Little Adam's Peak in Ella is best experienced at day break. What's even better is one of the secondary viewing points a little way off, but more on that later.
Getting there from Colombo can be quite a trip in itself. If you're taking buses, you'll have to take about two or three to get there in the first place. Or you can get the Superline coach to Badulla, and then tuk or bus it to Ella.
We caught the Nightmail from Fort and reached there at about 6AM, so we recommend you spend the night somewhere close to the Ella Junction (you can check out the Grand Ella Motel), and then proceed to reach Little Adam's at around 4.30 AM.
Leaving Fort at 8PM and reaching Ella at 6 AM, get ready for a very bumpy ride in the middle of the night. Tickets are Rs. 600 for second class. While it's still supremely rickety, it isn't half bad.
Despite missing out on the rolling expanse of beautiful landscape along the way during the day, there's an implicit beauty in the sights (or lack of thereof) of nature as it's bathed in shadows and silhouettes in the middle of the night. You'd get a lone human cutting through all this - the darkness is in some places suddenly sliced by a beam of yellow light as you see a nocturnal motorcyclist make his way through the deserted country roads which sometimes runs parallel to the track.
The nightmail itself is also rickety - you bounce, sway, and are rolled around (reminding you of the baila 'piti halapan noney / piti kotapan noney' as you end up feeling like the aforementioned piti in a sieve) as the carriages themselves bounces, sway, and flies through the night. It's somewhat exhilarating not having seatbelts in such a roller coaster of a ride. It's also rather quaint - the sheer age of the carriages, absolute lack of renovation and refurbishment, the chipped, grimy plywood walls, injected with doors with rusty hinges. Fat cockroaches crawl at the junction where the walls and floor meets, so take care of your bags because they can creep in. Sorry we don't have pictures,we were all rather tuckered out.
From the Ella Junction (which is a short walk from the Ella Motel), it's 2kms to the 98 Acres resort, from where you can access the track which will eventually lead you to the peak. Ask around the junction and find a tuk beforehand, so you're all set for the morning. You'll be ambling about in the dark so carry a torch each.
It's freezing out there, especially when you're whipping around in a three wheeler at high speeds, so dress warmly! And travel light, unless you want your back to be dead numb by the end of the day.
The hike makes your blood pound, but it doesn't really stop your teeth from chattering.
The walk up is quite spectacular. Whenever the road diverged and we weren't sure which direction to head off into, we took whichever path seemed to lead upwards. And whichever path led to the left, for some reason. This worked for us and we were granted some beautiful pre-dawn sights.
We didn't go straight to Little Adam's when we reached the top, opting to turn left instead. Little Adam's Peak is onto your right once you reach the end of the trail, but there's a secondary almost non-existent trail to the left which leads you to another peak which is simply stunning. Mostly because there aren't any people there, whereas there are a few early tourists at the former.
At some point, you'll need to maneuver around on all fours, but the view at the end is worth it.
It's secluded, with whipping winds, and a view that stretches all the way to the Ravana Falls and beyond. There's a flat little rock/ sitting area that's barely just enough for three people. Plus you're covered by tall wild grass all around as well; so complete isolation from people for several wonderful hours if you're looking for that.
The walk back to Little Adam's Peak takes a little over 15-20 minutes, and is rather anticlimatic with the tourists milling about and all that, especially after its companion peak a little way off.
You still do get stunning views though.
And that marks the end of the trek to Little Adam's. Other things to see in the area are Ravana's Cave and Ravana's Falls, both which are historic sites and, rather predictably, tourist attractions as well.
Ravana's Cave is 2kms away from here, whereas the falls are another 2kms away from the cave if you're interested. You can hop into a Wellawaya-bound bus from the Ella Junction to reach either.
If you're getting back to Colombo, the train station is also just a hop away from the junction, or else you can get the Superline from Badulla later that night.
Hint: the Superline (at Rs. 800) is a lot more comfortable if you want to get some shut-eye on your way back :)
We experienced the stunning views at dawn at Ella's Little Adam's Peak.
සිංහල මෙම කඳු ගැටයට අවුරුදු 6000කටත් එපිට වූ ඉතිහාසයක් ඇති බැව් ඇල්ල ප්රදේශවාසීන් කිහිපදෙනෙකුම මා සමඟ පැවසූවේ මෙම කඳු මුදුන එකල යක්ෂ ගෝත්රික හෙළයා සූර්ය වන්දනාව කිරීම සඳහා භාවිතා කළ බැවින් වන්නට ඇත.