Best Things to do In Ella

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Tucked away in the misty highlands of Sri Lanka, between idyllic green hills and waterfalls, lies Ella: one of the most alluring destinations on this teardrop-shaped island. From scaling the heady heights of Ella Rock to seeing the mystical Nine Arch Bridge for the first time; standing on the brink of the roaring Diyaluma Falls (the second highest in the country) and winding through tea plantations and mountains on the popular Kandy to Ella train; many of our favorite Sri Lankan adventures can be found here. At its core, Ella is a charming, laid-back town, perfect for kicking back, walking, and escaping the scorching temperatures of the south coast.

It is a place where the colonial heritage of Sri Lanka merges with the rich Sinhalese and Tamil culture, and where abundant natural experiences can be found alongside abundant cultural experiences. And it is a place where learning how to cook delicious Sri Lankan cuisine is an absolute must. We must warn you that this once humble village in the hills has become a major tourist stop since our first visit. The growth in popularity and size has given rise to a series of concrete eyes that can now be seen throughout the town, taking away some of the peaceful, rural charm that made the area so incredible. But there’s still plenty to see and do in Ella, if you’re willing to go beyond pretty tourist sights and epic scenery. After two visits to this luxurious hilltop village, we’ve put together our list of the best things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka; a city that we believe should be firmly integrated into your Sri Lankan itinerary.

Here is the list of the best things to do in Ella

Climb Little Adam’s Peak

Little Adam’s Peak may be smaller than its big brother, Adam’s Peak, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive. The beautiful ridge consists of three green peaks that rise above the valley below. Walk through amazing nature, passing through local villages, tea plantations, and long fields of grass.

Getting to the top is a feeling like no other; it’s a chance to take in the sensational panoramic views and feel like you’re on top of the world! From Ella Town to the base of the mountain it is about a 45-minute walk. From the base to the top it takes about 15 minutes (or 30 minutes to reach the furthest of the 3 peaks).

Soak up the views from a beautiful hotel.

As described in the ‘Where to Stay in Ella’ section above, there are two main accommodation options in Ella. The former are more central hotels, which will be less expensive and less picturesque. Or spend a little more and travel a little further afield to check out some of the best hotels in Ella (and Sri Lanka), many of which offer some of the most stunning mountain scenery on the island.

Our hotel, Chill Ville View Point, had such a great view of the hills that we spent an entire afternoon there. We enjoyed a drink by the pool and marveled at one of the best views in Sri Lanka for hours.

Visit the famous Nine Arches Bridge for Sunrise

Perhaps Ella’s most famous attraction is the Nine Arches Bridge. Surrounded by lush greenery and tea fields, this beautiful bridge has become a postcard of Sri Lanka. While I’m sure almost everyone visits Nine Arches Bridge on their visit to Ella, very few go before sunrise.

For me it’s a shame because not only are there fewer people (sometimes none), but there are also two trains in the morning: one at 6:15 and the other at 6:40. There are many more trains running throughout the day, including around 9:30am, 11:30am, 3:30pm, 4:30pm and 5:30pm, but none as close as in the morning.

Cool off at Ellawala Waterfall

Once you reach Ravana Falls, you can continue on the same path until you reach Ellawala Falls. This is a beautiful place, set back from the main road and much more secluded. When we were there, there were actually only 2 other people. To get there, I took a screenshot of where to drive. It is not particularly well signposted, but it is perfectly accessible. Once you reach the point shown below, you will find a small cafe and local guides. They’ll show you the way to the falls, which are less than a five-minute walk from where you parked.

The good thing is that you can also swim in these waterfalls, and the power of the water is incredible! Once you get to the red dot on the map, turn left and take the dirt road. There are locals who can guide you. It’s just that Google maps have not been updated yet, as the reservoir built there is still relatively new.

Endless views of the tea field at Lipton’s Seat

Lipton’s Seat in Haputale is the perfect morning or afternoon trip from Ella. Hop on the train to Haputale and take a tuk-tuk to the beautiful lookout over the Lipton Tea Plantation. Thomas Lipton (a famous tea grower) sat here and admired his beautiful tea fields.

