A Sri Lankan highlight: the train from Kandy to Ella

So after the taxi, the bus, the bicycles, and the tuktuk, it’s time for another way of transport. Sri Lanka does have another one up their sleeve, which they’re actually quite famous for as well. The train! And to be more specific; the train from Kandy to Ella, which is supposed to be one of the most scenic train tracks in the world.train view kandy ella sri lankaKandy train station sri lanka

kandy city lake sri lanka
Kandy Lake
salesman street of kandy sri lanka
Fresh fruits and veggies on every street corner in Kandy

The Kandy – Ella train

Leaving the busy streets of Kandy behind, with their colorful people and the noisy traffic, we jumped on this train with many many others. We were warned to buy tickets in advance, but even two days in advance was too late… However, they aren’t the toughest cookies on the planet in the Sri Lankan train system. Tickets could still be bought an hour before leaving and it didn’t seem like anyone was missing out here…

view train ella kandy sri lanka

Train life with a view

I’m not sure if it was just our bad timing, but our train was jam packed. I would say do try to avoid this track on weekends or holidays, cause we were stuffed cheek by jowl. No seats, let alone window seats for the first three hours. If you do get the best seat of the house in the open door, hold on to it cause you just hit the jackpot. With the sun on your face, the wind through your hair and some views that are very hard to beat. Six hours will fly by. Driving through the mountains, tea plantations, rice fields and little villages with train stations that make you think you’re in another century.

rice fields view ella train sri lanka
Rice fields on the mountains around Ella train kandy ella sri lanka
train view kandy ella tea plantations sri lanka
The rolling hills are covered in tea plantations

A journey to remember

Don’t get temped by the first class airconditioning seats though, because you’ll miss out on all the fun. Whether you’re in second or third class doesn’t really matter because you’ll get to experience some proper Sri Lankan daily life anyhow. With a bit of luck the locals will start to make music and dance in between seats, while the kids are hanging out of the windows trying to get a glimpse of their beautiful country. It’s utter chaos most of the time (starting on the platform), but that might just be the charm of it all.

boys train station ella kandy

train madness ella kandy sri lanka
Lucky we already got a seat…

6 hours of eating

You don’t have to worry you’ll starve to death either, cause every five minutes there’s another vendor showing up with fresh fruits or typical Sri Lankan snacks. Definitely worth trying; do like the locals do! This ride is like watching a movie, so much to see and seriously entertaining. Before you know it the train slows down and drives into the charming little station of Ella, unloading a big bunch of tourists and leaving the locals smiling and waving behind. What a beautiful journey it is… 


people train ella kandy sri lankasnacks selling train kandy ella sri lanka

streets of kandy sri lanka
The streets of Kandy
temple buddha tooth kandy sri lanka
Temple of the sacred tooth relic
flags praying buddhism natha devale kandy sri lanka
The Natha Devalebuddhism statues prayers natha devale kandy sri lanka
school boys temple of the tooth buddha kandy sri lanka
School boys at the temple of sacred tooth relic in Kandy
botanical gardens palmtree lane kandy sri lanka
The beautiful Botanical gardens of Kandy are an ideal escape from busy city life

botanical gardens kandy sri lanka

kandy botanical gardens sri lanka
The botanical gardens seem to be made for canoodling couples
praying nun woman buddhisme temple vishnu devale kandy sri lanka
A praying nun and woman at the Vishnu Devalesari colors shop kandy sri lanka

tailoring street shops women kandy sri lankabuddhism natha devale flags protection kandy sri lanka

houses kandy city sri lanka
Kandy downtown
train station kandy city sri lanka
Kandy train station in beautiful morning lightgrandpa child train kandy sri lankatea plantations view train kandy ella sri lanka
train kandy ella sri lanka
Best seat in the houseview ella kandy train sri lanka
kids train kandy ella sri lanka
Smiley faces wherever you lookmountains sri lanka view train kandy ella
tea plantations view train kandy ella sri lanka
Cup of tea, anyone?photography view train kandy ella sri lankavillage kids train kandy ella sri lanka
view train kandy ella mountains nature sri lanka
Welcome to Ella…

Photos by: M. Barends & T. Barends©