TEA & TRAINS IN SRI LANKA’S HILL COUNTRY

We took the 9.47am train from Kandy which arrived in Ella around 3.30pm. The train journey was an adventure in itself. The best seats in the house are by far the open doors. We sat in the door for the duration of the ride looking out over the beautiful landscape. Be aware that you won’t be the only one anchoring after a prime viewing spot, you will need to be quick in securing your space. Both sides of the train have good and bad sections depending on which side of the hill the train is hugging. We sat on the right side of the train and weren’t disappointed.

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Ella itself is a lot more developed than I had expected with trendy bars and even a coffee shop that served drinkable coffee (most coffee the coffee I tasted in Sri Lanka was vile). Our evenings were spent in popular traveller hang out Chill Café. At the beginning of the trip I’ve promised myself I would only eat local food but, gave up at the first hurdle once I clocked eyes on the delicious looking pizza on the next table. Another great place for a quick bite The Number 1 Roti Shop, there were by far the best roti’s I tasted all trip.

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By the time we’d dropped off our bags and drank copious amounts of tea with our home stay hosts on the first day it was too late to do anything other than get our bearings around town. We started off our second day with a morning walk up Little Adams Peak. I’d been expecting a strenuous hike but it turned out to be a pleasant walk with a short, gentle accent. The views of the endless hills basking in the morning sun were beautiful, even the local street dogs seem to like it up there. The round trip probably took us around an hour and a half, including some time at top to take selfies.

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A short walk from Little Adams Peak is the Nine Arch Bridge. I broke my knee in a horse riding accident two years ago, and as a result I have a lot of metal in my leg. I struggled slightly with the path down as the terrain was uneven and slippery from the rain. We’d only just made it to the bridge when I heard a noise in the distance. It was hard to tell what and where it was coming at first, but it soon became apparent it was a train and that we were on the wrong side in order to get a photo. We made a run for it, I don’t think I’ve ever ran so fast in my life, especially with my dodgy knee. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the picture I wanted due to the crowd of people already in position. Of course, we could have been organised and looked at the train timetable, but that’s just not us. I didn’t fancy walking back up the path we came down so, we skipped along the railway sleepers back to Ella station which is about 3.5km from the bridge. Once in town we flagged down a tuk tuk to take us to Rawana Falls which according to the map in town you can swim in. However, due to a some accidents this is no longer alowed. It didn’t stop us from trying but, we were quickly told off by the police.

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On the last day in Ella we visited the Uva Halpewatte Tea factory. Disappointingly, production had finished for the day (we arrived around 9am). We later found out this was because November is low yielding month for tea. Despite the factory not being being in operation we decided to go ahead with the tour anyway which we found really interesting. You don’t realise how much hard work goes in to making a nice cuppa, it’s made me appreciate my tea much more. After visiting the factory, we arranged a taxi with our guesthouse to take us to Tissa.

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20 thoughts on “TEA & TRAINS IN SRI LANKA’S HILL COUNTRY

  1. artoftheunknown says:

    I love how you talk about where to sit on the train! that is always my first thought when getting on.. what kinda view do i want?? haha I’m glad that I’m not the only person that thinks like that. this looked beautiful and hopefully ill be taking this train ride one day with a cup of tea : )

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  2. Priyadarshini Rajendran says:

    Even I like train journeys, some are great adventures! Love the amazing views you shared in this post. This place looks similar to a tourist place back home for me..by any chance if you travel to India, check out Ooty. It has a great tea factory museum too.

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  3. Kim-Ling says:

    Love the photos and it sounds like you had a great cultural experience whilst in Sri Lanka, with plenty of tea! Good tip to sit on the right side of the train for the views. Such a shame you can swim at the falls though 😦

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  4. Kristine L. says:

    Those hills and tea plantations look amazing! Always curious about the ‘seats’ at the train doors when I see Sri Lanka blogposts though, especially when sometimes I see people hanging on for dear life in crowded trains. There’s a certain level of danger to doing that, right?

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