Always down for a dip in the natural pool, and it’s time to get naked. You’re watching Vagabrothers, and this is Sri Lanka. I’m Alex. I’m Marko, and we’re the Vagabrothers- brothers, vagabonds, and your go-to guides for travel tips, inspiration, and vlogs on YouTube. In this series we’re discovering the best of Sri Lanka: ancient cities stunning nature rich culture, and delicious food. What’s up? I’m Marko. I’m Alex, and you’re watching Vagabrothers. Right now we are in Sri Lanka. We’ve been traveling through the whole country, and right now we’re in the south of the hill country in Ella, which is kind of backpacker central of Sri Lanka, and we’re starting things off at a boutique hotel called 98 Acres. They only have twenty eight rooms though, which is slightly confusing, but we’re going to grab some lunch at Cafe 98, and then behind us we have Little Adam’s Peak, which is supposedly one of the best hikes in the area. So we’re going to strap on some boots and make it to the top of the peak, get a lay of the land, and see where we go. You ready? I’m ready. Let’s do it. Let’s go. Right, well for lunch we have a nice spread. We’re doing fish and curry or chicken and curry dishes. We got a lot of different types of curries. We got vegetables; we got dahl; we have fish; we got chicken. I’m going to just put a big plop of rice right onto a banana leaf, and you just kind of mix it all in. You have the coconut sambal, which is awesome and it’s a simple and delicious meal. It’s going to fuel us for our hike up to the top of the mountain. Food was so good. I have finished everything on my plate. This place is super cool. We are not staying here because there’re only twenty eight rooms, and they get booked up way in advance and they’re also some of the most expensive rooms in Sri Lanka, but as you can see definitely worthwhile. But if you don’t stay here, I think that coming for lunch is a really good deal, but at its core Ella is a backpacker town. We’re going to go on this hike up the mountain and then get down to the village to see why it’s so popular with backpackers. Where is your school? Is it this way? Are you coming home? Finished school? Finish. Are you learning English in school? England. Look photo? Yeah, you’re in a photo right now. Say, “hello.” Say, “hello.” This place is pretty cool. It’s called 98 Acres because there are 98 acres on the property. Most of it is a tea plantation, and there’s 28 houses and they don’t expand it. They don’t plan on expanding beyond the 28 huts, but all the food we just ate comes from local areas. It’s super sustainable, really good, and there’s like yoga studios, gyms. It’s making me want to come back here already. We haven’t even left yet. We maybe are 5 or 10 minutes into the hike, and it’s already started raining quite hard. We’ve popped into a little hut that’s under construction at the base of the climb, and we’re just kind of hunkering down for a little bit of shelter. The view out in front of us of the valley is… it’s pretty incredible. What are they building here? Special construction by cable car. Oh, they’re making a cable car. Ah… it’s actually interesting because this town Ella was really not on the map until it got written up in a couple guidebooks. Got all the ingredients of a good backpacker destination: It’s very mellow. The prices are lower than on the coast. But this building is one of the new constructions that is kind of flowering up around this new economy. And it’s kind of cool like on one side I’m sure there’re people who are like.. no this used to be really great when it was just a couple of backpackers here back in the day. But it’s also interesting to see locals taking advantage of the interest in this part of the world. The hope is that it can be developed the right way without losing its flavor, its charm, and also without becoming overcrowded, which unfortunately is kind of the case with travel. Somebody finds a cool spot, and then you tell the next person, the next person, and next thing you know, it’s totally flooded and it’s not the same as it was. That’s kind of the traveler dilemma in a way. But you can’t deny the locals the opportunity to improve their financial standpoint but you just hope that it’s done in the right way because this is an absolutely stunning place, and it would be a shame if five or ten years from now it isn’t. All right, well we are walking back towards town, and we’re passing a local village. Lots of ladies harvesting tea. We still have our doggy friends in tow from Little Adam’s Peak, but we’re going to head back to town and see what type of mischief we can get up to on a rainy afternoon. When you come to Sri Lanka you should always keep in mind the time of year because the monsoon hits the south in May and June, and then in the north, it will hit at a different time of year. Check episode 1 of this series to learn more information that you should know before you go to Sri Lanka. All right, well we are at the Chill Cafe, aptly named. It’s extremely chill; it’s also pretty popular. Definitely like a little backpackers’ haunt. Pretty nostalgic, honestly. It’s been a while since we’ve hung out at good old-fashioned backpackers’ bar. But we’ve got cocktails with Arak, which is a local alcohol, ginger beer which Sri Lanka produces. They use a lot of ginger and lime. Cheers. It’s a rainy afternoon. Just going to have a cocktail, read, and chill. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. It’s a beautiful day here in rural Sri Lanka We’re at the Jetwing Kaduruketha surrounded by rice fields, mountains, jungles. Woke up to the sounds of peacocks at 5:30 in the morning. And we’ve also spotted a little bit of wild life. Seen a mongoose, seen a bunch of different birds, but today we have something super fun and super special. Yesterday we were in Ella, and we were very firmly planted on the backpacker trail. There’re tons of backpackers there, and the in the town really has that sort of vibe. We even were at the Nine Arches Bridge, which is now famous from Instagram and just kind of very crowded. So today we were trying to find something that’s a little bit different. We’re going to go hike up to the second biggest waterfall in Sri Lanka. It’s supposed to be beautiful, and it’s supposed to be something that most tourists don’t even know about. We are at the base of Diyaluma Falls. It’s really cool. There’s a big rubber plantation right here, and behind us are the houses of the rubber workers. They’re super beautiful. They have all these different colors on them, and it’s a very nice setting. I don’t think that many tourists come this far. Today should be a day of exploration. This is an old rubber factory and a lot of the surrounding countryside is actually filled with rubber trees. That’s how rubber was harvested and still is harvested. It’s a naturally occurring substance, which is essentially the sap of the rubber tree. In the turn of the century, there was a huge rubber boom, internationally. Lots of European countries were trying to get rubber for their industrial booms that happened in the early 1900s. Getting rubber was essential for the economies of lots of industrialized nations. They needed rubber to make tires, to make all the things, all the new products of the Industrial Revolution. Places like this where the rubber tree naturally grows and could grow became very important for these countries. This is all of the…..this is the rubber and Oh my gosh. Look at that. It looks like something that would go on the bottom of your car, but it definitely does have a meaty smell to it. Mark said beef jerky, I’d say that’s pretty on point. It smells like meat beef jerky. One of the things you have to be careful when walking in a jungle here are leeches. Our guide just got a leech attached to his leg, and we are watching them remove it now. Salt water works, fire also works, and our guide also told us that peeing on the leech also works. We’re not sure if that was just a joke to get us to pee on each other. I had two on my shoe. Now I’m using some mosquito repellent to see if that will repel them. Can you put that on my shoe, too? Yep. We’ve been hiking for probably about an hour now, and we just got up to the ridge overlooking the upper section of the falls. It’s really cool to be up here in the forests and the mountains and to get a taste of what wild Sri Lanka is like. This is an incredibly diverse island. It’s got over 400 species of bird, 30-plus of them are endemic to Sri Lanka, which means they only live here. But up here in the highlands, there’re all sorts of animals. And this is the only place in the world where the leopard is the apex predator. Other places in Africa and India, the leopard is outshined by the lion or the tiger. But here in Sri Lanka, it’s the king of the jungle. It’s an incredibly elusive cat, one of the hardest animals to spot in the wild here. This is just incredible. I’m so happy to be out here. I’m so happy to be out in the wild. And look at this view. Look at this waterfall. We’re not even down there yet. It’s about to get way bigger and way more beautiful. Wow We have arrived to a waterfall, and it is spectacular. I’ve never seen a fall so impressive and imposing. It’s huge. It’s over 500 feet tall, and we’re just standing on the edge looking out over this beautiful forested valley. And worth noting that is the 364th highest waterfall in the entire world. But it’s the second highest in Sri Lanka. Depending on what your statistics are, regardless of ranking, this is definitely at the top of my waterfall list. Wait a second, what what’s going on over here? What is this conspiracy? Just having some roti. Where did you get that? From that man right there in that hut. There’s a dude over there in a hut cooking.? Oh, yeah bro, roti. Always down for a dip in a natural pool. We found one that’s a nice mellow sized waterfall to swim around. It’s time to get naked. Actually, just joking. I’m putting on a bathing suit. Never be naked here. People don’t do that, at all. Well, that was excellent. One of my favorite things about traveling and backpacking is coming up and finding a waterfall or a swimming hole. I think that after a couple of weeks of traveling around feeling sweaty, feeling grimy, it’s really good to just clean off and feel refreshed from a river, and this is a really beautiful spot. If you’re in the Ella area, definitely come check this place out. There’s a ton of things to do outside of that town, and we heard about some people who trekked it here hour-and-a-half and in a tuk-tuk. So anything’s possible. Make it out here, check it out. And if you bring any trash, please pick it up because it’s a beautiful and naturally preserved place. Alright well, we’ve come off of the mountain. We’re back from the hike, and we’ve stopped into a little village. We’re going to have lunch here. They’ve prepared a beautiful spread, some local curries, fish curry and rice, very traditional foods. But it’s cool. It’s kind of like a wattle and daub house, you know just made out of clay and bricks. Palm fronds for the thatching of the roofs, but they’re cooking in there. There’re cute little puppies and kitties running around, and they have a beautiful spread for us. Alright ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a super awesome couple of days exploring the wilderness around Ella, but we are back at our hotel. We’re zonked; we’re tired. The rain has started to come down, and it looks like it’s going to stick around for the next couple of hours. So I’m going to get an Ayurvedic treatment. Just going to chill in the spa. But if you have not already, make sure you give this video a thumbs- up, share it with your travel buddies, subscribe to Vagabrothers, check out the rest of the videos from Sri Lanka. We’ve done a lot of really cool stuff, and tomorrow we’re going down south to go to the surfing beaches, which should be epic. So stick around for that, and as always stay curious, keep exploring, and we will see you on the road. Peace.