In my recent visit to Sri Lanka, I was spoilt with choices of places to visit. My first memory of Ella is a painting-like view that welcomes you as soon as you step into the city. From the beautiful Ravana falls to the different tea factories, what came next was nothing short of mesmerizing. However, I want to share something far more beautiful for my next blog – my experience in the Kandy to Ella train.
Let’s talk about the beautiful journey between these two destinations that everybody is so obsessed with, Kandy to Ella!
Kandy To Ella Train Ride
The Kandy to Ella train ride is for about 9-10 hours. The views on the way are worth staying wide awake, eagle-eyed, glaring outside the window. Cotton candy clouds, waterfallscascading from mighty mountains, and tea plantations that you’ll remember every time you drink tea – you’ll be welcomed with all of this. And much more of this!
As the train journey started, a vast, green land appeared in front of me that quickly shifted to an enormous woodland forest before I could take my camera out (Pro tip: always keep your camera ready). Now and then, the train shot through tunnels that took me back to my childhood days filled with joy and surprise.
During my journey, I spent some time talking to the locals and understanding them better. Hearing stories of people belonging to different walks of life is my favorite thing to do. Naturally, these 9-10 hours went by beautifully.
Stepping out on the stations the train stopped was another promising memory. Looking at the hustle and bustle – vendors selling the local delicacies, people meeting their friends and family, some bidding their goodbyes, and some waiting; I learned so much about the local culture of Sri Lanka!
How To Get To The Kandy To Ella Train Ride:
There are three ways to experience the famous Kandy to Ella train ride. First, by train. You can hop on to the Kandy to Ella line from Columbo, which lies before Kandy and eventually leads towards Ella.
The second option is to take a bus. A famous curd shop from Ella is the leaving point for buses. Generally, buses leave at 9 AM every morning, but you can cross-check with the locals in case of any changes.
Third, you can take a taxi. A taxi is undoubtedly more convenient for the Kandy to Ella train ride as you can start from where you are and stop where you want to.
Before you book your tickets for the Kandy to Ella train ride, you should know the different categories and carriages you can choose from.
1. First Class
Like in every other train, the first class in the Kandy to Ella train ride is all about privacy, comfort, and allotted seats. You are surrounded by sophistication and luxury. However, you cannot open the doors and windows in these carriages, and the prices for these are much higher.
Wide windows for the views, comfortable seats for luxury, and complete seclusion: the observation carriage provides a first-class experience. If you want to witness this, you’ll have to make your bookings months in advance.
However, this carriage is attached backward-facing towards the end of the train. So, I wouldn’t suggest this carriage to those who suffer from travel sickness.
Cost: The cost for a first-class ticket is around INR 1,200 – 1,300/-
2. Second Class
The seating for the second class in the Kandy to Ella train ride is also comfortable and fairly luxurious. There are two types of seats in the second class – reserved and unreserved.
Reserved: The tickets for the reserved seats are higher than the unreserved seats. However, this will give you a guaranteed seat and save you from any quarrels.
Unreserved: The unreserved seats offer the same comfort as second class, without guaranteed seats and more chaos. I’d suggest you opt for reserved seats during peak times.
Cost: The cost for a second-class ticket is around INR 600-700/-
3. Third Class
The third class in the Kandy to Ella train ride is the best for those traveling on a budget and who wish to interact with the locals. You can get the complete feel of the Kandy to Ella train ride in the truest form. You get the option of reserved and unreserved for third-class seats as well.
Reserved: You get everything popular about the Kandy to Ella train ride – the views, the interaction, the mesmerizing experience! The best part is – you get all of this plus a reserved seat for yourself.
Unreserved: Regular commuters and localities generally travel in unreserved classes. If you want to be local and stay among local, this is your best chance! The ticket prices for this carriage are the cheapest of all.
Cost: The cost for a first-class ticket is around INR 400-500/-
Booking The Kandy to Ella Train Ride Ticket:
You’ll be stuck in a crowd if you don’t book your tickets well in advance. Remember to get a window ticket for this (right side, preferably)
You can book the tickets only in person. You can check with your accommodation if they can help you book tickets at an extra charge.
Only a handful of trains take you through this beautiful journey. I would advise you to begin your journey from Colombo.
Tips To Remember For The Kandy to Ella Train Ride
– First things first – get travel insurance for your entire trip. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
– Don’t let hunger get in the way of you and the beautiful views. Carry enough food with you before you start your journey. In a world that’s still recovering from COVID, I would suggest you bring your own food.
– The second-class seats give the perfect blend of comfort and views. As a luxury traveler, I prefer comfort and luxury. However, opting for the second-class tickets was my best decision!
– Take good care of all your belongings during the Kandy to Ella train ride.
– You’ll find tourists and locals alike on the train. So, be on your best behavior!
– There are two types of trains in Sri Lanka – the slow ones and the faster, “blue” ones. So pick carefully.
– Carry reusable water bottles and biodegradable wipes. Throw your trash in the bins, or keep them with you till you find one.
Places To Visit During Your Kandy to Ella Train Ride:
Here are some of the pitstops you can make during the Kandy to Ella train ride:
Kandy, the second-largest city in Sri Lanka, is known for its pilgrimage destination possessing the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha. Kandy has enough and more tourist attractions, from templesto museums and waterfalls – there’s something for everyone!
Nuwara Eliya, or the “Little England,” is a must-visit place during your journey in the Kandy to Ella train ride. Filled with tea plantations and lots of greenery, Nuwara Eliya gave me views for days!
Who doesn’t like a good mix of old-school and rust. I certainty do! This small, underrated town is free of visitors and full of views – no matter when you go.
The entire Kandy to Ella train ride left me feeling fruitful and fresh. From the beautiful views to the friendly locals and tonnes of “instagrammable” pictures – the entire experience is something I’ll always remember. Experiencing something so unforgettable doesn’t happen every day, now, does it?
I hope you enjoyed reading this at least half as much as I enjoyed the experience! Let me know about your experience in the Kandy to Ella train ride in the comments section below.
Gulshan Bafna is one of the luxury travelers in India. He, along with his wife, has traveled to many exotic places that one could dream. With their travel journey, they bring us the best face of those places. He compiles all of his travel journeys to give the taste of traveling to his readers. In his writing, he jots down the best things to do in all those places that he has visited. Reading these would help one know better about the place. He is also a seeker who loves exploring and discovering new places and share his experiences with everyone.