The town is most famous for its iconic nine arches railway bridge which is a fine example of colonial-era construction in Sri Lanka. A trek down the railway track to the bridge is a popular activity, especially around the time the train arrives. There are numerous quaint cafes, walking trails and guest houses nestled in the hills for a peaceful getaway. One can also visit the famous Lipton's Seat where the tea mogul Sir Thomas Lipton would oversee his ever-expanding empire.Ella is also covered by the dense forests, which are consistently encircled by a mild cloud cover. The town is also famous for its tea plantation, which is one of the primary sources of foreign exchange for the country. This destination offers incredible hiking trails through the woods. A tiny and pleasant place within the Uva province to have some fun and spend some quality time.
A small town in Uva Province’s Badulla District, Ella which means ‘waterfall’ in Sinhala is located approx. 120 miles east of Colombo, nearly 3,415 feet above the sea level. Ella is heavily encompassed with different varieties of flora and fauna, with neighboring hills, tea plantations and misty forests. The town is popular amongst travelers for its scenic beauty and laid-back vibes. With a cool climate, thanks to its elevated location, the Ella Gap offers a gorgeous view of most of Sri Lanka’s southern plains. So, it should definitely be on your radar when you visit Sri Lanka.
There are plenty of flights for Colombo from different parts of India with both non-stop/ multiple stop options and varying rates for each category. With 7 non-stop flights from Chennai, 3 from New Delhi, 2 from Mumbai, 3 from Bengaluru and 1 from Hyderabad, you have several flight options to choose from in the price range of INR 10,000-17,500. The flight duration varies between an hour and 25 minutes to 3 hours and 35 minutes for the non-stop flights.
Ella is about 132 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport. And the nearest airport to Ella is the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota, 87 km from the town’s center. The quickest way recommended to reach Ella is by taxi, train or bus.
One of the best ways to reach Ella is by train and the ride from Kandy to Ella is known to be one of the most beautiful in the world! While you can travel from Colombo to Ella by train, most train services don’t follow the Kandy-Ella route, hence the best route would be Colombo-Badulla. The train ride from Colombo to Ella takes about 11 hours roughly. Approx. 1.4 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport, there’s the Katunayake Airport Bus Station where a bus leaves for the Colombo Bastian Mawatha Terminal every half hour and takes about 45 minutes to reach there.
The Colombo Fort Train Station is 11 m walking distance from the Colombo Bastian Mawatha Terminal and there’s a train every 4 hours to Ella, costing INR 100-350. The Colombo-Badulla train, operated by Sri Lanka Railways takes approx. 8-10 hours and few minutes, depending on what time of the day you leave from Colombo.
The distance between the Bandaranaike International Airport and Ella is 236 km by road and the fastest way to reach there is to hail a taxi which costs INR 5,500-7,000 roughly and takes about 3.4 hours to reach Ella. Another alternative is to take a bus. From the International Airport to the Domestic Airport Bus station, the ride is 45 minutes long and 31 km away.
From the CBM (Colombo Bastian Mawatha) Terminal, there’s a bus to Kandy Good Shed Bus Station every 20 minutes, which takes approx. 3 hours or so to reach and costs INR 60-80. From Kandy, you can hire a cab for Ella which is about 138 km and 2 hours 21 minutes. The cab ride can cost you anything between INR 4,200-5,000.
Tuk-Tuks are the best mode to move around in Ella with ample luggage space and the capacity to have a reasonable number of people riding on it! Despite how small the town is, you will find the three-wheelers in plenty. Being a small town, it is easier to get around Ella on foot and enjoy the tourist attractions by walking around. You can also hire motorbikes for your sightseeing travels.
The town of Ella depicting some magnificent views through the Ella gap has its period of showcasing some valleys when the weather is warm and pleasant. Being covered by the cloud forests, the climate in Ella is usually humid with chances of rain throughout the year. Although, the temperature during June, July, and August are comparatively hotter than the period between January till May. The month of August is a month wherein the temperature varies 30.9 degree Celsius to dropping around 18.3 degree Celsius at night. However, to avoid theses varying degrees, one can visit the alluring town from January till May, as the weather is significantly warm in the morning and afternoon and one can witness chilly nights. So, buckle up and plan your visit to this incredible town soon!
Ella may be a small place, but it has a variety of activities to keep you engaged and happily high! After a fresh hike early morning, you can hit a waterfall and grab some delectable Sri Lankan snacks with a beer, laze around or walk your way around the architectural marvels of the village town. A perfect place to unwind from the chaos of your routine life, Ella will make for some fond memories and scores of gorgeous pictures to last you a lifetime.
