Ella is a charming, laid-back town in Sri Lanka’s hill-country. It is said to be the closest thing to an English countryside and once you head up into the hills, you’ll find the Ella that is written about in all of the guidebooks. Ella has the most beautiful scenery of all the places we visited in Sri Lanka and we spent a short two days walking through tea plantations and hiking up mountains, relaxing in our jungle tree-house, enjoying delicious home-cooked food and drinking countless cups of Ceylon tea. We didn’t have time to hit up all the hot spots in Ella but as we were on our honeymoon, to be honest we didn’t mind as it was a perfect place to get back to nature and enjoy each other’s company, which is just what a honeymoon should be. We loved all the places we visited in this beautiful part of the world and definitely plan to return one day.
Ella has a lot of accommodation on offer but as we changed our honeymoon plans fairly last minute we did not have a full range on offer. One thing I would note to take into consideration when you are booking your accommodation is the main street is very busy with buses and trucks constantly driving through and beeping and some bars playing loud, pumping music – neither of which are conducive for sleeping!
We did a bit of research and settled on Ella Eco Lodge which is a tree-house like lodge about a 5 minute walk from Ella town centre. It is fairly basic and rustic but clean and had an en-suite bathroom and mosquito net which we slept under as there was a few bugs around. It was quiet and you truly feel like you are living in the jungle with the monkeys for company! Ella Eco Lodge was reasonably priced with our two night stay only costing us US$78.
The only issues we had were when we arrived, our taxi couldn’t find the place as the sign was covered by the trees and when we finally did arrive, the lady who runs the place doesn’t speak English but someone who runs another nearby guesthouse came to translate and we managed to get by. It was a good place to stay for two nights but I think any longer would would have preferred a few more creature comforts and a host who we could ask advice about the area from, overall though we enjoyed our stay at Ella Eco Lodge.
The views from the tree-house were gorgeous and we had a lovely, covered balcony where we could sit and enjoy the view and watch the monkeys that would play in the trees around us! It was peaceful and you could only hear the sounds of nature, except when the trains went past as the train tracks were just up the hill from us. If you’re visiting Ella (or Sri Lanka in general) make sure you pack some decent insect repellent as the mosquitoes are very friendly.
Breakfast was a feast at Ella Eco Lodge! It was probably our favourite meal with a feast of fresh fruit, rotti, daal, pancakes, eggs and tea! It was US$5 per person and an absolute bargain! The lady who runs the accommodation would personally deliver it to our treehouse so that we could enjoy it on our balcony (and try and feed some bananas to the monkeys).
The accommodation across the road from ours offered nightly cooking classes and so we negotiated a price we were happy with and spent an evening learning all about Sri Lankan cuisine and cooking up a feast! It wasn’t a fancy cooking class by any means but it was a good experience and something we love to do in as many places as we can when we are travelling. Our instructor even sent us a copy of the recipe book afterwards so we could try and cook Sri Lankan food at home if we wanted to. We loved Sri Lankan food and a cooking class is something we’d highly recommend to anyone travelling in this region. Every second guesthouse and hotel in Ella had a signs offering classes so don’t worry about trying to organise one in advance as you’d definitely be able to organise it once you arrive in Ella.
A lot of travellers are drawn to the Sri Lankan hills for the amazing hikes which this region offers! Amazing views stretch as far as the eye can see and nowhere is more impressive than from the hike and summit of Ella Rock. As we only had a few days, we chose this hike which was pretty tough but well worth it for the epic scenery and views along the way and especially enjoyed wandering through some of the local tea plantations (which is a must in Ella)!
The main town of Ella comprises of just one really busy street, but there is plenty of dining options! Our favourites were the Rotti Hut, Cafe Chill and the Dream Cafe, though most of the restaurants had quite similar menus and prices. Make sure you try a nutella Rotti at the Rotti Hut – they are divine, especially after 4 hours of hiking! Also, if it is your first time in Sri Lanka, make sure you eat as many curries as possible, they are amazing and I’ve included a photo of one below so you can see just how delicious they look.
We also stopped for tea in a lot of the restaurants throughout the days as it was so lovely to be able to drink tea from where is actually comes from, and trust us when we say it is amazing tea! There’s also a few little shops where you can purchase tea to take home with you and we loved it so much that we bought as much as we could fit in our bags.
From Ella we headed to Udawalawe National Park and our driver was great, he stopped to let us take photos along the way at beautiful viewpoints and waterfalls!
Ella was such a lovely place to visit on our honeymoon and is a must visit for anyone heading to Sri Lanka. We only wish that we’d had more time there so that we could have visited more of the sites and done a few more of the incredible hikes that are on offer in the area. Nevertheless, we loved our time in Ella and we will certainly return again one day.