Ella, Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Ella is a small town located in the Badulla District of Uva Province. It is located about 200 km away from Colombo. The town is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. Although its surroundings are warmer, the town has a cooler climate due to its elevation. There is not much to do in Ella. There are only some restaurants and small shops. On the other hand, it is a good spot for relaxing, joining some activities and sightseeing.
Ella can be reached via bus or train. The town is located on the Colombo-Badulla railway line and the A16 which is a part of the Colombo-Badulla Road. There are frequent buses from Bandarawela and infrequent ones from Badulla. It is recommended to book in advance. From Kandy, it is possible to reach Badulla and afterwards, to Ella. There are also buses go through Ella Gap to Wellawaya where it is possible to change for a number of destinations in the south of the island. There is also a recently introduced direct bus service to Galle. It also stops at various locations such as Mirissa and Unawatuna. By train, travellers can reach Ella from Colombo and Kandy. The fares are cheap and the journey is scenic.
Places to Visit
Ella is enclosed by tall mountains in the central hills and there is a gap among these mountains. From that gap, it is possible to get outstanding views of the ocean that is stretched to the Hambantota coastline.
Little Adam’s Peak
This mountain is named after the sacred Adam’s Peak regarding the similarity between the two mountains. It is also known as “Punchi Sri Pada”. The mountain is 1141 m in height. Many travellers visit Little Adam’s Peak for hiking and panoramic views of the mountain. To reach the top, one has to walk through lush green tea plantations, waterfalls and paddy fields. The mountain is figured in Pyramid Shape Mountain and it is standing opposite of the Ella Rock. While hiking, it is also possible to see people plucking and collecting tea leaves. To reach the top, hiking will take around 35-45 min.
Rawana Ella is a popular spot for local and foreign tourists. Usually during the day, the area is crowded with tourists. The water fall is 25 m in height. Its water resources from Heel Oya reservoir located in Badulla District. It has been picket out as one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. There are two waterfalls in Ella. One is Rawana Ella and Rawana Falls. Rawana Ella cannot be seen from the main road and Rawana Falls is located above Rawana Ella. The actual name of Rawana Ella is Bambaragma Ella. There is also a cave located near Rawana Falls. According to a legend, Princess Seetha had lived in this cave for a while. The flow of the waterfall usually gets dry in the dry season. This waterfall is a part of Ella Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ella Rock is a great place for activities like hiking and walking. The easiest way to the Ella Rock starts from a train rail track. After walking 1.5 km, there is a small waterfall. There are almost 20 different routes to reach the rock. Therefore it is recommended to check the routes beforehand or find a local guide. It is possible to get lost in case taking a wrong track. Ella Rock is known as the highest peak of Ella area.
Newburgh Green Tea Factory
This factory offers a tour for guests to see how green tea is produced. This factory is owned by one of the world’s larger tea producers. It is a half hour walk from town. Admission fee is Rs 500. Opening hours: 8 am – 6pm from Monday to Saturday. Address: Passara Road, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Rawana Holiday Resort
This restaurant is famous with its rice and curry at 8 o’clock. The owner also offers cookery classes in her kitchen and provides printout of her recipes. The ingredients are taken from her organic garden nearby. Booking by mid-afternoon is recommended. Meals start from Rs 440.
Café Chill (Nescoffee Shop)
This café-bar is a popular spot among travellers. It offers cocktails and dishes. It also has a small selection of second hand paperbacks. Meals change between Rs 500 – 800. Address: Main St, Ella, Sri Lanka.
This tiny restaurant is located near the bus stand and it is a good spot for a cheap breakfast. It is a popular spot among backpackers. It is also handy for picking up sandwiches for the ones who are going walking. Meals change between Rs 200 – 350. Opening hours: 7 am – 9 pm. Address: Main St, Ella, Sri Lanka.
This café has a garden and it is a spot with good espresso, Western dishes, smoothies and salads. They also serve beers. Mains change between Rs 400 – 900. Address: Main St, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Down Town Rotti Hut
This is the most popular place in town for a fast lunch. They also offer a takeaway service. Their famous dish is rotti. Opening hours: 8 am – 9 pm. Address: Main St, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Little Folly Restaurant
This place offers a nice cup of tea and a slice of homemade lemon or chocolate cake. Cakes start from Rs 150. Address: Passara Road, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Golden View Restaurant
This place is wooden treehouse-like with friendly staff. They offer local meals with cheap prices. It is located along the railway tracks between town and Ella Rock. Mains change between Rs 300 – 600. Opening hours: 7 am – 10 pm.
