nine arch bridge

Practice friluftsliv in Sri Lanka.

Crowd Free places in Sri Lanka

Crowd free places in Sri Lanka?

Crowd Free places in Sri Lanka.
 

Do you want to get away from the crowds?
Do you like Non-Touristy, Off-beat places to visit whilst you are on holiday?

Read on to find out our thoughts, and what we recommend to do when you are on holiday in Sri Lanka.

Everyone is looking for a unique experience.

Social Media outlets like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and X (formerly Twitter) appear to have driven a desire for people to strive for unique experiences.

It’s important to get that individual ‘Instagram Moment’ shared with the world.

The more unique it is may make you ‘stand out from the crowd’ and get more like.

There are lots of people that want to be pioneers and be the first. What kudos you will receive, how great will you feel when your name is shining in those bright lights!

Gen Z and Millennials

Gen Z and Millennials have aspirations to travel. What better way to grow your social media audience by getting selfies in crowd free places. 

According to the Deloitte US article “Gen Z and Millennial Travel: The Wanderlust generations”  their love of travel.
This is fuelling new opportunities for technology, media & entertainment, and telecommunications companies.

Is there any such crowd free places in Sri Lanka.

With the population of the planet being 8 billion and rising according to Worldometers there would appear to be very few places on earth that are crowd free (or will be for long).

Beat the crowds - get there early

I’m sorry, but although you are on holiday and probably want a lie-in, we recommend that you get up early and beat the crowds.

Our guests Millie and Matt got up early to visit Lipton’s Seat. Their experience was unforgettable and special to them. You can read about their adventure in the following article “Sri Lanka Most Beautiful Place”.

Here are the reasons why we recommend getting up early “6 Reasons to Get Up Early”.

By giving up your lay-in on holiday you have more of a chance in beating the crowds.

Crowd free places in Sri Lanka.

Two Indian Lawyers stayed with us at GlenMyu Estate in late April 2023 and experienced some crowd free moments.

This is typically when there are low tourist numbers after the main December to March tourist season. 

We recommended that they leave early and return for a late breakfast. You can read more about our advice in our article “6 Reasons to Get up Early”.

As India has a population of 1.4 Billion according to Worldometer there must be very few places in that country where you can experience a crowd free place.

We were delighted that our advice provided them with this special experience which will be with them for many years to come.

Avoid the weekends

We would also recommend that you avoid the weekends.

This is because that’s when the local Sri Lankan community are likely to travel.
Going on the weekend amplifies the numbers visiting the sights to the foreign tourists.

Visit in the off season.

The main tourist season has been mid-December until April.
This is a natural time of year to visit the island as it is cold in Northern Europe.
Also the island is hit by two main monsoons: the North West Monsoon (November to March) and the South West Monsoon(April or May to September). 

You can read more about the climate in Sri Lanka on the World Bank knowledge-portal website “Sri Lanka -Climatology”.

During the peak holiday season (mid-December to April), the South and West Coasts are free from the monsoon .

If you take a chance and visit during the lower tourist seasons. You will have a change of seeing more crowd free places.

It is a risk but have seen several guests get lucky taking this route.
They also get to benefit from the lower prices in the off season and the additional attention from underworked staff.

Come quick!

Sri Lanka Tourist numbers are increasing.

Monthly and weekly tourist arrivals are published on the website. If you click this link to the website you will see the rise in numbers month by month captured to the previous year.

Although the target number for 2023 was 2 million, in September 2023 it was expected to achieve over 1.5 million

Also the government are planning to increase tourist numbers from their target of 2 million to 4 million. This will mean you are less likely to be able to experience a crowd free place on the island. You can read the article in Travel Bulletin about the tourist number targets.

You can read more about their plans in the following articles.

Sri Lanka is promoting itself as an all year round destination.

The North and East of the country is being developed for tourism since the Civil was that ended in May, 2009.

April to September are good months to visit that part of the island as it is monsoon free.
There are less hotels in this part of the country and therefore you are more likely to have some places to yourselves and be able to avoid the crowds.

We had some English visitors in July 2023 who had a great time in Jaffna and Trincomalee.
Their recommendation was to visit now before it gets developed!

October

October is the time of the year when Sri Lanka endures the inter-monsoon. The number of visitors to the island dropped from 136,405 in August to 111,938 in September and 109,199 during October 2023.

We had an Australian visitor in October who was our only guest for the night she stayed at GlenMyu Estate.
She mentioned that she was also the only guest at two other hotels she had visited.

If you can risk the rains, then there are normally good bargains to be had during the inter-monsoon period.
If you really want to go home with a tan, you probably want to avoid the inter-monsoon. 

However, some of our French guests has visited the East Coast in October and they advised the the weather was quite pleasant.

So, perhaps look east if you want to visit during October and avoid the crowds.

In summary - our recommendations for a Crowd Free Sri Lanka.

Do some research
Get up early to avoid the crowds
Avoid the weekends
Consider visiting during the off-season.

Stay at GlenMyu Estate to explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country

A stay at GlenMyu Estate as you explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country and see sights like Horton Plains National Park is a unique experience.

We only have three bedrooms and you will need to book early during the peak holiday season.

The estate is usually within an hours drive of the major sightseeing locations such as Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Town, World’s End, Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Bambarakanda Waterfall and many more,

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb.
Contact us by the WhatsApp button on our website for direct booking rates.

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Horton Plains National Park.

