Amongst idyllic scenery, green hills, tea plantations, and waterfalls lies the small town of Ella. One of Sri Lanka’s most appealing destinations. Ella is perfect for you who want to explore the high country of Sri Lanka while still having a relaxing and enjoyable time.
Ella is a very unique, adorable town situated between the mountains in the middle of the country. I was pleasantly surprised when arriving since it differs from the towns in the south and has very cute characteristics. We stayed in Ella for 4 days but I could easily have stayed for a week since there’s so much nature to explore around the town.
LOCAL NATURE SPOTS
Nine Arch Bridge & The Ella Train
One of the super-popular sites in Ella is the 30 meters high Nine Arch Bridge. You can either reach this beautiful place by a 30-minute walk through the jungle or by the easier way – taking a tuk-tuk. The stone bridge was built under the British government in the 1920s and creates such gorgeous scenery with jungle and tea plantations around.
The Ella train is this famous blue train that you might have seen over social media. It has open doors so you can stand and watch the view. A great experience.
We stopped at Ravana Falls on our way to our hotel and it was beautiful. We didn’t bath though because we had hired a chauffeur and there was, as you can see, a lot of people there.
Ravana falls is currently ranked as one of the widest falls in the entire country of Sri Lanka and has measures of around 25 m (82ft). Fun fact, the name ”Ravana” comes from a legendary character named Ravana that was, according to legend, the king of Sri Lanka at some point. It is said that King Ravana had kidnapped a princess named Sita and hidden her behind this waterfall, in its caves. And therefore the waterfall got its name Ravana Falls.
Little Adam’s Peak
Hiking up on Little Adam’s Peak takes approximately one hour and has a distance on 4,5 km (2.8 miles). Ella has a few more hiking trails such as Ella rock and Dambatenne to Lipton’s seat. Little Adam’s Peak is perfect for families with smaller kids since this hike isn’t that difficult but still enjoyable for everyone. We hiked up on Little Adam’s Peak at 5 am and the light at that time of day was just stunning!
Along Ella Road, you’ll find plenty of shops, all with the theme of surfing and bohemian laid-back accessories, clothes, and souvenirs. I bought a lot of pretty rings in these shops along with a wallet and some tote bags, you just gotta love tote bags!! (like the one I’m having on me in front of The Nine Arches Bridge, in the first picture). If you are like me and have a wardrobe filled with clothes and accessories from all over the world, you will love this place!
Tea Plantations and Halpewatte Tea Factory
Tea plantations are not specific to Ella, you will find them all over the country but in Ella, you are more or less surrounded by them. They create beautiful scenery, are a big pride of the people, and not to mention a big part of the economy. We went on a tour inside the Halpewatte Tea Factory where we got to see all the types of procedures and machines the tea leaves go through to finally be able to be used as a tasty hot beverage. The tour ends on top of the factory where you can buy their tea and have tea tasting. We tasted the numerous flavors while admiring the view from their balcony.
If you zoom in or look closely in the last picture you can see a white temple at the top of the right hill. While we sat there on the balcony we saw this temple and thought – ’what a gorgeous spot for a Buddhist temple!’. The name of the temple is Mahamevnawa and what we could see from the balcony was the Mahamevnawa Monetary. So we decided to go check it out!
At the temple, we met a monk and had a long chat with him about his way of living. It was very interesting to hear him speak about his religion and how the monks live in small houses along the road. As I’ve said before, the best education you’ll get is while traveling! Something he said that I thought was very beautiful was this:
”The mind is like water. When you don’t understand your mind it’s like a glass of water. When you put salt in a glass of water it gets salty very quickly. If you do understand and know your mind, the mind will be like a flowing river. If you put a bit of salt in a river the water won’t turn salty, because of it’s quantity and largeness. The mind will still be clear.”
For me, this refers to all types of problems you will stumble upon and in what way you’re able to deal with them according to your mental health. Maybe you read this in a different way? I’d like to know your interpretation so let me know in the comments. After speaking with him we took a look at the monastery that by the time were under construction. Would love to go back just to see the finished results.
FOOD AND NIGHT LIFE
Starbean’s Coffee was our favorite restaurant/cafe while staying in Ella, do I even have to explain why?? Just look at these plates!
There are multiple restaurants and cafes along Ella Road and since we stayed in Ella over New Year’s Eve we got to see some of the night life as well.
During our visit we stayed at a very welcoming place called White Elephant. Where they made us the most delicious breakfasts and a evening cooking class. This small hotel is located one minute from Ella Road and is a perfect accommodation for a trip to Ella.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope I was able to open your eyes for this charming place in the hill country of Sri Lanka!
Happy Travels & stay safe and healthy!
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