Everyone says go to Ella. It’s a must see when in Sri Lanka. Every backpacker will tell you so. Since I love my research, I did a little bit of it to find out what there is to do in this small town. There isn’t actually that much to do. The main two activities are two small hikes that can be done in a few hours. So why is Ella so great? It’s just a lovely place.
Backpacker towns are a great way to meet other people. I met people at restaurants, on the road, and a my hostel. Since the town is so small, I met many of the same people all over town. I ran into a couple I met on the train when I was hiking up Little Adam’s Peak and by the railroad tracks. Discover your extrovert self and say hello to other travellers. My hiking group found a great lookout spot from speaking with couple we met walking the railroad tracks to Ella Rock.
I worried about the lack of things to do in Ella. For someone who likes to be on the go, too much downtime can be hard. The hikes can take up a bit of time depending on how much time you spend at the top. I see people who hike up to Ella Rock for an hour then spend 2 minutes at the top. Sit to enjoy the view! Unless you’ve got transport to catch, spend some time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. That’s the best part of Ella and what I quickly learned is the best thing to do there is enjoying the beautiful town.
The other major tourist attraction in Ella is the nine arch bridge. The bridge looks lovely amongst all the greenery. Check the train schedule to find out what time is goes over the bridge. Those will be the busiest times for tourists. I have no idea why it’s so much fun to sit and wait for a train to cross a bridge. We would never do the same at home.
Walking the tracks on the way to the nine arch bridge, my travel group from our hostel ran into a local woman bringing groceries home. We chatted with her for a few minutes until she pointed to a path off the tracks saying that way was her home. Somehow I ended up inviting my group over to her house. The woman offered us tea and showed us photos of her family. As our Singhalese and her English was minimal we couldn’t chat for long. This woman was incredibly kind to allow nine people into her home who she met on the railroad tracks. This was one small moment where the people of this country showed their generosity, I’ll definitely be back to Sri Lanka.