Any trip to Sri Lanka would not be complete without a visit to beautiful Ella; even just getting there is the most scenic of journeys! Try to plan your route so that you head to Ella from Kandy and in doing so get to ride the rails of one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world! It takes seven hours in total but grab a seat on the right hand side of the train and be amazed at how quickly those hours whizz by. With the wind in your hair watch as the blue, toy like train chugs through the mountains and rolls through the tea plantations. It’s epic!
Unfortunately, we only had time for one night in Ella so here are our top picks for a whistle stop tour! If you have more time then two or even three nights could easily be spent here taking in the views and relaxing.
There are hundreds of places to stay around Ella but we would suggest staying at one of the many Homestays or guesthouses that sit nestled in the mountain sides. On arriving and catching a tuk tuk down some small winding lanes we thought we’d booked somewhere out in the middle of nowhere but it turned out to be pretty spectacular and a shorter route walking along the railway tracks leads you back into Ella itself. Waking up and eating a huge Sri Lankan breakfast in the morning sunshine with views over Ella Rock was unforgettable!
Little Adams Peak
This is a cracking little walk which is not only a quicker and easier alternative to the bigger Ella Rock but can easily be taken from wherever you choose to stay in Ella. It’s relatively easy to complete; winding past pine trees and tea plantations with the only steep section in the last 20 metres or so where you face quite a few uphill steps! Persevere however and as you step over the last lip you’ll be mesmerised with the incredible views down into the valley and onto Ella town itself. Further along the ridge you will be treated to an amazing 360 view of the surrounding area. There are many rocks to perch and balance on for that perfect snapshot or just to sit and gaze far into the distance from!
It will more than likely be busy at the top so if you want a bit of seclusion keep on walking around the ridge and find a quieter spot away from the crowds to enjoy the awesome atmosphere!
If you are going to do the walk make sure you go in the morning as clouds tend to set in for the afternoon and many people we met have had a seriously hampered view!
Nine Arches Bridge
Once you have scaled Adams Peak it is a further 20/25 minute walk to Nine Arches Bridge. There are many routes to take you here but if you have the ever trusty ‘maps.me’ it will lead you down a pretty steep hill into a little village. There are signs on some of the trees but it’s easier to just follow the people. Yes, unfortunately you won’t be alone (unless you go very early in the morning) so don’t worry about getting lost!
Climb down the side of the cliff and out onto the spectacular bridge with a fully functioning train track running across it. Wander up and down the tracks and peer down over the edge at the beautiful stone arches below – all the while keeping an eye out for any incoming trains! Like everywhere around Ella there’s incredible photo opportunities to be had so enjoy clicking away in the sunshine before making the steep return up the hill to the centre of town.
As mentioned above the train track is fully functioning and there are no safety precautions to stop you being on the track when a train comes. Use your common sense and don’t get caught out!
It’s a really nice walk back into the main town of Ella from Nine Arches Bridge and won’t take more than an hour. After walking all morning, however, it’s undoubtedly time for some relaxation and Cafe Chill is the perfect place to indulge!
Situated on the main road it’s a great hangout for either a quiet drink on their rooftop bean bags or a feast in their modern restaurant. The food is reasonably priced for the area and there’s an awesome vibe in the place. We had the traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry which was especially good here…or if you’re craving some home comforts the pizza also looked great!
With a couple of pit stops, coffees and taking in the amazing scenery the above will probably take you all day!
Enjoy your stay!
C & J