Onwards in the south eastern tip of hill country is its most famous town, Ella.
Nestled amongst the beauty of the mist rolling over lush green peaks, Ella feels almost otherworldly, especially at sunrise, which we were lucky enough to see from our hillside rooms.
But its beauty has attracted exponential development, and our old friend Richard from Bandarawela (who we bumped into in Ella) told us land prices have increased five fold in as many years.
He’s opening small lodgings here soon, one of many to take advantage of the appeal of Ella’s startling countryside and attractions.
If hordes of backpackers and a strip of restaurants and bars reminiscent of a Thai island isn’t your bag, Ella might not be for you. For us, the clash of astounding scenery and buzzing high street struck a perfect balance.
And there’s also a boutique hotel or two nestled in the mountains if the basic places don’t appeal.
Other tips? Unwind with a massage with the world’s best view at 98 Acres resort if you’re still delicate from Adam’s Peak.
Here some of the girls took an early morning yoga class with unbeatable views – on a helipad! The spa is also handily at the foot of Little Adam’s Peak, a perfect 30 minute climb if you’d rather avoid three day calf-ache from the real thing.
A tea plantation tour is a must. We visited the Halpewatte Tea Factory about 10 minutes out of Ella in Uva.
Perched rather forebodingly on the mountainside, inside it was eerily silent because there was no picking or processing on a Sunday. Nevertheless we still had a tour all to ourselves around a very deserted factory.
Suvi, our guide, explained how he’d worked in the Tea industry pretty much all of his life, and spoke with intense pride at the production of Ceylon black tea. Even though production lines were silent, his passion brought the process to life. He may have dropped in once or twice he was solely responsible for the factory’s 4.5* Tripadvisor rating too!
Earlier that day we had our own Stand By Me moment walking along the train tracks from Ella Station in time to see one chug over the stunning Nine Arches railway bridge 2km down the line.
Our three days here were quite something, perched on the hillside with one of the most stunning views we’ve ever seen.
Our hosts welcomed us into their guest house as if we were their own, and we were even there to see their littlest one before he went off to school for the very first time.
It’s clear why Ella itself is expanding, with such a rich concentration of things to see. For that you need to spend three or four days here, you won’t regret it. Just don’t leave it too long to visit, as it fast turns from authentic tea town, to tourist town.