15 Best Things to Do in Ella, Sri Lanka – Guide 2024

Things to do in Ella

If you come to Sri Lanka, Ella is the one place you can’t miss. There are so many breathtaking things to do in Ella, and four of them make it into the 10 best things to do in Sri Lanka. This made Ella without a doubt, our favorite destination in the entire country.

This guide has everything you need to know to plan your trip to Ella and presents you the 15 best things to do in Ella.

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Is Ella Worth visiting?

Ella in Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for everyone interested in outdoor activities and scenic landscapes. The best things to do in Ella include hiking trails in the mountains, beautiful waterfalls in the jungle, and tea plantations everywhere, as well as cultural attractions like the train ride to Ella and the Nine Arch Bridge.

Ella Town offers a relaxed atmosphere and is a retreat for nature lovers. We weren’t sure how long to stay, but we kept extending and ended up staying in Ella for 6 days.

Where is Ella located?

Top of Little Adam's Peak

Ella is a town located in the Badulla District of the Uva Province in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the central highlands of the country, surrounded by lush greenery, tea plantations, and picturesque landscapes.

Ella on Map

5 BEST Tours in Sri Lanka

Check out our handpicked tours in Sri Lanka and tick off some must-see attractions.

  • Ella Sightseeing: Join the All-Inclusive Day Trip and experience Ella Rock, Nine Arch Bridge, Ravana Falls & Little Adam’s Peak in just one day!

Best Time to visit Ella?

Sri Lanka, being a tropical destination, experiences both dry and rainy seasons. The unique aspect of this country is that it has two different rainy seasons in different regions. The best time to visit depends on the region you plan to explore.

  • Southwest Monsoon: This monsoon affects the southwestern part of Sri Lanka, including Colombo, Sigiriya, Ella, Tangalle, and Galle, from May to September, bringing heavy rainfall.
  • Northeast Monsoon: This monsoon affects the northeastern part of Sri Lanka and occurs from November to February.

The best time to visit Ella is during the dry season in Southwest Sri Lanka, running from December to March. The weather during this period is generally dry and pleasant.

However, the shoulder seasons, from April to May and October to November, can also offer pleasant weather with fewer crowds. As always, if you want to avoid crowds, consider visiting during weekdays and/or throughout the shoulder seasons.

How Long to Stay in Ella?

Niki at Nine Arches Bridge
Diyaluma Falls Trail

We recommend staying in Ella for at least 3 full days. However, more days are even better, as there are many best things to do, including hiking spots, tea plantations, and waterfalls. Check how many attractions you want to tick off to decide how long to stay in Ella.

How to Get to Ella?

Getting to Ella depends on your starting point. However, Ella is especially known for the train ride that reaches this hill town from Kandy. So, we highly recommend that, if possible, you come by train. For example, from Colombo (9h), Kandy (7h), Nuwara Eliya (3h), or Haputale (2h).

If you’re coming from the South, we recommend taking public buses and stopping at Silent Beach in Tangalle before heading North. Buses in Sri Lanka work perfectly: they are cheap and fast.

Other options to get to Ella include private transfers or renting a car or tuk-tuk for the entire trip in Sri Lanka.

How to Get Around in Ella?

Getting around Ella is relatively easy, and there are several transportation options available.

  • Taking tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis) is a common and convenient mode of transportation in Sri Lanka at cheap rates, like 100-150 LKR (≈0.5€) per km. 
  • Walking is a nice way to explore the town and visit attractions located close by, such as the Nine Arch Bridge.
  • Renting a scooter is a good idea to have some freedom and visit attractions further away, like the Dyaluma Falls, costing 1500-2000 LKR (≈5-6€) per day. 
  • Private drivers or tours are the best option for a more guided experience, with pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation included.

Best Tours in Ella

Aerial View Nine Arches Bridge

Short on time? Don’t want to plan and arrange everything by yourself? Want to connect with new people?

Organized tours always ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Some tours even combine must-see places, such as Little Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock, and the Nine Arch Bridge, making it possible to explore more attractions in one day.

Where to stay in Ella?

We recommend staying in Ella Town, which is accessible by the famous Train Ride Kandy to Ella or by public bus coming from the south, and visiting all the best things to do and see from there.

Alternatively, you may choose to stay outside of the center and closer to nature.

Check out top-rated and handpicked accommodations in Ella in different price ranges:

Best Accommodations in Ella

Best Accommodations near Ella Attractions in Nature

15 Best Things to Do in Ella

1. Diyaluma Waterfall

Hiking to Diyaluma Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Sri Lanka at 220 meters, was our favorite best thing to do in Ella. We recommend dedicating a full day for the ultimate experience.

Start by viewing the waterfall from below, park your vehicle, and embark on the hike. Afterward, take a refreshing swim in the natural pools, capture pictures of the various waterfall levels, and enjoy a picnic under the trees.

Best Tour

Explore Sri Lanka’s second-highest waterfall, on a day tour from Ella, Bandarawela & Haputale.

Best Hotel

Stay at Living Heritage Koslanda near Diyaluma Falls for a peaceful experience

2. Nine Arch Bridge

The Nine Arch Bridge is unquestionably one of the best things to do in Ella, and even in Sri Lanka.

The combination of impressive architecture—a 91-meter-long and 30-meter-high bridge made of stones featuring nine arches—and the picturesque surroundings of green tea plantations and dense jungle makes it a breathtaking sight.

