Ella | Sri Lanka

21 May 2015 – 23 May 2015

Once we’d finished the Horton Plains walk our van dropped us around 15 minutes down the hill at the Pattipola train station where we would catch the afternoon train coming from Nuwara Eliya through to our destination, Ella.

Pattipola is the highest train station in Sri Lanka. It’s really small and a bit cute.

We were all a bit hungry and maybe a bit grumpy when we reached Pattipola so we chose the first place we found to have lunch. It was full of flies and the staff were hoooopeless so we quietly hating on them at our table. After food our moods improved, surprisingly. The staff asked to have their picture taken with us – check out these altogether cute and ridiculous uniforms.


I mean look at that uniform!

We had around three hours before our train came so everyone settled in


I blew my bubbles from Colombo, Vic read a book, we watched trains come and go and the station master even let us in his wee room and showed us the original system he was using to tell when the next train was coming. All very interesting. You could feel and see the pride the station master took in his job and he had a lovely, crisp suit all in white. How he kept that thing clean, I’ll never know.

The ride from Pattipola to Ella was abSOlutely to die for. Hands down, 100% so easy to see why this is one of the top rated train rides in the world.

Thinking back, I’m so pleased we did this train ride. Even if we’d only come to the Hill Country in Sri Lanka I still think I’d so, so pleased. What an absolute treat.

More trains. More trains, I say.
Tea plantations, tunnels and trains.
Sri Lanka, you got me good.

Arriving in Ella, Vic and I parked up at Chill Cafe (soon to be our local) for feeding time at the zoo. We shared a rice and curry which was actually really good. Rice for each of us then 10 different types of curry in small dishes. Meanwhile, the boys set off to find us a room. Maybe 40 minutes later they return and take all four of our packs back to check in – hollar! Fiancee’ of the year award. Stoked. I hate carrying my pack. They return with stories of varying degrees about our accommodation – it’s terrible, it’s amazing with a separate lounge, there’s a shared bathroom, we’re all sharing in a four bed room dorm, there’s a view, there’s no view, they looked at seven different hotels, nah, they only looked at one and then they had a beer down the road. Vic and I had no idea.

The night slips away and one beer turns into 500. When we finally make it to our hotel we’re VERY pleased to find that the rooms are lovely and each room does have it’s own lounge. So flash. So spoilt.

The next morning when I pull the curtains though.



That’s Ella Rock. PHOAR. No words. Sri Lanka, you’ve done it again.

So what did we do in Ella? Well we weren’t very good tourists, that’s for sure. We didn’t do any walking, hill climbing or waterfall visiting. We just got consumed by food, booze and the view.


This is Mike with a hopper – a local Sri Lankan food.

It’s a rice flour crepe type shell and come with a variety of fillings. You could have egg or potato or just a plain hopper and dip it in curry sauce.

The boys liked these. Vic loved them being wheat free and all. They repulsed me. Not my jam AT ALL.

But this is my jam – Japanese lady trains as Italian chef in Tokyo, marries Sri Lankan man and they open AK Ristoro in Ella.


This is cabonara heaven. Perfection.

We went for lunch and returned for dinner on the same day. Two cabonara’s in one day. I don’t know if that’s healthy. But it was worth it.


Arrack, local alcohol similar to whisky, made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers and a bottle of duty free Bacardi can make for an interesting afternoon on our rooftop overlooking Ella Rock. This, followed by an evening at Chill Cafe, where they allowed Vic to plug her iphone in and play a INCREDIBLE S Club 7 medley, laiid the path for a great adventure walking home where we befriended a pack of street dogs and invited one lucky girl into out room at 3am for pats.

Meet Dobby.

She is just the sweetest dog. The sweetest dog with the biggest nipples in all of Ella. Bless.

We might not have ticked many boxes in Ella – but we had SUCH A GOOD TIME! So good that we may have made a return visit later in our Sri Lanka trip…


Rate 1 NZD = 100 LKR | All prices in NZD unless stated

  • Train ticket, 3rd class, Pattipola – Ella – $4.50 p/p
  • Hotel Sobaro | Ella – $20.00 p/n
  • Rice & curry | Chill Cafe, Ella – $5.90
  • Wedges or chips | Chill Cafe, Ella – $2.90
  • Coca-Cola | Chill Cafe, Ella – $1.00
  • Water | Chill Cafe, Ella – $1.30
  • Lion Beer | Chill Cafe, Ella – $3.10
  • Gin & tonic | Chill Cafe, Ella – $5.50
  • Onion rings | AK Ristoro, Ella – $1.50
  • Chicken wings | AK Ristoro, Ella – $3.00
  • Potato wedges | AK Ristoro, Ella – $3.50
  • Carbonara | AK Ristoro, Ella – $8.50
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