It was time to move on from our lazy hazy days on the coast and move inland to Ella our first stop in the hills. Ella is situated in the Badulla district of Sri Lanka, and is some 1041 feet above sea level. We decided to take a car from Talalla, as getting there by bus involved two buses and took most of the day. When we arrived in Ella it was raining, shrouded in mist and very grey, not a great start. We had not booked any accommodation but had a homestay in mind that we liked the look of, but when we arrived it was nothing like the photos and it was situated too far out of town, so we got the driver to drop us at the nearest cafe, dragged our luggage in and sat down to search for our home for the next few days. Luckily it wasn’t long before we found Eeshani Guest Inn, run by a lovely couple who have lived here for 50 years. It was just like visiting my grandparents house, they were both so lovely. (Cont)
Ella is quite a small town with just one main Street, which consists of mainly restaurants and the odd shop here and there, but the place is buzzing and has a great vibe and chilled atmosphere about it. We only stayed for four nights but I felt I could have stayed for weeks. The only downside I feel is that in the not too distant future it will become a much larger and much busier town. This is because the amount of building work going on in the area is, in my opinion, too much. I can see this lovely little town being over saturated by tourists, so get here quick. There is plenty to keep you occupied in the town and surrounding area, like Little Adams Peak, Ella Rock, Ravana Falls, the Nine Arch Bridge and a couple of tea plantations. I will try to give you a little insight in each attraction.
Little Adams Peak.
The way to reach little Adams peak, is walk or take a Tuk Tuk up the Passara Road from town about 1km until you reach Ella Flower Resort on you right. Take the path just to the left of the restaurant (there is no sign indicating the way) and just follow the path for some distance. This path takes you through some really nice tea plantations. “If you set out early you will see the tea pickers at work”. You will then come to a set of steps to your right. This is where the fun starts, and where after a while your thighs and calf’s will start to protest. Well mine did anyway, but trust me it’s worth it as the views from the top are amazing. We did meet one couple who had climbed it twice in a day, once for sunrise and once for sunset, rather them than me. (Cont)
I can’t really tell you a lot about Ella Rock as we did not climb it, but the guide books do suggest you take a guide as it’s easy to get lost as the path is not very well marked. The climb to the top takes around three hours. We got this information from a group of guys we met on the train to Badulla.
Situated around 6km from town are the Ravana Falls. You can take the bus which costs 20 rupees, 9 pence or take a Tuk Tuk. The buses normally run quite frequently but on the day we visited it was election day so the buses were every hour “quite why an election should affect buses is beyond me”. So we decided to get a Tuk Tuk. 200 rupees, £1.40. (Cont)
Nine Arch Bridge.
If you do a google image search on Ella you will almost definitely see many photos of Nine Arch Bridge, it seems synonymous to Ella. There are a a few ways to get to the bridge. One is by walking along the train tracks from Ella which is around 4km. The way we got there was by walking once again up the Passara road until you reach a small homestay called Rose Garden Ella and take the path on your left a few metres beyond, be careful as it’s not marked, then just keep going until you reach the bridge. If there is a local around perhaps just ask to make sure you are going the right way. Top Tip check out the train timetables, as watching the train go over the bridge is quite a sight. (Cont)
Scenic Train Journey
Another great thing to do is take the train from Ella to Badulla. The journey takes around an hour and takes you through some beautiful scenery, you cannot reserve seats for the journey but the train isn’t busy, “we had nearly the whole carriage to ourselves” Once you get to Badulla there isn’t a lot to do, but perhaps get a drink and some food, although there is a nice Buddhist temple which is worth looking at. The return train leaves around an hour and forty minutes later. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and all for 160 rupees for two people return £0.75p (Cont)
Next stop Nuwara Eliya.