For many people travelling in Asia, seeing elephants is at the top of their to-do list. But it can be really difficult to find an ethical place that is looking after them properly — however much research you do.
Around 75 per cent of the world’s captive elephants have been illegally captured, with over 3,000 used for entertainment purposes in Asia alone. The annual World Elephant Day (August 12) is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants, as many fight to change this fate.
The tiny town of Ella, Sri Lanka, is located in the Hill Country of and it is gorgeous (mostly) as it is surrounded by cloud forests and tea plantations.
You can arrive by train from Kandy or on a (very long) bus journey from anywhere on the south coast (read about Kandy here).
It is 1,041 metres (3,415 ft) above sea level, so it is a little colder than the rest of the country. I visited in December and while the days were scorching hot, in the evenings I wore trousers and a jumper.
I didn’t go with the intention of writing an Ella Planter’s Bungalow review. When I am staying as a travel journalist I can’t always fully relax. Throughout my trip in Sri Lanka I booked some hotels with no intention of writing about them so I could switch off.
Ella Planter’s Bungalow was one of them, but I was so impressed and left so in love I simply had to!
The bungalow, from which the Ella Planter’s Bungalow was founded, is located on the southern fringes of a tea plantation area established in the late 19th century during the colonial period. The garden and grounds are home to a rare collection of tropical fruit trees with incredible views of the hills all around.
There is decadence in every detail of the Theva Residency, subtle hints of luxury such as slippers that feel like pillows beneath your feet, and the spectacular 3D Sri Lankan paintings adorning the walls.
These sit alongside more obvious features such as the Jacuzzi centre piece of my room and the infinity pool surrounded by sun beds overlooking the hills of Kandy.