9 arch bridge ella sri lanka

Top Activities – Ella, Sri Lanka

With so many things to do in Ella, it’s no wonder many travelers choose to stay here for several days. Nestled in the heart of the Central Highlands, Ella is surrounded by tea plantations, quaint local villages and beautiful hiking trails. This part of the country has a more authentic feel to it compared to the coastal towns. Enjoy the laid back vibe and fresh country air – and a cup of tea!

The Best Things To Do In Ella

1. Lipton’s Seat

Lipton’s Seat is a beautiful viewpoint at the top of an enormous tea plantation, founded by Sir Thomas Lipton. It boasts incredible views over the rolling hills of tea and down the valley to Haputale. It is one of the most popular things to do in Ella and most people choose to hike up to the top through the tea plantations, about 2.5 hrs and a moderate walk. It’s important to leave early in the morning as the clouds start to roll in around 10 am and will ruin the view. Alternatively one can take a tuk-tuk up the never-ending windy road to the top and enjoy a delicious local breakfast and cup of tea at the little cafe perched on the cliff-side.

The Land of Ceylon – Lipton’s Seat, Sri Lanka


            lipton's set sri lanka                tea plantations sri lanka

2. Take a cooking class

If you’re a bit of a foodie and want to learn a few secrets of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, take a cooking class at Ella Spice Garden. It’s 3 hours in the evening, loads of fun and you get to indulge in all the delicious dishes you prepared. You never knew you could cook so well!

Learn to Cook Sri Lankan Food


            Ella spice garden sri lanka                


3. Hike up Little Adam’s Peak

A peaceful early morning hike up Little Adam’s Peak is the perfect way to start your day! Walk through the local village, up through the tea plantations and admire the spectacular view across central Highlands when you reach the top. Its a lovely spot to sit and have a little breakfast picnic. Grab some fresh fruit or local treats along the way from street vendors.

It’s one of the best things to do in Ella, and also a perfect warm up for the real thing…

Hiking Adam’s Peak Sri Lanka


Little Adam's Peak Ella Sri Lanka


4. Take a Tour of a Tea Factory

When you’re surrounded by an ocean of tea plantations, you can’t help but wonder how it’s all made. Take a tour of a nearby tea factory, you will have a much greater appreciation for those little bags of goodness. From being hand-picked, dried and sorted by extremely clever machinery and then being sent to auction, there is a lot more to tea than just a bag of dried up leaves.


            tea factory sri lanka                halpewatte tea factory sri lanka


5. 9 Arch Bridge

The famous 9 Arch Bridge of Ella is an engineering marvel. The entire bridge is built completely out of stone, brick and cement, no steel or metal materials. It is a popular spot for tourists to admire and watch as the trains come by. The beautiful nine arches make for a very picturesque photograph, with the dense jungle surrounding it and the tea fields below. Check with a local at what times the trains come through and make sure to be there well ahead of time.


9 arch bridge - things to do in ella


6. Take the Slow Train

The slow train from Ella to Kandy should be at the top of your things to do in Ella. It is the best way to experience the true beauty of the island. The views from your window will leave you in awe as the train takes you on a magical journey. I recommend buying second class, not First class tickets as you will have more freedom to move and enjoy the views through open windows and doors. First Class is air-conditioned and therefore the windows are shut, restricting your view. Also, up in the mountains the air is slightly cooler, especially in the evening, so no need for air-con.

I took the slow train (the brown one, not the blue one) from Ella to Hatton. This is the nearest stop to Dalhousie from where you can start the famous pilgrimage up Adam’s Peak.

Take The Scenic Train – Ella to Hatton


            tea plantation sri lanka                slow train ella sri lanka

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