Hopefully by now, you’ve had the opportunity to read my first Sri Lanka trip report (link below), this one picks up where part one left off…..
Saturday mornings at home generally consist of relaxing in bed till 8am, followed by a trip to the gym…. Saturday’s on holiday are a bit more active, we set off from the hotel for a drive to Ella a small town. My parents and one of my sisters had planned to visit a temple in the hills, where as my younger sister and I had decided to climb Ella Rock.
My younger sister didn’t know what she signed herself up for, as we walked along the train tracks heading to the start of the trek. Once I pointed out the jagged rock in the distance, the look of horror on her face said it all. This was set to be an interesting trek as we had no map, basic directions and I refused to use google for a guide, sometimes you just want to roll the dice and see what happens. During the trek we bumped into many locals who would want to be our guides and take us to the top of Ella rock but we were both determined to do this with no guidance and to wing it.
Mistake number one was, we didn’t listen to the initial instruction (more on this later), we crossed a river at a waterfall and then headed through some bushes for approximately 20 minutes zig-zagging in and out trying to find a path. We ran into a French couple trying to find their way too, and they ended up deciding to go another route to us (ahem we went the right way this point FYI), we eventually found a little shack which was a make shift shop and some people who were coming down a steep path.
Heading up the steep path we were met with narrow little ledges, and large drops. If this was the start of the climb, it was due to be an interesting day, after battling the initial climb we came to an area where two dozen or so had gathered just sitting by admiring the view. The perfect point for a quick breather, a picture or two of Tim and simply to take the view in.
After 15 minutes or so we looked up at what as to come – tall trees, a crumbly hillside and a very steep incline. Due to our inappropriate footwear (trainers over walking boots), we took this next stage carefully in small little chunks. Setting ourselves a goal and a quick stop, I’ll also admit our calves did hurt (it later turned out we took the extreme route up this final stage). We slipped and fell on numerous occasions, but took our sweet time – at the end of the day it was not a race and we didn’t have a set time to get back to the driver and rest of the family . When we did finally make it to the top, boy the view was worth it – there was also a guy up at the top selling tea and snacks. Interesting but I wasn’t quite sure where the source of water was from so stuck to the mineral water I bought along. Sri Lanka Trip Report
After admiring the view and taking a picture of Tim in the “Simba” pose, we started our descent which was much more difficult due to a sprinkling of rain. We both fell numerous times but at this point we were just hungry! When we arrived back at the mate shift shop at the bottom we took another path hoping it’d lead us back to the train tracks, we were right about that and soon learned the mistake we made earlier – we should have stayed on the tracks for another 600m or so and then cut across as it would have saved us the 20 minutes of zig-zagging through bushes! I think I might just do a quick post with instructions on this!
The trip back down the tracks to Ella town was simple, I had a bit of an idea to do a joke video of Tim imitating a Bollywood song, I’ve attached it below a few of you may understand it…. I seemed to think it was funny at the time!
Upon arriving back into Ella, we headed straight into the van and several kilometres down the road to a restaurant where we enjoyed a stunning Sri Lankan meal before heading for a quick stop off at another waterfalls; Ravana falls which was such a beautiful site with lots of locals, domestic and international tourists too. After this it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick shower and freshen up ahead of dinner. We dined at a restaurant called Restaurant Two, where the kitchen was in a bus and the trailer of a lorry. Interesting concept and diners were inside tents seated on plastic garden furniture. It was an interesting vibe and the food I tried certainly helped satisfy my hunger. After this it was time for a short walk and then to bed, I was wiped out.
We left The Hill Club Hotel after breakfast and stopped off at Milesna Tea Castle where I enjoyed tasting and learning about several different types of tea’s. I even took the time to buy colleagues, loved ones and friends a few little gifts alongside a supply for my tea habit at the office.
The journey was again long and windy roads, but as we got closer to Colombo we switched to a new highway to take us along the coast to Bentota, unfortunately the weather called a halt to our journey as the torrential downpour made it impossible to drive, we opted for a stop off at a service station waiting for the rain to calm down before completing our journey.
Our accommodation just outside Bentota was the Pandanus Beach Resort & Spa, where we planned to do nothing for the next few days but sit on the beach. Our plans were thwarted by the weather but we did take it relatively easy with some walks on the beach, simple dinners locally and some well-earned massages in the hotel. It’s a shame the weather beat us these few days by the beach but sometimes it’s just meant to be (as expected the day we were leaving it returned to dry weather!).
Our last day was in Colombo where we had approx. 15 hours before our 4.30am flights to Dubai and Mumbai respectively. We used this time for a quick tour of Colombo seeing all the tourist spots. My followed by watching the sunset over the highway and railway lines near our hotel. After a quick hunt for some Hoppers, we then headed to bed for a few hours ahead of our 1am journey to the airport. Sri Lanka Trip Report
The trip to Sri Lanka was amazing, it’s somewhere I feel I didn’t even scratch the surface of the country and I will be back soon to continue exploring. If you are heading to Sri Lanka any time and do require a great guide/driver I’d highly recommend our one Gambini. Contact me and I’ll gladly put you in touch, several people we know have used him all with glowing references.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the Sri Lanka trip report, I hope to have another post on how to explore Colombo in half a day soon…