After the three buses and five hours it took to get there, as soon as I arrived in Ella I knew that it was a place I was going to enjoy. The air was cool and crisp, the hills were beautiful and it seemed I wouldn’t be hassled by tuk tuks every step of the way. I had pre-booked my first nights accommodation at Silent Night Guesthouse, conveniently near the bus stop, but I kind of regretted doing so. Most cities are overflowing with accommodation, from classy hotels to dodgy hostels and loads of friendly home-stays, I definitely should have waiting and struck a deal on arrival. My first afternoon in the city was slow, taking a walk to orient myself, enjoying a veggie burger after one too many rice and curry meals and taking a nice warm shower, something you actually need in Ella as the temperatures drop, especially at night.
I intended to leave early the next morning, but reconsidered deciding that I wanted to enjoy the [balcony] room I had paid for. The owners served breakfast at 8, a large spread including a (sugar filled) pancake, bananas, coconut roti, an (onion) omelet and pot of tea. Had I known it was not included with the room I probably would have declined the offer, but the spread of food gave me only more reason to sit on the balcony and enjoy my morning.
When I finally did get moving it was nearly 10:30 which meant I’d be reaching the peak at peak heat with strong sun. The walk to the peak follows Passara Road for about 2km and although the road is busy, it’s a beautiful walk with gigantic trees and rolling hills to gaze at. It’s easy to pass right by the turn off point for the peak as it’s actually the same entrance to 98 acres resort. Follow the steps up, pass the reception office and handful of swanky bungalows before you’re on the path to Adam’s peak, you’ll know you’re going the right way after passing the “helicopter pad” for the resort (I’m not sure why they need one of those).
At the bottom of the trail to Little Adam’s peak you’ll likely meet a girl named Mayomi who sets up a small display of her beautiful jewelry every day. I was greeted with a warm hello as I walked by, but the girl and her display caught my eye so I knew I’d stop on my way down. When I came back I was greeted with the same smile, but no pressure to stop and look or buy which only made me want to stay. Seeing my interest Mayomi introduced her product to me, hand made bracelets and necklaces using seeds found in her village. She was knowledgeable about her product, explained the names (in multiple languages) and various uses (aside from making jewelry) which only increased my desire to support her. I chose a small bracelet, adding to my row of arm candy, which she packaged in a handmade envelope which on the outside had the seed names, origin and uses, convenient because I’d otherwise have forgotten. I later realized she had also listed her Instagram account on the back @Mayomipeak, very clever.
This unexpected encounter and fun purchase was only the cherry on top of an already successful morning, Little Adam’s peak is a beautiful spot and although it’s pretty busy with tourists (even at 12pm) I’d encourage everyone to check it out. The majority of the hike is actually stairs which makes it feel more touristy, but should you want more of a challenge you can keep going. After reaching the first lookout, with great views of Ella’s rock and sprawling tea fields you can clamber down the rocks and back up again for a bit more secluded vantage point. I figured I was there mine as well see it all and continued along the way. I’m glad I did too because I met two dutch girls and the three of us managed a pretty great photo shoot, something you don’t always get when traveling alone.
I was sweating, out of water and overdue on checking out of my home-stay, but had those things not been a factor I would have stayed a bit longer. I wanted to return for sunset the following day, my last in Ella, but dark clouds and showers squashed those plans. I suppose I’ll just have to do that the next time I visit because I think I’ve come to realize, I’ll probably be making a return trip to this country.
To be quite honest I have no idea where my desire to travel to this country originated, but it festered and grew for nearly 3 years. In a sense it's a cleaner, safer, smaller India and having always had that country on my radar it seemed like the perfect test drive.