Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How to go to Ella, Sri Lanka

Surprise me Sri Lanka

There are only two places I want to visit when I go to others countries either the beach or the mountains. We were done surfing the waters of Hikkaduwa next stop is the mountain area of Sri Lanka. Ella is located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, a small town inBadulla District of the Uva Province.

Our initial plan is to proceed to Galle to take the bus to Ella, its just a 30 minutes ride from Hikkaduwa yet we're not really sure if there's a bus to Ella down there. The tuk-tuk ride offered us around 1,500 rupees for a 20-30 minutes ride, way more expensive compared to our bus from Colombo to Hikkaduwa for only 200 rupees and that took around 3 hours to reach our destination. We figured its better to head straight to Hikkaduwa Bus Terminal which was 10 minutes away from our hotel, then take the bus to Matara Bus Station. From Matara station take another bus to Ella, this was accurate information. The ride will consume almost the whole day from our itinerary so we can't afford getting on the wrong route. 

31 July Sun Hikkaduwa to Ella 
Breakfast by the Beach
Check out by 10:50 Am from Hotel

Hikkaduwa Bus Terminal to Matara Bus Station to Ella:

Hotel to Hikkaduwa Bus Terminal
Tuk-tuk ride: 150 Rupees
Estimate travel time: 10 minutes

Hikkaduwa to Matara Bus Station
Bus Fare: 80 Rupees
Estimate travel time: 45 minutes

Matara Bus Station to Ella 
Bus Fare: 300 Rupees
We actually missed our bus however there are several buses available that goes to the same route just make sure it passes by Ella. Don't forget to ask the driver.
Overall Travel time: 6-8 hours

We arrived at Ella late in the afternoon.Our guesthouse was nowhere to be found, we asked this Sri Lanka guy for directions, it seemed like it was nowhere in sight so he offered his guesthouse which was perfectly located on the roadside beside a massage parlor, a few minutes from the train station and steps away from Chili's restaurant. Across the road there's the Ice Cube Bar and a few more shops and restaurants along the stretch. Plus the road to Adams Peak and Ella's rock is nearby the area too. We immediately canceled our guesthouse booking online and accepted his great offer.  

Check in Ozo Guesthouse 
2,500 rupees per night 

01 Aug Mon - Ella
Sunrise in Little Adam's Peak
Hike Ella's Rock
Check out Nine Arch Bridge
Sri Lanka Massage

We woke up early that morning but not good enough to see the sunrise. The long hours of travel was getting on our nerves, the lack of sleep has left has tired and silent. This is one battle you face with a time constrained travel, the energy level is there but our minds just wanders in empty space. Going through sleep deprivation while backpacking is part of the experience, this where your travel partner in crime comes in the picture. You try to take care of each other with laughs, tap from the back, a smile, a nod and just knowing you're not going through it alone. If you're traveling alone this is when you rely on happy thoughts, absorb the energy from your surroundings and just be with nature. I guess that's the reason why I prefer to be with nature when I'm on a solo trip.

Little Adam’s Peak 
Hiking time: two hours (round trip) 
5:30 Am - 9:30 Am

Little Adam's Peak stands around 1141 meters above sea level. A short, easy hike for everybody. There are no precise signs heading to Little Adam's Peak either you follow other hikers, ask a local or get a guide. All three advice were followed but instead of hiring a local guide we took a guide map to make sure we're on the track. If you're in doubt with the route ask any local passing by the road. We were also a bit lucky that day because we found a few climbers. Little Adam's Peak is also known as Mini Adam's Peak, next to 98 Acres Resort and right side of the White Buddha. The hike to Adams Peak would take an hour which includes flat roads and a straining stairs climbing before reaching the summit. A great exercise to wake up those tired muscles, smell the fresh air and see the real beauty of Sri Lanka. Thou we didn't make it for the sunrise the hike up the peak was all worth it. Ella's rock was in view just right in front of us on the other side of the mountain. We had an apple for breakfast with the breathtaking view of the mountains, salty sweat for our drink and a happy heart for a hike well done.  

Descending down was effortless we were just in time for brunch. I made sure we get to try all kinds of authentic Sri Lankan foods in every place that we go. This time around we got to try the famous Sri Lankan Curd drink and I love it. A milky kind of drink mixed with a sweet aromatic aftertaste feeling with every sip. Some Spicy Sri Lankan Fried Rice and Sri Lankan Noodles. 

Next stop was Ella's Rock. Our friendly guesthouse owner decided to come along with us. We took a train from Ella to a nearby town i forgot the name maybe Badulla? but it was just one train stop away. This wasn't the plan as our research told us we can actually just hike from the railway station to Ella's rock. We were with a local I mean what could possibly go wrong?! Funny thing is it was his first time to Ella's rock, no wonder he wanted to hike with us. He originally lives in Colombo and just started his business in Ella a few months ago. My friend and I got a bit worried but we made it to the train tracks which was shown on our research as the right way to Ella's rock. A few climbers was on the road with us too. 