The Best Hike in Sri Lanka

What is the Best Hike in Sri Lanka?

What is the Best Hike in Sri Lanka (which is not too strenuous)? We think it is Horton Plains National Park and here’s why.

Well, I suppose it is all down to how much experience, how fit you are and how tough you want your hike to be.

There are many options to choose from in Sri Lanka which will provide a different experience and variety.

The newest hiking option is the Pekoe Trail which was launched in 2023.

This is a twenty-two stage, 300 kilometre trail which traverses the Central Highlands of the Island. This experience which

allow visitors to discover the varying terrain, history, culture, food, and local communities across Sri Lanka by foot.

The first stage of the trail starts in Hanthana (near Kandy). And the final stage finishes in Kandapoloa (Nuwara Eliya).

Sections 11 to 16 of the Pekoe Trail are within a drive from GlenMyu Estate. 

An easier type of hike.

As we are not seasoned hikers, and most of our guests are not conditioned for, or want to do, a strenuous hike on their holiday. We think that a hike around Horton Plains National Park is the best hike in Sri Lanka.

Horton Plains National Park - a UNESCO Heritage site.

Horton Plains National Park is a montane grassland and cloud forest located in the Central Highlands. It is on a plateau at an altitude of 2100-2300m. In 1988 it was declared a national park due to its biodiversity and geographical importance.

It is a popular tourist destination consisting of several tourist hot spots such as World’s End, mini World’s End, Bakers Falls and the peaks of Kirigalpoththa and Totupola Kanda.

What's in a name?

The area was originally called Maha Eliya Thanna by the local people.

It was renamed as Horton Plains after Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton (the British governor of Ceylon from 1831-1837) by Lt. Albert Watson, who “discovered” the plateau.

The flora and the fauna.

Horton Plains consists of two distinct vegetation – montane grasslands and evergreen forests, with nearly 700 species of plants being recorded of which 27 are endemic to Sri Lanka.

24 species of mammals, 87 species of birds, nine species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians are found in the park.

No Elephants but beware the Leopards!

Since the Sri Lankan elephant was last seen here in the 1940s, the largest, most commonly seen mammal at present is the sambar deer. Leopards, wild boars, mongooses and giant squirrels are a few among the many species that can be spotted here. 

Birds.

Horton Plains forms an Important Bird Area (IBA) together with Ohiya, Pattipola and Ambewela, and contains 21 endemic bird species with four endemic to Horton Plains alone (Sri Lankan blue magpie, Sri Lankan white-eye, Sri Lankan wood pigeon and dull-blue flycatcher.

If you can, we would recommend that you avoid weekends as it can be quite busy with local tourists. 

Why do we think that Horton Plains National Park is the best place to hike?

The circular trail is around eleven kilometres and is enough of a hike (at altitude) to make you feel like you have achieved something (but not killed yourself!).

Horton Plains is at an elevation between 2,100 and 2,400 metres above sea level. As the air is little thinner your body works a little more and you feel like you have had a workout. 

The flora and fauna that you will see on the trail is different from many parts of Sri Lanka.

 

Look for the information boards as you walk the trail which will give you information about the landscape and some of the unique flora and fauna.

The route for a hike around Horton Plains National Park

Mount Thotupola Kanda (2357 m) - the best hike in Sri Lanka?

If you are up for a challenge then you can opt to take the trail to Mount Thotupola Kanda (2357 m) which is the third highest mountain in Sri Lanka. It is also known as (Totapolakanda or Thotupolakanda).

The trail to the top of the mountain starts a few metres away from the Pattipola entrance to the Horton Plains National Park. The trail is around about two kilometres in distance.

One of our adventurous French guests did this and really enjoyed the more strenuous hike.

Mount Kirigalpoththa (2,388 m) - the best hike in Sri Lanka?

Even more challenging is the hike to the highest point in Horton Plains National Park: Mount Kirigalpoththa.

Read more in this article we found in TripAdvisor.

This is the 2nd highest Mountain of Sri Lanka after Pidurutalagala. It is also the highest peak accessible to the public. The peak elevation is 2,388 metres above sea level.
This 7 kilometre trail (one way) will take around five and a half hours of trekking, hiking & mountaineering.

Attempting Kirigalpoththa is for the more experienced and daring adventurers only as the conditions can be treacherous due to the difficulty of the terrain and weather.

An opportunity awaits the brave.

There are not many quality videos showing the hike to Mount Kirigalpoththa. We see this as an opportunity for a YouTuber or Social Media Influencer to create some fantastic content that we would be happy to share on our page. 

So , if you are adventurous and a skilled mountaineer with good video skills the challenge is there for you.

We consider this to be the best hike in Sri Lanka however….

There are so many more options as you travel around this paradise island.

A religious pilgrimmage.

Adams Peak 

This is a religious pilgrimage which you start early in the morning to experience the sunrise.

During the season the hike is very busy with people and you may well have to queue for some time as you get towards the top. 

In the off season you will have no problem with the crowds, however the weather may not be great, so prepare for rain.

There are lots of steps on this hike and we had guests arrive from their overnight experience who were very tired. The next day their legs were very tender due to the number of steps that they had to climb up and down. They were quite fit however did suffer the next day. Several dips in the swimming pool and a relaxing day at GlenMyu Estate helped them to recuperate. 

