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Kandy To Ella Train: Worlds Most Scenic?


by Sarene Scott



The Kandy to Ella train journey is hailed as one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Nestled in the mesmerizing landscapes of Sri Lanka, this train route offers breathtaking views of rolling hills, lush tea plantations, cascading waterfalls, and charming villages. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking an unforgettable travel experience, the Kandy to Ella train journey is sure to capture your heart.


The train ride spans approximately 142 kilometers, taking you from Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, to Ella, a small town embraced by the verdant hills of the central highlands. It winds its way through the spectacular mountainous terrains, showcasing the beauty of the Hill Country that Sri Lanka is renowned for.


What makes this train journey truly exceptional is not just the destination, but the enchanting voyage itself. As the train chugs along the tracks, you will be treated to panoramic vistas that seamlessly blend nature’s splendor with rich cultural heritage. From emerald green tea estates to picturesque villages, every frame of the journey is a postcard-worthy scene that will leave you in awe.


Whether you choose to travel in the comfort of a first-class carriage or immerse yourself in the local experience of a second or third-class compartment, the Kandy to Ella train journey promises an unforgettable adventure. This article will delve into the history of the train route, provide an overview of the route itself, present the train schedule and ticket information, highlight the scenic gems along the way, and offer some tips to make your journey even more memorable.


So, sit back, relax, and let the rhythmic clatter of the train tracks take you on an incredible journey through the heart of Sri Lanka’s picturesque landscapes. Get ready to witness nature’s splendor, immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the region, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


History of the Kandy to Ella Train

The Kandy to Ella train route, officially known as the Main Line, is a part of the Sri Lanka Railways network that was initially established during British colonial rule in the 19th century. The construction of the railway began in the late 19th century as a means to transport tea and other agricultural products from the highlands to the coastal areas.


The train route between Kandy and Ella is a captivating blend of engineering marvel and natural beauty. It was completed in 1894 and quickly gained popularity among local and international travelers. The train line played a crucial role in the transportation of goods and people, providing a vital lifeline for communities residing in the remote areas of the hill country.


During its early days, the train journey was primarily meant for locals and was seen as a practical mode of transportation. However, over time, it gained a reputation for its unparalleled scenic beauty, attracting tourists from around the world. Today, it is not only a means of transport but also an iconic tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.


The railway line remained largely unchanged for many years, with its track passing through dense forests, tea estates, and rural villages. The awe-inspiring landscapes that the train traverses remained a well-kept secret among avid travelers. However, with the increasing popularity of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, the Kandy to Ella train journey has gained global recognition and has become a must-do experience for visitors.


The historic significance of the Kandy to Ella train route extends beyond its scenic beauty. During the British colonial era, it played a crucial role in the development of the tea industry in Sri Lanka. Tea plantations were established in the highlands, and the railway served as a vital link between these plantations and the coastal ports for exporting the tea leaves.


Today, the train journey holds deep cultural and historical value for Sri Lanka. It has become a symbol of the nation’s rich heritage, connecting travelers with the country’s past and showcasing the beauty of its landscapes along the way. The Kandy to Ella train route stands as a testament to Sri Lanka’s resilience and its ability to preserve and showcase its natural and cultural treasures.


Route Overview

The Kandy to Ella train route takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. The journey begins in Kandy, a bustling city surrounded by lush greenery and steeped in history. From there, the train slowly ascends into the hills, passing through picturesque towns and villages.


As the train continues its journey, it reaches Hatton, a town known for its tea plantations and the famous Adam’s Peak. The panoramic views of the rolling hills covered in emerald green tea bushes are simply breathtaking. The train then snakes its way through tunnels and over bridges, offering glimpses of cascading waterfalls and panoramic vistas.


The next highlight of the journey is Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as “Little England” due to its colonial architecture and cool climate. The train passes by the picturesque Gregory Lake, surrounded by green hills and colorful blooms. The breathtaking scenery here will make you want to capture every moment.