The average temperature in Ella varies rarely and considering the humidity levels, the temperature’s usually warm for at least 6 months in the year. The hottest months are June-August. The best time to visit Ella is between January and March, which will allow you to enjoy nature interactions with occasional chances of rainfalls and enjoy hiking. Monsoons strike this part of the country usually between July-November, while the rest of the year in Ella sees relatively pleasant weather.
The combined levels of temperature and humidity make the months of March through May warm with the maximum temperatures ranging between 30°C-27°C. Rains are a common occurrence during this period with about a week to 13 days in a month, making the spring season the slowest for tourism and hence apt for those looking for lucrative travel deals.
June through August sees pleasant weather with warm high temperatures and rainfalls for about 3-4 days in a month. Summer is the busiest time to be in Ella, which makes lodging and accommodation costlier in comparison to the rest of the year.
With an average temperature ranging 30°C – 24°C, which makes the weather pleasant even with the wind & humidity levels, fall season experiences rain or snowfall for 6 to 16 days every month, slowing down incoming tourist traffic. This also makes for pocket-friendly hotel tariffs.
December through February is the perfect time to be in Ella, especially for those who enjoy warm weather. With the average temperature on the higher side oscillating between 27°C and 23°C, it rains rather much during this period with almost 8-17 days in a month. This is also the second busiest time of the year to be in Ella.
Ekho Ella From
There’s a subtle railway theme at Ekho Ella, where homely rooms feature ‘1st class sleeping berths’ (beds) and ‘observation saloons’ (windows). Gimmicks aside, the scenery takes centre stage. Nab a plush lounger on the grassy lawn to take in some of the very best views of the valley and Ella Gap, where layer upon layer of hilly silhouettes fade into the misty distance.
Ella's Edge Resort
Want to watch the sunrise over Little Adam’s Peak without getting out of bed? You can do just that at Ella’s Edge Resort; each of its large, clean rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies looking out over the Ella Gap. It’s an easy walk to reach Ella town – don’t miss a generous dinner of rice and curry at Matey Hut.
Ella Nature View
Ella Nature View overlooks a cascading waterfall and jungle shrouded mountains. The modern rooms are great value – even the showers have show-stopping views. Want to get out there? You can reach the top of Ella Rock in less than two hours from town – ask the friendly staff for the best routes up it (tip: you don’t need a guide).
The Secret Ella
The huge mountain-view chalets and suites at The Secret Ella have freestanding tubs and private terraces. Tour the hotel’s 10-acre (4ha) tea estate, soak up the sensational views from the infinity pool, or opt to get pampered at the spa inside the hotel’s sister property, 98 Acres Resort. Keen photographer? Take your camera to the Nine Arches Bridge to capture colourful passenger-packed trains trundling across the scenic viaduct.
Grand Peak Hotel
The clean, white rooms at Grand Peak Hotel feature comfy beds and broad shared balconies. Sonny and his wife are gracious hosts and can help you arrange transport and activities around Ella and beyond. From here, it’s a short hike to the Nine Arch Bridge. Swing by Newburgh Estate Tea Factory to rehydrate on some of the region’s finest green teas, while learning how they’re grown and processed.
Ella Jungle Resort
Like to arrive in style? It takes an off-road drive and cable car to reach Ella Jungle Resort, which spans 150 acres (61ha) of lush valley between Ella and Wellawaya. Due to the resort’s remote location, it’s not the best base for sightseeing. Luckily, there’s lots to do within the resort, from getting your hands dirty at the organic farm (the fruits of which you’ll find at the vegetarian restaurant), to yoga, canyoning and ziplining.
Ella Rock House
With modern guest rooms and a rooftop breakfast platform offering views of Little Adam’s Peak, Hiker’s Lodge is a practical spot to rest and recuperate between hill treks and tea tours. Ella’s classic trails and tea plantations are all on your doorstep. Save time for a trip to the region’s glorious waterfalls too – Ella, after all, means ‘waterfall’ in Sinhalese; hire a driver to take you to the impressive Ravana Falls or the (not-so-) Secret Waterfall, south of town.
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.
Popular as Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, the gorgeous and picturesque locales of Ella are quite charming and well worth spending a few days, relaxing, soaking in the greenery and drinking tea here! One of the first things to do when in Ella is to book yourself a nice place to stay in. With plenty of accommodation options in the budget to luxury category, an eco-resort which is just a few minutes from the beautiful Diyaluma Falls is the Living Heritage Koslanda. Right in the midst of a beautiful valley with breathtaking view of the waterfall and overflowing river on site, an infinity pool with magnificent view of the rice terraces below, hiking routes and an outdoor restaurant, you will enjoy the magical ambiance of the town at best here to sound of the crickets chirping and frogs croaking. Besides a memorable stay, here are a few other things to do when in Ella.
