Ella is a quaint little town 200 kilometres east of Colombo and at about 1,000 metres above sea level. The privileged location of the town between the lowland rainforests and the highland tea plantations makes for a great rest stop while touring Sri Lanka. Ella is a great area for backpackers and luxury travellers alike. There are all sorts of accommodations and the food is varied in the restaurants that line the main road. Keep reading to discover the eight reasons why Ella, Sri Lanka is a popular spot for tourists.
Ella is a favourite among day hikers and more experienced trekkers alike. The two famous treks in the area are Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, not to mention Ravana Falls and other famous waterfalls in the area. For overnight walkers and camping enthusiasts, Ella is a great starting point for the Meemure hike and longer waterfall explorations. The Ella Gap is a privileged spot in the surrounding mountains that provides views of the lowland jungles and rainforests with vistas of the tea plantations higher up.
One of the most memorable spots in Ella is the Demodara Nine Arch Bridge. Tourists can visit the bridge either by walking over it, under it or simply viewing it from the mountainside. This place is a great Instagram spot and is quickly becoming a favourite among travel-grammers looking to get some really great shots. The other parts of the train tracks in Ella are part of the day hikes to the waterfalls and are also used by the locals to get from one place to another. Just make sure you are listening for the train so you get off the tracks in time.
The train ride from Colombo to Ella is a beautiful experience – from the city to the mountains, passing through paddies and fields and then through forests to arrive in Ella. The train from Ella to Nanu Oya, higher up in the mountains, is one of the most scenic train rides in the world and a favourite activity among tourists coming to Sri Lanka. First class is comfortable but second class is the most memorable because you ride with the locals. Watch out for the open doors and try some vadai, a local snack that is always available on trains.
The views in Ella are unbeatable. From different sides of the ridge, the views are different. One side is all tea plantations on rolling hills dotted with trees and the other side is more of a wild jungle with hidden waterfalls. This is the sort of place that enchants photographers, painters and people that just love the mountain air and that feeling of expanse below their feet.
Ella is so cool and chill that it’s easy to stay a few days. Either hiking or hanging out in a cozy hotel overlooking the waterfalls or mountains, life is easy and breezy in Ella. There is no rush for anything; the food is good, the people are nice and the weather is usually perfect. There really isn’t anything negative to say about Ella – it’s one of the most relaxed places in Sri Lanka.
The places to stay in Ella are quite varied, but the best are the lovely homestays that line the mountainside in front of the larger waterfalls that grace the countryside. The homestays are quite lovely and comfortable, run by families of locals and foreigners alike. The food at homestays also tends to be amazing.
The people of Ella are so relaxed that they will inject that feeling in all visitors. Their smiles are genuine and that general feeling of chill is felt all around the town. From the cafes to the people walking along the train tracks and the tuk tuk drivers, they are all lovely and can become your friends quite quickly.
Located between the jungle and the rainforest lowlands and the higher tea country mountain, the weather is cooler than in Colombo and warmer than in the higher tea country. It is literally the perfect weather – not sticky and humid or freezing at night. It’s really quite lovely and the monkeys think so too.