Sri Lanka’s Cutest Mountain Town
Deep into the mountains of Sri Lanka’s most densely forested area is the tiny town of Ella, which has quickly become a tourist hotspot. Not only is Ella as picturesque as a postcard, it’s also one of the most convenient vantage points to begin your trip on the ‘most beautiful train ride in the world’. This, combined with excellent hiking trails and cute cafes makes Ella a not to miss destination on your Sri Lankan trip!
The town itself is small and you can walk from one end to the other easily. If you enjoy hiking, some of the must-see places are within walking distance and perfect for a day hike.
If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a scooter and explore the area on your own. It’s a great way to see the countryside. If you’re not feeling so adventurous, there are almost more tuk-tuks than people in Ella. Either hire a driver for the day or just hail one when needed.
A trip to Sri Lanka is not complete without a wild ride in a tuk-tuk!
Driving into Ella will leave you gobsmacked as you gaze away at the sheer mountain ranges that surround the tiny town. Ella Rock is easy to spot out and is a popular hike to do. While it’s not the easiest of hikes, the view from the top is nothing short of spectacular.
Little Adam’s Peak
For those who want an early morning hike that won’t leave you sore for days then Little Adams Peak is for you. Just a short walk from the main part of town, you will find the starting point to the Little Adam’s Peak trail. It’s not a strenuous hike but there are quite a few stairs! My tip is to keep going past the first two viewpoints. The track gets a bit tougher but you can enjoy the beautiful views and the people around you.
“Morning views from Little Adams Peak”
About 6km away from Ella is the 25 metre high waterfall that is popular amongst tourists and locals alike. This photogenic waterfall can easily be reached either by scooter or tuk-tuk and is a great way to cool down!
Nine Arch Bridge
This remarkable piece of infrastructure is more than just a popular Instagram location. The Nine Arch Bridge is an architectural wonder buried in the dense Sri Lankan forest. You can either hike from Ella which takes around an hour or take a tuk-tuk to the top and hike the short way to the bridge. Either way, the pot of gold at the end will still leave you in awe.
If you can time a visit with a passing train, that too is a special moment and will leave you wondering how this bridge has stayed stable for so long.
“The architectural wonder of the Nine Arch Bridge”
Take the journey to the nearby town of Haputale and see where Sir Thomas Lipton planted his first tea-leaves and created an empire. The panoramic view from the top is simply stunning and will leave you wanting to pack up your belongings and start your own tea plantation.
Chances are, if you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, taking a ride on the ‘most beautiful train ride in the world’ will be high on your list. Ella is a perfect starting point for your journey as it takes you past miles of tea plantations, eucalyptus forests and small villages. Get a second-class ticket and hang out the doors of the train so you can witness the beautiful landscapes with the fresh air. While the 7-hour journey to Kandy is the traditional route, Nuwara Eliyah is a pretty lakeside city just four hours away from Ella that is definitely worth a visit.
“Take the most breathtaking train ride of your life!”
A breath of fresh air
While the beaches of Sri Lanka are tough to leave, taking a trip into the high country is a must. Here you will find where the people of Sri Lanka prosper and can escape reality (and the heat) for a few days. Make sure Ella is a priority on your trip to Sri Lanka and you won’t be disappointed!
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