Best Tour

Join the All-Inclusive Day Trip and experience the best Ella Sightseeinging

Best Hotel

Amazing View of the Nine Arch Bridge at The Cabin Ella

3. Little Adam’s Peak

Want to enjoy some of the best 360-degree panoramic views in Ella, Sri Lanka? The Little Adam’s Peak Hike offers you phenomenal mountain views, tea plantation surroundings, and the perfect place for a sunrise or sunset after an easy and short trail. Sounds like a deal, right?

Best Tour

Join the All-Inclusive Day Trip and experience the best Ella Sightseeinging

Best Hotel

Enjoy the mountain view from Chill Ville, View Point Hotel

4. Train Ride to Ella

The famous train ride from Kandy to Ella is known for its scenic beauty while slowly moving through Sri Lanka’s Highlands. This train ride is not just a mode of transportation but an adventure in itself.

It’s a must-do experience in Sri Lanka to witness the most beautiful landscapes and to immerse yourself in local Sri Lankan life.

For a shorter, less crowded, and baggage-free experience, take a train ride from Ella to Haputale and back on the same day. It’s only a 2-hour ride one way and is more enjoyable planned as an activity instead of your transportation mode when coming from Kandy.

Traveling light with only our phones made it easier to walk around and take pictures. Plus we stopped in Haputale to visit this beautiful viewpoint.

Train Ticket

Book tickets in advance if you want to have reserved seats

5. Ellawala Waterfall

Ellewala Falls, Ella

After Diyaluma Falls, we loved Ellawala Waterfall the most. It’s located in the middle of the jungle and requires a short hike to reach its base. We visited in March, and the powerful waterfall created a lot of mist; together with the sun’s rays, it was magical.

You can also visit the Ellawala Waterfall with this cycling tour from Ella.

6. White Forest (Alikota Ara Reservoir)

White Forest near Ella Waterfalls
White Forest Ella

On the road to Ellawala Waterfall, you will pass by Alikota Ara Reservoir, a lake with white trees. The contrast of the trees and the water was very impressive. It was definitely worth a stop.

7. Ravana Falls

Ravana Falls, Sri Lanka

Another stop you should make when driving south from Ella is at Ravana Falls. You can enjoy the view right next to the road while snacking on a yummy grilled corn.

8. Ella Rock

Ella Rock is a popular but challenging loop hike (3-5h) near Ella Town. The summit offers breathtaking views of the tea plantations and valley below. We recommend you take this sunrise tour with GetYourGuide.

9. Safari in Yala or Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka

Encounter diverse wildlife, including monkeyselephants, leopards, and exotic birds, on an exciting safari adventure. Yala and Udawalawe National Parks, both offer safari experiences in breathtaking landscapes.

Supporting these safaris contributes to the conservation of Sri Lanka’s natural habitats and endangered species.

Best Tour

The most popular safari tour is the Full Day Safari in Yala National Park

10. Bambarakanda Waterfall

Bambarakanda Waterfall Sri Lanka

Visit Sri Lanka’s tallest waterfall, surrounded by pristine wilderness. Enjoy the hiking trails, get close to the powerful cascade, and refresh yourself in the natural pools nearby with this tour!

11. Flying Ravana Zip Line

Ravana Zip Line Ella

Experience an adrenaline rush as you fly through the treetops on the longest zip line in Sri Lanka, the Flying Ravana Zip Line. Enjoy stunning views of the Ella countryside during this thrilling adventure. You can combine the zip line with the Ravana Pool Club on this tour!

12. Sri Lankan Cooking Class

Immerse yourself in Sri Lankan cuisine with a traditional cooking class. With step-by-step instructions and fresh ingredients, you’ll create Sri Lankan dishes such as hoppers, curry, and roti. Bring your new cooking skills to your home country, where you can cook for your family and friends.

13. Lipton’s Seat

Lipton’s Seat offers panoramic views of the surrounding tea plantations and hills. It’s reachable via a scenic trek and is perfect for experiencing either a sunrise or a sunset.

14. Ella Tea Factory

Nuwara Eliya Tea Farmer
Train Ride Nuwara Eliya

Learn about the tea-making process and Sri Lanka’s tea culture at Ella Tea Factory. Here you can enjoy various freshly brewed teas produced at the factory while taking in picturesque views.

15. Relax at 98 Acres Resort Spa

Indulge yourself in luxurious spa treatments amidst natural surroundings. The top-rated spa at 98 Acres Resort offers a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and therapies for the body, mind, and soul. Professional therapists provide personalized treatments for the ultimate experience.

Where to Eat in Ella?

In Ella, you’ll find a variety of food options for every taste. Here are a few recommendations:

Packing, Tips & Costs for Sri Lanka

We have put together a comprehensive Sri Lanka Travel Guide that includes the ultimate packing list, travel tips, and costs to help you plan your trip.

Where to Go After Ella?

Sri Lanka has many best things to do, and Ella is certainly a place where you can tick off multiple must-sees. But don’t miss other beautiful places like the south coast, starting from the Silent Beach in Tangalle, or visiting Pidurangala in Sigiriya via the famous train to Kandy. Check out our travel itinerary through Sri Lanka.

Conclusion

We truly understand why Ella is a hotspot for nature lovers. It offers many beautiful scenes and activities like Little Adam’s Peak and Diyaluma Falls. Again, you can’t miss this place when visiting Sri Lanka!

Share your experience and questions in the comments below.

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