As I spend most of my life amongst the hustle and bustle of London, I didn’t fancy exploring another concrete jungle when I knew how much else Sri Lanka had to offer, but I was proved wrong with Kandy, and the one night we had included here was simply not enough.
We arrived in Kandy in the evening just in time to complete a twilight tour of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ( sadly there were no decent quality pic of this as I was too busy taking it all in and photography was restricted) which was one of the most chaotic but charming temples I have visited, everyone was queuing up to see the relic and it was slightly like waiting in line for a school lunch as we all shifted one by one closer to the gap for our 3 second viewing time, but regardless we were lucky to see it as they only show it at certain times of day.
Strolling around the temple bare foot in the dark, with the only light coming from candles was really special and incredibly peaceful, I think that is one of my favourite times to view the temples.
From the temple we headed straight to our hotel, the beautiful Villa Rosa. It was set high up in the hills of Kandy, as we arrived in the dark we weren’t able to embrace the views we knew were in store for us, so we woke up extra early the next morning to make sure we could enjoy these before heading off.
Our breakfast was served on the terrace so we weren’t missing out on any outlooks. It is a small family run hotel, so is incredibly personable, and for all animal lovers out there, there are two dogs that live on the grounds, they were definitely amongst the healthiest looking dogs we saw out there, they were so sweet!
Although we didn’t get to spend much time in Kandy, it is definitely the most central part of Sri Lanka, so if you are not the kind of person who doesn’t mind living out of their suitcase, then I would recommend staying here and just doing day trips to main points of interest, as these are advertised everywhere, even helicopter rides to and from places were available if you really fancied splashing the cash.
Kandy was short but sweet, but it was time to hurry off into the Hill Country to catch the train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. We had heard such great things about the beautiful things you see along the way on the trains. We weren’t so lucky with the weather when we set off from Nurwara Eliya, the clouds were low and so all we could see for a while was white fog, but the closer we got to Ella the more it started to clear and then it was just view on view.
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a train journey as much as I did this one, we saw people hanging out the doors and were weary at first… you never get that in London… but we had a “yo-lo” moment and decided to give it a go ourselves! This journey is not to be missed if you are in heading to Sri Lanka any time soon.
TOP TIP: Don’t ride in 1st class, it is air conditioned so you don’t get to pull down the windows and get the full experience!
Arriving at 98 Acres hotel was so surreal, a hotel literally built into overhanging 98 acre tea garden, it was amazing!
Whilst we were there the hotel was celebrating it’s 5th birthday, and our guide was explaining that the hotel was pretty much the first tourist attraction in Ella and so it actually attracted more people to the area. Ella centre itself is only tiny, with one small strip of restaurants and shops, it has an incredibly laid back back packer vibe to it, but I can imagine it being more commercialised in years to come, so get there quick to experience it whilst its still so unspoilt.98 Acres is conveniently located overlooking the Ella Gap and Little Adam’s Peak, so we took complete advantage of this and set off for an early morning hike to beat everyone else to it. It is about a 20 minute steep walk up there and when we first set off it was clear sky, but by the time we reached the top the clouds had rolled in and all we could see was white. No trip to the Hill Country would have been complete without without a visit to a tea factory, we got to try all different green teas, and obviously ended up bringing lots home with us.
One other thing we loved about Sri Lanka in general was our side road pit stops to buy Mango, I think the most we got through in one binge was 10 Mangos… it is easily done trust me.
So earlier in the post I mentioned the unsuccessful hike to the top of Little Adam’s peak, well luckily being so close to it, we were able to dash back up there quickly when the weather was clear and see it in all its glory with 360 degree panoramic views. Also how insane are the shots we got looking back at 98 Acres!?
It was the best end to our amazing stay in Ella, for me this part of the country was what I had always imagined when I thought of Sri Lanka, and it exceeded all expectations.
Pink Dress || Tularosa via Revolve
Sandals || Net a Porter sale
Fang Necklace || Missoma
Horn Necklace || Seol Gold Etsy
Clutch || Bali
Blue Jacket || Old Zara
White Jeans || Topshop
Plimsoles || Superga
Rucksack || Longchamp