When you think of the 2 words hiking and traveling in Sri Lanka, there’s one place that comes to mind for most of us Lankans. Ella. The place is almost synonymous with hiking itself. Everybody wants to go to Ella, and for good reason too. I’ve already been there twice myself and I hope to make it for a third time soon. Ella Rock is always a favorite spot for most travelers. Here are 5 reasons why you should not miss the hike to Ella Rock.
1. The Podi Menike Train
If you ever decide to take a trip to these parts, do make sure you take the train. It’s one of the things that make Ella, a must. The journey starts from Colombo Fort and takes about 8 and a half hours to reach Ella. You might think 8+ hours is a long time for such a journey. But rest assured, you’re in for quite a treat if you ever manage to get on the Podi Menike train.
The ride offers lush green mountains, some of the best views the hill country can provide. Among the many panoramic views you would witness through out, areas such as Nanu Oya and Idalgashenna are particularly memorable.
2. The serenity and the people
Most of us are used to the busy and hectic city life. Soon as you land in Ella, you’ll immediately begin to feel the difference. All that stress from living in the city just seems to dissappear. Everything about the place seems just serene and wonderful.
Its not just the place, it’s the people as well. The Ella community seems genuinely nice people. Even as we hiked our way up to Ella Rock, hospitality was not in short supply here. Take it from a guy who deals with dodgy people on a daily basis. Honestly, these people are some of the most hospitable ones I’ve met in my life. Take it from a guy who deals with dodgy people on a daily basis.
3. The 2 hour hike
What’s the point of talking about Ella Rock if we don’t talk about the hike itself? It all starts with the Ella Railway station. You actually have to walk along the railway track before making it to the mountain path. Don’t worry, its perfectly safe. Trains in these parts don’t frequent as much as in Colombo. Once you make it to the path, you’re treated to a 2 hour long hike. These 2 hours mostly include walking through the middle of a forest, tea plantations, and a glimpse of what awaits at the top. The journey might feel a bit tiring. But the view makes the hike even more worthwhile.
Another refreshing experience is the opportunity to meet fellow travelers. It doesn’t matter if you’re here early in the year or the middle of August. One thing you could always be sure is to bump into a fellow hiker or two. Expect to meet a few 4 legged friends along the way too.
4. Heart stopping views
The scenery from the top of Ella Rock is just mesmerizing. Shades of green-filled mountains as far as your eyes could see. But its not just the view from the top. The entire journey itself is eye candy. From the 8 hours on the train to hiking through the forest, Ella has so much to offer when it comes to breath taking views. But don’t take my word for it though.
5. World’s best lemon tea
Okay. This might be a bit of an exaggeration. But did you know you can get one hell of a lemon tea at Ella Rock? No, I’m not kidding. There’s a small spot at the top of Ella Rock which serves refreshments to hikers. It’s run by an elderly couple. Here, you can get yourself a king coconut drink, coffee, tea/lemon tea, or just a cool bottle of water. My favorite is of course, the lemon tea. They have a firewood stove all set up, ready to fire it up upon request for tea or coffee.
The prices are a bit on the expensive end though. A cup of lemon tea cost me about Rs. 100/=. You might think this is a bit too much for a cup of tea. But do remember that this couple takes the hike to the top everyday, while carrying all the firewood and whatnot. So if you ever do make it here, don’t forget to have the tea uncle’s hot lemon tea!
But wait, there’s more
Ella is always a wonderful place to visit. For the most part, its Ella Rock that gets people here. But there’s actually few more pretty cool places you can check out.
- Little Adam’s Peak – This hike takes about 45 minutes to take. Its not exactly Rlla Rock, but the views are still amazing
- Ravana Cave – This is a cool cave you can check out. But make sure you visit as early as possible. The pathway gets pretty dark in the late afternoon. Fun fact: It is believed that there’s evidence of human habitation dating back to 25,000 years
- Ravana Falls – If you’re a fan of waterfalls, then do make sure you pay a visit here
- Nine Arch Bridge – Technically this isn’t in Ella. The Demodara Nine Arch Bridge is situated near the Demodara Railway Station, which is one station away from Ella.
So there you have it. Those were 5 reasons why you shouldn’t miss out on Ella Rock. Did we miss anything? Share your story with us. Let us know in the comments below.