The lush highlands of Sri Lanka are beautiful to explore. The most famous place to stay is Ella which is tucked away in the misty green hills of Sri Lanka. Well known because of the nine arch bridge, this little town has attracted many visitors in the recent years. But there are many more things to do in Ella. In this blog post you will find all our tips for the best things to do in Ella Sri Lanka. We stayed for 4 days and explored the beautiful green tea fields, the amazing hikes to Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, the impressive waterfalls and many more!
Climb Little Adams Peak
One of the must things to do in Ella is climbing up Little Adams Peak. The view from the mountain top is just incredible, and you don’t have to walk as far as when trekking up the big Adams Peak Sri Lanka. The best view, and light for photography is when you go with sunrise. Sunset is of course also an option. If you want to enjoy some of the best views of Sri Lanka without the need to hike for hours, Little Adams Peak is the perfect trek. With well maintained stairs and a not too strenuous hike, this is an activity for young and old!
The Ravana Falls are located in the misty mountains of Ella along the road. The water gushes down a height of 25 meters fallen from an oval concave rock. Ravana Falls is a 3-tier cascading waterfall, creating rock pools along its way down. During the wet season Ravana Falls takes the form of a drooping areca flower, but its wide size is reduced dramatically during the dry season. Although it is always worth it to check this waterfall when you’re Ella Sri Lanka, especially because of the easy access.
The Ravana Cave is located 2 kilometres outside of Ella town and lies 1370 metres above sea level. It is one of the most important tourists attractions with an historical value in Ella. The history of the Ravana cave is that King Rawana used this cave to hide the Princess Sita. If you are interested in the Sri Lankan history, and you’re ready to climb some stairs to see this cave, then the Ravana Cave is one of the must things to do in Ella Sri Lanka!
Nine Arch Bridge
The Nine Arch Bridge is located just outside of Ella Town in between the tea fields and is on the same way to Little Adam’s Peak. Completed in 1921, the Nine Arch Bridge is built entirely out of bricks, rock and cement, with no metal used in its construction. It was an engineering feat back in those days. With it’s 91 meters height and beautiful arches, this became a very popular photo spot over the years. There are a few places to view the bridge from, with the most popular being from the actual bridge itself and below from the tea plantation. Visiting the Nine Arch Bridge is absolutely one of the must things to do in Ella Sri Lanka! It’s free of charge and you don’t need a guide to get there.
Read everything about the Nine Arch Bridge in this complete guide
For the ones who seek a little adventure and spectacular views, the hike up to the summit of Ella rock is a vantage point you don’t want to miss out on! The hike is free of charge, but be aware that there might be touts along the way that says you’re going the wrong way, or who tries to direct you to the ‘correct’ route. Touts do this to make money from you as your guide.
Navigation to Ella Rock
Starting at the famous Ella train station, you have to follow the train rails going to Kandy for approximately 40 minutes until you arrive at Kithalella railway station. Keep walking along the tracks past the station and after 5-10 minutes, look out for a rock marked with a blue arrow and a label which reads ‘Ella Rock’. Turn left at this juncture. The marking fades over time (and may even be covered with cement), so make a note that you have to turn left after waymarker 166 ½ but before waymarker 166 ¼. After this, you will pass long grass, many beautiful waterfalls, bridges, tea plantations, a lower beautiful viewpoint and local Sri Lankan homes. The best time to do this hike is early morning because of several reasons. To beat the heat and to have the chance of a clear view and magical sunrise. The complete hike takes around 2 hours round trip, make sure to pack enough water and snacks to power your journey and to put your hiking boots or sneakers on!
Diyaluma Falls is 220 meters high and is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. It is located right next to the road so you can admire the beauty of this waterfall easily. But for the real adventurers there is the possibility to hike up to the upper waterfall so you’ll have an amazing view over the surrounded hills. Because the waterfall has different levels and pools you can take a dip to cool off after the hike. A great adventure for half a day and definitely one of the best things to do in Ella!
Visit Liptons Seat tea fields
Liptons Seat is the famous viewpoint where the man who built the Lipton tea empire , Sir Thomas Lipton, used to sit and contemplate his vast tea plantation and the magnificence of Sri Lanka’s high country. The best way to visit the tea plantation is to catch the Ella to Kandy train to Haputale train station, and then a tuk tuk to Lipton seat. The total cost should be around LKR 2000 – 3000, depending your negotiation skills 😉 The entrance fee to Liptons seat is 100 LKR and if you come with a Tuk Tuk they charge an extra 50 LKR.
Learn Sri Lankan cooking at Ella Spice Garden
Learn about the ingredients of a Sri Lankan dish and create some finger licking food with super tasty flavours. A fun activity for young and old! Make sure to book in advance because the Ella Spice Garden class might be fully booked.
Eat chill and party in Ella town
What was once a sleepy mountain village, with a main street filled with local markets and restaurants, is now a vibrant hub home to new hip restaurants and cafes, boutique shops, and a vibe that feels more like an asian backpacker town. Central to Ella’s backpacker scene is the main street, with the best restaurants to take it all in. Cafe Chill for example, located right in the centre of town, is serving delicious western-style food, juices, cocktails and a chill vibe. We worked here during the hours that it was raining in Ella, and enjoyed all the amazing food on the menu. At night, the upper deck becomes a bar/lounge, perfect for a few beers. Further towards the train station are a few relaxed bars serving beers and cocktails, some of which are open 24-hours, including the Bob Marley inspired Cafe One Love.
If you’re an adrenaline junky and into speed and heights, the first Sri Lanka’s zip-line in Ella must be on your things to do in Ella Sri Lanka list! Flying Ravana stretches more than half a kilometre across the the green hills of Ella, reaching up to 80 kmph. The zip-line is super safe because the latest equipment is used, the staff are all well trained and run through a comprehensive safety procedure before you will fly through the sky! The zip-line adventure is a great thing to do in combination with the hike to Little Adams Peak and will only cost you 20 USD.
Sunday and wednesday vegetable market
Two days a week there is a local market in Ella which you might want to check out. On Wednesday and Sunday morning farmers and sellers from the countryside come to Ella town to sell their products. The Passara Road (near Ella Super) is lined with small stalls where the locals are selling clothes, fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits. It’s a nice way to support local growers and to get some delicious and healthy snacks to cook or eat on your Ella hikes!
Take the train to Nuwara Eliya
When you’ve explored everything in Ella, it’s time to travel further through Sri Lanka. The best way to this is with the train! If your plan is to travel further up north to Kandy, you should definitely consider a stop in Nuwara Eliya. There are lots of amazing things to do in Nuwara Eliya, and the train ride through the tea plantations and local mountain villages is just amazing.
Weather in Ella Sri Lanka
Ella has an average temperature comparing to Colombo where it is very warm most of the time, and Nuwara Eliya where it can become very cold. Towards the end of the year, it will get colder in Ella. Especially in December when the temperatures will drop to around 10 degrees. There is also more change of rain in Ella than the South coast. On average, October is the wettest month in Ella and March is the driest month. But rain can fall anytime, so be prepared! That’s also the reason why it’s so beautifully green in the valley of Ella.
More Sri Lanka travel inspiration
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