What to do in Ella during your trip to Sri Lanka?
We will therefore detail what to do in Ella, with activities and places not to be missed. Ella, 200 km from Colombo, is one of the most visited towns in Sri Lanka. Thanks to its altitude of just over 1000m, Ella enjoys a climate that is easier to bear for Westerners. For us, this city is a must-see during your stay in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, 2/3 days is more than enough because it remains a very busy city, with more tourists than Sri Lankans.
Things to see include trekking, tea plantations, waterfalls, the Nine Arch Bridge, and breathtaking scenery. In short, you will not be able to get bored 😍! After a busy day, there are plenty of places to eat, drink or party.
Ella’s must-sees in Sri Lanka
- The Nine Arch Bridge
- Little Adam’s Peak
- Take the famous train from Ella
- Nature getaway at the Clove Tree House
- Waterfalls near Ella
- Eat 😋
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↠ Nine Arch Bridge in Ella
Like everyone else, before leaving for Sri Lanka we had in mind this image of the magnificent blue train on this spectacular bridge: the Nine Arch Bridge. This place is simply magical. Therefore, there are a lot of people there.
We advise you to go there in the morning. The first train passes very early, but the second is scheduled around 9:30 am. Going there at this time of the day allows you to enjoy beautiful light, bearable heat and few people.
🚂 To find the train times on the bridge, all you have to do is look at the crossing times at Ella and add or subtract 5 minutes depending on the direction of the train.
↠ Hike at Little Adam’s Peak
The starting point for the Little Adam’s Peak hike is just off the trail at the Nine Arch Bridge. To find it: meet in front of the Ella Flower. From this point, you have 20 to 30 minutes to climb to finally dominate the famous Ella Gap, the big hollow south of the city.
The Little Adam’s Peak hike really isn’t complicated, but the steps to finish the ascent can be difficult in the middle of the day. Once again, we advise you to get up early, or even very early (yes we know, we are bad 😈) in order to contemplate a magnificent sunrise. We went after sunrise, around 7am and continued with the Nine Arch Bridge at 9am.
↠ Take the train between Ella and Badulla:
If you have time, don’t hesitate to take the famous train from Ella to Badulla terminus. Why this trip? One, because you will pass over the Nine Arch Bridge, and two there are far fewer people in that direction.
🤫 Tip for taking the train: all tourists get off at Ella! We saw at least 500 people get off the train in Ella and there were only about 20 of us getting in… So we had a whole wagon to ourselves on our train journey from Ella. When it’s armored, it’s a lot less enjoyable!
💰 Price of the Ella-Badulla train trip: 1 € return ticket per person (yes, we are far from the prices charged by the SNCF 😂)
📝 Initially, we wanted to make a single stop and come back by tuk tuk. But the ride to Demodara only takes 15 minutes, that seemed too short to us and we were right. In all, the trip took 3 hours round trip with a 1.5 hour break in Badulla. Ok, there is nothing very interesting to do there … Have a drink at a shopkeeper and enjoy being away from other tourists.
⚠️ CAUTION: Even though the photos are very nice, be careful if you stick your head, arm, leg, or any part of your body that you want outside the train. Sometimes the train shaves the trees and that can be fatal …
What to do in Ella? Rejuvenate at the Clove Tree House
During our trip to Ella, we had the chance to spend a night, isolated in the middle of the mountains, at the Clove Tree House. Just 35 minutes from Ella, you will enjoy peace and an exceptional panorama of the mountains. Many hikes are possible from the house, for all levels.
❤️ We loved it: The warm welcome and the incredible food! We were able to enjoy dinner and lunch, carefully prepared by Sri Lankan women. The products and spices used in the cooking are organic and mainly come from the Guesthouse’s vegetable garden.
💌Reservation: contact Cyntia L Morell at +94 77 178 78 14 or by email email@example.com
🌱At the Clove Tree House, you will also have the opportunity to visit a tea factory and its plantations. The AMBA tea plantation is one of the most famous in the world, their tea is found on the menu of the best restaurants. The visit is very interesting and completely free. At the end, tea tasting is optional for € 2.50 per person. Take the opportunity to buy it on the spot, it is 10 to 20 times cheaper than in the shops.
Cool off at the waterfalls in Ella
South of Ella, just 10 minutes by tuk tuk, is the Ravana Falls. This succession of waterfalls of nearly 25 meters between the mountains is impressive. Many locals gather here to bathe in the pools formed between two waterfalls. Despite the proximity to Ella, this place is not that touristy depending on the day. (I have pictures)
Located an hour’s drive away, you can admire the Diyaluma Falls. Unfortunately, due to a small health problem, we were unable to attend. This spot looks really beautiful. There are several natural pools and the huge 220m high waterfall.
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Good places to eat in Ella
😋 360 Ella
We ate the best roti on our trip to Sri Lanka. Roti are kind of thick pancakes, filled with whatever you want! The staff are very efficient and the live music gives a very nice atmosphere. The high terrace allows you to enjoy the outdoors, without being stuck to the road.
😋 Coffee Chill
The atmosphere is great! Again the staff are very friendly and professional. We tried the chicken burger and the fish and chips, both very decent. It seems that the pizzas are good too. It won’t be the best meal of your life but the place is cool to have a good night out.
💤If you are looking for accommodation in central Ella, the offers on booking.com are numerous. Trust the reviews!
✈️ For flights to Sri Lanka, we recommend that you compare the offers on Skyscanner.