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Ella Tourism And Travel Guide
18.5° C / 65.3° F
March to June
3 to 4 Days
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (87 kms)
Ella’s a small village town in the Badulla District, in Province Uva, situated 120 miles on the eastern side of Colombo and is roughly 3,415 feet above the sea level. Surrounded by several varieties of forests, greenery and wildlife, hills and tea plantations, Ella is most popular for its picturesque views and serene atmosphere. Here’s a travel guide to help you find your way around in Ella, and enjoy it hospitality and tourism.
How to Reach
With an average duration of 3 hours or so, there are plenty of flights from India to Sri Lanka, arriving at the Bandaranaike International Airport every day. Ella is 132 km from the International Airport and the nearest airport to the town is about 87 km, which makes traveling by flight an expensive affair.
The train route between Ella-Kandy is a beautiful ride, most popular across the world. The best way to travel to Ella is by train and taking the Colombo-Badulla train line. Approx. 11 hours long, there’s a train for Ella from the Colombo Fort Station every 4 hours and costs about 100-350 INR.
The road distance between the International Airport and Ella is 236 km and it’s much faster to reach there by taxi which may cost anything between INR 5,500-7,000 and nearly 3½ hours. You can also take a bus from the CBM (Colombo Bastian Mawatha) Terminal for Kandy Good Shed Bus Station and a cab onward to Ella. The bus ride would take about 3 hours, while the journey from there to Ella would take roughly 2 hours 20 minutes.
Being a small village town, it is best to enjoy Ella’s serene and tranquil atmosphere on foot and seeing the popular attractions at your convenience. However, there are plenty of 3 wheelers/Tuk-Tuks to move around the town as well, or you can hire a motorbike as well.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
With a number of things to do and places to visit, Ella is the perfect destination to relax and rejuvenate, away from the hectic pace of life, and living in the moment! With rare changes in the temperature levels, the weather is usually warm at least half the year in Ella with the warmest time being June to August. The ideal time to visit here is between January & March.
March through May experiences warm temperature ranging from 27°C-30°C with nearly 7-13 days of rainfall every month. The season of blooms is the slowest period in terms of tourism and anyone looking for good deals on lodging & accommodation can cash in during this period.
Summers are the busiest time in Ella when the weather is comfortable and the temperature is warm. Rainfall is less in comparison, with 3-4 days of precipitation in a month, making it the busiest time of the year. This also makes all accommodation options expensive in comparison to other parts of the year.
The weather during September through November is fairly pleasant, with the average temperature of 23°C-30°C and rainfall anywhere between 6-16 days per month. This slows down tourism, making fall season apt for budgeted hotel tariffs.
The perfect time to be in Ella is in winter, especially for those who enjoy the warm weather. With an oscillating temperature level at max being 27°C, rain occurs more from December to February, compared to the rest of the year; with almost 8 to 17 days per month. Winter is the second-best time of the year to be in Ella.
Things To Do
The train tours are one of the best ways to explore Sri Lanka’s gorgeous attractions and one of the most popular rail routes is the journey between Ella and Nuwara Eliya, which will take you around the hills, crossing bridges and tea plantations with a mesmerizing view of the innumerable cascades along the way.
A Dip in Diyaluma Falls:
One of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in the Island Country, the Diyaluma Falls has a number of small waterfalls, in addition to its main fall and a designated spot where you can take a dip atop the waterfall. You can enjoy jumping from one mini fall to another when the water is at a safer level.
Hiking to Little Adam’s Peak:
Ella’s Little Adam’s Peak is a hilly structure which takes about 3 hours to reach and come back from with ample places to rest and enjoying the view. Experience hiking at Little Adam’s Peak early in the morning or just before the sun sets.
Cookery Classes in Ella:
Cookery’s become a popular activity in the recent years in Sri Lanka, where many tourists end up getting inspired by the culinary delights they’ve tasted and are keen to explore different ways of preparing these delicacies and master the art of cooking! Ella Spice Garden is a popular spot to learn and enjoy this activity.
Touring the Tea Plantations:
Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest export items and a major business for the country. With several tea plantations spanning thousands of acres all across the country, it is only natural that you witness Sri Lanka’s booming tea plantations which are also a significant part of its culture. Ella’s Uva Halpewaththa Tea Factory and Newburgh Factory are considered major contributors to the Tea Industry and will help you understand the the background and also offer some really stunning views of the tea estates.
In addition to enjoying the splendid views, you can also experience the glorious architectural marvels upfront in Ella. Walk down the railway tracks on the outskirts and experiment with capturing different views and moods of this village town. With some of the most renowned waterfalls in Sri Lanka in Ella, make the most of visiting the Ravana Falls, the Bambaragama Cascade or the Dunhinda Falls all in and around Ella with a dip or two to cool off!
You can also visit the Demodara Loop, the fascinating civil engineering feat, one of the finest in Sri Lanka. 15 mins from Ella, this spiral railway was built essentially to transport tea leaves from Uva to Colombo, however, given the elevation levels, the track structuring required some form of innovation. The Demodara Loop has the track passing itself in a loop and emerging on the other end. It is nearly 441 ft long and its station is just above the tunnel.
Where To Eat
Matey Hut is one joint with good quality Sri Lankan cuisine on a budget. It’s best to arrive here early to avoid ending up without a seat! Chicken Kottu here is supposed to be delectable and everything else on the menu also is pretty reasonable in terms of pricing.
The Ice Cube Restaurant & Bar has a warm and hospitable staff, tempting offers on drinks and food and is quite popular in Ella. One of the tastiest dishes on the menu is the hot butter cuttlefish and during happy hours you can have 3 drinks for the price of 2. In addition to being fed a series of lip-smacking dishes, you can also expect friendly advice from the locals on things to do and places to see! Adam’s Breeze is about a kilometer from Ella’s main street and is popular for authentic Sri Lankan curries with rice. Along with the main curry-rice combo, you will also get lentils, potato curry and some more to gorge on. Placed strategically near the entry to Little Adam’s Peak, it is the best place to grab a bite before you climb up to the peak.
Café Chill is yet another popular haunt for good food and a menu which may seem a bit pricier than the rest but has a lovely ambiance. When it comes to offering both Sri Lankan and Western cuisine, it does have an extra edge in terms of quality and speed.
Where To Shop
Albeit small, the RMS Antique & Brassware shop stocks genuine Sri Lankan artefacts, antiques, crafts and gift items ranging between hand-painted traditional oil paintings, colonial metalware and an abundance of handcrafted items from across the country. Visitors have known to have found some cute and beautiful keepsakes and souvenirs at reasonable prices here. The owner takes pride in introducing visitors to his wares and the history behind their creation as well as help them with additional information about visiting Ella.
The Ella Gems & Jewellery Store has a wide array of jewellery on display with ample information available about the quality, styling and workings behind each piece. It is also accompanied by a legal certification on specific gems. Another shop to try is the quaint poster gallery in the heart of Ella - ‘I Love Ceylon Gallery’ is reasonably priced, with a wide collection of both vintage and modern Ceylon posters & postcards representing Ceylon. One of the best things here is the fact that the place is plastic-free and the store uses envelopes/bags recycled from old notebooks. An ideal place for souvenirs. Then there’s the VIBE store which is into clothing, handmade toys, jewellery and accessories. It is known to have a great selection of clothes and something for everyone visiting here.