A hike for the more experienced

Knuckles Mountain Range

We had some German clients that did a hike in Knuckles before they stayed at GlenMyu Estate and they were quite exhausted. They had a great hike and their guide was amazing (like many others in Sri Lanka). This hike needs proper walking boots and leech socks. You have to be fit enough to tackle this hike. 

The Poster Boy of Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya – The Lion Rock

Pictures of the iconic Lion Rock is used a lot to promote tourism to Sri Lanka, for good reason. If you read the history of this UNESCO Heritage site you will discover the amazing technology and endeavour used in creating this former Royal Palace. 

The hike is a “must do” on your first visit to Sri Lanka. 

We had some guests that tackled the Lion Rock in the morning and Pidurangala Rock in the evening. I was amazed that they managed this and they had a great experience.

Hikes near Ella Town.

Little Adams Peak and Ella Rock

Several of our guests do a stay trip to Ella and take in some of the sights. Nine Arch Bridge, Ravana Waterfall and Ravana’s Cave are some of the great sights to see.

Many of our guests climb Little Adams Peak which is a short hike.

Less of our guests have climbed to Ella Rock. The hike is a little bit harder and it’s good to do this early and see the sunrise.

Stay at GlenMyu Estate and hike Horton Plains National Park.

We normally send guests off at 6 am in the morning with a delicious packed breakfast to Horton Plains National Park. Getting there early is good as you are more likely to see the views at Lesser World’s End and Greater World’s End. 

As Horton Plain National Park is a montane cloud forest, the clouds do come in and obscure the view!

By setting off early you can be back at GlenMyu Estate in the mid afternoon and enjoy a dip in our Natural Spring Fed Infinity Swimming Pool to soothe your muscles. A delicious meal in the evening prepared by Ru. It’s a good reward for the energy you will have expended on your hike.

Find out more about a stay at GlenMyu Estate by visiting our website

Look at our reviews from our guests on Booking.com, Airbnb, Tripadvisor and Google.

For our best rates contact us directly by the WhatsApp button on our website or send us an email.

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Explore Sri Lanka’s Hill Country

Exploring Sri Lanka's Hill Country.

Explore Sri Lanka’s Hill Country – the best places to visit whilst staying at GlenMyu Estate, Haputale, Beragala.

Guests really love staying at GlenMyu Estate and exploring the five acres of land.

A garden tour by Ru is very informative and we are amazed about how many guests love to find out more about where their food come from. 

Spending time at our Natural Spring Fed Infinity Swimming Pool, playing badminton on the lawn or board games in the lounge are some of the fun things to do. 

A free fish pedicure in the stream and if you are brave an able enough you can go on an adventure to the waterfall at the bottom of the land.

However, there are some wonderful places to explore in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country within an hours drive or so from the estate. Lots of guests like to stay outside the busy tourist town of Ella and have day trips to see Nine Arch Bridge, Ravana Waterfall or climb Little Adam’s Peak or Ella Rock.

We have listed the most popular things that our guests visit when they stay at GlenMyu Estate. They are not in any particular order however there is a reason why we have put Upper Diyaluma Waterfall and Horton Plains National Park at the top. We love visiting these places.

Please do not discard the other items lower on the list. Our guest have raved about seeing the sun rise at Lipton’s Seat. The Pekoe Trail is a new hiking route and there are only a few of our guests who have completed the stages so far.

Our Top places to explore in the Hill Country near to GlenMyu.

  • Upper Diyaluma Waterfall – the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
  • Horton Plains National Park (UNESCO), Lesser World’s End, Greater World’s End and Baker’s Falls.
  • Lipton’s’ Seat, Haputale.
  • Bambarakanda Waterfall – the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
  • Nine Arch Bridge, Ella.
  • Adisham Monastery, Haputale.
  • Stages 11,12,13,& 14 of the Pekoe Trail.
  • There are many more places to visit – we will write an extended list of places to see in the future.

Explore Sri Lanka's Hill Country: Upper Diyaluma Waterfall

One of our favourite spots close to GlenMyu Estate explore in Sri Lanka’s Hill country is Diyaluma Waterfall which is the second highest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
It ranks 361st in the world and is 220m high (720 ft).

The falls are situated around 6 km from away from Koslanda in Badulla District on the Colombo Batticaloa Highway (A4).

It is a forty minute drive from GlenMyu Estate and we can arrange a Tuk Tuk and guide for you.

You can read our article about our day trip to Upper Diyaluma Waterfall with some guests from GlenMyu Estate.
We also have an article about the entry cost to Upper Diyaluma Waterfall.
Guest photos of their experience at the waterfall can be found here.

Horton Plains National Park - a UNESCO heritage site

Another favourite that we enjoy in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country is a hike around Horton Plains National Park.

You can read our article about our hike at Horton Plains in our article Hike around Horton Plains National Park.

We also have guest photos of their experience which you can look at here.

Lipton’s Seat is a place where lots of our guests enjoy and is around one hours drive from GlenMyu Estate.

Most of our guests combine a hike at Lipton’s Seat with a visit to Dambetenne Tea factory to see how the tea is processed

You can see our guest photos of their experience here.

Bambarakanda Waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka and is less than one hours drive from GlenMyu Estate.

You can read our article about Bambarakanda Waterfall here.

Explore Sri Lanka's Hill Country near Ella.

Nine Arch Bridge is located just outside Ella Town and is one of the must see places to visit in Sri Lanka.  If you make it there when a train passes over the bridge it is really a memorable sight. 

We visited Nine Arch Bridge in early 2023 and you can read about our day trip here. 

