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Exploring Ella while living in the outskirts

Sri Lanka Pt. 4 | Waterfalls, a famous bridge and meeting a monk to learn about buddhism


Ella is a small, chilled-out town nestled into the hills in Sri Lanka. It has become famous for its chilled-out vibe, as well as its exciting outdoor activities. The village has also become rather well known for certain Instagram spots, such as Nine Arch Bridge and is the perfect rural complement to the beaches of Sri Lanka.


Coming from Adam's Peak, our driver picked us up and we enjoyed a drive along the rolling hills of the central highlands 🚘. There are tea plantations 🌱 everywhere you look and you’re also witness to the reality of life the workers on these plantations are facing: tiny huts that are scattered along the outskirts of the plantations, which can be best described as townships. The drive took forever, since the average speed is 30kmh due to windy roads in bad condition.

After 4 Hours, we entered Ella: a place, where all the backpackers meet to share travel stories, enjoy buy-1-get-1-free offers 🍹 and hope for the occasional South Asian backpacking hook-up. They’re even provided with smoothie bowls, specialty coffee and daily yoga classes here! We sought refuge in the tiniest restaurant right at the end of the main road and when we explain to the owner that we’re vegan, she cooks up a fresh and delicious curry with string hoppers (freshly prepared thin rice noodles) .🍛

Our home for the next two nights is off the beaten track nudged into the hills across a waterfall. It’s a 15 minutes walk along the train tracks and we have it to ourselves, including a little patio with views on the iconic train 🚂.

Exploring Ella by scooter

We decided to rent a scooter 🛵 in order to explore the surroundings independently. First stop was the Dhowa Rock Temple with a statue of Buddha carved into the rocks some 2000 years ago. There are also very unique paintings on the rocks, telling the becoming of Buddha.

Second stop was the Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery sitting on a hill overlooking the highlands. We were lucky to get a tour by a monk who told us lots of interesting facts about Buddhism.

After that, Katharina got her will and forced Benzino into a haircut 💇‍♂️ and a beard trimming 🧔‍♂️ - very much needed! For lunch, we decided to go watch Gen Z being cool, so we had avocado 🥑 toast and a smoothie bowl in downtown Ella. After lunch, even more people watching - this time influencers in the wild on the Nine Arches Bridge. Eventually, we finished the day with a jackfruit curry 😋.

Exploring a waterfall

After two nights, it was time to move on. We squeezed in a quick walk to the waterfall we had been seeing from our patio (Small Rawana Waterfall) early in the morning and then we were off to Gal Oya.



  • Rent a scooter and explore the area (scooter costs you 2.500 Rand)

  • Visit a monastery and chat with a monk (Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery )

  • Get a haircut from a lovely barber along the street

  • Check-out a more than 2000- year old buddha statue at Dhowa Rock Temple 

  • Visit Nine Arches Bridge and watch influencers in the wild

  • Get dinner in one of the small side streets (string hoppers recommended)

  • Walk along the train tracks and explore a waterfall (Small Rawana Waterfall)



Dates travelled: 27.-29.03.2024


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