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Incredible Things to do in Ella: Exploring Sri Lanka’s Hill Country

Ella blog

By Fathima AzhaPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
Incredible Things to do in Ella: Exploring Sri Lanka’s Hill Country
Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

Tucked away in the misty Sri Lankan high country, amongst idyllic green hills and gushing waterfalls lies Ella: one of this tear-shaped island's most appealing destinations.

From scaling the heady heights of Ella Rock to laying eyes on the mystical Nine Arch Bridge for the very first time; standing on the edge of the roaring Diyaluma Falls (the second tallest in the country), and winding through the tea plantations and mountains passes on the famous Kandy to Ella train; many of our favourite Sri Lankan adventures can be found right here.

At its heart, Ella is a charming and laid-back village perfect for relaxing, hiking and escaping the searing temperatures of the southern coast.

It's a place where Sri Lanka's colonial heritage coexists with its rich Sinhalese and Tamil culture, and where abundant natural experiences can be found alongside plentiful cultural ones. And it's a place where learning to cook delicious Sri Lankan cuisine is an absolute must (NOM!).

We do have to warn you, that this once simple hamlet in the hills has transformed into a major tourist stop since our first visit in 2016.

Growing in popularity and in size has led to a number of concrete eyesores now dotting every corner of the village, which has taken away some of the peaceful, rural charms that made the area so incredible.

But there’s still so much to see and do in Ella - if you’re willing to go deeper than just the touristy pretty sights and epic landscapes.

After two visits to this lush hill-country village, we've put together our list of the best things to do in Ella, Sri Lanka; a town we feel should be firmly embedded on your Sri Lankan itinerary.


There’s a whole myriad of accommodation options opening up all over Ella, including luxurious eco-hotels in the jungle canopy, hostels popping up in town, and a number of budget and mid-range hotels and guesthouses offering the perfect pillow for any budget or travel style.

We’ve written a full guide on where to stay in Ella, which covers everything you need to know about Ella accommodation, plus our recommendations for everything from hostel beds to luxurious stays.


Despite being the centre of a tourism boom, accommodation in Ella is quite easy to come by and is literally teeming with low to mid-end hotels.

We’ve recommended three hotels below:

ROWINRICH COTTAGES | Spacious loft-style cottages with terraces overlooking the jungle-clad valley and Ella Rock.

CHILL VILLE VIEWPOINT HOTEL | great value hotel is set amongst beautiful gardens close to the Nine Arch Bridge.

THE SECRET ELLA | Overlooking Nine Arch Bridge, The Secret is tucked away in a 10-acre tea estate in Ella’s hills.



Hotter than the London Underground on a summer’s day, takes eight hours yet only costs £5.

Sounds a little like hell, but trust us, the train ride from Kandy to Ella is the best thing you'll do in Sri Lanka (read our complete guide to the Kandy to Ella train here — it also includes how to book and our insider travel tips).

Winding through misty forests, verdant tea plantations; over gushing waterfalls and streams, and past colourful towns and excitable locals, this is, in our opinion, the most picturesque train ride in the world. But it's not just the scenery that makes this train ride so incredible. It's also the vibe.

Every person you encounter seems to greet you with a genuine smile; groups of local boys play sing, dance and play the drums; vendors rush through the train spruiking sweet chai and snacks, while tourists hang their heads out the windows to stare in amazement at the sheer beauty. Literally, everyone is wide-eyed and happy, which in this day and age is hard to find.

The most scenic part of the journey is from Nanu Oya to Ella, through the dense forest of the Horton Plains national park, so we recommend getting the window seat or standing in between the doorways, and enjoying the views as they pass by.

When we first visited Sri Lanka in 2016, the Kandy to Ella train ride was yet to really hit the big time, however, due to its current popularity, you need to book your travel in advance (usually 1 - 2 days prior). The train may also be quite crowded, especially during peak season, so be warned you may need to push your way on.

Third class may be the cheapest option, and in our opinion, it's also the best as it allows you to sit/hang out of the doorways. You’ll also find it’s filled with friendly locals keen to help you enjoy your experience.


About the Creator

Fathima Azha

hey!! am a blogger who writes contents about new things which is trending in social media.I like blogging of food and recipe,photography,Visiting places ,product review .So am excited to write new contents here for more likes and comments

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