Visiting Ella – a hill town in Sri Lanka among tea plantations

Ella (Sri Lanka) – a picturesque town located in the southern part of the island between two mountains. Ella is characterized by the lifestyle of a rural settlement with small gardens, green valleys and tea plantations. Here you can enjoy the wonderful nature in all its glory – the city of Ella is full of forest trees, mountain plants and rare species of animals.

View of tea plantations and mountains

How to get to Ella

Due to its location in the mountains, airplanes do not fly here. The nearest international airport is in Colombo (the largest city and the unofficial capital of Sri Lanka), it receives airlines from all over the world.

Not far from Ella there is another airport, which is intended for rare and charter flights. Ticket prices for the mountainous Nuwara Eliya are much higher, but this city is only three hours drive from the destination.

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Ella Station, Sri Lanka

You can also get to Ella by several types of land transport.

How to get there by train

Most tourists reach the city by train, since this method is the most convenient and inexpensive. Railway connections are well established in Sri Lanka; new trains deliver tourists to this area along the Colombo-Badulla route.

Photos from the train to Ella

It is important to take into account that the road from Colombo to Ella takes as long as 9 hours. The climate of the island and the seating in the transport can tire you even before you reach the final stop, so it’s better to split the path into segments. For example, you can walk for several hours (until the next train arrives) along Nuwara Eliya, the sacred Buddhist Kandy or Hatton – the beautiful cities of the island, which are attributed to its main attractions.

Every day, 4 trains leave on this route, the cost of tickets depends on the class in which you want to go and the distance you want to overcome.

The cost of tickets and the schedule of trains Colombo Ella for December 2017.

Colombo Ella Train Ticket Prices

The relevance of the information can be checked on the official website of the Sri Lanka railway (eservices.railway.gov.lk)

Important: first class tickets are the most sought after. It is better to take them the day before the trip. In the second and third grade there are always empty seats, they are available even a few hours before departure.

The train station in Ella is located within walking distance from the city center.

To Ella by bus

On the bus Sri Lanka

If you want to save on the road, this method is the most suitable. Tickets for the bus are several times cheaper than for the train, but you have to go sitting for 6-7 hours (there are also standing places). You also need to consider that not all roads on the island are paved, so this method is not suitable for those who are sick of transport.

Just note that there are a number of cities from where it is more rational and cheaper (in total) to travel by train. Among them: Colombo, Kandy, Dambula, Polonnaruwa. It is better to travel to Ella from Tangalla (direct flight), Nuwara Eliya (bus No. 31-1) and Tissamaharama (No. 335-1).

Bus number 31

Another direct flight follows from Matara twice a day – at 8:00 and 14:00. The journey takes about 6 hours, only one stop – near a grocery store in the Sri Lankan desert. Also, bus number 31, which passes by Ella, leaves the city once every 45 minutes.

There are no bus stations in the city, but a bus stop with all the above routes is located in the heart of Ella, close to many hotels, cafes and restaurants. Plan your trip to catch the bus before 19:00 – if you are late, you can wait for your transport until the next day.

Prices and schedule on the page are for March 2018.

To Ella by car

Renting a personal vehicle is a wonderful, albeit a bit expensive solution. You will not be attached to the public transport schedule and will be able to travel around all the attractions of Sri Lanka, saving money on excursions.

Of the difficulties of traveling by car are the roads and the route. Since the region is mountainous, the road can go sharply up or, conversely, down, so if you are driving recently, it is better not to try your luck. In addition, your path may lie through the villages and small towns of Sri Lanka, where there are absolutely no paved roads, which is also very important for the driver.

Pit on the road

Also remember that you are traveling in an unfamiliar area, so if the Internet and navigator fail, you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Before driving your personal car, spend a few dollars on a map of the island – this will protect you from many problems.

Getting to Ella is most convenient from Colombo or Marat. The distance from the first city is only 200 km, but due to the difficult road, the trip can take 4-5 hours. The path lies through the picturesque villages of Sri Lanka, where you can stop and go to a cafe.

The journey from Matara to Ella takes about 5 hours. The road is quite convenient – first you can drive along the new highway, and then along the usual highway where there are few cars.

You will be interested: Lion Rock is a must-see place in Sri Lanka .

Attractions of Ella (Sri Lanka)

The island is known for its green spaces and beautiful nature, so lovers of beautiful landscapes and a relaxing holiday will really like the trip here. As in any city, in Ella there are places that every tourist should see.

Little Adam’s Peak

This is a mountain with tea plantations, if you go up there in the morning, you can meet girls who collect leaves of these plants. The climb is simple, does not take much effort – you can even go here with your children. The path to the top of the mountain from the city center will take 45-60 minutes. You can also get there by tuk tuk.

On the way to Adam's Small Peak

The best time to climb to the top of the attraction is in the morning, a couple of hours after dawn. During this period, it is not too hot here (but in the heat – fewer people), you can see with your own eyes the process of picking tea, take a picture against the backdrop of beautiful landscapes. Do not climb a mountain into the fog. Be sure to bring a bottle of water with you.

Please note: on the island there is another Adam Peak – a higher mountain, popular among pilgrims. Detailed information on attractions can be found on this page .

Ella Rock

The huge rock, planted with various plants, is included in the list of the most famous attractions of Sri Lanka. There is a waterfall, several cafes and houses of friendly locals from whom you can ask for help or relax a bit.

Ella rock

The climb to Ella Rock is more difficult than to the peak of Adam, but also more interesting. The first 2 km lie through an abandoned railway, then you need to climb the tea plantations and go through the eucalyptus forest. You can climb yourself (maps of this area are sold everywhere) or hire a guide.

