Kandy To Ella By Train
Train ride from Kandy to Ella is one of the most picturesque ride in Sri Lanka. There are special tourist train with observation car which are popular with tourists. The downside of it is that tickets are sold weeks in advance. So if you have fixed, planned trip it is highly recommend that you buy those tickets in advance. For other impulse travelers like me, hope is not all lost.
There are comfortable first class air conditioned coaches in trains running from Kandy in morning 7:40 am. The actual train ride is 7 hours and it is generally delayed by 30 minutes or so. This in itself is not a bad thing as train traverses through high mountains, tunnels and bridges. There are times when train loops through giving you a unique view of the entire train.
How To Buy Tickets For Train To Ella
Tickets are generally available if you buy couple of days in advance. In our case, we bought tickets the day we came to Kandy.
The train ticket price for reserved air conditioned first class is 1500 Sri Lanka rupee which is a little over USD 10. The train station is small and there is a colonial era sign post which gives information about train’s arrival platform.
Inside First Class Train Coach
The first class coach is mostly occupied by the tourists (predominantly Western European) so you momentarily forget that you are in Sri Lanka. The only local I saw during our ride was the person coming to check tickets.
There is no food service in the car but there is a dining car that serves overpriced weak coffee for 200 Sri Lankan rupee ($1.2). I would recommend that you buy beforehand whatever is needed for 7 hours train ride including water. Although some guy came to sell water and samosas towards the end of ride.
The train car is generally clean. There are western style toilet attached to car which are regularly cleaned during the ride as needed. The train makes various stops. The most significant one is Nanu Oya sometimes in afternoon when people destined for nowara Elia get off. So don’t rush to disembark if you are going to Ella. There is no announcement throughout the train ride except 5 minutes before arrival to Ella some train officials will do so going to all air conditioned cars.
Good And Bad Side Of Train Ride – Is Selfie Worth A Life?
The ride itself offers plenty of opportunities to take pictures of beautiful surroundings. People generally gather near door to take perfect pictures. Some overly adventurous take their entire body out of train to take daring selfie which I feel is foolish thing to do. It is not worth risking life or a limb for a picture. Please don’t risk it like travelers in my short video. If you have to take outside pictures use a selfie stick. Don’t let any body part out of moving train under any circumstances.
Here is what you can expect
The schedule arrival in Ella is 1:40 but it is generally delayed by 30 minutes. Ella town is very small and easy to explore by foot so chances are you can walk to your guest house or take a short tuk-tuk ride.
Major tourist attractions in Ella are Little Adam’s Peak, 9 Arch Bridge, Ella Rock and Ravana Fall. In afternoon one may visit spice garden and sign up for cooking classes. There are many bars and cafe closely packed on main street of Ella town.