Adisham Hall is one of the closest places to visit from GlenMyu Estate

You can read our article about our visit with our family to Adisham Hall and Monastery.

The Pekoe Trail is a 300-kilometre long distance walking trail through the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

The 22 – stage walking trail takes you through some of the finest ecology and mountain terrain in the South of Asia. The trail begins in Kandy is routed through Nuwara Eliya, Haputale, Hatton and Ella.

The following stages are within reach of GlenMyu Estate: 
Stage 11 – Horton Plains to Udaweriya
Stage 12 – Udaweriya to Haputale
Stage 13 – Haputale to St. Catherine
Stage 14 – St. Catherine to Makulella
Stage 15 – Makulella to Ella
Stage 16 – Ella to Demodara.

Ru always says to guests that if it is your first time in Sri Lanka’s Hill country you should visit a tea estate and see how your tea is made. If you have not done a tea tour in Nuwara Eliya then we would suggest doing a tour at Dambetenne Tea Factory after visiting Lipton’s Seat.

How do I find out more about GlenMyu Estate?

If you are travelling to the Sri Lankan Hill Country and do not want to be located in a busy tourist town GlenMyu Estate may be the place for you. 

You can find out more about GlenMyu Estate on our website and also subscribe to our social media platforms so you can see some more pictures and videos of the property and land.

Explore Sri Lanka’s Hill Country Read More »

A selfie at Nine Arch Bridge, Demodara, Ella, Sri Lanka

Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

Nine Arch Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka - Our Guide.

As you travel around this paradise island and make your way towards Ella, the majestic sight of Nine Arch Bridge may end up being one of your most memorable experiences.

This 100+ year old bridge is in situated in the most beautiful setting abutted by tea fields and with the lush jungle as the background.

Nine Arch Bridge is in a stunning spot and, if you happen to time your visit when a train goes over the bridge, it will be a very special experience.

A stunning spot.

A visit to Nine Arch Bridge has become one of the main tourist attractions of Sri Lanka. If you combine your visit with a trip to see one of the other amazing sights close to Ella will make it a very special day. You will savour the amazing natural scenery at Nine Arch Bridge along with perhaps a hike to Little Adams Peak or Ella Rock.

There are also several other sights to see in and around Ella and it is a great place to visit on a day trip from GlenMyu Estate.

How to get there.

You will have a choice of various different options on how to get to Nine Arch Bridge including travelling over it on the train itself.

Taking the famous blue train, which travels at a slow speed, will enable you to enjoy the view of the Sri Lankan Countryside. There are lots of Instagram photos of passengers sitting on the steps enjoying the scenery. The more adventurous hang out of the door to get that, now so common, Instragram pose.

 

Take care!

Of course this is dangerous, despite the slow sipped of the train, so it’s not something we would recommend.

Surely there are enough of those photo shots now – we would recommend that you consider something more original!

The most popular journey takes you from Kandy to Ella which is around a 6 hour journey (providing the train is not late!). However you could consider taking the super pretty part of the journey from Nuwara Eliya (Nanuoya Rail Station) to Ella which will cut your train journey down to a more palatable 2 hours 27 minutes (or 2 hours 18 minutes for the faster train).

Train Tickets - where are they?

Sri Lankan Railways launched an online portal to purchase train tickets last year.

So why are there no tickets available when I tried to book online? 

Well, I cannot really say however I have my own conspiracy theory of course!

Several guests have contacted me looking for tickets. I have been to Haputale Railway station and they have advised that the seats are all sold out several weeks in advance. 

I hope that you are lucky enough to purchase these disappearing tickets online in advance however this will continue to get more difficult as more and more tourists visit Sri Lanka.

What we advise our guests.

We have advised our guests who are making there way to Kandy to enquire at their hotel there to source tickets (with seats!) for them. A premium will have to be paid (surprise surprise!) however this has worked for some guests. 

If you cannot bear the idea of a 6 hour (or more) journey standing up then another option is to make your way to Nuwara Eliya. Hopefully some passengers will have disembarked from the train and you may then get a seat (fingers crossed).

Other ways to get to Nine Arch Bridge

Reaching Nine Arch ridge is most easily accessible from Ella and you will probably need some transport unless you are really into hiking!

Our Day Trip from GlenMyu Estate to Nine Arch Bridge

In June 2023 we did a day trip from GlenMyu Estate, Beragala, to visit Nine Arch Bridge.

We got to the bridge at around midday and were very happy that we managed to see a train cross over the bridge.

You can read about our trip in the following article “Our day trip to Nine Arch Bridge“. 

How to get to Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

There are multiple options and ways to get to the Nine Arch train bridge.

The starting point to the bridge is quite close to Ella’s main street, so you can decide if you want to walk or get a Tuk Tuk.

Perhaps you have rented a scooter or motorbike which will get you there on your own.

Other options to get there.

Tuk Tuk from Ella Town

You can take a tuk-tuk from Ella town to the Nine Arch Bridge parking spot, then hike the remaining 5-10 minutes on foot, which was the quickest and easiest option.

On foot

Another option is that you can walk to Nine Arch Bridge by following the Ella-Passara Road, turning left at Sri Kanaser Temple (where all the street food stalls are) and following the signs past multiple guesthouses until you arrive at the bridge.

When you decide to walk, it takes about 20 minutes to get there. You have to follow the road towards Little Adam’s Peak and turn left at the small colored temple. Then follow Lake Front Cottage on Google Maps.

