This is the third part of my Sri Lanka Travel Guides, the first 2 parts which you can read here.
My boyfriend, Dean, and I visited Sri Lanka in December 2015/January 2016 where we spent 12 full days and really loved our holiday.
This guide details the first leg of our holiday. After arriving in Colombo we straight away caught a taxi to Kandy where we spent 1 night. The next day we caught another taxi with some other travelers to Ella.
It's so hard to choose a highlight from our trip, but wow, we really loved being in Ella. Ella is a tiny little village set in beautiful countryside and high on the mountains, 1041m above sea level. We spent 3 nights, 2 full days, at Ella’s Edge Resort which I can highly recommend. Ella’s Edge is affordable, has simple but pleasant rooms, it is close enough from the Ella, and the family that run the place are lovely. The views down the valley are amazing and you can literally lie in bed and see the mountains and the views, not to mention sitting in the upstairs restaurant and just staring out into the distance. We ate breakfast at the guesthouse every morning and a couple of other meals too.
The guesthouse is slightly out of "town", but it's easy enough to walk to town up the hill. We did hire a scooter though as it just made getting around easier. The weather in Ella was much cooler than we expected but it was still a pleasant temperature. It did rain a little bit but not enough to put us off enjoying the beautiful environment. The natural scenery really is so beautiful; it is so lush, green and thick.
We did a lot of relaxing and reading while in Ella but also a couple of excursions and activities.
The day after we arrived in Ella, our first full day, we hired a scooter and set about exploring. We went for rides quite far from the town and walked in tea fields. I love seeing the rural parts of a country and seeing how different people live and get on with their lives.
We also drove to the Ravana Waterfall which is a bit further down the valley outside of Ella. It was pretty scary driving on the thin cliff-side road especially with the cars and trucks overtaking on blind corners. Thank goodness for Dean's good (brave) driving skills. The Ravana Waterfalls have an interesting story behind them about a prince who captured a princess from India and hid her behind the falls. The falls are absolutely huge and the water flows so strongly. I made sure to stay away far away from the edge! We didn't hang around the falls too long and took a few more drives to nearby shrines before the day ended.
On our second day in Ella we were up early to hike up to Little Adam's Peak, a well know attraction in the area. I think we started the walk at about 7 am and it was so nice because no one was around and I'm sure it can get pretty crowded. We started our walk from 98 Acres hotel where you sort of walk through the hotel's estate, through some tea fields and then start the stair climb to the top. We were accompanied by some of the village dogs who guided the way. The views from the top were just amazing. We walked along the ridge and just enjoyed being in the big open spaces and watching the sun come up. When we headed down a lot of people were walking up. So it's definitely a good idea to go early. It wasn't a strenuous long walk and probably took about an hour all together. If we had had longer in Sri Lanka we would definitely have attempted Big Adam's Peak.
That afternoon we drove to the nearby Halpwette Tea factory. Of course Sri Lanka is world renowned for tea- the home of the famous Ceylon tea of course- so visiting a tea factory was on our list. I am a massive tea fan but to be honest I wasn't expecting a tea factory tour to be too exciting. But I have to say, I really enjoyed it. The tour cost 300 rupees each and you just arrive at the factory, no need to book ahead. We had such a great guide who took us through each step of the tea making process. I was in the front row at every station but unfortunately no photos were allowed. After the tour we tasted the different teas of varying strengths.
The main road in Ella has lots of restaurants and bars. While the food from the restaurants is good, it's quite pricey. The local food options are much cheaper, I definitely had my fair share of rotis. I loved the atmosphere in Ella. Although there are quite a few tourists there aren't too many. I have a feeling in the future though (like a lot of Sri Lanka) that Ella will become really touristy and much more developed.
Check out our video of our trip to see the amazing views Ella offers.
Stay tuned for the next part of my Sri Lanka travel guide. Our next stop was Tangalle.
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