The train ride from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka is said to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world! Going on this scenic 7-hour ride is usually top on most traveler's lists when they visit Sri Lanka. Let me help you do it in the easiest and most efficient way.
Advanced Ticket Reservations
Tickets for all trains go on sale 30 days before their departure to travel agents. This means you can book in advance online here or through a travel agent in town face-to-face. The cost is obviously more than you'll pay the day of your departure at the train station, but if it makes you feel more comfortable to for sure have a seat in advance- this is the option for you!
From Kandy Railway Station
There are 2 trains per day from Kandy to Ella: 8:47am & 11:10am. Arrive at the train station 1 hour before your departure to get in line and buy your ticket. You will line up at the ticket booth based on what class you want to buy:
- 1st class reserved: 1100 LKR
- 2nd class reserved: 600 LKR
- 2nd class unreserved: 230 LKR
- 3rd class unreserved: 125 LKR
Wait for the train on the left side of the platform. Most people wait on the right side, so when the train arrives it is an absolute MAD HOUSE to try and get on. Even from the left side it will still be a little crazy, so just be prepared. I recommend waiting until all the crowds get on, and then getting on last to just sit in the open doorway on the floor. This allows you to have the best views, a seat during the trip, and a hassle and stress-free start to your epic train journey.
From Perideniya Station
To avoid crazy crowds and almost guarantee a seat for your unreserved ticket, take a tuk tuk 10 minutes outside of Kandy to Perideniya Station. This is the station right before Kandy Railway Station - AKA less people, and a way better chance of you getting a seat. The train times are as followed: 8:32am, 10:55am, and 12:31pm. (Don't worry if the train seems full, most people will get off at Kandy, so you can grab their seats before all the people get on at Kandy)
Tips for the train ride
- Sit on the right side! The views are prettier on this side for the majority of the ride. There is a beautiful stretch on the left side right when you're heading into Ella, but most of the train views are on the right.
- The total trip takes 7 hours
- Bring your own food and drinks! Locals will come on every 30 minutes or so to sell you local snacks, but they are grossly inflated. (A small bag of pastries for 300 LKR)
- There is luggage storage above your head for backpacks, but suitcases will need to go in the luggage racks at the back of the cars
- If you are in 1st class/2nd class reserved seating, the doors of the cars aren't open. This means no iconic photograph of you hanging out of the train with the beautiful views. However, if you ask the attendant to open it for you, he usually will!
-Sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the most beautiful train rides in the world!
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