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.
"We would like to say thank you very much Mr. Cyril for the excellent 7 night tour of Sri Lanka you provided us. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Sri Lanka and the itinerary you arranged. The four hotels (Earls Regency, Amaya Lake, Heritance Kandalama and the Colombo Hilton) were excellent and thoroughly deserved their 5 stars. Your driving skills was excellent. Also very friendly, calm, helpful, and courteous and always prompts. Sri Lanka is a lovely country and the people were very friendly. ..." Suresh and Prashanth
"Dear Cyril, Here are some photos for you as we promised, and also little gift to you. Here is some photos of elephant boy which we were took on elephant ride. Please give to them when you go to Habarana again. We are very grateful to you for your services that you have done to make our holiday in this beautiful country. Still we are thinking over our nice trip with you. It was fantastic, really! Here in Holland, life is normal again. Greeting for your wife and daughter too. George and Cala ..." George and Cala
"Cyril Tours is a very good agency. Because we did use it from 01st of March to 14 March 2013. From the start till end of our emails, he has (Mr.Cyril) given all required details. Also he send us very detailed itinerary with pictures. Actually no need guide after go through it.Cyril Tours is not a big agency. He was a guide in Sri Lanka more than 26 years. Many clients recommend him to their friends and to relatives who want to visit Sri Lanka.They asked from him to travel, that is why he be..." John and Mary from Canada
"Thank you so much for wonderful Sri Lanka trip.We had a great time. The trip was very relaxing as well as fun. My daughter MAHI who lovingly started calling you "Cyril Dada"(grand farther) Had a memorable trip. She cannot stop talking about elephants. Our trip to Sri Lanka will be full of great memories, its because of you. Thank you for showing us your beautiful country the way we wanted, eating local food, lots of King coconut and Corn stops. We will be surely coming back to see rest o..." Mithil Patel
"Thank you so much Cyril for guiding us around your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our time which was made particularly special by your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendliness. We wish you all the best in the future. Warm regards from, Aonghus O'Keefee and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland " Aonghus and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland
"Thank you Cyril for making our Christmas holiday fun so smoothly and easy. We loved Sri Lanka and look forward to retuning again. Cyril, your knowledge and service was outstanding and it was so refreshing to have such a very highlevel of service. We will be sure to recomond your service and travel agency to our friends. Please feel free to use us as a reference, you can use my email or phone number to clients." Bruce Larson & family from USA
"11th April 2014 01 week tour around Sri Lanka A fantastic week was had by all with Cyril, exploring Kandy, Nuwaraeliya and Bentota. Your meaningful insights & excellent explanations of the Sri Lanka’s culture, nature and traditions were invaluable. Your smile and charm helped is feel related and comfortable. Not getting stressed once. With your guidance & tips, the holiday flew by with only one problem: it was very short! Your comprehensive list of talents ranges from findin..." Ian Price and family from UK
"We had a exellent and memorable trip. That all credit to you Cyril.Indepth knowledge about the place, roads, Culture and history. Very matuared and patient. We were in very safe hands on all the time. Thanks a lot, mainly it's memorable expeirience for all of us. We always recomond CYRIL TOURS to our friends and relatives in Dubai and in India." Awdhesh Kumar and gruop
"We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam
"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