Kandy to Ella train, Sri Lanka
A picture perfect train ride through tea country
The Kandy to Ella train in Sri Lanka is one of the great train journeys of the world, and one of the most scenic, hugging the hillside under overhanging rocks and winding through pretty hills of verdant tea plantations.
The trains are not luxury tourist trains but working modes of transportation for visitors and locals alike. You may travel on one of two daily modern blue trains, or a classic red Sri Lankan train with a first class observation carriage at the rear, but the train you ride on is likely to be dictated by availability and timetabling. Open doorways provide fresh breezes in the second class carriages and you should expect to see people leaning out of these doorways, breathing in the fresh air and drinking in the view as the train rocks gently on its way. The first class carriage is air conditioned and therefore does not have open doorways or windows so if you are keen to capture those iconic ‘door way’ photographs we recommend travelling in second class.
The entire journey from Kandy to Ella takes around 5 - 6 hours but timetabling is rarely accurate so you may experience delays and unscheduled stops along the way. For this reason we would recommend ensuring you are not in a hurry or breaking up your journey with a stop at Hatton to climb Adam’s Peak or Nanuoya (Nuwara Eliaya) to see the colonial-era hill station where the British once retreated in the hot Sri Lankan summers.
This rail journey is a wonderful way to experience Sri Lankan culture whilst travelling from A to B and drinking in the breathtakingly beautiful scenery.
Why we like it
An iconic rail journey
Breathtakingly beautiful scenery
Ride with locals and tourists alike
Colonial history & tea plantations