Ella, Sri Lanka – you’ll either love it or hate it

We had heard so much about Ella in Sri Lanka. We knew it was a hiking town at the end of one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. It really is a very beautiful place, but we wish we didn’t plan to stay quite so long there. This is one of those towns, where the journey getting there is the whole reason for going. Here are 3 reasons why:

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The landscape en route to Ella.

Firstly, Ella is a much smaller town than we realised. It’s literally a strip of road littered with touristy joints, cafes and a few bars. To be honest it was quite exciting when we first arrived because we were happy to relax and mooch about. But after a while, it’s evident that what’s on offer is aimed squarely at tourists. Sadly, you can see that tourism is decimating whatever culture this mountain escape once had. It’s actually really hard to get an authentic feel for the place because it is SO tourist oriented.


Secondly, if the weather isn’t fantastic (we had 3 days of solid rain in March) then you can’t see much. We stared through a white cloud for 3 days which was rather meditative (aka: boring). Seriously though, given that people go to Ella for views and walking,  the weather can be a real make or break here. Back to the old ‘To book or not to book?” conundrum! But when the clouds finally cleared, we realised why our charming little guest house had built a balcony in this spot.


The view from Idyll Guesthouse, on the Mountain View Rd


Thirdly, the climbing is great. After the rain finally cleared, we took our chance and climbed Little Adams Peak, which anyone with a decent level of fitness could manage with ease. Totally worth it, especially the brunch at the 98 Acres Resort afterward. What a great incentive to get up there!

Breakfast with a view of Little Adams Peak, and beyond!


There are a few other things you can do while in Ella, like visit the Halpewatte Tea Factory. The only thing I regret not booking ahead for was a cooking class at Matey’s Hut. That little shack produces the best food we had in all of Sri Lanka. Other than the stunning train ride from Kandy to Ella, their whole curried mango’s are reason enough to go to Ella!

To sum it up, we have written you some friendly poetic advice:

If you don’t mind tourists, then go to Ella!
The views are amazing, the scenery stellar
If it rains you won’t see it, even with an umbrella,
So don’t book ahead, play it by ear old fellah.


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