Our journey to Ella was fairly easy as unlike our last journey we were headed down the mountains. We arrived at 2pm, found a cheap homestay and because we are still in the mountains and it would be pretty rude not to… we had a pot of tea.
Our first stop exploring was the 9 arch bridge train track which was a little tricky to get to as you just walk down little jungle paths that go off in all directions. The bridge was stunning and set in the middle of the jungle.There were loads of men working on the tracks but luckily they had taken a break when we took our photos so we had the whole track almost completely to ourselves.Next stop was Rawana Ella falls which is positioned on a busy corner of road. After parking the tuk tuk we were swarmed by locals wanting to give us crystals in return for English or Australian coins. It was a little confusing for them when we told them we only had Thai, Malaysian and Indian coins which they didn’t want. I think most people holiday in Sri Lanka rather than backpack it on a long trip so they couldn’t understand why we didn’t have any of our own currency. The reason they only want English or Australian is so they can melt down the $1, $2, £1 or £2 coins to look like gold. The waterfall was nice but despite having a pool at the bottom you couldn’t swim in it, although it’s too cold for that in the mountains anyway. You also couldn’t go too far up to the actual falls as the rocks were too dangerous and they even advertised the amount of deaths to date on a sign.It was still a nice afternoon out, free to enter and the drive there had some amazing views.Back to our guesthouse for another pot of tea (2 in one day – crazy I know) and a little rest. We headed to cafe chill which had a really cool atmosphere and really good food. It wasn’t very cheap but nothing really in Ella. It’s still cheap compared to home though! The town gets really misty and foggy at night when it’s dark and made our walk home quite spooky. We could hardly see 2 metres in front of us but luckily our phone torches helped a lot.
The next day we decided we would climb Little Adams Peak, which isn’t actually that little but in comparison to some of the hikes around here it is one of the smaller ones. This was fine by me as I struggle walking up a small incline on a footpath! To access the trail you have to enter through a resort called 98 acres resort and it’s just such a tease to everyone on a budget. The bungalows had the most beautiful views of tea plantations and they had other rooms that had glass walls and spa baths for you to relax in. It even had a helipad! After a depressing walk through the ‘forever out of my budget’ resort we made it to the start of the trail. It doesn’t take too long maybe 45 minutes to get up but it’s all steep steps or walking up a rocky path incline. The views at the top are absolutely worth it though, there are a few peaks to explore so we enjoyed going to each one to admire the view.We chilled out for the rest of the afternoon before heading back out for dinner. We had big plans to climb Ella Rock the next day.
The next morning all dressed and ready to tackle a 5 hour round trek we realised our beloved tuk tuk was sick. Basically the battery had given up. Luckily our guesthouse knew a mechanic and called him to come take a look. He showed up in a battered up tuk tuk with an ice cream container of 5 questionable tools. Usually I would question if he was actually a mechanic due to his lack of tools but out here you never know.After very poking about at the electrics (in a way that would give an OH&S manager a heart attack) he said he needed to take the battery home to fix it. He lent us the battery out of his tuk tuk so we could still go out for the day. He then got in his tuk tuk (that had no battery) started it up (how?) and drove home. We didn’t really want to take the tuk tuk too far so we visited a tea factory for a cup of tea and then filled up at the petrol station before heading back home. The mechanic came around later that evening and said the battery will be fine in the morning but not to use it tonight, he has got the battery to start by jump starting it so we weren’t very convinced. We went out for dinner and got an early night as we wanted to try to hike Ella Rock one last time.
Morning time arrives and the tuk tuk still wasn’t working so we called the mechanic back. This time he said the battery was broken. He jump started us and we went to a town 14kms away and bought a new battery. Problem finally over – hooray! Luckily we will be reinbursed for the battery and mechanic but we were disappointed that we missed Ella Rock.
That afternoon for our last day in Ella we headed to liptons seat where the Lipton tea plantations are. It was a very challenging hilly drive and had a lot of tight corners where buses, trucks, cars and other tuk tuks had to try and squeeze past each other on the single lane road. Charlie did so good and got us all the way to the top where he got a photo with the Mr Lipton statue and a little surprise friend!Unfortunately the clouds had set in over the summit so the view wasn’t great but the drive had amazing scenery and we passed through so many little interesting villages.
Staying in the mountains in Ella has been a really amazing place and so different to anywhere we have been on our trip yet. I could have stayed longer!