Ella is a city that has the famous nine arch bridge, 200km from Colombo, which has a hillside and a cooler climate than Colombo.
In 2019 when we went to Sri Lanka for my brother’s wedding, we decided to visit Ella. Now let me tell you a small secret, Ella existed for so many years and all of a sudden this little city became one of the most visited tourist attractions’ in Sri Lanka, it is very famous for its nine arch bridge and the train. I kept thinking to my self when I grew up in Sri Lanka, I have never even heard of this city and now all of a sudden what is this hype about Ella and this bloody train ride. Me being the one who likes to explore decided to go and experience it myself.
Ella Sri Lanka accommodation/ Hotels
Ok, let me start by saying, if you decide to visit Ella, first start by booking accommodation and then revolve your trip around the days you get accommodation. Now we travelled in December which is the peak of the peak, and finding accommodation was like finding a needle in a haystack. I badly wanted to stay at 98 acres resort which is beautiful and expensive at the same time. But I couldn’t find any accommodation so I had to give that up. next, I went into booking.com and searched for accommodation. Now if you are like me and very picky about accommodation it is very hard to find a decent one with a view. There are many houses providing accommodation, but I was not very comfortable doing that. Finally booked the Ella mount relax cottage
This little spot in Ella is a great accommodation option for those who are finding a clean, comfortable & great view spot to stay. It will cost around 10,000 rupees for bed and breakfast (One night). which was situated very close to the Ella town (Only 600m)
Saying that there are plenty of options on booking.com that offers accommodations according to your budget.
What’s the weather in Ella Sri Lanka?
December is a bit cooler in Sri Lanka. Now when I say cooler, it’s not the same cool you would experience in any other country. Ella is not too cold or too hot. During the mornings and afternoons, you can wear shorts and sleeveless, but when the sun sets down it is cold and you will either need a scarf or a very thin jacket. Remember its is not like autumn or even spring it’s just cooler. If you are looking for accommodation, don’t worry if there is no air-conditioning, because you absolutely don’t need it. But there are mosquitos, so probably not a very wise idea to keep your windows open. But most of the accommodations will come with a mosquito net.
Things to do in Ella
There is plenty of things to do in Ella, below are my top recommendations. I only stayed for 1 night, so it was a busy schedule and I was able to cover most of it.
This is a waterfall that you would come across, just before visiting Ella, its a great pit stop to take some pictures. you can definitely dip in there. In Sri Lanka we don’t do danger signs really well, the waterfall itself is quite slippery, so I recommend not doing that, and it can get very crowded, especially in December. There is a lot of street vendors selling king coconuts and corn on the cob, definitely a must-have when visiting Ella
2. Ella to Kandy train ride
Now if you are travelling around Sri Lanka, it would be really good, to take the Kandy to Ella train because Kandy is an iconic place that you need to travel, check here to see my top recommendations to do in Kandy. and visiting Ella after that makes sense. But we had a vehicle and Sri Lankan trains are not my best mode of transport quite the princess I am so we didn’t take the train, but my brother and sister in law did, and they absolutely loved it. It is a beautiful journey and you definitely can take some ‘insta worthy’ pictures hanging off the train
3.Nine arch bridge
So this is the famous iconic attraction that you definitely must do in Ella. There are different times the train arrives. now you can go to the train track itself, which is definitely where all the Instagram worthy pictures are taken at, sitting on the bridge, and I surely didn’t miss that chance, but there are different viewpoints along the hike. The best place to view is from the top. The beauty of that ride comes when it takes that bend, so make sure you are in a place that the bend is visible. Also, there are no barrier gates to inform you that the train is approaching, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears wide open, so you will not get knocked off by the train. Everyone walks on the train track and takes pictures, I believe its quite risky, but well there are only a few times of the day the train passes, so everyone will know when the train approaches.
Train arrival times
9:30, 11:30, 15:30, 16:30, and 17:30
But please note Sri Lankan trains are so unreliable, so it can be very frustrating to wait for the train. we went to look at the 3.30 p.m train and we only saw it at 5 p.m.
How to get to the railway track at nine arch bridge?
For those who want a shorter hike, go near the sacred hotel and take the path down the little road. If you wish you also can take a tuk-tuk to avoid the hike down it will cost around 2000 rupees. There is also a small shortcut that starts from the 1st viewpoint but the road is quite challenging.
Little Adams peak
The starting point of this hike to the little adam’s peak is the 98 acres resort, you can start your journey early in the morning and see the sunrise and also why not stop at the 98 acres resort to have a chilled beer? What at 9 in the morning? hell yes, this is Sri Lanka you drink any time of the day Not sure if it’s open though we had lunch at the 98 acres resort.
You can also check out the diyaluma waterfall to soak up in this natural beauty which is also the 2nd largest waterfall in Sri Lanka and if you are feeling a bit adventurous why not try the flying Ravana zipline.
Where to eat in Ella?
I totally recommend cafe chill, This place has a great atmosphere with amazing food and service. Also, their prices are so affordable. This was definitely the busiest cafe in Ella serving breakfast, lunch and dinner opened till 2 a.m
Rs 3500 for 3 main dishes without alcohol. It has such a cool vibe, they do have a few Sri Lankan dishes but mostly very Bristo type of food like pasta, pizzas. Me being a chef, it was so awesome to look at the staff working super efficiently, and pumping out 1000 of dishes. This place gets quite busy, so you would need to wait a little bit to be seated. there is plenty of cocktails and alcoholic drinks to choose from.
Is it worth visiting Ella?
Hell yes!!!! it is a beautiful destination that should definitely be on your bucket list. Now I understand what was all this hype about this little hidden gem that was unknown for many years.
You can also find my other travel inspirations here