The Kandy to Ella train journey is said to be one of the most scenic, epic train journeys in not only just Sri Lanka but the world. So with a few days to spare in Sri Lanka, I decided to purchase a ticket for $1.50 and climb aboard for the 5 hour journey. Yes the train really does cost just $1.50.
During the Kandy to Ella train ride you can walk around the carriages, go to the toilet, visit the food stand or purchase some snacks from vendors who wander about. I spent the first hour glued to the window, watching as we passed by tea plantations, cruised through villages and crossed bridges with eerily huge drop-offs.
Our train was bright blue and several carriages in length. You can purchase 1st class tickets but I chose the cheapest ticket and had my own seat, luggage storage and a table in front of me to share with four others. The carriage wasn’t hot despite the heat outside and it was an incredibly comfortable journey. I bought my ticket at the station and the train didn’t seem full at all. This could change depending on the time of the year.
Here is a short highlight video I made of the journey:
Why is the Kandy to Ella train ride so amazing?
The views on both sides of the rail are breathtaking. The train winds through the mountains overlooking farms and villages and of course vast tea plantations. The scenery changes throughout the trip. Often at times you are looking out at a entire green view then the next minute you are in the middle of a woodland forest.
The train also passes through multiple tunnels. The kids on my train thought it was a great game to scream the entire time we were inside the tunnel until the train finally emerged.
Despite having my own comfortable seat, the highlight of the journey for me was being able to sit in the doorway and leave me feet hanging over the edge. I think I spent more time in the doorway than in my actual seat.
Hanging out of the train gives you the best views and is an awesome feeling but be careful not to leave your limbs out of the train at the wrong time as there are trees and tunnels that come close to the train.
If you are considering the options about how to get from Ella to Kandy or Kandy to Ella, there really isn’t a decision to be made. If you take the bus you have made a huge mistake as you have missed out on the journey of a lifetime on the Kandy to Ella train.
While I was in Ella, I trekked through the tea plantations with a guide and was blown away by the scenery and history of the area. You can check that post out here: TREKKING THROUGH TEA PLANTATIONS IN ELLA, SRI LANKA