By car –  park and walk.

If you have hired a car you can drive part of the way and then walk from a parking spot or hire a Tuk Tuk to take you to the bridge.

As we live in Sri Lanka and have our own car we drove and parked which left just around a 5 minute walk to the bridge. There was a small parking fee charged at the shop for our parking (around 50 rupees).  

However we also had a snack (warm corn on the cob) and a cup of tea when we returned to the car after visiting Nine Arch Bridge.

How we drove to Nine Arch Bridge

Before we arrived at Ella Tunnel and Ella Town we took a left hand turn down the Ella Halpe Road and followed Google Maps to the location of the parking spot.

It was a challenging road to drive and I wish we had taken a Tuk Tuk!

We drove to “Nine Arch Bridge Car Park” which is B on google maps (see the location on the right). 

 

The shop where we parked.

After we had seen the train we needed some refreshment and enjoyed sone tea and hot corn on the cob from a small shop near the parking spot.

Would I recommend driving to Nine Arch Bridge?

Although I have lived and driven in Sri Lanka for several years I would recommend choosing an alternative transport to get to Nine Arch Bridge. 

The roads are quite narrow going to Nine Arch Bridge and really it’s much more suitable to hire a Tuk Tuk or go by foot.

You have to be quite brave to navigate the small lanes and hope that you do not meet another vehicle on the route.

Our guests at GlenMyu Estate normally hire a Tuk Tuk with a guide for the day and it it a much more relaxing experience. 

Best time to visit the Nine Arch Bridge

This really depends on what your aim is. Do you want to visit when there are few other visitors there? Do you want to see the sunrise or sunset? Do you want the buzz of the crowns waiting to see the train cross the bridge?

It’s all about what you would like to see.

Read more about why you should get up early.

Our advice would be to visit early in the morning.

You can read about why we recommend getting up early in Sri Lanka in the following article “The 6 best reasons to wake up early“.

Of course with sunrise or sunset is the best time to take pictures. The light is soft and warm, and you avoid the crowds.

By 9 am and during the rest of the day, it is busier with tourists paying a visit to this famous spot.

Train Times at Nine Arch Bridge.

The trains pass the bridge about 5 times a day (12 on the schedule I found at Sri Lanka Trains). However the exact times change all the time because the trains are quiet often delayed in Sri Lanka. But usually there should be one every hour. You can check the train schedule here.

If you miss the train don’t worry as there are some small cafes where you can get a snack and a drink near the bridge. The Bridge is quite pretty even in the absence of a train so you will still be able to get some beautiful pictures.

Our best advice is to ask a Tuk Tuk driver what time the train is due – they appear to have the inside knowledge.

Nine Arch Bridge viewpoint

The viewpoint of Nine Arch Bridge is also really worth considering a visit.

There are actually three points where you have to check the bridge and take photos.

From below in the tea fields, walking on the rails of the bridge and from the viewpoint.

Why stay at GlenMyu Estate?

Although GlenMyu Estate is just over an hour away from Ella and Nine Arch Bridge we have found that lots of our guests enjoy staying outside of the busy tourist town of Ella.

Ella is a great place for travellers who want to enjoy the buzz of a lively evening with lots of other like minded tourists. However, Ella is far from what Sri Lanka is really about and many tourist like to stay in a place which is quieter and feels closer to nature.

We only have three bedrooms at GlenMyu Estate so it is more of a bespoke service. Ru lived in the UK for many years and therefore is able to cater for a western palette and adjusts the level of spice accordingly.

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb. You can contact us directly on the WhatsApp button on our website to ask about the best direct rates.

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Less touristy places to stay near Ella for couples.

Less touristy places to stay near Ella for couples?

Are you looking for less touristy places to stay near Ella for couples? GlenMyu Estate is a boutique hotel about 1 hr away from Ella.

Our love letter to Ella Town. 

We still love you and will visit you often.

Ella, what is all the fuss about?

A romantic aspiration of a visit to Ella is to travel by train over “the most beautiful train ride in Sri Lanka” and arrive in the beautiful hill town.

Strolling down towards the high street enjoying the small shops selling trinkets which you will mull over later during your stay.

Walking past the bars and restaurants and sitting by the window enjoying a meal together. 

Reaching your accommodation and being wowed by your bedroom and the view.

Planning your excursions to Little Adams Peak, Ella Rock, Nine Arch Bridge, Ravana’s Cave and Ravana Waterfall.

Wandering around Ella Spice Garden and experiencing a Tea Plantation.

Afternoons and early evenings having around in a hip bar enjoying a snack and drink together. 

Deciding whether you will get up early and catch the sun together in a breathtaking spot.

Will you sleep in or try to get that romantic time together that you will remember for years to come?

The most 'Instgramable' place in Sri Lanka?

I don’t even know if that’s a word – but you get what I mean.

Must see places to visit in and around Ella.

 Little Adams Peak, Ella Rock, Nine Arch Bridge, Ravana’s Cave and Ravana Waterfall.

Wandering around Ella Spice Garden and experiencing a Tea Plantation.

Another must do is to have a meal in a drink at one of the cool restaurants in Ella High Street. Sitting there at a window seat watching the world go by at Chill Cafe, Rainbow Cafe or The Barn by Starbeans.

Some photos of our recent trip to Ella for lunch.

We visited Ella in May 2023 for a spot of lunch and here are some photos I took on the day.

