Ella sits at about 1000 meters above sea level and if you’re planning a stop here during your trip there’s only one way to get there – the train. The train ride from Kandy to Ella (or from Nuwara Eliya if you’d prefer a journey that’s just as beautiful but half the distance) is one of the most memorable in the world and is the first (and possibly the most essential) thing to do in this town. There are also plenty more things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka too though.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN ELLA, SRI LANKA
If you’re searching for things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka, you’ll notice that many of the activities involve a trek of some sort. Don’t let this put you off though, as getting outside and enjoying the hilly country is a must during any visit to this beautiful island.
HIKE TO THE TOP OF ELLA ROCK
The trek to the top of Ella Rock is roughly 8km and takes about two hours each way, making it a little more demanding than others in the area. Despite this, there is plenty of scenery to admire and locals to chat to along the way. You may want to consider hiring a local guide when hiking Ella Rock though as Google Maps has a tendency to fail on this route.
If you’re feeling adventurous though, there are a few directions that can help you reach the top. Start the trek at Ella train station and walk along the tracks to Kithalella train station, which should take roughly 45 mins. A further 5-10 minutes along you’ll see sign in blue directing you towards the left. Cross the footbridge and keep to the left towards the tea plantation. There are various routes leading off the main path after the tea plantation, so make sure you don’t veer off. Eventually the trail will open up and finally lead you to a breathtaking viewing point.
VISIT LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK
Another trek on the list of things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka is one to Little Adam’s Peak, which is the closest and easiest hike in Ella. If you think the name sounds familiar, that because it is the nephew of the much larger Adam’s Peak, a 2243m high mountain located in central Sri Lanka. The hike from Ella Town to the summit takes no longer than an hour – 15 minutes to the foot of the mountain and then 30-45 mins to the top – and is more than pleasing, passing through a local village and a couple of tea plantations.
You can’t get too lost on this hike either – from Ella Town head down Passara Road for just over 1km (you will see the sign). Just after the Flower Garden Resort there will be a road to the right (that leads up to The Chillout), take this path and the rest is pretty much self explanatory.
TAKE A DIP IN RAVANA FALLS
A few kilometres from Ella is one of the country’s most popular – and widest – waterfalls, Ravana Falls. Not only can you admire the water as it flows down the rocks, here you can also take a swim in its pool, which is extremely popular with both tourists and locals. Following a quick dip, head up to the Ravana Ella Cave. It’s another popular tourist spot but has a rich and interesting history that’s worth a look.
WALK ALONG NINE ARCH BRIDGE
You don’t need to be a fan of train spotting to pay a visit to Nine Arch Bridge, as the opportunity to snap a picture of a train crossing one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks is enough to get anyone’s heart racing. If you take a tuk tuk from the centre of Ella to the bridge, you’ll likely be dropped off by a tiny path that leads down to the bridge. The views of the beautiful structure and the landscape around are stunning from above however make sure you wander down to get a closer view too. Walk along the tracks and, if feeling adventurous, climb down under the bridge to meander among the tea fields.
EXPLORE A TEA FACTORY
You can’t visit Sri Lanka without tasting a cup of Ceylon tea, and where better to enjoy the perfect cuppa than at a tea factory. World famous tea is manufactured at Halpewatte Tea Factory, just outside of Ella and here you can not only taste, and buy, the fresh tea, but also see the step by step process of how it’s made.
LEARN TO COOK AT ELLA SPICE GARDEN
If you’re short on time, a quick tour around the small spice garden will teach you about some of the country’s best loved ingredients. But, if you have more time (and book far enough I advance), fun, informative and personal lunch time classes at Ella Spice Garden also teach how to cook real Sri Lankan food.