Chilling in Ella

Sri Lanka is not an easy country to get around in. Given that all the road signs I’ve seen are (understandably) in Sinhalese only, I wouldn’t want to try to navigate these parts in a rental car. In addition, finding somewhere to park would be virtually impossible. 

Trains only run between certain cities and then only a few times a day. Unless you book early and get a 1st class seat, there is no reserved seating. We’ve encountered young people who stood for six hours on a train. 

Renting a car and driver is the fastest, surest way to get around, but it’s not always convenient. It’s also the most expensive — but about a third of U.S. prices.

Consequently, we’ve found ourselves Tuk Tuking our way around Sri Lanka. It’s accessible, inexpensive and fun in a kid’s carnival ride kind of way.

See John Tuk Tuk. Tuk Tuk, John, Tuk Tuk.

We Tuk Tuked for three hours yesterday to Ella, a mountain town about 90 miles north of Uda Walawe. Yep, you average about 30 mph in a Tuk Tuk.That’s probably why John’s parents bought him a used Tuk Tuk for his first vehicle in 1967.

Ella is the Sri Lankan version of a tourist trap. Think Gatlinburg, TN without sidewalks. Of course, you don’t encounter cows in the middle of the road in Gatlinburg either. That’s a plus or a minus depending solely upon your point of view.

At about 3,000 feet, you’d think it would be cooler in Ella.Not so much. The constant breeze blowing across our veranda at The Chillout Ella made lounging during the day bearable.The view was nice.

We trekked down the hill into the center of town for lunch. John had a veggie sandwich while I had this amazing lampais. Quite tasty! The frozen tea I had with a shot of lime was downright refreshing.

This morning, we arose before dawn to hike about 30 minutes up a mountain to see the sun rise. A troop of dogs kept us company most of the way up.

Ain’t nothing but a hound dog.

The surrounding hillside was covered in tea plants.

The views along the way were lovely.

We met a nice young couple from Holland at the top who kindly took our photo.

Love this crazy guy!

We leave Ella this morning for Kandy via train. Never fear, we booked first class seats early yesterday to ensure we weren’t standing for six hours!

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