Jade Green Tea Centre Restaurant
This restaurant is a traveller recommended spot. It features local food above the Bank of Ceylon. Meals change between Rs 200 – 400. Opening hours: Noon – 10 pm. Address: Main St, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Where to Stay
Ella Flower Garden Resort
The resort overlooks panoramic mountain views. Rooms come with a spacious private balcony. Free Wi-Fi access is available at all public areas. Rooms come with a safety deposit box, seating area and a writing table. Staff at the resort can assist guests with grocery deliveries and ironing services. Free parking facilities are offered. Guests can enjoy authentic Sri Lankan meals at the on-site restaurant. Address: Passara Road, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Beauty Mount Tourist Inn
This bed and breakfast features rooms with a terrace and a private bathroom. Guests can enjoy garden view from the room. Free Wi-Fi access is available. There is a shared lounge, luggage storage and laundry facilities at the property. The Ella Bus Station is 180 metres and the Ella Railway Station is 450 metres away from the property. Address: Wellawaya Road, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Sun Top Inn
This bed and breakfast offers a spa and wellness centre and restaurant. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property. Free Wi-Fi access is available in the public areas of the property. Rooms come with a seating area and a dining table. Guests can enjoy mountain and garden view from the rooms. There are free bikes at the property. There are also a shared lounge, a tour desk and luggage storage. The property offers free parking. Address: No 18, Police Station Road, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Ella Highest Inn
This guest house features mountain views from private balconies of the rooms. Free Wi-Fi access is available. There is a shared lounge at the property. Guests can arrange an airport shuttle service with the property.
Tea Garden Holiday Inn
Tea Garden Holiday Inn offers clean and comfortable rooms. Free Wi-Fi access is available. It is located within 0.5 km from the city centre. Free private parking is available on site. The property is located 0.5 km away from Ella Train Station and Ella Bus Station. Rooms come with simple décor, views of the Ella Valley and a fan. Guests can arrange trips and reserve flights at the tour desk. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property.
The View Ella
This resort is located just 500 metres from Ella Bus Station and Ella Railway Station. Free Wi-Fi access is available at all public areas. It is located 2 km from the foothills of Little Adam’s Peak Mountain and The Rawana Falls. The property is also 54 km from Horton Plains National Park. Rooms come with a seating area, TV and work desk. Guests can utilize the barbecue facilities and luggage storage space. Travel arrangements can be made at the tour desk. Guests can enjoy traditional Sri Lankan meals at the in-house restaurant.
Sky Green Resort
This hotel offers free Wi-Fi access in its public areas. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property. Private parking is available on site. Rooms come with mountain views from balcony, a wardrobe, mosquito net and a flat screen TV with satellite channels. The staff can assist guests with luggage storage, laundry and ironing services. Tour arrangements can also be made. Guests can enjoy local dishes at the restaurant. A variety of drinks are also offered at the bar. Address: Kithalella, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Ella’s Edge Resort
This resort offers a restaurant, a garden and free Wi-Fi access. Guests can enjoy mountain view from all rooms. Rooms come with a private bathroom providing hot shower facilities. The rooms have a panoramic views of the Ella Gap. There is a 24 hour front desk at the property and the resort provides an airport shuttle service. Address: Wellawaya Road, Ella, Sri Lanka.
Day Trips and Excursions
Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is located 64 km away from Ella. Nuwara Eliya, also means “the city of lights”, is the highest town in Sri Lanka. It is the administrative capital of Nuwara Eliya Districts. The climate is temperate and it is a break from the heat and humidity that surrounds the rest of the country. It is located at around 2000m above sea level and surrounded by tea plantations. It is the main hill resort of Sri Lanka and also the centre of the tea industry. It is considered to be the most important location for tea production in the whole country. It was found by a group of British officers during the 19th century, who had gotten lost while elephant hunting. The British governor at the time was told about this town and decided to reside there. It is still very much a British town and there are many British style bungalows and buildings. It is also known as “the Little England”. The hottest duration for the town is from March to May.
It is located 24 km away from Nuwara Eliya and around 50 km from Ella. The park is 7200 feet above the sea level and this national park covers an area of 7000 archers. It used to be known as “Mahawali plain”. Then, it was replaced as Horton Plains during the time of British governor, Roboat Vilmat Horton. The grassy plains still host money other wild lives such as leopard, sambar and the endemic purple-faced langur. The most popular place is the World’s End, which is located where the southern Horton Plains end. This is a favourite place of trekkers because there are plenty of soft and hard trails. The plains hold different species of flora and fauna. There are 744 species of flowering plates has been identified in the area. There are 460 species of birds that are recorded to be found.