We started the day with breakfast on our terrace outside the hotel room, and tried to decide which waterfall we would visit. We read lots of blogs about the options near to Ella but reviews were mixed with lots of people saying they were crowded and touristy. We did however find one with a small mention online called Ellawalla Falls, there was a rough route, so we decided to give it a go.
We got ready and went to get an iced coffee to start the day, along with some delicious local pastries to take with us for lunch.
To start the trek we needed to get a bus from Ella in the direction of Wellawaya, with only one road running in this direction it was pretty easy to know which bus to take. We got onto a private bus, decorated with all sorts of colours, swishing curtains, glittery buddha shrines and local music tv blasting. The road was windy and close to a sheer drop on the left side! So many bends, and travelling at such speed that both of us started to feel a little bit travel sick.
Luckily we stopped the bus right in time at a temple on the main road, which is where our walk would start.
It was really warm, blue sky, and burning sun, but we were confident following a small road in the direction of our guide, we reached a large reservoir which was being constructed and felt reassured we were on the right path. This area was very quiet, the occasional local would whizz past on their bike or truck, but no tourists. Then a tuk tuk came past with a western couple, so we felt again reassured we must be on the right path.
We carried on walking by this point around an hour, until we reached a sign which pointed to the falls. The sign was a bit dodgy looking with a taped arrow which appeared to have been altered to make the arrow point in a different direction, after our experience of the locals yesterday trying to trick tourists we were both doubtful. A woman came walking along the road as we were deliberating, we asked her ‘waterfall?’and she said yes and gestured up to the pathway. We were both suspicious and so decided to ignore the sign and the woman (awkwardly) and continue along the road. Our route instructed that we should walk to the end of the road and take a left into the jungle before reaching the falls. We found the river, and the end of the road and so thought we were definitely on the right path.
However we were wrong.
We somehow ended up in the garden of a small house, the man (who was holding a huge knife cutting down his grass) and woman just sort of stared at us and we politely said hello, as we strolled through their garden whilst their dogs barked at us. Ooops. We were definitely on the wrong path so embarrassingly had to walk back through. We found a small trail along the river, which lead us to some large rocks, after scrambling over them to try and get to the other side we realised what we were doing was pretty dangerous, the rocks were slippy and the water was pretty fast and deep, so one slip might not have ended well. We tried again to find another path, asking a local if we were on track to the waterfall he said yes, but again this path just lead us further up stream on the wrong side of the river.
Getting hotter and more tired, with a long walk back to the bus stop we decided to give up, eat our slightly sweaty but still delicious samosas and EGB ginger beer and start our journey back along the road.
As we walked we saw a tuk tuk coming towards us it was the couple who had passed a few hours ago, we flagged them down to ask if they had been to the waterfall, they replied yes it’s just back up the road by the sign and it was about a 20 minute walk but definitely worth it. So with our tails between our legs we set off up the right path, with the right arrow we’d thought was wrong. 20 mins later and we arrived.
We were proud we finally made it, but also sad to see that the construction work on the reservoir had meant that the water, which was once a clearer turquoise was now muddy and filled with stone sediment. We enjoyed a sit on the rocks, with a friendly young group of Sri Lankans and a friendly dog who loved Ryan.
Then set back on our walk back to the bus.
By this time it was busy on the buses, and we jumped onto a bus that was packed full of people. We were hanging on to the rails by the steps to the open doors, and as the bus was travelling fast and round very windy roads, Lisa wanted to get off. So we jumped off and waited for the next one, which wasn’t much emptier so we just went with it and clung on for our lives. 40 minutes later we arrived back in Ella.
Tonight we went back to our favourite Matey Hut. An hour queue to get into a place is always a good sign, and again we weren’t disappointed Ryan had a Chicken Curry and Lisa a selection of Vegetable Curries. DELICIOUS.