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Why Choose Sri Lanka by Train?

Exploring Sri Lanka by train is one of the most picturesque ways to see the country. The train routes pass through some of the most beautiful parts of the island, offering stunning views that are often inaccessible by road. The experience of traveling by train in Sri Lanka is not just about getting from one place to another; it’s about the journey itself.

Top Train Routes in Sri Lanka

Discover Sri Lanka by Train
1. Colombo to Kandy:

This route is one of the most popular among tourists. The journey takes you from the coastal city of Colombo to the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, Kandy. As the train winds its way through lush green landscapes and rolling hills, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of tea plantations, waterfalls, and quaint villages.

2. Kandy to Ella:

Often considered the most scenic train journey in Sri Lanka, the Kandy to Ella route is a must-do. This seven-hour journey takes you through stunning landscapes, including the famous Nine Arches Bridge, dense forests, and the picturesque hill country. The train ride offers panoramic views of valleys, mountains, and tea estates, making it a photographer’s paradise.

3. Colombo to Galle:

For those looking to explore the southern coast, the train ride from Colombo to Galle is ideal. The route hugs the coastline, offering spectacular views of the Indian Ocean, golden beaches, and coastal towns. Galle itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its well-preserved fort and colonial architecture.

4. Nanu Oya to Ella:

Part of the famous hill country railway line, this segment of the journey is incredibly scenic. It includes the stretch from Nuwara Eliya, known as “Little England,” to Ella, a quaint town surrounded by tea plantations and waterfalls. The cool climate and picturesque landscapes make this a favorite among travelers.

Tips for Traveling Sri Lanka by Train

Discover Sri Lanka by Train: The Ultimate Travel Guide
Book in Advance:

Train travel in Sri Lanka is popular, especially on scenic routes. It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance to secure a seat, particularly in observation or first-class carriages.

Choose the Right Class:

Sri Lankan trains offer various classes, including first-class, second-class, and third-class. First-class and observation carriages provide the most comfort and the best views, but second-class is also a good option for those seeking a balance between cost and comfort.

Be Prepared for Delays:

Trains in Sri Lanka can sometimes be delayed, so it’s important to be patient and flexible with your schedule. The delays, however, often provide more time to enjoy the scenery and interact with fellow travelers.

Pack Essentials:

Carry snacks, water, and any other essentials, as the food options on trains might be limited. It’s also a good idea to bring a light jacket, as temperatures can drop in the hill country.

Enjoy the Local Experience:

Train travel in Sri Lanka offers a unique opportunity to interact with locals and experience their hospitality. Engage in conversations, try local snacks sold by vendors, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture.

Highlights of Sri Lanka by Train

Demodara Nine Arch Bridge
The Nine Arches Bridge:

This iconic bridge near Ella is a marvel of engineering and a highlight of the Kandy to Ella train journey. The bridge, surrounded by lush greenery, offers a stunning backdrop for photos and is a popular spot for travelers.

Tea Plantations:

The hill country train routes take you through some of the most famous tea plantations in Sri Lanka. The sight of neatly trimmed tea bushes covering the rolling hills is a unique and beautiful experience. Stops like Nuwara Eliya and Haputale are great places to visit tea factories and sample fresh Ceylon tea.

Ella Rock and Little Adam’s Peak:

These are popular hiking spots accessible from Ella. The hikes offer stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, making them must-visit locations for nature lovers.

Galle Fort:

At the end of the Colombo to Galle train journey, you’ll find the historic Galle Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a blend of European architecture and South Asian traditions, providing a rich cultural experience.

Adam’s Peak:

While not directly on a train route, Adam’s Peak is a significant pilgrimage site that can be combined with your train travels. The climb is famous for the shadow of the peak that appears at sunrise.

Planning Your Sri Lanka Train Journey

kandy ella train lanka tour
Best Time to Travel:

The best time to explore Sri Lanka by train depends on the regions you plan to visit. Generally, the dry season from December to March is ideal for most routes. However, the hill country is pleasant year-round.

Travel Itinerary:

Consider planning a comprehensive itinerary that includes key destinations such as Colombo, Kandy, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, and Galle. This allows you to experience a mix of cultural sites, natural beauty, and coastal charm.


There are plenty of accommodation options near train stations in major cities and towns. From budget hostels to luxury hotels, you can find a place that fits your needs and budget.

Local Cuisine:

Don’t miss the opportunity to try local Sri Lankan cuisine. From street food to fine dining, the culinary experiences are diverse and delicious. Look out for vendors at train stations selling snacks like vadai, samosas, and fresh fruit.

FAQs About Sri Lanka by Train

Kandy to Ella Train Journey
1. How do I book train tickets in Sri Lanka?

Train tickets can be booked online through the Sri Lanka Railways website or purchased at the station. For popular routes, it’s advisable to book in advance.

2. What is the best train route in Sri Lanka?

The Kandy to Ella route is often considered the most scenic and popular train journey in Sri Lanka, offering breathtaking views of the hill country.

3. Are trains in Sri Lanka comfortable?

Sri Lankan trains offer various classes of service. First-class and observation carriages are quite comfortable, while second-class provides a good balance of comfort and cost. Third-class is more basic and can be crowded.

4. Can I travel overnight by train in Sri Lanka?

There are a few overnight train services, but they are less common. Most scenic routes are best enjoyed during the day to take in the views.

5. What should I pack for a train journey in Sri Lanka?

Pack snacks, water, a light jacket, and any personal essentials. It’s also a good idea to bring entertainment like books or music for longer journeys.

6. Is it safe to travel by train in Sri Lanka?

Yes, train travel in Sri Lanka is generally safe. However, it’s important to keep an eye on your belongings and be mindful of pickpockets in crowded areas.

7. Are there food and drinks available on the trains?

Food and drinks are available on some trains, but the options can be limited. It’s a good idea to bring your own snacks and water.

8. Can I take large luggage on the train?

There is space for luggage on Sri Lankan trains, but it can be limited, especially in third-class. Try to travel light or consider storing larger bags under your seat or in the overhead racks.

By exploring Sri Lanka by train, you embark on a journey filled with breathtaking scenery, cultural richness, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, train travel in Sri Lanka offers a unique way to discover this enchanting island. Book your tickets, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime with Lanka Tour Experts.

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