Scenic Train Ride in Sri Lanka - The complete Guide

Train rides may be classified into two categories: those that take place in Sri Lanka and those that take place elsewhere in the world. In other words, a scenic train ride in Sri Lanka is a brand. Despite its size, the teardrop-shaped island in the Laccadive Sea has some of the most exhilarating rail journeys on the planet.

Many of Sri Lanka's steam trains have long since faded away, but the colorful diesel locomotives that have replaced them nevertheless give a fascinating glimpse into Sri Lanka's countryside. Book your tickets (as far in advance as possible!) for one of these epic train tours in Sri Lanka if you're a fan of rail travel. There is one certain thing. Once you realize that it's the best train ride in the world, you will write your own "journey by train Sri Lanka essay." It's really a fantastic experience.

The most scenic train ride in Sri Lanka

While every train ride in Sri Lanka is unique, we must start with the king. It's safe to say that no other train ride in the world can compete with the Ella to Kandy train ride in Sri Lanka. Plus, the best part is that this beautiful experience will only cost you a few bucks out of your pocket! So let's start our list of train rides in Sri Lanka with this.

1. Sri Lanka train ride from Kandy to Ella

You may take one of the world's most scenic train trips through Sri Lanka's highlands. The 7-hour train ride in Sri Lanka from Kandy to Ella via tea plantations, rice plains, and unending mountain vistas is a lovely experience. At only $1.5, it's also one of the finest travel deals you'll find anywhere in the world!

The railway, first constructed by the British in 1864 to transport tea from the hills to the capital city, has now evolved into a very economical way to experience the country's scenic landscape. Any trip to Sri Lanka is incomplete without taking the 94-mile Ella to Kandy train ride.

The abundance and diversity of green in the landscape is one of the many characteristics that stand out about it. Everywhere you look, you'll see beautiful greenery and tea plantations carpeting most of the area. For tea to grow well, it requires a warm temperature, high elevation, and sloping terrain, all of which are present in plenty in the Hill Country, which has become one giant tea plantation in recent years.

How to buy a ticket for the Kandy-to-Ella train ride?

Tickets for this magnificent train ride in Sri Lanka may be purchased directly at the station. Or you can choose to pre-book via a hotel, travel agency, or by visiting the station the day before to guarantee that you have peace of mind. Unless you have a specific need for first-class, we recommend that you simply show up on the day. This must sell out far more quickly than the second and third classes.

The train journey from Kandy to Ella allows you to take a walk around the carriages, use the restroom, visit the food stand, or buy refreshments from vendors that meander around the railway station during your stop. You will travel through tea plantations, ride through beautiful villages, and cross bridges with frighteningly large drop-offs. And you could sit in the open doorway and watch the action.

What is it about the train ride from Kandy to Ella that is so incredible?

On both sides of the railway, the scenery is spectacular. Passengers will see tea plantations, farmland, and small towns throughout the journey as the train weaves its way to Ella. The scenery changes all the time during the trip. Many times, you are gazing out at a lush green vista, and then, the next minute, you find yourself in the center of a dense woody forest. There are so many sites to see in Kandy after you get off the train, and it's a gorgeous region to see from onboard.

But we prefer to sit on The right side, because it's significantly more beautiful than the left, with views over the rolling tea plantations, misty mountains, and lush valleys. This is flipped if you’re traveling from Ella back to Kandy try to sit on the left. If you booked two-way tickets you can enjoy both sides by sitting on both sides.

But we prefer to sit on the right side, because it's significantly more beautiful than the left, with views over the rolling tea plantations, misty mountains, and lush valleys. This is flipped if you’re traveling from Ella back to Kandy try to sit on the left. If you booked two-way tickets you can enjoy both sides by sitting on both sides.

Tunnels are a common sight on the Kandy to Ella train ride. It's thrilling to be able to hang out on the train and enjoy the scenery. However, be very cautious not to leave your arms and legs out of the train at the wrong time and place, as some trees and tunnels are quite close to the train. The Kandy to Ella train ride is only one of several must-do things in Sri Lanka that you should include in your itinerary.

The Kandy to Ella train ride comprises three parts:

Kandy to Hatton
Hatton to Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya to Ella

The best way to enjoy the train from Kandy to Ella

It doesn't matter where you sit on the train; you'll always have spectacular views of the lush tea plantations and surrounding landscape. On the contrary, while going from Kandy to Ella, we suggest seating on the right-hand side of the train carriage.

This is because the vistas are somewhat nicer to the right, but you won't be disappointed with your decision either way. For those who find the 6-7-hour train journey from Kandy to Ella too tedious, there's always the option of a two-day respite. This picturesque mountain hamlet is a fantastic place to spend a few days, and staying for a few days will give you enough time to explore and discover some amazing things to do in Nuwara Eliya.

The ride from Ella to Nawara Eliya takes around 2.5 hours, which reduces the length of your train journey by almost half. This is ideal for individuals who do not want to spend excessive time traveling at once.

Other best train rides in Sri Lanka

Now that you know a lot about the Kandy to Ella train ride, let's get to know the rest.