We love Ella but.....

We love Ella for the vibe that it has there, the variety of shops and bars, the opportunity to people spot and the energy it radiates. If you are looking for a bit of nightlife and the opportunity to meet other travellers this tourist town is a great option.

However, if you want to get away from the crowd and immerse yourself in nature and get to understand more about local people, staying a little outside the main town is probably a better choice.

Over development spoiling the natural beauty.

Like several other towns in Sri Lanka, Ella has seen a vast amount of development in recent years to cater for the increased tourist numbers visiting the region. The development has not been controlled which has led to the town not being as pretty as it could have been moulded into.

There is a great Blog post by ‘Forest Bird’ that gives a good history of the development of Ella and his views on what the town has become.

It’s amazing to think that Ravana waterfall was completely overgrown and you had to be a proper backpacker to see this.

I love that Ella was a remote honeymoon spot.

Have a read of the blog – it’s really interesting.

A place to Vlog

There are Vlogs from travellers of all ages providing videos and commentaries of their experience in Ella. 

People love it in Ella and it’s definitely worth a visit. However, lots of our guests at GlenMyu Estate have been disappointed and felt that it was a bit too touristy. 

Lots of travellers dreams are about experiencing things together with their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, not with lots of strangers trying to get that Instagram shot.

Here are some Vlogs about travellers experience of Ella.

A little bit further away from Ella.

There are some wonderful sights to see and experience that are a little bit further away from Ella.

Seeing the sunrise at Lipton’s Seat, near Haputale, is a wonderful experience.

Here are some photos taken by one of our guests. 

An early morning visit to Upper Diyaluma Waterfall.

A little bit different.

Don’t we all want to be a little bit different and stand out from the crowd?

A unique experience is what travellers appear to be seeking nowadays. 

What does your aspiration and dream of your visit to this paradise island look like?

GlenMyu Estate Boutique Hotel - something different.

GlenMyu Estate is located close to Haputale and is just over an hours drive from Ella Town. This makes it a good place to stay of you want to do a day trip to Ella to see the sights but stay in a quieter location.

As there are only three bedrooms at GlenMyu Estate in the five acre estate you will have the space to spend the time together and be away from the crowd.

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Valentines Day

Who wants to spend time with other couples on that special day with each other? I used to hate going out to overpriced restaurants to have my girlfriend (now wife) to be disappointed with the atmosphere and food. 

Here are some of what our guest said about their experience at GlenMyu Estate at Valentines Day 2022.

No need to wait for Valentines Day

GlenMyu Estate can be romantic all year round..

A bath for two!

For best rates please contact us directly on WhatsApp (press the green button on this page).

We are also listed on Airbnb and Booking.com.

Look at our reviews on Airbnb and Booking.com, Google or TripAdvisor.

See more about a Stay in the Sri Lankan Hill Country at our website.

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Less touristy places to stay near Ella for couples. Read More »

A selfie at Nine Arch Bridge, Demodara, Ella, Sri Lanka

Our Day Trip to Nine Arch Bridge

Our Day Trip to visit Nine Arch Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka

We experienced a fabulous day trip to visit the famous Nine Arch Bridge located in Demodara, Ella in Sri Lanka during June 2023.

Here we share our thoughts and experience of our day and hope that it will inspire you to visit this must do place to see in this paradise island.

About Us

Ru and I are a Sri Lankan-British couple that have been living in Sri Lanka for the last seven years. We live at GlenMyu Estate which is a 3 bedroom boutique hotel based near Beragala/Haputale in the Sri Lankan Hill Country. Nine Arch Bridge and Ella Town are around one house and fifteen minutes drive from the estate. This provides us with the opportunity to do day trips to visit some of the fantastic sights to visit in Sri Lanka.

Lots of our guests have hired a Tuk Tuk with a guide and taken a day trip to visit the sights in and around Ella Town. We thought it was about time that we did the same! So here is how our day went and a few tips on what to do when you visit this famous tourist site in Sri Lanka.

Normally we recommend that you leave early ....but!

Whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka I always recommend to our guests that they should visit the sights early in the day. There are many reasons to do this including:

Getting the best light for videos and photos.

To miss the crowds.

Avoiding the heat of the midday sun.

You can read more about why we recommend getting up early in Sri Lanka in our article “The 6 Best Reasons for Getting Up Early“.

As we were taking my wife’s parents we drove to Ella. It takes around one hour fifteen minutes to get to the town however we went on a few detours suggested by Google Directions which led to a few extra kilometres! 

We followed Google Directions to one of the start points to get to Nine Arch Bridge. Having parked outside a shop we would then need to hire Tuk Tuks to take the remaining kilometres to get to the bridge.

My wife decided to check with the Tuk Tuk driver who normally takes guests on a tour to Ella from GlenMyu Estate and he advised that we could go to another entrance and park quite near to Nine Arch Bridge. He said that the road was carpeted and it would be okay for me to drive the car.

So, off we went back out of Ella and to the alternative entrance point to Nine Arch Bridge.

Nine Arch Car Park is where we parked our car.

This is where you should go if you want to travel by Tuk Tuk to Nine Arch Bridge.

I get a little bit nervous!

Although I have been driving in Sri Lanka for several years now I pick and choose what roads I will drive on. Unfortunately this decision came about when my wife “encouraged” me to drive down a narrow road that I was not comfortable on. I managed to hit an edge and take out my tyre wall in the most inconvenient place to replace the tyre with the spare.

