As soon as we arrived with the train to Ella, I thought to myself:”Finally we came to a town, where you can find all the tourists in one place, one street, full of points of interest for tourists like us” I am used to streets like that from my travels across Asia, and it is the best way to get some experiences from other people, to look on the sights and country through the eyes of other people.
We quickly stopped a tuc-tuc, and a nice man took us to our booked room, which we reserved via Booking.com – Littleadems View. Room is 5 minute walk away from the city center if you take a shortcut, and only 2 km away from a popular hike to Little Adam’s Peak.
Ella is a nice, picturesque little town, surrounded by a few hills and some waterfalls-there is a lot of opportunities for treking, hiking or just sightseeing and enjoying local or European food. You can also visit tea plantations or go straight to Tea Factories. You definitely need to see the famous Nine-Arch bridge. You can visit everything in one day, if the weather is OK, and your day is long enough-we liked it so much we stayed for two.
First day, we took a walk around town, but than rain chased us back to the room for our afternoon nap. We arranged a little Castle away from home for our little princess, on the bed, with the safety net, which is used against mosquitos-she really enjoyed it. There was a nice little terrace in front of the house, where we spent our afternoon and did some work on the posts, pictures, movies and relaxed a bit, with a nice view on the surrounding mountains. And of course, we used this free time for planning our next day.
On the second day, right after our big, healthy breakfast, we went to Little Adam’s Peak. The weather was so-so, it was a bit cloudy, so the views weren’t as spectacular as they could be, but…it wasn’t raining, so we were happy with that. To reach the foothills of the mountain, you walk past the town and through some tea plantations, and then you turn at the sign directing you to the summit. The whole hike is very nicely marked. You continue on the narrow path with some stairs and rocks for another 10-20 minutes, until you reach a small Buddha statue quite close to the top. Views of course depend on the weather, so you need to be a little lucky, but on a good day, you can se all the way to the Ocean. Good hiking shoes are advised, but on this hike, snickers will do just fine.
This famous bridge is easily accessible past the Newburgh Estate Green Tea Factory, where you continue on a road to the little junction, where you turn left onto a smaller road and you start your descent ’till you reach the tracks. You continue your walk on the rail tracks for another 10 minutes, until you see it. And what a spectacular engineering marvel it is. It is also called The bridge in the sky and was built in 1921, while Sri Lanka was a part of Ceylon, and Ceylon was part of the British Empire. It was built by British Constructors and here are some of the main characteristics:
|Length||300 ft (91.44m)|
|Width||25 ft (7.62m)|
|Height||80 ft (24.38m)|
It was depicted in the movie franchise Harry Potter, as the bridge near Hogwarts. And as if the bridge itself wasn’t enough, the surroundings make it even more spectacular-there are palm trees all around, a big canyon under the bridge and tea plantations as far as your eyes can reach. There was a tea picker right next to the bridge, and she was more than willing to pose for some pictures.
So we waited for two trains to come over the bridge, to get the best possible photos, all-in-all, we were there for about 90 minutes. Trains are really slow just before they reach the bridge so you have enough time to prepare for pictures. We wanted to take a walk to the Demodara rail station, but there was no good connection to come back to Ella, so we went back the way we came and went to visit The Tea Factory.
Climb back was a little harder than our descent (no kidding ;)), but the Tea Factory was worth it. Entrance fee was 500 LKR per person, kids went in for free. Currently in The Newburgh Estate Green Tea Factory they produce Green Tea for a big manufacturer called Finlays, which is then being sold forward to the resellers like Yogi, Lipton, Twinnings, Loyd… Photography wasn’t allowed during the guided trip, so we took some when we went for tea-tasting..We bought a few bags of tea-250g bag went for 500 LKR.
In the afternoon we went packing and left Ella with the taxi. Taxi driver took us for the half price (3000 LKR) than usual, because he was going home in the same direction as we went. Our destination-UdaWalawe National Park.