It is also where he planted the first seeds of Sri Lanka’s biggest export. It’s easy to see why he chose this spot when you look at the endless green tea fields, with neat rows of bushes and smiling, hard-working locals picking leaves.

Famous train ride from Kandy to Ella

No trip to Ella would be complete without taking a ride on the famous 7-hour route between Kandy and Ella. The tracks wind through the hills and mountains of central Sri Lanka, offering stunning views of the tea fields.

If you want a seat, make sure to reserve in advance as they fill up fast. Otherwise, you can reserve the day of, an hour before the train leaves, for an unreserved seat, but you risk standing for the entire journey. You can see the schedule here.

Visit Ravana Falls

The first waterfall that we will mention in this list of things to do in Ella is Ravana Falls. This huge waterfall is really impressive to see. Ravana Falls is also one of the closest waterfalls to Ella, making it very easy (and cheap) to get to. Ravana Falls is about a 10 minute drive from Ella along the main road. Every tuk-tuk or taxi driver knows where it is, but the location is also on Google maps.

Although you can’t really swim in Ravana Falls, it’s still a good place to visit. Around the falls you will always see lots of monkeys and there are also a few juice bars and little roadside shops near the falls. During the dry season, you can also hike to the top of Ravana Falls to admire the stunning view from above. During our visit there was too much water to walk the trail.

Fly on Ravana’s zip line

At the end of the Adam’s Peak trail, you’ll find the Flying Ravana zipline. This 500 meter long zip line takes you over the Ella skyline at 80 km per hour. A way to experience the city like no other, we must say! It is one of the most unique activities here that we highly recommend for any adrenaline junkies.

This epic ride offers expansive views of the mountainous landscape, while the double zip line lets you enjoy the experience with a friend. Not only that, this is actually the first mega zip line in Sri Lanka! It only costs $20 USD for adults and $15 USD for children. If heights aren’t your thing, the Flying Ravana Adventure park also offers other fun things to do.

A tour of the tea plantations

If you are in tea country, you should definitely take a tour of a processing factory. Sri Lankan tea is world famous and there are many plantations in the area that you can visit. From Ella you can take a day trip to Nuwara Eliya to visit one of the many tea factories there. We’ve heard good things about Bluefield Factory and Bluefield Tea Gardens. Or you can visit one of the tea factories near Ella City.

The Uva Halpewatte tea factory is about 3 km from the main street and you can see the production of the tea, learn about the process of harvesting the leaves and even taste the tea afterwards. Please note that during the dry season there are only two production days during the week, Saturday and Sunday. This means that if you really want the tea leaves processed on your tour, you’ll want to go on a Saturday or Sunday. We went in January during the dry season on a weekday and didn’t really get to see the process. However, the tour was interesting and informative and in our opinion well worth it! A tea plantation is definitely one of the best places to visit in Ella.

Explore Ella and its surroundings by train

One of the most popular activities in Sri Lanka is traveling on the world famous trains. Ella is a great starting point for some of the best train travel on the island. The most popular train route is Ella to Kandy (or Kandy to Ella), which takes about 8 hours. This route can be broken up with stops in cities such as Nuwara Eliya, another beautiful city in the mountainous region of Sri Lanka.

Be sure to check out this guide on the best places to visit in Nuwara Eliya if you decide to stop there. Although many people usually do the whole trip at once. The route from Kandy to Ella is often considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Another option, and a good option if you are short on time, is to take the shorter route from Ella to Badulla. This route goes in the opposite direction, but passes directly over the Nine Arches Bridge, which is a unique vantage point. This gives you the perfect opportunity to take a train ride with the locals in Ella, but not all the way to Kandy.

Final words: Best Things to do In Ella

I hope you understand and like this list Best Things to do In Ella, if your answer is no then you can ask anything via contact forum section related to this article. And if your answer is yes then please share this list with your family and friends.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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