As the train reaches Haputale, you will be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the famous Ella Gap. This natural phenomenon provides a window to the vastness of the plains below, showcasing the sprawling tea estates and lush valleys.


Finally, the train arrives in Ella, a small town that has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. Surrounded by mountains, tea plantations, and breathtaking viewpoints, Ella offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life.


The entire journey takes approximately six to seven hours, allowing ample time to soak in the beauty of the Hill Country. The train snakes its way through tunnels, over bridges, and along steep cliffs, offering an immersive experience of Sri Lanka’s diverse landscapes.


Whether you choose to travel in the first-class observation car, where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the scenery, or opt for a seat in the second or third-class compartments to mingle with locals, the Kandy to Ella train ride promises an unforgettable adventure filled with natural beauty, cultural encounters, and stunning vistas at every turn.


Train Schedule and Ticket Information

The train schedule for the Kandy to Ella route is subject to change, so it is important to check the latest information before planning your journey. Trains typically depart from Kandy Railway Station in the morning, with several departures throughout the day. The frequency of the trains may vary depending on the season and demand.


It’s advisable to arrive at the station a little early to secure a good seat, especially during peak tourist seasons when the train can get quite crowded. Booking your tickets in advance is highly recommended to avoid any last-minute inconvenience.


When it comes to ticket options, there are three classes available: first, second, and third class. The first-class observation car offers the most comfortable and spacious seating, as well as large windows that allow for panoramic views of the passing landscapes. However, these tickets tend to be in high demand and can sell out quickly.


The second and third-class compartments offer more budget-friendly options and present an opportunity to mingle with locals and fellow travelers. Although the seats may be slightly cramped, they still provide a comfortable journey with a unique cultural experience.


It’s important to note that ticket prices can vary depending on the class, and it is advisable to check the official Sri Lanka Railways website or visit a local ticket counter to obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding fares and schedules. The website also provides an option to reserve tickets online.


Lastly, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks and water for the journey, as there are no dining facilities on the train. However, vendors often board the train at different stops, offering snacks, drinks, and even freshly cut fruits.


With the right planning and information, securing your tickets and finding the perfect seat for the Kandy to Ella train journey will ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience as you soak in the breathtaking sights along the way.


Scenic Highlights Along the Journey

The Kandy to Ella train journey is renowned for its stunning landscapes and breathtaking views. As the train winds its way through the Hill Country, there are several scenic highlights that you can look forward to experiencing:


Ramboda Falls

Located near the town of Ramboda, this cascading waterfall is a mesmerizing sight to behold. As the train passes by, you can catch a glimpse of the water gracefully flowing down the rocky cliffs, surrounded by lush greenery.


Tea Plantations

The Hill Country is famous for its sprawling tea estates, and the train journey offers a front-row seat to witness the beauty of these terraced tea plantations. The vibrant green hues of the tea bushes create a stunning contrast against the blue skies, creating a postcard-perfect view.


Nine Arches Bridge

Nestled amidst the lush green hills, the Nine Arches Bridge is an architectural marvel that attracts photographers and train enthusiasts. The train gracefully passes over this iconic bridge, offering a picture-perfect moment that is sure to leave you in awe.


Ella Gap

As the train approaches Haputale, you will be treated to a breathtaking view of the Ella Gap. This natural opening between two mountain ranges provides a breathtaking panorama of the sweeping plains below, adorned with tea plantations and verdant valleys.


Ella Rock

The charming town of Ella is surrounded by stunning natural landmarks, including the imposing Ella Rock. If you’re up for a hiking adventure, you can disembark at Ella and embark on a scenic trek to the summit of Ella Rock for magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.


Demodara Loop

As the train approaches Demodara Station, it navigates a loop of track that spirals around itself, forming a unique engineering marvel known as the Demodara Loop. Watching the train maneuver its way through this loop is a fascinating sight and a testament to the ingenuity of the railway engineers.