After that day, and the unwanted cost of a brand new tyre, I swore that I would not drive on narrow roads and it would be cheaper to hire a Tuk Tuk in future. 

I think that Sri Lankan drivers are much more courageous than I am when it comes down to tackling some of the terrain in the country. A Tuk Tuk is good for certain roads and I believe that by using them from time to time I am supporting a local business. I would rather relieve the stress and nervousness and hand over to someone else at particular times!

My experience still says hire a Tuk Tuk!

I feel that I have done a service to anyone that is considering driving a hire car or their own vehicle to visit Nine Arch Bridge. The road was carpeted and narrow and I did make it to the parking spot near the bridge enabling my in laws to walk the five minutes to see the bridge. 

However, I would not have enjoyed meeting another larger vehicle on this road. Therefore my hearty recommendation is that you drive to a point where you can park your car and take a Tuk Tuk for the rest of the way. I can hear Sri Lankan shouting at me that it is not necessary, but that’s my advice!

Here is the signboard on the route we took by car to visit Nine Arch Bridge.

We parked our car at this shop near to Nine Arch Bridge. It was only about a five minute walk from this point. There was a charge for parking however we were always going to buy something from the shop anyway. We thing that it’s just right to purchase something and have a chat to support the business.

We had some tea and corn on the cob which had been heated on a wood fired pan.

Approaching Nine Arch Bridge

Here is a video that I took as I reached the bridge.

We arrived around midday and therefore there were lots of local and foreign tourists waiting for the train.

At popular tourist attractions - get there early!

This is the second time we have visited Nine Arch Bridge.The first was many years ago when there were not as many tourists around and we did get there a little earlier in the day. We trekked a bit to get to the bridge and it was really nice having a chat with some other tourists whilst we awaited the train.

Several years on and Nine Arch Bridge has become a really popular tourist destination and a must see when you are in the area. 

I have read lots of blogs about when to visit the bridge and getting there for sunrise looks like something special to do. Even if you are staying in Ella you will have to get up pretty early to catch this sight.

Here is a video by Lucie who enjoyed the peace and tranquility of seeing Nine Arch Bridge really early in the morning.

It was still exciting to see the Nine Arch Bridge later in the day.

Although we were later than planned and there were lots of people waiting to see the train, it was still a really great experience.

It’s amazing that so many tourists that come from countries that have lots of trains and lots of bridges rush to see this sight. However, the history of the bridge, the beauty of the arches and the pace of the train make it a really enjoyable experience. 

Here comes the train!

I really enjoyed the atmosphere created by all the people waiting for the train to come. The noise of the train, the beautiful backdrop and the people on the carriages made it all worthwhile.

 

Make sure that you know when the trains are due.

One major benefit of getting a Tuk Tuk to Nine Arch Bridge is that they will know when you need to be there to ensure that you see a train. It’s worth the cost of the hire. Trains in Sri Lanka don’t run on time very often and these Tuk Tuk drivers have ways to find out when a train will be crossing the bridge.

Would we recommend visiting Nine Arch Bridge?

We had a really good time and interesting day getting to Nine Arch Bridge and seeing the train cross the bridge filled with passengers.  

At GlenMyu we normally plan a day trip to Ella for our guests to see Nine Arch Bridge along with one or two other sights.

There are lots of other activates to do a see around Ella which are worth a visit. On our day trip we also visited Ravana Waterfall which is a distance outside Ella Town. You can read about our experience at Ravana Waterfall at the following article. 

Here are some more videos I shot on our day trip.

What else is there to see and do around Ella?

There are lots to see and do around Ella and we would suggest picking two or three things that you are interested in.

Hiking
Ella Rock
Little Adam’s Peak

Waterfalls
Ravana Falls
Ellawala Waterfall

Tea and Spices
Ella Tea Factory
Ella Spice Garden 

Cultural
Ravana’s Cave
Dowa Rock Temple

Food and Drink
There are lots of places to eat, drink and people watch in Ella’s main street.

Here are a few to try:
Cafe Chill
Rainbow Cafe
The Barn
Mandala Cafe & Bar

Please do a little research before you visit.

We would always recommend doing a little bit of reading before you visit the sights in Sri Lanka as it amazing what you will learn. 

Did you know that there is a rumour that there was no steel used in the construction of Nine Arch Bridge as the steel that was to be used was redeployed as it was needed for material used in the war in Europe.

The bridge was completed in 1921.

If you visit Ravana Waterfall we would recommend that you read about Ravana.

The importance of reading something more about the places you plan to visit before you get there hit me on one of my early trips to the Island.

On our visit to Sigiriya Lion Rock we were amazed that there was effectively plumbing around 400 AD creating fountains in the Kings palace.

When we visited the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy I really knew very little about Buddhism. Fortunately we hired a guide for the tour who was able to “enlighten me” a little and it made the tour much more real.

Why stay at GlenMyu Estate Hotel and not in Ella?

Well, it’s all a matter of preference. If you are looking to stay in a less touristy place then GlenMyu Estate may well be the place for you. We think that there are lots of people that really enjoy staying in and around Ella Town and enjoying the nightlife and being closer to the tourist sights. However, we have had lots of guests stay with us a GlenMyu Estate who have found Ella too touristy and being able to do a day trip and getting back to our little piece of paradise suits them well.

What is at GlenMyu Estate?

