During my trip to Sri Lanka I was convinced to take a side trip to Ella, a beautiful little town about 200 km from Colombo. Ella is quickly becoming a backpacker hub and hotels are being built as we speak. Ella Eco-Lodge was my home and backdrop for my photo shoot with Sri Lankan model Prageeth Silva. After being in the busy city of Colombo for a week I needed an escape to nature.
We took an air conditioned evening bus through the dark countryside. Only small shops an temples covered in Christmas lights lined the way down the bumpy red dirt roads. I was the only woman on the bus, most of the men were going home to enjoy a long holiday weekend after working all week in Colombo. A young man about 17 ended up curling up to me and falling asleep on my shoulder for a few hours along the way, most likely exhausted from working in the hot sun all week.
The bus ride was seven hours, two hours behind schedule and although it was endurable it was not enjoyable as leg space is quite cramped. We were in luck to find a robust tuk-tuk driver in the middle of the night, but his tuk was too weak to actually carry us up the hill to the eco-lodge so we were blessed with the joy of walking our bags up the hill in the middle of the night.
Ella Eco-lodge is conveniently located just a short walk from town however once you climb waterfall road to the lodge you feel transported into a different world. This space is perfect for a getaway and as a nature lover I was in pure heaven. There is Ella Rock that's close by but we chose to go to Badulla and hike to Dunhinda Waterfall instead. Taking the city buses between the towns was a highlight of my time as I struggled to stand up I enjoyed jamming out to the live music videos of great music.
Once Prageeth and I completed our photo shoot and hike most of our time at Ella Eco-lodge was spent enjoying the space. You can watch monkeys in the trees on hear them on the roofs in the morning. There are countless birds, butterflies, and if you're lucky deer that come to roam around the foliage. The rooms were well-equipped, clean and pleasantly fragrant. The bathrooms had hot showers which becomes quite a luxury when you're on the road.
Sampath Perera the owner of Ella Eco-Lodge, was kind, accommodating and we had a lively and eye-opening conversation about American politics, my least favorite subject at the moment. Sampath has beautiful goals for his Eco-lodge and wants to accomplish as many things as he can without damaging the environment which I found respectable. My only complaint was that I could have lived in this beautiful place for much longer. I rarely go places only once so when I return to Ella, I will be sure to spend more time here.
If you're interested in booking this accommodation during your trip to Sri Lanka check out Sampath's AirBnB here.