05
Mar-2014

Ella

Sri Lanka   /  
  • Rail trails Ella

  • Ella Waterfalls

  • Train

  • Ella Waterfalls Monkeys

  • Dhowa Ancient Rock Temple

  • Dhowa Ancient Rock Temple

  • Rice & Curry in Jade Green Tea Restaurant

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Ellat is known as the backpackers hub in Sri Lanka, and it is clear that we came across more backpackers than locals here. Ella remains unspoilt by mass tourism tough! This pretty mountain town is the perfect place for those who want to take their breakfast on the patio of their B & B on top of a hill overlooking the waterfalls, hike in the nature during the day or relax in the evening in one of the many nice restaurants or bars, guesthouses, before a delicious meal. We had a rather cold climate with rain all day. But we weren’t lucky as apparently it is usually less humid. Allow still a little sweater for the evening and a raincoat.

WHERE TO STAY at ELLA?

Immerse yourself in nature by staying at Waterfalls View or Waterfalls Homestay, both are located on the top of a hill, with a terrace offering amazing views over a huge waterfall in lush vegetation. The Waterfalls Homestay was launched by an Australian couple, very friendly, offering only two rooms in their beautifully decorated home. Book it early enough because the rooms are often booked months in advance, as the reviews on TripAdvisor are amazing. An alternative is the neighboring guest room, Waterfalls View, which also offers two bedrooms, and is run by a lovely local family. The room costs Rs 4,500. The included breakfast is delicious! Both guesthouses are located on a hill, 1.5 km Ella (15 min walk only). On the road to get there, you will find all kinds of guesthouses with heavenly names (Brilliant View, Idyll Homestay …) which are probably very nice as well. All theses guesthouses are nicely presented on this web page, created by the Australian couple to promote its neighbours.

WHAT TO do in ELLA?

  • The waterfalls Rawana Ella Falls, where you can cool off when it’s very hot (take your swimming suit). Unfortunately, the waterfall is overlooking the road, with many tourists coming there, which does not make the place very bucolic. Around the waterfall, you come across many monkeys. We had never seen so many, strolling among the tourists as it is very natural. Keep an eye on your snack if you’re tempted by the fresh mango and others.
  • A hike to Ella’s Rock takes about 2 hours and 2 hours back, along the railway line (actually, walking on the tracks is astonishingly less dangerous than walking on the grass if you do not want to be the prey of leeches). Since the trains arrive at a speed of 15 km per hour, you’ll have all the time to see them coming! Ask your guesthouse for a map! There are many “guides” on the road, not disinterested of course, who want to show you the way or take you into the off the beaten track paths.
  • A hike to Little Adam’s Peak, the little brother of the famous Adam’s Peak, and much more accessible.
  • Take a tuk-tuk or hike to Dova temple. Nothing special in this temple full of Buddhas, but it can get you busy for an hour in a rainy day as it was the case for us :-)
  • Another activity is to treat yourself to an Ayurvedic massage, which is a form of traditional medicine still practiced in South Asia mainly. Lonely Planet recommends  Suwamadura’s massage but be careful, there are two centers of that name in the main street and you have to choose the right one because the reviews on Trip Advisor for one of them are very negative. We probably tried the wrong one because our experience is somewhat mixed. The massage itself is ok, it is not too bad and it relaxes, but the place is a little creepy, dark, not very clean and the masseuses are expeditious. In the end, they leave you with oil hair, so your have then no other choice than going  back into your guesthouse for washing your hair. So check carefully online not to go to the wrong place!

WHERE TO EAT AT ELLA?

  • We recommend the Jade Green Tea Centre & Restaurant, who cooked the best rice & curry we tasted during our two weeks trip! Even our local friend was delighted! It was both authentic, huge portions and cheap, in a charming little place. But you must think to order 2 hours ahead because all the Rice & Curry dishes are fresh and homemade! You can also buy tea.
  • Also take a Rotti at the Down Town Rotti Hut, the specialist of Rotti, cooked in front of you. Ideal for a quick small dish.
  • Do not miss the specialist Curd & Honey, especially if you haven’t tasted it before. This is a kind of yogurt with honey, you can also order in all forms (with fruit, chocolate, etc.).

WHERE TO DRINK at ELLA?

There is no place to dance and party at Ella, unfortunately. We had a few beers at Chill Cafe (Wellawaya Road), we loved to for its relaxed atmosphere. The servers are very nice beach boys but as everywhere else in Ella , customers are only tourists. They also have a restaurant, but it is western cuisine.

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