbing from the base, which is fairly difficult and difficult to follow, or from Poonagala town, which is far more limited at this point less well known.
Where | Diyaluma Falls, Ella
Step by step instructions to get to Diyaluma Falls | Take a tuk from Ella town to Poonagala (LKR 3,500 – 5,000 return) and climb from the vehicle leave down to the falls.
Then again, take a tuk to the town of Koslanda and climb up to Diyaluma falls.
#6 ADMIRE THE RUSHING RAVANA FALLS
Right outside of Ella, out and about twisting south towards Wellawaya, lies one of Sri Lanka’s most effectively open attractions: Ravana Falls.
As per nearby legend, King Ravana is said to have abducted princess Sita and covered up her in the mystery of the backwoods secured caverns behind the cascade, to retaliate for the cutting off of his sister’s nose by Sita’s better half (Rama).
Today, the 25,- high, multi-layered cascade is less covered up, given its area directly close to the street into Ella from the south, however it’s no less great, especially in the event that you put forth the attempt to climb further up to the second and third-level falls. From the highest point of Ravana falls the perspectives over the valley underneath are lofty, and worth the fairly intense and tricky climb up.
To get to the top, follow the tracks to one side of the cascade and gradually advance up, following the all around trampled ways. Be cautioned however – because of the sheer volume of water this climb ought to just be finished during the dry months, and with the help of a neighborhood control. During the wet months, the downpour that streams down this cascade is an incredible sight, showering the street and neighborhood splash.
We suggest visiting early morning or late evening, as the space can get pretty caught up with during the day. Additionally, make certain to get a King Coconut (LKR 50) or bubbled corn (LKR 50) at one of the road merchants prior to making a beeline for Ella!
Where | Ravana Falls, Ella
Cost | Free
Step by step instructions to get to Ravana Falls | We suggest getting a tuk from Ella, which should cost around LKR 200 – 400 and take around 15mins. Then again, you can climb there, following the Wellawaya-Ella-Kumbalwela Hwy until you arrive at the falls, anyway we don’t prescribe this because of the length and slight bedlam of the traffic!
#7 PARTY, EAT, AND CHILL IN ELLA TOWN
In case you’re coming to Sri Lanka searching for an all out party objective like Thailand or Bali, we need to allow you to down now since this nation is unquestionably NOT your place. All things considered, Ella is the one spot in Sri Lanka where western food and a little, however, pleasant evening out exists for the individuals who look for it.
Integral to Ella’s explorer scene is the central avenue, which has seen an extreme change (for the more awful, as we would like to think) in the course of the most recent couple of years. What was previously a languid, curious central avenue loaded up with nearby business sectors and eateries is currently a pounding center point home to hip new bistros and bars, store shops, and an energy that feels marginally more like that of an asian hiker town.
In case you’re quick to get in with the general mish-mash, the best spot to take everything in is at Cafe Chill, found right in the focal point of town. Serving flavorful western-style food, mixed drinks and a fair soundtrack, Cafe Chill is the place where the cool children hang. Around evening time, the upper deck turns into a bar/relax, ideal for a couple of Lion Beers. We can strongly suggest the veggie lover burger, which was our western-style treat during a month of eating rice and curry.
Further towards the train station are various loosened up bars serving lagers and mixed drinks, some of which are open 24-hours, including the Bob Marley enlivened Cafe One Love.
Where | Ella town
Where to eat | Cafe Chill for western style grub and a variety of liquor, AK Ristoro for an Italian/Sri Lankan implantation
Cost | Mains start from LKR 650
#8 ENJOY THE FAMOUS VIEWS FROM LIPTON SEAT
Tea is inseparable from Sri Lanka, and the name Lipton is inseparable from tea, so it was just normal that our Sri Lankan ventures would ultimately carry us to Lipton Seat. This is the well known perspective where business person and tea tycoon, Sir Thomas Lipton, used to sit and consider his immense estate and the radiance of Sri Lanka’s high country, and test a portion of the world’s best tea directly from the source.
Sadly, we couldn’t appreciate the all encompassing perspectives as we would have loved because of weighty downpour and thick haze encompassing the highest point upon our appearance, anyway we’re told (by our tuk driver) that on a sunny morning you can see the extent that Udawalawe National park and past to Hambantota port.
In spite of the harsh climate, we certainly making the most of our new cup of Sri Lankan tea (LKR 50 for each individual) at the top, while watching the mists move by. The tea, we both concurred, was by a wide margin the best we’ve at any point burned-through. The drive from Haputale station through the verdant tea fields and bright towns was additionally staggering, so if the climate’s looking a digit touchy, we’d in any case suggest wandering at any rate almost there only for the view.
In case you’re hoping to visit Lipton Seat from Ella, we’d prompt taking the 6am Ella to Kandy train and bouncing off at Haputale (let’s be honest, any pardon to invest extra energy on that train is definitely justified – it’s stunning!), and afterward paying a tuk driver to take you to Lipton Seat from the station (LKR 2000 – 3000 for a bring trip back).
A visit to Lipton Seat and tea manor visit (more on that beneath) should take around four hours, giving you sufficient opportunity to get back to the station for the 11am return train to Ella.
Where | Lipton Seat, Haputhale
Cost | LKR 100 for each individual. On the off chance that showing up through tuk, an extra LKR 50 charge applies
Opening times | 06:00am – 17:00pm day by day
Instructions to get to Lipton Seat | Catch the Ella to Kandy train to Haputale, at that point tuk to Lipton seat.
Complete expense ought to be LKR 2000 – 3000.