Ella's Rock
Hiking Time: 4 hours (roundtrip)
10:50 Am - 2:00 Pm

Ella's Rock stands around 1150 meters above sea level. Hire a local guide for 1,500 rupees / 12 USD per person or better just do it yourself. Once again there's no specific trail to the summit, I heard during the hike that there's an easy and hard trail. I might say we took the latter as we didn't passed by any paved road as what they say with the other trail. It's a bit challenging compared to Little Adam's Peak, our new friend had a hard time catching up so we had to rest a couple of times. The trail starts in the railway lines, passing by tea plantations and up the hills to Ella's Rock. On top there's a guy selling bottled water, a few snacks and even a cup of tea if you want to hang around for a while. The edge of the summit might not look daunting in the picture but I tell you standing there took me sometime. One lose footing, one boisterous laugh and you're gone from this lifetime. As always descending down the mountain is faster but always keep in mind to be careful with your footing to avoid injuries. The hike was over, the sun was over our heads, heat exhaustion was eating us alive. Smart way to go was to retreat back to the guesthouse, get a bottle of coca-cola , ice cream drumstick and a power nap. By 4 in the afternoon we were up and hiking again.

Nine Arch Bridge
Hiking Time: 1 hour (roundtrip)

Last hike for the day was the Nine Arch Bridge. A famous bridge in Sri Lanka located in between Ella and Demodara railway stations. It was short hike to the bridge, like a stroll in the mall and of course there's no signs going to the bridge. You just have to show your charisma and your pearly white teeth to the locals to show you the way. The use of phone trail maps, gps and google search has limit our conversation with the outside world. We've forgotten how it feels like to get lost, ask a stranger and be happy to find our destination. I'm still connected with my wild, free spirited, earthly soul to ask, explore and be in the moment. I guess that's the reason why I try not to buy or rent a portable wifi egg in my travels. It's not that I want to get lost, being away from the world wide web is liberating, some people find that weird, it is and you should try it sometime.

The Nine Arch Bridge looked nostalgic with its ash color and location. The massive bridge is built entirely with solid rocks, bricks and cement without using a single piece of steel in its structure. An amazing piece of art standing in the mountain area of Sri Lanka. We were lucky as usual the train was scheduled to arrived that time maybe that was around 5 or 5:30 in the afternoon. The blue train honked its horn, as locals and tourist smiled and waved goodbye at each other. We ended the day with a sumptuous Sri Lankan fried rice and noodles. Top it up with a Sri Lankan Massage before bedtime, this time around I ask the attendant to press harder but I guess they're just really gentle people with fluid hands.

02 Aug Tue Ella to Colombo
Ella to Colombo Fort by Morning Train (6:50 Am)
Train Fare: 400 Rupees

We took the famous scenic train back to Colombo. The spectacular scenery runs from Ella and Kandy. This is considered as one of the most beautiful train trip in Asia or even in the world. Imagine yourself inside a train that runs on top a mountain railway overlooking below a sea of tea plantation that goes from one mountain to another. Shades of green, yellow and brown fills all the empty space that draws to the beauty of nature.

Sightseeing in Colombo
Colombo fort to Airport by Bus
Bus Fare: 100 Rupees
Friendly Reminder when you take the bus. Don't forget your change. The drivers will not hesitate to keep the change.

I'm not a fancy traveler so sleeping in airports doesn't really bother me. Funny and disgusting as it may sound even bathing in wet tissues is not an issue for me, brushing my teeth, washing my face, and to the extent of washing just one side of my hair due to some gooey stuff. Let me focus on that last part. We went to Colombo on our last day in Sri Lanka, why not experience the city while we're still in the country. The moment the bus stopped at the terminal the heat was already present in all corners of the city. We were terribly hungry from the long ride so we walked around to find any dining place. There were a lot of birds flying around the terminal even around the pedestrian lane, I was already starting to get worried about the chances of getting bomb by those pretty birds. Expectedly the bomb was dropped and it feel on top of my beautiful, messy hair. This is not the first time it happened to me. I remembered even back in college while walking along with friends, the bird poop had me at first shot. I wondered of all the heads available, I was chosen. I can't recall the other times but I know it always smell bad. They said its good luck, maybe I had a passing score that day in Algebra or catch the last bus back home. This time around is different while we strolled in the streets of Colombo one guy touched me in such an unpleasant way and the next one hold me unnecessarily. It happened as I was trying to get the bird poop on my hair and in my bag. Shocked and Disgusted. I didn't get the chance to kick their gluteus maximus or even freaking just shout at them. In times of disbelief the human brain just shuts down leaving you stunned like a stone. So where's the luck we're talking about now? But hey let's focus on positivity because my two plane rides landed safely. Anyways, in the end we didn't manage to find even one restaurant, the roads were really crowded with men in all corners so we decided to head straight to the airport. The only place we feel like dining in the terminal was the burger king fast food. What a surprise when I queued up for our burger meal, the prices were outrageously expensive normally a burger meal in Singapore would just cost me around 8 SGD instead we paid for 16 USD. The service attendant even ask me if I want my burger with cheese, just add in another dollar she said. I was actually planning to used up our extra money for souvenirs but it turns out we spent everything on our last meal. A bird poop to send me off on my last day in Sri Lanka was unexpected too. But I wouldn't changed a thing about my trip, if we could have stayed longer that would have been awesome.

Colombo to Kuala Lumpur AirAsia AK46, 10:55Pm - 5:15Am
03 Aug Wed ARRIVAL in Kuala Lumpur
Sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur

No comments:

Post a Comment