Having spent some much needed time relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, we decided to make a move away from the coast to explore the central region of the country. We took a (very long!) train ride from Hikkaduwa to Kandy which is a city known for its green hilly views and closeness to popular tourist destinations such as Sigiriyia (an ancient rock fortress of historical and archaeological significance) and Temple of the sacred tooth relic the former known as a place where a tooth of Buddha himself is being kept. The only catch is that neither the tooth nor the relic is on display! Having already seen a countless number of temples we decided to bypass some of those attractions this particular time and focus on the nature and explore the city itself.
We booked ourselves into a nice homestay on one of the hills surrounding the city and started our adventures from there. The first thing we observed was that Kandy is really hilly! Going to and coming back from the town was hard work although even that did not stop us from venturing into town every day. During the two short days in Kandy we had some nice walks around Kandy Lake where we spotted some dragon-like looking creatures (varans) as well as pelicans catching fish, visited a massive buddha statue from where the whole city could be seen and enjoyed some nice food.
After exploring Kandy we took the well-known Kandy-Ella train. Throughout the duration of the journey we passed through jungle, mountains, waterfalls and tea plantations, crossed a number of bridges. Due to the popularity of this route taking pictures was a nightmare because it seemed as if everybody was on a train to do just that (yes… we were also part of the crowd). We found the first class (coach with seat reservations) of this train to be almost fully booked out by tourists and very few locals could be seen around.
Despite being 7 hours, the trip did not feel long at all. I also think we are just getting used to travelling for extended periods of time in general.
Just after arriving in Ella we had lunch in one of the most street-food-like looking places ever with an even less trust inspiring name “Matey Hut”. Matey Hut which I’d struggle to call a restaurant is rated as number one place to eat in Ella on TripAdvisor which suggests these guys should be doing something right.. but we wanted the evidence. Unsurprisingly, the place looks like a poorly built hut covered with weaved banana tree leaves and to be fair we would have never visited it had we not read about it on TA.
Once seated we were surprised with the variety of options of curries, khotus, parratas and other traditional meals. Everything we tried was awesome and we ended up coming back to this place again and again. This proved once more that looks can be deceiving.
Our initial plan was to stay in Ella for two nights only but we could not resist the beauty of this place and ended up staying for four nights in total. We visited a whole bunch of things around Ella including:
Ravana Cave and Ravana Temple which is believed to be 2500 years old and is carved into / built inside the rock;
Ella Rock from which we enjoyed the amazing views of surrounding area including Little Adams Peak;
Little Adams Peak where we took some stunning pictures during the sunrise;
Nine arch railway bridge – a very famous landmark amongst travellers on social networks like Instagram and Facebook (that’s how we found out about it!);
And last but not least – Ravana Waterfall.
Surrounded by jungle and hills covered with tea plantations Ella must be one of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka for nature lovers. Even though it’s tiny there is so much to see here that even 5 days in Ella felt too few. We would have gladly stayed for at least another couple of days had we not booked a flight to Singapore. We have only got a few more days left to enjoy in Sri Lanka so it’s now time for us to head back to Colombo where we will be catching our next flight. We’ve got a long journey ahead of us (Ella – Colombo – Chennai, India – Singapore) so we really hope everything goes smoothly.
Wish us luck and we’ll see ya in Singapore!