Ella is located in the Badulla district of “Up Country” Sri Lanka – very similar to the Scottish Highlands in Summer – without the midges!
However you can enjoy exploring the beautiful countryside of Sri Lanka with tea plantations on the hill slopes, forests on the tops and incredible waterfalls.
You can hike the misty mountains and adore the stunning views of the valleys in Sri Lanka, then the next minute jump in the incredible natural pools right below the waterfalls. Explore the tea estates and savour tea from 100 years’ old tea factories in Ceylon (Sri Lanka was called Ceylon earlier).
Ella has a blend of both a relaxed vibe and a there is so much to discover!
Ella is not just a place for adventure tourists. With its mild climate, lush green hills and valleys and an abundance of bird life for the ornithologist, Ella has something for everyone from where forays can be made to nearby caves and waterfalls, trekking trails and mountaineering or unwinding with a chilled beer through the cold nights.
New feature for this season is the hideaway Flying Ravana Mega Zipline, said to be the longest and fastest zipper in South Asia covering a distance of nearly 600 metres, done in 30 seconds.
The Zipline is not for the faint-hearts and once done the craving can be for more swooping rides on the cable above a thick canopy of vegetation. Overseas tourists outnumber the local adventure seekers for whom there is no age restriction and is left entirely at the discretion of the rider or glider.
Extremely friendly staff help tourists with the safety harness and helmet at the visitor centre before they are taken to a high altitude platform from where two gates fling open and the ride begins.
There is a brilliant aviator’s view of the surrounding mountain massifs and what can be surveyed below for a stunning 30 seconds, while the end can be like a bird of prey swooping onto its target with a precision strike. Visitors can hit speeds of up to 80 kilometres an hour and are well taken care of from start to finish.
The famous and picturesque Nine Arch Bridge, the only one of its kind in the island where tourists wait for the train to pass providing them with photographic stuff that could find a place in any of the world’s top shelf traveller magazines. On some days foreign tourists outnumber the locals and king coconut vendors cash in to sell their watery delights.
Many foreign tourists stay for two weeks savouring Ella and the waterfalls, hiking through wooded hills or rock climbing and then return to their hotels or the many guest houses to spend the chilly nights unwinding with a beer or two. Visiting pubs after sunset is yet another night-time attraction with cricket World Cup fever catching on and hotel staff and waiters having to serve their customers as well as keep a close tab on match proceedings.
Some foreign tourists group together in the evenings for a session of music strumming their guitars playing Western or folk songs reminiscent of a bygone era, and still kept alive and even relished by the younger generation who find it irresistible.
Hotel keepers and restaurant caterers claim there is no specific season for tourists in Ella unlike in neighbouring Nuwara Eliya that blooms and blossoms in spring and has wonderful rainy seasons in the later spring.
Tourists want peace and relaxation and to feel at “home from home”, and they discover exactly that here in Ella.
Everyone likes the local food and drink, the walks and views, and it is not surprising that more hotels and guest houses are under construction in Ella and its surroundings.
Scooters can be hired for daytime excursions across Ella from where one-day sojourns by vehicle can be made to places like the world heritage site of Horton Plains where stag or sambhur deer roam in the distance and red rhododendrons bloom in the month of May and various other flora and fauna throughout the year.
The Ambewela dairy farm, famous for its special breed of black and white cows and stud bulls which is like a stolen piece of New Zealand and the nearby Catholic Adisham monastery in Haputale where Benedictine monks reside, are what distinguish Ella from the rest of the scenic spots in the country.