Top 5 things to do in Ella

Beguiling Ella is a salubrious highland destination that rose to recent fame among travellers seeking a cool mountainous escape.  We have selected ‘Top 5 things to do in Ella,’ in random order, which will inspire our discerning travel enthusiasts. Explore Ella at your pace and be utterly enthralled by nature at her best – breathtaking mountain landscapes, verdant tea fields, precipitous cliffs and plunging waterfalls. And then there are the people of Ella – charming and hospitable (but avoid the touts).

Once you have had a taste of idyllic Ella, it is bound to become a destination close to your heart. It will be a place you will yearn to return to.

1) Get on board a train from Kandy to Ella

The Kandy to Ella train ride is considered one of the most scenic mountain train rides in the world and most travellers who have experienced this epic rail journey will vouch for this. Quite apart from the breathtaking views of mist laden mountains, lush valleys and emerald tea gardens specked with the colourful sari clad tea pickers, what goes on within the train itself is bound to become an unforgettable cultural experience, best experienced in the second and third class carriages where most locals travel. Youth dancing and singing local songs to catchy drum beats, parents treating children to school vacation trips, couples retreating to the romantic hills and eager vendors selling tasty Sri Lankan street food delights – it is impossible not to mingle and feel at ease with the friendly and accepting locals when one is on such a jovial train ride.

2) Hike Little Adams Peak or Ella Rock

Take a 30 minute walk from the Ella town to arrive at the foot of Little Adams Peak. It is a pleasant trek through the picturesque village and lush tea plantations, offering great opportunities to mingle with the locals. The hike up to the summit takes about 20 minutes. Zip lining and Abseiling are options available en-route.

If you are up for a bigger challenge, hiking the Ella Rock is for you. It is a four hour round trip, best done with a guide. If not, be diligently prepared with accurate directions to keep you on course. However, once you manage your strenuous hike to the top, you will not be disappointed, as stunning vistas plummet and soar as far as the eye can behold. Memories of these breathtaking sceneries are likely to stay with you forever.

For any form of hiking excursion in Ella, be amply prepared with proper hiking shoes, snacks, water, sunscreen lotion/cream, and insect repellent.

3) Visit the Nine Arches Bridge

The 25 meter high Nine Arches Bridge is an iconic landmark site located on the outskirts of the Ella town (en-route to Demodara). It is a British colonial era masterpiece in railway and structural engineering. Take a short trek and wind your way through the verdant tea fields, for a view of this marvellous bridge. If you linger long enough, you will be lucky to catch a glimpse of a train snaking its way over the bridge. A walk along the tracks offers great views and a novel experience, but always watch out for moving trains as this is a functioning railroad.

4) Visit the Ravana Ella Falls 

A quick drive from the Ella town will take you to the gorgeous, 82ft Ravana Ella Falls, steeped in legend and popular with visitors. It is one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka and is said to have been named after the legendary King Ravana. Although some visitors attempt to take a dip at the foot of the falls, doing so can be dangerous in certain places where the rocks are extremely slippery. Hence our recommendation is for travellers to experience its beauty and soothing burble from a safe vantage point, which often tends to be the popular choice. Either way, it is bound to be an immersive and rapturous experience.

5) Take a cookery class

Why not try whipping up some authentic Sri Lankan cuisine at one of the cookery classes in Ella. Once you have learnt all about Sri Lankan cooking your culinary paradigms will never be the same again. A Sri Lankan household would spend hours preparing their daily meals and the women are usually at the helm where household cooking tasks are concerned. However, there are some particularly good male cooks in Sri Lanka too – most of the celebrity chefs in the island being males! And Sri Lankan cooking is all about making things from scratch; with the use of fresh produce and aromatic and fiery spices, mellowed down with creamy coconut milk. Boiled or steamed rice with an assortment of vegetable curries, meat and seafood in gravy and colourful condiments make up the quintessential Sri Lankan staple, partaken at breakfast, lunch and dinner alike!