Our only full day in Ella started bright and early with a 7am breakfast – much to the delight of our lovely homestay hosts who had family commitments in another city to attend to. Tasty Sri Lankan breakfast with pancakes (pani pol), dahl & coconut with dough and fruit (🍉🍍& papaya) 🤤😁😋. Our day would take us a good 30km around Ella starting with Ella Peak.
Ella Peak 🗻 – Buena vista no1
It was about a 5km hike to the top with c300m vertical. The route is straightforward – just follow the rail tracks from Ella to c500m past Kithalella station and uphill from there. We followed the steps as described in this blog post.
Don’t let locals fool you off track or into using their services (they try just after Kithalella station), unless you want company of course.
The views from the summit back to Ella and into a deeply green valley are amazing and best enjoyed with a fresh king coconut (sold for Rp200 amongst other refreshments).
Passing by Ravanna cave
We followed a different route back, which i had found on my viewranger app (great trail details google maps won’t have). It led us down the other side of Ella valley.
The Rp150 entry were a bit of a waste. The tiny cave is a steep hike up. That was ok. Yet offers close to nothing to see. Not so ok. Well, a good work out!
About 5km from the cave are the Ravanna falls. Pretty big and worth seeing. Some people even swim in one of the natural pools at the bottom though it is technically not allowed.
For transport there best take one of the frequent busses from Ella (Rp30) or a tuk tuk though they will charge Rp1000 return.
Sri Lankan food we like so far
Finally we got some local food options having felt Kandy didn’t offer much. Other than an amazing breakfast as discussed above, the sri lankan cuisine we tried in Ella offered a decent curry (though not with the same number of variations as India and generally less spicy) and a kind of shredded, oily piece of dough called rotu or kottu. To that you add veg, chicken, cheese or whatever your belly screams out for. We also love hoppers (bowl-shaped pancakes) with dahl curry. So tasty!!!
Little Adam’s peak 🗻 – Buena vista no2
A lot closer than Ella Peak is little Adam’s peak (the little brother of the roof of Sri Lanka – Adam’s peak).
On the way you also pass by the Ella zipline experience. A 550m ride in arguably spectacular scenery with set you back U$20.
Views from the summit over the valley are great and, if it isn’t too hazy, let you get a glimpse of many more hills further away.
Nine Arch Bridge 🌉 – Waiting for the Hogwarts Express 🧙♀️ 🧙♂️
This bridge is a beautiful example of colonial architecture. A stone viaduct with nine arches similar to the one you’ll see the Hogwarts express steaming over – though that one stands in Glenfinnan, Scotland and boasts 21 spans.
There are four trains daily to and from Ella. We waited for the 3.30pm train to get our pics sorted (alongside many other one-off train romantics 😍🚂). And we all got what we wanted… After a 45min delay.
Needs to be seen. Both the bridge and the 30min hike there are spectacular!
Popular rumours suggest that when construction work commenced on the bridge, the Great War began between the empires of Europe and the steel assigned for this site was reallocated to Britain’s War related projects at the battlefront. As a result, the work came to a standstill, leading the locals build the bridge with stone bricks and cement, but without steel.
And so quickly was our time up. Ella is clearly a place dominated by tourists, but so far it is well-managed and the vibe reminds me of places like Pai in Thailand or San Augustin in Colombia. After an amazing time here we are now off to a safari in Yala national park 🐘 🐆 🐃 🦌 🐦.