2. Kandy to Badulla train trip in Sri Lanka

Colombo to Kandy is just a warm-up for Sri Lanka's most spectacular train ride: the British-era Main Line, which was built as a way for Sri Lanka's most famous export, tea, to get to the rest of the country.

It takes seven or eight hours to get from Kandy to Badulla by train. It winds its way through Sri Lanka's tea heartland, through whirling, twisting estates that look carved into the steep green terrain like the huge fingerprints of a gigantic human being. While tea-pickers dressed in rainbow saris provide vibrant bursts of color to the green water, the tangy fringed lemongrass and canna plants serve as a decorative trim around the perimeter. If you want to get the most out of the vista, stake yourself a spot in an open train doorway with your feet hanging over the tracks.

The best part of the Kandy to Badulla train ride

The last part of the train ride from Ella to Badulla is one of the most dramatic parts of the whole trip. Some amazing 19th-century engineering feats helped the train cross valleys and ravines and avoid dangerous rocks.

To the north of Ella, the rails curve over the brick-and-stone Nine Arch Bridge before confronting the Demodara Loop, where the railway traverses a hilltop and passes back under itself. Many people arrive in Ella and trek to the overlooks surrounding the bridge, one of Sri Lanka's most popular photo spots, to complete their vacation.

3. Anuradhapura to Jaffna train ride in Sri Lanka

The train ride from the historic Buddhist city of Anuradhapura to Jaffna, which takes three and a half hours, provides a glimpse into a distinct side of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura is where you'll say goodbye to the city's sparkling white dagobas (stupas). As you travel northward into Sri Lanka's Hindu heartland, kovils (temples) of all hues begin to dot the landscape.

Elephant Pass, referred to as the Gateway to Jaffna, bottleneck entrance to the Jaffna peninsula to its mainland, is crossed by the railway on its last approach. The terrain flattens out, and areas of water and saltpans emerge as the train approaches Jaffna. Waiting for you at the end is Jaffna itself, a vibrant Hindu city with a colonial heart. It's a great place to start your trip to some of Sri Lanka's most beautiful, unspoiled islands and beaches. All in all, this is rated as one of the best train rides in Sri Lanka. While the scenery may not be as spectacular as the Kandy to Ella train ride, this is nevertheless a fantastic experience in its own right.

4. Colombo to Kandy train ride in Sri Lanka

This is one train ride that is on almost every Sri Lankan traveler's list, so it's worth taking. In only three hours from Colombo, you'll find yourself in Sri Lanka's spiritual heartland, Kandy, a place of tranquility and peace. Kandy is home to the renowned Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, containing a relic of the tooth of the Buddha.

It will take you through rolling hills, rice fields, and beautiful patches of tropical forest, as well as small village railway stations with tin roofs and station officials dressed in spotless uniforms, as you make your journey through the countryside. You'll also notice how cold the air feels as you go away from the hot coastal plain and into the cooler environment of the highlands.

First, the Ceylon Government Railway built a line that went from Colombo to Kandy. It cut through the dense forests inland to bring tea and coffee down to the coast to help the British Empire make more money. Today, people ride the train in the opposite direction. It's a great way to learn about Sri Lankan train travel, and it's the best way to get to the Hill Country from Colombo

5. Colombo to Galle train ride in Sri Lanka

A fresh wind blows in from the Indian Ocean, and the smell of sea salt fills the carriages on the train traveling south from Colombo to the Portuguese-founded city of Galle. On the journey south from Colombo to the Portuguese-founded city of Galle, the Indian Ocean comes practically up to the rail lines. As the train clatters out of Colombo, as long as you sit on the right-hand side of the carriage, you'll get views out over the ocean.

As it approaches Galle Face Green, a major urban park outside the city, and continues for almost the whole duration of its trip, the train line connects with and parallels the beach. Let's say the allure of the vast blue becomes too much for you to resist. To make use of the nearby beaches and snorkeling spots, visitors may disembark in beach towns like Moragalla (through Hettimulla station) or Hikkaduwa (where surfers ride the waves and tourists sip smoothies at shorefront cafés).

Alighting at a small rural station is optional, but if you do, be sure to taste the products of any food vendors who have joined the carriages. It's a good idea to pack some buttered sweetcorn, fruit, or ready-to-eat curry and rice and go for a walk along the coast. You'll see kids and dogs playing in the waves, stilt fishers sitting on wooden platforms, and more.

Sri Lanka - Train schedules

You can obtain the train schedule from The official railway website

Final thoughts on Sri Lanka train tours

If you're visiting Sri Lanka, this is one activity that you just have to participate in. It's impossible to beat the breathtaking scenery, the chance to meet new people, and the opportunity to mingle with the locals!

For people who want to take photos, Instagrammers who want to get the perfect picture, and anyone else who wants to enjoy a beautiful view without having to be in front of a camera, the landscape is the perfect place. Looking for a local travel expert to help you plan a train tour in Sri Lanka? Make the right choice. What you need is our years of experience, as well as our great and reasonably priced tour packages.