View from Ella Rock to Adam's Small Peak

Be sure to take warm clothes with you (a strong wind blows above Ella Rock) and wear comfortable shoes, as in some places the climb is especially steep. It is best to get up in the morning, after lunch, clouds may appear that will close your beautiful view. Ascent to Ella Rock takes about 2 hours.

Nine Arch Bridge

An old 9-arch railway bridge connecting a cliff between two mountains. Trains run infrequently here, and the place has become a favorite venue for all tourist photographers. A house of locals is installed on the rise, they are very welcoming and always welcome guests.

Nine arch bridge

The bridge is located near the Small Peak of Adam. For a walk to the sights, it is better to wear long pants and closed shoes, as there are a lot of crawling insects. You can visit the bridge in Ella at any time, but if you want to photograph a passing train, you need to get up in the morning or at night (you can check the exact schedule with one of the local residents or guides).

Spice Garden

In the spice garden

The Spice Garden is just one of the fantastic sites in Sri Lanka. His visit is free, here you can see with your own eyes how to grow cinnamon, curry, aloe and other spices. Guides will meet you at the sight (you can refuse their services and go to the garden alone) and sellers, from whom you can buy not only the plants themselves, but also various cosmetics based on them.

Before you go to this garden and buy goods here, check to see if there are similar products in the regular markets of Ella. Often the prices in such places are overpriced, and the goods are no different from what they sell in the city center. One 45-60 min is enough to visit.

Ravana Ella Falls

Ravana Waterfall

The most beautiful, though not the only Ella waterfall. This is a great place for photo and relaxation in Sri Lanka. Here you can wash yourself with crystal clear water, look at the monkeys, try mangoes. If you are not confused by dozens of tourists, you can swim in the waterfall, but be extremely careful, as there are a lot of large and sharp stones at the bottom.

Getting to the natural attraction is easy – just take any bus that goes in the direction of Vellavia. Travel time takes 15 minutes. It is better to come in the morning to avoid crowding.

What else to do in Ella?

As in all of Sri Lanka, there are several tea factories in this city. Want to know what real tea is and try it? Then you need to visit one of the following places.

Halpewatte Tea Factory

Halpewatte Tea Factory

The largest tea factory in Ella. Every day, buses are collected in the city with tourists who are taken here on an excursion. The tour takes place throughout the factory, accompanied by a guide, it is paid – 500 rupees. The top floor offers panoramic views of the mountains and green valleys of Sri Lanka, here you can enjoy delicious Ceylon tea. The trip takes 3-4 hours. The factory sells green tea, but at a rather high price.

Tea Factory Kinellan Tea Factory

At this factory, you can also book an excursion with a guide who in English or Russian (they do not know this language, but could learn the text) will tell you everything about the local plants and the technologies for growing / collecting tea leaves.

Tea Factory Kinellan Tea Factory

This place has its own peculiarity – here you can buy four types of delicious tea at a very low price. The factory is located near the road, you can get there by bus or moped. If you want to not only walk around the plantations, but also look inside, visit the attraction on a weekday.

The cost of the tour is 400 rupees. There is a small patisserie on site where you can enjoy delicious tea and pastries on the terrace.

Climate in Ella: when to go

Rain season. It lasts from late spring to mid autumn. This time is considered unfavorable for visiting, so housing prices, goods and excursions are rapidly falling during this period. All summer, plants grow green in Ella and vegetables rise, so the products become more tasty and cheaper. The rains are warm, but ubiquitous, so it is better not to visit Ella without rubber boots and an umbrella at this time.Almost all year the weather in this city of Sri Lanka is favorable for tourists. Here, as in the tropical zone, there is no noticeable change of seasons, but the year can be divided into two periods:

  1. Dry season (November – March). If you decide to visit Ella during this period, you need to book accommodation for several weeks. At the end of autumn and winter, many tourists gather in the city.

Throughout the year, the average temperature in Ella is 29 degrees Celsius, even in the coldest time it does not fall below 15 ° C. It is worth taking warm clothes and closed shoes, even if the weather forecast shows + 30 ° C, because in Ella, especially in the mountains, a strong, sometimes cool wind often rises.

Should I go to Ella with children

Local children in Ella

Today, the city of Ella in Sri Lanka has not developed infrastructure for children, there are no cinemas, amusement parks and entertainment centers, but if your child loves nature, beautiful landscapes and walks in the fresh air, he will like the trip to Ella.

It is also worth paying attention to the age and physical condition of the child before climbing to the plantations and to the mountains. Often all trips of this kind turn into difficult hour trips for young travelers in 30-degree heat. But if entertainment in your family is like an integral part of relaxation, then your child will be delighted.

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Restaurants and Cafes

Despite the small size of the city itself, there are dozens of cafes and restaurants in Ella. Here you can try both local and European cuisine. There are much more establishments with national dishes, in addition, their visit will cost you half the price.

Cafe Ella Village Inn
Ella village inn

If you are used to cooking yourself and want to buy on the market, you will have to switch to rice and vegetables. The rest of the products, including pasta, sausages and cereals that are familiar to us, are imported, therefore they are several times more expensive than ours.

To try delicious dishes of national cuisine of Sri Lanka, it is worth a visit:

  1. Ella Village Inn. This is a cafe located in the heart of Ella. There is a varied menu and a wide selection – you can order delicious food for a large family. Also, the advantage of this cafe is the price – even foreign dishes (like burgers) are quite cheap.
  2. Cafe Chill. For a couple of dollars, you can have a bite to eat delicious juices and smoothies made from fresh vegetables and fruits. The drinks served in this cafe are not only cheap, but also healthy. There is a fast wifi.

The city of Ella (Sri Lanka) is a paradise with beautiful views and unusual landscapes. It is worth a glimpse to all lovers of active and beautiful relaxation. Have a good trip!

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