Ella might be one of the most popular places to visit in Sri Lanka and should definitely be part of your itinerary when visiting Sri Lanka (read my full itinerary here). It is part of hill country and awards you with amazing views and a relaxed backpacker vibe. This article highlights my favorite things to do and best places to eat and drink.
This famous bridge is in my opinion a must visit. You can take a tuk tuk to the bridge, but the walk over the train rails to get there is a great experience itself. There are around 6 trains passing the bridge a day. We went there around 9:45 in the morning and were able to see a train passing the bridge. Check the current time table with locals or your guesthouse when the trains are supposed to come by.
Climbing Little Adam’s Peak, especially around sunrise, is definitely worth it. A tuk tuk can take you to the start of the ‘trail’, and it will take you around 1 hour – back and forth from the trail head (it will take a little longer when you start in the town). When going in the early morning, you will also see the tea workers going to work and starting their jobs. Instructions along the route are quite clear and during the majority of the walk the path is well maintained.
Ella Rock was to me the most challenging hike we did in Sri Lanka. Hiking up takes you around 2 hours and it is quite a climb. Now you might be wondering how to get there? We read some route descriptions online and were almost fooled by guides along the way, telling you that is not the right way to go, and they will guide you there (and you have to pay of course). Well, it turned out, this route was completely fine! From Ella, walk to the train station Kithal Ella. After the station, 15 meters before the 166 3/4 milestone, there is a small path to the left. You will cross a bridge afterwards. After the bridge, go left and walk past the tea fields. Afterwards, there is a shop where you can get a small refreshment and continue the way up afterwards. After this bit up, you will run into boulders and the real climb is about to start. Just follow the path and you will eventually reach the top of the Ella Rock!
Rent a scooter or take a tuk-tuk to one of the nearby tea fields to get a tour. Lipton Seats is a bit further out, so we decided to go to Uva Halpewatte. To be honest, it is nice to see how the tea is made, but if you fear not having enough time, I would personally skip it.
Note: these pictures weren’t made at the tea plantations, but they suit well ;).
We wanted to do one cooking class during our trip to Sri Lanka and we’ve heard great stories about the cooking class from Matey Hut. During the day we made a reservation in order to cook a great Sri Lankan meal in the evening. I could definitely recommend the experience!
Cafe chill is a place that is well known and for a reason! While we were in Ella, we’ve visited the place at least once day – whether it was for lunch, dinner or a beer or a cocktail. Take of your shoes and sit down on one of the beanbags or at one of the tables and enjoy your time here!
Besides Matey Hut and Chill Cafe, I could also recommend Dream Cafe, Cafe Guru or Starbeans Cafe for something to eat.