The lush highlands of Sri Lanka are beautiful to explore. With rolling green hills of tea plantations, powerful waterfalls and great hikes, Ella has a lot to offer for the adventure traveler. Tucked away in the misty green hills of Sri Lanka, you can stay for a few days in this fun town to explore the best of Ella. Come with the famous train from Kandy and get the full Sri Lanka experience while enjoying the picturesque views from the train. Find in this blog post all the best things to do in Ella Sri Lanka.
Best tours in and around Ella
If you’re planning to explore the best of what Ella has to offer, then these are the best guided tours. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
- Ella Rock & 9 Arch Bridge, Little Adams Peak with transfer. Take a guided hike to the famous Ella Rock, 9 Arches Bridge, and Little Adam’s Peak. Hike through beautiful tea plantations and enjoy sweeping views of the island’s hill country on this private tour.
- 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella. Get the adrenaline pumping with this 1 hour mega dual zip line at Flying Ravana located amidst the luscious green estates of Ella.
- Private guided sunrike hike Ella rock. Take an early morning hike up Ella Rock to meet the sunrise with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Diyaluma Falls Full-Day Tour with Lunch from Ella. Take a trip to Sri Lanka’s second-highest water fall and experience the natural beauty of Diyaluma falls, enjoying a small hike, lunch, and a refreshing dip in pristine waters along your journey.
- Safari to Udawalawe National Park from Ella. Enjoy an unforgettable safari tour at Udawalawe National Park, a sanctuary for many Sri Lankan wild animals. See the beautiful elephants and a diverse range of species with the assistance of an expert guide.
- 2 day tour to a Tea factory in Nuwara Eliya, Ramboda falls, Horton Plains and more. Visit the scenic hill country, surrounded by the evergreen valleys and tea estates. Witness the beautiful Ramboda waterfall and Horton Plains National Park.
- From Ella: Bambarakanda & Lanka Ella Falls Hike with Lunch. Hike to Bambarakanda and Lanka Ella Falls on this day trip from Bandarawela or Ella. Stop at Lanka Ella Falls for a picnic lunch with a chilled beer and take a refreshing swim.
- Ella & Little Adam’s Peak All-Inclusive Tour. Discover the mountain village and stunning scenery on a full day hiking tour to Ella. Experience Ella Gap from the top of both Ella Rock and Little Adams Peak and visit 9 Arch Bridge, one of the iconic bridges in Sri Lanka.
- Tuk-Tuk Safari Day Trip and Tea Fields Hike with Lunch from Ella. Drive through the Sir Lankan countryside on a tuk-tuk safari on this day trip from Ella. Take a guided hike on a tea plantation and stop for a picnic lunch before visiting the Dambatenne Tea Factory.
- Haputale: Tea Plantation, Safari, & Lipton’s Seat Day Tour. Discover Sri Lanka’s historic tea plantations and imagine life as a tea farmer, on this tour of the most prominent sites in Haputala and Kandy. Ride a trusty tuk-tuk rickshaw through the well-kept farms and wild mountainsides.
- Ella: Lipton’s Seat tour with Dambetanna Tea Factory visit. Enjoy the panoramic views of Lipton’s Seat in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Enjoy a Sri Lankan lunch before you wander through tea plantations and see the full process of tea making at the Dambetanna tea factory.
15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ELLA
Hike up 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 incredible and the great thing is, it doesn’t take you too long to get there. Hiking up Little Adams Peak is not as strenuous as going up the high Adams Peak Sri Lanka. If you want to have the highest chance of having clear views, then go with sunrise. Sunset is of course also an option, but you have to be lucky to have clear views. The stairs up Little Adams Peak are well maintained and the path is easy to follow.
Stop by at the Ravana Falls
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.
Explore the Ravana Cave
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!
Admire the 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 Arches 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 its 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 Arches 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
Hike to Ella Rock
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 if you don’t want to have the hassle of finding your way or getting lost, then booking a guided hike of Ella Rock is recommended.
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!
Visit the Diyaluma Falls
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.
Go on a safari to Udawalawe National Park
A great day tour to do from Ella is going on a safari in Udawalawe National Park. This park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals. The best time to go on a safari in Udawalawe National Park is from January to March when rainfall is at its lowest. Despite being one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka, there are still over 500 elephants living inside the park. You are able to see hordes of wild Asian Elephants in their natural habitat. Other than that, the park is also home to other wildlife such as water buffalos, monkeys, crocodiles, a vast array of birds and lizards.
Learn Sri Lankan cooking at Ella Spice Garden
A fun thing to do for young and old is attending a cooking class. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about how you can prepare a typical Sri Lankan dish. During the class you will learn about the different spices that are used. And of course you will create your own finger licking food with rich and 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 is now a vibrant home to new hip restaurants, cafes and boutique shops. Ella town has a vibe that feels like a lively asian backpacker town and is a great place to stay for some days. Central to Ella’s backpacker scene is the main street with great restaurants. Cafe Chill for example, located right in the centre of town, serves 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 are even open 24-hours, including the Bob Marley inspired Cafe One Love.
Go zip lining for an adrenaline boost
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 Adventure 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. Also before you will take off for a flight through the sky you will go through a comprehensive safety procedure. The zip-line adventure is a great thing to do in combination with the hike to Little Adams Peak.
Hike through the Horton Plains to Worlds End
The Horton Plains National Park is situated in the central highlands of Sri Lanka about an hour south of Nuwara Eliya. If you only stay in Ella and want to visit this National Park, if it definitely worth the day trip. A 2 hour one way drive will bring you to this protected National park which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. If you want an all inclusive organised tour with guide, then book your Horton Plains tour from Ella here.
Horton Plains National Park is a very special place in Sri Lanka with diverse landscapes, rich wildlife and excellent hiking opportunities. You can visit the popular sites such as Bakers Fall, mini World’s End and World’s End. The Horton Plains hike is one of the most beautiful and varied treks you will stumble across in this incredible country.
Read everything about Horton Plains National Park in our complete guide
Visit the 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 then lined with small stalls. Locals are selling not only fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits but also clothes. It’s a nice way to support local farmers and to get some healthy snacks to cook or eat on your Ella hikes!
Visit a tea factory in Ella
If you travel through Sri Lanka and don’t pay a visit to a tea factory… you haven’t been in Sri Lanka! Jokes aside, tea production is one of the most important industries in Sri Lanka with a rich history. So if you’re in the Ella or Nuwara Eliya area, you have to visit the beautiful tea fields and a tea factory. While doing this you can learn more about the process of tea which is very interesting. Uva Halpewatte tea factory and Kinellan tea factory are both two great options in Ella.
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 places to visit and things to do in Nuwara Eliya. And in addition to that is the train ride through the tea plantations and local mountain villages just amazing. The perfect way to see more of the amazing landscapes of Sri Lanka.
Weather in Ella Sri Lanka
Ella has an average temperature in comparing to Colombo where it is very warm most of the time. Nuwara Eliya on the other hand is much cooler. Towards the end of the year it will get colder in Ella as well. 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.
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