Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ella, Sri Lanka 13 - 15 Jan 2014

Ella Train Station
Ella is a little laid back town on the central highland, temperature was cool at the altitude of 1041m. There isn't a bus station, we got off at the junction of Pasara Road. Any of the local on the bus will tell you, that's how we travel in Sri Lanka. Everyone will offer help even when you didn't ask for it.

It was raining again, we quickly head off to Pasara Road to look for a guesthouse. We were approached by 2 local, the first one came to us when we got off the bus. I usually tell them we will have a look first and walk away. You know when there isn't many tourist around, your choice will be more. Another local chap approached us, told us about this new place and price. We told him our budget was lower but he insisted we have a look. Since it was just 100m away, we went to check it out. The rooms are on 2nd floor, above the owner's house, new and clean with an open area to relax and kitchen to cook. We like it and we bargained for the price we wanted for 2 nights. Since there wasn't much tourist, the owner agreed to it. Wasantha works for the owner to find customer, as he speaks decent English, it is easier for him to approach the foreigner. He is very friendly and helpful, he gave us a map and lots of info. He has friends who can rent out motorbike if we need one and he found out for us that the Tea Plantation will be closed for 2 days due to Tamil Thai Pongal Day. Not so good news for my brother because he was looking forward to it.

Morning market at Pasara Road
Ella town is just the 100m stretch of main street, line up with restaurants, cafe, grocery stores and hotel. We found a small cafe to have a snack. We have been having tea everywhere we go since we arrived in Sri Lanka. I tried the coffee here, best to avoid unless you want your mouth full of coffee dust! The best thing is Milk Tea as they use fresh cow milk warmed up for you. We can't find this anymore back home. We also noticed that most of them use brown sugar here, very healthy! Ella is like Cameron Highland in Malaysia, highland town with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. During dinner my brother tried to order fried vegetables and plain rice. We have to explain multiple times that we do not want fried vegetable rice, they don't seems to understand why we want the rice to be separated from the vegetables. :-) It was funny!

On the way to Little Adam's Peak

Tea plantation
Kids in the village
Our plan for the next day is to hike Little Adam's Peak. We bought some bread, vegetables and sardin to make sandwich. Travelling with my brother is the best, he always bring along a small kettle so we could always enjoy a cup of tea. We started early at 7am. It was a km walk on Pasara Road till we exit the main road onto the tea plantation. The mist surrounding the mountain and tea plantation make it so surreal. We pass a small village who are celebrating the Tamil Thai Pongal Day. There was no sign indicating where to go, so we just kept heading towards the peak eventually we arrive at the stairs heading up. We got to the peak around 8:30am. It was an easy trek. At the top, we enjoy the view of mountains and beyond with a cup of hot coffee and cookies.

View from Little Adam's Peak
View on the way to Little Adam's Peak

After the hike we head to the train station to buy our train tickets to Nuwara Eliya. Unfortunately, all tickets were either sold out or pre-booked the next day and the following day. We could either come early at 6am to see if there is any last minute cancellation or take the public bus as a backup plan. In the afternoon, it started to rain again. We chill and rest at the guesthouse. Late afternoon, we decided to head out to Dowa Temple, it is about 6km from town. We decided to try out the tuk-tuk. First one quoted us 700rp for return trip but then we wanted only one way trip. They are stiff with their standard price for tourist. I am sure the local does not pay this much. Finally we agreed to pay 400rp for one way.

Dowa Temple
Dhowa temple is built by King Walagamba in the 1st century, the main attraction here is the 38ft tall Buddha statue carved on a granite rock. A sleeping buddha inside the temple, where the care keeper demanded us to donate a fix amount of money which he scriber on the ticket. We were put away by his request coming from a care taker of this ritual site. My brother donated and told him we wont go in, but he then felt bad and said we could go. I left as I felt that the donation was just a scam for tourist. So unless you have nothing much to do forget about visiting this temple. The bus back to Ella only cost us 20rp per person, we told ourselves never to take a tuk-tuk again.

Local corn
After 4 days in Sri Lanka, my brother missed home cook food. We bought some fresh vegetables, onions, eggs and rice to cook in the guesthouse. That was nice for a change. :-) If not because of my tight schedule, I would have stay here for a few more days to explore the mountain area.

We decided to take a bus to Nuwara Eliya instead of waking up at 5am to try our luck on the train ticket. The bus leaves at 8am from the junction of Pasara Road. No problem to get a seat as there were many people going down at the next few stops. Sri Lankan has the upmost respect for woman, they always start with addressing me "Mam", I like having such privilege and gave them back the same respect in return. My brother was jealous why he didn't hear anyone addressing him "sir". :-)

Little Heaven Homestay, Ella Tel : 0774283386 – 1500rp per room/night with fan, mosquito net, attached toilet with hot water, kitchen, wifi

Tuk tuk to Dawa Temple - 400rp per way
Local bus from Dawa Temple to Ella - 20rp pp
Local bus from Ella to Nuwara Eliya - 120rp pp



  1. Wow, what a spectacular view from Little Adam's peak!

    1. Yah it was and for just a easy hike! Worth it!