We took the 9.47am train from Kandy and 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.
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 in Sri Lanka is vile). We spent our evenings in the popular traveller hang out Chill Café. At the beginning of the trip I’ve promised myself I would only eat local food but I 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 Roti is The Number 1 Roti shop, by far the best I tasted all trip.
By the time we’d dropped off our bags and drank some tea with our home stay hosts on the first day it was too late to do anything other than get our bearings around town. On our second day, we had a morning walk up Little Adams Peak. I had 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.
A short walk from Little Adams Peak is the Nine Arch Bridge. I struggled slightly with the path down to the bridge. The terrain was uneven and slippery from the rain. I broke my knee in a horse riding accident two years ago resulting in my knee being pinned back together. Since then, I’ve always struggling going down hill. 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. 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 instead 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, a tourist fell from the rocks and died recently you’re no longer aloud in or around the water. We did try, but the waterfall is policed and he quickly blew his whistle once we got close to waters edge.
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. 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. After visiting the factory, we arranged a taxi with our guesthouse to take us to Tissa.