Lush Landscapes and Waterfalls

Throughout the journey, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the picturesque landscapes, including rolling hills, misty valleys, and vibrant flora. Keep an eye out for the numerous waterfalls that adorn the hillsides, adding an ethereal touch to the already scenic surroundings.


These are just a few of the many scenic highlights that await you on the Kandy to Ella train journey. Every curve of the track reveals a new vista, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural splendors of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the unforgettable moments along the way.


Tips for a Memorable Train Ride

The Kandy to Ella train journey is an incredible experience that offers a unique way to explore the stunning landscapes of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. To make the most of your train ride and ensure a memorable adventure, here are some helpful tips:


Plan Your Journey in Advance

Check the train schedule and book your tickets in advance to secure your preferred class and seating. This ensures a smoother journey and avoids any last-minute hassle.


Choose the Right Seat

If you want unobstructed views, opt for a seat near the window. The first-class observation car provides the best vantage point, but if you’re in second or third class, try to get a seat on the right side of the train when traveling from Kandy to Ella for the best views.


Be Prepared for Crowds

Consider traveling during the shoulder or off-peak seasons to avoid heavy crowds. However, even during busy times, being flexible with your travel plans and arriving early can help you secure a good seat.


Pack Essentials

Carry some snacks, water, and a small bag for your belongings. There are no dining facilities on the train, so having your own supplies will ensure you stay hydrated and energized during the journey.


Engage with Locals

The Kandy to Ella train journey provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with locals. Strike up a conversation, learn about their culture, and gain insights into their way of life. It’s a chance to connect and create lasting memories.


Enjoy the Scenery, Don’t Rush

Take your time to admire the breathtaking landscapes, capture photos, and simply soak in the beauty around you. Don’t rush through the journey; instead, embrace the slow pace and mindfulness that the train ride offers.


Be Mindful of Safety

While enjoying the scenic views, be mindful of your surroundings and follow safety guidelines. Avoid leaning too far out of the train, keep your belongings secure, and be cautious when embarking or disembarking at station stops.


Consider a Stopover

If you have extra time, consider breaking up your journey with a stopover in one of the towns along the route, such as Nuwara Eliya or Haputale. This way, you can explore the attractions and immerse yourself in the local culture.


By following these tips, you can enhance your Kandy to Ella train experience and make it truly unforgettable. Embrace the beauty, embrace the culture, and embrace the moments that will stay with you long after the journey ends.



The Kandy to Ella train journey in Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting and breathtaking experiences for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and cultural heritage of this beautiful country. From the moment you board the train in Kandy until you reach Ella, the captivating landscapes, scenic vistas, and cultural encounters will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.


The train journey offers more than just a mode of transportation; it is a gateway to a world of stunning vistas, from tea-covered hillsides to cascading waterfalls and charming villages. It allows you to witness the rich tapestry of Sri Lanka’s landscapes and offers an opportunity to connect with the local communities along the way.


As the train snakes its way through tunnels, over bridges, and along cliff edges, you’ll have the chance to capture postcard-perfect moments and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you choose to travel in first class, second class, or third class, the journey guarantees a unique and unforgettable adventure.


However, it’s important to plan your journey in advance, secure your tickets, and be prepared for the crowds, especially during peak seasons. Engage with the locals, soak in the breathtaking scenery, and allow yourself to be immersed in the splendor of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country.


The Kandy to Ella train journey is not just about reaching your destination; it’s about embracing the journey itself. Take your time, savor the moments, and let the rhythmic clatter of the train tracks transport you to a place of wonder and serenity.


As you disembark in Ella, you’ll not only leave with memories of the picturesque landscapes but also with a profound appreciation for the rich history, natural wonders, and warm hospitality of the Sri Lankan people. The Kandy to Ella train journey is a truly remarkable experience that will stay with you long after you bid farewell to the Hill Country.


So, pack your bags, hop aboard the train, and embark on this unforgettable adventure. Let the beauty of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country unfold before your eyes as you journey from Kandy to Ella on one of the most scenic train rides in the world.