Ella Rock was the destination of first hike. Start it early, at 7am, in order to reach the summit before clouds settled in. As is the case across the hill country, afternoons are almost invariably cloudy. Indeed.
The hike was rough. After walking along railroad tracks, you can found a path which leads up to a tea plantation and then onto the rock. Along the way, you encountered five locals who wanted to guide you up. Its part of the system here: almost every tourist that goes up Ella Rock will have a local guide attached, who expects a tip at the summit. But if you like you can do it your own. But it’s not easy to do alone, because you have to walk through path without any sign board or house.
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a guide, of course, or contributing to the local economy. After the tea plantation, the remaining path was well-defined and steep. The final 500 meters is extremely taxing and, even allowing for frequent breaks, you will drenched in sweat by the time you reached the top. The view, though, was worth the effort.
Route for people who want to visit alone: Follow the train tracks away from the city for about 1.5 kilometers, until you’ve almost reached a small waterfall. Just before an old bridge, there’s a steep path which leads down to the left. Follow that under the bridge, and walk along a canal until you come to a small footbridge which leads past the waterfall. Now, it becomes confusing — a variety of paths lead upwards. Immediately after the bridge ends, the path forks: continue to the right. As you climb, the path enters the brush, and splits over and over again. You’ll want to tend left, but continue upwards when possible. Hopefully, you’ll emerge on the left-hand side of the tea plantation, where you’ll be able to spot the main path which cuts up through the woods. From here, you’re golden: just go up.
"Cyril was our driver and guide for the last nine days. We had the comfortable white Toyota van shown in the pic - it was just as clean and shiny, and not a scratch on it. He is clearly a very skilled driver. He is particularly knowledgeable about the history of the many places we visited. We were pleased we had Cyril as our driver. He had been recommended to us by an acquaintance. Andrew Speirs Melbourne, Australia Travel period 04 Jan - 12 Jan 2018" Mr. Andrew an Mrs. Suzy Speirs from Australia
"Dear Cyril, Thanks for taking care of the Dr.Sethukavalar and his wife very well. They were indeed very happy for all the care you have shown during your tour. They were very impressed of your patience and kindness. I look forward to see you soon and maintain this good relationship we have developed in a short period of time. We will not hesitate a second to recommend you to all our friends who would like to visit Sri Lanka. Taking this opportunity of wishing you all the best. Thanks fo..." HARIDAS KANDASAMY
" Hi Cyril We have had a fabulous holiday driven and guided by Cyril from CYRIL TOURS. Hotel recommendations were perfect and knowledge supertb. We would happy to introduce CYRIL TOURS to our frieinds and relatives. Thank you for the photos you are taken and send to us, they are a great reminder of our amazing experience in Sri Lanka. We had a truly memorable time and we are grateful to you for all your knowledge and guidance throughout our trip, it would not have been..." Mr. Richard & Mrs. Bridget Simson and family from
"Dear Cyril, Thank you very much for wonderful holiday. Your attention to detail and care of your clients is extraordinary. We certainly hope to cross paths again and we will recommonding you to all of our friends and to family too. Many thanks again. Paul nad Machelle Brisbane, Australia. Visited during 10/10/2012 - 26/10/2012" Mr. Paul and Mrs. Machelle from Australia
"Dear Cyril, We want to thank you so much for making our trip so unforgetable and delightful. We received your name from our friends lives in Geneva who travelled with you in January 2009 and they gave you such a high recommendation that we decided to conbtact you for our two weeks trip this year. Although we have been to Sri Lanka a few times already. We have never found such an excellent driver and guide. It has been a great pleasure to visit Colombo with you and then to Koggala for two day tr..." Mr.Gabor Kato & Mrs.Ann Kato
"Dear Cyril, Yes that's the one that we were calling all the time. Her name is Celia and by now she has a little sister. My dear Cyril, of course we can't forget your companion and we are always telling about you when we are talking about our trip to Sri Lanka. I wish you good luck with your company and I hope that you will have whatever you want. I want to tell also that I was very happy when I learned that you are a grandfather now. Best regards, Chris Greece 26/07/2011" Cristos Pravitas - Greece
" Our Tour in Sri Lanka Traveling through the beautiful Sri Lanka has been great. Cyril warmly welcomed us at the airport and drove us with his always clean car in every part of the country. He provided daily information about the history and the different sites of Sri Lanka. Also, he taught us a lot about Sri Lankan culture, starting from food, traditions, animals and nature, and suggested authentic and less known places we c..." FILIPPO MASI FROM ITALY
"We came for a wedding and then embarked on an amazing holiday. Cyril show us magnificent sights and scenery of Sri Lanka. To do the country just we need to return with more time. Many of the sites we visited just made us want to know more about them, even though Cyril was a fountain of knowledge. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cyril and his excellent company, and it was so nice to go home a guardian angel looking after us. He is consistently courteous & good humored and now fe..." Andy Powell UK
"(10 days). Before the trip I did a lot of research here on the site and other sites on the tour options and after checking in we decided to go with a guide attached. Choice in was not easy and I started Travels "correspondence with more than ten guides to staying with the" chosen ". No doubt it was an excellent choice! Before Asbury on our guide, I wanted to note that after the visit, I understand the importance of taking guide (driver) suite. Roads and driving in Sri Lanka ..." Corey
"We had a trip planned with Cyril just when international travel closed down due to Covid. Cyril was great in planning a trip with me that had a great deal of flexibility and tailored to visit the places we wanted to seeUnfortunately we were unable to take the trip. Cyril's response to that was great, he dealt with everything for us in terms of cancellationsHe has kept in touch with us since then and has already contacted me with a revised plan for our trip to Sri Lanka. Which we will book with h..." Brian O: Keefe - Perth - Australia