Best Train Ride in Sri Lanka

Departs from: Kandy train station
Duration: 5 hours
Ticket prices: 400- 3000 LKR

The Kandy to Ella train ride in Sri Lanka has gained worldwide acclaim as one of the most beautiful train journeys one can experience. As you step aboard the train and the ride begins, you will be awestruck by the unfolding scenery. The green tea plantations, mountains, viaducts spanning valleys, and the dense jungle create a mesmerizing backdrop that seems straight out of a postcard.

Inside the train, you’re transported back in time. Its old-fashioned charm, with open windows and doors, has become popular among travellers who jump at the opportunity to feel the wind in their hair as they travel through the scenic landscapes. In fact, the Kandy-Ella train ride has become one of the most anticipated activities in Sri Lanka for many, attracting tourists from far and wide.

Travelling by train in Sri Lanka is not only a beautiful, exciting experience but also one of the most affordable ways to explore the country. And among the many scenic routes, the journey from Ella to Kandy, or its reverse, stands out as the pinnacle of scenic beauty.

To make the most of your experience, it is advisable to board the morning train from Kandy to Ella. This ensures that you have daylight throughout your journey, allowing you to soak in the views as you hang out the doors. Missing out on the stunning scenery by traveling at night would be a regrettable loss.
For the ultimate experience, many passengers opt to stand at the open doorway. However, it’s important to exercise caution and avoid leaving your limbs outside the train at the wrong time, as the proximity of trees and tunnels poses a potential hazard.

As the train weaves its way through multiple tunnels, a further element of excitement is added to this adventure. The children on the train find it particularly thrilling, turning the passage through tunnels into a game of screaming until light finally reemerges as you exit the tunnel.

The train ride also offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Sri Lankan life. No journey on this iconic train would be complete without sampling the spicy snacks sold by vendors who hop on at different stops. This adds an extra layer of flavour to the experience, allowing you to take in some of the island’s simple pleasures.

It is said that the roots of this train journey can be traced back to the mid 1800s, when Sri Lanka was under British colonial rule. The train was initially used to transport tea from the plantations to Colombo for exportation. Now, the train has become a lifeline for locals commuting between their homes and workplaces. Due to its popularity among locals, securing a ticket as a tourist can be a bit challenging, as seats sell out quickly.

One important tip to remember is that the scenic beauty varies depending on which side of the train you choose. On the leg between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, the right side of the train offers more to look at, compared to the left that mostly reveals tall grass and cliffs for several hours. When traveling from Nuwara Eliya to Ella, the difference is less pronounced, but it is still recommended to opt for the right side to immerse in the full experience.

The Kandy to Ella train ride in Sri Lanka is an unparalleled experience that seamlessly blends nature’s beauty, culture, and historical charm. It stands as a testament to the country’s rich heritage and offers an unforgettable journey through landscapes that will leave you in awe. So, add this mesmerizing train ride to your Sri Lankan itinerary and let the scenery and warm hospitality of the locals create cherished memories.