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After climbing Little Adams Peak and drinking tea till we dropped we were ready to move on to the next place. Our main goal was to head from Ella to Udawalawe to see the amazing elephants and experience the Udawalawe Safari we have heard so much about. With us trying to stay on a budget we really only had a couple of options.
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Ella To Udawalawe
When traveling Sri Lanka a short journey can sometimes take a very long time. This is for a good reason. With the winding narrow roads, it’s best to take it slow for safety. The journey in total is 100 KM. In the USA that trip would only take us around 1 hour. To travel the same distance in Sri Lanka it took us 2 hours. This seems to be the fastest route we could find.
You have three options for traveling from Ella to Udawalawe. We went with the van it wasn’t the cheapest but it also wasn’t the most expensive. Below are the three modes of transportation and how to use them.
Taxi: Most expensive
Sri Lanka Taxi
This was the most expensive option to do with and the most comfortable of all. Even though we didn’t choose to travel this way that doesn’t mean you can’t. We were quoted 6000 LKR ( $33.87 USD). This still is a very reasonable price and I am sure you can negotiate him down a little. Traveling by Taxi offers you the comfort of Airconditioning and the space to yourself. You don’t have to worry about sharing or someone taking up to much room. For most people taking a vacation, this may be the best bet for you.
Sri Lanka Van
This is the option we went with. It was priced in the middle and the best option for us at the time. We had spoken with a van driver in town and was quoted a price of 2000 LKR ($11.29 USD). Sounds like a pretty good deal right? Wait it gets better! After traveling Asia for over two years we knew that this was only the starting point. You have to bargain. After walking away he basically started to negotiate with himself. We instantly walked back and offered him a lower price of 1100 LKR ($6.21 USD) per person. He was more than happy with that and accepted it right away. For us, this was a very fair price. The van holds 7 people so we knew we weren’t going to be the only ones taking this trip. I have read the average rate most people get is around 1400-1700 LKR. So if you fall within that range you are getting a fair deal. The ride only took 2 hours and was really comfortable. There was a total of 4 people with us so we had plenty of room. The van was Airconditioned and really new. He even had decent music to listen to.
Sri Lanka Bus
You do have a third option when traveling from Ella to Udawalawe and that is the local bus. When we were visiting Sri Lanka it very hot out. With traveling by local bus that means no Airconditioning and can also mean a not so comfortable ride. Let’s just say there was a bus broke down in front of our hotel in Ella it had lost its breaks. This was the main reason we didn’t travel by bus. Ella is 1,041 metres (3,415 ft) above sea level. I would not want to be on a bus when the breaks gave out. Yes, it is the cheapest but I was too worried to risk it on that hill.
If you do want to take the local bus you can find the Sri Lanka bus time table at the Tourist information center by the train station or the tourist and police booth when you first enter Ella. This trip should take you 3 hours or more. This really depends on how many people get on and off the bus along the way. The total trip should only cost you 235LKR ( $1.33 USD ).
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country full of so many amazing things to do. We spent 30 days here and that still wasn’t enough. If you only have a short time don’t miss our top recommendations for what to do in three weeks.
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