Swimming atop the Diyaluma Falls
The Diyaluma Falls is one of the highest and most stunning waterfalls in Sri Lanka with its main drop being the most popular site to witness, as are its mini waterfalls and the spot where you can swim atop the falls. When the water level is just about right, you can swim in the mini pools at the top and even jump from one to another. The hike to the Falls takes about 2 hours, and it is best to carry plenty of munchies, water, and sunscreen, not to forget wearing comfortable footwear for your hiking journey.
Tea Plantations Tour
Sri Lanka’s encompassed by several tea fields spanning thousands of acres and hence it is only natural that you visit at least one if not more, when in Ella. Tea, being one of the country’s biggest export products and a significant industry, Ella’s tea forms an important aspect of Sri Lanka’s culture and one of the biggest factories in the Ella region is the Uva Halpewaththa Tea Factory. From getting familiar with the workings and history of the tea factory to experience a tea tasting session with gorgeous views of the tea plantation, you can also enjoy some tea-themed keepsakes and tea leaves.
You can also visit the Newburgh Factory known for Green Tea, which has its offering from the same plants, however, their process and tastes differ.
Hike to Little Adam's Peak
Situated in Central Province of Sri Lanka, Adam’s Peak is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country at 2,200 m and involves an arduous climb. However, Ella’s Little Adam’s Peak is comparatively an easier journey to make! With its hilly structure, the hike takes about 3 hours in total in terms of climbing up and going back down with plenty of spots to rest and take pictures from. An exciting activity to indulge in the hike to Little Adam’s peak is best done early morning or just before the setting sun and soak in some stunning views.
A Culinary Quest in Ella
The classes for cookery have become a popular activity in recent times, with many a request from visiting travellers to learn the country’s cooking techniques or to get their hands on the authentic and delicious recipes from the local talents. You can look forward to some interesting streams of tiny cooking demos in the homes of the locals to extensive cooking class set-ups in different places, of which Ella Spice Garden is one.
Apart from walking around and soaking in the wondrous beauty of Ella, you can also enjoy walking down the railway tracks out of town, albeit safely and out of the train’s path for some gorgeous photo opportunities and peaceful trek. Take a break for a late afternoon snack, stop over for a drink or just sit back, sip a cup of tea and enjoy reading your favorite book.
Chasing the Waterfalls
Ella is quite renowned for its several waterfalls and you can enjoy visiting some of the most popular ones, like the Ravana Falls or the Bambaragama Waterfall with hidden caves behind the falls or short walking trails downstream with some spectacular views and experiences.
There’s the Dunhinda Falls, 25 km from Ella. It is one of highest ranked waterfalls and tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, located 5 km from the Badulla City Center on the North. It resembles a thin cloud that cascades 63 m downwards into a large pool and is about 1.5 km from the entry gate. The walk to the waterfall offers a lovely trail with wild birds, monkeys, butterflies, deer and more. The cascade is enhanced with Hal Oya, Uma Oya and small rivers from the Welimada & Bandarawela area.
Rated one of the best activities to indulge in to explore the beautiful locales of Sri Lanka, traveling on a train is the experience of a lifetime you wouldn’t want to miss! One of the most popular train journeys is between Ella and Nuwara Eliya, passing through hills, bridges, tea plantations and cascades of water.
Walking down the Demodara Loop
Identified as one of the most captivating engineering wonders in Sri Lanka, the Demodara Loop is a 15 min drive from Ella or you can also enjoy a walk, passing the nine-arch bridge on the way. This curved railway was built to transport the produce from the tea estates in Uva to Colombo. With a broad-gauge line constructed, the teams working on it discovered that the elevations of hills at Demodara was a bit much for the track to maintain from one end to another. Hence, an innovative styling was called for.
The Demodara Loop’s where the track passes itself in a loop and emerges from another tunnel and is 441 ft long. The station is right above the tunnel and is also the center of the loop’s crossing point, making it the only loop in the world with the station right above the tunnel at a spiral loop!
Ella is a favourite among day hikers and more experienced trekkers alike. The two famous treks in the area are Little Adam's Peak and Ella Rock, not to mention Ravana Falls and other famous waterfalls in the area.
Matey Hut Restaurant, Ella Sri Lanka – Best rice and curry in Sri Lanka. It's a small, easy to find a place on the main road.
AK Ristoro – Visit if you are craving for some Italian pasta.
Ceylon Tea Factory – Well, as the name says, the theme of the restaurant is around Tea manufacturing. A good place to hang out.
Down town rotti hut – When in Sri Lanka, you must eat the delicious rottis (kottu rotti is the best)! Down Town Rotti Hut is a good pit stop for picking up some rottis before heading for your trek/ hikes.
There are no charges for Little Adam's peak, Ella rock, waterfalls, and nine arches bridge. All you need is the budget for stay, commute, and food. USD 25 (INR 1,800) per day will be a good amount for one person in Ella (USD 10 for a night stay in a hostel or basic room and USD 15 for food).