GlenMyu Estate – Summary

3 Kingsize Double Bedrooms with Spectacular Views

2 Spacious Lounges with views over the hills below the house

A Natural Spring-Fed Infinity Swimming Pool

5 Acres of land to explore

Delicious bespoke meals freshly prepared by the host

A selection of places to dine

A place to relax and be closer to nature

Within reach of the following tourist sites

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb. You can also contacts directly for our best rates.

Our Day Trip to Nine Arch Bridge Read More »

A view from the lawn of the the house at GlenMyu Estate, Hotel and Bed & Breakfast, Haputale, Sri Lanka.

Less touristy places to stay near Ella, Sri Lanka?

Less touristy places to stay near Ella

We find that there are more and more travellers looking for less touristy places to stay near Ella, Sri Lanka.

If you want to get away from the tourist crowd, then GlenMyu Estate Hotel is around 1 hours drive from Ella so ideal for day trips.

Ella is great.

It is a one of the most iconic places to visit in Sri Lanka hosting Nine Arch Bridge, Little Adam’s Peak. Ravana Waterfall, Ravana’s Cave, Ella Rock and a Zip Line.

The town’s main street has an array of popular restaurants serving a range of delicacies for hungry visitors. You can have Vegan Food, a good old hamburger, pizza and a range of traditional Sri Lankan food. 

There are smaller places to eat, a little more of a Sri Lankan style scattered about the town and on the outskirts.

Those who stay in Ella and venture further afield can visit the wonder of Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Dambetenne Tea Factory, Thangamale Bird Sanctuary, Adisham Bungalow and many more places of interest.

One of the most scenic railway journeys in Sri Lanka …and the world!

Many tourists visiting Sri Lanka travel on the six to seven hour railway journey from Kandy, a former capital of the country, to Ella Railway station. The journey takes you through lush mountainous terrain with manicured tea plantations in the distance.

There are mixed views that the most beautiful part of the journey is from Nanu Oya to Ella or from Haputale to Ella. We, however, have had guests at GlenMyu Estate who enjoyed the journey an hour out from Kandy, so beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

Buying tickets for the train can be a challenge. An online service was launched in early 2023 but the tickets are sold out quite early on. You can rock up to the train station and purchase the tickets on the day, if it is not fully sold out. The main issue about not purchasing a ticket in advance is that you may not get a seat and you will probably be in Thirds Class. The Third Class section is considered to be a more authentic experience of a train journey in Sri Lanka as this is where most of the local people travel by train. However, standing for six to seven hours is something that is beyond what I would accept. Unfortunately, we have had guests at GlenMyu Estate who have had to stand for most of the journey. It puts a dent into what should be a memorable experience.

Once you are on the train you can join the sheep and get your, now not so unique, instagram photo of you hanging off the train. The train does move quite slowly at times so there is on a little danger of falling off or being hit by something. Unfortunately, everyone is not so lucky and, there have been accidents and a trip to hospital as a result of trying to get your snap. Please be warned and take care

The History of Ella.

Prior to 1970 Ella was a very small town with little commercial activity. At that time there was no road to Wellawaya and ravens Waterfall was hidden in the jungle. It took a days hike in tough terrain to reach the waterfall. 

In the 1970’s the Ella to Wellawaya Road was completed and was able to be navigated by a vehicle. Ella was more popular to get top by vehicle rather than by train for many years.

It was not until around 2008 that Ella became a popular back-packer’s find. This was mainly due to it being highlighted as a place to visit in the Lonely Planet Travel Guide.

In 2004, after the Tsunami, Lonely Planet introduced Ella as a comfortable backpacker location which could be reached from the Capital, Colombo, on a 10 hour train journey

Subsequently, with further improvements in infrastructure and places of interest being more accessible, more tourists started exploring the area.

You can read more about the development of Ella one the following Blog by Forest Bird.

The bars and the nightlife

Being in Sri Lanka for seven years now I do miss the atmosphere in a European bar, spending time with friends, shooting the breeze and listening to some good music. It’s a great place to meet people, share stories of touring around Sri Lanka and getting some recommendations. If I was young and single, I would love it. 

I still like to go to Ella occasionally, sample the atmosphere and have something different to eat and drink.

Wanting something a little less busy?

Our experience at GlenMyu Estate is that some guests want to be located within reach of Ella so that they can see the sights there, but don’t want to be in the heart of the town. We have had guests that are young and old, with backpacks and suitcases, single, married and with children. Many of our guests want to be away from places that are too touristy (is that a word?) and experience good bars, restaurants and nightlife back in Europe.

Some of our guests spend two or three nights at GlenMyu Estate and then go to Ella and stay there for a few nights.

At the end of the day I often say “it’s horses for courses”. There is nothing wrong with Ella and thousands of people have a great time there. We actually had a honeymoon couple cancel their booking with us (quite late on) and extend their stay in Ella as they were having such a good time.

We were happy that they made that decision. Both my wife and I just wanted all travellers to Sri Lanka to have a wonderful time on this Paradise Island, return and explore some more.

Stay at GlenMyu Estate to explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country

A stay at GlenMyu Estate as you explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country and visit Ella on a day trip.

We only have three bedrooms and you will need to book early during the peak holiday season.

The estate is usually within an hours drive of the major sightseeing locations such as Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Town, Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Bambarakanda Waterfall and many more,

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb.
Contact us by the WhatsApp button on our website for direct booking rates.

Less touristy places to stay near Ella, Sri Lanka? Read More »

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